As you know there have been few ultrabook laptops that have come even close to the MacBook Air. Apple defined the category when they came out with the Air back in 2007 or 2008. About the only thing remotely in the ballpark is the Lenovo X1 carbon. http://shop.lenovo.com/us/products/laptops/thinkpad/x-series/x1
Dell came out with their answer today, firing with both barrels. The XPS 13 is not a new laptop for Dell. I believe this has been on the market since 2011 or 2012 and has been revised accordingly over the years. It was always flawed in one way or another. This time they laying it all on the line. A 13 inch model, with basically no bezel on the sides of the screen and up to a 15 hour battery life.
Oh yeah — starting at 799 for a fully featured model http://www.dell.com/us/p/xps-13-9343-laptop/pd?ref=PD_Family
Apple is not going to let this pass them by. Word is that they are going to refresh their MacBook Air line and go to one 12.5 inch model, with a higher resolution screen. I don’t like some of the rumors that I have read. http://www.imore.com/apple-reportedly-planning-major-redesign-next-macbook-air They will cut back to 1 USB port and it will be one of the next gen Type C USB ports will be widely used in the future, but not many devices support today. It’s basically USB 4.0 so people will need dongles and adapters coming from the MacBook Air.
Apple is probably thinking there is not a lot to distinguish the current MacBook Pro from the Air. They aren’t going to blur the lines anymore.