My thoughts on the new MacBook Air and total MacBook lineup confusion

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Xbfryfd, Oct 31, 2018.

  1. Xbfryfd, Oct 31, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2018

    Xbfryfd macrumors newbie


    Feb 24, 2016
    With the new MacBook Air making the MacBook lineup even more a mess than it was before, I thought I would share my thoughts on how to fix it.

    It would start with simplifying everything, with just 3 models: MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro.

    MacBook would be similar to the 13” Pro, but the SSD would start at 256 or 512 (128 is laughably low for 2018) and the price could start at $1100-$1400.

    MacBook Air would be similar to what the new one is, but with an i7 option, and a starting capacity of 256 with a price tag of $900-$1000.

    MacBook Pro would be a cross between the specs of the 2018 and the thickness of the 2012-2015 to allow for better
    cooling of the i9 and upcoming Vega GPU. And would be 15” only as the 13” would be essentially renamed to MacBook.

    Of course the upgrade options would be a bit more reasonable as well, here’s an image of a spreadsheet I made:

    Edit: what are your thoughts on this?
  2. Audit13 macrumors 601


    Apr 19, 2017
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    You have put a lot of thought and work into your calculations; unfortunately, I doubt Apple would adopt your pricing strategy. One major reason: they don’t have to. Perhaps in the future but not now when they are such a valuable company.
  3. chabig macrumors 603

    Sep 6, 2002
  4. Xbfryfd thread starter macrumors newbie


    Feb 24, 2016
    Yeah, my thoughts exactly. I looked at other computers and components and these prices are 100% feasible, but like you said, why would they? People are gonna buy it so Apple will continue raising prices. Which creates an issue for me, maybe you too, where you want to discourage Apple by not buying, but don’t want to switch.
  5. Audit13, Oct 31, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018

    Audit13 macrumors 601


    Apr 19, 2017
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    The high prices have kept me confined to the refurb Apple store or the used market.

    It's going to be a long time before I get a retina Air.
  6. DWP1971 macrumors newbie

    Nov 8, 2018
    I must say that I do not understand all the MacBook hate. I bought a reconditioned MacBook for $1099 with apple care. I love it. The keypad is very comfortable and responsive and I find the computer to be an ideal size. Since the computer goes everywhere with me, I love how light it is and that it slides so easily into my shoulder bag. Personally, I think that Apple should be emphasizing it more. Maybe a lower price would help. However, having the 256 GB storage is helpful. My only complaint is that I have to use a 3-in-1 dongle to charge it, charge my phone, and use a USB simultaneously. A small price if you ask me. While I am not a gamer or a graphic artist, it is perfect for my uses. Love it!
  7. ondert macrumors 6502


    Aug 11, 2017
    Tim Cook's Apple is sooo greedy that your chart is not possible. Also, your prices are highly optimistic that I can't even imagine those to be real. Lastly, vega56 and vega64 chips are so power consuming to be put into a laptop.
  8. raqball macrumors 68000

    Sep 11, 2016
    I think Apple is going to axe the nTB..

    Here are my thoughts on their lineup and what I think the base should be.

    MacBook $999 m3 / 8 / 256
    MacBook Air $1199 i5 / 8 / 256
    MacBook Pro nTB $1399 i5 / 8 / 256 (needs update if not axed and add touchID)
    MacBook Pro TB $1599 i5 / 8 / 256

    After that offer the standard CPU, RAM and SSD upgrades.
  9. Audit13 macrumors 601


    Apr 19, 2017
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Is Mr. Cook greedy or is it the shareholders? Without a good return, shareholders would dump Apple stock. Can't have low profits, good rate of return, high stock price, etc. without being somewhat greedy. Apple isn't a charity.
  10. Howard2k macrumors 68020


    Mar 10, 2016

    Apple should be selling computers to us at cost, or they should be asking us what level of profit margin each of us is comfortable paying and let us make that call.

    Anything else is pure greed.

    At least, that's what I learned from Macrumors Economics School.
  11. Audit13 macrumors 601


    Apr 19, 2017
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Unfortunately, I am not part of the school's alumni.
  12. raqball macrumors 68000

    Sep 11, 2016
    I've never understood that argument....

    Sell 100 items at a $10 profit = $1000 profit
    Sell 10 items at a $100 profit = $1000 profit

    If Apple products were more reasonably priced, more would buy them. What happens when more buy them?

