What just happened? Apple introduced the 15-inch MacBook Air earlier this year in an attempt to boost its laptop sales, but it appears that the desired effect hasn't materialized. According to a recent report, MacBook sales could be down by as much as 30 percent this year due to decreased demand following the back-to-school season.

The report comes from the generally reliable Apple insider and TF Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who states that shipment forecasts for MacBooks have been revised downward by "about 20 percent or more" this year. Due to this downturn, total sales are expected to decrease to around 17 million units in 2023.

With no new MacBooks anticipated to be launched for the remainder of the year, overall shipments during the upcoming holiday season could be "significantly lower" than in previous years.

Kuo explains that several factors contributed to the decline in MacBook sales, including reduced demand for work-from-home setups and decreasing consumer interest in Apple Silicon and mini-LED technology. However, Apple is reportedly placing substantial confidence in the M3 processor, with expectations that it will boost MacBook shipments next year. Kuo suggests that Apple may need to "clear inventory" through potential discounts and then devise new product and marketing strategies for 2024.

Kuo also noted that the average cost of key components in MacBooks is "significantly higher" than that of Windows laptops in general. This impacts the profitability of MacBook suppliers, and these higher costs are passed on to consumers. Consequently, MacBooks are often considerably more expensive than their Windows counterparts, which may not suit individuals seeking budget-friendly work laptops.

Given the decline in MacBook sales this year, 2024 must be a pivotal year for Apple to offset the lackluster performance of 2023. The company is expected to launch several new MacBooks next year, including new 13- and 15-inch MacBook Air models, as well as new 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros. While the former pair is anticipated to be powered by the M3 chip, the latter two are rumored to offer a choice between the more potent M3 Pro and M3 Max CPUs.