or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › Mac Hardware › Current Mac Hardware › Apple's struggles to meet 13-inch MacBook Air demand trigger price gouging
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Apple's struggles to meet 13-inch MacBook Air demand trigger price gouging

post #1 of 55
Thread Starter 
More than a month after introducing its latest Thunderbolt MacBook Airs, Apple is still unable to meet broader demand for the 13-inch models, which can be seen listed at prices well above MSRP on at least one of the internet's largest ecommerce sites.

Since the debut of the Sandy Bridge MacBook Airs over 4 weeks ago, people familiar with the matter say Apple has been unable to equip its indirect reseller channels with any significant stock of the more popular 13-inch models. Those claims are supported via daily reports from our Mac Price Guide (below), which has yet turn up consistent availability at virtually any Apple reseller, including Amazon.com.

Instead, the world's largest online retailer has been promoting (and consumers have been buying) inventory through its affiliate stores, with pricing as much as $200-$300 above MSRP, depending on the day. For example, Amazon currently lists the 128GB 13-inch Air for $1,549, or $250 above retail. The $1,599 256GB model is listed at $1,849.99, up from yesterday's price of $1799.

The remainder of Apple's resellers have no stock of either model, with the exception of MacMall and MacConnection, which for the first time today began reflecting availability of both 13-inch models (1, 2). Meanwhile, nationwide retail partner Best Buy notes that the 128GB model is "Sold Out Online" and has no catalog entry for the 256GB model, suggesting it has yet to take receipt of any stock to sell online.

Interestingly, initial build plans for the new Airs were reported to have been weighted slightly in favor of the 11.6-inch models, suggesting Apple may have underestimated demand for the 13-inch model. It's nevertheless able to produce enough supply for its direct channels.

While resellers wait, Apple's online store continues to list all MacBook Airs as available in 24 hours, and an AppleInsider poll of 10 Apple retail stores across the country found good availability of all models with the exception of a store in Los Angeles that was out of the 128GB 13-inch model.

Like its iPad cousin, the MacBook Air is emerging as a trendsetter in the computer industry, selling millions of units out of the gate and thrusting rivals' efforts to compete into overdrive. For its part, Intel has launched a $300 million Ultrabook fund to invest in companies that adopt a new set of Ultrabook guidelines which are designed to produce results in-line with Apple's Airs.



However, participating PC makers like Asustek Computer and Hewlett-Packard have struggled from the onset to match Apple's MacBook Air pricing after tabulating their own bill-of-materials and manufacturing fee estimates. With concerns that they wouldn't be able to match Apple on price at all this year, the PC makers last week reportedly requested a 50% price cut on Ultrabook CPUs to help them bring down the cost of their designs. Intel denied the request in part, agreeing instead to a more modest 20% price reduction.

Meanwhile, Ultrabook makers are also being out-muscled by Apple on another crucial front: production of unibody metal notebook chassis. Its Air production has reportedly created a shortage of expensive CNC lathes available to manufacture aluminum enclosures, which now have Intel and its partner PC makers "aggressively searching" for new materials that are more affordable to craft into notebook bodies, such as fiberglass, carbon fiber, and metal reinforced plastics.



The striking success of the latest generation of Airs and the impact they're having on the market for notebooks underscores consumers' willingness to pay premiums in order to abandon the weighty and cumbersome designs of the past. It may also support rumors that Apple is escalating efforts to introduce new 15- and 17-inch notebooks in ultra-slim designs, possibly before year's end.
post #2 of 55
Almost to the one, MBA reviewers said they were going to purchase one or already had.

I bought one last month and it's awesome, would do it again in a heartbeat.
post #3 of 55
I am not surprised at all. Actually, I was surprised for this news to come out so late ...
post #4 of 55
Or simply have too much disposable income.

Yes, I will buy a 13 inch Macbook Air, but I will not pay more than Apple's price. I will simply wait. It is too bad that so many people will put this higher price on a credit card versus just waiting until supply stabilizes. I guess that mentality is what got America into the mess we are in now.

Edit: I just checked Apple's online store and there is only a 24 hour wait for this laptop. I am sure they are available at the local Apple stores as well.

