Apple to create budget Macs?

May 1, 2009 // 1:46 p.m.

Tags: #carbon-fibre #imac #mac #macbook #macbook-air #macbook-pro

Companies: #apple

Apple may be set to address one of the biggest hurdles preventing mass adoption of its computers – the price.

According to information published over on AppleInsider, the Cupertino-based company is looking to shed its image of overpriced – or luxury, depending on your perspective – goods with a range of reduced-priced hardware.

Apparently a response to the overwhelming success of netbooks, despite the company's public scorn thereof, sources say that Apple is seriously looking at producing reduced costs – one hardly dare use the word 'cheap' – 13” MacBooks and iMacs. While pricing – or even an acknowledgement of the rumours – has not yet been forthcoming, it's thought that the move could bring the cost of a 20” iMac below $1,000 (£675).

The newly-designed MacBook line is predicted to be the first to hit the market – possibly even before the summer – and is expected to more clearly delineate the difference between the budget-concious MacBooks and their more professional level MacBook Pro brethren.

The move comes as shipments of Macs dropped by three percent in the last three months, and Apple saw its estimated share of the US computer market drop to just 7.4 percent. With more people looking at the budget end of the market for their next purchase – and with the slowing economy continuing to bite both businesses and consumers – it's clear that now is an excellent time for Apple to target a new market.

One thing that the company will be reserving for the higher-end models in its stable is revealed in a new patent filing spotted by Mac Rumours. It seems that Apple is looking in to the use of carbon fibre composite materials to cut the weight of its next generation of portable devices – and has patented a technique for improving the look via what it describes as a “scrim” layer. This technique would allow Apple to make use of the material for its strength and weight – or lack thereof – while not producing what it describes as a “tired, unexciting look” normally associated with carbon fibre composites.

Does the thought of an affordable MacBook fill you with joy, or are you more excited by the prospect of a carbon fibre Air? Perhaps you think Apple should keep its reputation intact and not deign to compete with the low-cost end of the market? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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