Apple's New MacBook Air Could Be a Winner

Apple's MacBook Air. Source: Apple. 

Digitimes recently reported that a 12-inch, potentially Retina, Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) MacBook Air is set to go into high-volume production during the third quarter of this year. This suggests that Apple may launch these new machines early in the fourth quarter in an attempt to capitalize on the Christmas shopping season. Will this new MacBook Air be a game-changer?

Don't forget that the Mac is strategic
if you look at Apple's MacBook sales, they're not exactly big top- or bottom-line movers. Apple's crown jewel is the iPhone, with the iPad in distant second. To illustrate this point, in the most recent quarter, Apple sold 4.14 million Macs, which generated revenues of about $5.5 billion. At the same time, Apple sold 43.72 million iPhones and took in a whopping $26.06 billion in sales from that. The iPad wasn't too shabby either, selling 16.35 million units and netting $7.61 billion in revenue.

The Mac isn't a huge part of Apple's top line, and it's likely that the gross margin profile of the Mac versus, say, an iPad or an iPhone is much lower given how commoditized the PC business is.

But even though Mac isn't directly the biggest contributor to Apple's top and bottom lines, it is strategic. The more Apple can get people into its software ecosystem, and the better that all of Apple's devices work together, the less likely that a current Apple customer will defect to alternative platforms. Apple already brought out a lower-cost iMac and reduced the price of the entry-level MacBook Air by $100 to $899 to that end.

The new MacBook Air could drive further share gains
A new 12-inch MacBook Air (particularly with a Retina display) could further win share against Windows-powered notebooks and convertibles, as customers looking for a notebook with a "PC first" focus have nowhere else to go thanks to Microsoft's Windows 8 strategy. With an updated physical design (perhaps even a fanless one), the Mac OS X Yosemite operating system, and a launch roughly coincident with the next-generation iPhone and iPad, such a device could be even more successful than the prior iterations of the MacBook Air were.

Foolish bottom line
With production beginning in Q3 per Digitimes, it won't be too long before we see what Apple has up its sleeve with the next-generation MacBook Air. With all of the improvements and ecosystem features that Apple is bringing to Mac OS X Yosemite and iOS 8, it's hard not to be excited about the products launching this fall. The new MacBook Air may not be the flashiest of Apple's new products, and it may not be a game changer, but it's an integral part of the Apple product family and ecosystem.

Leaked: Apple's next smart device (warning -- it may shock you)
Apple recently recruited a secret-development "dream team" to guarantee that its newest smart device was kept hidden from the public for as long as possible. But the secret is out, and some early viewers are even claiming that its everyday impact could trump the iPod, iPhone, and the iPad. In fact, ABI Research predicts that 485 million of these devices will be sold per year. But one small company makes this gadget possible. And its stock price has nearly unlimited room to run for early in-the-know investors. To be one of them, and to see Apple's newest smart gizmo, just click here!

Read/Post Comments (4) | Recommend This Article (6)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On June 25, 2014, at 11:26 AM, AdamGalas wrote:

    My laptop recently died and I'm considering replacing it with a 13 inch MacBook air. A fanless 12 inch retina model is interesting, depending on the battery life.

  • Report this Comment On June 26, 2014, at 1:28 AM, samliu98 wrote:

    In the last few weeks in San Francisco, I bought a discounted 2013 13" MacBook Pro.

    As time goes by since buying my 1st Mac in 2009, there has been an ever increasing memory demands on CPU Ram.

    I wonder if it has to do with the Cn Govt monitoring?

  • Report this Comment On June 28, 2014, at 8:13 PM, XMFAimeeD wrote:

    I had to have the logic board replaced on my 2013 MBAir after 11 months. Poor comp hasn't been the same since.

  • Report this Comment On June 29, 2014, at 12:09 AM, JohnSanDiego wrote:

    Aimee, take it back. Your AppleCare should still be good, and Apple stands behind their products. If you think there is a defect, they will make it right.

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Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
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Ashraf Eassa

Ashraf Eassa is a technology specialist with The Motley Fool. He writes mostly about technology stocks, but is especially interested in anything related to chips -- the semiconductor kind, that is. Follow him on Twitter:

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