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Supply of Apple's white MacBook severely constrained ahead of Lion debut

post #1 of 153
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Availability of Apple's current $999 white MacBook, built with hardware that is now getting long in the tooth, has become constrained, potentially signaling a forthcoming update to the entry-level notebook.

Many of the Apple authorized resellers that can be found on AppleInsider's Mac Pricing Guide are completely sold out of the polycarbonate MacBook. Specifically, Amazon, MacConnection, On Sale and J&R are all out of stock. In addition, inventory of the entry-level portable is low at DataVision.

In addition, one of Europe's largest distributors is completely out of stock of the white MacBook, and lists no estimated time of arrival for new shipments. Sources indicated that this is unusual, but not necessarily a sign that the current model will be discontinued.

AppleInsider has not received any specific word of a MacBook refresh, but the timing makes sense, as the polycarbonate MacBook was last updated more than a year ago, in May of 2010. The entry-level hardware was given GeForce 320M graphics and an Intel 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo processor.

The reduced availability could also be a result of a somewhat recent educational discount price drop, from $949 to $899.

Any new hardware that may be released is not expected to debut until after the launch of Mac OS X 10.7 Lion. As first reported by AppleInsider, Apple is expected to freeze all new Mac introductions until the release of its next-generation operating system.

A lot has changed in the Apple product lineup since the last MacBook refresh occurred. Namely, the company now offers a second notebook at the same $999 price point: the 11.6-inch MacBook Air released last October, which instantly found strong sales.



With the new MacBook Air occupying the $999 price slot with great success, it's possible that Apple could lower the price of its white MacBook. It's a strategy that has paid off for Apple in its iPhone business, where it has maintained high margins and achieved lower prices during tough economic times by selling last year's model.

Apple has also embraced Thunderbolt, a new high-speed data port that debuted in March with Apple's latest MacBook Pro models. Thunderbolt also came to the iMac in May, and Apple is expected to add the port to the rest of its Mac lineup as refreshes are rolled out.

Also due for an impending update is the aforementioned MacBook Air, which is expected to receive Intel's latest-generation Sandy Bridge processors and Thunderbolt support. The new notebooks are believed to currently be in production, but are also not expected to be released until after the launch of Mac OS X 10.7 Lion.

In addition, contrary to some recent reports, there is no indication that Mac mini inventory is currently constrained, according to distributors in both the U.S. and Europe.
post #2 of 153
I still think,, along with some others, that the Macbook will be discontinued at some point. Possibly that time is now.

The low end MacBook Pro is just a couple of hundred bucks more. So people who need those features can migrate up to that. The rest may be happier with an Air.
post #3 of 153
Yes, the last time I checked, the Macbook made no sense at all given how much more you got for the 13' pro.
post #4 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

I still think,, along with some others, that the Macbook will be discontinued at some point. Possibly that time is now.

The low end MacBook Pro is just a couple of hundred bucks more. So people who need those features can migrate up to that. The rest may be happier with an Air.

Couldn't agree more, they are the same price after all. For most people I would assume that the MacBook Air's power and storage capacity are more than ample.

And let's not forget that the Air is a much nicer looking machine, certainly does more for the brand than the cheap white MacBook's do.

If they are not discontinuing it then I hope they replace it with a black MacBook, it looked so much better!
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post #5 of 153
With the popularity and price point of the MacBook Air, the white MacBook really makes no sense. At that point, the MBA should just become the new MacBook.
post #6 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

I still think,, along with some others, that the Macbook will be discontinued at some point. Possibly that time is now.

The low end MacBook Pro is just a couple of hundred bucks more. So people who need those features can migrate up to that. The rest may be happier with an Air.

I don't think so. Anecdotally speaking the first and closest table to the doors at my local Apple Store is all white MacBooks. I don't recall Apple ever putting EOL products at the front of the store and at such a quantity for the same configuration if it's going to be deprecated.

I think an update, and possibly a price point drop, is more likely based on what I've seen.
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post #7 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

I still think,, along with some others, that the Macbook will be discontinued at some point. Possibly that time is now.

The low end MacBook Pro is just a couple of hundred bucks more. So people who need those features can migrate up to that. The rest may be happier with an Air.

I was thinking the same. This seems to be coinciding with an Air refresh which could potentially include a low end replacement.
post #8 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by saarek View Post

Couldn't agree more, they are the same price after all. For most people I would assume that the MacBook Air's power and storage capacity are more than ample.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dagamer34 View Post

With the popularity and price point of the MacBook Air, the white MacBook really makes no sense. At that point, the MBA should just become the new MacBook.

