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MacBook Air demand trails that of original Intel-based MacBook

post #1 of 190
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Interest in Apple Inc.'s new ultra-thin and lightweight MacBook Air is running high, but demand for the new sub-notebook is noticeably less than that of the first Intel-based MacBook launched in May of 2006, according to a new report.

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster and his investment banking team spent part of Monday afternoon speaking with 20 Apple specialist retailers in an attempt to quantify demand for the latest mobile Mac. He found that most -- or approximately 60 percent -- of those specialty resellers are seeing less demand for the MacBook Air than they did following the introduction of revamped 13-inch consumer MacBooks nearly two years ago.

"More specifically, [resellers] are noticing that customers are more curious, but less willing to buy the MacBook Air than they were the original MacBook," Munster told investors in a summary of his team's findings on Tuesday. "We believe the MacBook [remains] the most popular Mac."

The results of the analyst's survey weren't exactly a landslide either, as another 30 percent of the resellers polled indicated that demand for the MacBook Air has thus far been "similar" to that of the first Intel-based MacBook.

That said, however, the general consensus amongst members of the reseller channel was that the MacBook Air is too steeply priced for Apple's mainstream consumer base and instead has a smaller but separate target market. Of the 10 reseller comments Munster published alongside his report Tuesday, more than 50 percent indicated that high pricing of the notebook was a concern.

"The people that are interested in [the MacBook Air] are not interested in buying it," said one reseller. "MacBook Air is too expensive; it's kind of a niche market product," said another. Still others characterized the notebook as a travelers companion for "high income people," or a tool for "executives."

"[For these] reason[s] resellers indicate that sales of the MacBook Air have been additive to their overall Mac sales in the quarter," Munster advised clients. "The MacBook Air addresses the need for mobility unlike any other Mac, and as such we believe it is not cannibalizing sales of other Mac laptops."

Apple's aggressively priced MacBooks remain its most popular Macs.

On average, the 20 resellers polled by Piper Jaffray said they are expecting March quarter Mac sales to be flat sequentially. Specifically, 35 percent said Mac sales are up, 20 percent said Mac sales will be flat, and 45 percent said Mac sales are down.

"We are modeling for Mac units to be down 18 percent quarter-over-quarter in March," said Munster, who maintains a Buy rating and $250 price target on shares of Apple. "We note that Apple's reseller channel has struggled to compete with Apple's own retail stores, so the fact that the channel is collectively seeing flat sales may appear to be a positive for the Mac segment in March."
post #2 of 190
I think we can file this one under the "well, duh!" section.

Ultra-portable, ultra-lights, what ever you want to call them, are niche products in the computer market place. "Normal" laptops aren't. Anyone expecting the Air to be as popular as the MacBook is a moron.
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post #3 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

I think we can file this one under the "well, duh!" section.

Ultra-portable, ultra-lights, what ever you want to call them, are niche products in the computer market place. "Normal" laptops aren't. Anyone expecting the Air to be as popular as the MacBook is a moron.

Damn, beat me to it.

I was going to say...

"Well, duh!"
post #4 of 190
This model strikes me like a fancy German two-seater. Nobody expects it to sell all that much, just to well-heeled enthusiasts. But it accomplishes some technological breakthroughs and gets folks into the showroom.

Does anyone even know what are the sales expectations for such a computer? What are the sales like for the top two competitors in this segment?
post #5 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

I think we can file this one under the "well, duh!" section.

Ultra-portable, ultra-lights, what ever you want to call them, are niche products in the computer market place. "Normal" laptops aren't. Anyone expecting the Air to be as popular as the MacBook is a moron.

Precisely. It is an entry into a fairly niche market - and by no means is the general portable market that market.
post #6 of 190
sales numbers will tell the truth ...

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post #7 of 190
Apple certainly hasn't made a strategic blunder with the MacBook AIr. More than that, often bleeding-edge technology takes a little time to gain consumer acceptance. You could say it is an "ahead of its time" machine

Once you get a faster chip inside the MBA plus 128 GB of SSD memory and everyone has caught on to downloading movies from iTunes, this thing is going to sell in ever increasing numbers, especially if the price comes down.

