MacBook Air more profitable than other Apple laptops, says analyst
"This is where Apple has always skewed their margins positively," Rassweiler said. "They offer an entry price point, but then go after the upgrade, where they bring in incrementally more memory, but at a higher margin on their end."
The iPad is a perfect example, he argued, noting that Apple makes a bigger profit on the high-end model that sports 64GB of flash memory storage space than the lowest-priced configuration that boasts just 16GB.
"That goes straight to Apple's bottom line," said Rassweiler, "because they make a ton of money on flash [memory]."
Michael Yang, the iSuppli analyst who tracks flash memory pricing, said that Apple's consumption -- in everything from the iPhone and iPad to, now, the MacBook Air -- puts it in a position others can't equal. "Not only can others not match Apple, they don't want to match Apple," said Yang.
Apple's appetite for flash lets it move the market price if it wants, and allows it to buy in bulk when prices are low, knowing that the RAM will be used in one device or another, something other hardware makers with smaller needs may be hesitant to do.
"Apple's a great reseller of flash," said Marshall, defending his BOM and margin estimates. "It's true that [an SSD] costs more per megabyte than a hard drive, but there's not a ton of it in the Airs, relative to other Apple notebooks."
The low-end MacBook, for example, features a 250GB platter-based hard drive, four times the capacity of the identically priced 11.6-in. 64GB MacBook Air.
And the move to SSD-only notebooks makes sense, added Rassweiler, because Apple's realized that people don't always need huge hard drives in their laptops. "Do you need a terabyte drive in your laptop? Probably not," he said. "In fact, you may not want a drive that large, because it puts all your eggs in one basket."
Instead, he suggested, Apple's MobileMe sync and storage service becomes the link between multiple machines, letting users share information among a number of devices, and store files in the cloud.
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His e-mail address is email@example.com.
- Mac Pro shortage sets record as worst Mac production debacle
- Apple slates WWDC for June 2-6, sets up ticket lottery
- Apple patches Safari's Pwn2Own vulnerability, two-dozen other critical bugs
- Microsoft's free OneNote vaults to top of Mac App Store chart
- Apple discounts iPhone 5C 8%-9% in five markets via storage cuts
- Apple hands stock worth $12.1M to top execs in retention deal
- Hands on: Apple's Mac Pro is the fastest Mac ever
- Apple CFO to retire in September after he cashes in $53M stock award
- Apple's CarPlay to spark mobile apps war in your car
- Apple retires Snow Leopard from support, leaves 1 in 5 Macs vulnerable to attacks
Read more about Macintosh in Computerworld's Macintosh Topic Center.
- Why Projects Fail CIOs are expected to deliver more projects that transform business, and do so on time, on budget and with limited resources.
- The New Business Case for Video Conferencing: 7 Real-World Benefits Beyond Cost-Savings This whitepaper provides insight into the value of video conferencing in today's business environment, and how organizations are using visual collaboration to find...
- Gartner Magic Quadrant for Client Management Tools The client management tool market is maturing and evolving to adapt to consumerization, desktop virtualization, and an ongoing need to improve efficiency.
- Audit Ready and Asset Optimized: The Solid Promise of an Intelligent Software Asset Management Solution In this paper Frost & Sullivan examines the benefits of enterprise-grade Software Asset Management solutions, and how these solutions serve as the convergence...
- LIVE EVENT: 5/7, The End of Data Protection As We Know It. Introducing a Next Generation Data Protection Architecture. Traditional backup is going away, but where does this leave end-users?
- On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy... All Macintosh White Papers | Webcasts