updated 11:45 pm EDT, Sat July 23, 2011
Apple sees rare sellouts with 2011 MacBook Air
Apple is facing a rare instance of sellouts for the new MacBook Air, according to some of our own early retail checks. Several Apple stores, including a local store in Ottawa, Canada visited by one editor as well as others in the US, had sold out of the base 11-inch and 13-inch models by the afternoon. Stores were seeing exceptionally high sell-through rates for what they were used to with Macs; one medium-sized quoted Electronista about 60 to 70 Airs per day.
The sample isn't wholly representative of Apple's supply situation and may depend highly on the area. Flagship stores in Mac-friendly cities such as New York City and San Francisco are likely to sell considerably more but also get many more in stock, for example. Conversely, a store in a small city might only get a small number and sell out more quickly if Apple underestimates demand.
Apple's online store still quotes 24-hour ship times and might not show a delay unless there are sustained, widespread shortages.
While the situation could change quickly, sales rates seen so far are atypical for Apple. The company often has brisk sales of new Macs shortly after they're launched, but it seldom sells out across multiple trim levels of a given Mac within just a few days. Any demand likely pales in comparison to that for an iPad or iPhone due to the prices; it could still suggest a genuinely hot Mac as opposed to a relatively popular system.
The spike might have been anticipated. Mac shipments had been slower than analysts had expected during the spring, a slowdown which Apple attributed to buyers waiting for hardware and software alike; both conditions have since been met and could catapult sales. Rumors have emerged of Apple planning to ship up to 1.5 million MacBook Air systems this summer, or several hundred thousand more than in the spring.