MacBook Air rules thin-and-light laptop market, says NPD

Apple's MacBook Air dominates the thin-and-light market in the U.S. And its momentum shows no signs of slowing down with the well-received 2013 model.

Brooke Crothers Former CNET contributor
Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.
Brooke Crothers
MacBook Air, 2013: It's by far the most popular thin-and-light laptop in the U.S., said NPD.
MacBook Air, 2013: It's by far the most popular thin-and-light laptop in the U.S., said NPD. Apple

The MacBook Air all by its lonesome has captured the majority of the total thin-and-light laptop market, according to data from NPD.

The MBA grabbed 56 percent of U.S. thin-and-light laptop sales in the first five months of the year, Stephen Baker, an analyst at the NPD Group, told CNET.

The remainder, 44 percent, was captured by ultrabooks from various PC makers.

If reviews of the 2013 MacBook Air -- announced this month -- are any indication of future sales, the situation could become even more lopsided this year.

CNET Reviews had a lot of good things to say about the new MBA.

"Intel fourth-gen [Haswell] CPUs help the updated MacBook Air achieve amazing battery life. The multitouch trackpad is still the industry's best, and even better, the 13-inch MacBook Air now starts at $100 less than the previous model," CNET Reviews said.

Regardless, the Windows laptop camp is hardly standing still. When speaking at the company's Build conference this week, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer claimed that new Windows 8/8.1 hybrids with touch screens obviate the need for both a tablet and a laptop.

Microsoft expects a crush of thin-and-light "2-in-1" hybrid designs to hit the market in the coming months.

Apple believes the touch experience is best left to its iPad. And so far a lot of consumers seem to agree.

Watch this: Apple MacBook Air (13-inch, June 2013)