New Entry-Level Mac Notebook Expected to Adopt Retina Display, Likely Launch at WWDC in June

ksec

macrumors 65816
Dec 23, 2015
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Apple products are so over priced that they can make a pretty steep cut and still make a nice profit. It's not like their margins are razor thin. Matter of fact...their margins are pretty fat.

I guess that Apple makes at least $2 for every $1 spent. So a $1299 macbook has $650 of profit in it. If Apple were to drop the price on the macbook by $350 that would bring the price to under $1000 and Apple is still clearing a hefty profit.
What you are suggesting is lowering profit margin.

Apple has never done any loss leader.
Apple's margin dont change. It has been roughly the same for years.
 

tresmith

macrumors 6502
Jul 25, 2014
415
194
What you are suggesting is lowering profit margin.

Apple has never done any loss leader.
Apple's margin dont change. It has been roughly the same for years.
Apple first introduced the Air $1800 and since then it's dropped in price to about $1000. So yeah they do lower the price and their margins when they know they can sell more computers.
 

ksec

macrumors 65816
Dec 23, 2015
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Apple first introduced the Air $1800 and since then it's dropped in price to about $1000. So yeah they do lower the price and their margins when they know they can sell more computers.
They didn't lower their margin, components has gotten cheap enough for them to do it.
 

manu chao

macrumors 603
Jul 30, 2003
6,485
2,458
The 15'' MBP is a really bad compromise. If it was meant to be light, it failed (about twice the weight of a 15inch LG Gram). If it wanted to be powerful, it failed too (little RAM, not a decent GPU).

The problem with the MacBook line is not that they have "too many models".

At least 4 MacBooks would fit nicely:

1- Very light 13 inch MB (below 1 kg)
2- Very light 15 inch MB (at 1.2 kg)
3- Powerful 15 inch MBP (at 2 kg)
4- Even more powerful 17inch MBP (below 3 kg)

No confusion with such 4 models... every customer would know what to buy.
(a) There is no sub-$1000 model in that lineup.
(b) It is very much tilted towards larger screen sizes which does not match buying patterns (Apple doesn't offer four different models in the <=13" range for nothing, whereas your lineup only offers a single model in that category).

In short, it is a lineup that fits your general needs, not that of the wider population.
 

Val-kyrie

macrumors 68000
Feb 13, 2005
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If Apple goes all USB-C on this new "MBA"--whatever it may be--they should expect to see a drop in sales. Personally, I am prepared to transition to USB-C with adapters, but the reaction of people I know to the lack of USB-A on the rest of the line up can be summed up in one word: "stupid." Those people have then gone on to purchase the current MBA.
 

lec0rsaire

macrumors 65832
Feb 23, 2017
1,500
1,438
GlueBook Air with Retina yay solder everything, i just buy a new machine if my SSD dies no problem
This is why I bought AppleCare which I never do for my 15” TB. So far I haven’t experienced any issues over the past year and it’s really a beautiful notebook. I still don’t know how they will service these machines let alone independent shops. I guess they will charge some fee on top of the trade-in for refurbs. These are just not user serviceable even for people used to taking apart notebooks.

However, if these right to repair bills gain any traction then Apple might just be forced to provide parts and diagnostic software to indie shops.
 

tresmith

macrumors 6502
Jul 25, 2014
415
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They didn't lower their margin, components has gotten cheap enough for them to do it.
So when Apple launched the iphone and then a couple months later dropped the price by $200 it was because the components got cheaper? lol
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I agree, i really like the design of the MacBook Air and the MacBook 12" i just wish they made a larger 13" or 14" version of the MacBook. I would say that the design of the MacBook Pro is great as well.
I would love a macbook pro in the tapered clamshell design of the macbook. Would make it a bit easier to type on.
 

potatoman93

macrumors newbie
Jan 3, 2016
8
1
Keeping the Air around complicates the product lineup, they were SO close to have a streamlined lineup!! This is what I was (and still am) hoping for:

2017
Macbook Air 128GB - $999
Macbook Air 256GB - $1199
Macbook 256GB - $1299
Macbook 512GB - $1599
Macbook Pro 128GB - $1299
Macbook Pro 256GB - $1499
Macbook Pro 256GB TB - $1799
Macbook Pro 512GB TB - $1999

2018
Macbook 128GB - $999
Macbook 256GB - $1199
Macbook 512GB - $1499
Macbook Pro 256GB - $1499
Macbook Pro 256GB TB - $1799
Macbook Pro 512GB TB - $1999

This cleans the whole thing up, charging forward with USB C and retina-only models, hits most price points, get a retina model under $1000, while maintaining profit margins.
 

jecowa

macrumors regular
Mar 15, 2006
152
211
These should also be TB 3. I won't buy an Apple laptop without it ... in anticipation of eGPUs.
I don't want a computer without it either. You may be interested that Cannon Lake (next Intel generation) is rumored to have TB built-in to the CPU. Cannon Lake chips are currently shipping to laptop manufacturers and are expected to be ready for consumers sometime this year. Cannon Lake generation only only includes CPUs for lower-power laptops (the same product line of CPU used in the Retina MacBook). So the Retina MacBook could very well be getting ThunderBolt this year. Also, Cannon Lake will be Intel's first 10nm CPU (previous Kaby Lake and Coffee Lake were 14nm).
 
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gobikerider

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Apr 15, 2016
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Keeping the Air around complicates the product lineup, they were SO close to have a streamlined lineup!! This is what I was (and still am) hoping for:

2017
Macbook Air 128GB - $999
Macbook Air 256GB - $1199
Macbook 256GB - $1299
Macbook 512GB - $1599
Macbook Pro 128GB - $1299
Macbook Pro 256GB - $1499
Macbook Pro 256GB TB - $1799
Macbook Pro 512GB TB - $1999

2018
Macbook 128GB - $999
Macbook 256GB - $1199
Macbook 512GB - $1499
Macbook Pro 256GB - $1499
Macbook Pro 256GB TB - $1799
Macbook Pro 512GB TB - $1999

This cleans the whole thing up, charging forward with USB C and retina-only models, hits most price points, get a retina model under $1000, while maintaining profit margins.
Instead of the non Tb MacBook Pro I’d rather they replace that with a 13” MacBook option
 

ksec

macrumors 65816
Dec 23, 2015
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So when Apple launched the iphone and then a couple months later dropped the price by $200 it was because the components got cheaper? lol
The iPhone was brand new, R&D cost a lot more on the first product launch, especially on software. Their sales were also outstripping supply, initial estimate was way lower.
 
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Abazigal

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Jul 18, 2011
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Apple products are so over priced that they can make a pretty steep cut and still make a nice profit. It's not like their margins are razor thin. Matter of fact...their margins are pretty fat.

I guess that Apple makes at least $2 for every $1 spent. So a $1299 macbook has $650 of profit in it. If Apple were to drop the price on the macbook by $350 that would bring the price to under $1000 and Apple is still clearing a hefty profit.
You forgot what the margins cover. Years of continued software support, plus use of Apple’s services. Features like iMessage cost money to run, and Apple provides them for free because you have already paid for them upfront (in the form of higher hardware prices).

Yes, I don’t deny Apple is still immensely profitable, but it’s not so straightforward as to just look at hardware profits alone in a vacuum.
 
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tresmith

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The iPhone was brand new, R&D cost a lot more on the first product launch, especially on software. Their sales were also outstripping supply, initial estimate was way lower.
You are not making any sense.

They dropped the price within two months of launch and created an uproar with all the early adopters. Nothing could have changed that soon about the cost to build the iphone for them to drop the price that significantly, that early. The only reason to drop the price like that is to drive sales.

"Their sales were outstripping supply"? So they would lower the price because of that? Do you know how supply and demand works?
[doublepost=1521012045][/doublepost]
You forgot what the margins cover. Years of continued software support, plus use of Apple’s services. Features like iMessage cost money to run, and Apple provides them for free because you have already paid for them upfront (in the form of higher hardware prices).

