Originally Posted by Marvin
They probably changed their mind as we went deeper into a recession and then just didn't bother telling us about it. [...]
Finally they've made the MBA what it should have been, which is cheaper than the Macbook.
All good points.
I wonder how expensive these milled aluminum blocks really are. Whether this was the transition they were talking about (the MacBook unibody model). Or whether they do plan another unibody model, a small MacBook Air 'netbook' perhaps?
It should be something that is high volume and lower margin. Although Apple's idea of 'lower' magin is probably 28% instead of 30% and not 10-15%...
Can we find a sweet spot pricing for an Apple netbook?
I think we all agree that a netbook for $499 would make a much bigger splash than one for $799. The latter would probably just be perceived as a price drop on the $999 MacBook.
Even with cheap parts how much profit can Apple make on a $499 netbook?
$100? $200? $300?
Assuming current 30% margins will roughly apply then profits would be $150. Considering the $1,599 MacBook earns them $480 Apple needs to sell 3+ netbooks for each MacBook sale lost.Apple sold 1.796mio notebooks last quarter
. We don't have actual further break downs but let's assume 1/2 of these are MacBooks, the other half MacBook Pros and Airs (probably an even higher MacBook ratio).
Let's further assuem 1/3 of all potential MacBook owners will buy a Mac netbook for $499 instead. Again 1/3 is a reasonable number. The real figure will likely be much higher since MacBooks are key educational products and students are likely to snatch up a $499 machine instead.
That means 1/3 of 1/2 of 1.796mio sales lost to Mac netbooks, ca. 300,000 units.
To make up for the $330 profits lost Apple needs to sell another 660,000 netbooks for a total of 960,000 netbooks sold in a single quarter. And this will also comprise a 37% increase
in total laptops sold to 2.46mio.
Do you think this is realistic in the current economic climate?
If yes, then Apple should go for a $499 netbook. If not, then prices would have to be raised.
At $599 (a $250 profit for Apple) they need to sell an extra 276,000 netbooks for a total of 2,072mio notebooks, an increase of 15.2% in sales.
At $699 (a $350 profit for Apple) an extra 111,000 netbooks for a total of 1.907mio notebooks, an increase in 6.2%.
That latter figure is probably realistic and doable. But at $699 a Mac netbook is not all that exciting...
Yet anything lower more and more becomes a huge gamble.
And this doesn't even account for 'worse' conditions:
- What if MacBooks make up more than 1/2 of all Apple laptops sold?
- What if more than 1/3 of potential MacBook owners go for the netbook?
- What if further sales will be lost on MacBook Pros by people now going for the middle-of-the-road model instead (MacBook)?
- What about increased service costs? With many more low-end customers come more support requests. All need to be paid for.
But even at $699 for a Mac netbook with the specs of a $499 Asus or DELL netbook, would people go for that?
Would that really be the 'Mac netbook' everyone's craving for? Or would it just be another 'Macs are too expensive' argument?
At that price Mac netbooks would probably be a very mild success, if any.