Apple Might Be Preparing To Kill Off The White MacBook

Apple Might Be Preparing To Kill Off The White MacBook

Will the venerable white MacBook become a victim come Apple’s Mac OS X ‘Lion’ upgrade? Experts are calling ‘unusual’ constrained availability of the $999 MacBook in both the U.S., Europe and online, and with the $999 MacBook Air Apple’s new entry-level bread winner, some wonder if Apple will kill off the plastic MacBook line once and for all.

Although the MacBook’s departure is not certain, the entry-level hardware landscape is getting a bit crowded. Less than a year ago, Apple introduced the new MacBook Air with an entry-level of $999 price tag, included GeForce 320 graphics and Intel’s 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo processor. With even more capable Sandy Bridge MacBook Airs just around the corner may be the white MacBook’s successor.

The MacBook Air seems perfect for Apple’s push into Lion and iCloud. Along with being nearly custom-tailored for iCloud services, the MacBook Air now has entry-level pricing, but horsepower not found with the aging MacBook. For instance, an updated MacBook Air is expected to support the faster Thunderbolt technology, and Intel’s Sandy Bridge processors. Both technologies were also introduced with new iMacs and Mac Pros.

When introduced the MacBook Air is likely to arrive with an $899 price tag, as well as new technologies, further putting in question the reason for the white MacBook’s viability.

We are not likely to know the future of the white MacBook until after July 17, when Apple is expected to release Lion. The Cupertino, Calif. company is waiting for the software release before announcing any hardware refreshes.

What do you think? Has the plastic MacBook had its day in the sun? Is the MacBook Air the future? Let us know if you think the old girl has some life in her yet in the comments.

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  • Raffi Maurer

    What would be better would be if Apple simply introduced an entry-level, affordable MacBook Pro. I myself would think twice about buying the plastic MacBook just because it’s pretty ugly!

  • Chris Brunner

    FOM reported this on Sunday in “Is the MacBook Dead?”

    Read article here:
    http://friendsofmaconfb.wordpr

  • Chris

    there is still no integrated 3G in the MBA, that’s what could disinguish both models

  • JRyk

    My guess is that they’ll keep it, but at a lower price point. $799.

    That could jive with the low-priced 3GS:
    http://www.cultofmac.com/the-i
    http://www.cultofmac.com/iphon

  • ™Andy Reeley

    I absolutely LOVE my white MACbook and am a little disappointed that the range may be coming to end end, I think it is iconic. My 2009 MACbook is still doing sterling service and copes with all the surfing and word processing, spreadsheeting that I need on a daily basis. If I need more ‘grunt’ I use the iMAC, if I want to be ultra portable, I can use n iPad for some stuff, but would prefer the versatility of the AIR (if I could afford another product). I am sure the Apple guys will do what they want, regardless of out opinios, but personally, I would rather a white Macbook than an aluminium one. That’s just me.

  • ZappCatt

    I hope they buck their trend and drop its price. I like the idea of the Macbook air, but want more horsepower, so that I can use 1 machine as a portable and an able desktop replacement.

    I realize that they are going towards the cloud and trying to convince us that we do not need the horsepower in a machine…but then why are they going with a High Speed local port in Thunderbolt?

    I am afraid that they might kill it instead of dropping its price….like they did with the 17″ iMacs to keep the entry level price right at $1k.

    It seems like there could/would be a huge benefit to get machines in the sub 1K market since 10.7/iCloud are going to put anyone with a PPC or CoreDuo watching from the sidelines.

  • Desidério Ortelá

    I agree with Andy Reely, the White MacBook is simply iconic! I have the last model and I think that is kind of sad that maybe it will be discontinued. It’s a pretty god computer, it does what it is required and it is rather fast for a notebook. Let’s wait and see what happens.

  • Athren Glory

    If things are getting too crowded for Apple, best advice I can say is small steps. Just get rid of the middle man, keep the MBA and MacBook Pro.

  • Charles Junge

    I like the idea of the Macbook Air, but there isn’t enough storage for all of my music and movies.

  • jamaic1aboy2

    Drop the mac mini to £550 and the macbook to £699  keep the11.6” macbook air at £850 etc  

  • David Cohen De Lara

    Not yet anyway. The white Macbook only has 250gb of storage. That amount is also available in SSD form for the AIR, but it’s still expensive. The SSD price per GB is going to come down fast as demand grows. 

