apple MacBooks are known for being notoriously pricey. These premium laptops come with class-leading hardware, a featured-packed operating system, and, most importantly, a premium build. All of these make the laptops from Apple unattainable for most buyers.
On the note of affordability, Chromebooks are basically a no-brainer choice in this regard. They come with cloud-centric Chrome OS, eliminating the need for high-end hardware. And the low-cost nature of these devices makes them extremely popular.
According to a recent statistical report, 88.7 million Chromebooks have been shipped over the past three years. Now, Apple is reportedly considering tapping into this market with affordable Apple MacBooks.
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The report comes from Digitimes, which cites industry sources. According to the report, Apple is working on a low-cost MacBook series that will aim at the education sector. And if you look into the laptops for the education sector, Chromebooks are basically the most popular option due to being extremely affordable.
This report from Digitimes also notes that the major suppliers of Apple have shown no signs of manufacturing activity yet. For Apple MacBooks, Apple follows a development cycle of nine months before going into the mass production phase.
So, if Apple is indeed working on affordable MacBooks, the earliest model could launch in the second half of 2024. That said, Apple's renewed interest in the education market makes a lot of sense. The K-12 education sector in the US is lucrative post-pandemic. The demand for online education has boomed and stayed at higher levels.
Moreover, for future product opportunities, familiarizing the students with an OS could be a strong move. If you can recall, Apple once targeted this market with the iPad. However, its efforts were not that fruitful as Chromebooks came with much lower costs, and the Chrome OS offered the ease of use that most educational use cases look for.
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What To Expect from Affordable Apple MacBooks
Regarding what you could expect from the affordable Apple MacBooks, the new models could likely come with a metal casing. But it won't be the same materials as the other laptops from Apple. After all, Apple needs to cut down the manufacturing costs to offer the laptops at a lower price tag.
In addition, the internal components of the affordable Apple MacBooks will also be budget centric. And like Chrome OS, most of the processing and applications could be cloud centric. Here, you need to consider the price range of Chromebooks to set an actual expectation regarding the budget-friendly laptops from Apple.
Yes, there are top-end Chromebooks in the market with a price tag ranging from $700 to $1200. But those are not the models that sell the most. Instead, it's the education-centric options that are popular in the market. And they typically cost anywhere from $150 to $300.
Considering how low the price tag of those education-centric Chromebooks is, Apple will need to put in a lot of time to figure out the pricing plan. Otherwise, its efforts to rival Chromebooks with affordable MacBooks could have a similar story as the time when Apple tried to target students with iPads.
Of course, nothing is clear as of now. It remains to be seen how Apple comes up with affordable MacBooks that become a hit in the education sector. Also, there's no concrete information regarding whether Apple plans to sell the product beyond the US market.
No matter what, if Apple does move forward with this, the new laptop needs to significantly undercut the cheapest 13-inch MacBook Air. It's the M1 model, which is currently priced at $999.