It might not be the iPhone, but the MacBook Air is selling much stronger than many of us would have guessed. After a full month of being on the market, the MacBook Air is still a difficult commodity to obtain in some markets (not all), and Apple is still quoting a 5-7 business day minimum shipping time even for the most standard models ordered from its web site.
Meanwhile, Amazon won't be shipping orders until March 16 now, and many customers who run to a Best Buy thinking they'll find one hiding out there will be surprised: there aren't many to go around. One Best Buy source (not a retail floor worker) told me that Apple has kept them pretty thin on stock. Now I can see why.
In and around Boston, the motto this weekend at Apple Stores was "no Air for you." Cambridgeside, North Shore, Burlington, even Natick were out of stock. An employee at the Burlington store told me that demand has been extremely high, admitting that some customers even ponied up for the far more expensive MacBook Air SSD because they stayed in stock longer. North Shore's staff was telling people they had "no idea" when more units would come in.
We heard reports from readers this weekend that the MacBook Air was also out of stock in New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Doing some checking of our own, we learned these stores are getting daily refreshes of stock. An employee at the Michigan Avenue Apple Store in Chicago told me when I called, "We have one, but we can't take reservations, as it's first-come, first-served." He then warned me, "Unless you can get here soon, it will probably be gone, so I'd just call back tomorrow morning. We'll definitely have more in the next few days."
The Fifth Avenue store in Manhattan had "just got a refresh" according to a "genius" there, but they didn't expect the stock to last a day. The San Francisco stores are out of non-SSD MacBook Airs, and we heard similar tales at stores in Los Angeles. Even an employee at London's Regent Street Apple Store told us that the machines are selling out the moment they get in. In some markets, however, there's plenty to go around. Calling the Indianapolis location, we were told that they had "more than enough" to meet demand.
Just as with the iPhone launch, Apple is restocking nearly every day, particularly in major markets. So, while you might not be able to get a MacBook Air today in Boston, tomorrow is a new day.
A recurring theme in our discussions with the folks at the Apple Store (who just love to gab, it must be a job requirement) is that the MacBook Air is a switcher device. The perception that this puppy is the leanest, meanest portable there is has road warriors starry-eyed. When we feigned amazement at the product being out of stock in multiple locations, we were told time and time again that demand for the Air is increasing as people see it in action, in person. Of course, these are paid Apple employees telling us this, and they have a sales job to do. At the same time, we've heard plenty of similar anecdotes in the past week.
Apple, of course, remains silent on the early successes of the MacBook Air. There's speculation out there that Apple simply didn't order near enough machines from the manufacturer, and therefore the shortages aren't truly reflective of sales. That may be the case, but according to the Apple Store sales rank widget, the MacBook Air has been the top selling Mac since before the middle of February, outselling the MacBook, the iMac, and the MacBook Pro—this, despite week-long shipping delays.
From Ars Technica.