Rumor: Apple planning to launch $799 MacBook Air in Q3 2012

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
Apple is rumored to be planning to aggressively combat new "Ultrabook" laptops coming to market by releasing a $799 MacBook Air model in the third quarter of 2012, a price $200 less than the company's current cheapest model.

The claim came on Monday from the sometimes reliable DigiTimes, which cited sources in Apple's upstream supply chain. Apple's plans are reportedly to counter second-generation Ultrabooks, based on Intel's specifications for thin and light notebooks, which PC makers hope to price around $699.

If PC makers are unable to reach the $699 price point with their second-generation Ultrabooks, Apple could have a significant competitive advantage with an aggressive $799 price point for a new MacBook Air, the report claims.

Currently, Apple's cheapest notebook option is the 11.6-inch MacBook Air, which is priced at $999 and comes with a 64-gigabyte solid-state hard drive. Apple also offers a stripped-down 13-inch MacBook Air for education buyers only for $999.

Last month, it was said that Intel hopes to see shipments of as many as 30 million Ultrabooks this year. The company designed the Ultrabook specification after Apple found great success with its new MacBook Air, which features only solid-state storage, instant-on capabilities, and super-thin design thanks to the lack of an optical drive.

MacBook Air


Apple is expected to begin revamping its Mac lineup in the coming weeks with Intel's latest-generation Ivy Bridge processors. The product makeover is expected to begin with new MacBook Pros, starting with a 15-inch model, that will also rely on solid-state storage and lose an optical drive, taking design cues from the MacBook Air.

Prior to Monday's report, little has been said of a new MacBook Air lineup, with most rumors focusing on Apple's next MacBook Pros. In fact, one report even suggested that Apple could merge the two product lines, "effectively killing the Pro" and having all of its notebooks like MacBook Airs.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 85
    zozmanzozman Posts: 391member


    doesn't sound too likely to me, if they sell an $799 Air they will either have to cut corners with parts or quality (which isn't apples way) or sell at a loss, i have a 2010 11" air, damn its awesome, I'm waiting with my wallet ready to see what they are doing with the new run (Ivy bridge). Only way they might be able to do $799 ones maybe, if they keep selling current models as well as new ones.

    If you look at the PC ultrabooks that are coming out, none have matched the current air with build yet, & they still cost more.


    If apple sell at the current price point & update everything else id be very happy with that, maybe a higher res display for Mountain Lion :D 

  • Reply 2 of 85
    carmissimocarmissimo Posts: 837member
    Digitimes reliable?

    Besides, Apple has never chased the lower end of the laptop market. Once you start, there's no turning back. Competitors can't build laptops similar to the Air line for much cheaper and Apple has no reason to build cheaper laptops when their pricier products have flourished for the past few years.

    The price will not drop. The Apple laptops will step up performance but stick to the price points that have served Apple well.
  • Reply 3 of 85
    s4mb4s4mb4 Posts: 267member


    no way. at $799 that would affect iPad sales....

  • Reply 4 of 85
    pedromartinspedromartins Posts: 1,333member


    i believe this is total BS.


     


    it is much more likely that, if needed, apple will put 8gb on the thing, bigger SSDs, better camera, USB3, free OS upgrades and bang.. that's about it.


    apple can't afford to low the price that much. they are a premium company.


     


    those that are lowering prices are destroying the ultra book category.


     


    the XPS looks like a very nice machine, for example. but folio? the copies?the other monsters (in appearance) that are coming?


    those stupid bastards are already leaving good quality materials/components out of the equation so they can lower the price and the same sh*tty PCs will appear again. they just can't do it.


    i'm very surprised by DELL.


     


    I have an i7macbook air and i couldn't be happier with it, and my girlfriend just loves it. her 5 year old cheap plastic dell is pretty much dead and she needs a new computer.


    obviously for her needs, a nice ultra book is the best bet and the air is, by far, the best between them. i would even argue that this computer is the best consumer laptop in the market right now.


    anyway, we both are in the best college of this country, me in engineering, and even that is not enough to prevent the bullshit that makes us use windows.


