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Join Date: Jan 2009
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Apple planning cheap MacBooks and iMacs? - 05-03-2009, 02:56 PM
Tim Cook quote is the same one from a previous article, but apparently Apple may be changing its tune.
http://beta.theglobeandmail.com/globe-i ... le1127868/
Apple (AAPL-Q127.241.411.12%) is said to be planning cheaper versions of its MacBook and iMac offerings in an attempt to combat the growing popularity of netbooks and boost its share of the personal computer market.
Citing people familiar with the matter, the AppleInsider blog says that Apple will unveil "affordable versions" of the MacBook and iMac during the coming months, although Apple refused to comment on this when contacted by TheStreet.com.
The Cupertino, Calif.-based company has constantly reiterated its focus on features rather than price, although it launched its first sub-$1,000 (U.S.) laptop last year. The $999 13-inch MacBook is Apple's cheapest laptop, and the company offers an entry-level 20-inch iMac for $1,199.
Like other tech firms, Apple has felt the impact of the tech spending slowdown, which may drive a shift in its strategy. Apple's Mac sales fell for the first time in five years during its recent second quarter, and overall computer revenue declined 16 per cent from year-ago levels.
Tellingly, the combined average selling price for Macs, including laptops, was $1,320, down 6 per cent sequentially from $1,400 in the prior quarter. In addition to the tough economy, Apple also faces stiff competition from the growing netbook market, although the company has resisted pressure to offer its own versions of the technology.
Apple, which competes with Dell (DELL-Q11.850.231.98%), Hewlett-Packard (HPQ-N36.520.541.50%) and Microsoft (MSFT-Q20.24-0.02-0.10%) in the PC market, is seen as a key indicator of consumer spending, but is keen to maintain its air of exclusivity.
The company's chief operating officer Tim Cook even used Apple's second-quarter conference call to aim a kick at mini-computers.
"When I look at what is being sold in the netbook space today, I see cramped keyboards, terrible software, junky hardware, very small screens, and just not a consumer experience, and not something that we would put the Mac brand on," he said.
AppleInsider, again citing people familiar with the matter, says that cheaper Macs will be an "interim solution" while the company formulates its long-term response to netbooks.
This is rumored to center on a "tablet" computer, although the blog says that this project "is taking considerably longer to complete than once anticipated."
Apple again refused to comment when TheStreet.com asked about the "tablet," strategy, although the blogosphere is rife with talk of a 10-inch touchscreen device that could arrive later this year.
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