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View Full Version : Why is the Macbook Air so expensive?




maclook
Jan 28, 2010, 09:55 PM
I can't put my finger on what makes the Air so *bleeping* expensive. I always think of the Macbook Air as the Apple's netbook since it is a weaker, lighter version of the Macbook but it's the price that puts it in a whole nother league



hitekalex
Jan 28, 2010, 10:07 PM
I can't put my finger on what makes the Air so *bleeping* expensive. I always think of the Macbook Air as the Apple's netbook since it is a weaker, lighter version of the Macbook but it's the price that puts it in a whole nother league

Expensive compared to what? Air is not a netbook, and you shouldn't be comparing it to one. Go and compare Air pricing to something like Dell Adamo or Sony Vaio Z-series. You will see that Air is actually priced competitively compared to other ultraportables in the same class.

Bobjob186
Jan 28, 2010, 10:14 PM
the MBA isn't close to a netbook....period.

maclook
Jan 28, 2010, 10:26 PM
the adamo just dropped to $1000 and the base mba starts at $1500, but i could care less about what dell makes (and i never use sony's prices for comparisons). forget the netbook comparison if you find that insulting :confused:

im wondering what parts make it so costly. i'm not trying to knock it, i think the mba is gorgeous. considering it has less ports, no superdrive, and weaker CPU than the MB, i don't see why the price is so high compared to the MB

Synchromesh
Jan 28, 2010, 10:48 PM
Just out of curiosity, have you ever taken an Air apart? I have. I've taken literally hundreds of different laptops apart including various older Sony/Toshiba/Dell/IBM models and a few different Apples. The first time I opened this sucker up I was struck in awe. The sheer engineering of cramming the motherboard (logic board in Apple speak), battery, keyboard, hard disk, etc into such tiny space is nothing short of amazing and awe-inspiring.

That's what you are paying for - engineering which permits portability. They're also somewhat of a toy. It's hard for me to imagine using this as your everyday computer. And people usually pay more for toys. On the other hand, I've been carrying around my 13in Macbook and it ain't light. With the Air - I didn't even notice the bag on my shoulder. Suddenly the 4.5lb Macbook feels like a bulky behemoth.

If money is a huge deal, you can always purchase a refurbished one with full warranty or go the way I always go and buy used. The first gen machines in good condition can be had around $700-900 and imho that's a good deal. Or, if you have the skills you can buy a machine with a bad screen and do a swap yourself. Even with parts that shaves off a good chunk off your total providing you can find a good deal to begin with.

stoconnell
Jan 28, 2010, 10:54 PM
the adamo just dropped to $1000 and the base mba starts at $1500, but i could care less about what dell makes (and i never use sony's prices for comparisons). forget the netbook comparison if you find that insulting :confused:

im wondering what parts make it so costly. i'm not trying to knock it, i think the mba is gorgeous. considering it has less ports, no superdrive, and weaker CPU than the MB, i don't see why the price is so high compared to the MB

The low voltage CPU with 6MB L2 cache is pretty pricy vs. the CPUs in the MBP line (with the exception maybe of the top of the line). It uses a more custom mobo than the others (memory soldered).

I think it's fair to point out that the Air is not seen as or positioned in the same market as netbooks by Apple. As such it won't sell trillions of units, so it is priced higher .. sadly for me, I bought mine 3 months before the dropped the prices and upped the spec.

