updated 04:35 pm EST, Mon February 1, 2010
Macs dominate 1K-plus prices at US stores
Macs now control almost all of the market for "premium" computers in US stores, new NPD stats show. In the fall, Macs represented 90 percent of all systems costing $1,000 or more. The figure is a sharp increase from 79 percent just a year earlier and comes despite the average Mac price budging relatively little, from $1,499 down to $1,361.
NPD's Stephen Baker tells BetaNews that much of the shift came from the Windows PC market's race below $500, an area that Apple refuses to compete in beyond its yet-to-ship $499 iPad. The average price of a Windows PC fell by a much higher ratio, from $589 to $475, and is creating a wider gap. Apple's insistence on pricing nearly all its systems at or above $1,000 could be a lingering problem.
"At some point [Apple is] clearly going to run out of headroom in $1,000-plus, and in the $500-$1,000 segment [it's] still pretty small," Baker predicted. "And, of course, if selling prices continue on this path, the 'premium' segment is going to be over $500 not over $1,000."
Apple's control may nonetheless be a form of embarrassment for Microsoft, which had encouraged many PC builders to develop higher-end PCs like the Dell Adamo XPS or HP Envy 15 to promote Windows 7. It also comes on the tail of a campaign through most of 2009 where Microsoft ran ads attacking Apple's control of high-end notebooks by trying to position comparable Windows PCs as better bargains and giving more choice.