Best Buy in the US has discounted some MacBook Pro laptops by as much as US$200, and offered college students another US$100 off in a promotion that may hint at impending refreshes of Apple’s signature notebook.
Best Buy chopped US$200 off the 13in MacBook Pro, dropped prices of the Retina-equipped MacBook Pro as much as US$150, and trimmed up to US$65 from the MacBook Air‘s price tag. It’s not clear how long the discounts will continue; the Wall Street Journal‘s AllThingsD blog cited 27 July, but Best Buy’s website seemed to indicate the deal would expire on 20 July.
The prices were valid for all buyers, not just students, but the latter will also receive an additional discount of US$100 if they submit a valid email address ending in .edu.
A non-Retina 13in MacBook Pro, then, would cost an eligible student US$899.99, 25 percent under the full retail price.
Although Apple always keeps its cards close, the discounts – large by Apple’s standards – may be designed to clear inventory before new models are introduced. According to MacRumors, which maintains a buyer’s guide that tracks the length of time between refreshes, the MacBook Pro line is long overdue for an overhaul, having last been tweaked in June 2012.
An alternative theory: Apple, like virtually every personal computer maker, is having an increasing tough time selling Macs as more customers buy tablets instead. The price cuts, selective as they are – only Best Buy has posted prices this low – could simply be Apple’s attempt, albeit an unusual one for the firm, to keep sales ticking.
Apple updated the MacBook Air ultralights last month when it debuted Intel’s next-generation Core processor, code named ‘Haswell’ and claimed battery run times between nine and 12 hours, depending on the model. The Cupertino, California company also dropped prices of the popular 13in Airs by US$100.
New MacBook Pro notebooks would certainly rely on the Haswell line. If so, and assuming the same kind of battery improvement as seen in the MacBook Airs, the Pros – both non-Retina and Retina – would run about 12 hours between charges.
by Gregg Keizer, Computerworld