Deciphering Apple's strategy for the notebook market

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by rapidfire77, Nov 9, 2012.

  1. rapidfire77, Nov 9, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2012

    rapidfire77 macrumors member

    Jul 19, 2010
    Forget Tablets!

    The MBPr pricing is too high and makes no sense...does anyone forsee the pricing coming down to earth in the coming months? are these things selling well? is there a wisdom in keeping the older MBP line while refreshing its guts? Why wasn't there an MBA 15" and what will happen to the MBA line all together? it seems that the Air has fully replaced the baseline MB model they used to have.

    By nonsense I mean the following: I am running a mid 2010 i7 MBP 15 non SSD. it's starting to slow down even after a clean mountain lion, and the battery doesn't hold much past 90min. $1800 for entry level MBP15 replacement is already too much in comparison to what you can get with the competition, it's also old form and heavy to carry around. And the $2200 for entry level MBP15r is honestly...Absurd! I would get an MBA but I need a 15". So I am going to lug my brick around hoping that I will always be near some power source for now. Let me add that my maxed out i7 was $2200 out the door in 2010, and you couldn't get it better unless u put a 256GB SSD for another $600 or so. If you want a maxed machine you are look north of 3k...:confused:

    How do you see the notebook lines developing in 6 months, 1 year, and a year and a half from now?
  2. iPersian macrumors regular

    Oct 23, 2012
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    good question.

    my guess is that mba is their strategy, theyll keep the classics for a while and then drop them in favor of the retinas once the retinas can be on the price level of the classics.

    apple has high margins so they can drop the classic line sooner then we think once they feel the time is ready.

    like the white macbook that was dropped.


    apple having this many laptops (the line is a mess in my opinion) is unusual for the late apple.
  3. nickbarbs macrumors regular

    Nov 26, 2009
    of course the price will come down, hell it already has come down look at all the third party deals you can get on the 8gb ram models..
  4. rapidfire77 thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 19, 2010
    What kind of deals are you referring to? The 8 to 16gb RAM aftermarket can save you a $100. I am not sure the SSD is even feasible and if it is, how much time and effort is required if you are going to do it on your own?
  5. rapidfire77 thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 19, 2010
    Also, how can you back-up the claim that it will come down?
    Apple seems to have fixed pricing point for different lines and only drop when there is a refresh. You can never get a price break on their current line. They think the entry level consumer should pay $1000-1500 for a laptop that is not a 15". The advanced user should expect to shell anything above that. Few years ago it was at $1500, then it jumped to $1800, and now $1800 gets you the scraps of the pro line.
  6. Rhinoevans, Nov 9, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2012

    Rhinoevans macrumors 6502

    Oct 5, 2012
    Las Vegas, NV
    From what I understand, Mac notebooks are #1. Selling more now than ever.

    They are really not expensive compared to other COMPARABLE laptops. Just price a Samsung Series 9 or a ASUS and they will run in the $1700-$2000.

    The problem is that Apple doesn't make an inexpensive $399 laptop, which is why most think that the Apple notebooks are expensive, but that is not a fair comparison.

    My i7 Sony from 3 years ago was $1499 and came with NO Software. At least my new cMBP has SOME software included with the $1799 price tag. Sure their were $799 Sonys, but not with i7, Bluray, and 1080P screens.

    If you want somewhat inexpensive, then get the Air.

    I did a comparison on Bestbuy for high end laptops and they all had $1500-$3000 models, which the mac was in the selection. There just isn't any $399-$799 models, so yes PC are less expensive, but they are inexpensive models with less ram, NO SSD, and much older AMD or Intel chips.

    Check out these:
  7. chriscl macrumors 6502


    Jan 4, 2008
    Stuttgart, Germany
    I don't know about the US in terms of sales, but in the UK, the most popular MacBook Pro model is the 13" "Classic" MBP.

    Apple sell more of those than any other model here.

    To be honest, I could more see Apple branding the 'retina' models as "MacBook Pro", and branding the classic models as "MacBook" - but that's just me!
  8. b0fh666 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 12, 2012
    that would be backwards :D those 'retinas' are no more than a big MBA

    myself, i'd be completely happy if my 13" had a slightly better screen like IPS 1680x1050, but it works just fine as-is.

