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MacBook Air continues to dominate Ultrabook market, while competition awaits Windows 8

Shipments of Windows Ultrabooks haven't hit the levels expected -- likely because Windows 8 hasn't yet shipped

Apple continues to dominate the slim notebook market with the MacBook Air and now the MacBook Pro with Retina Display. However, shipments of Windows Ultrabooks haven't yet hit the levels expected - likely because Windows 8 hasn't yet shipped, and when they do, Apple is likely to lose some of its share of that market.

According to a DigiTimes report, Apple's MacBook Air is set to take 39% of the slim notebook market in 2012, but will slip to 28% in 2013 as ultrabook sales rise.

DigiTimes claims its contacts in the laptop supply chain said that shipments of Apple's MacBooks increased to 1.4-1.5 million units in September. It is estimated that another 1.5 million MacBooks will ship in October. A separate DigiTimes report claims Apple's total notebook shipments are expected to reach 15 million units in 2012, and the shipment volume is expected to continue to grow by 15-20% in 2013.

While Apple is enjoying some success in this market, PC Ultrabooks are dragging down the category. Analyst firm IHS iSuppli has halved its expectations for Ultrabook sales in 2012 from 22 million shipments to 10.3 million - and it sees more than half of these shipping in the fourth quarter following the launch of Windows 8.

The news suggests that Intel's prediction that Ultrabooks would grab 40% marketshare this year was off. There is some speculation that Intel's predicted price fall in this category hasn't materialized yet. Intel predicted that prices would fall to $699 (£434 ex VAT).

However, next year looks more positive for the Ultrabook industry with shipments picking up. However, while IHS sees shipments of 44m Ultrabooks in 2013, this is still down from its initial prediction of 61m.

During his keynote announcing the iPhone 5, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that Apple's MacBook series was the number one in market share for the last three months.

Apple has plans afoot to keep the MacBook Air in a prominent position in the Ultrabook market. The company is said to be planning to make the MacBook even thinner. The company is said to be sourcing thinner components for the 2013 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro with Retina Display.

DigiTimes claims Apple's is hoping to shave 0.15 mm from the thickness of the light guide used in the keyboard of its laptops. It claims that the change will see a reduction from "0.4mm currently to 0.25mm".

Apple is thought to be planning to introduce a 13in Retina Display MacBook Pro soon.

Apple is set to announce its fourth quarter fiscal 2012 results on 25 October, the company is likely to reveal details of Mac sales for the year at that time.

Follow Karen Haslam on Twitter / Follow MacworldUK on Twitter

Related:

Ultrabooks disappoint in 2012, MacBook Air is king

Ultrabooks with iPhone Siri-like voice interaction to come in Q4

MacBook Air swamping ultrabook sales

Why ultrabook sales have flopped?

Apple only company increasing PC sales, Gartner

Future MacBook Air to wirelessly charge iPhones and iPads

Apple warns 'wrist rests will ruin Retina Display MacBook'

New 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display release date, rumours, and leaked images

Non-Retina MacBook Pro review

MacBook Air 2012 review

MacBook Pro with Retina display review


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