Apple cuts price of high-end SSD MacBook Air by $500

Apple has quietly reduced the price of its most expensive notebook by $500, cutting the cost of the upper-end MacBook Air to $2,598.

Apple has quietly reduced the price of its most expensive notebook by $US500, cutting the cost of the upper-end MacBook Air to $US2598.

The MacBook Air, which Apple launched last January to some fanfare, has been sold in two configurations since then: with a traditional 80GB magnetic platter hard drive and a 1.6GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, or with a 64GB solid-state drive and a 1.8GHz CPU. The solid-state drive (SSD) is built from flash memory and unlike its cheaper counterpart, has no moving parts.

The less-expensive hard drive-equipped MacBook Air retained its US$1,799 price tag, according to the Apple online store.

Several Apple-specific Web sites, including AppleInsider , noticed that Apple had dropped the price of the more expensive solid-state MacBook Air by 16 per cent on Thursday, July 3. Prior to the price cut, the solid-state MacBook Air sold for US$3,098.

The cut came from changes on two of the MacBook Air options. Selecting the SSD now adds $US599 to the price of the notebook, compared to US$999 earlier. Also lowered was the 1.8GHz processor option, from US$300 extra to US$200 today.

Traditionally, Apple announces price reductions -- which in themselves are relatively rare, since the company often retains earlier models' prices but changes the configurations to, for instance, add more RAM -- when it rolls out refreshed or new hardware.

The price cut means that the SSD-equipped MacBook Air is no longer Apple's most expensive notebook. That honor has now passed to the 17-in. MacBook Pro , which continues to sell for $2799 in its default configuration.

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Gregg Keizer

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