Not even Apple is immune to the effects of a limping economy.
In a move designed to help boost market share, Apple is expected to soon drop the prices on its popular iMac and 13-inch MacBook, AppleInsider is reporting, citing "people who've proven extremely reliable in predicting Apple's future business directions."
AppleInsider reports the move isn't so much a response to Microsoft's new ad campaign, presenting Macs as overly cool and overpriced, but a need to keep up in a market currently boosted by netbook sales.
Apple does not offer a netbook, saying it's "not something we would put the Mac brand on." A Web tablet, or media pad, is perhaps more likely.
Until then, the incentive of lower prices could conceivably bring additional customers to Apple, which experienced sequential shipment declines for iPhones, Macs and retail in the first quarter of 2009.
"It's believed that the first batch of more affordable Macs could turn up as early as this spring as part of a restructured MacBook line, while MacBook Pros for the most part would stay their course and benefit slightly from Intel's planned Montevina refresh, which should nudge clock speeds," AppleInsider reports.
Ezra Gottheil, an Apple-focused analyst at Technology Business Research, says he'd be surprised to see Apple offer a discount.
"I think the price resistance they're experiencing isn't a matter of, -If it were $100 cheaper I would buy it,' it's a matter of, 'You don't have a PC in the $600 range,'" said Gottheil.
It's more likely for Apple to permanently reduce baseline pricing before a product refresh, Gottheil explained.
"The sort of thing where they say, -Now the base MacBook is $100 less,' is quite conceivable," he said.
"The iMacs, however, they just refreshed. I think they'd be cutting their margins thinner [than] they wanted to, if they were to reduce those."