Great journalism AI.
post #5 of 55
After reading fashionbug's posts on another thread about how optical drives are are steadfast requirement for all 'PCs' of the future for doing anything other than consuming I'm surprised these are selling at all¡
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
post #6 of 55
Is that fair trade? Intel will discount its CPUs by 20% to Apple competitors? But not Apple?
post #7 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by lamewing View Post


Edit: I just checked Apple's online store and there is only a 24 hour wait for this laptop. I am sure they are available at the local Apple stores as well.

Great journalism AI.

This info is in the article now... was it not in there initially?
na na na na na...
Reply
na na na na na...
Reply
post #8 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post

Is that fair trade? Intel will discount its CPUs by 20% to Apple competitors? But not Apple?

Intel does discount their product for Apple. What you may be confusing is Intel giving a discount to vendors who wouldn't normally buy their CULV chips in bulk a discount for using their new svelte chassis design. This isn't a play against Apple, it's a defense against ARM. If Intel can't keep people using their chips on these smaller, slower machines they will use billions.
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
post #9 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

For example, Amazon currently lists the 128GB 13-inch Air for $1,549, or $250 above retail. The $1,599 256GB model is listed at $1,849.99, up from yesterday's price of $1799.

It's doubtful that Amazon is price gouging. More likely, one of their fly-by-night "partners" is jacking up the price. For some insane reason, these often come up first in Amazon searches, even when Amazon itself has an item in stock for the same or better price.
post #10 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post

Is that fair trade? Intel will discount its CPUs by 20% to Apple competitors? But not Apple?

It doesn't say that Apple won't get the same (or better) discount.

In general, discounts must be justified by good business reasons. Using Intel's entire design MIGHT be a good reason and Apple uses its own designs. However, antitrust law specifically prohibits using pricing in a way which specifically damages only one competitor, so I'd be surprised to see Intel give everyone but Apple a big discount.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Conrail View Post

It's doubtful that Amazon is price gouging. More likely, one of their fly-by-night "partners" is jacking up the price. For some insane reason, these often come up first in Amazon searches, even when Amazon itself has an item in stock for the same or better price.

That appears to be the case (one vendor has them listed at $3 K). Amazon has too much to lose by pricing scarce items at a premium.
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
Reply
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
Reply
post #11 of 55
When the 2010 models debut, Apple was selling way more 11" models than the 13" model. I got the relatively unpopular 13" at the time, and it's great. Why the reversal in popularity?

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply
post #12 of 55
That should be "triggers" price gouging for the non-asian language speakers in the audience trying to understand the headline. The whole thing is pretty awkward though. Dozens of better ways to say the same thing.
post #13 of 55
They are being bought up by the Chinese and sent back to China, like the iPad 2 was.
post #14 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

That should be "triggers" price gouging for the non-asian language speakers in the audience trying to understand the headline. The whole thing is pretty awkward though. Dozens of better ways to say the same thing.

"trigger" is the correct word here (Apple's struggles (plural) .... trigger ...)

That being said, I agree with the headline being extremely awkward.
post #15 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

When the 2010 models debut, Apple was selling way more 11" models than the 13" model. I got the relatively unpopular 13" at the time, and it's great. Why the reversal in popularity?

I think with the increase in power and the addition of Thunderbolt, more power users are making the leap.
post #16 of 55
post #17 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

When the 2010 models debut, Apple was selling way more 11" models than the 13" model. I got the relatively unpopular 13" at the time, and it's great. Why the reversal in popularity?

For a lot of people, the 13" model comes very close to meeting their needs. The i5 or i7 is fast enough (with the SSD, also feels fast overall), 256GB SSD is large enough, the screen has the same resolution as the 15" MB Pro, and it is light enough to make it very portable. It is definitely worth the money.
post #18 of 55
They're called CNC "milling" machines, not CNC lathes.

It appears as though Apple is up to its old tricks as the Wintards like to say. Deliberately holding back inventory to hype the products. After all, if consumers aren't buying Wintel PCs, why would they be buying overpriced Apple products?
post #19 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by island hermit View Post

This info is in the article now... was it not in there initially?

