There is no denying that in the past few years Apple has been making a lot of headway with their laptops. According to MacWorld the demand for the laptops helped Apple net a $1.05 billion profit for its fiscal second quarter. However the one major stumbling block that Apple has always had has been the price difference between its laptops and those PC versions that come loaded with Microsoft products. In 2008 the average price for a Windows PC laptop is running around $700.00 for an entry level machine. In contrast an Apple laptop will set you back $1,515.00; and while this might be fine with the Apple fanbois the cost of the Apple allure isn’t something that the average computer user will be able to swallow.
However that could all be changing, especially if Duncan’s exclusive report last night about an upcoming model of an Apple laptop in the $800.00 range is proven to be correct. Now while everyone seems to be getting their knickers in a bunch over whether or not this is in fact true Mary Jo Foley sidesteps this and instead wonders if such a beast from Cupertino would be a threat to Microsoft. As she points out; and is backed up by the study on price differences mentioned above, you can pretty well find any number of laptops under a $1,000 running Vista. Personally I wouldn’t even think of trying to run Vista on entry level laptops but the fact is that they are out there.
In her post Mary Jo doesn’t come right out and suggest that this could hurt Microsoft but I will. Look we are living in a world where at least two generations are growing up with the iPod, which is the iconic Apple product in the general marketplace. Adding into the mix we have the iPhone which has become the newest darling of the mobile phone world – everyone seems to want one. Apple is becoming a fixture in the general marketplace. It is moving away from being a cult object and through things like the iPod and the iPhone staking out its share of the market.
For myself one of the two reasons why an Apple laptop has always been out of the question is the price of them. I know that there will be a time coming where I’ll be looking to buy a laptop and up until now my only real option – because of price – has been a Microsoft powered laptop. If Duncan is right, then that has all changed and not just for me but a whole bunch of folks as well especially considering the disaster that Vista is.
If the rumours of an $800.00 Apple laptop are true then there is going to be a radical shift in the laptop marketplace and Microsoft will have a big battle on its hands.
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