Note the iPod Classic still exists yet the iPod Touch offers pretty much more of everything, except capacity, and starts at a lower price than the Classic. This is not unlike the MacBook having much greater capacity than MacBook Air. You have to buy the $1,599 MBA to match the capacity in the $999 MB, and for another $100 you can get 500GB HDD in that white casing, not to mention more RAM and a faster processor and more ports.
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post #9 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

You have to buy the $1,599 MBA to match the capacity in the $999 MB, and for another $100 you can get 500GB HDD in that white casing, not to mention more RAM and a faster processor and more ports.

Currently. But after the Air refresh, features per dollar will probably be much better.

I doubt you will get "more" ports though, port reduction is inevitable what with thunderbolt and wirelesss technologies.
post #10 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by monstrosity View Post

Currently. But after the Air refresh, features per dollar will probably be much better.

So what can we expect on the capacity side? doubling of capacity for the same price? 512GB for $1,599? That still leaves the MacBook at a lower starting price of $999 (the 13" MBA is $300 more) and only (currently) $1,099 for 500GB. I just don't see it going away with all the factors I've mentioned.
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post #11 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

I still think,, along with some others, that the Macbook will be discontinued at some point. Possibly that time is now.

Next time you're in a college town visit a few cafes near the campus and count the macbooks. It's been a while since I was in the states but the last time I did this they were still far and away the most popular entry level option for students.
post #12 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

I still think,, along with some others, that the Macbook will be discontinued at some point. Possibly that time is now.

The low end MacBook Pro is just a couple of hundred bucks more. So people who need those features can migrate up to that. The rest may be happier with an Air.

Well keeping the white CLASSIC plastic almost AS IS ... and take 50 bucks off. Give it a pride of lions . And we have a World Wide HALO like mass market entry level machine to attack AFRICA INDIA CHINA RUSSIA South America Markets . 3 BN people are now locked out of MAC>OS>X>LION. .

Yet as Mel thunders !!! The MBA could be A great choice for entry level market ..

The MBA is WEAK CRIPPLED SISTER but, AS economies of scale rachet down prices and apple finds ways to give MBA A faster GPU/CPU and a longer BATTERY life set up . MEL may just be right .

the MBP low end machines are going soon . MBA will take over .

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post #13 of 153
The MacBook also has a bigger screen than the 11.6 Air and for a lot of people who use them at home not just on the move this is an important factor.
post #14 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

So what can we expect on the capacity side? doubling of capacity for the same price? 512GB for $1,599? That still leaves the MacBook at a lower starting price of $999 (the 13" MBA is $300 more) and only (currently) $1,099 for 500GB. I just don't see it going away with all the factors I've mentioned.

Just for the record. I'm not 100% behind this prediction. But I do see the Air replacing the macbook at some point. Maybe in a few weeks. Maybe in a year.
post #15 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by algr View Post

Yes, the last time I checked, the Macbook made no sense at all given how much more you got for the 13' pro.

The last time I checked, it makes sense for price-conscious buyers such as the educational market.

The white MacBook still has a place in schools.
post #16 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

So what can we expect on the capacity side? doubling of capacity for the same price? 512GB for $1,599? That still leaves the MacBook at a lower starting price of $999 (the 13" MBA is $300 more) and only (currently) $1,099 for 500GB. I just don't see it going away with all the factors I've mentioned.

If the 13" MBP drops a little I could see that, combined with the 999 price point for the MBA squeezing it out - then you have your choice of capacity or size.
post #17 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by cvaldes1831 View Post

The last time I checked, it makes sense for price-conscious buyers such as the educational market.

The white MacBook still has a place in schools.

I agree. For those students/people coming from the Windows world of $500 laptops, the jump to $999 is barely reachable. $1,199 is too much for that segment of the market - and they need 13" screens...
post #18 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by cvaldes1831 View Post

The last time I checked, it makes sense for price-conscious buyers such as the educational market.

The white MacBook still has a place in schools.

I think iPads make more sense.

Even with keyboards they are cheaper. And kids have good eyes.
post #19 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by aross99 View Post

and they need 13" screens...