It was.... just 'great reading' on his part.
post #20 of 55
I find it odd that Apple mis-predicted the demand ratio between the 11 and 13 inch models. I would have thought it was obvious there would be a lot of demand for the 13 inch model given the Macbook was discontinued. Most of the people who would have bought a Macbook were going to go for the 13 inch MBA instead I would have thought.
post #21 of 55
Assuming Apple is not getting this 20% discount, it is pretty pathetic that PC companies can't even compete with handouts.

Apple still has a long way to go in marketshare, but companies tend to have a much more difficult time scaling back then ramping up. If PC marketshare ever goes negative, it may be the end of the PC ecosystem as we know it.
post #22 of 55
Referring to Apple as hogging the "lathe" supply to make cases means that not a single such author has ever watched Apple's video on making the MacBook Pro and Air cases.

They use a CNC milling machine.
post #23 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by BoC View Post

Referring to Apple as hogging the "lathe" supply to make cases means that not a single such author has ever watched Apple's video on making the MacBook Pro and Air cases.

They use a CNC milling machine.

No, it means they're not engineering geeks and don't understand the difference, like most of the population.
post #24 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by BoC View Post

Referring to Apple as hogging the "lathe" supply to make cases means that not a single such author has ever watched Apple's video on making the MacBook Pro and Air cases.

They use a CNC milling machine.

We've been here before... and it wasn't pretty...
na na na na na...
Reply
na na na na na...
Reply
post #25 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQB View Post

It was.... just 'great reading' on his part.

I was being kind.
na na na na na...
Reply
na na na na na...
Reply
post #26 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by lamewing View Post

Or simply have too much disposable income.

Yes, I will buy a 13 inch Macbook Air, but I will not pay more than Apple's price. I will simply wait. It is too bad that so many people will put this higher price on a credit card versus just waiting until supply stabilizes. I guess that mentality is what got America into the mess we are in now.

Ha ha, that "mentality" is how basic free market enterprise works. It's the standard intersection supply and demand curves that you learn in Economics 101.

If supply goes down, but demand is still high, raise the price and make more money. If you raise it too high, demand will go down, and you'll have to lower your price to sell your supply.

I don't see a problem with this. I reserve "gouging" for those that jack up prices for products that are necessities, like gouging on generators after a bad storm, or food and water during a shortage. Raising the price on a luxury product? Not so much. Yeah it sucks if you can't afford it. I really want a Porsche in my driveway, but I can't afford one. So I get by with a cheaper car instead.
post #27 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Conrail View Post

It's doubtful that Amazon is price gouging. More likely, one of their fly-by-night "partners" is jacking up the price. For some insane reason, these often come up first in Amazon searches, even when Amazon itself has an item in stock for the same or better price.

its like google ads maybe? the more you pay Amazon the higher up it is?

PC means personal computer.  

i have processing issues, mostly trying to get my ideas into speech and text.

if i say something confusing please tell me!

Reply

PC means personal computer.  

i have processing issues, mostly trying to get my ideas into speech and text.

if i say something confusing please tell me!

Reply
post #28 of 55
I purchased a 13" air 128gig model on Aug 6 from amazon.com using 20% off coupon (final price $986). Amazon says its expected to deliver between Aug 30- Sep 22. I am happy to wait than pay almost double of my discounted price :-)
post #29 of 55
Supposedly the 11" version of the 2010 model outsold the 13" version 55/45%. Perhaps that is being reversed with the 2011 version because the MacBook was dropped? Note that the 13" MacBook Air at $1299 offers a faster 1.7GHz version of the i5 processor (nearly as fast as the i7), longer battery, a higher resolution screen, and the SD card slot, so it compares quite favorably to the $1199 11" model.

Anyway, it appears Apple has another big hit on its hands with the new MacBook Air. It's 2 months ahead to market of the "ultrabooks" and has gotten great reviews.
post #30 of 55
Why not just report that contrained supply has allowed third-party sellers to charge above-MSRP prices? It's not "gouging" and it's doesn't appear to be any of the national "name-brand" retailers (e.g., Best Buy, MacMall, etc.). Amazon itself (interestingly enough) doesn't seem to have any of the new 13" model to sell. It's only their "partners" who are selling them:
$1,549.00 + $7.64 shipping
In Stock. Sold by Tromo Electronics

For the 11" Amazon has them in stock and (as usual) is selling them slightly below MSRP. It would be very newsworthy if Amazon itself were selling above list price, but they aren't.


