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Apple may launch $799 MacBook Air this year, claims report

The company is mulling the idea of a lower-priced MacBook Air as more PC makers unleash budget-conscious ultrabooks, says DigiTimes.

Will Apple trim the price on its next MacBook Air?
Will Apple trim the price on its next MacBook Air? Apple

We could see a $799 MacBook Air as early as the third quarter, according to the folks at DigiTimes.

Citing the usual "sources from the upstream supply chain," the site says that a more aggressively priced MacBook Air could crimp rival ultrabooks, especially if Intel is unable to bring their average selling price down to its goal of $699. A $799 offering from Apple may also keep competing machines from becoming more standardized.

Intel has been on a quest to push ultrabooks as the latest and greatest technology. Last year the chipmaker created a $300 fund to aid hardware and software companies aiming to enhance the lightweight laptops. The company has also spent $100 million to invest in ultrabook software developers.

Regardless of Apple's strategy, ultrabooks may not truly take off until the launch of Windows 8 later this year, say DigiTimes' sources. However, the latest sales figures from Dell are painting a brighter picture.

The PC maker recently revealed that its $999 XPS 13 ultrabook is selling way beyond expectations, providing some signs that the market as a whole may be poised to take off.

Apple is currently pricing its 11-inch MacBook Air with 64GB of flash storage at $999 and its 128GB version at $1,199. The 13-inch 128GB edition sells for $1,299, while the 256GB moidel is $1,599. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo recently projected that Apple could even introduce a hybrid laptop in the third quarter, one with the power of the MacBook Pro but the portability of the MacBook Air.