  • David Cohen De Lara

    What I want to know is, when are they going to drop the optical drives from all the laptops? They take up a huge amount of space and I can’t remember the last time I used mine on my mid 2010 MBP, if I ever used it at all. 

    It’s clear Apple is getting ready to drop the optical drive and move all software to the app store. It’s also clear that people will whine when Apple drops it, just like they did when Apple dropped the floppy drive. 

    And how will the Macbook line-up look then? Maybe the Air will be the entry-level machine, with the smallest screen for people on a budget. The MacBook Pros without optical drives could have a second SSD or HDD, or just be thinner than the current ones. This is going to be interesting. 

  • Dan Knight/LowEndMac

    I
    suspect we’ll see at least one more generation of the plastic MacBook,
    one with Intel Core-i technology, ThunderBolt, and more power than a
    2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo CPU can provide. The built-in SuperDrive is a real
    plus for watching (or ripping) DVDs, burning CDs for your car stereo,
    and installing those apps that still ship on real media. In a year or
    two, those will all be less of a factor.

     

  • Dilbert A

    no.

  • Willian Galdino

    The white macbook is a myth, is simply iconic! The Leica M9-P use Leica’s old design. The new Ford GT lookslike GT40. The white macbook is more han a simple computer`s case.
    In 10 years you will see a new Apples release, the NEW OLD MAC BOOK WHITE.
    And you will think: Yeah, it is what i`m talking about. Like my new old Mustang.

  • Iphoneication

    i totally agree unless apple offers a 999 air with 128gig at least, its not viable for music, videos etc,,, 

  • Iphoneication

    if they do decide to get rid of the macbook entry level,, the air would have to def have a larger solid state drive to be viable,,, even a 128 gig entry level at 999

  • tbsteph

    Ugly is in the eye of the beholder.  My 2007 white Macbook still looks runs great (Snow Leopard, 2GB of RAM).

    I hope Apple continues to offer a $999 model with 13″ monitor and optical drive.   

  • Wirehedd

    I’m a little resistant to the idea they will disco the white Macbook. If anything, I would assume they would maybe LOWER the price and offer it as the continued baseline Mac which makes the MacBook Pro look better and the Air looks more “on the go” and will allow for the continued premium pricing. If they stop selling the white model it suddenly takes away that “this is our base model but look over here…” to steer customers upward to the pro or air.

    The air may be lacking in storage but more than makes up for it with sheer speed as anyone who owns the air model will tell you they are damn fast despite the lower spec parts. A lot of people would be put off with the air as the base model simply for the fact it lacks an optical drive which a lot of people still use on a regular basis at home but not on the go (ever been on a plane and seen how many people are watching their own DVDs?) but they still want that option. The air doesn’t have it and it’s enough to make a lot of people stay clear. Tell them they have to pay an extra $100 for the drive and it’s often a dealbreaker.The pro offers everything the average buyer would want but the premium pricing makes it a little more than a lot of buyers will pay. This would just leave a void in the market where they “compete” with lower end pc laptops and the like.Then again, it wouldn’t be the first time Apple has dropped a product without offering an alternative. XServe anyone?

  • netnerd258

    how come when this has constrained supplies it is to be axed while the MBA’s means they are up for a refresh?

  • Chris Davis

    Love mine and sorry to see it go. It will still have a cool factor to it and now we can add a nostalgic factor too

  • Jonathan Chambers

    Apple will most likely keep the white MacBook alive for their education markets.  The entry-level MacBook Air may have a similar price to a white MacBook, but not enough storage for students working with iLife and all the rest of their personal media.

  • Tomas

    My White MacBook (with a 500GB internal drive) is my main computer.

    I keep my files on my personally controlled hardware, including two external drives and a Time Capsule.

    When I’m in the middle of Nowhere (or if not in the middle, I can at least see it from there), and there is zero connectivity for all those folks depending on the cloud, I’ll still have my files and my apps, chugging along happily on my “obsolete” White MacBooks (Yeah, I have a backup MacBook, too).

    For real travelers, those who actually get out of sight of a US Interstate, having what you need unreachable by any means from an island in the South Pacific is a loser before the game even starts.

    Some real people need to have options that are NOT going to depend on a magical, wireless connection to some unknown destination in the aether…

    (Can you imagine trying to work with video editing over a wireless connection – heck, even using Photoshop on a large image is not something I’d want to try that way!)