     


    I had the use Visual Studio (vb) -- windows. that's about it, but it was an inconvenience.


    she will have to use SPSS -- Mac.


     


    but chembio office suite and a few other programs? only in windows.


    for that reason, and since we don't have apple stores in portugal, and windows should be considered malware for any mac (even if it works very nicely, it's the same of f*cking a dirty, disgusting wh*re on your mercedes s 65 AMG) I asked her to try both the XPS and the air and then decide, based on the good vs bad of each machine. the XPS looks very nice, with an awesome small bezel, nice screen, etc.


     


    she is only used to windows and isn't tech expert at all and let's be honest, windows 7 (f*ck windows 8), for everyday use is a very nice OS, far from the OSX greatness, but very good.


     


    any opinions? any experience with the XPS? as fair as i know, it is selling a lot and usually anyone that does not want the mac route are just buying the XPS. it is very difficult to find one, so i still don't know how the battery is, the trackpad.. those little things that make every mac a much better machine.

  • Reply 5 of 85
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 1,888member
    I think this is more likely than other posters. Two of the most expensive components in the MacBook air are the SSD and the CPU. We already know that Apple gets a better deal on flash memory than anyone else. If Apple were to include an AMD processor instead of an Intel processor then they might be able to hit this price point.
  • Reply 6 of 85
    haarhaar Posts: 563member
    if this is true "it's over Johnny"
  • Reply 7 of 85
    pedromartinspedromartins Posts: 1,333member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post



    I think this is more likely than other posters. Two of the most expensive components in the MacBook air are the SSD and the CPU. We already know that Apple gets a better deal on flash memory than anyone else. If Apple were to include an AMD processor instead of an Intel processor then they might be able to hit this price point.


     


    ZoomInto: Pictures, Images and Photos



     


    yes they could, for what?


    they have the iPad for that price point.


    for now, leave AMD for others.


    it makes 0 sense.

  • Reply 8 of 85
    aplnubaplnub Posts: 2,582member


    I think this sounds plausible. SSD prices fall so you leave small SSD in 11". Use current gen. processor after the new one comes out and up sale. 


     


    Kinda like how they do the "New iPad" and the "iPad2" at the same time.

  • Reply 9 of 85
    herbapouherbapou Posts: 2,214member


    With the lower SSD prices and new intel CPU design for untrabook, Apple should be able to lower there prices on the Mac lines.  Would be nice to see Apple gain some significant market share in the PC business. With the volume they sell, Apple could reduce the "Apple design tax" from 2 times the price of the same PC to 1.2 to 1.5x. They will never be able to sell at the same prices because of the superior design but getting close would help gain market shares.


     


    I try to recommend Macs to people I know but they all end up buying Pc's for 1 reason: price.

  • Reply 10 of 85
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,671member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by herbapou View Post


    With the lower SSD prices and new intel CPU design for untrabook, Apple should be able to lower there prices on the Mac lines.  Would be nice to see Apple gain some significant market share in the PC business. With the volume they sell, Apple could reduce the "Apple design tax" from 2 times the price of the same PC to 1.2 to 1.5x. They will never be able to sell at the same prices because of the superior design but getting close would help gain market shares.


     


    I try to recommend Macs to people I know but they all end up buying Pc's for 1 reason: price.



    You get what you pay for...if you buy a cheap POS PC...thats exactly what you'll get. Not saying Macs are perfect but you do get something for that price. If people didn't think this, they wouldn't be selling as many as they do. 

  • Reply 11 of 85
    carmissimocarmissimo Posts: 837member


    A drop in SSD pricing would not likely translate into lower prices but rather more memory for the same price. The entry Air with 64GB of memory is crying out for a boost to 128GB.


     


    The iPad is a fine choice for casual use at a lower price point so I think having the Air line start at 128GB would make a lot of sense. 