Scottsdale
Jan 28, 2010, 11:04 PM
Most netbooks provide a miserable experience while the MBA has more power than many full sized notebooks.
The MBA has a full 13.3" 16:10 beautiful LED backlit display which netbooks don't even come close to.
The MBA has a true C2D LV SL9600 CPU which costs $300+ from Intel while most netbooks use a CULV Atom CPU.
The MBA has an Nvidia 9400m GPU/chipset, which provides an incredible graphics experience when paired with the 13" display that's not usually found in netbooks.
The MBA has a full sized keyboard, so the space isn't cramped like a netbook - writers love the MBA.
The MBA has 2GB 1066MHz DDR3 RAM.
The MBA as a 128GB Samsung SSD, while most netbooks have a crappy 60 GB drive.
The MBA has OS X Snow Leopard, while most netbooks have the terribly old XP or even a free version of Linux.
The MBA has an aluminum case that's shear beauty, while most netbooks are plastic and look like crap.
The MBA has a 802.11n WiFi connector, while most netbooks don't have.
The MBA has BlueTooth, while most netbooks don't have one.
The MBA has a WebCam, while most netbooks don't have one.
The MBA has iLife 09 which is an incredible suite of applications that do everything from build a website, to managing photos by facial recognition, to near professional video editing tools, to music production with Garage Band... most netbooks ugh, nevermind!
The MBA was designed to provide a better mobile experience while still providing the capabilities of a NOTEBOOK not a netbook which doesn't provide much of anything other than email and LIGHT web surfing.

Now comparing the MBA to the 13" MBP is a better example of why does it cost more. The MBA has a more expensive CPU. The MBA has to use miniaturized components (making tech smaller costs more). The MBA probably was extremely expensive to design and produce.

I believe the MBA isn't really too overpriced other than the fact that it's eight month old technology that isn't discounted. I expect we will either get a price drop with the next bump or we will get a much more current component makeup for the same prices. At $1799, the MBA would be a bargain if it included the same components other than an updated 256 GB SSD and 4 GB of RAM.

maclook
Jan 28, 2010, 11:18 PM
The first time I opened this sucker up I was struck in awe. The sheer engineering of cramming the motherboard (logic board in Apple speak), battery, keyboard, hard disk, etc into such tiny space is nothing short of amazing and awe-inspiring.

When the MBA launched, I understood why it was such a luxury product because it was amazingly thin (even for someone who hasn't seen its guts). I'm spoiled by tech and engineering, so i guess i forgot that the MBA is still breaking down barriers with it's size.

The low voltage CPU with 6MB L2 cache is pretty pricy vs. the CPUs in the MBP line (with the exception maybe of the top of the line). It uses a more custom mobo than the others (memory soldered).

I think it's fair to point out that the Air is not seen as or positioned in the same market as netbooks by Apple.

Ah yes, I forgot about the low voltage CPU.

My definition of netbooks are weaker but more portable machines for basic comp tasks. I guess the popular definition is a small POS computer since that's what PC makers put out. I know many people that use their MBA in the same fashion as people who own netbooks. Even though the footprint's bigger, they use it and bring it around because it is super portable and light.

@Scottsdale - i'm not considering MBA in the same class as PC netbooks. and you forgot: on MBA, you can change the desktop wallpaper.

montblanc1
Jan 30, 2010, 06:56 AM
because of the cost and marketing target

ayeying
Jan 30, 2010, 11:09 AM
My definition of netbooks are weaker but more portable machines for basic comp tasks. I guess the popular definition is a small POS computer since that's what PC makers put out. I know many people that use their MBA in the same fashion as people who own netbooks. Even though the footprint's bigger, they use it and bring it around because it is super portable and light.

@Scottsdale - i'm not considering MBA in the same class as PC netbooks. and you forgot: on MBA, you can change the desktop wallpaper.

I use my MacBook Air for:

Basic tasks such as Word, Internet, E-Mail, Chat
Gaming, including Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Grand Theft Auto 4, Star Trek Online, Sins of a Solar Empire, CS:S, Left 4 Dead (2)
Virtual Machines: I have currently running two Windows Server 2008 Enterprise and Windows Server 2008 Standard on top of Mac OSX 10.5.8.

Pretty sure the Air is a fully full size notebook with full notebook power. Remember, specs on paper don't mean crap especially when the performance is better than what you might believe on paper.

I don't get what changing the wallpaper have to do with anything :confused:

aleksandra.
Jan 30, 2010, 12:08 PM
im wondering what parts make it so costly. i'm not trying to knock it, i think the mba is gorgeous. considering it has less ports, no superdrive, and weaker CPU than the MB, i don't see why the price is so high compared to the MB

OK let's compare price, Air with SSD vs MBP with SSD.

