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Worldwide PC Market Share Reaches 15-Year High for Apple

Apple continues to break records as the company’s share of the worldwide PC market has reached a 15-year high. The company’s popular Mac computer has reached 5.2%  of worldwide computer sales, a number that is a 15-year high for the tech giant out of Cupertino, California. News of this...

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Apple’s MacBook Air Shines Amid Global HDD Shortage

Posted by zduncan | Posted in Computer | Posted on 06-12-2011

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2011 MacBook AirA global shortage of traditional, spinning hard disk drives (HDDs) has, coincidentally, come at a time when Apple’s flash-based solid-state MacBook Air is one of Apple’s most popular products. The large success of the redesigned netbook has come with “fortuitous timing” in the face of HDD shortages according to Evercore analyst Rob Chira. Chira believes that Apple is largely insulated from the ongoing component constraints that were caused by flooding in Thailand.

The MacBook Air only features NAND flash for storage, primarily relying on solid-state hard drives as opposed to the more traditional spinning hard disks. NAND memory has been completely unaffected by the floods in Thailand, events that have since put over 600,000 people out of work.

In addition to his previous statement, Chira also believes that the ongoing hard-drive shortage will create an influx of MacBook Air copycat Windows-based devices also using solid-state drives in 2012. Specifically, Chira sees PC makers gravitating towards Intel’s ultrabook design specification, which aims to capitalize on the popularity of Apple’s thin-and-light MacBook Air concept.

However, Chira expects Apple to counter this by refreshing its Air lineup in the first half of 2012 and also believes that Apple’s hoard of money will also allow it to leverage “some unique NAND engineering/supply vs. vanilla (solid-state drives).”

Recent rumors have also hinted at the possibility of Apple adding a 15″ model to its MacBook Air lineup in the early parts of 2012 and that the company is supposedly looking to expand its lineup as the ultraportable notebooks now represent 28% of Apple’s notebook shipments.

As far as Chira is concerned, Apple is in a strong position concerning Macs featuring traditional hard drives as well. He believes that Apple was the fastest hardware maker to react with hard-drive suppliers, putting the company in an advantageous position in the chain of supply.

This opinion also comes a matter of days after AppleInsider reported that build-to-order iMacs with 2TB hard drives had an estimated shipping time of 5 to 7 weeks. The shortage of high-capacity drives for Apple’s all-in-one machine could also be the first sign that the company is indeed being hit by the global shortage as well.

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, recently expressed concern about the hard drive shortage during his company’s quarterly earnings conference back in October. While Cook was “certain” there would be an industry-wide shortage of hard-disk drives, Cook said he was “not sure” at the time of exactly how the situation would affect Apple.

Source: Apple Insider – Apple’s MacBook Air has ‘fortuitous timing’ in face of hard drive shortage

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New Thunderbolt MacBook Air Sees Strong Sales and Stock-Outs

Posted by zduncan | Posted in Computer | Posted on 02-08-2011

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Apple Thunderbolt MacBook Air
Sales of Apple’s new Thunderbolt MacBook Air have resulted in some locations running out due to increasingly high demand. This seems to be due, in part, to consumers being quick to embrace the refreshed thin and light notebook.

Recent reports from multiple analysts have indicated that the new MacBook Air has seen a very strong demand in the U.S. Demand has been so high that analysts have reported stock-outages of certain models in different locations.

According to analyst Brian White of Ticonderoga Securities, “Overall, we sense a bit more of a preference for the higher-end 11-inch models but the 13-inch also seems to be popular. Netting this out, the MacBook Air has truly redefined the laptop computing market, in our view, and we expect this momentum to continue.”

Many of Apple’s own resellers do not have the MacBook Air in stock, which is just further evidence of the high demand. These new MacBook Airs, with the second generation Sandy Bridge processors and new high-speed Thunderbolt port, were released last month. Like older models, these new ones start at $999, however, the discontinuation of the white MacBook makes the 11.6-inch MacBook Air the only sub-$1,000 notebook.

