Apple's white legacy MacBook pulled from website and online store

in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
Apple on Wednesday suddenly removed its white entry-level MacBook from its website and online store, signaling that the five-year-old notebook has been officially replaced by the $999 MacBook Air [update: still available for eduction institutions only].

AppleInsider was first to report on Tuesday that Apple would begin to phase out the legacy device, first introduced as the successor to the PowerPC-based iBook and PowerBook. But the details from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of Concord Securities suggested the discontinuation of the product would occur in the next few months.

Apple surprised on Wednesday when it suddenly pulled the white MacBook from its site, bringing a faster-than-expected transition to the new 11.6-inch MacBook Air as the only $999 notebook in Apple's lineup. Kuo, citing industry checks, revealed that Apple's internal forecast for the white MacBook suspiciously drops off in August of this year.

Monthly shipments for the Core 2 Duo MacBook had fallen to between 80,000 and 100,000 units, comprising less than 10 percent of the Apple's total Mac shipments in the first half of 2011.

Update: Apple has announced to resellers that its white MacBook, model No. MC516, is available for education institutions only. Channel backlog and non-direct education institution customers will see their orders canceled effective immediately. (Readers looking for one of these models can still purchase one from Mac Mall, which still reflects stock.

The MacBook will remain available to partners via Apple's online reseller stores only for education institutions. The company did not offer a timeframe for which the entry-level notebook will remain available.

AppleInsider first revealed in late June that supply of the white MacBook was severely constrained. Those stock-outs have persisted for weeks at resellers like Amazon.

The white polycarbonate MacBook was Apple's only $999 notebook for years, but that changed in 2010 when the redesigned MacBook Air was launched. That included a new entry-level 11.6-inch model at the same price point which found instant success on the market.

The MacBook Air offers some key advantages over the white MacBook, namely fast NAND flash memory for storage, an ultraportable thin-and-light design, and a durable aluminum unibody construction. But the MacBook also sports a larger 13-inch display, features an optical drive, includes a built-in Ethernet port, and has more hard drive space.


  • Reply 1 of 63
    brucepbrucep Posts: 2,823member

  • Reply 2 of 63
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,727member
    So I say again?Ha!

    I don't know why the article says this is surprising. It's not surprising at all.
  • Reply 3 of 63
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    I still don't see the reason to dissolve an entire product category. When the MBPs get updated as thinner, lighter, more powerful machines sans optical drives I can see the current MBP line becoming the new MacBooks.

    I believe this also sets a precedence for Apple in that. They have removed from the online store an item they prominently have displayed in their B&M stores.
  • Reply 4 of 63
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    It will make it easier for the Apple Store salesmen. When trying to explain to a newb, they won't have to confuse them with 3 ranges, only 2.
  • Reply 5 of 63
    cameronjcameronj Posts: 2,357member
    It was removed "suddenly"? Oh no! They should have removed it slowly - leave part of the image, some of the text, then take away a little more... not all at once all of a sudden!
  • Reply 6 of 63
    curmudgeoncurmudgeon Posts: 483member
    I feel a bit nostalgic for the white MacBook (or should I say the iBook). Sad to see it go.
  • Reply 7 of 63
    it's kind of sad , first of all they are not the same, macbook white was 13" and macbook air for the same price is 11", macbook white was upgradable ( hard drive, and memory sticks) macbook air is not.
  • Reply 8 of 63
    I agree. It's sad to see it go but the old must make way for the new.
  • Reply 9 of 63
    djintxdjintx Posts: 454member
    Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post

    I feel a bit nostalgic for the white MacBook (or should I say the iBook). Sad to see it go.

    I am very on board with this move. It was past it's prime and stuck out like a sore thumb. It didn't at all fit with the rest of Apple's products.

