Apple may begin to phase out legacy 13-inch white MacBook

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
Apple's white polycarbonate MacBook, which has long served as the company's entry-level notebook, may be slowly phased out this year, according to one insider.



Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of Concord Securities shared with AppleInsider Tuesday that industry checks show that Apple's internal shipment forecast for the white MacBook suspiciously drops-off in August of this year, which leads him to believe that the notebook may go "end of life" around the same time.



In his view, Apple's $999 MacBook Air is a more than suitable replacement for the identically priced white MacBook. An updated MacBook Air with 128GB minimum hard drive space is expected to see an introduction as early as Wednesday.



Kuo said that monthly shipments for the Core 2 Duo MacBook have fallen to between 80,000 and 100,000 units, and therefore comprised less than 10 percent of Apple's total Mac shipments during the first half of 2011. Though Apple continues to offer the yesteryear notebook as part of its Mac portfolio, this data indicates consumers are proactively choosing notebooks with the latest technology, like the new MacBook Airs or MacBook Pros.



While some industry-watchers believe the white MacBook could continue to serve as a low-cost, entry-level Mac with a price reduction (similar to what Apple has done with the iPhone 3GS), it's uncertain that the Cupertino-based company remains interested in continuing to market the hefty, previous-generation design alongside its sleek new Mac OS Lion operating system.



AppleInsider first revealed in late June that supply of the white MacBook was severely constrained. Weeks later, stock-outs remain at resellers like Amazon, where the notebook is advertised to ship within two to five weeks. However, that's the same lead time Amazon has reflected on an on-again, off-again basis for the past three weeks. In fact, just two of seven authorized resellers tracked in the Mac Pricing Guide (below) are reflecting availability.







The Intel-powered MacBook was first launched in May of 2006, replacing the PowerPC-based iBook and PowerBook. Sporting a 13-inch display, it originally came in both black and white flavors.



The notebook was redesigned in 2009, when it was given a unibody construction like the MacBook Pro. The new notebook was also given an LED-backlit display, integrated battery and multi-touch glass trackpad.







While the MacBook stood alone at the $999 price point among Apple's notebooks for years, that changed in 2010, when the MacBook Air was redesigned and expanded to include an 11-inch model. Upon its introduction, that $999 notebook saw strong sales as consumers took to the thin-and-light device.



Advantages for the current $999 MacBook Air over the existing MacBook include a unibody aluminum enclosure, and a thin-and-light design with fast and reliable solid-state flash memory storage. But the entry-level MacBook Air also has some disadvantages when compared to the white MacBook, namely a smaller 11-inch screen and fewer ports, including lack of Ethernet.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 88
    shrikeshrike Posts: 494member
    Or, Apple could just be drawing down on inventories for a product refresh. I think the biggest advantage of the MacBook is the optical drive.
  • Reply 2 of 88
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,507member
    Ha! Someone has been saying this might happen.
  • Reply 3 of 88
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    Ha! Someone has been saying this might happen.



    AI also spelled doom or the Mac mini mamestizomes over a very long period and yet it still exists and is better than ever.



    I've been in several Apple Stores in many states over the last couple of months and they all have multiple white MacBooks at the front of the store. That doesn't sound like a product line they are going to depreciate. I'm much more inclined to see the alumimium MBP with an ODD to become the new MacBook and the new MBPs get thinner, lighter, faster, and have an SSD+HDD, and higher res display.
  • Reply 4 of 88
    ivladivlad Posts: 740member
    It only makes sense. Macbook air will be $999 and take the place of Macbook. People who buy white macbooks don't need it for any pro apps or heavy graphics, so Macbook Air can easily replace it.
  • Reply 5 of 88
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 1,909member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    AI also spelled doom or the Mac mini mamestizomes over a very long period and yet it still exists and is better than ever.



    This is a good point, but it seems to me that the Mac Mini is more "special" than the white MacBook. The Mini is a unique form factor and cannot easily be replaced by any other Mac because of that form factor. In other words, there's more to the Mini than just its lower price (which isn't even that low when you add in the price of a monitor, keyboard, etc). But there's nothing really special about the MacBook, except perhaps for its potential to be less expensive than the MBA.



    Also, Apple seems to be making a statement with their product lineup that iOS devices are mainstream (the "cars") and that Macs are more professional machines (the "trucks"). I suspect that distinction becomes only more pronounced over time, and a cheap MacBook isn't consistent with that distinction.



    So I think that the MacBook EOL rumor is more likely to come true than the Mini rumor was.
  • Reply 6 of 88
    dcorbandcorban Posts: 58member
    MacBook Air to drop the "Air" surname and replace the current MacBook.



    You heard it here first*.





    *Disclaimer: You probably didn't hear it here first.
  • Reply 7 of 88
    tipootipoo Posts: 1,038member
    Less than 10%? Where did he pull that out of? Apple called it their best selling mac in the last video they made of it, that was very recent.
  • Reply 8 of 88
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    Either make the white Air cheaper, or just add a new lower-end Air.



    There are rumors that the Air’s RAM and storage specs are doubling at the same price--which I’m skeptical of: I expect a price increase, which will still be a great deal. But assuming that happens, which would be awesome, the Air might start at 128 storage and 4GB RAM for $999. That would leave room for an $899 ~3GB Air with 64 storage that would meet the needs of most people really well! (Many would want to add an external display. You can then have a 22” subnotebook!) There are no rumors of that, though
  • Reply 9 of 88
    lamewinglamewing Posts: 742member
    The loss of the white Macbook in favor of the Macbook Air would force us to loose the optical drive, processing power, and the ability to upgrade internal storage. I guess we could always buy the Macbook Pro for that....
  • Reply 10 of 88
    gmcalpingmcalpin Posts: 266member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    AI also spelled doom or the Mac mini mamestizomes over a very long period and yet it still exists and is better than ever.