  • Maxamiliun

    Maybe the Macbook will be the cheapest Mac laptop available, even cheaper than the Mac mini.  This would be an ideal strategy for apple.  Everyone knows that apple isn’t cheap when it comes to buying computers, and in this economy, a $400-500 price tag would be perfect. A lot more people would probably buy it.  

  • Maxamiliun

    Maybe the Macbook will be the cheapest Mac laptop available, even cheaper than the Mac mini.  This would be an ideal strategy for apple.  Everyone knows that apple isn’t cheap when it comes to purchasing a computer from them, and in this economy, a $400-500 pricetag would be perfect. A lot more people would probably buy a Mac if it was that low.

  • Max Walker

    I think we’ll see the death of the white MacBook once the MacBook Air both equals its price and specs.

  • Brian

    You sound like the old guy at my company who still saves everything on his desktop and his backup method is a hundred little thumbdrives.

    I agree with your sentiment, my parents are still without 3G service in their area, but the tone of your posts sounds pretty crotchety.

  • FlacVest

    I seriously doubt that would happen. Apple touts itself as a premium company, one that sells premium products. No computer will be far under a grand. Ever. Think about it, what image do they have? What if Ferrari, Lambo, or Porsche started selling economy exotics? Bad news.

    They might go lower with a 899 price tag but I wouldn’t be suprised if everything stayed the same and the Airs were bumped to SB processors and “maybe” 4 gigs of RAM. The new MBPs only got SB and TB ports; upping the RAM to a default 4 on the MBA and adding SB would make it faster than both entry (and up) MBPs AND MBs because of the default SSD drive.

    It would dent MBP sales.

  • FlacVest

    Not going to happen. CDs are still relevant in today’s society and eliminating the “main” entry level machine (also with more HDD space) would make no sense. It’s easy to suggest it; heck, I just now burned my first CD (an audiobook) for a friend in… 3-4 years? And I”m 19.

    Nothing is going away.

  • FlacVest

    That would not be better? They differentiate their machines. Studies show that offering people more than say,3-5 options drastically increases the chance of them picking the “wrong” one.

    Right now you have 3 laptops and 3 desktops. Air for the ultraportable, Book for the average consumer (by far their most sold MB), and the Pro for people who need performance in a mobile package.

    Mini for server use and people with specific needs, iMac for the average desktop computer (family computer), and Mac Pro for the enthusiast who needs a top of the line Mac machine.

    There’s a reason that they are all priced the way they are. Of course you could get either laptop and just get an upgraded version of it to “equal” performance of the others BUT the way the adjust pricing it would just make more sense to get the Pro instead of an upgraded Book.

    I do agree with you though, I hate all of the white MBs. I myself have an upgraded Black Macbook (top tier MB of last generation before glass trackpad) and I love the matte paint. Don’t like the looks of my friends’ white 08 MB and 10 MB though.

  • Ron Sy

    White Macbooks is a classic. I don’t see them getting rid off this notebook. You don’t see Apple getting rid of the iPod Classic click wheel even if they have the iTouch. You have to realize that people buy based on needs. If you like portability and and speed, go for MBA. If you like storage, decent speed, Super-drive, then go for MB. A price cut on the MB will be a good move. $899 is fair price.

  • heeloliver

    does anyone remember when Apple released aluminum MacBooks for $1200? The still had the plastic MacBooks but they dropped the black color and renamed it macbook white. I don’t know if that worked out but they moved the aluminum macbook as a macbook pro, for the same price. then named the macbook as the plastic one again. I like the air, but moving my memory to cloud is not a good idea, YET. maybe it’s the way for apple, with careless thinking and having apple store everything for you. I don’t like that, I like having MY files under MY control and having them in hard drives, not some place where you can’t always assess them. play games much on a macbook air? nobody can, because you don’t have much internal memory and you can’t always assess the cloud services! OS X lion seems like it is going this way with ‘launchpad’ and the mac app store. who else wants to know where all there stuff is?

    did I mention i’m 13?

  • Athren Glory

    You were saying something about nothing going away, but what happened to the middle man after all?

  • Nico00374

    these have less memory

About the author

Ed SutherlandEd Sutherland is a veteran technology journalist who first heard of Apple when they grew on trees, Yahoo was run out of a Stanford dorm and Google was an unknown upstart. Since then, Sutherland has covered the whole technology landscape, concentrating on tracking the trends and figuring out the finances of large (and small) technology companies.

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