It’s amazing how many times we read rumors about Apple releasing a smaller, cheaper model of a popular product “in Q3 of this year.” Throughout 2011 the iPhone 4S speculation was that it would be a new, cheaper alternative to the iPhone 5 that never materialized. We heard the same of the iPad this year. Prior to the new iPad’s launch, there was all sorts of craziness flying around regarding an iPad Mini, or a cheaper iPad to be launched followed by the iPad 3.
So, I suppose you can forgive me for being skeptical on this one: an $800 MacBook Air later on this year. As usual, I’ll go through the details of the rumor, and state why it won’t happen. And hopefully, as is customary, I’ll be right. Apparently, according to “sources in the supply chain” Apple is planning to compete with the latest batch of ultrabooks being launched by companies such as Acer, HP etc. In order to keep its foothold in the market, Cupertino is expected to release a cheaper-than-usual Macbook. The cheapest one on offer right now is the 11-inch $999 model. Needless to say, the rumor came from the increasingly unreliable DigiTimes.
Now, for the reasons why it won’t happen:
1) Apple don’t do business like everyone else. To the designers over at Infinite Loop, the most important thing is the product. The effort that goes behind designing and perfecting is incredible. Even to the point have having extra long production lines in factories to ensure that the parts are placed correctly, and triple-checked for quality. There’s no way that the chiefs of our favorite tech company will release a cheaper knee-jerk MacBook. The only reason that other companies offer cheaper alternatives, is because they know that if they’re priced the same as the MacBook Air, customers will choose the Air every time.
2) Q3 will be Apple’s biggest quarter of the year. The next iPhone will be launched around then, and the focus will be on getting shipment volumes up high enough to cope with – what will certainly be – the most popular and hyped of iPhone launch yet. There’s no way that they have the time to push out a lower-specced notebook. If Apple’s previous launches are anything to go by, it’s more likely that the MacBook Air will be replaced by a newer, more powerful model, and the current generation will be offered for a much lower price.
What do you think? Will Apple ever release a cheap, lesser quality product?