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The new Mac notebooks may have landed, but exactly where did they land from a price perspective? I had hoped my logical argument for a small and relatively lower-powered $800 Apple notebook would have surfaced but it looks too early for that. I suspect it will […]

2007notebooksales

The new Mac notebooks may have landed, but exactly where did they land from a price perspective? I had hoped my logical argument for a small and relatively lower-powered $800 Apple notebook would have surfaced but it looks too early for that. I suspect it will happen, only later, simply because of the sheer growth opportunity of the one-year old netbook market. Aside from the happy ending, I did call for a “Pro-like” MacBook with an NVIDIA GPU, so I take some solace in that.In any case, Apple now offers the plastic MacBook for $999, while the new one starts at $1,299. Take a look at the graph above, which I made from data courtesy of Keith Bachman’s numbers reported at Between The Lines. Nearly 37% of the 2007 notebook market was priced under Apple’s current pricing as shown by the market percentage of notebooks sold under the listed price points. I’ve grouped the price points in increments of $500 due to space constraints, but Bachman’s numbers show that until now, Apple was missing out on 37.8% of the market. Given today’s economic climate, I’d expect that a far greater number of notebooks under $999 will be sold. Add in the fact that an average priced $450 netbook can do 90% of what consumers want well enough and I see increased pressure for today’s event to be more of a transition step for Apple, not a final destination. It’s no secret that it no longer takes a high-powered CPU to offer a positive Mac experience, but perhaps Apple is waiting for two things:1. The netbook market itself. Apple generally doesn’t create new markets, they optimize existing markets.2. Intel recently started to ship dual core Intel Atoms. Although I haven’t seen any performance reviews, might they offer enough oomph for Apple to jump into the lower-priced market?It’s all a wait-and-see from my perspective and you can’t argue with success. Even as a “premium” brand of notebook, Apple’s market share continues to rise, but I question how long that trend will last at these price points. As a consumer, I like the power in the smaller MacBook package, but at 4.5-pounds it’s still heavier than I’d like to tote. That MacBook Air is only three-pounds, but I prefer the option to swap a second battery in pinch rather than search for an AC adapter. Enough of my thoughts: who’s buying a new MacBook or MacBook Pro?

  1. Apple’s comments during the event today were very telling about their likelihood of playing in the lower end. I believe they showed they had about 17% of the US notebook market but over 30% of the dollars of that market. High-end is their game.

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  2. Jobs was asked about the netbook market and he said that Apple doesn’t play in “nascent” markets.

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  3. I don’t see any way that a MSI Wind doesn’t wipe the floor with the MBA at about 1/4 of the cost. It boogles my mind that someone would buy an MBA knowing that the Wind exists.

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  4. The most telling measure to me of where things are at today is Amazon’s top 10 notebook list. Its two versions of the Macbook hanging out around 7 and 8 on the list and all the rest are Netbooks (mostly Acer Aspire One variants.)

    Did Apple really feel pressure to introduce a Netbook? Or did Apple just eat up more of the Netbook market by dropping the Macbook entry price to $999?

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  5. I wonder what the profit margin is in those 37% of the market.

    > Given today’s economic climate

    Arrghhh… I am already getting tired of phrases like this ;)

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  6. GoodThings2Life Tuesday, October 14, 2008

    I think it’s pretty sad that their “old” technology is still overpriced compared to any number of better alternatives.

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  7. @ben – I see you’re comments are from the ‘Why would someone pay for a BMW, when you can have a Toyota for 1/4 the cost’ school of idiocy.

    In case you haven’t noticed, the MSI Wind and the MBA are two entirely different classes of computer. Sheesh!

    Just to refresh you memory:
    • The Wind has a 10″ screen; the MBA has a 13.3″ display
    • The Wind uses an 1.6GHz Intel Atom processor; the MBA uses a 1.6 GHz Intel Core Duo processor
    • The Wind comes with 1 GB of RAM; the MBA comes with 2 GB of RAM
    • The Wind uses a tiny keyboard; the MBA uses a standard sized, backlit keyboard
    • The MBA includes 802.11n and Bluetooth 2.1; the Wind only supports 802.11 b/g
    • The MBA uses an Nvidia GeForce 9400M video card, the Wind uses an UMA950 chipset
    • The MBA comes with Apple’s latest OS – OS X 10.5 (Leopard); the Wind comes with a outdated seven year old mid-level operating system (XP Home)
    • The MBA has been shipping for over a year; the Wind is ‘almost’ in customers hands

    Yes, the MBA costs $1799 and the Wind costs about $500. But then again, that’s about the same spread as an entry level Toyota to a upper level BMW.

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  8. @Dru,

    If you want an ultraportable that can run OSX, the MSI Wind is probably a lot better deal than the Macbook Air.

    I’m not going to get into the whole Mac (omg Ferrari! Bentley!) vs PC (lol rusty Yugo) arguments, but I would argue that the two notebooks offer similar levels of performance and portability. While Apple doesn’t currently offer a netbook option, it makes little sense to sell a notebook for premium prices ($1800-2500) when similar notebooks sell for much less ($300-600) and can still run OSX almost natively.

    But, to address your other fallacies:

    -The Wind keyboard is something like 92% of a full size keyboard. I’ve got the ASUS 1000H and it took a half a day for me to be able to touch type as well as on my 14″ notebook. It’s probably easier to get used to than the two-finger tap-click thing.

    -My 1000H has both wireless N and bluetooth. It also has a bigger faster HDD than the MBA, which is probably the biggest bottleneck in performance (for the MBA).

    “The MBA uses an Nvidia GeForce 9400M video card, the Wind uses an UMA950 chipset”

    -There’s a difference between a graphics card and a chipset, but you are right. I think this is new (but not completely necessary in an “ultraportable”)

    -You can very easily load OSx86 10.5 on the MSI Wind (that’s why I mentioned it in particular).

    -The MSI Winds have been shipping for months. The only problem is that they are very popular, so there may be some shortages.

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  9. On your comments on the Air and wanting the ability to swap in a battery, the sad thing is that because Apple has not licensed their Magsafe connector (as far as I now) you can’t even get an external battery pack like APC’s Universal Battery Extender, or even a more Apple specific product.

    The availability of such an option might convince a few of those who while not needing the extra battery all the time, could use the extra power when they needed to.

    Heck being apple, they could probably get some company to design a sleek and sexy looking slice to go with the Air :-)

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  10. I hear a lot of people talk about “these price points”, but they’re pretty much right where they were before.

    Yesterday the three MacBook models were $1,099, 1,299, and 1,499.

    Today they are $999, 1,299, and 1,599.

    And all three are better values than they were yesterday, the latter two significantly so.

    Everyone thought Apple had to lower the consumer entry point (which they did slightly), but what they really did was lower the “pro” entry point.

    It’s not always about spending less, it’s also about perceived value. Some people may have refrained from spending over $1K for plastic and relatively weak graphics. I think a LOT of people are going to see the new MacBooks as “pro” devices at consumer prices, and snap them up.

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