Yesterday’s announcement of the new MacBook Airs shows Apple’s version of ‘embrace and extend’ is alive and well. By providing an even more competitive option in the $1000 price band.
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Both laptops are now available with a 1.4 GHz processor, 4GB of memory, and 128 GB of storage in the base models, with options to upgrade to 1.7 GHz processor, 8 GB of memory and 5125 GB of storage.
Perhaps more interestingly is the $100 price drop. Coupled with the bump in the specifications this makes the MacBook Air an even more attractive option for anyone looking for a powerful and portable computer, with the 11-inch base model starting at $899.
Following strong Mac sales in the last quarter (4.1 million units), the refresh keeps the MacBook Air relevant spec wise, and an attractive machine that is still in demand when the fashion is to say the laptop is dead and everyone should switch to a tablet.
Well, the Android tablets can’t hold a candle to the capabilities of an OSX laptop, but Apple do need to beware that the MacBook Air could cannibalize the iPad Air.
While the base model of the iPad Air at $499 is still lower than the new MacBook pricing, as you move up the storage options and connectivity, you get into an area where the iPad Air and MacBook Air cross over (the 64 GB WiFI + Cellular options is just below the crossover point). That doesn’t mean that the two form factors could be direct replacements because the differences in capability and functionality between OSX and iOS still create options for users to choose a device that fits in with their requirements. But there is an increasing cross-over of capability between the two devices which mean the basic functionality demanded by every user can be found on either the tablet or the laptop.
Apple is now covering the majority of pricing bands for portable and mobile computing. Perhaps the only area not covered is the $400 laptop market, but arguably the functionality that people are looking for here is covered by the iPad Air range with an external keyboard. The refreshed MacBook Air line makes the OSX device available to more people, it keeps the range at the forefront of spec war, and it maintains the image of the MacBook Air as the world’s favourite laptop.