Apple updates, cuts price on laptops

Apple’s lightweight MacBook Air notebook is getting faster and cheaper.

The Cupertino company on Tuesday announced that it’s updating the line with faster processors and is slashing the price on all models by $100. The revised notebooks are available today.

“Today we’ve boosted the performance and lowered the price of MacBook Air so even more people can experience the perfect everyday notebook,” Phil Schiller, the company’s senior vice president in charge of worldwide marketing, said in a statement.

The updates are the first in nearly a year for the MacBook Air. The product, which originally started as a pricey notebook targeted at professionals, has become Apple’s consumer notebook line.

The entry level 11-inch MacBook Air now costs $900, down from $1,000 previously. The lowest price 13-inch MacBook Air now costs $1,000, down from $1,100 for the prior version. Both models include a 1.4-gigahertz Intel Core i5 processor, up from a 1.3-gigahertz Intel chip in last year’s models.

Both base models include 4-gigabytes of memory and 128-gigabyte flash drives. All models can be upgraded to 8-gigabytes of memory and 512-gigabyte flash drives.

The upgrades come as the worldwide market for PCs is slumping. In the first quarter, PC shipments worldwide fell more than 4 percent, according to research firm IDC.

Apple’s Macs, however, have generally outperformed the market. In the most recent quarter, Apple’s global Mac shipments grew 5 percent.

Photo of 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Air models courtesy of Apple.

Troy Wolverton Troy Wolverton (248 Posts)

Troy writes the Tech Files column as the Personal Technology Columnist at the San Jose Mercury News. He also covers the digital media, mobile and video game industries and writes occasionally about Apple, chips, social networking and other aspects of technology. Previously, Troy covered Apple and the consumer electronics industry. Prior to joining the Mercury News, Troy reported on technology, business and financial issues for TheStreet.com and CNET News.com.