    -Increase in accessory sales
    -Increase in App sales
    -Increase in related product sales

    For instance. With reasonable pricing someone who normally would not have buys a MacBook. When the time comes to replace their phone maybe they get an iPhone because they want the integration. Maybe they buy an Apple Watch ect, etc, ect....
  13. Howard2k macrumors 68020


    Mar 10, 2016

    For sure. That's how prices are set. Those things are considered. Ultimately, Apple wants to make as much money as possible (since they are a profit driven organization). That might be on a per-item basis, or it might be on a per-customer basis. They would certainly be considering the "halo effect" of the various possible entry points into the Apple eco-system when setting pricing.

    The general consensus on here is that they haven't considered these issues, and:

    1) Apple sets an arbitrary margin of say 30% and prices accordingly, or
    2) Apple sets the prices as high as they can due to greed.

    Apple obviously have a marketing department who would happen to know a fair bit about how to market Apple products. They would analyze the market and price accordingly.

    So which is the more logical scenario?

    i) This trillion dollar company doesn't know how to market products.
    ii) This trillion dollar company does know how to market products.

    Obviously the latter. The machinations are not fully exposed to the general public obviously, but Apple setting the price of the MBA at US$1,199 (or whatever it is) is not "greed". It's a considered price point that factors in the customer acquisition strategy you highlighted above in order to sell the "right" number of MBAs. Apple certainly knows that a reduction in price on a per-MBA basis will increase the number of MBAs sold while resulting in a corresponding loss of margin per unit, but that's the strategy. Apple also has to consider the premium brand positioning. If Apple drops the MBA to $500, for example, they'd be out the door like hot cakes, but they would then cannibalize the sales of the Pro and other units and Apple would inevitably lose some of the "shine" that it has now as a premium positioned product. I'm quite sure that Apple has theorized how many current MBA owners will opt to replace their current MBA with a new MBA at various different price points.

    To generalize, we don't buy Apple products because they're the best way of getting high performance computers on a $/Mb/s type basis (for argument's sake). We buy Apple products because we're ok paying more money for the hardware that other brands, but in return we get an experience that we value more than the experience with the other brands.

    So it's a touch more complicated than "greed", and you hit the nail on the head that it's a complicated issues that would be looked at from multiple angles. Apple obviously does this. We know this because they're a relatively successful organization who have over the years had some fairly strong financial results.

    The MBA doesn't appear to be the right fit for me, but that doesn't mean it's an ill-considered product launch. It might be :D but we have to be careful about adding 2+2 and getting 2,495.

    It comes down to marketing. Folks typically don't understand the economics behind it (and they're relatively simple) but then take buzz words (profit, margin, revenue) and run with them without understanding the real world implications.

    Don't get me wrong, at $500 I'd be all over the MBA too. But my perspective and Apple's perspectives are not the same.
  14. turbineseaplane macrumors 601


    Mar 19, 2008
    Is there any amount of gouging and profit seeking that fans here on the site will consider "excessive" or potentially harmful in the long term?

    I think we all get that the idea is to make money.
    They are the most valuable company in the world with endless stacks of cash in the bank.

    Would it ever be ok for them to make a decision, even if just some small ones, that don't 100% optimize around "more money"?

    It just seems like that is all that guides what they do now and they take it to the full extent possible.

    No helpful adapters bundled, no useful dongles included, no cable management on AC adapters as it would eat margins, must raise prices on everything, always, forever, pencil revision = more money, keyboard case revision = more money, etc, etc...

    I'm just venting I guess because I find it longer term detrimental to the brand if they pursue the current course endlessly.

    Who knows. I just know that the company I used to love with a passion basically makes very few products I want anymore and the ones I do find compelling are usually priced in a such a way that I have a hard time even remotely justifying the purchase (and so usually don't buy anything).

    I'm not poor. I have discretionary income.
    I'm just sort of put off by how they are guiding decisions, positioning products and pricing things.
  15. Howard2k macrumors 68020


    Mar 10, 2016

    It's not gouging. And from a profit perspective, no. If Apple found a way to make the MBA for $0, if they literally could make the MBA and it cost them nothing at all, they would still sell it at the highest point the could. That's the way that economics works and they would be doing a disservice to their shareholders if they didn't do that.