  • Reply 12 of 85
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    The claim came <a href="http://www.digitimes.com/news/a20120507PD214.html">on Monday</a> from the sometimes reliable <em>DigiTimes</em>,

    DigiTimes? Sometimes reliable? If they told me that the sun would come up tomorrow morning, I'd still want to verify it with other sources. I don't think they've EVER gotten one of their predictions right.

    zozman wrote: »
    doesn't sound too likely to me, if they sell an $799 Air they will either have to cut corners with parts or quality (which isn't apples way) or sell at a loss, i have a 2010 11" air, damn its awesome, I'm waiting with my wallet ready to see what they are doing with the new run (Ivy bridge). Only way they might be able to do $799 ones maybe, if they keep selling current models as well as new ones.

    If you look at the PC ultrabooks that are coming out, none have matched the current air with build yet, & they still cost more.
    If apple sell at the current price point & update everything else id be very happy with that, maybe a higher res display for Mountain Lion :D 

    Apple could easily sell an MBA for $799 if they wished. Keep in mind how fast component prices drop in this industry - SSD prices in particular are dropping rapidly (for a change). I could picture them updating the MBA with more RAM, Ivy Bridge, etc and then leaving the current base model as a $799 model for cheapskates. They're already doing that with the iPad and the iPhone, so why not with the MBA? I believe they did it with the iMac at one time, as well as an educational model.

    I could picture it being a great little computer for education, for example. Most school districts could easily get buy with a base model with Sandy Bridge and 64 GB (even perhaps 32). My daughter's school is using tablets that are a lot less capable than that.

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    yes they could, for what?
    they have the iPad for that price point.
    for now, leave AMD for others.
    it makes 0 sense.

    Entirely different items. Apple indicated that the iPad had only marginal effect on MBA sales, so I don't expect that the opposite would be any less true. Let's compare three items:

    MBA at $799
    Physical keyboard, traditional form factor, WiFi only, no GPS, ability to run full desktop apps

    iPad at $829
    No physical keyboard, 4G service, GPS, limited to iOS apps

    iPad at $399
    No physical keyboard, WiFi only, GPS, limited to iOS apps

    There's enough difference in the $800 devices that I don't see them affecting each other much. Either you want a tablet or a traditional laptop. Similarly, if you're on a real budget, $399 is far more accessible than $799, so introducing a $799 MBA wouldn't have much impact.

    While I don't have any faith in DigiTimes' predictions, this one's actually not a bad idea. Just like they are doing with the iPad and iPhone (and they did earlier with their Macs), having a previous generation MBA at a discount for educational purposes would probably work well. Since they'd be using older components, their margins wouldn't have to suffer much and it might open some doors into budget conscious customers.
  • Reply 13 of 85
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,197member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Carmissimo View Post



    Digitimes reliable?

    Besides, Apple has never chased the lower end of the laptop market. 


     


    Apple doesn't chase any market when it comes to what the other players are doing. This is something Digitimes just can't get in their heads. 


     


    I could see them perhaps keeping their current 11 inch model and due to the cost of parts going down cutting the price but that's the best they would do. They aren't about to tarnish their image by trying to make a cheap model to compete with folks that are actually trying to design to compete with them. 

  • Reply 14 of 85
    neilmneilm Posts: 560member


    It's only Monday, but this gets my vote as stupidest rumor of the week.


     


    The absolute last thing anyone in Apple's upstream supply chain would know is Apple's product pricing plan.

  • Reply 15 of 85
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,197member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by s4mb4 View Post


    no way. at $799 that would affect iPad sales....



     


    I doubt Apple would really care about that. the iPad and the computers are two different realms. Yes there's a little crossover but those that want the iPad will get it and even perhaps also get an Air, Pro etc. 

  • Reply 16 of 85
    carmissimocarmissimo Posts: 837member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by macxpress View Post


    You get what you pay for...if you buy a cheap POS PC...thats exactly what you'll get. Not saying Macs are perfect but you do get something for that price. If people didn't think this, they wouldn't be selling as many as they do. 



     


    It's important that consumers keep thinking this and the best way to do that is continue to upgrade performance while holding the line on price. The competition can't do much better at a given price point so let them have the market below $1,000, which is what Apple has done, sort of. I say sort of because the iPad has really picked off a lot of people who don't need all the computing power and physical keyboard offered in a full-bore laptop. Quite a few consumers who would have been buying a cheap laptop are opting for the iPad instead. 


