|Apple is gearing up for a big MacBook summer, says analyst firm Ticonderoga Securities.|
CUPERTINO, Calif. ( TheStreet) -- Apple ( APPL) is gearing up for a big MacBook summer, according to analyst firm Ticonderoga Securities, which says that a new super-skinny version of its MacBook Air is on deck. "We expect Apple to launch an updated MacBook Air this summer that is both thinner and lighter than the one released last fall," explained Ticonderoga analyst Brian White, in a note. "Our research surrounding the Apple supply chain in Taiwan is pointing to continued growth across the Mac product line in the June quarter with strength in products such as the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air."
Apple has not yet responded to TheStreet's request for comment, although its ultra-thin MacBooks, launched in October, are just 0.68-inch thick, and have already been touted by CEO Steve Jobs as the "gold standard" for future notebooks. A new MacBook Air would certainly continue Apple's recent moment in this space. The slimmed-down versions of the MacBook Air, along with revamped MacBook Pros, helped drive record Mac sales during Apple's recent fiscal second quarter. Apple, however, is not the only company championing super-skinny, lightweight, laptops. On Tuesday, Intel ( INTC - Get Report) outlined its plans to build low-power chips for a new breed of devices dubbed Ultrabooks, which will be less than 20 millimeters (0.8 inch) thick. The Cupertino, Calif.-based gadget maker nonetheless has an early-mover advantage over Intel, which says that the first of its ultra-thin notebooks will be available in time for the 2011 holiday season. These will include Asus' UX21 Ultrabook, which was showcased at the Computex trade show in Taiwan this week. Ticonderoga's White, who is attending Computex, has also been taking the pulse of Apple's iPad supplier ecosystem. "Demand clearly overwhelmed supply since the March launch, but the supply chain began catching up in late April," he wrote. "However, datapoints in Taiwan this week are giving us incremental concerns surrounding the impact on iPad 2 supply given the recent explosion at Hon Hai's Chengdu facility." "Given this continued uncertainty, we plan to closely monitor the situation, but we believe this is already reflected in the stock price," he added.
After enjoying explosive growth in recent years, Apple's shares have gained just over 8% in 2011, mirroring the broader slowdown in large-cap tech stocks. The company's stock gained 95 cents, or 0.27%, to reach $348.78 on Wednesday. Apple's cloud plans are set to dominate the coming days after the company confirmed that it will launch its eagerly-anticipated iCloud service at its Worldwide Developers' Conference (WWDC) next week. --Written by James Rogers in New York. >To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/jamesjrogers. >To submit a news tip, send an email to: email@example.com