Rumors are flying this week ahead of Apple's big Mac Book event on Tuesday that it will announce the long rumored sub-$1000 notebook. In fact, my friends at The Unofficial Apple Weblog are reporting that someone has gotten their hands on a price sheet ahead of the announcement suggesting that there will be an $800 Mac Book. If it's true, and nothing is official yet--Apple tends to be tight-lipped about announcements, as you are no doubt aware--it comes at perfect time as consumers are hungry for lower prices.
Apple Stock Price Nose-Diving
You might have noticed that the stock market has been tanking this week and Apple's stock price has been caught up in the downward spiral. Some analysts are saying this is a natural fall-out of the economic storm that's been brewing this Fall. The argument goes that if consumers stop spending money, then it's natural to expect that Apple products might fall down the list of priorities on the family budget after, you know, food, housing, heat, that sort of thing.
It makes sense, but as I wrote a couple of weeks ago in this space in What Does the Economic Downturn Mean to the Tech Sector?:
Mac User reported recently in article called Economy down, Apple up, that in spite of the economic situation, a survey by Changewave showed that people were still willing to spend money on Apple products, even though overall consumer electronics spending was expected to go down. Of course, this survey was taken during the summer before the September swoon, but it's still telling that in in spite of tightening personal budgets, people still lust after Apple products.
And Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster is a bit more positive still looking for good growth from Apple products (maybe he read the survey I just cited).
So About that $800 Mac Book
So what does this have to do with the $800 Mac Book rumor? Well, Mr Munster suggested that an announcement without the sub-$1000 wouldn't have bode well for the already suffering stock price at Apple. Now, nobody at Apple could have predicted that economy would have taken the turn it has this Fall. Apple might have a lot of smart people, but this has to go down as extremely good timing. If people need to shell out some dough for a laptop--and yes even in bad economies people still need to get work done on a computer--chances are they are going to be looking very closely at price.
All things being equal if I'm looking at a Windows machine from Dell for say $700 and I can snag a Mac Book for $800, it's no contest, I'm going for the Mac. But if you're talking about a difference between $700 from Dell and $1100 from Apple, then Dell wins. It's simple math and in today's economic climate it makes even more sense. Today, you are looking at the $400 difference. On Tuesday, it could shrink to $100 and that would be huge for Apple (again, if it's true).
Apple marketers might not be clairvoyant, but if this rumor proves true, they sure are lucky.