15-inch MacBook Air demand drops significantly, says Kuo

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited October 2023

Ming-Chi Kuo says sales of the 15-inch MacBook Air will be 20% below expectations following a decline in demand after the Back to School season.

Apple's 15-inch MacBook Air
Apple's 15-inch MacBook Air



Following his recent predictions about the desktop iMac, analyst Kuo is reporting that overall MacBook shipments are in decline.

"Demand for the new 15-inch MacBook Air dropped significantly after the back-to-school (BTS) period, with shipment forecasts revised downward by about 20% or more this year," he wrote in his blog. "MacBook shipments are expected to decline by approximately 30% YoY to about 17 million units in 2023."

"There are no new products in 4Q23," he continued, "and MacBook shipment momentum will be significantly lower than in past peak seasons."

"Current challenges for the MacBook include declining work-from-home (WFH) demand," says Kuo, "and the potential waning consumer appeal of Apple's silicon and mini-LED."

Despite that unqualified comment about Apple Silicon consumer appeal dropping, Kuo also reports that "Apple expects the M3 processor to boost MacBook shipments in 2024," but he's guarded about "whether this strategy will be effective."

Kuo says that Apple needs to "clear inventory and reformulate new product and marketing strategies for 2024."

He also notes that key MacBook components, and the assembly of them in production, is "significantly higher than that of general Windows notebooks (by more than three times), which significantly impacts the revenues and profits of key MacBook suppliers."

Kuo's comment about there being no new MacBook models in the remainder of 2023 does fit with recent reports that the next MacBook Pro and MacBook Air are due in 2024.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 14
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 3,217member
    I love my 15 inch air! The larger screen is great and the better heat dissipation leads to about 7 percent better performance under sustained full load 
    tenthousandthingswilliamlondoncurtis hannah
  • Reply 2 of 14
    YP101YP101 Posts: 158member
    I think Apple should drop some model and rethink how to deploy the M chip interval.

    Apple should delete old 13' Pro and only make 14' & 16' for Pro model.
    Air should keep 13' & 15'.  So don't give consumer to choice dilemma based on screen size. 
    Entire notebook line is 13', 14', 15' 16'. 
    The Pro model should have always newer M chip like iPhone Pro and none pro. 
    So Air always get previous M chip. The M2 chip currently good enough to skip upgrade. The Pro model get M3, M3 pro & max.
    When M4 release, the Air should get M3.

    In that way, Apple get little less chip shortage apply through entire mac line up and Apple can drop some price from Air model.
    canukstormwilliamlondonbadmonkstevenoz
  • Reply 3 of 14
    Every flower will bloom and then fade away. Wondering if this is Apple's future?

    With nothing but a cheap $79 pencil for the 4th quarter and back to school done,  there is not much to draw folks into the local Apple Store. The national numbers for over extended credit are not encouraging and the default percentage is increasing.

    The Vision Pro at $3,500 will not be a huge seller so the M3 chipped devices need to arrive at the party early to keep Apple's hardware income stream healthy.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 4 of 14
    YP101 said:
    I think Apple should drop some model and rethink how to deploy the M chip interval.

    Apple should delete old 13' Pro and only make 14' & 16' for Pro model.
    Air should keep 13' & 15'.  So don't give consumer to choice dilemma based on screen size. 
    Entire notebook line is 13', 14', 15' 16'. 
    The Pro model should have always newer M chip like iPhone Pro and none pro. 
    So Air always get previous M chip. The M2 chip currently good enough to skip upgrade. The Pro model get M3, M3 pro & max.
    When M4 release, the Air should get M3.

    In that way, Apple get little less chip shortage apply through entire mac line up and Apple can drop some price from Air model.
    Mostly agree, and add the fact that deals on 14" MBP M1 Pro models are about the same price as a base 15" MBA and by the time you boost RAM and storage one notch on a 15", you're very close to a well-equipped Pro model.

    Apple needs to figure out their pricing better.  The MBA 15" 16GB 512GB should be $1299, not $1600.
  • Reply 5 of 14
    We still have about a month before I will feel comfortable saying this, but it’s really starting to look like iMac will skip M2. This goes against everything I understood about Apple silicon for macOS. To the point where I still don’t really believe it. It’s unbelievable. I just don’t get it.
    edited October 2023 williamlondon
  • Reply 6 of 14
    omasouomasou Posts: 548member
    Demand is probably dropping b/c we (I) don't have an immediate reason to upgrade my M1Max MacBook Pro.