The trolls have failed to trash the MBA. Despite a huge amount of criticism, the only two things that stick are the need for a removeable battery and one more USB port. Personally, I can live without either, just give me a 128 GB SSD.

One problem that no one has mentioned is availability. It is currently sold out in the UK.
post #8 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Of the 10 reseller comments Munster published alongside his report Tuesday, more than 50 percent indicated that high pricing of the notebook was a concern.

"The people that are interested in [the MacBook Air] are not interested in buying it," said one reseller. "MacBook Air is too expensive; it's kind of a niche market product," said another. c][ View this article at AppleInsider.com ]

[ Digg this story ][/c]

Well - what do you know? So much for all the attacks last week.
post #9 of 190
Yeah, this is weird. Nobody expected the MBA to have the same kind of demand as a MacBook.
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post #10 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Of the 10 reseller comments Munster published alongside his report Tuesday, more than 50 percent indicated that high pricing of the notebook was a concern.

"The people that are interested in [the MacBook Air] are not interested in buying it," said one reseller. "MacBook Air is too expensive; it's kind of a niche market product," said another. c][ View this article at AppleInsider.com ]

[ Digg this story ][/c]

Well - what do you know? So much for all the attacks last week.
post #11 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by acknight View Post

Precisely. It is an entry into a fairly niche market - and by no means is the general portable market that market.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post

Yeah, this is weird. Nobody expected the MBA to have the same kind of demand as a MacBook.

Yeah, this is a head-scratcher of a story.

In other news, Final Cut Pro sales lower than iMovie sales.
post #12 of 190
Common sense really doesn't exist in the US.. of course it has less appeal than the cheaper MacBook.. of course people who will never buy it will come to check it out and wish they could buy it if it was cheaper....

I used to have a MacBook as a second computer, now I have the Air for me it is just bliss.. even after only a week I just cannot immagine switching back to that heavy macBook.
post #13 of 190
I always find it amusing how people almost always trash the findings made by researchers... funny.

I think what the article was trying to convey is that if the MBA had had a lower price point, a lot more people would be buying it.

Also, just because someone says that the MBA is not selling as much (or as well) as the MB doesn't mean they think it's a bad product or doomed or whatever. OF COURSE the MBA will NOT sell as well as the MB. Most people aren't that bright and fail to see the logic in paying more for less (performance). As such they will not opt for the MBA.

I personally am seriously considering the MBA, but I'll wait to see how the new MB and MBP look like when they hopefully come out soon!
post #14 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

I think we can file this one under the "well, duh!" section.

Ultra-portable, ultra-lights, what ever you want to call them, are niche products in the computer market place. "Normal" laptops aren't. Anyone expecting the Air to be as popular as the MacBook is a moron.

I completely agree. If they want to sell more they need to drop the price. $1799 is way too much for 1.6 GHz @ 4200rpm. And shoot, only 80GB hard drive?? An iPod has twice that. Sure it has the portability/coolness factor but that surely isn't worth the extra dough. Considering the intro Macbook is essentially faster and starts at $1099, on speed alone the Air should be down around $900. To have a premium of $900 for the thinness factor is ridiculous.
If they would drop the price to $1200-ish that would be much more reasonable; they would sell like hot cakes too. It's not like the Macbook and Macbook Pro are that much less portable, ya know? Here's three options that are arguably faster/better:

For $200 more you could get a Macbook Pro with:
2.2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
2GB memory
160GB hard drive @ 5400 rpm

For $1674 you could get a Macbook with:
2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
2GB memory
250GB hard drive @ 5400 rpm

Or cheaper yet, for $1549 you could get a Macbook with:
2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
2GB
250GBhard drive @ 5400 rpm

I would never buy a Macbook Air for the price they have them selling for now. The only thing it has going is its the thinness, which is way over priced.
post #15 of 190
What?!?!?! Are they saying that a mainstream notebook at nearly half the cost of a niche machine is more attractive to the majority? I call shenanigans!
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post #16 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by emoney35 View Post

