The new Macbook took me by surprise: I didn’t expect it to come back, or at least not in its current incarnation. More specifically, I expected it to replace the Macbook Air on the lighter (and cheaper) end of Apple’s computer offerings. But given its $1,299 price tag, I think Apple will hold off for a year or two before merging the new Macbook and old Macbook Air lines. Two few reasons why:
1. I think $1,299 is probably about the cheapest it can sell the new Macbook, since the production lines are just ramping up, and Apple hasn’t yet achieved economy of scale.
2. This pricing preserves the more budget ($999) nature of the MacBook Air, and the for-now premium (but eroding) $1,299 price-tag on the Retina Macbook Pro. I think this pricing strategy will press most users to either the lower end of the new Macbook, or the higher end of the 15″ ($1,999) Macbook Pro with Retina.
I think that in 2016, Apple will simply merge the old Macbook Air and new Macbook lines, and bring down the price to the $1,000-range:
a. To preserve its two-laptop/two-desktop dichotomy, and keep its product levels simple.
b. For pure marketing reasons, I think Apple will remove the “Air” suffix, so as to suggest that the extreme thinness and lightness of the new Macbook is now the standard – no qualifier needed.