There was a time when the prospect of Intel Macs, fewer proprietary protocols and standard PC components brought the promise of Mac prices on par with PCs. Recent data from NPD, however, shows that both Mac desktops and notebooks are now priced at more than twice the average selling price (ASP) of PCs, and the trend is getting worse, not better, according to eWeek.
Joe Wilcox reported in his eWeek blog that he contacted Stephen Baker at NPD to verify the price numbers that were recently reported.
Looking at the ratios in the chart above shows that the trend has gotten worse since 2006, especially for laptops. Mr. Wilcox cited several ways to view the pricing differences: Apple can demand and get premium prices because they donit have competition and because Mac OS X offers a different experience than Windows. Also, higher Mac prices enforce the premium product concept, eliminate budget buyers [who are often expensive to deal with] and keeps gross margins up. Finally, PC makers donit have to spend money promoting Vista.
In a hotly competitive commodity market, without the OS as a competitive advantage, PC makers have to squeeze out every last hardware advantage they can, according to Mr. Wilcox. That means that some PCs will have better high profile specs than a corresponding Mac, but the Mac has a more attractive industrial design and often includes items that are a neglected option on the PCs, such as Bluetooth, 802.11n Wi-Fi and a Webcam.
The authoris conclusion was that, despite the intangibles of the Mac, Apple cannot gain further market share unless prices go down and that factor of two gulf is reduced.