Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.
On Monday, the Apple MacBook Air reached a new price low as a wave of sub-$1,000 ultrathin laptops get set to break onto the market.
The ultrathin, trend-setting 13-inch notebook made a steep descent from its rarefied, luxury-laptop pricing altitudes. The top-of-the-line Air with a 128GB solid-state drive fell $700 in price to $1,799 from $2,499 and gained a slightly faster 2.13GHz Core 2 Duo processor. The new prices are now posted on Apple's Web site.
The lower-end version with a 120GB hard disk drive fell to $1,499--the lowest price to date for a new (not refurbished) MacBook Air.
The price cut is happening just as PC makers, including Lenovo, Acer, Asus, and MSI, are debuting new ultrathin laptops at price points decidedly lower than the executive-jewelry genre of ultraportables that dominated the market for years.
Lenovo's 3.5-pound 13.3-inch IdeaPad U350, for example, will start at $649. At the other end of the pricing spectrum, the top-of-the-line, ultrasleek Dell Adamo is still listed at $2,699. The clock may be ticking on these lofty price levels, though.
On Monday, Apple also upgraded its comparably sized 13-inch MacBook to MacBook Pro status. The new 13-inch MacBook Pro has the same unibody design but now includes a seven-hour battery, a FireWire 800 port, an SD card slot, a backlit keyboard, and an improved LED-backlit display with a greater color range.
With Nvidia GeForce 9400M integrated graphics, a 2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB of memory, and a 160GB hard disk drive, the 13-inch MacBook Pro is priced at $1,199. A model with a 2.53 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4GB of memory, and a 250GB hard disk drive is priced at $1,499.