Yes, I don’t deny Apple is still immensely profitable, but it’s not so straightforward as to just look at hardware profits alone in a vacuum.
Agreed but there's no way to quantify how much money was spent in R&D etc. Whenever anyone calculates the profit of a product it's almost always from the standpoint of cost of manufacturing only. "It costs us $5 to build this widget and we sell it for $25. Profit equals $20 per widget".
 

ksec

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Dec 23, 2015
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You are not making any sense.

They dropped the price within two months of launch and created an uproar with all the early adopters. Nothing could have changed that soon about the cost to build the iphone for them to drop the price that significantly, that early. The only reason to drop the price like that is to drive sales.

"Their sales were outstripping supply"? So they would lower the price because of that? Do you know how supply and demand works?
Sigh.

Sales were much better then they even anticipated. iPhone was initially aiming 1% marketshare. Even by that standard was a huge number for what was an uncharted territory. And that number wasn't for its first launch yearly target, it was for something they aim at in the longer term.

The initial price was to cover the insane amount of R&D that was put into a devices. If anyone had told you how many Smartphone Apple are selling now, 250M unit yearly, more then all the PC market combined, 18% of the total Smartphone sales worldwide, On a market potential of 5 billion Smartphone devices in 5 years time, 3 billion Smartphones user worldwide now, all these 10 years ago you would have been insane. No one predicted how big was the Smartphone revolution. Some knew it was going to be big, but not THIS big.

Once they knew the volume was much higher then they thought, the R&D and software cost all of a sudden spread. Software and R&D is a fixed cost. The more unit sold the faster, or less cost will be deducted per unit from R&D. And it make sense to lower the price to get more traction. Then 3G, 3GS, and especially 4. Where Supply couldn't even keep up 5 months after launch.

And Apple's margin, gross margin, net margin, R&D, aren't exactly a secret. Even BOM cost isn't secret if you work in any part of the industry.

And all these is iPhone, a completely new product category which screws pricing formula.

Then there is Macbook. Which isn't a new product category and has a stable cash flow to fund the development of macOS.

Agreed but there's no way to quantify how much money was spent in R&D etc. Whenever anyone calculates the profit of a product it's almost always from the standpoint of cost of manufacturing only. "It costs us $5 to build this widget and we sell it for $25. Profit equals $20 per widget".
Which is exactly what you did in the earlier statement.

No one puts R&D into unit cost and cost calculation. They are deducted from the Gross Margin, and an expected Sales Volume that will cover this.

And Apple's Gross Margin, Net Margin, especially under Tim Cook has been rock solid and stable over the years. As much as I wish Apple would, like your suggestion reduces margin. it has never been in Apple's book to do that.
 
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tresmith

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Jul 25, 2014
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If it's not cost effective to put in a full retina screen in a mba, putting in a screen with a resolution of 1920 by 1200 would work well too. I think it would definitely look nicer and a huge improvement over the current resolution of 1440 by 900.
 
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Tozovac

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Jun 12, 2014
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Keeping the Air around complicates the product lineup, they were SO close to have a streamlined lineup!! This is what I was (and still am) hoping for:

2017
Macbook Air 128GB - $999
Macbook Air 256GB - $1199
Macbook 256GB - $1299
Macbook 512GB - $1599
Macbook Pro 128GB - $1299
Macbook Pro 256GB - $1499
Macbook Pro 256GB TB - $1799
Macbook Pro 512GB TB - $1999

2018
Macbook 128GB - $999
Macbook 256GB - $1199
Macbook 512GB - $1499
Macbook Pro 256GB - $1499
Macbook Pro 256GB TB - $1799
Macbook Pro 512GB TB - $1999

This cleans the whole thing up, charging forward with USB C and retina-only models, hits most price points, get a retina model under $1000, while maintaining profit margins.
Your thoughts on “simplification of lineup” is exactly what’s wrong with Apple today, with all due respect. With *certain* “small” simplifications often comes with large usability pains for many customers.