    "Mamestizomes"? Should that be "many times"?



    That's the best spellcheck mangling I've seen in ages.
  • Reply 11 of 88
    bregaladbregalad Posts: 816member
    The used Mac market suggests Apple would be foolish to abandon the MacBook. I've seen used MacBooks going for the same price as similarly aged MacBook Pros that originally sold for much more. A significant segment of the market apparently wants white and associates the colour with Apple.



    I also think a lot of consumers don't consider themselves pros and avoid the MBP because they think a "Pro" model must have features they don't need and more importantly don't want to pay for. I wouldn't be surprised if a large number of potential customers want the "ordinary MacBook" rather than a "Pro" or ultralight model because they perceive both as specialty markets with higher prices.



    I find it rather odd that the article mentioned the lack of Ethernet as a drawback of the new 11" MacBook Air, but didn't mention the significantly slower CPU or the 5 hour battery life versus 7 hours on the white MacBook.
  • Reply 12 of 88
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,215member
    "In his view, Apple's $999 MacBook Air is a more than suitable replacement for the identically priced white MacBook."





    yes and no. If someone is getting the MacBook because all they need is to do email, type papers etc. Yeah, the Air is fine.



    But anything more than that and they need a more fully realized computer. Faster processor, bigger HD etc.



    That said, I could see Apple dropping the Macbook and knocking like $100 off the entry pro to split the difference. Or heck even knocking some off the Airs. I get that solid state is expensive but those model are a bit high for many to justify spending that price. Take it down to starting at $799 and it's more of a contender
  • Reply 13 of 88
    monstrositymonstrosity Posts: 2,202member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    Ha! Someone has been saying this might happen.



    Ha, I remember that thread
  • Reply 14 of 88
    bjojadebjojade Posts: 91member
    The 11 inch air is not an alternative to the 13 inch MacBook, primarily because of the screen size. Battery life and lack of optical drive are the other two factors getting in the way.



    The 13" MacBook is a great entry level machine that people are comfortable with. It would make sense for Apple to maintain that machine at a lower price point. Hitting $899 or even $799 would be great for sales overall. It would bring over more converts that think Mac laptops are overpriced.
  • Reply 15 of 88
    kpluckkpluck Posts: 500member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by iVlad View Post


    It only makes sense. Macbook air will be $999 and take the place of Macbook. People who buy white macbooks don't need it for any pro apps or heavy graphics, so Macbook Air can easily replace it.



    Actually, it doesn't make sense. The white MacBook can easily be used as a person's only Mac if their requirements are simple enough. The MacBook Air can't, at least not without compromise. It just doesn't have enough storage at the $999 price point and the screen is too small.



    -kpluck
  • Reply 16 of 88
    It should be redesigned to be just like the MacBook Air but made out of plastic.

    It should be available in Black and White just like the iPhone and iPad.

    It should be available in 11" & 13" models priced at $799 & $999.

    It should have mini DisplayPort but not Thunderbolt.
  • Reply 17 of 88
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,507member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    AI also spelled doom or the Mac mini mamestizomes over a very long period and yet it still exists and is better than ever.



    I've been in several Apple Stores in many states over the last couple of months and they all have multiple white MacBooks at the front of the store. That doesn't sound like a product line they are going to depreciate. I'm much more inclined to see the alumimium MBP with an ODD to become the new MacBook and the new MBPs get thinner, lighter, faster, and have an SSD+HDD, and higher res display.



    The Mac Mini is in a special segment. The MacBook isn't. Not any longer.
  • Reply 18 of 88
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bjojade View Post


    The 11 inch air is not an alternative to the 13 inch MacBook, primarily because of the screen size. Battery life and lack of optical drive are the other two factors getting in the way.



    The 13" MacBook is a great entry level machine that people are comfortable with. It would make sense for Apple to maintain that machine at a lower price point. Hitting $899 or even $799 would be great for sales overall. It would bring over more converts that think Mac laptops are overpriced.



    I see this being more of the reality than dropping it entirely. I also think that the $799 marker is probably the one Apple needs to hit. Just give it a moderate bump in specs (HD size, minimum ram of 4GB, and a slight processor bump) and you have a true contender.



    Now, they may even try to market the younger generation if they could make attachable plates for the front of it (nothing sophisticated, just a plastic "cover"), and now you have something that will appeal to the teenagers which will spark a whole lot more sales (plus the benefit of the sales of the accessory).
  • Reply 19 of 88
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,507member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lamewing View Post


    The loss of the white Macbook in favor of the Macbook Air would force us to loose the optical drive, processing power, and the ability to upgrade internal storage. I guess we could always buy the Macbook Pro for that....



    The new Airs' are supposed to be pretty powerful. You can replace the SSD. With more RAM, much of that problem is taken care of. Most people never upgrade their machines. The Air is much lighter than the MacBook, and would be a better machine for schools. Unfortunately, FW is being depreciated. Thunderbolt will take over.
  • Reply 20 of 88
    paulmjohnsonpaulmjohnson Posts: 1,380member
    I think it's an indication of just how good the rest of the Apple notebook lineup has become (especially the Macbook Air) that to me the white Macbook looks like the only "cheap" thing in the Apple lineup.



    I know it's still much better build quality than Windows based plastic laptops out there, but it just doesn't seem to fit with the incredible quality of the rest of Apples stuff.



    If they can do a good Macbook Air at $1000, I can't see the need for the plastic Macbook anymore.
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