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Is the new MacBook Air eating into iPad sales?

Sam Abuelsamid

Although it's too early to come to any firm conclusions, Apple's new thin and light notebook computer may actually be hurting sales of the iPad. If true, this would be a distinct turn-around of the trend since the tablet landed earlier this year. In the months since its debut the iPad is generally credited with leading to a collapse in netbook sales.

Rodman & Renshaw analyst Ashok Kumar cites anecdotal evidence that some consumers are taking a look at the new MacBook Air and deciding that its more complete functionality makes its a better option despite its slightly higher cost. Having a full keyboard, higher resolution display and USB ports make the Air more useful to anyone that has to do content creation. The lack of I/O other than the dock connector limits the user's ability to work with media files on the iPad or even do more extensive writing.

Kumar also cites supplier checks with his assessment that production of the iPad might not be as high as some other analysts predict. According to Kumar only two million iPads are being produced each month, about one-third less than some projections. It will be very interesting to see how the sales numbers shake out when the October-December quarterly results are released in January. Can the iPad maintain it's momentum? Or will the Air become the new champion?

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