Sources in Apple’s Taiwanese supply chain claim that the Cupertino company is gearing up to launch a cheaper $799 MacBook Air later this year that will decrease the price gap between the next-generation of Windows-powered ultrabooks. Although specifications are not mentioned in the report, sources say the notebook will make its debut during the third quarter.
Apple is reportedly planning to make things difficult for Intel, which has been heavily pushing ultrabook adoption. The chipmaker hopes that ultrabook prices will reach just $699 during the second half of 2012, giving some users a compelling reason not to splash out on a $999 MacBook Air. However, a $799 model could dash Intel’s hopes.
Apple is reportedly considering responding to the upcoming second-generation ultrabooks by launching a US$799 MacBook Air in the third quarter of 2012, according to sources from the upstream supply chain.
Although Acer has recently reduced its ultrabook shipment target, Intel continues to aggressively push ultrabooks and is aiming to have the devices priced at US$699 in the second half of the year. However, if Intel is unable to bring down ASPs to its goal, the price gap between ultrabooks and the US$799 MacBook Air may further postpone the time ultrabooks become standardized, the sources noted.
The cheapest MacBook Air is currently the 11.6-inch model priced at $999, which features just 64GB of storage. There’s almost no chance the it will make the notebook any smaller than that, but it could introduce a cheaper Core i3 processor to bring its price tag down.