Prices, Prices, Prices
I’m not going to publish a chart of Macintosh prices this week, but I might do one next week when the retail channel gets a look at the new suggested retail prices that Apple USA just announced. Apple dropped the suggested retail prices by 11% to 36%, with most of the cuts coming on machines from the IIci on down. The Quadra prices only changed by between 11% and 22%. Do note that these cuts are only effective in the US.
We have no way of knowing how much these price cuts will affect real world prices since Apple lowered prices to dealers several weeks ago and the lowest discount prices in our chart of last week might reflect those cuts. It’s possible that dealers unable to match the volume of the larger metropolitan dealers will now be able to reduce their prices significantly, but pricing remains up to the individual dealer. Still, it’s hard to complain about price cuts of any sort, especially after the news that Apple will not distribute System 7.1 for free.
The price cuts will decrease the initial sticker shock for shoppers, especially those frequenting superstores before Christmas. In a twist that may not surprise some, IBM just informed department stores that it won’t deliver the lowest-priced machines that it announced a few weeks ago (various PC-clone configurations, not in the slightest bit interesting in and of themselves). So instead of the promised $1,100 machines, IBM will send these unhappy dealers machines starting at $1,700, although the more expensive computers supposedly have "more advanced technology." Compaq’s ProLinea line has reportedly been in short supply since its June introduction, and with these two major players bungling the consumer market as they have done so often in the past (bringing up the PCjr in this context is a hallowed tradition), Apple’s lower prices might bring a significant number of new users into the fold. With a perfectly useful (if not technologically-whizzy) Classic II 4/40 listing for $1,079 and a color-capable LC II 4/40 listing at $1,239 (gee, I just described the Performa 200 and 400 – what a surprise), and a ramped up production line, Apple stands an excellent chance of stealing the show this Christmas.
More support for the move against DOS-based clones comes from a new deal Apple will unveil on October 19th. Called "The Easy Way," the deal will allow a purchaser of any Mac other than a Performa to purchase a bundle of software for a suggested retail of $399. Apple designed the bundle to highlight the Mac’s superiority over and compatibility with DOS machines, and it will include Lotus 1-2-3 for Macintosh, WordPerfect/Mac, Universal SoftPC, and AccessPC. That gives you the Mac versions of the two best-selling packages in the DOS world, the ability to run most DOS applications slowly, and the ability to easily use DOS disks. Considering that those products cost over $850 mail order, go for that $399 price if you want the software. You can only get this deal if you purchase a Mac through a dealer or VAR (value-added reseller) and it expires on 03-Jan-93.