The last thing Google needs following its exciting developer conference (ending today) is for something sharp to pop its big fun beach ball called Chrome. The search and information giant scrambles to fix a bug that sends the newest MacBook Air into kernel panic. That's "crash" to you Mac layfolk.
Starting just shortly after the release of Sandy Bridge-powered Macbook Airs earlier this month, troublesome reports appeared on Apple’s support communities where, owners complained their slender machines crashed to the point of kernel panic -- and frequently.
For as much emphasis as Apple puts on its mobile ecosystem, the company's Mac business continues to grow. At WWDC 2012 in San Francisco on Monday, Apple unveiled its latest upgrades to the Macbook line of personal computers, bringing out new versions of the MacBook Pro and Air lines, and introducing a new subset of MacBook Pros that carry the higher resolution Retina display.
Aiming to fight Apple's MacBook Air on one of its primary advantages -- its size -- Lenovo on Thursday introduced its Ultrabook, claiming it is thinner than Apple's signature ultra-thin laptop.
Indeed, at .6-inches thick, the Lenovo Ultrabook U300S comes in slightly thinner than the Air's .68 inches. The laptop is part of a broader effort introduced by Intel in May to revive interest in laptops overall. The chipmaker is rightly worried about tablets, a device category Intel does not have a strong foothold in. Thus pushing these ultra-thin laptops has become a major part of its current business strategy.
Intel has a big problem, and senior executives know it. Ultrabooks running its processors and Windows cannot compete with MacBook Air on price. There's a strange offing coming, when Macs, which for so long cost more than Windows PCs, will be the value choice -- that's assuming Apple chooses to pass savings on to customers rather than be extra greedy about margins.
Wintel OEMs can't compete on price because Apple realizes cost advantages inherent to its end-to-end development, manufacturing and distribution model. These smaller powerhouse laptops aren't cheap to produce, but it's two secret ingredients in Apple's recipe that will prove decisive.
Rumors about an impending MacBook Air refresh engulfed the web this month. If you believe them, Apple is poised to make the thin-and-light laptop its flagship portable. Oh yeah? So why not grab some market share, too, by lowering the price where mere mortals could afford to buy one? With Intel bringing on UltraBook as clear MacBook Air competitor, it's reasonable to wonder about Apple's response.
I asked two analysts, Roger Kay and Stephen Baker, for their response to the headline's question, but I was more interested in Baker's opinion. In the past, he strongly advocated Apple releasing a $799 Mac.