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Apple's MacBook Air is carving out its own place in the MacBook family.  (Source: Reuters)
Notebook sales lead the charge in a great month for Apple

Apple appears to be on a roll these days. The company in recent years has become largely identified by its popular iPod music players. The iPod shuffle, iPod Nano, iPod Classic and iPod touch dominate the music player market and the iTunes is second only to Wal-Mart in overall U.S. music sales.

Throw in the iPhone as Apple's "halo" device, and the Cupertino, California-based company and its marketing efforts are a force to be reckoned with. Luckily for Apple, its success on the digital player and digital music fronts is transferring greatly to its computing products according to Apple Insider.

Market research firm NPD showed that Apple commanded just 9% of the retail U.S. PC market with regards to sales during February 2007 -- this also translated to a 16% dollar share. However, February 2008 saw those figures rise to 14% and 25% respectively.

Sales of Apple notebooks and desktops grew by 64% and 55% respectively while revenues for each segment grew by 67% and 68% respectively.

While iPod and iPhone crossover sales are likely adding to Apple's bottom line, Pacific Crest Securities analyst Andy Hargreaves notes that Apple's recently launched MacBook Air is building a base of its own rather than encroaching on existing notebook product lines.

"MacBook Air sales appear to be additive to total sales, rather than replacing MacBook Pro sales," said Hargreaves. "We believe a new set of corporate customers make up a meaningful portion of MacBook Air buyers."

The NDP data also showed that the overall U.S. PC market is doing quite well -- if you're only looking at notebook sales and revenue. Notebooks outpaced desktops in sales in the consumer space during 2007, and the gap will likely widen during 2008 -- notebook sales are expected to reach 66% of the overall PC market by 2011.

The numbers show that this forecast is slowly moving into reality as overall retail notebook sales were up 20% during February while revenues from notebooks jumped 11%. In comparison, retail desktop sales slumped by 5% while revenues dropped 2%.





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