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Apple Could Lower the Price of the Next MacBook Pro (AAPL)

Apple Could Lower the Price of the Next MacBook Pro AAPL

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) might be on the verge of another price cut.

The iPhone maker has lowered the price of the 13-inch MacBook Pro not once but twice, starting with the 2012 edition. Over the last two years, the starting price has gone from $1,299 to $1,099.

Apple has also lowered the price of the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display. In addition to the high-resolution display, the Pro machine comes with a faster processor, a solid state drive and a more compact design than its predecessor.

Before the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display was unveiled, it was expected to retail for $1,699. That turned out to be the official MSRP until Apple lowered the price to $1,499 earlier this year.

Related: Source of Apple's MacBook Price Cut Revealed

According to DigiTimes, Taiwan manufacturer TPK is in the process of dropping the price for its touch panel products used in notebooks. If so, this could have a significant impact on the production of future MacBook models.

While Apple does not seem to be interested in adding a touch screen to any of its notebooks, the company could benefit from any reductions that occur to the price of touch panels. As they become cheaper, the traditional (touch-free) panels are likely to follow suit. This would allow Apple to sell the MacBook Pro at a lower price.

The company could maintain its current pricing structure and enjoy the improved margins, but a price cut would be far more effective. MacBook sales have been fairly consistent over the last few quarters, falling within the range of four to five million units per earnings period. Without the existing price cuts, sales could have been lower.

Apple's primary goal has always been to sell as many units as possible, regardless of the device, which is why the iPad was priced so competitively when it was first released. Now that $200 tablets are everywhere, the iPad looks expensive. But when it arrived in 2010, other tablets retailed for $500 or more, and were nowhere near the quality of the device that Apple had developed.

MacBooks are a different beast. They have always been sold as premium machines, which has prevented their sales from matching those of Dell (NASDAQ: DELL) or Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ). Thus, a price cut could only work to Apple's advantage.

In addition to the touch panel adjustment, the DigiTimes report also indicated that Apple is ordering a large amount of touch panels to prepare for the launch of the next-generation iPad.

Louis Bedigian is the Senior Tech Analyst and Features Writer of Benzinga. You can reach him at 248-636-1322 or louis(at)benzingapro(dot)com. Follow him @LouisBedigianBZ

Posted-In: Apple iPad macbook air MacBook ProNews Rumors Success Stories Tech Best of Benzinga


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