Apple's $999 MacBook to Get a Facelift and a Price Drop?
Apple's 13-inch MacBook is on the verge of a refresh that would include a slimmer, lighter enclosure, a redesigned internal architecture and better battery life, Apple Insider is reporting, citing information from "people familiar with the Cupertino-based company's plans."
Apple upgraded its aluminum-bodied MacBook Pros in June. The $999 white polycarbonate MacBook, which hasn't had a visual refresh in three years, now appears a bit of an orphan in the silveryApple's laptop lineup.
Despite this, the MacBook is said to outsell all other Macs, with the exception of the iMac desktop - though some high-volume resellers reportedly place it among Apple's best-selling products overall, ahead of even the iMac. The NPD Group reported in June that MacBook sales rose 25 percent in that month's year-over-year comparison.
With news of the redesign, Apple Insider additionally reports that a price cut is likely as well, and that Apple is positioned to dip well below the $1,000 mark, in order to better compete with the entry-level prices of Windows-based machines.
In the midst of a recession, Apple has management to stay happily afloat, even exceeding analyst expectations, while competitors with lower-entry-price models have weathered drops in sales. Is introducing a sub-$1000 laptop nonetheless a smart move for Apple?
"I think they're doing just fine, but I think it would definitely improve things. It makes perfect sense, and the timing is just right," says analyst Ezra Gottheil, with Technology Business Research.
Gottheil says the entry price of Macs have always been a barrier. "They don't tend to be so much more expensive, when you look at the specs, but they've allowed their entry price to stay quite high," he explains.
"If they really are doing this - and if it's a rumor, I'd certainly encourage it; I've been saying for a while now that they should do this - they can do it by reducing the clock speed on the chip," Gottheil added. "They can come out with the MacBook they introduced a few years ago, with the Core 2 Duo chip, and they can say, one, we said we wouldn't produce junk, and we haven't. And, two, with the new Snow Leopard OS, the performance is actually now even better."
Apple Insider also cites the likelihood of a Core 2 Duo chip from Intel helping Apple to scoot down the price, as well as foregoing features such as FireWire connectivity.