Apple should cut Mac prices 25 percent

If Apple lowered its prices, its incredibly strong product lineup could grab some serious market even with the advent of a formidable Windows 7. Current pricing for me turned a MacBook Pro into the MacBook No. Or MacBook not yet.
Written by John Dodge, Contributor

The timing is perfect for Apple to cut Mac prices and dramatically to increase its market share. If Apple made that seemingly radical decision, the MacIntosh could easily move out of single digits of market share. Here's why.

Macintosh market share increased in October, a third of which included shipments of heavily-hyped Windows 7, according to Net Applications. Wasn't Windows 7 supposed to knock the Mac down? Mac operating system share has steadily risen in 2009, topping out in October at 5.27 per cent to Microsoft Windows' seemingly insurmountable 92.52 per cent, according to market research firm Net Applications. Consumers want Macs (granted, it's a tougher transition for businesses).

But there's a problem and it's one Apple can fix. Macs are too expensive.

There I was last Friday in the Apple store cooing over an elegant 15-inch MacBook Pro. But at $1,700, I could not pull the trigger. The MacBook Pro turned into the MacBook No. The new iMacs are just as hot and more powerful than the Pro but suffer the same price bloat.

Everything else was right except the price. I'm ready to switch from 20 plus years as a Windows user who has written about the technology longer than that and switch to a Mac. One Mac user friend justifies the higher price from the time he saves not having to deal with viruses and malware that ravage Windows.

The Mac is the more intelligent choice. Even the salesman was believable not to mention smart, energetic and loathe to make a naked sales pitch. BestBuy sales people are not even close. I even like Apple's anti-Windows 7 TV ads.

There's a certain monotony and sameness to shopping for PC notebooks which I've been doing for a couple of months. I like Windows 7 after using the release candidate for six months. PC notebooks are much less expensive with bigger displays and hard drives for the money. But I can't pull the trigger there although if I do, I am leaning toward several Toshiba models.

At the same time, there are literally hundreds of CPU choices for PC notebooks from Intel alone. The differences seem slight and must be a major source of confusion for consumers who choose to bother figuring them out. Just within the Core 2 Duo line for notebooks, there's a choice of 51 microprocessors, four bus speeds, four difference levels of L2 cache and more differences in gigahertz than I care to count.

And ready for this? Core 2 Duo is one of 19 lines of processors from Intel (the MacBook uses a handful of Core 2 Duo models). It's hard to concieve that a dozen or so years ago at PC Week, I wrote a column that CPU megahertz (megahertz have since grown to gigahertz) don't matter in the buying decision. I never imagined this many processors. Sure, I want choice, but not confusion interleaved by marketing hype. Quick now, what's the difference between a Core 2 Duo T9800 and T9900?.

So as a buyer, I'm stuck in a PC notebook processor netherworld and being too cheap to shell out megabucks for a Mac, the clear winner on all levels but price. Pricecuts on the Mac would make it a much more appealing mainstream contender.

Android, anyone?

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This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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