  9. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    Rhinoevans basically summed it up. The MBP is in the same price category as high-end Windows laptops. Apple simply doesn't do budget stuff. A cheaper laptop compromises on display quality, keyboard quality, trackpad, battery, WiFi etc.

    I don't see why OP is considering the price of the rMBP absurd as well. The rMBP is a very powerful, extremely light laptop with an excellent screen and long battery life - and it is not priced any higher than the competition given what you get for the money.

    The rMBP is expensive because the display panel technology is still cost prohibitive. This laptop is Apple's 'hey, see what we can do!'. It allows you to purchase a piece of 'tomorrows' tech today. In time, the current classic MBP will disappear entirely and the rMBP line will become the new MBP line
  10. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Generally speaking apple does not reduce the price of its laptops. Other sellers may offer incentives, by and large they're not from apple and the seller is eating the loss for some reason.

    Some may consider apple's strategy to be too high, but it works for them. A incredibly designed laptop, that is high quality will sell. Apple isn't willing to jump into the bargain basement laptop wars. Just look at how well Dell's consumer unit is doing trying to wage that war.
  11. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    I would guess that there will be a 15" MBA somewhere down the line.

    Eventually they will drop the classics and only offer Air and retina. However they may call these two lines. I doubt though that it will happen in 2013. My guess is classics will stay around until 2014 as a somewhat cheaper alternative.
    Depends a little on how much competition they get from the Windows side with IGZO displays in the pipeline.

    Personally though I think that 14-15" Haswell ultrathin convertibles will be much more attractive than MBAs IMO.
  12. hakuin macrumors regular

    Jul 30, 2010
    Unless you are looking for gaming performance, put an SSD in your machine and you probably won't be worried about replacing it for another couple of years. You can also buy a new battery.
  13. rapidfire77, Nov 10, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2012

    rapidfire77 thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 19, 2010
    Where can you get a new battery? I thought about the SSD, but i think the cost of the two of them is already a 1/3 to a 1/2 of a decent new machine.


    No argument about the entry level stuff that compromises quality.

    I am saying that the starting price point for the same quality they offer is being pushed higher. They are banking on the customer willingness to pay for what someone said is "tomorrow's" technology. It isn't tomorrow's if it's out and on the market selling today to be honest.

    Again, I am not debating the quality...I am talking about the price point you pay for it.

    Also, not comparing much to Windows, i divorced that OS in 2007 and I am not going back. Apples to Apples though, if you look carefully you pay less, you get more deals because Apple's retail price is fixed while others have venues for cheaper pricing. Until there is a MacOS laptop competition...I don't want to compare much to Windows.

    Plus, retaining the Air and rMBP down the line seems to be redundant. the Air form factor is better, the other has the retina which makes it desirable in its own way. It looks like the classic MBP line was only kept to fill in the gap between the old price point for a professional machine and the new price point...which i still think is absurd! and trust me, I have enough Apple products to jump on the bandwagon of justification for a new 4k MBPr of my choice. but i am trying to be critically reasonable here.

    And of course, let's remember that the current MBP line form factor dates back to 2008. That quite dinosaurish for a company that vibes inovation. This only means that I as a pro customer have the choice between a 4yr old design (MBP) and a current design (rMBP)...and I am overpaying either way...needless to talk about the future design!
  14. skaertus macrumors 68030


    Feb 23, 2009
    My thoughts on Apple's notebook strategy:

    Apple's laptops are in a transitional stage right now. Apple introduced retina MacBooks with a higher price tag for two reasons: (i) Apple is the only one offering such laptops right now, and they were priced consistently with the market (a 13" Sony Vaio Z costs US$ 1,599, so the 13" rMBP could well cost US$ 1,699); and (ii) Apple wants to test the market, i.e., see if consumers will switch from traditional Pro to the retina models even if they cost a lot more.