I completely agree. If they want to sell more they need to drop the price. $1799 is way too much for 1.6 GHz @ 4200rpm. And shoot, only 80GB hard drive?? An iPod has twice that. Sure it has the portability/coolness factor but that surely isn't worth the extra dough. Considering the intro Macbook is essentially faster and starts at $1099, on speed alone the Air should be down around $900. To have a premium of $900 for the thinness factor is ridiculous.
If they would drop the price to $1200-ish that would be much more reasonable; they would sell like hot cakes too. It's not like the Macbook and Macbook Pro are that much less portable, ya know? Here's three options that are arguably faster/better:
...
I would never buy a Macbook Air for the price they have them selling for now. The only thing it has going is its the thinness, which is way over priced.

Mr. H never said that the Air should be cheaper. In this reality smaller, more advanced hardware costs more money. Based on your logic of priced based solely on speed, the iPod Classic should be around $50 comapred to the speed of the $1,100 MacBook or the MacBook should be $5,000 based on the speed of the $400 iPod Classic.

There is a reason notebooks cost more than desktops, while being slower, having less storage capacity and being less future-proof.
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post #17 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post

Yeah, this is weird. Nobody expected the MBA to have the same kind of demand as a MacBook.

Yeah, the MacBook will always appeal to the masses. The Air is a niche product, but we'll see when the numbers come out how well received it will be.
post #18 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by iextreme View Post

I think what the article was trying to convey is that if the MBA had had a lower price point, a lot more people would be buying it.

But we already knew that. If a Lexus cost $10,000, they'd sell a whole lot more too.
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post #19 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by iextreme View Post

I always find it amusing how people almost always trash the findings made by researchers... funny.

I think what the article was trying to convey is that if the MBA had had a lower price point, a lot more people would be buying it.

Also, just because someone says that the MBA is not selling as much (or as well) as the MB doesn't mean they think it's a bad product or doomed or whatever. OF COURSE the MBA will NOT sell as well as the MB. Most people aren't that bright and fail to see the logic in paying more for less (performance). As such they will not opt for the MBA.

I personally am seriously considering the MBA, but I'll wait to see how the new MB and MBP look like when they hopefully come out soon!

People are criticizing the researcher's conclusions, not his findings. The conclusion that the MacBook Air is too expensive is unfounded. This is a niche product, meant to appeal to a niche audience. Lowering the price of anything would result in more sales; implying that a high price is the REASON for low sales is a non-sequitur.

As with all of Apple's notebooks, if you compare machines feature for feature, you'll find the MacBook Air is actually cheaper than most computers in that niche.

The real problem is that the mainstream press will take this researcher's conclusions and start a wave of doom and gloom stories and Cube comparisons based on it. The Air will be the newest easy poke at Apple, when in fact, it could be selling in line with internal expectations.

I'm convinced this very cycle is what hurt Apple TV sales last year.
post #20 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by emoney35 View Post

I completely agree.

You appear to be "agreeing" with something I didn't actually say.


Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Mr. H never said that the Air should be cheaper.

Thank you.
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post #21 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrjoec123 View Post

I'm convinced this very cycle is what hurt Apple TV sales last year.

No, no; what hurt the AppleTV "take 1" was that it was rubbish.
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post #22 of 190
So what was the price of the Macbook when it came out in May 2006 and was it as much a technical breakthrough then as the Air is today
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post #23 of 190
i dont know whether these analyst are dumb or something... obviously its less.. duuh.... its $800 more expensive.

second, those sacrifices that the macbook air made... some users are not going to be interested in mba..

cmon man, you guys are suppose to be the expert...
post #24 of 190
This just in:
People are interested in Lexus, but can only afford Toyota.
Toyota has more volume sales than Lexus, Lexus is doomed!
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post #25 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by iextreme View Post

I always find it amusing how people almost always trash the findings made by researchers... funny.

I think what the article was trying to convey is that if the MBA had had a lower price point, a lot more people would be buying it.