I disagree. My wife's entire school division bought "mini Dells" which only have about 10" screens.
post #20 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I don't think so. Anecdotally speaking the first and closest table to the doors at my local Apple Store is all white MacBooks. I don't recall Apple ever putting EOL products at the front of the store and at such a quantity for the same configuration if it's going to be deprecated.

I think an update, and possibly a price point drop, is more likely based on what I've seen.

You're one of the ones who have been advocating for years that Apple discontinue optical drives, and I don't see them doing that with the MacBook. Now that Apple has supplied OS X on a stick, as those prices have finally dropped enough to do so, and with Lion coming as a download, the need for optical is finally receding. You can put the OS on an 8GB stick, even if you download it.

I don't think that we can go by what we see now in the store. Apple is known to use curtains if necessary while they do their re-arranging. If they do decide to discontinue the MB, they won't let us know until it's done, which will be the day the new Air's come out, and not an hour before, unless some dumb dumb somewhere updates a web page too early.

I'm also not saying that they will do it now, only that it would be a good time to do it, as it would also simplify their product lines, and thus make it easier for people to make a choice, which also leads to more profit, as fewer SKU's cost less to maintain in every way, and there's one thing we know Apple likes to make, above all—profit.
post #21 of 153
if a macbook goes for $799 or so and gets sandy bridge i'm all over it

i have an android phone, wife iphone 4 and we have an ipad 2 in the house. 2 work laptops. the laptops rarely get used. the ipad and phones get used the most. my wife wants a Mac but i could care less. this would fit the bill. all i need a laptop for is to hold the itunes library and our photos.

$1199 for a computer in 2011 is way too much. i don't care about backlit keyboards, aluminum, titanium, adamantium, IPS, super duper GPU's or the faster i7's. i need a simple laptop to hold some data and i don't want a desktop to take up space
post #22 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by joelsalt View Post

I think iPads make more sense.

Even with keyboards they are cheaper. And kids have good eyes.

iPads are great but they're not suitable for every purpose. University students need a more fully functioned device than that, they are budget conscious and they are a key market because their purchase in college will inform their purchases later in life.

Imagine trying to do English 101 or Comp Sci 101 or Physics 101 on an iPad.
post #23 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

So what can we expect on the capacity side? doubling of capacity for the same price? 512GB for $1,599? That still leaves the MacBook at a lower starting price of $999 (the 13" MBA is $300 more) and only (currently) $1,099 for 500GB. I just don't see it going away with all the factors I've mentioned.

I'm noticing that on OWc's site, SSDs have finally started to come down in price. The 240 went from $525 to $435. The 480 went from about $1,500 to $900. There are newer ones that are faster, and they cost more, but somewhat less than the first generation. So we could see more for less here. How much? Who knows?

But Apple will do this if two things happen.

The first is if they detect MB sales dropping below what they want. Several reasons why that might be happening.

The second is if they find costs of the MB vs the Air to be favoring the Air.

The only people who know this are those at Apple and a few of their suppliers.

Well, there's a third reason. Apple has never been shy about pushing potential customers in a direction they want them to go.
post #24 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by joelsalt View Post

I think iPads make more sense.

Even with keyboards they are cheaper. And kids have good eyes.

please enlighten us how you plan to install real applications on an ipad
post #25 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

You're one of the ones who have been advocating for years that Apple discontinue optical drives, and I don't see them doing that with the MacBook. Now that Apple has supplied OS X on a stick, as those prices have finally dropped enough to do so, and with Lion coming as a download, the need for optical is finally receding. You can put the OS on an 8GB stick, even if you download it.

Yes, but I don't see how deprecating either the plastic chassis or MacBook proper brand name has anything to do with the inevitability of removing the ODD.

Quote:
I don't think that we can go by what we see now in the store. Apple is known to use curtains if necessary while they do their re-arranging. If they do decide to discontinue the MB, they won't let us know until it's done, which will be the day the new Air's come out, and not an hour before, unless some dumb dumb somewhere updates a web page too early.

I don't think we can go by what we see on the shelves as a whole, I only point out that I don't think it's common for Apple to prominently display products it's planning to remove. There are 4 or 5 white MacBooks right when you walk in the store and not another Mac until the second set of tables with the remaining spaces all for iPad 2s as you walk in the door.

Quote:
I'm also not saying that they will do it now, only that it would be a good time to do it, as it would also simplify their product lines, and thus make it easier for people to make a choice, which also leads to more profit, as less SKU's, cost less to maintain in every way.and if there's one thing we know Apple likes to make, above allprofit.