White attributed a lot of the MacBook Air’s success to the timing of its release. He also noted that this device will keep Apple in the minds of consumers even without a new iPhone available at the moment. White also believes that Apple will have the best technical back-to-school lineup this season and for the holidays. “In our view, successful Apple launches are key in driving the halo effect that drives incremental demand for other Apple products.”

Even though the new MacBook Air has found immediate success, White expects adoption of the new Thunderbolt connector to take more time. The $49 price tag of the Thunderbolt connector cable combined with the lack of available accessories seem to be barriers to the adoption of the technology at the present time. However, White expects that to change over time.

Source: Apple Insider – Strong sales of Apple’s new Thunderbolt MacBook Airs result in stock-outs

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MacBook Airs Equipped with Thunderbolt and Sandy Bridge Coming in June?

Posted by zduncan | Posted in Computer | Posted on 23-04-2011

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MacBook AirIf you are a fan of Apple computers, then it will do you well to know that you can have an ultra-portable MacBook or one that is filled with all the most up-to-date technology. The only problem is that you can’t have both. But if internet rumors are anything to believe, you just may be able to have both pretty soon.

The latest rumors from parts suppliers in Asia indicate that Apple is all set to begin mass production of MacBook Airs equipped with Thunderbolt and Sandy Bridge late next month. These new MacBook Airs are also supposed to hit store shelves June.

This news comes from Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst from Concord Securities, who also gave his interpretation of the Air production to AppleInsider. Aside from being pretty consistent with the rumor mill, a new refresh of the Air in the summer makes sense. Being extremely lightweight and fairly inexpensive, it is highly regarded by students and June is the time when a lot of people do back-to-school shopping.

Kou did not, unfortunately, give any information on pricing, but it wouldn’t surprise anybody if this new MacBook Air shared a similar price to the current MacBook Air, which starts at $1,000 for the base 11-inch model and runs up to $1,600 for a fully loaded 13-inch version.

Other things, such as storage capacity and graphics, were also not volunteered but many are speculating slight bumps in both categories as SSD drive prices have been dropping. If Apple can manage to squeeze a 128GB SSD drive into the base 11-inch Air with an i5 processor and Thunderbolt, then other ultra-portable laptop creators are going to have some serious competition.

Source: CNET – Thunderbolt, Sandy Bridged MacBook Airs in June?

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Apple Continues to Use Old NVIDIA Chipsets Despite NVIDIA Leaving the Market

Posted by zduncan | Posted in Computer | Posted on 21-12-2010

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An Xbitlabs report that surfaced back in November provided quotes from Jen-Hsun Huang, CEO of NVIDIA, about the company’s permanent exit from the chipset business. The quotes are as follows:

“We are not building any more chipsets; we are building SoCs now. We are building Tegra SoCs, and so we are going to take integration to a new level. The chipset business has not grown largely this year because we have not really been expanding the sales of it.”

The fact that NVIDIA had exited the chipset business due to ongoing litigation with Intel over licensing is not news. However, there had been rumors that the issue would be settled. The above quote came before reports of a possible settlement between Intel and NVIDIA in December. That particular settlement discussion led to speculation that NVIDIA’s comeback to the market of chipsets could help boost processor speeds in future MacBook Air devices as well as MacBooks in general.

Huang, on the other hand, had this in particular to say about Apple’s business, “The second thing is the MCP89, the latest generation of Intel chipset that we built was just a really wonderful piece of engineering and the work that we did with Apple was great, and they are going to continue to use that for some time.”

The chip mentioned above, the MCP89, is the chipset that has been used in older MacBooks as well as the all new MacBook Air. Apple’s use of this particular chip from NVIDIA limits their choice of processors to the last generation Core 2 Duo.

This tradeoff gives Apple the ability to incorporate the faster integrated graphics cards from NVIDIA in their low-end devices. According to Huan, Apple plans on continuing to use these older chipsets for quite some time.

High-end MacBooks are essentially unaffected due to the fact that they have the privilege of incorporating not only the latest Intel processors but also the discrete graphics cards from third party manufacturers. This tradeoff in particular is only going to affect Apple’s low-end devices.

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