    From 2013 or 2014 onwards, I think Apple will have two lines of notebooks, the Air and the Pro (something which is consistent with its past strategy), which will be as follows:

    - The MacBook Air will get a major overhaul in 2013 or 2014, at the latest. A major redesign, and the MBA will get thinner and lighter, possibly with new materials. It will probably get a retina display too. And it will be equipped with the new ultra-low voltage Haswell processor, which will allow a much more efficient use of battery.

    - The MacBook Pro will remain as the performace-wise line. The cMBP will be discontinued, and it will be entirely replaced by the rMBP.

    Apple will not market the Air line as "consumer-based" or "entry-level". It's not consistent with the marketing strategy which is being adopted by Apple. The MBA will be the "thin and light" offering, and the MBP will be the "pro".

    As for prices, that's very hard to guess. Prices of all these laptops may remain the same, and perhaps the price of the MBP will get a slightly drop. I would say the following, but not something very different from it:

    11" low-end MBA, US$ 999
    11" high-end MBA, US$ 1,099
    13" low-end MBA, US$ 1,199
    13" high-end MBA, US$ 1,499

    13" low-end MBP, US$ 1,599
    13" high-end MBP, US$ 1,799
    15" low-end MBP, US$ 1,999
    15" low-end MBP, US$ 2,499


    While that is true, the problem of Apple's approach is that it is all-or-nothing. You can get a cheaper Windows laptop with a 1080p screen, or an i7, or an SSD. If you want one of these features on a MacBook, you have to take the whole package. You can't buy a MBA or a cMBP with a 1080p screen or a dedicated video card, for instance; but you can buy a Windows laptop with such features for the same price of a MBA or a cMBP. f you want that on a Mac, it will cost a lot.
  15. mrsir2009 macrumors 604


    Sep 17, 2009
    Melbourne, Australia
    Agreed. People give you this impression that MacBooks are underpowered and overpriced. So me and my friend went on a quest to find a good windows laptop, and the ones like the Samsung Series 9 had the exact same specs as the air (worse, actually, since it can't be ungraded to 8GB RAM) and cost $50 more. The cheaper ones had **** specs of course, so they were out. And the the ones that had higher end specs were 17 inchers that were double the thickness of a cMBP and looked absolutely hideous...
  16. TWR Motorsport macrumors member

    Sep 25, 2011
    Apple don't do cheap stuff,

    The comparisons people make like oh a windows laptop is £400 and a MBP is £1800 isn't a fair comparison.

    If you spec up a windows laptop to the same level you get up to £1500 easy.
    Apple products are still slightly more expensive, but only slightly, but you get goodies and ease of use items etc. Oh an a new OS is like £20

    I think the Apple strategy currently is in a transitional phase. Much as it is with the iMac and Pro lineup.

    I just hope Apple don't forget about the customers that rely on their high end stuff to work on.

    I for one could not use an Air for my tasks so a MBP is perfect. However whilst the rMBP is good it's useless for gaming or very high end video editing because you cannot run in native resolution because the graphics card etc isn;t up to it. You would need a very expensive gaming rig to play games natively at that resolution. A laptop casing can't do it, no space.

    However with parts getting smaller and prices coming down the smaller laptops will be used more. Just depends on the market Apple wants...
  17. AppleMacFinder macrumors 6502a


    Dec 7, 2009
    After the Retina display excitement will come down, prices will come down as well -
    until Apple finds another "killer feature".
  18. rapidfire77 thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 19, 2010
    Cochlear sounds, organix keyboard, :D
  19. emir macrumors 6502a


    Apr 5, 2008
    Like every first generation Apple product, rMBP is not the absolute perfect to buy. Ones getting the rMBP are definitely early adaptors. I think as soon as 2013 or 2014, they'll drop the cMBP models and keep the rMBP design with no flaws like the current ones have. They'll have more than double the performance (speaking for 13") and they'll finally be pro.

    As for the air, i don't think it'll get a major redesign, maybe more ports or low voltage cpus. I hope it gets lighter, thinner and better but i am thinking they're at the limits of engineering with the current design. I hope i am wrong and it improves though.

