Friday, July 4, 2008

Apple Drops Price Of MacBook Air

Apple has quietly dropped the price of its fastest MacBook Air, the company's thinnest and lightest notebook, by $500.

The price reduction appears to be the result of a $100 drop in the price of the 1.8-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor and a $400 reduction in the price of the 64-GB solid-state drive. The deluxe model is now priced at $2,598. The price of the base model with a 1.6-GHz processor remains unchanged at $1,799.

As early as last week, the faster notebook was priced at $3,098, according to a blurb found on Google's search cache. The item was uncovered by the Apple-enthusiast site The processor upgrade was cut to $200 from $300 and the solid-state drive to $599 from $999.

It's not unusual for computer makers to drop prices as component prices fall over time. Apple chief executive Steve Jobs unveiled the Air in January at the Macworld conference in San Francisco.

The size and weight of the Air, which has a 13.3-inch display and full-size keyboard, placed the machine in a class of its own. The notebook weights 3 pounds and is three-quarters of an inch thick at the hinge, tapering to 0.16 of an inch at the opposite side.

The thinness of the notebook was achieved in part by a miniaturized 65-nanometer Core 2 Duo processor that came from Intel's older Merom line. The processor is 60% smaller than the typical Merom chip and uses less power while delivering comparable speeds. The processor, however, is significantly slower than the latest Intel Core 2 Duo processors used in other new notebooks. Performance is not necessarily an issue with Apple as it customizes its operating system to maximize performance out of any processor it uses.

Apple also was able to shave off inches from the MacBook Air by relying on a slimmer solid-state hard drive and eliminating its CD/DVD optical SuperDrive altogether.