$799 MacBook Air coming later this year?

It’s amazing how many times we read rumors about Apple releasing a smaller, cheaper model of a popular product “in Q3 of this year.” Throughout 2011 the iPhone 4S speculation was that it would be a new, cheaper alternative to the iPhone 5 that never materialized. We heard the same of the iPad this year. Prior to the new iPad’s launch, there was all sorts of craziness flying around regarding an iPad Mini, or a cheaper iPad to be launched followed by the iPad 3.

So, I suppose you can forgive me for being skeptical on this one: an $800 MacBook Air later on this year. As usual, I’ll go through the details of the rumor, and state why it won’t happen. And hopefully, as is customary, I’ll be right. Apparently, according to “sources in the supply chain” Apple is planning to compete with the latest batch of ultrabooks being launched by companies such as Acer, HP etc. In order to keep its foothold in the market, Cupertino is expected to release a cheaper-than-usual Macbook. The cheapest one on offer right now is the 11-inch $999 model. Needless to say, the rumor came from the increasingly unreliable DigiTimes.

Now, for the reasons why it won’t happen:

1) Apple don’t do business like everyone else. To the designers over at Infinite Loop, the most important thing is the product. The effort that goes behind designing and perfecting is incredible. Even to the point have having extra long production lines in factories to ensure that the parts are placed correctly, and triple-checked for quality. There’s no way that the chiefs of our favorite tech company will release a cheaper knee-jerk MacBook. The only reason that other companies offer cheaper alternatives, is because they know that if they’re priced the same as the MacBook Air, customers will choose the Air every time.

2) Q3 will be Apple’s biggest quarter of the year. The next iPhone will be launched around then, and the focus will be on getting shipment volumes up high enough to cope with – what will certainly be – the most popular and hyped of iPhone launch yet. There’s no way that they have the time to push out a lower-specced notebook. If Apple’s previous launches are anything to go by, it’s more likely that the MacBook Air will be replaced by a newer, more powerful model, and the current generation will be offered for a much lower price.

What do you think? Will Apple ever release a cheap, lesser quality product?

Via: DigiTimes

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  • RaduTanasescu

    Apple might speculate on Windows 8, which is far more unfamiliar to windows users than Mac OS is. Practically by making an ad campaign that tells people that Mac OS is more familiar to them then their PC’s are going to be it could very well increase it’s market share in computers.
    Of course a cheaper mac would also help a lot, especially a macbook air which regular people (not tech geeks) really seam to like.
    The price has been the only reason holding the mac line back, if apple could release cheaper macs at the same quality level then windows and pc’s would certainly be in trouble.
    Can apple do this? I think it can. By reducing the profit margin for macs it can make them cheaper, the sheer volume of sales should cover for the smaller profit per unit, other companies don’t just have a lower quality product, they also have lower profit margins for each product.
    Will Apple do it? Not sure, we have no idea how Tim Cook thinks, it’s true that he has been in charge since before Steve passed away but so far the company has been run Steve Jobs style. We have to see how the Tim Cook style is going to be.
    Will Apple ever release lower quality products? Yes, it can happen, it has happened in the past so it can happen again, Apple has been the Apple we know only while it was led by Steve, while he was away Apple made crap products, even the macs.

  • Mike

    No, and I really hope they don’t release a cheaper, lesser quality product. That’s what makes apple apple, and why they are the most valuable company in the world, Because they’re products are designed and built  WELL. Pricing is what you pay for when all the R&D goes into designing their products. Sure, sometimes apple stuff can be a bit more expensive than it should (Ex: The 27″ Cinema Display), but the bottom line with apple is that you get what you pay for.

  • Jalen

    If Google ever decides to go Android for desktop and laptop operating systems, that’s probably the point where Apple will either freak out, or freak out. Integration is the only edge that Apple has over it’s competitors, but if Google is smart, they will also find a way to integrate everything. Google Play is a start. Chromebooks are getting somewhere, but the jump hasn’t been made yet.