One of the little secrets that has made Apple the most profitable company in tech is their ability to achieve high margins on their gizmos, but the new MacBook Airs might set a record even for Apple: according to analysts who have estimated its bill of materials, the entry-level, 11.6-inch MacBook Air costs only $718 to make.
That means that for every 11.6-inch MacBook Air Apple sells, they make $281, a profit margin of 28.1%. That’s for the 64GB: buy yourself a 128GB MacBook Air and the profit margin jumps to 34%. Buy a 128GB 13.3-inch MacBook Air and that margin nudges forward again, this time to 37%.
Those margins are excellent, even comparatively: Apple, on average, achieves a profit margin of just 20% on the rest of their laptops.
How is Cupertino doing it? Part of the secret is Apple’s omnivorous consumption of flash memory in their iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad line. Analysts reckon Apple might be the world’s biggest consumer of flash memory, which allows them to negotiate for incredible margins on what is traditionally an expensive component.
Incredible. Sure, it’s easy to quibble and say at such high margins, Apple should have priced the MacBook Air lower… but at 11.6-inches, most would page the entry-level Air as an incredible deal at $999. It looks and has most of the components of a designer luxury laptop at half the cost. If Apple can put a machine like that together, they deserve ever cent.