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Apple's laptop is big, but it's an even bigger mistake

technofile  by al fasoldt

Columns and commentaries in a life-long dance with technology

Simple gray rule

Apple's big laptop is an even bigger goof 

By Al Fasoldt

Copyright © 1990, The Syracuse Newspapers

The company that brought us the much-admired Macintosh in 1984 has been having a hard time selling some of its computers lately. Everybody seems to agree that the company's consumer-level computers—the ones that are supposed to be bought by you and me, not by big companies—are just plain too expensive.

So Apple cut its prices. The latest to get the chop is the amazing Mac portable.

The laptop Mac now costs "only" $4,800 in its most basic form (limited memory, no hard drive). It's $5,500 with the same memory but a hard drive added. Although you can buy 1 megabyte of additional memory for regular Macs for less than $100 (from other companies), Apple charges $500 for that extra megabyte for the portable. (And that was after a price reduction!)

This problem of price is a double one.

First, it keeps buyers away, since they can buy a good MS-DOS laptop for half the price of the Mac—and it will probably weigh half as much (the Mac laptop weighs 16 pounds).

Second, Apple's pricing is obscene. That's the only way I can describe it. Industry sources say the Mac laptop costs Apple $1,500 to make. If car makers used the same sort of profit margins, your everyday Honda Civic would cost $35,000.

It's A shame. Except for being too heavy and maybe too big, the Mac laptop is a fine computer. It would sell like crazy at $1,900.

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