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Did Apple Cut The MacBook Air's Price To Prevent A Sales Decline?

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Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) has reduced the price of the MacBook Air by $100 for the third year in a row.

Consumers will now pay $999 for a brand-new 13-inch MacBook Air, or $899 for the 11-inch model.

In addition to the price cut, Apple tweaked the MacBook Air with improved battery life (12 hours on the 13-inch model; nine hours on the 11-inch version) and improved processors from Intel (NASDAQ: INTC).

The announcement was made with little fanfare and only a small notice on Apple.com.

Unexpected Boost

Computer sales continue to decline for most manufacturers, but Apple posted a five percent increase in Mac sales during the March quarter. This was a surprise turnaround for the Mac franchise, whose sales had declined during the three previous quarters.

Related: Apple's New Concept Could Reinvent the iPad, MacBook Pro

Apple's success could be due to the Mac Pro. Consumers had waited several years for a major upgrade, which finally arrived in December 2013. Those sales could have easily carried over into the March quarter.

In addition to its annual price cut for the MacBook Air, Apple previously reduced the price of the MacBook Pro. This may have also played a role in improving Apple's sales.

Loss Prevention?

Argus Research analyst James Kelleher does not think that Apple's latest price cut had anything to do with MacBook sales.

"It's not uncommon for anybody, including Apple, to reduce prices on existing iterations of products, existing SKUs, while they make room in the market for new refinements," Kelleher told Benzinga.

Those "new refinements" may not result in the rumored iPad and MacBook Air hybrid -- or any other drastic product changes.

"I don't think there's going to be any big news in the space until Apple converges iOS with the [Mac] OS," said Kelleher.

Disclosure: At the time of this writing, Louis Bedigian had no position in the equities mentioned in this report.

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