How low can you go?

Writing for ZDNet, Ken Hess reports in from the home office in Crazytown, USA.

“Where’s Apple’s ‘Chromebook’? The need for a cheap Apple product” (tip o’ the antlers to Chris Breen).

If you own any Apple devices, it’s likely that you didn’t buy them at a significant discount or at a cost savings. It’s obvious from Apple’s earliest days that its founders didn’t care much for the low cost market, but I think that’s about to change and the humble Chromebook is the breaking point product.

It wasn’t NetPCs, it wasn’t netbooks, it wasn’t ultrabooks, but it’s totally going to be Chromebooks. This time for sure.

If you compare a $1,300* Macbook Air (Air) to a $200-$300 Chromebook, there’s not much to say just based on price alone.

Oh, say, Ken, what’s the footnote?

*The price when I first looked at the ‘Air’.

To the Macalope’s knowledge, the entry price of the Air has never been $1,300. The 13-inch Air worked down to $1,500 in 2009 and then the 11-inch was introduced at $1,000 in 2010.

You can now buy an 11-inch Macbook Air for $899 and a 13-inch for $999. Is a $600 to $700 difference enough money to sway Apple fans to Chromebooks? Unlikely.

Don’t get the Macalope started on those guys. What with their concerns about design and build quality and ease of use and the fact that Chromebooks are underpowered and have little internal storage and really don’t compare in any way to a MacBook Air. Pff.

But is it enough of a difference to sway new buyers away from the Air? Yes, I think it is.

The Netbooks Argument, 2014 Edition.

And now that users can find apps and web-enabled applications to rival their installable counterparts, I’m not sure that there’s enough of a feature difference to justify the extra cost of an Air, even at the discounted price.

Say, how does Minecraft run on a Chromebook? Or any game from Steam? Oh, that’s right. Not at all.

But enough of the complaints about Apple’s overpriced products.

The heaviest of sighs. All of the sighs. Tom Sighsmore.

Apple products are not “overpriced.” They’re actually better. So they’re priced accordingly. A plastic Chromebook with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage (actual Chromebook, actual specs) is $239 because it is nowhere near as good as a $899 aluminum unibody MacBook Air with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. In any way.

Now, maybe a Chromebook is “good enough” for certain use cases. Yay! Good for you! Your expectations are sufficiently low that you don’t have to spend the extra $660. Maybe, for example, you don’t care about the MacBook Air’s ridiculously high resale value and that you could probably get $660 for it after two years of use. Maybe you’re just going to throw the Chromebook in the trash after two years. Maybe you like throwing laptops in the trash. Maybe that’s your thing. Your signature move. You throw a laptop in the trash and it explodes behind you as you walk away in slow motion. It’s odd but distinctive. If so, the Chromebook is for you. Godspeed!

But to say that Apple’s products are overpriced? No.

Meet the Apple Slice: The enhanced iOS notebook computer.

So, long story short, it’s an iPad Air with a keyboard. Which you can get today for $600. But Hess wants it for $400 because Apple’s going out of business unless it acts now or something. Despite the fact that “Macs have gained PC market share in 32 of the last 33 quarters.”

Sure. Apple will get right on that, Ken.

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