Monday, 25 May 2009

Affordable 12-inch Macbook

John Gruber of Daring Fireball recently speculated that Apple may be planning a minor rebrand of its portables, dubbing the entry level white model "Macbook," whilst renaming the 13-inch aluminum model a "Macbook Pro", making the entire unibody lineup "pros".

Currently, the white Macbook is all but forgotten - it's no longer mentioned on the main Apple site, and hardly featured in the Apple Store. But with recent changes in market conditions, combined with Microsoft's "Laptop Hunters" campaign putting pressure on Apple's pricing strategy, now may be a good time to review the entry-level end of Apple's portable lineup.

The current white Macbook model is really a hold-over from the previous polycarbonate Macbook line. It doesn't possess recent Apple revisions such as the glossy black bezel, black keyboard and glass trackpad. In happier times, Apple may have been planning to phase this model out altogether, but the credit crunch, combined with the popularity of netbooks may well be causing the company to review this strategy.

An alternative option would be to introduce a more competitively priced entry level model, that differentiates itself from the Macbook Pro range (including the re-named 13-inch model). To do this, the new Macbook could sport a 12-inch screen, and white polycarbonate case. But it could still inherit some nice perks, like the glass trackpad, black keyboard and glossy bezel. At a price of, say $599, this could fly off the shelves, without excessive cannibalization of the 13-inch Macbook Pro's sales.

Such a machine could still be a decent computer, without the kinds of awkward compromises inherent in a netbook. It seems a more plausible entry-level play from Apple than the rumored 10-inch tablet.


  1. You do understand that this sort of idea completely ignores a major reality, right?

    You have a complete redesign. Footprint, trackpad, screen - everything but possibly the keys on the keyboard (provided you didn't mean a backlit one).

    And Apple will accomplish refitting the entire pipeline at a price reduction of $400?

  2. the white macbook looks very nice and is a cool product. there is nothing wrong with it, apart from the price. it would look dull to add black keys or a black display to it.

  3. What about this more radical approach?

  4. The imminent tablet should bridge the iPhone and MacBook lines in pricing and features, so the white MacBook might even be phased out altogether by 2010.

    The tablet rumors are as solid as they were leading up to the iPhone in '07, and all that's holding it up is software. The Jobsian way would be to create a 9.7" screen touch-optimized OS, rather than just pouring a full OS into an anemic netbook like everyone else does.

    Regarding the mockup by Anonymous on the Dutch forum,

    Although it's quite good design-wise, Apple would rather eliminate the keyboard. It looks an awful lot like the Vaio P, which is grossly overpriced like the MacBook Air because of its miniaturized innards.

    I expect the iTablet should have an in-house chip running a OS X derivative that will be even more objects-oriented than the conventional Leopard. One of the benefits of a proprietary chip design would be to protect the OS from being hacked and installed on 'unsupported' machines (system software would be the iTablet's most valuable asset). Since it'll be an entirely new product category, it may never need to be Intel-chips compliant.

    Also, Apple would prefer to keep its full OS X running on more powerful architectures.

  5. WAYYYY too cheap.

    You won't see an Apple laptop under $700.

    If it was $799, that would make more sense. $599?? That's an high capacity iPod Touch.

  6. although i like the specs and the IDEA of a cheaper Apple, I hate to say it but that black & white monstrosity is really fugly. I mean REALLY. Yuk.

  7. It is very nice and great product. I hope it will be released soon.