June 26, 2009, 4:31 PM — Apple has traditionally raised ire from people who know better by not being cheap enough. Analysts have long been outraged at the company for not offering a $99 iPhone (a hole finally filled this month), not offering a $500 netbook, etc. But it looks as if there is at least a little downward price movement in the pipeline when it comes to the company's Macs. The revision of the iMac coming in time for fall education sales will, it is rumored, be $100 to $300 cheaper than current models. It's worth remembering that the iMac was originally conceived of in the late '90s as the company's entry-level computer, so it would be something of a return to form.
But the reasons why Apple is always reluctant to cut costs become clear when we look at the current low-end model, the Mac mini; an analysis reveals that the company makes just under $200 on each computer, which is less than the usual high margins the company loves. Of course, you make money on low-margin stuff by selling a lot of it, but Apple has always been shy about really pushing the mini, perhaps because the low margins rub so against the grain of their usual style.
Then there was the Macbook Air, which had been criticized as being pricey for what you get spec-wise when first introduced. Apple released dramatically cheaper versions this year, but Macworld has found some odd performance problems with them, despite ostensibly better specs than the previous generation. I'm not hardware expert, but I do wonder if this is a case of getting what you pay for.