Also, just because someone says that the MBA is not selling as much (or as well) as the MB doesn't mean they think it's a bad product or doomed or whatever. OF COURSE the MBA will NOT sell as well as the MB. Most people aren't that bright and fail to see the logic in paying more for less (performance). As such they will not opt for the MBA.

I personally am seriously considering the MBA, but I'll wait to see how the new MB and MBP look like when they hopefully come out soon!


we are not trashing other people's research.. i think its good that they have this kind of research.. but if the conclusion is obvious.. do we (the general public) have to read it?
post #26 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

There is a reason notebooks cost more than desktops, while being slower, having less storage capacity and being less future-proof.

Exactly. All I'm saying is that I feel the MBA is out of proportion when it comes to its price. Obviously there is going to be a premium for the thinness, but to pay $1799 for essentially an internet surfing device is crazy, IMO.
I don't know for sure, but I'd be willing to bet that 1.6 GHz is one of the slower processor speeds out there for a new computer/laptop. As I mentioned above, you can pay less money for a faster Macbook with a minimal increase in actual physical size.
post #27 of 190
But just think how many they would sell if they priced then at $49 (and included the ethernet dongle, the external DVD burner and a copy of Windows Vista for free)!

Oh right, they wouldn't sell any more than they are now because they are selling them as fast as they can crank them out (for now at least).
post #28 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Underhill View Post

So what was the price of the Macbook when it came out in May 2006 and was it as much a technical breakthrough then as the Air is today

It's more of a design breakthough than a technical breakthrough unless you consider omitting ports as such. The SSD drive though is a technical breakthrough however Apple doesn't manufacture that nor the new Intel chip.
post #29 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by emoney35 View Post

I don't know for sure, but I'd be willing to bet that 1.6 GHz is one of the slower processor speeds out there for a new computer/laptop.

I'll take that bet, depending on how you define "one of the slower processor speeds".

How about $500?
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post #30 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by ecking View Post

This just in:
People are interested in Lexus, but can only afford Toyota.
Toyota has more volume sales than Lexus, Lexus is doomed!

If computers were these cars, as stated, wouldn't you want the one with more sales volume to increase your OS numbers as well? I think that is the real point here. The MBA is not going to increase the Leopard numbers. First of all, most people who will buy this are not PC people but people with other Macs so there will be very few switchers to come aboard with this product.
post #31 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by emoney35 View Post

Exactly. All I'm saying is that I feel the MBA is out of proportion when it comes to its price. Obviously there is going to be a premium for the thinness, but to pay $1799 for essentially an internet surfing device is crazy, IMO.
I don't know for sure, but I'd be willing to bet that 1.6 GHz is one of the slower processor speeds out there for a new computer/laptop. As I mentioned above, you can pay less money for a faster Macbook with a minimal increase in actual physical size.

1. It's not about size, it's about weight. Some, like myself, will pay a premium for the lightest Mac portable they can buy. I've owned all the small PowerBooks and the Air feels like less of a compromise than any of them.

2. Dual core 1.6 GHz is plenty fast enough for the vast majority of users. What are we supposed to be doing with all these gigaflops? Rendering the next Pixar movie? Cracking the human genome? I run office apps, surf the Web, do mail, use the iApps, play a few games. I haven't noticed any performance issues at all, and don't expect to.

3. President Bush and Congress are giving these things away for "free" (with our tax dollars) anyway ($1800 "stimulus" refund expected for a family of 4).

4. Frankly I thought I wanted a micro Mac notebook, but I love the "full size" screen on the Air. Any smaller (even if they increased the pixel density) would be a step backwards.

5. The 80 gig hard drive is a drag, but I'll just keep all my media on my 80 gig iPod until I can upgrade the hard drive in a year or so.
post #32 of 190
This just in...

The updated 8 core Mac Pro is proving to be a sales nightmare for Apple. The launch in early January is being considered a significant disappointment by analyst who are comparing the sales numbers to the iPod nano and shuffle releases in the previous year.

"The Nano is outselling the Mac Pro over 10 to 1, which has to be hurting Apple's bottom line" said Robert Dobolina from subgenius analysis.