    Why, b/c it doesn't have Intel inside. For me my MacBook Pro doesn't heat up like the previous Intel versions and the fans don't kick on. My office is finally nice and quiet again.

    For my son, his new M2 MacBook should last him through college.

    I probably won't bother upgrading my MacBook Pro or iPad Pro until micro LED is released.
    edited October 2023 tenthousandthings
  • Reply 7 of 14
    I wish Apple would have improved all of its operating systems more. I feel like the company’s quality is declining: lots of software bugs, most hardware releases haven’t “wowed” many and Siri isn’t doing the company any favors by not keeping up with the AI game that users can access natively. I feel like their work on integration or continuity isn’t progressing or keeping pace with the needs of people…more can be done with devices like Apple Watch, HomePod and Apple TV that haven’t been tapped. The lack of customization, overall, is disappointing. It’s getting better but not there yet. But I am holding out hope that their quality will improve and soon. Their work with accessibility features should continue but with richer offerings.
    tenthousandthings
  • Reply 8 of 14
    "...potential waning consumer appeal of Apple's silicon and mini-LED." 

    What a bizarre statement--consumers don't think in these terms. "Oh, I was thinking about buying a Macbook, but on second thought, I'm kind of bored with M-chips and mini-LED technology, so never mind." 

    I think two forces are at work here: first, as Kuo points out, there's the inevitable hangover from the big boost Apple received when WFH sales were at their peak. A lot of potential buyers have already bought the Macbook they need. Second, and I think this is actually the tougher issue: chips have advanced to the point that every new Macbook is now more powerful than most people need for the tasks they do with it. For sure, it's not everybody. But "most people." When you combine that with the longevity you get from Macbook's build quality and support for the latest OS that lasts years after purchase, the reasons to buy a new Macbook more frequently become less and less compelling. Ironically, this is great news if you're an Apple customer, but bad news if you're Apple, which Wall Street expects will keep selling us more and more stuff. Smartphones are in this same place of current models being as much "smartphone" as most people need, and the reasons to upgrade become less compelling. 
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 9 of 14
    I find it a beautiful industrial design however...

    ...I would ask if the cost of memory and storage is a point of resistance, especially for larger POs...?

    To add 750GB (to 1TB) to the 15" Air currently adds $400USD which translates to maybe $533USD / TB per Apple.com.  Adding 1.75TB is $800USD or $915USD for 2TB...

    Newegg is offering PCIe 4 Samsung Pro @ $90 1TB and $140 2TB spec'd up to 7,000 MB/s

    They don't even offer a PCIe 256...

    So it seems Mac storage currently costs around 600% of the cost while the PCIe are swappable (repair) and upgradable (need) - I am unsure of speed equity...  It sure adds up quickly for something that is likley to be unsupported and perhaps even unrepairable after 6 years...




    edited October 2023 williamlondon
  • Reply 10 of 14
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 15,275moderator
    ApplePoor said:
    Every flower will bloom and then fade away. Wondering if this is Apple's future?

    With nothing but a cheap $79 pencil for the 4th quarter and back to school done,  there is not much to draw folks into the local Apple Store. The national numbers for over extended credit are not encouraging and the default percentage is increasing.

    The Vision Pro at $3,500 will not be a huge seller so the M3 chipped devices need to arrive at the party early to keep Apple's hardware income stream healthy.
    Not fade away but the industry will stop growing with longer average upgrade cycles (7-10 years). Post-PC era (still used but become more like appliances):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YfJ3QxJYsw8

    Computers used to be slow and couldn't do some demanding tasks. Now a Macbook Air can handle demanding tasks, most tasks that apply to 95%+ of buyers.

    iPhones are getting that way too with mostly camera upgrades and that's pretty much done now with 3D capture and high quality HDR recording. iPhone 16, 17, 18, 19, 20... will probably look nearly identical. There's nothing more that people need in a smartphone.

    Vision Pro is a new platform, it will start slow but when the headsets are comfortable to wear and affordable, a lot of people will want to use them. They really need a new display technology and that may come around eventually.

    Apple's revenue is pretty diverse and even when hardware upgrades slow, the active userbase doesn't decrease so their services revenue will be steady.

    The only things that can grow Mac unit volume are lower prices and attracting new users with software, the main one for software would be gaming.

    These reports about lower Mac sales are all comparing Apple's YoY results and interpreting things wrongly. The Apple Silicon launch was huge and had a lot of upgrades but they are so good that people won't need another upgrade for a while. Apple's Mac userbase is around 150m, 25-30m units per year. After 3 years, more than half the active userbase will be on M-series chips, although the Intel models won't be out of commission for a while.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 11 of 14
    YP101 said:
    I think Apple should drop some model and rethink how to deploy the M chip interval.

