Steve Jobs likes to talk about history-making products, and in the case of the MacBook Air the moniker fits. Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) is gearing up its supply chain to ship 8 million of the sleek systems in time for back-to-school sales, DigiTimes reports.

Let's put that in perspective by taking a look at Mac shipments over the trailing 12 months.

Fiscal Quarter

Mac Units Sold (Thousands)

Revenue (Millions)

Q2 2011 3,760 $4,976
Q1 2011 4,134 $5,430
Q4 2010 3,885 $4,870
Q3 2010 3,472 $4,399
TOTAL 15,251 $19,675

Source: Apple's quarterly data summary reports.

Only once in the past four quarters has Apple sold more than 4 million Macs in a quarter, and that was in Q1. Now, if reports are to be believed, Apple could sell two quarters' worth of Macs and generate as much as $10 billion in revenue in Q3 alone.

Impressed? You should be. Dell (Nasdaq: DELL) managed roughly $8 billion in total computer sales during its latest quarter. Hewlett-Packard's (NYSE: HPQ) Personal Systems Group, which accounts for PC sales, generated $9.4 billion in revenue over the same period. If DigiTimes is right, Apple is on track to overtake both businesses. Not bad for a computing platform that some considered dead only a few years ago.

However, that's where another wrinkle comes into the story. Reports from suppliers by way of publications such as DigiTimes often miss the mark, sometimes by wide amounts. That's probably why institutional investors don't seem to care about these reports, and in truth the best approach toward them is skepticism.

But even if the report is erroneous, the broader point is that these numbers don't even include iPads. Throw them into the mix, and Apple becomes the world's leading seller of computers.  No matter how you slice it, Apple continues to excel at expanding sales in all computing areas.

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Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team. He owned shares of Apple at the time of publication. Check out Tim's portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Twitter as @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.

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