Originally Posted by GregAlexander
Apple can't just shrink down a product. If Intel could make the same chips 20% smaller at the same cost... they would do it in a heart beat. If the battery manufacturers could make their batteries 20% smaller for the same performance they'd do it in a heartbeat.
Actually that is as simple as pie. First Intel does shrink its products, you have heard of process shrinks haven't you. This leads to higher integration which further allows Apple to shrink its products. As for batteries they have been improving by about 8 % a year.
You don't have to believe me though as looking at the iPhone 3GS kinda proves the point. Here we have more than double the performance in the same package and it has a longer battery life.
Of course, it is possible to make things smaller - but there's a cost associated, OR a loss in some other areas (eg: a slower system). It can be both (like the MBA).
Electronics generally gets faster with process shrinks given that power can be managed. Take any modern AMD or Intel CPU and over-clock it a bit, there is a lot of head room especially in Intel processors. Looking away at X86 to ARM on the iPhone proves the point and Samsung already has a process shrunk version of the processor in the 3GS out of the labs. So Apple could easily bump iPhone anytime it wanted to better performance and lower power drain.
BTW: The reverse isn't true in most situations. The chip makers etc abandon the old technology as they progress, so you can't just have a cheaper bigger laptop by providing more room inside - as you end up just leaving space inside the case.
Not if you follow wise engineering practice. That space would be dedicated to something, very likely a larger battery as we have seen in the latest MBP.
Apple displays the price of the 16GB iPhone 3GS in the fine print ($599), but it's not spoken about much, just the $199 subsidised price.
I think this presented 2 issues for Apple
1) How could the iPod Touch survive when it was perceived to be priced so badly in comparison to the iPhone? Apple had to cut the price (and their margins) hugely on the touch.
The Touch is selling at a reasonable price and I''m sure Apples is maintaining reasonable margins on each sale. IPhone on the other hand has totally unreasonable margins, likely in excess of 60%. It is great for Apple that they can maintain the smoke and mirrors but eventually the competition will force lowered pricing on iPhone.
As to the rumored Mac Books and associated the rumored tablet, Apple has a lot of discretion with respect to pricing. I believe it is very possible for them to deliver a $600 NoteBook an maintain 30% margins. Unfortunately some may see such a low cost machine as a little to cheap, so maybe Apple readjusts its margins to 25%.
The trick to such a low cost device is to engineer simple PC boards with a minimal of I/O, get rid of space wasting devices like optical drives and 2.5" notebook drives. Apples biggest obstacle to being successful here is the reliance on Intel which really has mucked up the low power line up and Atom. Atom should have been delivered in an high integration version with everything but the GPU on board and they should have supported the use of dual core processors in laptops. The artificial constraints put on Atom have been a marketing boondoggle for Intel.
What Apple should have done was to bitch slapped Intel into a more reasonable attitude with respect to Atom as it would have been the perfect solution for a Snow Leopard based notebook. That is is Intel would have sold it in a dual core high integration solution. I can see MBA students reviewing Intel years from now due to the cock up.
2) When the phone contract hides the cost so easily to the majority of people, can (and did) they bump up the price and rake in some extra $$$$?
It is common knowledge that Apple is making lots of money on each iPhone sale. In fact they are likely leading the industry right now. That is one of the reasons I think there will be a major refactoring of pricing if the rumored tablet actually debuts. The problem is clear, the tablet can't be to expensive because people won't see the value in the device over a laptop.
Of course I've pretty much come to the conclusion that marketing any ten inch tablet is going to be tough.
If $599 is realistic for a 16GB iPhone (unsubsidised), what price should we expect for a 16GB 10" tablet with iPhone internals? I don't want another expensive contract to make a tablet price fit the $99-$999 graphic.
First the price of $599 isn't realistic at all. There simply isn't enough silicon in the device to justify the price point. I fully expect the unsubsidized price to drop a bit once Apple has a tablet on the market.
As to that expensive contract I'm with you, I want carrier choice. If IPhone has taught me anything it is that 3G is very very very nice to have in a tablet device. Faster than 3G would be nicer. But the issue with carrier tie ins is an abomination. Further I'm actually hoping for a WiFi only model just like we see with iPhone/Touch. It would be even nicer if the tablet was field upgradeable to the carrier interface of your choice. Oh an unlocked would be even nicer for travel.
Beyond all that 16GB is no where near enough memory. This thing needs 128GB to start off on the right foot. I'm not kidding here at all. If you are going to use it mobile, for travel and such, buffering media is going to be a huge application for the device. Plus the reality that there is no perfection with respect to carriers, all of them have dead spots, usually in places where you might want to sit down and actually use a tablet.
But I think it is possible for Apple to drop down the MacBook price. The C2D speeds haven't been skyrocketing and slightly slower chips can allow for some significant price cuts. Removing the DVD and restructuring the battery, without trying to squeeze the internal size smaller, can differentiate it further.
Yes all this is true but on the other hand staying with Core 2 is death. It is simply out classed by recent Intel tech and even AMD stuff. What I see Apple doing is going Arrandale at the extreme low end, and using a custom I/O chip. This could lead to a very small and low cost motherboard. Yes I know Arrandale is seen as expensive but if it its the only major chip on the board it may be doable. The other option is to screw Intel and their high pricing and put an AMD chip in the box. Apparently Apples dropping of ATOM wasn't enough to cause Intel to wise up so why not start to phase the out even more.