As expected, Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) refreshed its line of MacBooks yesterday afternoon.
As expected, some of the more outlandish rumored changes proved bogus.
- There is no $899 -- much less $799 -- entry-level MacBook.
- Touch-screen monitor? Are you nuts?
- Netbook? We don't need no stinkin' netbooks!
- You don't get a free Toyota Prius with every MacBook Pro purchase.
OK, I made up that last one. Then again, the way Apple kept hammering home the eco-friendly nature of its new aluminum laptops, I'm surprised the new devices aren't shipping with some seeds to help reduce your carbon footprint.
As expected, the new MacBooks are cool.
- A glass trackpad is the new navigational standard. No click button -- you simply press down on the trackpad.
- New NVIDIA (Nasdaq: NVDA ) graphic processors are making their debut in the Apple laptops.
- The entry-level MacBook is getting a $100 haircut to $999.
Most of the other price points remain intact, though serious upgrades are in order. For instance, the $1,299 MacBook comes with some of the upgraded features that were previously only available on pricier $1,999 MacBook Pro units.
It's nice, real nice, but it wasn't enough to convince me to make the orchard switch.
Great expectations, I guess
I was really hoping for a netbook. I almost bought a Dell (Nasdaq: DELL ) Mini last month. Starting at just $349 for the Linux-powered variety, why not? I'm still desktop-tethered when I need to crack my knuckles and get work done, but I need a smaller device when I'm on the go. I figured I would wait for Apple to woo me with its October refresh, but no dice. CEO Steve Jobs was even asked about Apple's lack of a netbook yesterday. The company's response is that it is watching the market to see where it goes.
Let's see. Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN ) even has its own tab for netbooks. It is just 64 machines deep, but in it you'll find nimble overseas players like Acer and ASUS. The big boys are there too, like Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ ) with its 2133 model.
They don't pack much in the features department, but at price points typically in the $400 range, netbooks are the right portable computing solution in this big-ticket-weary market.
See you on the flipside, Apple
Apple will do just fine without me. As Jobs pointed out during yesterday's event, Apple has gained market share in 14 of the past 15 quarters. Domestic Mac retail market share is up to 17.6% in terms of units. Since Mac products are pricier than their vanilla-bean Wintel rivals, that market-share slice thickens to 31.3%.
Then again, Apple already has me. I bought my son a MacBook last December, and my whole family hopped on the iPhone bandwagon back in March.
So why not netbook, Apple? The company certainly realizes the power of small computing. Its app-promoting iPhone knew it the moment it went after Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM ) and Palm (Nasdaq: PALM ) in the smartphone market.
Yesterday would have been the perfect time to get small. I can live without the touch screen. I can even get over the media reports -- spurred by the company's call for lower gross margins this new fiscal year -- that Apple was going to price its systems aggressively.
I guess what I'm saying is that I want something smaller than a MacBook, yet bigger -- and more practical -- than my iPhone.
You get cracking on that, Apple, and we'll see what I'm handing over to the security screener the next time I'm going through Reagan National.
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