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Thursday, February 10, 2011, 08:30 pm PT (11:30 pm ET)

Apple doubling orders for 'hot-selling' Macbook models, suppliers say

Apple's Asian manufacturing partners have seen orders for popular Macbook models as much as double, while shipments of notebooks to other brand-name vendors have failed to meet expectations, a new report claims.

According to Taiwan industry publication DigiTimes, sources from "Taiwan's notebook upstream supply chain" report that Apple and Samsung are the only two brands to see continued strong first quarter 2011 notebook demand, even as shipments to other vendors have dropped below expectations.

Though overall notebook shipments are expected to contract by as much as 10 percent sequentially in the first quarter of the year, Apple appears poised to gain market share as it increases orders for best-selling offerings from its notebook lineup. The MacBook maker is reportedly "revising upward its orders with the volume of some hot-selling models being doubled," the report noted.

The report fails to mention which MacBook models are particularly "hot-selling," but holiday reports of MacBook Air sales suggested the diminutive laptop was "flying off the shelves."

Notebook makers could also see slowdown as a result of a delay caused by a defect in Intel's Sandy Bridge chips. According to the report, HP may ship 10 million notebooks in the first quarter of 2011 compared to 11.13 million shipped last quarter because of the delay from Intel.

Intel revealed the defect late last month and pledged to replace affected chipsets. The corrected version of the chipset is expected to begin shipping in late February, though Intel will likely not recover to "full volume" production capacity until April.

The world's largest chipmaker has since resumed shipment of chipsets bound for systems unaffected by the issue, but it is unclear to what extent Apple's next-generation MacBook lineup will be affected by the delays.

The report claims that Acer is also expected to see notebook shipments decline year-over-year, although the company will see modest growth this quarter after posting the lowest notebook shipment numbers in six quarters in the fourth quarter of 2010.

In the fourth quarter of calendar 2010, Apple sold a record 4.13 million Macs. Sales of portables made up the bulk of the revenue, bringing in $3.7 billion on sales of 2.9 million. According to the Mac maker, strong sales of the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro helped the company's sales reach nearly 8 times the IDC world average estimate.