This week, Apple refreshed their MacBook Air line to support the latest and greatest Intel processors. I am saddened to see no Retina Display on those machines yet, but I am also surprised to see that they dropped the price of their machines. A lot of people seems focused on how this will change everything for iPad as their new MacBook fits right into the tablet’s price point. The funny thing in all of this is that no one seems to notice what happened on the other side. You might be able to get an Air for $899 but you can still get one for $1’479. If you wonder where this will get you, it means that you can now get a MacBook Air that is more powerful than a mid-range MacBook Pro… for less money!
No, seriously, you can!
The most powerful Air available today comes with a pretty beefy Core i7-4650U which scores 4’367 points in PassMark. In comparison, the best processor you can get on a mid-range 13″ MacBook Pros is a core i7-4558U which scores 4’116 points in the same benchmark. That is 6% slower than the Air… for $ 300 more! Why would Apple do this?
Well, the Pros still have their powerful graphics, the ability to support more memory and more ports, but for most users, those are not a necessity, specially when you consider the Airs’ mobility. 8 GB of memory is more than enough for your everyday needs and you do not need two thunderbolt ports in your living-room. So what is going on? Is this Apple’s take on the low-end market? Probably not, but it is Apple’s way of saying that something big is going on.
The last time such a price drop happened, we have seen a complete revamp of the MacBook Pro line. The classic Pros got a nice price drop and their “one more thing” was a Pro with Retina Display and a completely new design. Thinking about it, it has been a while since the last major product release. I am not saying that the Airs will go away. Apple just revamped iPad with the Air branding so I expect them to keep the name for a while. For sure though, we will see some big things soon in the MacBook Air product line. Something to bring it back on the front lines of the Ultrabook competition. Either that, or the 13″ Pros will get a big upgrade soon.