Apple has quietly reduced the price of its most expensive notebook by US$500, cutting the cost of the upper-end MacBook Air to US$2,598.
In New Zealand, the price cut is even bigger. The SSD MacBook Air is now $4,318, down from NZ$5,139.
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 websites, including AppleInsider, noticed that Apple had dropped the price of the more expensive solid-state MacBook Air by 16% 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 US$599 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 honour has now passed to the 17-in. MacBook Pro, which continues to sell for US$2,799 in its default configuration.