The white MacBook that Apple has seemingly forgotten about is due for an upgrade, and according to AppleInsider, that may happen sooner than later. The entry level MacBooks have been running out of supply at resellers such as Amazon, J&R, and MacConnection. MacMall still has “plenty of models in stock” according to a sales representative, but that could be anywhere from ten models to a few dozen. Neil Hughes writes that a European distributor has run out of MacBook supply, and aren’t expecting any future shipments.
Apple’s MacBook Air supply is also dwindling at Authorized Apple Resellers, and it’s rumored that the MacBook Air launch would coincide with the arrival of Lion. It’s likely that the new MacBook Airs would be updated with Sandy Bridge processors (perhaps Intel’s new Core-i5 and Core-i7 ULV chips) and Thunderbolt. DigiTimes reported that component production for the new MacBook Airs is ramping up, indicating that there will be a July launch.
Apple’s white MacBooks certainly have the looks and charm to attract new customers, but the price point is arguably steep for hardware that’s becoming quickly outdated. With the rest of the MacBook line being updated to newer processors and Thunderbolt technologies, the MacBook could see similar upgrades — slower, but still able processors compared to the MacBook Pro, and updated with Thunderbolt off the Mini DisplayPort. The current MacBook features a 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo processor, and is upgradeable to 4 GB of RAM. The upgrades to the MacBook would be modest. I’m not expecting any significant changes, otherwise, under the hood.
Too, Apple could reduce the price of their current MacBook line and keep it as is. Hughes makes the point that Apple could strategically keep the MacBook current by shaving off a hundred dollars and making it more valuable to college students. Combined with the education discount, the new MacBook could be priced closer to Apple’s entry-level Mac Mini. With the 11” MacBook Air and 13” MacBook overlapping in price, and the 13” MacBook Pro only a couple hundred dollars more, I think it would benefit Apple to competitively price their white unibody to better differentiate their product line. Too, it would better target potential PC converts with an attractive price-point.
With my first and current Mac being an aging “BlackBook”, I would love to see Apple release an update to the Mac line I’ve grown up with. Apple hasn’t forgotten about their low-end MacBook, but simply places their emphasis on flagship products. If a MacBook refresh is imminent, it will be just enough to keep it current.