I don't see it, but what I can see is the plastic chassis going away if the aluminium chassis is now cheap enough to mass produce. This would essentially make the current 13" MBP the new MacBook with the new MBPs offering a thinner, beveled design, milled, aluminium top, larger battery, SSD card, and hopefully a place for a 2.5" SSD/HDD in an all around smaller volume, lighter machine that doesn't loose any performance from the current line of MBPs.
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post #26 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by cvaldes1831 View Post

The last time I checked, it makes sense for price-conscious buyers such as the educational market.

The white MacBook still has a place in schools.

If Apple wanted to kill the MacBook, a $999 13" MBA, instead of an iTunes voucher or iPod, would have been the only thing needed to bury it. They did not. It will stay.
post #27 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by lukei View Post

The MacBook also has a bigger screen than the 11.6 Air and for a lot of people who use them at home not just on the move this is an important factor.

Again, Currently....
post #28 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post

Next time you're in a college town visit a few cafes near the campus and count the macbooks. It's been a while since I was in the states but the last time I did this they were still far and away the most popular entry level option for students.

"Were" doesn't mean "will be". Lots of things used to be, but aren't any more. Schools are buying iPads instead of notebooks. Take that into account as well. The biggest school buyers of MBs are the K-12 schools, but we read articles about how many are moving to iPads, particularly from K-8. Where kids are smaller, and the weight makes the difference.

This is a big part of MB sales. apple is obviously pushing iPads to schools, and they are accepting them in increasing numbers. apple knows that the cheaper products mean that schools can buy many more of them; all better for Apple, as this is something that MS can't as yet challenge. They may not be able to do so with Win 8 either, and that won't be out until around the middle of the year, if rumors are correct, or the end of the year, if conventional thinking is correct.

Do you really think that if Apple discontinues the MB, students will gravitate to a Windows notebook? I doubt it.
post #29 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by joelsalt View Post

I think iPads make more sense.

Even with keyboards they are cheaper. And kids have good eyes.

Even with a keyboard they aren't suitable for engineering students, and Apple does want engineering students
post #30 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

I still think,, along with some others, that the Macbook will be discontinued at some point. Possibly that time is now.

The low end MacBook Pro is just a couple of hundred bucks more. So people who need those features can migrate up to that. The rest may be happier with an Air.


I think that's a very myopic view people take. This might be true in the US, but outside of the US the situation is completely different.

In India the white MacBook costs $1356 and the MBP 13" costs $1556. At those prices, the white MacBook is a very attractive choice considering that hardware/component wise they are almost the same minus some extra features like better casing, backlit keyboard etc. (assuming we're comparing same generation MB and MBPs).

I think the white MacBook is here to stay. I also read somewhere (sorry no citation) that the white MacBook is the highest selling mac. (I own the current model, and even prefer this design to the aluminium one). The educational discount is now only 6% here - I was lucky to get mine when it was still 12% - and it still cost me $1191. Basically I paid more for the white MB under edu discount than a person in the US would pay for the aluminum MBP. If the white MacBook is discontinued, the cheapest Apple laptop you could buy would cost $1500+ in the Indian market, and possibly a whole lot of non-Western-non-affluent markets would simply not be able to afford a mac.
post #31 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by al_bundy View Post

please enlighten us how you plan to install real applications on an ipad

If not through the App Store, Apple has long provided a means for corporations or educational institutions to distribute specific applications internally.

There's more to life than applications written to run under PC-type OS's, in case you forgot.
post #32 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by lukei View Post

The MacBook also has a bigger screen than the 11.6 Air and for a lot of people who use them at home not just on the move this is an important factor.

Don't forget that there is little known about the new Air's, other than they should use the much faster Sandy Bridge chips, and have Thunderbolt. What other changes Apple might make is unknown, and that includes pricing.
post #33 of 153
I can imagine a new MacBook with:

Sandy Bridge (obvious)
only the built-in graphics (to keep the price down and increase battery life)
the current poor 1280x800 rather than 1440x900 (because of the limited graphics power and to keep the price down)
Thunderbolt (because Apple need to increase the installed base)
4GB RAM (up from the current 2GB)
320GB HD (up from the current 250GB)
no internal Optical Brick (to reduce weight, promote iTunes, and keep the price down)
$899
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post #34 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by steveH View Post

If not through the App Store, Apple has long provided a means for corporations or educational institutions to distribute specific applications internally.

