Rumor: Apple preparing to release $799 MacBook Air

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Apple may respond to the slew of upcoming ultrabooks in 2012 by launching its own $799 MacBook Air in the third quarter of this year, according to a report on DigiTimes that cited "sources from the upstream supply chain."

Though DigiTimes does have a somewhat checkered track record where rumors are concerned, the report has gained some traction due to the logic and appeal of adopting such an approach on the highly popular MacBook Air family of ultraportable laptops.

While detractors argued that Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) is never one to compete by lowering its prices, many analysts think otherwise. "We've seen this pattern going back to the iPods," observed IHS iSuppli analyst Kevin Keller in a Wired article, referring to the Apple practice of marking down the prices of legacy devices. Interestingly, a price reduction for the lowest-priced MacBook Air from $999 to $799 would be proportionate to the price reduction for the iPad 2 when the new iPad was launched (from $499 to $399).

Apple is surely be feeling some heat as multiple vendors prepare to launch a second wave of ultrabooks incorporating Intel's (NASDAQ: INTC) new Ivy Bridge microprocessor. Ivy Bridge brings a number of advanced technologies designed to help low-priced ultrabooks perform better, such as Intel Smart Response, Intel Smart Connect and Intel Rapid Start. Moreover, it has built-in support for USB 3.0, as well as flexibility in multi-GPU configurations.

For more:
- check out this article at DigiTimes
- check out this article at Wired
- check out this article at ZDNet

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Intel: More than 60 Ultrabook designs coming in 2012

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