Apple to counter Ultrabook assault by outing $799 MacBook Air in Q3 2012?
In the world of ultra-thin laptop computers, Apple is currently enjoying a healthy lead in terms of sales. But Intel, along with its posse of Ultrabook makers, is trying to make sure that it’s the PC camp that has the last laugh. By the third quarter of 2012, it is widely expected that the second-generation Ultrabooks from the likes of Acer, Dell, Toshiba, and Asus are going to come out, and the likely outcome is that current ultra-thin models such as Apple’s MacBook Air are going to get no attention from consumers whatsoever.
Is Apple concerned about this kind of thing happening at all? Does it have a plan for when the next-generation Ultrabooks do come out and knock it off the top spot of the ultra-thin notebook market? Well, if a report on the Chinese DigiTimes is to be believed, then Apple does know its sales of the MacBook Air will be affected by second-gen Ultrabooks, and it does indeed have a plan for when that happens. Apple’s plan? Issue a MacBook Air price cut that will bring it down to only $799.
This information is taken by DigiTimes from unnamed sources “from the upstream supply chain.” If you think about it, this kind of move by Apple actually makes sense, since $799 is about the same price as most Ultrabooks that are available nowadays. Unless Intel gets the price down for the second-generation models in time, a MacBook Air at that price point is going to kill Ultrabook sales. For a while, at least. It’s not known whether there is even any truth to this information or not, but if it really is true, it’s a certainly workable strategy for Apple, albeit only a temporary one.
Intel is really making its money (over $300 million of it so far) work hard to make the Ultrabook category rise to the top of the notebook market, and adoption can only speed up once Windows 8 comes out during the later part of the year. Apple needs to think of other ways to woo consumers beginning in the 3rd quarter of this year if it wants to maintain its level of MacBook Air sales.