eWEEK's Joe Wilcox this week took a detailed look at desktop and notebook pricing trends, and was a bit surprised by a couple of things. In fact, he wrote up two articles, one for Microsoft Watch and one for Apple Watch, to try to get at the numbers from all angles.
In Microsoft Watch, after having his head turned by two pretty HP notebooks priced at $699, Wilcox found that NPD market analysis says that's right on the ball. The average retail selling price for Windows notebooks is $700. And that's $177 less than two years before, though the rate has slowed significantly this year. The average price for Windows desktops has stayed right around $550 or so for the same time period, but NPD's Stephen Baker told Wilcox that he should pay attention to movement toward 64-bit systems -- and HP is the leader there. That may not be saying much, considering that competitors Dell and Gateway are doing next to nothing with 64-bit -- plus the fact that most consumers have no idea what it is or why they would care about it. In comparison, NDP finds that the average retail selling price for both Apple desktops and Apple laptops is over $1500, and hasn't moved significantly over the last two years. For those who are uncomfortable with comparing average prices, without matching memory, features, etc. Wilcox does compare, for example, the mid-range MacBook ($1,299) and HP DV2946NR notebook running Windows Vista Business ($699.99 at Target).
In Apple Watch, Wilcox finds that, though he understands Apple's targeting of premium price points, he's less comfortable with the fact that Apple prices haven't budged, as PC prices have, and neither have Apple configurations, for the most part. That hardware premium becomes even more expensive, in comparison, as a result.
PC (and maybe Windows notebook) prices have bottomed out and manufacturers know they have to beef up their machines to keep margins from falling. Apple, Wilcox says, will have to do the same, or lower prices. Not doing either means loss of market share.