There's more to life than applications written to run under PC-type OS's, in case you forgot.


iOS apps are gimped compared to Win/OSX ones. is there an iphoto equivelant in the app store? is imovie on the ipad just like the real imovie? what about xcode if i want to code some spam apps to make some money? what about games? all the iOS games are crap compared to most PC/console games
post #35 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by aross99 View Post

I agree. For those students/people coming from the Windows world of $500 laptops, the jump to $999 is barely reachable. $1,199 is too much for that segment of the market - and they need 13" screens...

Who needs this? The K-12 segment doesn't necessarily need 13" screens, particularly the K-8 set.

It's very possible that college students would go for the extra $200 for the Pro if the MB wasn't available if they didn't want the Air. But many people buy upgraded machines anyway, so it's really difficult to know what they would do.
post #36 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

"Were" doesn't mean "will be". Lots of things used to be, but aren't any more. Schools are buying iPads instead of notebooks. Take that into account as well. The biggest school buyers of MBs are the K-12 schools, but we read articles about how many are moving to iPads, particularly from K-8. Where kids are smaller, and the weight makes the difference.

I'm talking college here, school buyers are a whole nother thing.

Quote:
Do you really think that if Apple discontinues the MB, students will gravitate to a Windows notebook? I doubt it.

I think budget does matter, almost every student who I ever knew who owned a PC laptop gave price as the reason. There were a few exceptions who were hard core Windows geeks, but in every other case it came down to cash.

Let's put this into perspective, the MacBook is the 9th best selling notebook on Amazon. That's hardly a product that needs putting out of its misery.
post #37 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by al_bundy View Post

please enlighten us how you plan to install real applications on an ipad

What's a "real" app, as opposed to the ones being written by educational developers for the iPad? Since many colleges are giving iPads with the texts and other apps needed for the school year to entering students, a standard computer may not be needed as much as you think it is.

I remember when laptops were useless for any serious computing. Now, some people think the same thing is true for the iPad, but you're wrong.
post #38 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Don't forget that there is little known about the new Air's, other than they should use the much faster Sandy Bridge chips, and have Thunderbolt. What other changes Apple might make is unknown, and that includes pricing.

I think there is a very good chance that the new MacBook (if there will be one) and at least the new 13" and probably also the 11" MacBook Air will have 4GB RAM as the new minimum. Apple have already transitioned all of the other Macs except the Mini to 4GB minimum.
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post #39 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Yes, but I don't see how deprecating either the plastic chassis or MacBook proper brand name has anything to do with the inevitability of removing the ODD.

Because Apple has often come out with new machines for new technology rather than upgrading old lines. The MBP is a pro line, and so they've upgraded those, for now, until they essentially replace them. But I just don't see Apple doing anything to the MB that would add those new, and more expensive technologies.

The Mb is a price limited design when compared to the MBP, and would have to increase in price to get Air tech. It just makes more sense to stick with the Air. They've also had too many problems with the poly case on the MB, and may be eager to rid themselves of it. I don't know how much the Alum case would raise the price, but however much it would be, it would be too much. And the low end MBP is too close to the MB. It's even been called an upgraded MB by many.

Quote:
I don't think we can go by what we see on the shelves as a whole, I only point out that I don't think it's common for Apple to prominently display products it's planning to remove. There are 4 or 5 white MacBooks right when you walk in the store and not another Mac until the second set of tables with the remaining spaces all for iPad 2s as you walk in the door.

They display what they are selling as prominently as usual until they stop selling it.

Quote:
I don't see it, but what I can see is the plastic chassis going away if the aluminium chassis is now cheap enough to mass produce. This would essentially make the current 13" MBP the new MacBook with the new MBPs offering a thinner, beveled design, milled, aluminium top, larger battery, SSD card, and hopefully a place for a 2.5" SSD/HDD in an all around smaller volume, lighter machine that doesn't loose any performance from the current line of MBPs.

if they do that, then it IS an MBP, and the MB has gone away.
post #40 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post

Even with a keyboard they aren't suitable for engineering students, and Apple does want engineering students

I would be very surprised if most engineering students are using MBs instead of MBPs.

Indeed, in all photos takes in college students in various classes we've seen over the years, the preponderance is for MBPs, no matter what the coursework is, science, engineering, art, or journalism. MBs seem a distant second.
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