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First Estimates of MacBook Air Sales Are High, But Will It Cannibalize iPad Sales?

Cometh the Air, cometh the sales estimates. This week, Steve Jobs launched the new MacBook Air, describing it as a hybrid between the iPad and a conventional laptop. And two days later, the first analyst is making predictions about sales figures. Mingchi Kuo, VP of the research department of Concord Securities, reckons Q4 2010 should see around 700,000 units shipped.

But which size is going to be more popular? Mr Kuo reckons that the 11.6-inch model will win out, due to its low price, shifting 60%—around 420,000 units—of all Airs. The larger model will have to be content with just 40%. It will be interesting to see how the smaller model affects sales of the iPad—over 4 million of them were sold in the last quarter, Apple reported earlier this week.

Apple, presumably, is not expecting the Air to take a huge bite of its iPad sales—after all, they are two very different products, for two very different markets. Anyway, if it does start denting the firm's tablet sales, there will be an iPad refresh (hopefully next year). At that point we will, hopefully, see a more impressive version, perhaps with the same Retina Display that the iPhone 4 possesses—meaning that even skeptical late adopters such as Fast Company's Gina Trapani, will be tempted.

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