The popularity of the MacBook Air looks like it is going to get even bigger when the 2011 version of the Air is released this Summer. Digitimes is forecasting that up to 8 million units of the Air will be shipped in the third quarter this year which equates to almost double that of the previous quarter. While the figures are simply forecasts based on supplier estimates, it means that total sales forecasts for the MacBook Air in 2011 are reaching almost 15 million units which is an enormous amount.
The increased sales forecast in 2011 can pretty much be directly attributed to two things; the existing popularity of the new model Air which debuted last year, and the high anticipation for the 2011 version. This year’s model is expected to include the new Intel Sandy Bridge processors which will be a dramatic improvement over the current Core 2 Duo models that are supplied with the Air. Combine this with Thunderbolt data transfer capacity which debuted earlier this year in the 2011 iMac and MacBook and you have yourself a very fast, light and thin piece of Apple kit.
The question then becomes, is Apple going to do anything with the base model MacBook, which hasn’t seen an update for quite a while and, compared with the new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, is looking a little chunky and dated. Is there still a place at the table for Apple’s polycarbonate behemoth or will it be slowly retired as the Air and Pro take center stage. It’s difficult to say but given the attractive price tag that is attached to the base model MacBook, Apple may still view it as the best way to get students on board with Mac.