Apple Is So Hot, I'm Getting a Dell

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.

Other Apples for your eyes:

Dell is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. NVIDIA, Amazon.com, and Apple are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz really does find himself surrounded by more and more Apple appliances these days. If he digs deep enough, he may even stumble across a throwback Newton. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.


Read/Post Comments (3) | Recommend This Article (5)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On October 15, 2008, at 4:44 PM, ACSdaniel wrote:

    I still can't believe all the hype in Apple. Even a $999 Apple laptop is overpriced for the performance and features the user receives. I hope that Apple buyers will come out of their self-induced Apple coma and purchase based on value and performance, not snappy advertising. BTW, Apple ads are very annoying.

  • Report this Comment On October 15, 2008, at 5:32 PM, MurphyMacdotCom wrote:

    ACSDaniel -

    Value might not always be obvious. For many Mac users, help from the manufacturer is as close as their local shopping center. Can you take your Dell in to your mall? Can you get a replacement ac adapter the same day if it fails?

    Can you go your local Dell Store and have them help you copy photos from your camera to your computer? My grandmother can.

    You pay extra for Apple, not much, but it's a lot like paying extra for a BMW or Lexus.

    You don't say what you do with your PC. For me, working with linux web servers - OSX is far more useful because it's based on UNIX.

    OS X doesn't waste my time with constant updates. With Windows, some window is always popping up telling me about some problem or update that I need. Then I have to update the updater. That's a hassle. Then I have to deal with AV software. It never ends.

    I value my time. I don't want to babysit my computer, I want to use it. A Mac is great for people who value their time and want to get things done. Windows is good for a hobby, if you like to tinker and try to get it working right.

    Your comment didn't offer much in the way of facts. How much time have you spent using a Mac?

    I was an MCSE for years, making a living off installing Windows servers for my clients' enterprise operations. I've spent a good deal of time on both platforms, and don't see myself going back to Windows.

    Darn you ACS Daniel, you made me register at Motley Fool.

  • Report this Comment On October 15, 2008, at 7:20 PM, lkmd98 wrote:

    The netbook is called an IPHONE!

    Keep your Dell it doesn't bother me. Your the one that has to use it. Keep telling yourself you saved all that money and thats why you still use MS windows.

    Have fun, someday you'll figure it out.

    lkmd

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