MacBook Air Continues to Trounce Ultrabooks

Sales of Intel-powered ultrabooks continue to disappoint, while Apple’s MacBook Air range goes from strength to strength. That’s according to a recently released analyst report, which also claims that Windows 8 can’t come soon enough for Apple’s rivals.

Apple practically created a new market when it introduced its MacBook Air at the beginning of 2008. This ultra-portable laptop ruthlessly abandoned legacy elements such as a physical media drive, while still managing to pack decent performance into an extremely light chassis.

Sure enough, rivals soon cottoned on to this new breed of laptop. This led to the creation of the term ‘ultrabooks’ to describe highly capable but decidedly diddy portable computers, powered by a new generation of Intel hardware and running on Windows software.

Even with the presence of such fantastic examples as the Samsung Series 9 900X3B, though, it seems ultrabook sales are continuing to falter. Intel had predicted at the beginning of 2012 that ultrabooks could rapidly occupy 40 per cent of the laptop market, but according to one analyst that prediction is some way off.

Samsung Series 9

Following a disappointing report on PC sales numbers for this quarter, CNET has been told by IDC’s Jay Chou that “The volume isn’t there and it’s going to be way below what Intel had hoped for.”

Chou goes on to elaborate, saying “The first half [of 2012] is about 500,000 ultrabooks shipped worldwide. It’s nowhere near Intel’s initial hope.”

Contrast this with sales of the Apple MacBook Air – up to 2.8 million sales for the most recent quarter – and you’ll see that something needs to be done.

According to Chou there is one hope for Intel and ultrabook manufacturers. “The future really lies in 2013 and how well it [the ultrabook] gels with Windows 8,” he says, in reference to Microsoft’s forthcoming “lightweight and faster responding OS”.

As well as a more nimble OS, Chou believes that a widespread drop to the $700 – or sub-£500 – price range will make a big difference to Ultrabook sales. The likes of the aforementioned Samsung Series 9 retail for around the £1000 mark.


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