As an Apple shareholder, if this supply/demand imbalance doesn't rectify itself pretty soon, I might argue that Apple screwed up by pricing the 13" too low. Better than Apple reap the extra $100 or so rather than "Tromo Electronics."
post #31 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Constable Odo View Post

..as the Wintards like to say...

If you feel okay referring to the small mass of Windows fans as Wintards, may I suggest referring to Apple fans as A-holes (A for Apple of course).
post #32 of 55
I was someone who would have bought a new macBook Air but didn't because i needed a larger hard drive capacity than 256 GB offered by its SSD drive. i wonder how long it'll be before Airs are available with 512 GB drives? Any chance that Apple will increase SSD capacities before next refresh?
post #33 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

When the 2010 models debut, Apple was selling way more 11" models than the 13" model. I got the relatively unpopular 13" at the time, and it's great. Why the reversal in popularity?

I can only speculate, but my guess would be that for the 2010 model, performance was significantly below the MBP, so the people buying it were choosing portability at the expense of performance. With the 2011 model, performance is quite acceptable and doesn't involve as much of a sacrifice, so even some performance oriented people might choose the MBA - and many would prefer the larger screen.
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
Reply
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
Reply
post #34 of 55
Why would anyone buy from a "price gouger"?

Apple.com has all models of the Macbook Air in stock at the price they should be with free shipping within 24 hours.

Am I missing something?
post #35 of 55
Maybe the 13" MBAs are so popular now because their performance and capbilites are closer to 13" macbooks/macbook pros, and thus consumers who prefer the larger size laptop are trending toward the MBA models because of the weight and bulk factors.
Anthracite
Reply
Anthracite
Reply
post #36 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rothgarr View Post

Why would anyone buy from a "price gouger"?

Apple.com has all models of the Macbook Air in stock at the price they should be with free shipping within 24 hours.

Am I missing something?

Excellent question. I suspect they will catch a few suckers who assume that Amazon always has the market price and doesn't notice that they are buying from so no-name third-party instead. Some consumers aren't very sophisticated even in this day and age.
post #37 of 55
Deleted, misread comment.
The key to enjoying these forums: User CP -> Edit Ignore List
Reply
The key to enjoying these forums: User CP -> Edit Ignore List
Reply
post #38 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Constable Odo View Post

They're called CNC "milling" machines, not CNC lathes.

Yes either mills or routers. More importantly they aren't that expensive these days.

The unfortunate thing here is that Appleinsider can't seem to manage the simple editorial control to terminate this major screw up. It is one thing to make a mistake one out of ignorance but this has been corrected so many times the mistake is no longer acceptable.
Quote:
It appears as though Apple is up to its old tricks as the Wintards like to say. Deliberately holding back inventory to hype the products. After all, if consumers aren't buying Wintel PCs, why would they be buying overpriced Apple products?

That is total BS. There is no evidence at all that Apple is holding back. The only thing I see is a possible preference for their own stores.
post #39 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by island hermit View Post

We've been here before... and it wasn't pretty...

The fact that it keeps happening in AI articles just highlights that AI isn't even trying to promote accurate editorial contact. One is a mistake. Continually repeating such crap really should be a flogging offense.

It makes about as much sense as the global warming debate where both sides continually reference discredited or fabricated evidence. It is one thing to be a sucker once but it is totally another to keep relying on evidence that is no longer acceptable to anyone. In the case of this thread there is a dramatic difference between a lathe and a mill. So much so that it imPacts the validity of the entire article.
post #40 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gustav View Post

No, it means they're not engineering geeks and don't understand the difference, like most of the population.

Total BS! If this article was about aviation and they used the word helicopter inplace of the word airplane would you accept that? Especially if the context was about an airplane. It is one thing to make one mistake but this is not the case here. I don't see how this can reflect positively on Appleinsider at all if they continue to accept editorial content that is so wrong. It is especially questionable when nothing is done to correct usage here after hunreds have spoken up.

In the end allowing this to go on just muddies the site.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Current Mac Hardware
AppleInsider › Forums › Mac Hardware › Current Mac Hardware › Apple's struggles to meet 13-inch MacBook Air demand trigger price gouging