Apple hints at 15-inch MacBook Air, lower entry price on iPad?

As part of today’s earnings calls, Apple execs Peter Oppenheimer and Tim Cook gave “some color” on their future thinking.  Some notable hints:

(From Macworld’s transcripts):

JP Morgan: Peter, can you give us a little more insight on iPad gross margins going forward? Given Tim’s comment earlier about competitors, should we assume Apple can increase features while keeping price stable?

Peter (about future direction of iPads): We don’t talk about future products. We work aggressively to lower our costs and our gross margins were strong in last quarter and provided margins for March quarter.

To me at least, this seems to indicate that Apple will offer a lower price of entry on iPads.  If I had to guess, I’d say Apple is going to do what they do on iPhones and keep a previous version around after the iPad 2 is released in the coming months.  Perhaps the current iPad 16GB Wifi drops to $399?

On MacBook Airs, Oppenheimer said:

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Q: On the MacBook Air, any insights on how you’re viewing the platform…a premium tablet or a notebook?
A: It was a phenomenal part of our growth during the quarter. The customers love it…they love the thinness, the precision, the instant-on, etc. We’re really happy with it as a starting block. We’ve only been shipping it for less than 90 days, so we’re just getting going.

At the MacBook Air introduction, Jobs said something to the tune of, “We believe the Air is the future of our Notebook lineup”.

It may just be my personal desire for a 15-inch 1080P MacBook Air, but as a starting block says to me that larger Airs are on the way.

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