Apple to release $799 MacBook Air later this year?

Apple may be planning on releasing a less costly version of its popular MacBook Air ultraportable, according to a recent report. The new version of the MacBook Air would be released before the end of the year.

Digitimes reports that some of its sources have indicated the company is attempting to combat the recent slew of Windows-powered Ultrabooks by releasing a cheaper MacBook Air. The new laptop would be released in the third quarter of this year. Intel is playing a large role in both Ultrabooks and the MacBook Air's development, serving as the CPU provider for both platforms. According to Digitimes, the company is attempting to lower the entry-level price for the new style of affordable laptop.

Although Acer has recently reduced its ultrabook shipment target, Intel continues to aggressively push ultrabooks and is aiming to have the devices priced at US$699 in the second half of the year. However, if Intel is unable to bring down ASPs to its goal, the price gap between ultrabooks and the US$799 MacBook Air may further postpone the time ultrabooks become standardized, the sources noted.

Apple's 11-inch MacBook Air currently has a starting price of $999 for a 64GB version, and the company's 13-inch version starts at $1,299 for its 128GB version. The 128GB version of the 11-inch MacBook Air and the 256GB version of the 13-inch MacBook Air are priced at $1,199 and $1,599, respectively.

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