"Every day I see dozens upon dozens of people carrying their shuffles and nanos around with them, but I've yet to see a single individual on the street with an 8 core mac pro", claims William W. Onka a market trend researcher from allaboutprofit.com.

Even worse, Microsofts much feared Zune appears to be nearly matching mac pro sales. Could the Zune be on the verge of breaking out into a full fledged Mac Pro killer?
post #33 of 190
Macbooks are cheaper, thus they sell more?

Help me here guys.
post #34 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

If computers were these cars, as stated, wouldn't you want the one with more sales volume to increase your OS numbers as well? I think that is the real point here. The MBA is not going to increase the Leopard numbers. First of all, most people who will buy this are not PC people but people with other Macs so there will be very few switchers to come aboard with this product.

The article (bad though it is) implies otherwise. People come to the "showroom" to see the cool new Air and some walk out with a more affordable MacBook. I'm sure the same thing happens every day at car dealerships. Go in to to see the new Mustand and drive out in a brand new Pinto (or whatever cheap car Ford sells nowadays). Either way it's a new customer.
post #35 of 190
Quote:
That said, however, the general consensus amongst members of the reseller channel was that the MacBook Air is too steeply priced for Apple's mainstream consumer base and instead has a smaller but separate target market. Of the 10 reseller comments Munster published alongside his report Tuesday, more than 50 percent indicated that high pricing of the notebook was a concern.


The MacBook Air is so expensive and devoid of any compelling features, besides a low weight, that it comes as a surprise that it is selling. You have to wonder when Apple will come back to it senses.

In Canada, Staples is selling portables from Toshiba for $799 with a DVD drive and a 160 GB hard drive, while MacBooks sell for $1,249.00 with a 80 GB hard drive and an outdated CD-ROM drive on the Canadian AppleStore.

For a MacBook with a SuperDrive DVD drive, the selling price is either $1,449.00 for a "staining" white MacBook or $1,649.00 for a black MacBook.

Is there anyone who would say that Apple doesn't cater to a niche market?

Now, if only Steve Jobs would stop defrauding shareholders for billions of dollars in illegal stock options, maybe the prices could come down to meet the prices of Apple's competitors.

All things considered, you have to wonder how much better Apple would do with another CEO and lower prices. After 10 and 1/2 years, it's time for a change of CEO, this time with enough brains to get a university degree...


post #36 of 190
I would never buy a Macbook Air for the price they have them selling for now. The only thing it has going is its the thinness, which is way over priced.[/QUOTE]

Well duh !!! Well then its not for you. MacBook Air is light and thin and for the frequent traveller. And BTW going small costs a lot more. Simply compare the cost of the 80 GB 1.8" drive to the 80 GB 2.5 " drive.The larger HD doesn't fit in that's why only 80GB at this time. The memory is hard wired for space. It is all about size and nothing else really. So yes it does have limited appeal. It is for frequent travellers where every ounce may matter. I would imagine that apple will try to make it smaller faster and even lighter in the future when the larger parts also get smaller. Who knows Apple may find out that there isn't a large enough market to continue producing MacBook Airs.

However a couple of my business associates who are always on the move love it because of the weight and the screen size. Those are the only really important issues with them. They can't wait until theirs come in. For me there is no need I can pick up the MacBook or the Pro. Although my wish is a 15" MacBook.
post #37 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by iextreme View Post

I always find it amusing how people almost always trash the findings made by researchers... funny.

In this case it's not so much trashing as pointing out that the "research" is just stating the obvious and confirming what everyone expected.

Quote:
Originally Posted by iextreme View Post

I think what the article was trying to convey is that if the MBA had had a lower price point, a lot more people would be buying it.

Well, duh. That's true of the air, but it's true of EVERY product. What wouldn't sell better at a lower price? But that doesn't mean the product is too expensive, it's comparable to what similar models cost, and in the case of products with miniaturization, cost of manufacture dictates product price (which is higher than bigger, clunkier products - you pay more for small).

