Apple to Defend Against Ultrabook Invasion with 15-inch MacBook Air

While Windows PC makers are making a push into thin and light territory with Intel's Ultrabook concept, Apple is reportedly prepping a refreshed MacBook Air line that, for the first time, will include a 15.6-inch model. This will be in addition to existing 11.6-inch and 13.3-inch form factors that already exist in the MacBook Air family.

News of a 15.6-inch model comes from DigiTimes, which claims to have heard the plans from "sources from the upstream supply chain." Those sources say the new MacBook Air systems will launch in the first quarter of 2012.

"Commenting on Apple's move, sources from retail channels pointed out that Apple will start dropping the price of its existing MacBook Airs before launching its series and the promotion could further boost Apple's share in the global notebook market," DigiTimes says.

That's a double whammy for Ultrabook makers, who will not only have to compete with a 15.6-inch MacBook Air, but also against lower priced Airs that will still be relatively well equipped as 2012 gets under way.