'Underwhelming' response to desktop updates -- and the laptop vs. desktop equation
While I did find this week's Mac Pro update from Apple -- which includes Intel's Nehalem processor before any other company -- a big deal, I, like most analysts found the consumer updates disappointing. Besides I, like most folks, can't afford a Mac Pro.
However, most analysts tended to agree with Yours Truly. That doesn't mean they're right, but I thought I'd share some of their comments.
Brian Marshall, an equity analyst with Broadpoint AmTech: "I don't think this is a big deal. We expected this to happen at Macworld ... It's nice to see the consumers are getting higher performance products at equal or lower price points. I think, over time, hardware is deflationary in nature, so we'll see those prices come down."
Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research: ""No surprises. This is exactly what you'd expect from Apple, more stuff for the same price. But for anyone expecting them to be a little more price-conscious, it's underwhelming ... Another thing they've done across the entire line is to equip it with fairly hefty graphics,. They did that not only to be competitive, but also because when Snow Leopard launches, there will be the opportunity to make a bunch of applications run much faster ... "I don't think Apple is getting the price thing," concluded Gottheil when asked for his overall impression of the refresh. 'Underwhelming,' that's how I'd put it."
Yair Reiner, Oppenheimer analyst: "Nothing earth-shattering here but in a time when price and value are of increasing significance the refresh definitely puts Apple at the head of that comparison."
Calyon Securities analyst Shebly Seyrafi: "They increased the performance but didn't lower the price. I question whether that is the right business move in today's environment where I think customers want lower prices."
Some analysts, such as Gottheil, seem to think that Apple is losing interest in desktops as more and more of their sales are for laptops. The majority of Mac sales today aren't in the desktop segment, he said.
"That might have been one of the driving causes for the delay in getting them out," Gottheil added, regarding the desktop refresh. "This does seem like a long wait for a set of not-really-newsworthy upgrades," he said. "But at the same time, desktops are so yesterday. If the market is moving to notebooks, the market is moving to notebooks, and nothing Apple can do will change that."
He may be onto something, with more and more folks moving to laptops. However, I think there's a long life left for desktops. After all, I can get a mid-range iMac and a 13-inch MacBook for not too much more than I can get for a high-end MacBook Pro -- and have more oomph and storage in the iMac.
That said, I think we'll see both desktop and laptop updates before year's end. Some of 'em will include quad-core chips in my opinion -- and that will really make the upcoming Snow Leopard shine.