Although Acer has recently reduced its ultrabook shipment target, Intel continues to aggressively push ultrabooks and is aiming to have the devices priced at US$699 in the second half of the year.
However, if Intel is unable to bring down ASPs to its goal, the price gap between ultrabooks and the US$799 MacBook Air may further postpone the time ultrabooks become standardized, the sources noted.
Intel has already set aside a fund of US$300 million for ultrabooks and another US$100 million for developing its own application store.
In addition, with its heavy investment in product promotions, the company believes the investments will help strengthen notebook brand vendors' morale and help increase ultrabook's share in the notebook market.
DigiTimes Apple will release the $799 (£494) MacBook Air in Q3 this year, which translates as sometime between July and September. It's expected to be the company's answer to the current crop of ultrabooks.
Ultrabooks are becoming more common, with second generation models emerging from the likes of Sony, Asus, Acer, and Lenovo. The source says they don't think ultrabooks will really start selling until Windows 8 launches
They didn't give any specs for this budget Air, but I reckon it would pack an 11-inch screen, perhaps with a 32GB SSD. While the $799 price tag converts to £500, I'd expect it to cost more than that. The current MacBook Air starts at £849, or $999 in the US, so I think us Brits would be looking at at least £700. Not exactly cheap for a laptop, but then this is Apple we're talking about.
Apple is expected to redesign the MacBook Pro so it resembles the Air, slimming it down and making it lighter. It may also add a retina display, like on the new iPad, which would be quite some package. It could also be preparing a larger MacBook Air. So expect a killer laptop lineup from Apple this summer.
But maybe Apple's biggest threat will come from Qualcomm. A few weeks ago it announced its smartbooks will be thinner and lighter than anything that's gone before. It promised the devices back in 2009, but only showed off some prototypes.
They'll use Qualcomm's quad-core Snapdragon S4 chip, and should go on sale in the second half of the year. Google's Chromebooks have gone a little quiet of late, but maybe that's because Google is putting its energies into a tablet.