Apple Throws A Low Cost Air Ball At Ultrabook Vendors

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Apple, who pioneered the original Ultrabook with their MacBook Air, is set to launch another milestone with a sub $800 model due to be launched in the third quarter.The move will put pressure on several IT brands who are currently selling UltraBooks for over $1,000.

Earlier this month Acer reduced their ultrabook shipment target as Intel continues to aggressively push ultrabooks with the processor company now buying advertising for Ultrabooks in high profile shows like the Voice.

At CES Intel said they hoped notebook vendors will drop the price of Ultrabooks to sub 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 it will take ultrabooks to become standardised, observers have said.

DigiTimes said Intel has already set aside a fund of US$300 million for ultrabooks and another US$100 million for developing its own application store. In addition, with its heavy investment in product promotions, the company believes the investments will help strengthen notebook brand vendors’ morale and help increase ultrabook’s share in the notebook market.

However, the sources believe that ultrabooks are unlikely to achieve strong sales performance until the launch of Windows 8.

Currently, Apple’s 11-inch 64GB MacBook Air is priced at US$999 with a 128GB version priced at US$1,199. The 13-inch 128GB version is priced at US$1,299 and 256GB version is US$1,599. If Apple decides to launch a US$799 MacBook Air, the sources believe the strategy will damage ultrabooks allowing Apple to continue to press its advantage.

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