I'm sure the MB outsells the MB pro...and the iPod nano outsells the classic and touch...and the iMac outsells the mac pro. But that doesn't mean that the higher end models are overpriced, does it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by emoney35 View Post

Exactly. All I'm saying is that I feel the MBA is out of proportion when it comes to its price. Obviously there is going to be a premium for the thinness, but to pay $1799 for essentially an internet surfing device is crazy, IMO.
I don't know for sure, but I'd be willing to bet that 1.6 GHz is one of the slower processor speeds out there for a new computer/laptop. As I mentioned above, you can pay less money for a faster Macbook with a minimal increase in actual physical size.

You think it's crazy because you're not the target customer and you haven't compared to similar ultralight notebooks. There are people who want the smallest/lightest possible machine, and they're willing to pay more for it and make sacrifices on speed and features. You may find it hard to believe but there are plenty of PC subnotebooks that cost even more or are even slower (or both).

Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

If computers were these cars, as stated, wouldn't you want the one with more sales volume to increase your OS numbers as well? I think that is the real point here. The MBA is not going to increase the Leopard numbers. First of all, most people who will buy this are not PC people but people with other Macs so there will be very few switchers to come aboard with this product.

I don't agree that the MBA won't increase the mac user base - there are business users who wouldn't consider a mac until they offered a subnotebook. Now they have an option. And while the MBA is intended as a second computer, I don't think everyone necessarily needs or wants both machines on the same platform. Mac laptop and PC desktop or vice versa is better than two PC's. And two macs is better than one of each.
post #38 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by emoney35 View Post

Exactly. All I'm saying is that I feel the MBA is out of proportion when it comes to its price. Obviously there is going to be a premium for the thinness, but to pay $1799 for essentially an internet surfing device is crazy, IMO.
I don't know for sure, but I'd be willing to bet that 1.6 GHz is one of the slower processor speeds out there for a new computer/laptop. As I mentioned above, you can pay less money for a faster Macbook with a minimal increase in actual physical size.

We know that the 1.6GHz trounces any PPC Mac notebook ever released and I assume that it would also beat any of new $500 lossleader notebooks that HP and Dell sell.

As for other notebooks in the 3lb weightlcass the MBA is hella fast. I think Sony just upped it's Vaio TZ series to a 1.33GHz LV option, which would make it the 2nd fastest in this class, I think.

But you are right, there are trade offs. I love the MBA except for the battery usage time. If they added a pound of battery for a solid 8-12 hours under normal usage I'd be typing on one right now. Cost means nothing to me if it suits my needs. I remember computers cost a lot more and did a lot less and I have disposable income now so the price means nothing if it suits my needs.
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post #39 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by ouragan View Post

Now, if only Steve Jobs would stop defrauding shareholders for billions of dollars in illegal stock options, maybe the prices could come down to meet the prices of Apple's competitors.

When are you going to stop repeating this same old shit?

The stock options were not, are not, and never will be, illegal.
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post #40 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by soward View Post

This just in...

The updated 8 core Mac Pro is proving to be a sales nightmare for Apple. The launch in early January is being considered a significant disappointment by analyst who are comparing the sales numbers to the iPod nano and shuffle releases in the previous year.

"The Nano is outselling the Mac Pro over 10 to 1, which has to be hurting Apple's bottom line" said Robert Dobolina from subgenius analysis.

"Every day I see dozens upon dozens of people carrying their shuffles and nanos around with them, but I've yet to see a single individual on the street with an 8 core mac pro", claims William W. Onka a market trend researcher from allaboutprofit.com.

Even worse, Microsofts much feared Zune appears to be nearly matching mac pro sales. Could the Zune be on the verge of breaking out into a full fledged Mac Pro killer?

QFT.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ouragan View Post

The MacBook Air is so expensive and devoid of any compelling features, besides a low weight, that it comes as a surprise that it is selling. You have to wonder when Apple will come back to it senses.

So you're saying if you ignore the compelling feature, it has no compelling features. Bravo on the logic, Einstein.

Water is devoid of any compelling features, besides being hydrating, refreshing, and useful for washing things. I'm sure it will never catch on.
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