Google made a splash in the educational world with the Chromebook. With Chromebooks as cheap as $150, schools have been able to bring technology to more classrooms around the nation and around the world.
Though Chromebooks lack the ability to support programs like PCs and (even) Macs, educators are able to make do thanks to all the online programs accessible via the web. As long as there is a reliable online connection, learning is only a click away.
Apple have tried in the past to create a cheaper version of their macbooks with their macbook airs. Unfortunately it was unable to capture the kind of numbers that Apple had hoped. It was too expensive, considering it was just shy of the price of the macbook, without the capabilities of competitive devices in the same price range.
So what would a cheaper version of a macbook need to have to be considered by the public?
It needs to be priced right to start. If Apple can keep the cost of the device around the $500 range they will be able to compete heavily with both the Chromebook and cheaper PCs on the market.
Be light: To cut costs this device is likely going to be on the lower end of storage space. Because of that they are going to need to rely on a software experience that can shed the fat (unnecessary programs). If they can get their software down to where the Chromebooks are at they will be able to perform well despite being lighter on the hardware capabilities.
Be flexible: Apple have this knack of punishing buyers for choosing to go with the cheaper option. Whether it be by limiting the number of ports, eliminating the ability to expand the memory, or make their hardware unable to be upgraded, it almost makes buying an Apple device not worth it at times. Apple will need to get away from that mindset with this device. Don’t “punish” a customer for not having the money to purchase the top of the line Apple computer. Even though hard drive space will be low to help with costs, allow customer to be able to use their external hard drives to make up for the lack of storage space. Also allow customers the ability to be able to expand memory, even if it means voiding the warranty, so they will be able to get the most out of the device. Lastly, allow customers to remove and/or replace Apple programs for competitor software, as customers may want Apple hardware but not Apple software.
Be capable: Cheaper doesn’t have to be terrible. People who choose a cheaper mac are still going to want to run programs like Final Cut. Though they may not be able to edit 4K videos, they should still be able to edit HD videos without hiccups. So this device need to be able to handle standard Apple programs for consumers and professionals. This is what will set the device apart from the other low cost laptops in the game.
What keeps the Chromebook from being great is the lack of capable programs (especially offline). Though Google Play apps can be used, it is still a work in progress. So even apps for video editing just lacks being recommended because of it relying on clouds and unable to pull sources from external or internal drives.
Apple could make a splash in an area currently dominated by Google. Question is will Apple want to do so?
Apple prides itself of being the company for premium devices. Even their cheaper devices are sold at a premium price. The problem is that Apple is going to have to take a step back to make a leap forward. Where Apple will be able to still be premium is with their programs. Professionals choose Apple because of how well their programs performs versus the competition. What Apple is going to need to do is take a page out of Google’s playbook and build the device to get people using the software. Apple programs are considered some of the best of the best, and that is where Apple will be able to make back some of their money.
How do you think Apple can compete with the Chromebook?