Apple has dominated the smartphone market for several years. However, it has been unable to replicate such a success in the laptop segment. In a bid to boost the sales of its laptops, Apple is reportedly planning the launch of a new MacBook that will be cheaper than the existing models.
According to a report by TrendForce, Apple’s share of the global laptop sales for 2017 was 9.6 percent. It was placed fourth in terms of sales figures. HP dominated the laptop segment, accounting for 24.3 percent of all shipments. Lenovo followed at second position with a 20.2 percent market share while Dell was placed third with a share of 15.2 percent. Now, the good news is that sales of MacBook actually showed an uptick last year.
“The updated MacBook Pro in 2Q18 helped Apple expand shipments by 18 percent for the whole year, the highest growth rate among all the notebook brands. The market share of Apple reached 9.6 percent, 1.3 percentage points up from 2016, which allowed Apple to surpass ASUS and rank fourth,” 9To5Mac quotes the report.
However, despite 18 percent growth, Apple still sells far less than its competitors. HP and Dell literally cornered more than double the market share. Apple seems to have discovered that HP, Dell, and Lenovo benefit from manufacturing low-priced notebooks. In contrast, the high cost of MacBooks keeps a large portion of consumers away even if they are interested in getting an Apple-branded laptop. And this is why Apple is planning to launch a low-cost MacBook.
The new MacBook
The proposed MacBook is expected to have a 13-inch retina display, but will feature lower specs in order to bring down the price of the laptop. Apple is aiming the new MacBook not only at entry-level consumers, but also at schools, which tend to buy notebooks in bulk.
“HP and Lenovo have released products priced similarly to the MacBook Air, gaining share, and in order to remain competitive in that price point, we think a form-factor change is necessary… It should help them [Apple] rebound some of their Mac sales as things have been getting a bit long on the tooth in terms of their Mac line as they’ve clearly been very focused on the iPhone and services businesses,” Bloomberg quotes Shannon Cross, an analyst at Cross Research.
According to estimates, Google’s Chromebook accounted for 60 percent of the devices sold to K-12 educational institutions in Q4 2017. The lower price point of the Chromebooks played a huge role in its success. Apple is betting on the upcoming low-cost model to help it capture a good share of the lucrative K-12 market.
A patent filed by Apple also shows that the company is currently developing a technology that would make its devices like MacBooks almost indestructible. The patent, called “Abrasion-Resistant Surface Finishes On Metal Enclosures,” reveals that the laptops become unbendable and scratchproof once the finish is applied.
The finish will reportedly have two layers — a top later that will have a hardness similar to that of a diamond, and a lower metallic layer. If Apple were to successfully implement the new finish in its future low-cost laptops, it could actually sway the educational institutions to opt for the MacBook instead of Chromebooks.
The school administrators are likely to be influenced by the “indestructible” feature of the MacBook given how common it is for children to drop laptops and cause other damage. But ultimately, the surge in laptop sales will largely depend on how cheap Apple will price the low-cost MacBook.