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Apple updates, drops price of MacBook Pro models

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Laptop shoppers may be happy to hear that Apple is cutting $200 from the price of its lowest-end retina MacBook Pro, bringing the price down to $1,499.

The Cupertino, Calif. firm announced Wednesday that it had dropped the price of the starting MacBook Pro, with 128 GB and a retina display. For a 13-inch MacBook Pro with a slightly faster processor and more memory, customers will have to pay $1,699.

The company also said that it would update the processors in its larger laptops, popping a 2.4 GHz quad-core processor in its mid-range 15-inch MacBook Pro and a 2.7 GHz processor in its highest-end model.

The MacBook Air’s 13-inch laptop with 256 GB of flash memory also got a price cut to $1,399.

Apple refreshed its laptop line in June, and reported sales of its computers had dropped in the last quarter of 2012, down 22 percent from the previous year.

Analysts have raised concerns that Apple products could eat into each others’ sales, a trend known as cannibalization. The computer market hasn’t weathered the trend toward tablets well, and some saw the drop in Apple’s Mac sales as a sign that its success with the iPad comes at the expense of its strength with laptops. Now, they’re worried that the iPad mini will erode iPad sales.

But in remarks Tuesday, Apple chief executive Tim Cook said that he believes the Apple “halo effect” will insulate against too much cannibalization, though he did concede that the iPad may have taken out some sales of Apple’s laptops.

Apple customers, he noted, tend to buy multiple products within the ecosystem — being able to share apps and data from your iPhone, after all, could make the iPad a much more appealing purchase.

He said the PC market still seems to face much more of a threat from the iPad than the full-sized Apple tablet faces from its smaller sibling, however, and that Apple has to be in the smaller tablet space to stay competitive.

“If we don’t cannibalize it, someone else will,” he said.

Related stories: Apple, Intel get nods in State of the Union Sign up today to receive #thecircuit, a daily roundup of the latest tech policy news from Washington and how it is shaping business, entertainment and science.

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