    Apple should delete old 13' Pro and only make 14' & 16' for Pro model.
    Air should keep 13' & 15'.  So don't give consumer to choice dilemma based on screen size. 
    Entire notebook line is 13', 14', 15' 16'. 
    The Pro model should have always newer M chip like iPhone Pro and none pro. 
    So Air always get previous M chip. The M2 chip currently good enough to skip upgrade. The Pro model get M3, M3 pro & max.
    When M4 release, the Air should get M3.

    In that way, Apple get little less chip shortage apply through entire mac line up and Apple can drop some price from Air model.
    Might as well bring up the old 13 inch MacBook Air (M1) while you're at it. It's clear both the older MacBook Air and Pro are ways to finish off inventory, I can't see them sticking around next year. At 2 Air models and 2Pro models totalling 4 tiers is actually better than the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch lines right now.

    Also no they should not keep the Airs a year older, introducing the latest M series on an Air and revealing the Pro & Max chips on a MacBook Pro months later makes the most sense and maximizing sales.
    What they've done to the iPhone is their sneaking in a labeling of the regular iPhone is last year's Pro model.
  • Reply 12 of 14
    Had the 15 inch MacBook Air been the launch of the M3 chip I might have bought one, since the M2 13 inch Air was already a year old at WWDC it was safe to assume the M3 was around the corner, and now that it's clear it won't come this fall either, kind of waiting until next year to see what the offerings are, not everyone has time to wait, so it's not the sole reason sales have slowed, but those that needed a sub $1500 large screen MacBook have already been satisfied, and there are others waiting to see how this will compare on M3. Also ironically I was thinking of the 13 inch Pro before (I love the touch bar and it hurts it's not offered on the real Pros anymore), but the 13 inch Air receiving a $100 price decrease made it over priced in comparison.
  • Reply 13 of 14
    Stop being so stingy with ram+storage Apple, & see you sales magically increase!
    williamlondon
  • Reply 14 of 14
    bobolicious said:
    I find it a beautiful industrial design however...
    ...I would ask if the cost of memory and storage is a point of resistance, especially for larger POs...?
    To add 750GB (to 1TB) to the 15" Air currently adds $400USD which translates to maybe $533USD / TB per Apple.com.  Adding 1.75TB is $800USD or $915USD for 2TB...
    Newegg is offering PCIe 4 Samsung Pro @ $90 1TB and $140 2TB spec'd up to 7,000 MB/s
    They don't even offer a PCIe 256...
    So it seems Mac storage currently costs around 600% of the cost while the PCIe are swappable (repair) and upgradable (need) - I am unsure of speed equity...  It sure adds up quickly for something that is likley to be unsupported and perhaps even unrepairable after 6 years...

    It was exactly this for me... literally credit card in hand on launch day, this Apple-(almost) everything guy was about to replace a battery-dying, Intel MBpro with a 15" Air... until I configured it as I wanted it and found it bumping into and even exceeding some new MBpros in various deals. That FROZE the purchase as I started re-considering the switch from Pro to Air... but then Pro configurations have the same problem: RAM & SSD are priced just too high.

    End result: I opted to spend $55 on a battery for the old Intel MBpro to see if I could revive it for another year or two. I did and kicked the new purchase can down the road. 

    Money was ready but upgrades are priced just too high. There should be no surprise in that: when there is no competition because the quantity of sellers is ONE, price exploitation always follows. 

    I think part of the problem for just accepting the pricing was that in already embracing Silicon in a desktop but NEEDING Windows, I opted for what I call old fashioned bootcamp: a dedicated PC. I ended up getting a modest gaming PC with 10TB of m.2 and plenty of RAM for LESS than only the upgrade cost to go 8TB on a Mac ($2200 for those who don't want to look). Meanwhile in PC land, 8TB of m.2 for PC is down to $750 as I type this, so Apple is at 3X the price of the same capacity. I just can't bring myself to overpay that much, so the existing product mix will have to carry the load until there are changes at Apple or the wheels fall off and perhaps I give more of my computing work to the PC. 

    MBair seems remarkable and even towards idyllic MB but I won't relatively overpay so much for the superior Mac experience. More (than comparable PC)? OK. Too much? Nope. Apparently, there IS a limit to how far beancounters can go... at least for this buyer.
    edited October 2023 muthuk_vanalingam
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