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Apple cuts price of flash-drive MacBook Air

If you'd been considering the best configuration of the MacBook Air--with a faster processor and solid-state hard drive--it's now $500 cheaper, but still expensive.

The MacBook Air is now cheaper if you want the flash-memory hard drive option. Apple

Updated 2 p.m. PDT Monday to clarify that Apple has cut the price of a MacBook Air with a solid-state hard drive and faster processor by $500 total.

Apple has quietly reduced the price of the flash-memory version of the MacBook Air.

Appleinsider tipped us to the new price, which can be found at the online Apple Store. Before today, you would have paid a $999 premium if you wanted a MacBook Air with a solid-state hard drive, but Apple has reduced that premium to $599. It's also now cheaper to upgrade the processor from 1.6GHz to 1.8GHz, $200 instead of $300, on either the flash model or the one with the standard hard drive.

PC companies have been interested in flash memory hard drives for some time, but it's not clear how well they are selling. Using flash memory instead of moving parts to store data improves the reliability of the system; hard drive failures are one of the most common problems experienced by notebook users.

But it's still very expensive to choose a flash drive over a regular hard drive, and potential customers might not be able to justify spending that extra $999, or even $599. Reliability is important, but so is price, and recent news that flash-memory drives are actually a drain on battery life won't help sell them as an upgrade option.