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MacBook Air sales 'top one million mark'

More than a million new models shipped

The latest MacBook Air laptop may be the most popular Apple computer among recent Mac buyers just four months after it was announced, according to analyst estimates.

Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst with Concord Securities, said checks within Apple's supply chain indicate the Mac maker shipped a total of 1.1 million 11in and 13in MacBook Air laptops between October and December, according to Apple Insider.

Steve Jobs launches Macbook Air

But it's not clear how many of those Airs were actually sold, since Apple does not break down its PC sales by specific products. Apple reported in January that it had sold 4.13 million Mac computers during the first quarter of 2011 (Apple's fiscal year begins in late September), and 2.9 million of those were laptops.

That means, in the last three months of 2010, the MacBook Air could have claimed as much as 26 percent of overall Mac sales and 38 percent of all MacBooks sold. In January, Apple said that 70 percent of all Mac sales come from laptops, up from 63 percent the year before.

Some perspective

But those numbers were just a drop in the ocean compared to worldwide PC shipments. About 93.5 million PCs shipped during the last three months of 2010, according to market research firm Gartner. PC shipments in the US alone between October and December were 19.1 million.

MacBook Air shipments also pale in comparison to sales of Apple's new rising star, the iPad. Apple said in January it had sold 7.33 million iPads during the company's first financial quarter of 2011 (September 26-December 25, 2010).

Nevertheless, if the MacBook Air is truly the most popular Mac computer, you have to wonder how long it will be until more of Apple's Mac lineup mimics the Air's features such as an all-SSD hard drive, no optical drive, and fast start-up time.

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