Put it this way. If there was a chance USB-C was going to stick around a long time, and if there was only a *minimal* reduction in convenience to users as far as integrating their MANY non-Apple, non-USB-C devices and hardware in their homes, offices, cars, work areas, musical instrument systems, etc., then this bleaching of ports to USB-C could be tolerable. But many of us are tired of Apple’s forcing us to be courageous at the cost of convenience and...cost, since adapting to all USB-C ports is not a no-brainer.

I can’t be the only one growing awfully tired of Apple’s giving us new hardware options that are optimized for how they feel things will be in 5 years, where, in 5 years, it’s awfully likely that Apple will have yanked the football again and force a whole new set of USB-D or -E targets on us.

There’s a balance, but Apple is not good at offering balanced designs anymore. It’s all about fashion and forced simplicity. We’ll see if my next laptop is a Mac. Unlikely at this pace, sad for me.
 
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Lancer

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Jul 22, 2002
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Yeah but they hold their value. Been looking at getting an old MBP or MBA and even after 5 years they still sell for about 25% of their original value. Try finding a PC with that value in 5 years.
 

Zdigital2015

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Jul 14, 2015
2,116
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Your thoughts on “simplification of lineup” is exactly what’s wrong with Apple today, with all due respect. With *certain* “small” simplifications often comes with large usability pains for many customers.

Put it this way. If there was a chance USB-C was going to stick around a long time, and if there was only a *minimal* reduction in convenience to users as far as integrating their MANY non-Apple, non-USB-C devices and hardware in their homes, offices, cars, work areas, musical instrument systems, etc., then this bleaching of ports to USB-C could be tolerable. But many of us are tired of Apple’s forcing us to be courageous at the cost of convenience and...cost, since adapting to all USB-C ports is not a no-brainer.

I can’t be the only one growing awfully tired of Apple’s giving us new hardware options that are optimized for how they feel things will be in 5 years, where, in 5 years, it’s awfully likely that Apple will have yanked the football again and force a whole new set of USB-D or -E targets on us.

There’s a balance, but Apple is not good at offering balanced designs anymore. It’s all about fashion and forced simplicity. We’ll see if my next laptop is a Mac. Unlikely at this pace, sad for me.
My question for you would be, "Why do you think USB-C would NOT stick around a long time?" The USB-C spec was finalized in August of 2014, which means it has been around for 3-1/2 years already and it was designed to supersede USB Type-A ports. USB-A's ubiquity and longevity doesn't mean it should stay dominant. Yes, we still have VGA and RCA composite jacks hanging around way past their expiration date, but at some point, ports and connections do have to ride off into the sunset.

Apple has always been criticized for getting rid of ports that users consider sacrosanct, but at the end of the day, they are the only ones driving any innovation. PC manufacturers seem completely unwilling to get rid of legacy ports that need to go (VGA and USB 2.0 spring to mind). It's farcical in the year 2018 that the VGA port is still the limiting factor for how thin a Windows laptop can be in the vast majority of devices sold.

As abrupt and jarring as the changeover to USB-C was for some users, at some point Apple decided the compromises of keeping USB-A ports outweighed the benefits of keeping them. We can Monday morning quarterback it and say it was purely for aesthetic reasons, but none of us really knows if that was the case.

Apple introduced Thunderbolt in early 2011, but kept Firewire 800 around through the end of 2012, and still offers a Thunderbolt to FW800 adapter for sale that works just fine. Apple's Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapter works pretty well also. So while we got ~13 years from Firewire, we are only 7 years and still have a mix of Thunderbolt 2 and 3 right now and we're at 4x the original bandwidth, way better than Firewire.

As for USB Type-A I have purchased new cables that allow me to hook up almost all of my USB 2 and USB 3 devices via USB-C to my 2016 MacBook Pro. The only device I haven't located a proper USB-C cable for is my Panasonic mirrorless camera, so I use Wi-Fi or I can pull the SD card out and use a USB reader that now has the proper USB-C cable. I'll take the versatility of USB-C/TB3 ports over clinging to legacy ports any day of the week. Sure there are some outlier cases where I can see not having a USB-A port is going to be a pain (keyboards, mice, certain tethered cable devices, etc.) but the march to USB-C is inevitable and should be welcomed.