Apple to launch $799 MacBook Air in Q3 2012 to rival Ultrabooks?

By on May 8, 2012, 8:30 AM

Apple could be planning to release a $799 MacBook Air that would be designed to combat new Ultrabooks launching in the coming months. The price is $200 cheaper than the current entry-level model based on Intel’s Core i5 processor, according to a new report from DigiTimes citing a source in Apple’s upstream supply chain.

Last month, Intel’s general manager for PC client group Kirk Skaugen said that he believed we would see sub-$700 Ultrabooks in time for back-to-school sales. This would put entry-level Ultrabooks about $100 cheaper than today’s budget models although Intel may have a tougher time convincing buyers to purchase a new computer just months before Microsoft releases Windows 8.

An $800 MacBook Air would be priced right alongside current-generation Ultrabooks. If Apple can simply slash the price of the current Air rather than release a new, stripped-down version then they stand an even better chance of steering potential customers away from Intel’s offering. A base model 11-inch Air ships with an Intel Core i5 clocked at 1.5GHz, 2GB of RAM and a 64GB solid state drive.

The reduced-cost MacBook Air will be launched in the third quarter, lining up for a date with those heading back to school with the always-lucrative holiday buying season just a few months afterwards. The source in question believes the strategy would damage Ultrabooks and allow Apple to maintain their advantage. That is, if this rumor turns out to be true and Apple actually delivers.




User Comments: 14

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SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

They have a lot better specs than netbooks, but 'for school' I think you better at least have a separate monitor (kb and mouse would be nice too). I don't think the 1366 by 768 resolution is very good for Excel, which is a pretty commonly used program in the science and engineering disciplines.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

"If Apple can simply slash the price of the current Air rather than release a new, stripped-down version then they stand an even better chance of steering potential customers away from Intel?s offering."

That pretty much runs counter to Apple's core values. No, they will keep their profit margin, which means that the production cost, as low as it is, has to go down further. So that means cheaper components, as labor and transport costs are as low as they're going to be.

I hope Apple hasn't started thinking that people buy their products as a good value, rather than as an item of conspicuous consumption.

Keep the prices where they are, and keep people buying the Apple logo...you start doing anything else Apple, and you're going to be revisiting the 1990s.

ElShotte ElShotte said:

Yeah. I thought about getting an Ultrabook for a while. Now I do like the way they look, and I wish some manufacturers used design aspects from Ultrabooks on full-sized laptops. The 2 things that throw me off is screen size and resolution. Everything else would be fine for me to work on (Web Design and Development), apart from occasionally opening up Photoshop for some light graphics, I don't need that much horsepower, but the low size and resolution of the screen kill it for me. I hate scrolling when I'm writing code, and in Photoshop, I'm usually at a high zoom level so I can do pixel-perfect graphics. Now, yeah, I could attach a keyboard and mouse to it, and hook it up to an external monitor, but in that case, I might as well get a desktop, which on it's own breaks the purpose of me getting one as a "portable workstation", and it's not like I need a 20" screen, but a 15.4" with 1680x1050 resolution is perfect for me to work on.

ElShotte ElShotte said:

Also, it's hard for me to see a reason why anyone would want to pony up the same amount of money (if not more) for an Ultrabook when all they're really good for is checking your e-mail and FaceBook or just general web browsing.

mario mario, Ex-TS Developer, said:

Apple doesn't need a price-drop as a response to Ultrabook alternatives, the media started to say the same thing about an iPad price-drop in response to the Kindle Fire, Apple never dropped the price and iPad sales are still through the roof.

If anything, Intel's Ultrabook push was a response to the Air's success in the market and from Apple's quarterly reports the Air is selling just fine.

Raswan Raswan said:

"If Apple can simply slash the price of the current Air rather than release a new, stripped-down version then they stand an even better chance of steering potential customers away from Intel?s offering."

That pretty much runs counter to Apple's core values. No, they will keep their profit margin, which means that the production cost, as low as it is, has to go down further. So that means cheaper components, as labor and transport costs are as low as they're going to be.

I hope Apple hasn't started thinking that people buy their products as a good value, rather than as an item of conspicuous consumption.

Keep the prices where they are, and keep people buying the Apple logo...you start doing anything else Apple, and you're going to be revisiting the 1990s.

100% agreed. At the same time, Intel is spending an asston of money subsidizing and marketing ultrabooks, and if anyone has the pile of cash to try and put the hurt on intel, it's Apple. They've shown their certainly not above spending a little money just to be spiteful.

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Hmm not sure I can see this happening, Apple never cut prices on their old laptops/Macs, they just refresh them with better specs at the same price point. Also $799 is in the iPad pricing range.

Staff
Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

Nope, not happening.

Guest said:

too many suckers to lower the prices !

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

100% agreed. At the same time, Intel is spending an asston of money subsidizing and marketing ultrabooks, and if anyone has the pile of cash to try and put the hurt on intel, it's Apple. They've shown their certainly not above spending a little money just to be spiteful.

Doesn't seem like a real good idea though. Apple uses Intel's chips in their laptops and desktops. Apple and Intel get along pretty well, Apple has gotten new chips for their laptops before the rest of the industry. I don't think Apple wants to put any hurt on Intel.

bexwhitt said:

it goes against Apples rip people for every cent policy, so won't happen

Guest said:

anyone who thinks people buy something just because it has an apple logo on it just plain silly and must be a child. No one cares about what label is on it as long as it does what you want it to do and the apple label does infact do just that. I have an old iphone 3gs. Can I go buy a new Iphone4s? Easily. Will I? No. Why? Becasue the 3gs does what I need it to do and it does it perfectly.

PS. Stop being stupid and think people buy Apple just because its Apple. Its just some of their stuff is just simply great stuff.

Guest said:

Why would Apple drop the price on any of the MacBook Air models when Intel has so far utterly failed to coax any PC maker to release an Ultrabook that even comes close in specs or quality, let alone both.

Once a PC maker actually releases an Ultrabook that isn't some bean-counter's sad joke on all the Windows users out there that want a useable ultraportable, then there might be a reason for Apple to cut their price. Except they won't.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

anyone who thinks people buy something just because it has an apple logo on it just plain silly and must be a child. No one cares about what label is on it as long as it does what you want it to do and the apple label does infact do just that. I have an old iphone 3gs. Can I go buy a new Iphone4s? Easily. Will I? No. Why? Becasue the 3gs does what I need it to do and it does it perfectly.

PS. Stop being stupid and think people buy Apple just because its Apple. Its just some of their stuff is just simply great stuff.

One day you will come to the startling realization that other people in the world don't think like you do. Looking at your writings, that day may never come.

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