Apple MacBooks are some of the best laptops you can buy, but to “buy” one is something that a lot of people are hesitant about right now. According to Apple supply chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, sales of these laptops are expected to be around 30% lower this year compared to 2022.
This follows Kuo’s reports that Apple will not be releasing any new MacBooks with the M3 chip this year, which means nothing new will be coming from the company until 2024. Is this harming sales? Let’s take a look.
What’s causing the MacBook sales downturn?
In his post, Kuo highlighted a significant drop in demand for the 15-inch MacBook Air, following the end of the back-to-school period — driving a revised shipment forecast that is down by around 20%. This contributes to weak sales numbers around the 17-million mark.
So, why have MacBooks seen such a downturn? Kuo puts it down to three things: a declining demand from the work-from-home (WFH) crowd, reduced attractiveness of Apple Silicon, and a general consumer shrug around mini-LED. Put simply, the current generation of MacBooks are starting to show their age, as the rumor mill kicks into overdrive about the next laptops coming out of Cupertino.
OLED MacBooks are quite a ways away, according to reports. But, this could already be having a negative impact on the current attitude towards mini-LED, as everybody grows impatient for the new display technology that will boost brightness and color, while reducing impact on battery life.
And most importantly, the M2 chip has been around since June 2022. That’s a long time in the world of CPUs and GPUs, and the ever growing leaks and rumors around the M3 chipset is going to make people hesitant to buy.
MacBook declines bigger than Windows PC makers
So how is Apple doing versus Windows laptop makers? Not great. According to IDC, MacBook sales were down a whopping 23.1% in Q3, compared to -5% for Lenovo and -14.3% for Dell. HP was actually up 6.4%.
However, Apple did grow it's market share year over year from 10.6% to 12.7%. The reason for Apple's relatively weak performance apparently comes down to the company recovering from a COVID-related halt in production during 3Q22.
Is now the time to wait for MacBook M3?
It’s a fair question to ask, and an easy one to answer. Unless you can find a huge saving in the litany of Black Friday MacBook deals you can expect, then you should absolutely wait and see what Apple has up its sleeves.
That new 3nm chipset of the A17 Pro has given the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max a huge turbo boost — particularly in graphics, and the unlocking of ray tracing. So, imagine what something like this capability could look like on a larger chip with more power running through it?