Analyst: New MacBook Air Won’t Eat iPad Sales

Apple’s new MacBook Air won’t likely eat into iPad sales, according to Gleacher & Company analyst Brian Marshall, because the ultra-light laptop focuses on mobile content creation while the multimedia tablet targets content consumption.

“We believe the iPad is a ‘magical’ content display device, [but] our experience has been less than stellar when actually trying to create content on it,” Mr. Marshall said. “Enter the hardware refresh… it is our view the updated MacBook Air will be a phenomenal ‘mobile content creating’ device and not cannibalistic with the iPad.”

Apple introduced the new MacBook Air lineup during a special media event on Wednesday in 11.6- and 13.3-inch display configurations. It sheds an internal hard drive in favor of flash RAM, and offers instant-on like the iPad. Unlike netbooks, the MacBook Air ships with a full-size keyboard and multi-touch capable trackpad.

Mr. Marshall expects that in addition to attracting content creators looking for a light weight computer for on the go work, it could also work out well for Apple’s bottom line. “Based on our preliminary

assessment of the projected bill-of-materials of the new MacBook Air, we believe the blended gross margin will be 30%+ vs. our current estimate of Apple’s blended notebook margin of 20%+,” he said.

Mr. Marshall is maintaining his Buy rating and US$355 target price for Apple’s stock. Apple is currently trading at $310.35, down .018 (-0.06%).