Does Apple Need An $800 MacBook?

Rumors this week have Apple working on a $800 MacBook model. Right now the cheapest MacBook is the $999 MacBook Air ($950 educational pricing). Does Apple need to have a cheaper MacBook model? Is $200 really enough to make a difference?
On the one hand it is always good to expand the market a bit with a more affordable model. On the other hand, that model would have to offer something less than the current MacBooks. So would a sub-par MacBook experience be good for users and Apple?
Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Comments: 18 Responses to “Does Apple Need An $800 MacBook?”

    5/8/12 @ 11:51 am

    Isn’t that the iPad then? I like Apple because of the quality it maintains. But a sub-par Mac? Not sure about that. Sounds like the days of XP home vs XP Professional. Hmmmm

    5/10/12 @ 9:46 am

    I love the idea of a less expensive MacBook, I think they could do it with a smaller hard drive and a bit slower processor. It wouldn’t be sub-par just slower.

    Wendee Mason
    5/10/12 @ 9:49 am

    If someone wants to pay less for a MacBook Pro, go to Ebay or Craigslist and get last years’ model. You’ll save $200 and get an excellent product.

    John M. Hammer
    5/10/12 @ 9:51 am

    An $800 MacBook is already available: Last year’s (or even the two-year-old) model. I’d rather have a recent-but-not-this-year’s-model Mac than any Windows machine. And they’re easy to find as refurbs right in the Apple online store or at reputable dealers; and while eBay can be a gamble, if the buyer sticks to sellers with hard-earned high ratings (500+) there’s no more risk than with any other retailer. Perhaps Apple ought to keep selling “last year’s Mac” at a reduced price just as they do with iPhones and iPads as each new model is released, if a lower price would help them with market penetration. On the other hand, Apple is about profit – not market share – so I wouldn’t expect to see this happen.

    5/10/12 @ 9:53 am

    I remember back in the 90’s when Steve Jobs was gone Apple went crazy with a bizzillion different models and Mac clones for other companies and they almost went out of business. I hope that doesn’t happen again now that Steve can never come back and rescue them.

    5/10/12 @ 10:18 am

    It can hurt if a PC user gets a bad experience and thinks all Mac’s are bad because they got a bad experience with a sub par mac – However if they price a normal macbook at that price with the ability to upgrade say memory – functionality etc.. it would be good by getting PC users to experience the great way Mac’s work and they can upgrade when they have the money – 800 is still too much when a comparable hardware set-up can be had by a PC user for 3-500 – Or even better allow OSX to run on a PC laptop or hardware config. and not make a cheap computer at all

    Carole Martin
    5/10/12 @ 10:34 am

    It only takes one ‘mistake’ and word of mouth can kill a product. Do we really need a zillion different products to choose from. One bad ‘Apple’ will hurt the whole bushel.

    5/10/12 @ 10:57 am

    Many people have very simple computer needs – a few letters, some e-mails and web access – so a simpler – and dare I say it! – slower computer will meet their needs fine. And, yes $200 does make a difference when you are looking at a $600 (rubbish) windows computer – that’s a 33% difference.

    5/10/12 @ 12:54 pm

    A lower price can make the inference between someone buying a PC laptop or a Mac. There are many users who will never need the power and capacity of more expensive Mac laptops.

    5/10/12 @ 2:15 pm

    Its a great idea. I have a mother that wants to change over to Mac since her 10year old PC is one year away from becoming a paper weight. Yet she doesn’t need the quad processors and the higher end performance such as solid state drives. She just needs the basics and that’s all her budget will allow.

    5/10/12 @ 5:04 pm

    Bring it on. I’ll take a “sub-par” Mac over any pc. I think it is a great idea for the kids homework or a first year college student.

    5/10/12 @ 8:21 pm

    I think the old saying “you get what you pay for” is important especially when it concerns a Mac. A crippled Mac is not needed in today’s savvy computer market. I put the life expectancy at 2 years on a typical Windows sub $800 laptop whereas I know a Mac will outlast that by a factor of 3. A cut rate Mac is not needed. It’s a horrible idea and will never happen. It shouldn’t happen. If a price cut is needed it’s at the top end with Mac Pro’s. They are classy but expensive. I have a 3 year old Psystar Mac clone and only paid $750 for it, I am running Lion 10.7,4 on it with 2 500gb drives and 4mb of ram. See – there is a way of owning a Mac without paying too much for it. I have a 2.66ghz core2 duo clocked at 3.2 ghz and an nvidia Geforce 8600 GT with 1 mb of video ram. The motherboard is a Gigabyte board. For Christmas I think I will ask Santa for the money to build a new “Hackintosh” using one of the newer Intel chips. Don’t people realize there are hundreds of thousands of people who have made a Hackintosh. Google it. Be prepared to go into shock if you never heard of it before.

    5/10/12 @ 11:05 pm

    Yes, people are craving for a cheaper Macbook but if it will compromise reliability and Apple’s reputation, it doesn’t worth it.

    Tom Abbott
    5/11/12 @ 2:00 pm

    The only reason I have a Mac is because my very generous mother bought me one. Aside from that I wouldn’t have one. I welcome the idea of a less expensive Mac.

    Jeffrey Carlson
    5/11/12 @ 2:23 pm

    I guess I am conflicted by the Idea of making a cheaper MacBook. I have experience in the other direction. I was asked to get new laptops for my staff. I could only get them from Dell. (The company has a pricing agreement with Dell.) So I set out to make the Dell PC with equivalent features of my MacBook Pro. When I got done with upgrading screen resolution, BlueTooth, etc. the laptop cost more than my Mac. So yes there are things that can be removed to make the computer less expensive. But it does require Apple to offer an extensive build your own computer program so people get the features they use. Little do PC users realize that in a Mac application environment they will use most if not all of the MacBook hardware features. The problem for PC users is they have not had these features in the cheep computers and don’t know what they are missing. Does that mean that a cheep Mac experience will become more like a Windows PC experience? I shutter at the thought.

    5/12/12 @ 6:34 am

    I am new to the Apple world and I do not want to be compromise with a lesser quality computer. I waited until I felt like I wanted to invest the money into a laptop, under no circumstances do I want the quality of Apple to be jeopardized because they are spending their quality time to develop a computer that is affordable to everyone. This sounds like the PC world I just divorced. I was so afraid of this when Steve Jobs passed, please keep Apple the quality that it is!!

    5/14/12 @ 4:55 am

    I love my Mac products, but they are notoriously overpriced as is most of its software. Fortunately, I can afford them and will continue to do so, but the Mac people really need to get more realistic if they want to capture a truly huge market. We have to have a PC regardless just to run certain accounting software.

    5/15/12 @ 2:25 pm

    If I had a nice laptop that would suit my basic needs for text input, finance, and the occasional game, all with the convenience of a “real” keyboard, I think I’d give it a second look. The expectations would be lower – definitely much lower than a MacBook Pro!

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