New MacBooks needed as sales slow

Yesterday’s rumor of an upcoming MacBook Pro refresh with an all-new case design has gotten many people jump with joy even as desktop fans are keeping their fingers crossed for the MacPro redesign and the forthcoming iMac refresh. Even though the MacBook Pro family was overhauled just two months ago with better graphics plus Sandy Bridge and Thunderbolt upgrades, regular MacBooks saw their last specs bump 343 days ago, nearly twice their average update cycle of 195 days, according to the MacRumors Buyer’s Guide.
The MacBook Air was last updated in October of last year and is now in the middle of its product cycle. Both the Airs and MacBooks still rock old Intel Core 2 Duo processors. With the Intel-Nvidia licensing dispute now settled out of court, low-powered Sandy Bridge processors and Intel’s integrated graphics are likely candidates for MacBook and MacBook Air updates. MacBooks are especially overdue as teh company experiences a drop in shipments.
According to Apple’s earnings filing, they sold 3.76 million Macs during the quarter, a 28 percent unit annual increase. Looking just at portables, Apple shipped 2.75 million notebooks in the March quarter versus 2.91 million units in the previous quarter. Even though the figure translates into a 53 percent unit annual increase, it’s a notable five percent sequential drop.
According to an Asian trade newspaper DigiTimes, every branded computer maker saw notebook shipments drop in the first calendar quarter of 2011, except Samsung Electronics that grew a tiny one percent sequentially.
The report, which quotes sources from upstream suppliers based on figures from an unnamed research firm, goes on to explain that MacBook shipments dropped off at the end of the first quarter. The publication noted that Apple was “originally expected to see sequential shipment growth in the first quarter”. Apple would be wise to refresh the MacBook family in time for the back-to-school season.

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