     


    I use my iPad a lot and the form factor is convenient for puttering around the house while the device can do a lot of what many had been using laptops for. The iPad will gain functionality over time and as such the lower end of the portable market is well served by that device. The laptop range, instead, will be aimed at the $1,000+ end of the market. Makes sense. 

  • Reply 17 of 85
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    herbapou wrote: »
    With the lower SSD prices and new intel CPU design for untrabook, Apple should be able to lower there prices on the Mac lines.  Would be nice to see Apple gain some significant market share in the PC business. With the volume they sell, Apple could reduce the "Apple design tax" from 2 times the price of the same PC to 1.2 to 1.5x. They will never be able to sell at the same prices because of the superior design but getting close would help gain market shares.

    I try to recommend Macs to people I know but they all end up buying Pc's for 1 reason: price.

    I really wish the phrase "Apple tax" would die. It hasn't been true for years.

    Let's look at the segments Apple is in:

    iPhone - price is comparable to other comparable high end phones - especially with a discount

    iPad - price is very competitive. Who offers a 10" tablet with similar capabilities for less?

    Mac Pro - Easily competitive with high end Xeon workstations (particularly dual core)

    MBA - No one else could come close so Intel had to subsidize the competition

    iMac - There's maybe a shred of truth here because Apple offers only high end AIOs. Still, show me where you can find something comparable to the 27" iMac for a better price. Even for the 21" iMac, it's hard to find something that's a lot less with similar quality (most of the cheaper ones use inferior screens, for example).

    Mini - I could possibly give you this one. The base Mini is not significantly more powerful than PCs that cost less (but not half the price). You are paying for the form factor. Still, it's not twice the price of a comparable PC. Maybe 30-40% premium at most.

    So where's this "Macs cost twice as much as PCs" coming from?
  • Reply 18 of 85

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by herbapou View Post


    With the lower SSD prices and new intel CPU design for untrabook, Apple should be able to lower there prices on the Mac lines.  Would be nice to see Apple gain some significant market share in the PC business. With the volume they sell, Apple could reduce the "Apple design tax" from 2 times the price of the same PC to 1.2 to 1.5x. They will never be able to sell at the same prices because of the superior design but getting close would help gain market shares.


     


    I try to recommend Macs to people I know but they all end up buying Pc's for 1 reason: price.



     


    Apple makes a huge profit percentage,  They could lower prices, increase volume, and make even higher net profits.

  • Reply 19 of 85
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    neilm wrote: »
    It's only Monday, but this gets my vote as stupidest rumor of the week.

    The absolute last thing anyone in Apple's upstream supply chain would know is Apple's product pricing plan.

    True, but if you're able to put 2 and 2 together, you can learn a lot from upstream supply.

    For example, I would assume that the motherboard for the next ivy Bridge MBA is somewhat different than the motherboard for the older MBA. So if you were the motherboard supplier and Apple ordered 2 M of the new motherboard for delivery over the next 12 months and 1 M of the old motherboard for delivery over the same time period, you could assume that they are planning to continue to offer the old one at the same time as the new one.

    That wouldn't tell you anything about price - that might be a pure guess based on the level of discounts Apple usually offers on previous generation products. For example, the old iPad is 20% lower than the base new one - just like the 20% being projected here.

    I'm not saying that it's true, but it is possible for an upstream supplier to have information that would allow one to make a reasonable prediction.
  • Reply 20 of 85
    xmikuxmiku Posts: 32member


    I very much doubt that.



    Manufacturers are going to use cheaper materials (plastic instead of aluminium) to lower the prices of their ultrabooks (see Intel says cheaper Ultrabooks likely to be seen this year). What sort of threat would such laptops pose to the Airs?



    Speaking of plastic... I would like Apple to revive their plastic unibody line of Macbooks. They were so cute! I don't like the cold industrial design of the current Airs :-( And I'm afraid how will the air-inspired refreshment of Pros look like.

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