    Referring the original post;

    I also have a 2010 i5 15" MBP and it's almost like the condition it was and it's still fast running mountain lion. Battery can easily last 4-5 hours browsing, itunes etc... It's interesting that yours can not last more than 90 minutes.

    One more thing;

    If they're going for "really serious" portability, wouldn't it be extra cool to add a 4g/lte or 3g antenna on the inside optionally or default? Accessing the internet wherever i want like i do with the iPad would be awesome. Don't think it's an hard thing to do, what do you think?

    ps: i know some carriers give you the option to add 3g functionality by usb antennas, or you can always tether/personal hotspot etc but inside the notebook would be pretty cool.
  20. dndandrea macrumors 6502

    Feb 10, 2010
    Strategy? Their strategy recently is to take advantage of the clueless apple fanboys who keep throwing money at them. When they realize that they're not making innovative products anymore but people keep buying it, why not stick with the plan? Business is always about money and apple takes that to another level.

    I used to be a huge fan of apple, heck I even bought the iPhone 5 and rMBP but i've finally realized that this company is taking the wrong path and it is truely embarrassing to watch and to be part of. I'm even embarrassed to pull out my laptop in class or in the school library now.
  21. rapidfire77 thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 19, 2010
    Ditto DAT! I got the iphone 5...this thing should have been out 2yrs ago, or even at least a year ago to say that it's offering latest technology. banks on the loyalty of its customers and throws them minor upgrades in the same outdated forms. And yes for the awakening, there is a sensitive balance between innovation/quality/price. I feel that Apple is taking advantage of the addiction to its products. You are hooked on our drugs? well guess what...we are the only you get to pay a higher price if you want to keep it going!


    i think the Air form factor is really the right one. I am not impressed with the rMBP to be honest. The 4g/lte antena might be the way to go down the line as it might be the future of ISP. The plans are still relatively expensive, and who wants something dangling off their computer anymore?

    my battery span dropped after ML. it improved with the update but still can't milk more than an hr and a half out of it.
  22. emir macrumors 6502a


    Apr 5, 2008
    I wasn't talking about an antenna that's dangling off the computer. iPad and iPhone don't have dangling antennas, it's internal. (external for iphone with metal band i know) I think an antenna could be easily fitted in the motherboard and a nano-sim card slot next to the sd card slot would be a perfect fit. I think it's the future and yes, prices should go down more.

    If a decade or so later everyone switches to cellular and ISPs die, probably millions of people will clog the network up but we'll have a solution for that too. Results? Lots and lots of radiation for human race's hatred towards cables. Lol.
  23. McGiord macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2003
    Dark Castle
    I think they will continue milking the Air and the retinas as their main lines. Unfortunately the lack of user upgradable features is really lame and expensive. 32GB RAM and Higher capacity SSD or Fusion drives without giving away your organs is what could make a difference.
    What I find very interesting is the Windows 8 and surface products that are now flooding the market, let's see how the market reacts to them and what kind of success they have and what can Apple release. Another interesting segment is the low priced under $300 books like the chrome book.
    I seriously thought many years ago that the Mac OSX touch iPad/MacBook was going to be first to market, but now it seems that ala surface will be the way?
  24. hakuin, Nov 10, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2012

    hakuin macrumors regular

    Jul 30, 2010

    A good 256GB SSD is under $200, a good 512GB SSD is around $400.

    Try installing coconut battery before you buy a new one, it may be just that your battery is fine, but you have too many processes running in the background.

    If your battery is fine, then you just need to optimize your system a bit. If the battery has seen better days, you can buy a new one here:

    On the same page, scroll down and look at the installation guide. You need two screwdrivers and about two minutes to do it.

    And if you want, you can get up to 8GB of memory in your model. $35.

    I've got a 2011 15" with SSD and 16GB of memory and don't see myself upgrading for another two years at least, assuming the logic board holds up.
  25. Moshe1010 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 27, 2010
    Instead of crying, go and replace you battery because it's probably defective. In addition, 13" maxed MBA gets 50% less points in GeekBench than base 15" rMBP, so here is the price difference, not including the display difference which are extreme.

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