Independence from HDDs? MBA with SSD is $500 off!

It's a cheaper IT Blogwatch: in which Apple cuts the price of the top-end MacBook Air. Not to mention dan le sac Vs Scroobius Pip's new clip...

Gregg Keizer reports:

Apple Inc. has quietly reduced the price of its most expensive notebook by $500 ... 16% ... cutting the cost of the upper-end MacBook Air to $2,598 ... Prior to the price cut, the solid-state MacBook Air sold for $3,098 ... The MacBook Air, which Apple launched in January to some fanfare, has been sold in two configurations since then: with a traditional 80GB magnetic platter hard drive and a 1.6-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, or with a 64GB solid-state drive and a 1.8-GHz CPU. Solid-state drives (SSD) are built from flash memory and, unlike hard drives, have no moving parts ... The less expensive hard-drive-equipped MacBook Air retained its $1,799 price tag. more

Slash Lane adds:

The half-grand markdown is a result of price cuts to two separate components. First, Apple reduced the price of the Air's 1.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor upgrade by $100 to just $200. Secondly, the company slashed the cost of the Flash memory-based 64GB SSD drive upgrade to $599 from $999. That means customers can now configured a 1.6GHz MacBook Air with an SSD drive for as little as $2398. more

And Arnold Kim has more:

Apple has emailed customers who have outstanding orders that are affected by the price drop: To Our Valued Apple Customer: Apple has announced a price drop for a component(s) of the MacBook Air that you recently ordered. We have automatically adjusted your order to reflect the new lower price. more

Jacqui Cheng spots the irony:

Aside from "yay, discounts!," this development means two things. One, you can now buy a refurbished SSD MacBook Air for more than it costs to buy a new one. Oops. Two, it means that if you want to upgrade the 1.6GHz MacBook Air to an SSD drive (forgoing the 1.8GHz processor upgrade), you can do so for a total of only $2400 now. more

Kevin C. Tofel is confused and bemused:

What's got me scratching my noggin is the reason for the price drop. I'm trying to figure out if we're finally seeing a real price fall in SSD technology as a whole or if Apple is changing the physical part from an SLC drive to a MLC drive. Single-Level Cell technology should last longer but is more expensive; Multi-Level Cell drives are less costly to produce. I took a peek in the full specs on Apple's site, but there's no mention of which technology is used. Regardless, if you've been lusting after carefully considering an Air with a Solid State Disk drive, you just saved yourself some coin. more

Philip Elmer-DeWitt confirms Kevin's suspicions:

The price cut, just six months after the product was introduced, is at least partly the result of Apple’s transition from expensive single-level cell flash to multi-level cell technology (see here) and steadily falling NAND flash memory prices across the board. But it may also reflect increased competition in the thin notebook market and sluggish sales for the driveless version, which hasn’t quite delivered either the speed or power savings customers had expected. more

Luigi Lugmayr loves it: [You're fired -Ed.]

There is definitely a price movement going on in the SSD space. OCZ announced new 2.5 inch SSD SATA II devices in 32GB, 64GB and 128GB sizes with unseen low prices. The OCZ Core SSD have MSRPs of $169, $259 and $479 respectively. more

[Hat tip: Techmeme]

And finally...

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Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/adviser/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and spam. A 21 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You can follow him on Twitter, pretend to be Richi's friend on Facebook, or just use boring old email:

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