Yesterday’s rumor of the moment surrounds the idea that Apple might partner with AT&T to release a Macbook with built-in 3G support that AT&T would then subsidize like a cellphone, to reduce the upfront cost of the device.
This all stems from an interview in Fortune magazine by AT&Ts Emerging Devices group president Glenn Lurie.
He makes it clear in the interview that he hopes Apple will worth with them on something like this, but I’m not sure we’ll see a move like this on Apple’s part while Steve Jobs is CEO.
This doesn’t sound like a bad idea, but I don’t think Steve will be interested in “devaluing” the brand of a Macbook by having the subsidized price.
I mean just look at the cost of an iPhone with a contract, vs an iPhone without. The price for the iPhone that many of us paid a few years ago, now seems insanely expensive (yes, I know, some of you thought it was insanely expensive when it came out…I did not share your feelings on that, and still don’t).
If a Macbook were to come out at a $300 – $500 subsidized price, people would begin to look at that as the actual price of a Macbook, just like they do now with the $199 iPhone price.
Would that be a good thing for the Apple brand?
I don’t really think so, and I don’t think it’s something Steve Jobs is going to want to do.
What do you think?
Remember Audible.com? These are the guys that gives you books on audio. They have products like iPods that are subsidized if you open a subscription account with them. This is how I was able to buy my first iPod 40GB, which at the time cost than 32GB iPod Touch.
I’m not sure how this would work, but I believe they put up the bill for the device first. If that’s really the case, then I don’t think Apple would care. Profit is profit to them.
Thats a tough one…
When I bought my iPhone on day one, I felt like part of an exclusive club. There weren’t many people willing to throw down $600 or later $400 on a phone. Now that you can get one for $200, I don’t feel so special anymore. But at the same time it’s great that an awesome Apple product is in the hands of so many people. Which in turn will generate even more exposure for the apple brand and increase their computer sales, etc… etc…
As long as they don’t compromise the quality of the product, I think they’ll be ok with something like this.
I think it will not be a bad idea provided that the buyer has the choice to pay full price or pay less for a two years indentured contract with AT&T. I wish we had this choice between a full price iPhone vs. the present subsidized AT&T model.
Orange Slovakia already subsidized MacBooks in a similar way. They didn’t have 3G built-in but they were offered as a busidized device with the carrier’s internet plans. Apple itself is not present here in Slovakia, it is represented by an independent company that oversees local Apple Resellers (including me) and runs the official web page and online store. At the time I was not a reseller yet, but I’m sure they were behind Orange’s special offer and they had to get an approval from Apple Europe.