Apple is set to ship its new 12-inch MacBook on April 10 and has also upgraded the specifications of its MacBook Pro/Air notebooks. At the same time, Apple is reducing the inventory of previous-generation products that are expected to be cannalized by the new offerings. During this transition period, Apple will see a shipment drop over 25% sequentially for its MacBook series products in the first quarter, higher than the notebook industry's overall decline of 20%, Digitimes Research estimates.
However, in the second quarter Apple's notebook shipments are expected to grow the most among the top-tier vendors at around 30%, far higher the industry's estimated sequential shipments growth of 3%.
The supply chain already started shipping the 12-inch MacBook in the first quarter. When Apple announced the device on March 9, its ultra-thin form factor, low power consumption and new Force Touch trackpad have received positive response from the market. The device is priced starting US$1,299 for the 256GB flash model, the same price point as the 13.3-inch MacBook Pro with Retina (128GB).
The 12-inch notebook will account for 15-20% of Apple's total MacBook shipments in 2015 and will be the growth driver of the MacBook product line in the year, according to Digitimes Research's findings from the upstream supply chain.
As for Apple's competitors, Wintel notebook vendors are expected to reduce their shipments for 15.6-inch entry-level models prior to the launch of Windows 10 in the third quarter, affected by Microsoft's adjustments in its licensing subsidy project.
At the same time, the vendors are also likely to turn conservative pushing 14-inch entry-level notebook products (US$249) to avoid impacting shipments of Windows 10-based notebooks in the third quarter.
Digitimes Research estimates that the top-2 Wintel notebook vendors, Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Lenovo will see 5-10% sequential growths in the second quarter due to their dramatic inventory digestion in the first quarter.
However, most other brand vendors will continue to see their shipments stay flat or drop sequentially in the second quarter.