Apple Looking to Launch $799 MacBook Air in 3Q 2012?

Digitimes reports that Apple is planning to launch a cheaper MacBook Air in the third quarter of this year, dropping the entry-level price to $799 from the current $999. The move is reportedly being made to take on Intel's "Ultrabook" initiative that is pushing low-cost, ultra-thin notebook PCs.

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.

Ultrabook manufacturers have so far struggled to match or beat Apple's MacBook Air pricing, leading to weak shipments. But Intel remains committed to the initiative, and is working with manufacturers to continue to bring prices down.

macbook air open finger
It is unclear just how Apple would achieve a $200 price cut on the MacBook Air, given the company's focus on maintaining high profit margins. Certainly pricing on the solid-state drives used in the MacBook Air will continue to fall, but Apple likely has only limited flexibility to bring down pricing. And given the strong performance of the MacBook Air as Ultrabooks continue to struggle, it is not immediately obvious whether Apple would even see a need to lower pricing on its models.

Digitimes has a spotty track record with regard to Apple rumors, although it has on occasion offered accurate insight based on sources in Apple's supply chain. The publication's recent claims regarding Apple's notebook plans including a report of production being underway on slimmer 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro models, as well as a suggestion that Apple is considering a 14-inch MacBook Air for Asian markets.

Related Roundup: MacBook Air
Related Forum: MacBook Air

Top Rated Comments

dethmaShine Avatar
154 months ago
/Digitimes.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
scarred Avatar
154 months ago
This rumour is obviously true. Apple has always "raced to the bottom" with the rest of the PC manufacturers. They always want the lowest prices.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Boisv Avatar
154 months ago
It would be nice but I doubt it.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
danwayfilms Avatar
154 months ago
It's never a good sign when the subject is a question.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iZac Avatar
154 months ago
Discounting whether there is truth to this or not, surely the current bottom spec Macbook Air is now $200 cheaper to manufacture than it was last July? Apples new strategy seems to be to keep on the base model of the last generation at a discounted price... at least for iOS products
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Small White Car Avatar
154 months ago
Apple is able to have cheaper items as long as they minimize cannibalization by giving those cheaper products a noticeable disadvantage. Like, not just less RAM or something, but a difference you can really SEE right in the store.

In other words, selling the iPhone 3GS doesn't hurt iPhone 4S sales...they just pick up people who would never have bought a 4S, but it doesn't tempt the people who wanted a 4S with that nice sharp display.

In the past the iMac/eMac relationship worked the same way.

So this could work, but there has to be a hook that keeps most buyers in the higher models. Just a guess, but these new high-resolution displays I keep hearing about could be one such thing. If the stores are stocked with amazing-looking high-res Macbooks they can be sure most folks will still spring for that once they get a look at it.

Then, in addition to having older screens, make these cheap Macbooks with less SSD space as the only option and you start to have a computer that will pick up lower-end buyers without tempting the regulars.

Not saying it's gonna happen, but if they want to do it that's how they could.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

Apple car wheel icon feature yellow

Apple Cancels Electric Car Project

Tuesday February 27, 2024 11:05 am PST by
Apple has canceled all plans to release an autonomous, electric vehicle, reports Bloomberg. Apple has been working on an Apple Car for more than a decade and invested millions of dollars into development before deciding it was not a viable project. Apple's Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams today told approximately 2,000 employees working on the Apple Car that the project was canceled,...
Beyond iPhone 13 Better Blue Face ID Single Camera Hole

Six Reasons to Wait for Next Year's iPhone 17

Thursday February 22, 2024 4:20 am PST by
Apple's iPhone development roadmap runs several years into the future and the company is continually working with suppliers on several successive iPhone models concurrently, which is why we sometimes get rumored feature leaks so far ahead of launch. The iPhone 17 series is no different, and already we have some idea of what to expect from Apple's 2025 smartphone lineup. If you plan to skip...
General Apps Messages

iOS 17.4 to Add This 'Groundbreaking' New Messaging Feature

Friday February 23, 2024 5:05 am PST by
With iOS 17.4, set to arrive in March 2024, Apple is bringing a new cryptographic security feature to iMessage called PQ3. This "groundbreaking" and "state-of-the-art" protocol provides "extensive defenses against even highly sophisticated quantum attacks," according to Apple. Let's break down what that means. Apple's iMessage service already supports end-to-end encryption, but security...
iOS 18 Mock iPhone 16 Feature Gray

iOS 18 Rumored to Be Compatible With These iPhone Models

Tuesday February 27, 2024 6:31 am PST by
iOS 18 will be compatible with the iPhone XR, and thereby also the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max models with the same A12 Bionic chip, according to a post on X today from a private account with a proven track record of sharing build numbers for upcoming iOS updates. The post was spotted by MacRumors contributor Aaron Perris, and it has since been deleted. However, this was likely because the...
iOS 17

iOS 17.4 Coming Soon With These New Features for Your iPhone

Monday February 26, 2024 6:08 am PST by
In a press release last month, Apple confirmed that iOS 17.4 will be released in March, and the update includes several new features and changes for the iPhone. Key new features in iOS 17.4 include major App Store changes in the EU, Apple Podcasts transcripts, and an iMessage security upgrade. The update also adds new emoji and includes preparations for the launch of next-generation CarPlay...
applearcade

Game Developers Describe 'Smell of Death' Around Apple Arcade

Monday February 26, 2024 7:24 am PST by
Some game developers are dissatisfied with Apple Arcade amid concerns about the subscription service's future, a new report claims. Sources speaking to mobilegamer.biz described a "smell of death" around Apple's games subscription service and noted the difference between the company's investment in TV and music, and its interest in games. "At the very top of the company there needs to be a ...