MacBook Air: $1799 + $99 for SuperDrive (if you need it)
MacBook Pro: $1199 + $400 for SSD (Apple option, more if you want something faster)

The difference is $299. $100 of it is Air's CPU (yes, it is the more expensive one). So it's "overpriced" the entire $199, which is basically what you pay for the fact that you can leave your SuperDrive at home, $100 if you don't need it at all. Let's say $199 more for weight, design and less options. Considering that MacBooks used to cost $100 or something more for a black version... :cool:

ouimetnick
Jan 30, 2010, 01:11 PM
Most netbooks provide a miserable experience while the MBA has more power than many full sized notebooks.
The MBA has a full 13.3" 16:10 beautiful LED backlit display which netbooks don't even come close to.
The MBA has a true C2D LV SL9600 CPU which costs $300+ from Intel while most netbooks use a CULV Atom CPU.
The MBA has an Nvidia 9400m GPU/chipset, which provides an incredible graphics experience when paired with the 13" display that's not usually found in netbooks.
The MBA has a full sized keyboard, so the space isn't cramped like a netbook - writers love the MBA.
The MBA has 2GB 1066MHz DDR3 RAM.
The MBA as a 128GB Samsung SSD, while most netbooks have a crappy 60 GB drive.
The MBA has OS X Snow Leopard, while most netbooks have the terribly old XP or even a free version of Linux.
The MBA has an aluminum case that's shear beauty, while most netbooks are plastic and look like crap.
The MBA has a 802.11n WiFi connector, while most netbooks don't have.
The MBA has BlueTooth, while most netbooks don't have one.
The MBA has a WebCam, while most netbooks don't have one.
The MBA has iLife 09 which is an incredible suite of applications that do everything from build a website, to managing photos by facial recognition, to near professional video editing tools, to music production with Garage Band... most netbooks ugh, nevermind!
The MBA was designed to provide a better mobile experience while still providing the capabilities of a NOTEBOOK not a netbook which doesn't provide much of anything other than email and LIGHT web surfing.

Now comparing the MBA to the 13" MBP is a better example of why does it cost more. The MBA has a more expensive CPU. The MBA has to use miniaturized components (making tech smaller costs more). The MBA probably was extremely expensive to design and produce.

I believe the MBA isn't really too overpriced other than the fact that it's eight month old technology that isn't discounted. I expect we will either get a price drop with the next bump or we will get a much more current component makeup for the same prices. At $1799, the MBA would be a bargain if it included the same components other than an updated 256 GB SSD and 4 GB of RAM.

I'm going to add a few things.
Quit a few NETBOOKs have a webcam (crappy one of course)
And some do have wireless N in them.
And just a few have bluetooth. I've only seen one with BT.

jimboutilier
Jan 30, 2010, 04:31 PM
I can't put my finger on what makes the Air so *bleeping* expensive. I always think of the Macbook Air as the Apple's netbook since it is a weaker, lighter version of the Macbook but it's the price that puts it in a whole nother league

Actually the MBA is a very good value when comparing it against the premium products from Sony, IBM, Dell etc in the thin and light and ultra portable categories.

Like most thin and light or ultraportables its more expensive than the larger mainstream models because the design engineering and miniaturization costs more.

As other posters have mentioned, the MBA is far more powerful and "all day" useable than any netbook. Think of it as mainstream power in an ultraportable package. You just pay for that regardless of the manufacturer.

Also, as with most Apple products you are paying some for the user experience. The raw specs might not look "worth it" but the design, quality, materials, reliability, and support all cost more - similar to the premium models from other manufacturers but even more so.

alphaod
Jan 31, 2010, 06:03 PM
Actually the MBA is a very good value when comparing it against the premium products from Sony, IBM, Dell etc in the thin and light and ultra portable categories.


Though I'm hard pressed to say it's very good value, I will agree that it offers comparable pricing.

For a comparable Thinkpad X200 or a Sony T-series, they may be cheaper or more expensive based on configuration, but offer a lot more connectivity and expandability.