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The MacBook Air is directly competing with iPad pricing for the first time

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The iPad and MacBook Air have always competed with each other in terms of on-the-go computing, but the two have always been separated by price. No matter the specs of your dreamy iPad, you could never get an ultra-slim MacBook for the same price - until today, that is. With the 11" MacBook Air dropping down to US$899, it's now cheaper than a fully fleshed-out 128 GB, cellular-enabled iPad. That's kind of crazy.

Let's compare specs:

11" MacBook Air iPad Air w/Cellular
Display 11.6", 1366x768px

9.7", 2048x1536px

Storage 128GB flash

128GB flash

Processor 1.4GHz Core i5

64-bit A7 w/ M7 coprocessor

Camera 720p FaceTime HD

720p FaceTime, 1080p video, 5MP iSight camera

Battery 9 hours wireless web

10 hours web on Wi-Fi

Price $899

$929

The story that a spec comparison doesn't tell is the usability of these two machines. A physical keyboard, mouse support, and USB ports make the Air the choice for productivity, while the iPad Air is home to many more cheap apps and games than the Mac App Store could ever dream of.

It is, of course, still far too early to know whether this pricing shift will affect the popularity of either of the product lines. But with iPad sales beginning to show signs of a plateau, a bargain-priced MacBook could further exacerbate the issue.

We're at an interesting crossroads, where potential customers wanting the most capable Apple tablet can pick up a MacBook and save a few bucks along the way. But when you have customers deciding between two $900 Apple products, the company wins either way.

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