iBook, No Longer a Niche Product

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Date: Monday, February 1st, 1999, 00:00
Category: Archive

Bob Snow
Contributing Editor

The original iBook was a nice idea. A ruggedized niche product for education and consumers. It was big and bulky with a small screen, but had great battery life. It expanded sales for Apple which now sells more laptops to education customers than any other manufacturer. A laptop for every student linked without wires sounds like computing utopia.

The sale of 23,000 of the new iBooks to a single customer is more than a symbolic victory. And this new iBook is less of a niche product. It serves the education market better than the original, while appealing to a much wider audience at a lower price! The G4 Titanium laptop is a dream machine at a great price, but cutting that price in half targets a massive number of customers.

Last week, when O’Grady ran his iBook replacement rumor, I told him that if price and performance were anywhere near what he was predicting, Apple would have a monster hit on their hands. They came closer than I thought they could. I felt the general concept rang true because it made so much sense.

I would have liked monitor spanning and a PC card slot, but that would have increased the price to provide features that most customers would not use. I hope Apple hits another home run with a revolutionary iMac replacement at Macworld Expo this summer. If they’re building new stores, they need killer products to promote and sell.

The Cube was tainted by its initial high price and the cost of the LCD display to compliment it still needs to drop significantly. That leaves the G4 tower, which I think has a lot of room for improvement.

Feel free to post your thoughts using the feedback link below or in our iBook 2001 message board.

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