Is the MacBook Dead? | Friends of Mac

First introduced in 2006, the MacBook was part of Apple’s transition to Intel-based laptops. The MacBook has traditionally been the least expensive laptop offered by Apple and is aimed at primarily the consumer and education markets. In addition, it is the best-selling Macintosh in history. According to the sales-research organization NPD Group, in October 2008 the mid-range model of the MacBook was the single best-selling laptop of any brand in U.S. retail stores for the preceding five months. Despite its success, the next generation MacBook Air could be the beginning of the end for the MacBook. Many overlapping factors between the two laptops suggest it is.

Let’s take a look at the facts:

Price Point – Both laptops have a $999 base price. When shopping in the education store the MacBook Air is $949 whereas the MacBook is $899. Fifty bucks when spending almost $1000 is hardly a major deciding factor. Besides, both computers qualify for $100 Student Mac App Store promotion.

Hardware – Both currently still use Intel Core 2 Duo processors. Both come standard with 2GB of RAM. The MacBook does still sport a SuperDrive but with the Mac App Store, thumb drive costs, an external drive works when necessary, and the fact the Lion is being solely distributed digitally this is only a minor plus for the MacBook. It is rumored that the new MacBook Air will be equipped with at least an Intel i5 and possibly offer an upgrade to the i7 which will boast better integrated graphics, as well as a more energy efficient design. Also depending on the chip, you might have a 4 core chip while the core 2 duo is only 2 cores. The i5 is clearly a better choice. Let’s face it the MacBook Air is just a cooler design. The battery life is about the same but you can leave the Air in “standby mode” instead of turning it off and on for up to 30 days.

Sandbagging – Apple’s seemingly deliberate delay in distribution as to co-launch the next generation MacBook Air and OS X Lion suggests that the new model will be somehow optimized for running the new operating system.

Is the MacBook dead? Only time will tell, but Apple is a very business savvy company who knows how to market and knows when they are unnecessarily competing against themselves. Having separate production lines as well as design teams for two very similar products just isn’t good business and Apple knows business.

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6 thoughts on “Is the MacBook Dead? | Friends of Mac

  1. Just to say: no way in Hell you’d see an 11″ or 13″ MacBook Air with an i7 processor.

    I would prefer them to maintain similar specs for the MacBook White (perhaps upgrade to 4GB RAM), and sell at a much cheaper price. That way, the MacBook White really would be an affordable notebook for everybody, whilst having the horsepower to run OSX Lion.

    One thing that got me intrigued is that Apple mention OS X Lion can run on either “Core 2 Duo, i3, i5, i7”. Obviously, since OS X 10.7 is Intel compatible, that would be the case, but I think people have neglected to mention that Apple don’t have a laptop with an i3- yet.

    The i3 would be perfect for the MacBook Air, I think. An i5 would create too many heat issues.

  2. Just a slight correction. The comment about a 15″ and 17″ MacBook are incorrect. The new lineup will still include MacBook Pro in 13,15, &17″ forms, but the current Standard MacBook has only one flavor, 13″ core2duo in a polycarbonate structure.

    This would make complete sense to phase out the standard MacBook.

    All notebooks would be EPEAT Gold with unibody aluminum as opposed to the polycarbonate structure of the MacBook. They would all have the current generation processors and the next generation of I/O.

    Btw, a notebook with two thunderbolt ports could easily replace all other ports, with dongles for FireWire 800, USB 3.0, sATA, HDMI, and many ports either already available or in production, and also supporting a daisy chain architecture, just two ports would go a very long way. I mean, they are basically PCIe slots made into a port, current I/O ports cannot touch that. The possibilities. . .

    Anyways, the lineup would look like this:

    11″ MBA -> 13″ MBA -> 13″ MBP -> 15″ MBP -17″ MBP

    There is really nothing missing from that lineup, ever customer can be satisfied and the production costs go down as te same hardware and materials are used for the entire line, more bulk materials means lower prices and higher profits. It’s really win-win.

  3. No one needs an optical drive anymore, so, everything else being equal, the Air form factor should be the only one that matters. But will Apple build 15- and 17-inch Airs? And how much overlap will there be between the Air and the iPad? The Macbook may survive at least one more generation, primarily as an upgrade for current users, but, agreed, long-term it’s likely doomed.

  4. Considering the futire of DVD and Thunderbolt, I think you are right. The Mac Book is dead. I thought I would never consider an Air. But I am.

    What if the new Air has an Ax chip in it instead of Intel plusThinderbolt? Maybe Intel is dead, too.

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