Thoughts about the ultraportable...

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by torrino, May 12, 2007.

  1. torrino macrumors newbie

    Apr 25, 2007
    My main point here is that Apple would be wise to position the MBPortable as a stronger, more business-ready 12'' PowerBook, with a premium price. The price will have to exceed the base MacBook Pro and match the Sony and Dell business class machines should Apple want to continue their path toward computer domination. I'm speaking without much background at all, from mostly my opinion, so keep that in mind. I honestly don't know how Apple's organizing their company - this is just what I assume from what I see, read, etc.

    First, Apple is in the middle of a transformational process. In the mid- 90s, Apple wasn't much of a company to most of America. Influential? Extremely - the common laptop, for example, could look very, very different today if it weren't for Apple. But we only see Apple's influence looking back. At the time, to techies, they were the inferior Microsoft alternative. To students, they were too slow, too expensive. To businesses, they weren't compatible. Apple had kept two strong markets - design (Quark and Photoshop were Mac-exclusive at first, Apple retained those customers) and education (thanks to efforts in the '80s, plus they were one of very few computer name-brands). Circa '95/'96, though, Apple wasn't the "mainstream" computer, and was lagging behind PC development following Windows 95. Everything changed somewhere between the Microsoft anti-trust cases and the iPod. Apple got Microsoft to relinquish some file formats to improve compatibility between the two systems, and the iMac (and iPod) captured a new (yet small) percentage of the student market. Meanwhile, the .com's collapsed and Microsoft faced huge, huge backlash following Windows ME. Then, iPod and iTunes. I don't think Apple intended to refocus their brand through these products and software, they were just pursuing old trends. Remember the Apple palm pilot? The Apple digital camera? At first, the iPod wasn't even Windows-compatible! But it all sorta took off, almost magically. Now, we're looking at a company that's arguably bigger than Microsoft. Their new goal, even above changing the cellular phone or music industry, is simple: making Mac the universally accepted OS. Even with upward trends, this will take years, and will likely require Apple officially liscensing the OS to other PC brands, a la Microsoft. It'll be heartbreaking, but it's for the best.

    The first step for Apple involves the hardware. With the MacBook and its powerful, MBP-like specs, Apple has maxxed out the student market as best as it can. The MacBook Pro with Santa Rosa, too, won't be bringing in increased crowds, either. Macs aren't going to suddenly take over with LED screens or flash memory. Windows arguably took off because of third party support, so any new feature Apple adds will quickly be matched in new PCs. What Apple needs is a third laptop that brings pricing adjustments to the existing models. One of Apple's assets is its pricing simplicity, "this is what you pay" model. With another laptop model - specifically the ultraportable - Apple can barely be accused of oversaturating and complicating their notebook lines. Additionally, smaller price seperation between the MacBook and MacBook Pro will only help Apple in giving their products "true" definitions. Right now, MacBook "feels more professional than consumer" and the MacBook Pro "feels more consumer than professional." The ultraportable can help distinguish these two Apple lines. First, it gives the lines more seriousness. The MacBook becomes a competitive, everyday-computing Windows alternative, instead of a powerful toy. The MacBook Pro becomes a desktop replacement model (at a price of $1699), and makes serious inroads on the mid-sized Dell's and Sony's. Right now, it's capturing a weird upscale market because of its price and look, but is not thought of along side big, powerful, bulky HPs like it should. At $1699, it still holds upscale value for the mainstream, like an Acura, but also leaves enough room for an even more exclusive product - the MacBook Portable! We'll worry about the names later.

    Make the ultraportable go head on with business PCs, like the 13 inch Sonys and the sturdy ThinkPads and ToughBooks. Besides, there's so much room in this market to begin with. New ThinkPad quality isn’t up-to-par with the classic IBM ThinkPad, yet prices have remained relatively high. The ToughBook suffers from Panasonic's limited distribution. Even in New York City, spotting a ToughBook is rare. Finally, the Sony's are adorable, but let's be honest. Sony will never, ever capture a PC market; they couldn't even defeat the Wii! With a price range between $1899 base and $2599 or so with extreme customization, Apple can position itself as the #1 Business laptop. Premium price and premium quality is key here. The MacBook Pro is beautiful, but not sturdy enough for businesses, nor with enough security features. If Apple keeps prices comparable to Sony, and releases a laptop with everything the 12'' Powerbook G4 was missing, how will it not take over the business world? As is, Apple's a fairly reliable manufacturer. With OS X/Windows integration, Intel chips, and a tighter OS, how can this go wrong? Did I mention Vista sucks?

    Similarly, capturing the business world increases sales for all their products. And, as for the MacBook and MacBook Pro line-up, a decrease in the MBP price can only help, not hurt. Maybe fewer MB's are sold (but that's really doubtful, because once the MBPortable becomes the new "hot" computer, it creates interest in all Apple products), but Apple will spread its OS successfully and start dominating a market it never dreamed possible back in the mid-1990s!

    From there, who knows.
  2. lancestraz macrumors 6502a


    Nov 27, 2005
    I think I'll just wait for the audiobook to come out...
  3. torrino thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 25, 2007
    Yeaaah, it's a bit long, but I got into it :)

    Basically, I want to discuss what Apple is doing with the ultraportable, should they release one? Is it going to replace the 12'' Powerbook? Or, are they going to price-point it to attack a completely different market - the business world?

  4. macjay macrumors 6502

    Oct 3, 2003
    Holy cow that's funny. But I actually read and enjoyed the post.

    Yes, I think it will be more of the direct replacment for the 12" PB than the MacBooks have been. I would guess that it will be more professional looking and feeling than the MacBook. I believe Apple's also coming out with a 15" Macbook, so eventually the line-up might look like (my guesses):

    MacBook 13" $1000/1200
    Macbook 15" $1300/1400
    MBP 15"/17" $2000/2500/$2800
    MBP 13" $2300/2700

    The current line-up right now is pretty weak IMO. Not having a "pro" laptop less than 15", and a consumer laptop greater than 13", is kind of ridiculous. At least there was some crossover with the screen size in the iBooks and PowerBooks -- a 14" iBook and 12" PowerBook.
  5. brop52 macrumors 68000


    Feb 26, 2007
    You brought me back to the days when I would go through my macmall magazine and build my dream beige G3 tower computer and show it to my parents. (Never happened but I did eventually get the bondi blue iMac when it came out).

    I only used macs because my mom was an art teacher and would bring home the old computers when she got a new one in her office. Old school system 7. IIsi, Quadra. Great stuff.

    The funniest thing of all is when I was little I would sneak downstairs and read the computer manual for the IIsi and System 7. (Yes I'm a huge dork). :cool:
  6. Father Jack macrumors 68020

    Father Jack

    Jan 1, 2007
    It makes me think of my much loved 12" G3 iBook :)

  7. dannewell15 macrumors regular

    Mar 17, 2007
    I agree. although my macbook is lovely, its not what you would call a "Pro" model. If you look around the Dell (yuk!) website, there is so much more choice. You can get like a 12 inch XPS that is as good as a Macbook Pro (specs wise that is, I love OSX). I think that there should be a 12 inch Pro model at least, i think that I would buy one. :D
  8. cube macrumors Pentium

    May 10, 2004
    Anything bigger than 11.1" and 1.5 Kg is not ultraportable.

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