Is Apple throwing its weight around to keep suppliers from dabbling in ultrabooks? Maybe so, at least according to a Commercial Times report quoted by DigiTimes. (The original report is in Chinese.)
Word is that, as a result of pressure from Apple, Pegatron intends to stop producing Zenbook laptops for Asus. If you've seen our review, you'll know the Zenbook family has quite a lot in common with Apple's MacBook Airs—at least the first-generation models. The Zenbook UX31 has a higher-density display than Apple's 13-inch MacBook Air, though, and it costs a little less.
DigiTimes says Pegatron, "eager to solicit orders for next-generation iPads," caved under pressure from the Mac maker. Asus will reportedly have to source its Zenbooks from Compal or Wistron going forward. (Fun fact: Pegatron was spun off from Asus back in 2007. If there's any truth to this latest story, I'd wager Asus is none too pleased.)
In related news, DigiTimes predicts that ultrabook prices will drop by 20-30% starting early next month. The price drop will help clear the way for upcoming second-gen systems based on Intel's Ivy Bridge processors. By the looks of it, pressure from Apple can't stop ultrabooks from undercutting the MacBook Air family more and more.