I think at least 50% of computers in the home are used for e-mail, web surfing, music, photos, possibly word processing, and nothing more. You don't need a powerful computer for that. You don't need an iSight, you don't need Front Row, you don't need masses of hard-drive space, and you don't need a Core Duo processor. [/B]
Even if that turned out to be the case, you think all those users are just going to buy the cheapest machine they can find?
And I think more and more people are getting interested in watching video, editing it, making dvd's, and doing audio/video chat. Multimedia is a hog, and it's probably growing more than anything else right now. Once the bare minimum PC can handle video easily, people will start looking at HD.
Really, it's just all speculation without any real numbers. What really matters is, what percentage of the market is $599 laptops versus $1099 laptops? I know a year or two ago there was a ton of hubbub over $399 pcs...but hardly any of them were being sold.
Do you think everything would be O.K. if Apple were still making a profit but slipped to 0.5% market share? 0.05? Do you agree there is some cut-off where mainstream developers just wouldn't bother any more?
So what do you consider the cut off point that apple needs to get up to?
II suggest that Apple produce these machines because I think it makes business sense. Not only do I think that such machines will increase market share (which you say is not important, and that's fair enough. I don't think we need to discuss that any more), but they would also significantly increase the number of computers that Apple sells and hence vastly increase their revenues and profits.
I don't think anyone would disagree that additional models would sell. But the question is how many? You say "significantly" more. But we don't know that, with apple's limited resources, it may make more sense for them to focus their resources on the key products that are highest in demand and really nail them.
I just think Apple could sell significantly more (and that is a bad thing how exactly?) if the range started at a lower price.
In the short term, they'll likely sell these as fast as they can build them. Having a cheaper model would likely increase demand, but if they're exceeding supply already, that just causes longer waits.
You just seem to be in denial about the realities of the PC market. The MacBook is an Upper Mid-Range machine, or perhaps even Lower High-End. I think Apple is only addressing about 20% of the market, and that is not a good business decision.
I think that's where your argument falls apart. I think apple is addressing probably 80% of the laptop market. Without any numbers, it's just dueling speculation.
Perhaps you do not think there is much demand for a laptop with 15.4" widescreen (or 13" or 14" widescreen, for less money), no iSight, no Front Row, and a Pentium-M Celeron (This is not a low-end machine)? Go and look at Dell's, HP's, Acer's, Toshiba's, and Sony's (who together account for at least 70% of the market) product line-ups, and at the best seller list at Amazon, and you will find that you are mistaken. [/B]
There's only demand for those if the price is considerably less. You are assuming that cutting all those features would have a large difference in price. If the price difference isn't that much, I think most consumers would pay a little more for the extras. Apple obviously wants the selling point of their machines to be that they are the *best*. If apple sells machines with less features and low performance, they're turning the machine into a commodity. The arguements for buying the machine are stripped away leaving only the price as a selling point (and that's one they'll likely never win).
One point that everyone seems to keep ignoring: Why is everyone so sure that this line will remain forever? As far as I'm concerned, it makes the most sense for Apple to make the transition to intel as quickly and simply as possible. Put out the machines that will sell the most quickly and relieve the pent up demand, and keep market share up. Once the transition is finished, apple can easily add more models, configurations, and options to the product line. After all, it's much easier to take a limited product line and gradually expand it than to create a broad, complex product line from scratch on day one of release.
Why is such a notion seen as so outlandish?