Expensive AIR indeed

The Apple Air is a mystery to me. Ok it’s thin. Amazingly thin. It’s lightweight, durable, high-end technology. Very cool.

Here’s the thing I don’t get. It’s smaller than a MacBook, has virtually no expandability, less memory capacity, no optical drive, no ports save one USB, can’t run a second monitor, and is $700 more than the cheapest MacBook. (From $1800-3100). I get that it’s an amazing tool, and probably the first step in an ever-innovating stroll toward more amazing tools.

Yet these amazing tools are what people like me need for our work and our creative endeavors. We don’t use them as little toys that “make computing fun”. They’re tools that streamline our work, intuitively mesh with our creative processes, and keep us sane by cutting out hassles that inhibit PC users. They are tools, first and foremost.

And we are raped in order to possess them. Why isn’t the might of Apple creativity being used to create this technology at a lower price? Do we need ultra-thin before we need slightly-affordable? We’ve been supporting Apple’s incredible string of expensive innovation for years and I keep waiting for them (with their stock at $160.89/share as of 1/17/08) to give its die-hard, almost cult-like users and supporters something of a break.

Hit that $999 laptop price point. Hit it with a machine that does more than store my photos and music. Give us a great tool at a great price. That’s the innovation I want to see. We’ve earned it many times over.

5 comments to Expensive AIR indeed

  • For the most part, I completely agree… Steve has essentially pulled another G4 Cube on us. Compared to the lowliest of MacBook configurations, the Air has a slower processor (1.6GHz v.s 2.2GHz), less expandability (no firewire, fewer USB, no RJ45, no mic jack), no optical drive… yet is $700 more, simply due to a fashionable metal case and a backlit keyboard.

    I do believe it has a different target audience, though… but I really can’t accurately figure out who that is yet. I think it’ll sell, and sell better than the Cube… but not by much. :

  • jimbotr0n

    “They’re tools that streamline our work, intuitively mesh with our creative processes, and keep us sane by cutting out hassles that inhibit PC users.”

    This sentence explains the higher price of Apple’s products. If these truly are tools that you need, that allow you to do your job more easily, and deliver value in tangible and intangible ways, you will pay the price asked. Many people do. Don’t want to pay a premium? Go for a Dell, which costs half as much and arguably does all the same things, just not as easily (or as stylishly).

    Apple charges what the market will bear. As a for-profit entity, they have no responsibility to their “die-hard cult-like” users. In fact, they have more of a responsibility to their shareholders to deliver results out of the pockets of those users than they do to you.

  • “has virtually no expandability, less memory capacity, no optical drive, no ports save one USB, can’t run a second monitor, and is $700 more than the cheapest MacBook.”

    So, um, how, exactly is this “an amazing tool”? Seems like a cool design for an overpriced internet machine to me….

    You know there’s another laptop that will surf the internets for a lot cheaper: http://www.laptopgiving.org/en/explore.php

    oh, plus they donate one to a kid that (apparently) really needs a computer.

    Ok, yeah, I know it’s not a fair comparison. But, seriously, how is a one usb port, no expanding! laptop an amazing tool? Amazingly portable, sure. But amazing tool?

  • The “tools that streamline our work” quote accurately describes Macs in general, and I couldn’t agree with it more in that context. But, when it comes to the Air, I fail to see how it is a tool that will help me get more done, more easily, than a base MacBook. Ok ok, perhaps the battery lasts longer… but with a few glaring tradeoffs.

    As a shareholder, I do expect Apple to deliver results (especially with our recent über-dip in the stock! >:O ), and to accomplish that, Apple has to ship products that have clear advantages. Actually, scratch that: they have to deliver products that sell. I don’t see the Air having clear-enough advantages to accomplish that. And I want to see my Apple stock (that I’ve had since ’97!) make Dell and Microsoft look *really* bad again. 😉

    Now, I do appreciate the Air. It’s a beautiful machine, and I think it could set a new bar for portable design and elegance. I just think it’s priced to high. About $400 too high. If the market bears, fantastic. I have to admit I’d be surprised, though.

    As for owing us die-hards, I think you’re half-right. As a business, they don’t owe us a damn thing. But that kind of behavior is not of the Apple we know… This is the Apple that was carried by us die-hards during the dark days (mid- to late-nineties). We’re the ones who stand in lines for iPhones, creating the spectacle that allows Apple to capitalize and *profit* from these events. And what makes Apple different from the Dells and HPs out there is that they have returned the favor of our faith (i.e. the $100 rebate for iPhone early-adopters). But that’s besides the point… I don’t think that reasonably pricing the MacBook Air would be doing anybody a “favor” besides themselves. They have killer margins on those things, and taking a little hit on those Airs would allow them to sell a *lot* more, as the consumer can finally justify the loss in speed/connectivity/functionality.

    Remember how much they discounted the Cubes? They chopped $500-$700 dollars off… and still made money.

    Too bad it was too late.

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