New Thinner MacBook Air Might Hurt iPad Sales

The iPad has been accused of hurting sales of Apple's own Mac computers, but some experts are predicting the tables will turn if rumors of a new thinner MacBook Air are true.

A new MacBook Air will be coming out this fall, according to Mingchi Kuo, senior analyst at Digitimes Research. It will feature an 11.6-inch display and an "Intel Core i-series ultra-low voltage processor." It will also be thinner and lighter than the previous MacBook Air, which is really saying something.

If true, the new MacBook Air will likely be announced before the holidays. Apple normally makes new product announcements around the month of September, which would be a good time to debut a thinner MacBook Air with a few new hardware specs.

This news has immediately led to speculation that a new MacBook Air could steal sales away from the popular iPad Apple released earlier this year. The MacBook Air has all the portability of an iPad, but with twice the processing speed, four times the RAM and twice the storage of the most expensive iPad. And to top it off, the MacBook Air can also run the full Apple Snow Leopard operating system and productivity suites such as Microsoft Office.

However, any competition between a new MacBook Air and the iPad will eventually come down to price. The current MacBook Air is $1,500, and even though Apple brought it down from $1800 the high price has kept it from being more than a status symbol. If the MacBook Air were to really compete with the iPad, it would have to come down below $1,000. Otherwise, people who are already content with smartphone computing and using apps for productivity will continue to go with the cheaper iPad and its multitouch screen for mobile computing.