    As long as folks will keep buying, they will keep selling.
    Best thing you can do is vote with your wallet.

    Apple puts stuff on the market, you have the power to choose whether you purchase it or not.

    It should be noted that Apple also gives money away to charities and causes too.
  16. turbineseaplane macrumors 601


    Mar 19, 2008
    That does nothing for me quite honestly..
    I'd rather they spent less time dodging taxes with every single loophole around the globe they can find.

    Anyhow, we don't need to go back and forth.

    I appreciate your reply.. I was just throwing my frustrations out into the keyboard.

  17. Howard2k macrumors 68020


    Mar 10, 2016

    All good. And for the record, I’d love to see Apple lower their prices. I’m just observing, not applauding.
  18. bluecoast macrumors 6502a

    Nov 7, 2017
    The MB is there as it’ll be one of Apple’s first A SoC computers (I’m starting to think that the Mac Pro will be the first) and it’s fulfilling the need of being the thinnest and lightest MB that Apple builds, until then.

    I’m not quite sure what the MBP esc is doing though. Presumably apple are waiting for intel to release 8 gen chips suitable for it so they can release a version that’s a combination of then new Air and the MBP (ie MBP screen with Touch ID only).
  19. tromboneaholic Suspended


    Jun 9, 2004
    Clearwater, FL
    So you would get rid of the lightest, most portable model? The lightest computer in your lineup is 3/4 pounds heavier than the 12 inch MacBook.
  20. JPH675 macrumors member

    Nov 22, 2016
    Super simple to differentiate the 3 Mac laptops:

    1) MacBook, keep as it is and update to 8th generation chip keeping it ultraportable

    2) MacBook Pro, keep it as it is and also update both models to 8th generation chips with both TouchBar and non-TouchBar models.

    3) MacBook Air: Make it a student oriented, old school notebook by adding a USB port and mag-safe for those not wanting to carry around a bunch of adapters. I love the multi-port 2017 MBA, all Apple had to do this year was upgrade the screen and chip, but they screwed it up IMO because it was already differentiated.

    All 3 models would then be clearly different with different missions all with retina screens.
  21. blairh macrumors 68040


    Dec 11, 2007
    They should have axed the MBA, added a second port to the 12" model, given us a 14" MacBook, and kept the MBP as is.
  22. JPH675 macrumors member

    Nov 22, 2016
    Agreed, don't think they necessarily need the 3rd brand.

    Creating brands in the business world is difficult, and the "MacBook Air" brand, "MacBook" brand, and "MacBook Pro" brand are all alive and doing well for Apple, which means all 3 are probably going to live on. Differentiating these bands is the marketing trick and my thoughts are given in an earlier post as to how to start to do this.

    One more MBA thought, right or wrong. MBP and rMB both are essentially wireless notebooks without much in the way of built-ins like USB ports, SD card readers, mag-safes, etc., which is Apple dictating or telling us what we should have. Let the MacBook Air keep these features alive like the 2017 edition, while keeping the screen and chips updated. I have tons of files on external USB drives from old works of mine. If you want to let Apple dictate what you should or shouldn't have and want to buy adapters, etc. for their other notebooks, the rMB and MBP are wonderful choices.
  23. bluecoast macrumors 6502a

    Nov 7, 2017
    A comment on the ‘fantasy lineups’:

    In a year’s time, the MacBook will almost certainly have an A class SoC.

    Given the benchmarks I wouldn’t be suprised if the MBP moves to an A class soc as well.

    The Air likely will not and will stick around for those that need a modern ‘classic’ intel Mac. Then in a few years it’ll be the end of the road for the air.

    Then the current Macbook lineup starts to make more sense.
  24. gpat macrumors 6502a

    Mar 1, 2011
    Apple should just sell two laptops:
    13" retina, U-class CPU, touch ID, no touch bar
    15" retina, H-class CPU, touch ID, no touch bar
    Everything else really is redundant and will be replaced anyway by the iPad lineup at some point.
    I won't comment on prices, I'd be delusional.
  25. bniu macrumors 6502a

    Mar 21, 2010
    I think it should just end up being like this with the MacBook and MacBook Air merging:

    MacBook 12" and 13" with Dual Core CPUs and touch ID
    MacBook Pro 13" and 15" with Quad or Hex Core CPUs and touchbar

    All-Retina Displays, keep it simple.

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