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Apple's new MacBook line: Affordable enough?

Apple on Tuesday moved to address a weakened consumer and its statement on a its refreshed MacBook lineup is telling. Since when does a premium brand like Apple worry about price and making its notebooks "far more affordable?
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Written by Larry Dignan on

Apple on Tuesday moved to address a weakened consumer and its statement on a its refreshed MacBook lineup is telling. Since when does a premium brand like Apple worry about price and making its notebooks "far more affordable?"

The company's latest MacBook lineup (live blog, Techmeme and statement) sparks the usual buying impulses--at least in me since I want one--but one question remains. Did Apple and CEO Steve Jobs go far enough to become affordable and grab more buyers?

To wit:

  • An updated 13-inch white MacBook is now available for $999. That puts Apple in the sub-$1,000 category by a buck. In its statement--and presentation for that matter--Apple glosses over the fact it's playing price in the lower band of its lineup.
  • The rest of Apple's MacBook lineup, detailed here by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes and Jason O'Grady--will run you from $1,299 to $1,599. As the MacBook Pro will run you more.
  • Apple mentions that consumers are getting an advanced machine for $700 less than before, but that still may not hit the price points that buyers want.

I realize that Apple is trying to walk a line here. Apple is a high-end brand that's increasingly catering to the masses. It wants to play ball at lower price points, but doesn't want to go so low it's involved in the usual PC industry scrum. It seems like Apple has walked that line better than most, but it is becoming difficult.

The issue here is that Apple barely hits a price point that moves a ton of volume.

Here's a look at the market courtesy of Keith Bachman, an analyst at BMO Capital Markets:

As you can see, Apple has moved toward a weakened consumer a bit, but still is $100 more than expensive than the fattest demand band. You can argue that Apple's brand is worth $100, but with the consumer retrenching that bet may not be a no-brainer.

Photo Gallery: Apple notebook event 

 'I'm a PC. A $999 MacBook still doesn't tempt me' (or does it?) 

 Jason D. O'Grady: What Apple didn’t announce

 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes: Apple’s revamped MacBook line 

 Christopher Dawson: Apple gadget lust for me, but anything for Ed Tech?

Apple's new notebooks: More coverage [Techmeme]

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