MacBook Air price drop clearing inventory for new models?

Apple yesterday dropped the price of the high end 64Gb SSD MacBook Air by a whopping $500 ($400 less for the SSD and $100 for the 1.8Ghz Processor).  However, Apple who is usually quick to point out fairly significant price drops, did nothing in the way of PR.  

Why?  

My theory is that this is meant to clear out inventory of the seven month old product, not to sell more MacBook Airs.

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If you read this blog, you know that I advised most of my clients to hold off on Rev 1 of the MacBook Air for a number of reasons.  Don't get me wrong, the Air is an amazing product - but it has the potential to be so  much more.  During my hands-on experience with it, it was great for e-mail, Web browsing and most MS Office tasks (although PowerPoint started to slow it down a bit and had some annoying delays).  I even was able to do some minor Photoshop work on it without getting too annoyed.  Unfortunately, it doesn't run Parallels or VMWare well enough to reccomend it for people who need to run Windows.  

Overall, when connected to a 24 inch monitor and external keyboard and mouse, it makes an adaquate desktop replacement for those with light to moderate computer horsepower needs.  Running my usual ten applications did slow it down considerably, so I had to make mental notes to close programs more often - which is a painful consession on such an expensive computer.

Adding a bit of speed to the Air would make a big dent in these issues.  Most of the Road Warriors that the MacBook Air is marketed towards would love a bit of a boost in PowerPoint speed.   A faster 45nm processor would do much to alleviate this.  Some more RAM (4Gb pretty please?!) would help with Windows emulation and having many applications open at the same time.

Additionally, some sort of 3G wireless built-in (stop with the 'get a USB dongle' talk - this is an elegant Apple ultra-portable product here!) would really complete this product.  Apple's relationship with AT&T should facilitate this.  $60/month?  Decent roaming rates?  Throw in MobileMe?  Maybe give iPhone owners a price break on having both?  You'd have a huge hit there.

And what about that new price point?  The next versions of the Air will probably retain the current prices but may (*hopes*) also include a boost in storage space.  Perhaps a 96Gb SSD and 120Gb HDD?  

Oh and one more thing: Apple could throw a knock out punch to the competition by including the new 14-inch 16:9 LED screen that AU Optronics is rolling out.  There is room in the current enclosure for more screen area so why not?

If Apple hits even on a few of these things, my new advice to the people on the fence:  Time to buy!

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