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Apple slices $500 off its price for MacBook Air

Apple cuts price of MacBook Air

Apple today shaved $500 off the price of the upgraded version of its supermodel-thin MacBook Air laptop, to $2,598 from $3,098. The base model, with a slower processor and a traditional hard-disk drive instead of the solid-state drive, remains $1,799.

Apple wouldn't say whether the price cut had anything to do with the release next Friday of its highly anticipated iPhone 3G, which will cost $199 or $299 depending on the memory. Said spokesman Bill Evans: "From time to time we adjust the price of configure-to-order options for our systems. The options to upgrade a MacBook Air to a faster Core 2 Duo processor and a 64 gigabyte solid-state drive are now more affordable."

Apple may also be doing it to lift sales, which have been relatively modest, according to an executive for an authorized online Apple reseller who did not want to incur the wrath of Steve Jobs. "In this market, it's been tough to sell," he said. "You have creative pros who want all the bells and whistles, but the MacBook Air is so thin, it doesn't really have that."

Measuring 0.76 inches and weighing 3 pounds, the MacBook Air was introduced in January with much fanfare at MacWorld. Apple has not disclosed sales figures for the laptop, but industry analysts believe it hasn't flown off the shelves, as light as it is.

"The Air hasn’t been selling as well as Apple would like," said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group in San Jose.  Part of the problem, he said, is that the base configuration is "underpowered. I've had friends who returned that version because of the performance. They didn't even consider exchanging for the upgraded version, they were so disappointed. The only one to get is the better one, and Apple is being smart by encouraging people to buy that version. Apple wants happy customers."

And happy Macs.

-- Alex Pham

Photo courtesy of Apple

 
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