May 24, 2024

Apple’s Alarming MacBook Air Failure

Apple’s recent launch of the 15-inch MacBook Air finally offered its supporters a consumer-focused laptop with a larger display. It was a noticeable gap in the Mac portfolio. Apple expected significant sales, but the market has spoken, and Apple’s ambitious targets have been missed.

Digitimes reports that demand for the 15-inch MacBook Air is lower than expected, and Apple has been forced to reduce shipments; July’s numbers have dropped fifty per cent compared to Apple’s original order.

The larger MacBook Air was launched at this year’s Worldwide Developer Conference. While the attention was put on the larger 15-inch screen, many noted at the time that the rest of the laptop was identical to the 13-inch MacBook Air, as if the two laptops had been intended to launch together instead of 12 months apart.

When Apple released the iPhone 6 Plus – the first large-screened iPhone – it was a massive success. Many were waiting for Apple to launch a large-format iPhone following the rise of larger Android smartphones in the preceding years, and both shipments and sales reflected that.

If Apple were planning a similar explosion with the first large-screened MacBook Air, it would be disappointed.

Should this lack of a smash hit come as a surprise? Tim Cook and his team are decades behind the Windows laptop market in offering consumers a 15-inch screen. For all the patience that Apple’s fans appear to have, the power and flexibility of Apple Silicon (which debuted three years ago in 2020) no doubt pushed them to upgrade their laptops to one of the slick 13-inch models rather than wait what turned out to be three years for a larger MacBook Air.

Looking towards that upcoming wave of MacBook Air laptops, Apple is set to make the same mistake by releasing a 13-inch M3-powered MacBook Air while leaving the 15-inch Air with the older M2 chipset.

Apple will be expecting those first movers to be looking for a new laptop shortly, and presumably, the M1-powered MacBook Air owners will make up a large proportion of that audience. But why would they choose the most recent and largest M2 MacBook Air when it will be superseded by the M3 MacBook Air in a few months?

Now read the latest Mac, iPhone, and AirPods headlines in Forbes’ weekly Apple digest…

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