    I think some people feel confused because going forward the White MacBook could have distinguished itself as one of the few, if not the only, Apple laptop with an optical drive. What these people should realize is that Apple is clearly moving to a streaming disk-less paradigm, and wants to eliminate optical drives altogether.
  • Reply 10 of 63
    MacBook has been replaced by a more expensive and less adequate Air. Too little storage, too high a price.
  • Reply 11 of 63
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,680member
    Good riddance to that cheap looking, white plastic Macbook. I wrote here that Apple should dump that machine months ago. Hopefully, the white era of Mac products is finally over. I never did like any of the white Apple products.
  • Reply 12 of 63
    snofoamsnofoam Posts: 5member
    One thing that was nice about the MacBook was that, for under $200, you could put in a really big hard drive and 8GB of RAM.
  • Reply 13 of 63
    mcarlingmcarling Posts: 1,106member
    I predicted that Apple would not discontinue the MacBook this year. I was wrong.
  • Reply 14 of 63
    nicolbolasnicolbolas Posts: 254member
    the MBA just was not ready to replace the white macbook, unless that drop that people have talked about to MBP's to $1,000 happens.

    why it is not ready:

    no Disk drive (some people do use it)

    smaller hard drive space (even with the cloud, some people will find the base model not enough)

    smaller display (we are talking about $1,000 here, so i can't really include the 13')

    less battery life

    There is more stuff that probably is worse, and stuff that is better, such as the case, ssd speed, etc.

    however, if you have $900-$1100 (the range of base white MB depending on education/taxes)

    the MBA really isn't something that i believe you can use for a main computer, if you wish to store anything on it, or use any kind of CD (usb cd burners cost even more money, so do external hard drives!)

    i do agree that the MBA will be a suitable replacement for almost anyone in a year, maybe to, but i don't think that now was the best time.


    if they sell 80,000 to 100,000 units, i would believe that not all of those people who would buy it would be able to buy a suitable laptop from Apple.

    If 80,000 people buy something, and it is profitable (with only $ spent on it being delivery and production) i don't believe that dropping it is a genius move.
  • Reply 15 of 63
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Originally Posted by mcarling View Post

    I predicted that Apple would not discontinue the MacBook this year. I was wrong.

    I predicted they'd discontinue it three years ago when they should have. I was wrong.
  • Reply 16 of 63
    prof. peabodyprof. peabody Posts: 2,860member
    Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post

    I feel a bit nostalgic for the white MacBook (or should I say the iBook). Sad to see it go.

    Nah, Whitey is dead. Long live our new aluminium overlords.

    The only thing I feel sad about is that it should have happened sooner. That last white MacBook they put out was beaten up with an ugly stick at the factory. Not the typical Apple product at all.
  • Reply 17 of 63
    When I bought my MB in 2006 with 60GB of storage it seemed ample at the time. Now my 500GB disk has got 100GB of free space. With an SSD based MBA I can not go beyond 256GB, so less than I have right now. Unless I connect an external HD to it, which makes it ugly to lug around.

    Mind you the MBP fills that gap quite nicely though. So I guess it became obsolete.

    RIP White MacBook. You still have one or two years in you on my desk. But w/o Lion 'cause you're that old
  • Reply 18 of 63
    bsenkabsenka Posts: 799member
    I'm glad I bought a white Macbook while they were still available. The cost to get a comparable Mac laptop just went up dramatically.
  • Reply 19 of 63
    enjournienjourni Posts: 254member
    Typical apple to just yank a product without even thinking about it.

    He givith and he takeith away...

    – He givith Lion

    – He givith fast flash storage and instant-on

    – He givith battery life

    – He givith faster processors

    – He taketh 75% hard drive space

    – He taketh larger display

    – He taketh optical drive

    – He taketh ethernet

    IMHO a wash. I'm sure it will be good for apple as always. And PC people will laugh that you have to spend $1200 just to be able to play DVDs on your laptop.

    Edit: actually it's worse. With the 64 GB of hard drive and 11-in display, the $999 MBA looks weak, compelling you to spend more to get something a bit more decent. Exactly what apple wants.
  • Reply 20 of 63
    monstrositymonstrosity Posts: 2,204member
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post

    So I say again?Ha!

    I don't know why the article says this is surprising. It's not surprising at all.

    The 'Whitebook Demise Prophecy' seemed pretty logical to me at the time, as does it's reality now.
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