Sunday, May 27, 2007

Comparable PC laptops now about $1000 cheaper than MacBook

I just went to the Lenovo website to try configuring a T61, which is their new Santa Rosa-based laptop.

I was shocked at how cheap it is: $1700 for 2.2ghz T7500, 800mhz FSB, 4MB L2 cache, Vista Ultimate, 14.1" WXGA+ w/camera, NVidia Quadro 140M, 2GB RAM, 160GB 5400RPM drive, 8x DVD+-R, dual layer. And oh yeah, it has a trackpoint instead of just a trackpad.

Given the last year of being told by Mac fanboys that I should buy a Mac, of course the first thing that pops into my head is, how much is the comparable MacBook? Well, the comparable MacBook Pro is $2600... with no trackpoint at any price.

Herein lies exactly what I predicted when all of the Apple fans started trying to convince me to buy a Mac to run Windows: Apple cannot compete with commodity hardware makers. Six months or nine months ago, whatever it was... they were able to release machines that were competitively priced with the top of the line PC laptops. That's a fleeting moment of competitiveness. Unlike PC makers, Apple leaves the same configuration at that price for much longer. I'm guessing they need this longer tail of a jacked up price to make up for the lack of quantity they ship.

Although Apple caters to the high end, PC makers are usually way ahead of the curve for new hardware. Apple were behind the curve in refreshing their hardware with Core 2 Duo -- I don't think MacBook Pro got Merom until about January, or about 6 months after it debuted in PC laptops.

So it will be interesting to see what Apple does with their Santa Rosa refresh. Will they sit on it longer, hoping to ship more of the older technology at higher margins, or will they come out with a new machine at a competitive price? Based on what Lenovo is shipping their machine at, that might be tough!

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