My Turn

Repositioning the 'Books

- 2001.09.07

My Turn is Low End Mac's column for reader-submitted articles. It's your turn to share your thoughts on all things Mac (or iPhone, iPod, etc.) and write for the Mac web. Email your submission to Dan Knight .

Over the past year, Apple has taken great strides in providing the finest portable computers on the market. The Titanium G4 provides amazing performance geared for the pro user. The iBook is the finest example of a consumer portable on the market today with no compromise in design or performance.

Apple should be very proud of these machines and will hopefully gain market share because of them. As amazing as these machines are, I feel a slight tweaking of the line could ensure growth of market share. If I awoke tomorrow and was suddenly the iCEO of Apple, I would make some slight adjustments to the line. I would turn my two quadrants into three and would work in this manner.


For the consumer market and student, I would provide a sub-$1K unit. For $999, the student could buy the iBook that existed until this year. The machine would maintain its "toilet lid" appearance and come in indigo or white. This machine would be positioned to compete with the many $999 machines on the market and would be by far the strongest player in that space. This iBook would be offered with only one set of specifications: a 466 MHz G3, the Rage Mobility with 8 MB VRAM, a 12.1" screen, a 6 GB hard drive, 128 MB of memory, and a CD player. This machine is no frills, but it would cost nothing in R&D and would make use of existing parts Apple has been perfecting for two years.

Note: this is not my cup of tea, but the education market would love the price, and kids still love the design.

Business Class

This quadrant would have a PowerBook G3 that we now know as the "iceBook" - but with a few tweaks. They would be offered in white and black.

This machine would begin at $1,299, in its base configuration, but would have one PC slot and the ability to span video. We would still see the Rage Mobility with 8 megs VRAM, a 500 MHz processor, 128 MB of memory, and a 10 GB hard drive.

The second configuration would add a DVD player, 256 MB of memory, a 13.1" screen, and a 20 GB hard drive. the processor would run at 550 MHz. Same graphics card and same PC card slot. The machine price would be $1,599.

The third configuration would add a combo drive and have a 100 MHz system bus with a 600 MHz G3. The Rage video card would remain, as would the 13.1" screen and the 20 GB hard drive. The big feature would be the SuperDrive. The price for this unit would be $1,999.

Note: I would love to offer a 14 inch screen but I wanted to keep the same chassis as the other models to keep cost down.

Pro User

Titanium G4/400: specs as today with the addition of a larger hard drive (20 GB ) and a 16 MB video card. Price is still $2,199.

Titanium G4/600: specs as today's 500 with the addition of the SuperDrive and the 16 MB video card. Also add a 30 GB drive to the mix for $3,499.

I priced each machine category within $300 of the previous category and gave more power to both the business class and the pro class. Using the old iBook makes sense in many ways and competes well in the education market.

Apple has never really tried to reach the "business class" and has left a hole in the current offerings which I think my plan would fill well. I would have loved to offer the "Pismo" in the business class, but multiple chassis makes little business sense. I stayed with the current iceBook to serve as my PowerBook G3 as it has really captured attention.

Let me know what you think of this plan, Steve. (If you are reading this, I have been a product manager for years and could certainly be lured to Cupertino.)

Share your perspective on the Mac by emailing with "My Turn" as your subject.

Join us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or Google+, or subscribe to our RSS news feed

Today's Links

Recent Content

About LEM Support Usage Privacy Contact

Follow Low End Mac on Twitter
Join Low End Mac on Facebook

Favorite Sites

Cult of Mac
Shrine of Apple
The Mac Observer
Accelerate Your Mac
The Vintage Mac Museum
Deal Brothers
Mac Driver Museum
JAG's House
System 6 Heaven
System 7 Today
the pickle's Low-End Mac FAQ

The iTunes Store
PC Connection Express
Macgo Blu-ray Player
Parallels Desktop for Mac

Low End Mac's store


Open Link