Blog Post

Dear Analysts: The White MacBook is NOT Apple’s First Sub-$1K Laptop

When I wrote about the MacBook earlier, I mentioned that Apple’s strategy to make it more of a MacBook Pro “lite” was rather amazing.

Rather than bring down their laptop’s entry level, as everyone insisted and expected it would do, Apple chose to dramatically bring down the laptop’s “pro” level instead. The smaller screen (actually an advantage in terms of size and weight), lack of FireWire, and less powerful (but still greatly improved) graphics are the main differentiators. Well, except for that $700 price difference!

Time will tell if this proves to be a successful move, but I think it will. A lot is made (rightly so) of the economy. Apple can’t control that, but what they can control, they did a great job on. Further, while in such economic times it’s true that people tend to spend less, it’s also true they tend to strive harder to get bang for their buck. The new MacBooks are going to be viewed as “pro” models for consumer prices. That will be their appeal, and I don’t think it should be overlooked. Heck, I’m even considering buying a new MacBook and I didn’t even think I was in the market.

Meanwhile, Apple did take yesterday’s entry level White (plastic) MacBook and dropped the price to $999. Sadly, analysts who refuse to even consider replacing one strategy (from a company that’s been pretty darn good at strategic thinking) with one they’ve been married to for a few weeks seem to think that that was the significant announcement today.

I sometimes wonder how these people get their jobs. This is not the first time Apple has offered a laptop at this price point. Yet, that $999 iBook didn’t exactly take the computing world by storm. And I can’t help but wonder why there are there such high expectations for this machine when a similar occurrence four years ago has already been forgotten by the very pundits claiming it’s so important today, and a first for Apple.

5 Responses to “Dear Analysts: The White MacBook is NOT Apple’s First Sub-$1K Laptop”

  1. Jeff Popko

    Am I missing something? Didn’t they lower the RAM, lower the size of the hard drive, and decrease the speed from last year’s white macbook?
    What’s “better” about that?

  2. I was surprised by how much they packed into the new MacBooks. It will be interesting to see their strategy play out in the marketplace. Frankly, I think it’s a good bet, even in times of economic uncertainty, as computers are necessity purchases today. They have made the MacBooks a good value, which I think would encourage buyers to pay a little more. At the same time, the ProLite features ensure that switchers, in particular, have the best possible experience. Lastly, I think something that I think is a factor is going to scale. Introducing an $800 netbook may give Apple a big boost, but I think it adds a lot of strain to support and manufacturing. They seem to be doing just enough to stoke growth without trying to gorge themselves (and choke) on growth.

  3. It’s all about the snazzy headlines my friend. As Nick said, it just sounds better.

    We’re talking about $200 though, so I’m wondering who is so strapped that they can afford $800, but not $999. I realize that $200 is a lot of money, but when you’re spending nearly a thousand to begin with…

    I’m more ticked-off about the lack of Cinema Display updates. ONE stinking display size update, and you can only use it with the new laptops? WHAT????

  4. deenster

    I completely agree with you. I think the analysts are looking for headline grabbing one liners that will appeal to the masses. It might be hard to capture the essence of what you said in a single line and have it be easily digestible, so they go for the easy and obvious target. “Apple introduces sub $1000 notebook amid economic downturn” just might capture a lot of attention than say, “Apple adds a lot of value to Macbook, but leaves price unchanged.”
    Just my 2 cents.