Could Apple turn the Mac into the Wii of computers?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Unspeaked, Dec 18, 2007.

  1. Unspeaked macrumors 68020

    Unspeaked

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2003
    Location:
    West Coast
    #1
    So I've been reading a lot about Nintendo's Wii and the shortages at retailers this holiday season. As most of you know, its become one of the few hot holidays gifts to be in such high demand two years in a row.

    Back when the next gen consoles were first released, a lot of hard-core gamers really put down the Wii. Nintendo fans stood behind it, but in general the video game market thought it would "tank" with its "last gen" graphics and "weak" game selection. They all pointed out to the PS3 and how amazing the hardware was, how great the Sony exclusive titles were and how it would totally annihilate Nintendo and Microsoft's offerings.

    Well, here we are some time later and the Wii has been a runaway hit. The PS3 totally bombed and has only recently started to get some more attention and greater sales. Even the hard-core gaming sites, magazines and TV shows have started giving the Wii a lot of coverage. It's really amazing.

    So what did the Wii have going for it? Two things: innovation and price. Very few people would argue that the graphics on the PS3 don't look better. But in the end, the Wii captured two markets that pushed it ahead - folks who were going to buy the cheapest system, no matter what, and folks who were excited about its innovative features and would have bought the Wii anuwau, regardless of price.

    This got me thinking about Apple, and their offerings. It seems to me that Apple has it in its blood to make the Mac the Wii of the computer world. It's cool looking, it's innovative, it's already got a cult following - the only thing missing is price. Because of its price, the Mac is more like the PS3 of computers. It's sleek and powerful, but out of reach of the casual or low-budget consumer. Don't get me wrong, I know a Mac is fairly priced and a similarly configured PC can run just as much, or even more. That's not my argument.

    My argument is that Apple should release a slightly underpowered, super cheap Mac. Not a MacBook, which is still too expensive and not a MacMini, which is a joke at $600 with no keyboard, mouse or display.

    If Apple came out with a cool looking portable for under $500, it would eat up market share like there's no tomorrow. If the PC makers can come out with something below that price point, why can't Apple make a $500 Mac? It doesn't need all the bells and whistles of the Pro line, as long as it has Apple's design aesthetic and user experience. It's not like most people would do much besides web browsing and iLife, anyway.

    I realize the computer/OS market isn't as fickle as the video game market and people don't just replace their entire system/software library every three years the way they do with games, but I still think such a product could have an impact. Factor in the iPod halo effect which would work wonders if anyone with an iPod could actually afford a Mac, and you're talking revolution...
     
  2. dpaanlka macrumors 601

    dpaanlka

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2004
    Location:
    Illinois
    #2
    I don't think Apple really is going for the mass market like that.

    Furthermore, you're far from the first person to suggest that. People have been saying this for two decades. I don't see the Apple pricing strategy changing any time soon, and I don't know that I agree it should.

    I think Apple is well suited to making upmarket products. Super low cost computer will cheapen the brand.
     
  3. Unspeaked thread starter macrumors 68020

    Unspeaked

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2003
    Location:
    West Coast
    #3
    I know it's something that's been talked about forever, and the original iMac was very close to this approach, but as I said in the post, it's just something that really stood out at me after seeing Nintendo's success with the Wii.

    I think part of the reason Apple doesn't go in this direction is that they aren't sure it would be successful, but I think the Wii shows that this model can work.

    As for them not going for that market - again, I think it's reservation about how well it would work. I don't think they would consiosuly turn down market share or growth of any kind, regardless of market. If you told Apple they could have 75% of the OS market, I doubt they'd say, "No thanks, we like our user base right where it is!" :D
     
  4. dpaanlka macrumors 601

    dpaanlka

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2004
    Location:
    Illinois
    #4
    Sure they would, lots and lots of companies do.

    But that isn't the situation you just described. Apple must consider what it takes to achieve 75% of the market; selling product with low profit margins, alienating the core customers, massive increase in support and logistics obligations, cheapening the brand, lower R&D resources, lower overall quality to consumers, and increasing chances of the platform suffering from attacks. None of this of course guarantees 75% of the market, and in the end it's just not worth it for Apple or the customers.

    I think Apple is positioning itself perfectly.

    EDIT: I also must point out something you are overlooking. While the platform has less than 10% of the market share, Apple itself is still among the top tier manufacturers. How much better than that can you get? No single company is going to ever have 75% of product market share.
     
  5. MarlboroLite macrumors 6502a

    MarlboroLite

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2007
    Location:
    the 13 colonies
    #5
    Part of Apple's "cult" following and marketing strategy to put themselves in an air of exclusivity with their prices. You are supposedly paying a premium for a superior OS and superior hardware....they don't want to become the McDonald's of computers, other manufacturers are in that position.....It's a status thing...just ask BMW why they sell so many cars so expensively...people want the status that comes with owning one, and people will pay a premium for it. Apple works in a similar way I think, and you can't say they are not being successful at the moment with such a strategy.

    I think the prime example of this is the BlackBook....black casing is not worth an extra $150 for an otherwise identical white counterpart...but people pay for it.
     

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