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6/8/2009
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Apple iPhone 3GS, MacBook Price Cuts Stimulate WWDC

The company uses its developer show to highlight its innovations as well as ease the minds of cost-conscious consumers.

Apple MacBook Pro
(click image for larger view)
Apple MacBook Pro

Apple on Monday took much time to highlight its third-party developers, which have helped contribute to the iPhone's success and Apple's bottom line. Senior VP of iPhone software Scott Forstall said the company was very proud of the more than 1 billion downloads that consumers have installed on their iPhones. Schiller said he expected even more innovation with the addition of video and voice to the iPhone 3GS.

In a move that makes the current iPhone 3G attractive even to people on a tight budget, Apple dropped the price to $99 for the 8-GB version, a cut of $100. To get the low price, which is available as of Monday, buyers have to sign up for a two-year data service contract from AT&T.

Apple slashed the price a couple of days after Palm released the Pre, which analysts say has the ease of use and functionality to give the iPhone a serious challenge. The 8-GB Pre costs $199 with a two-year contract.

While dropping the price of the iPhone 3G, With its MacBooks, Apple is showing some sensitivity to the economic recession that has pummeled sales of laptops and desktops globally, with the exception of the least expensive category, netbooks. The mini-laptops, which typically have less than full-size keyboards, cost well under $500.

While maintaining its place as a premium computer maker, Apple replaced its 13-inch MacBook with its first 13-inch MacBook Pro, which at $1,199 with a faster processor is less than the model it replaces.

Apple also introduced a refresh of the 15-inch MacBook Pro, which is available in three configurations that start at $1,699 for a system with a 2.52-GHz processor with a 250-GB hard drive. Versions with faster processors, more storage, and increased graphics capabilities can be had for $1,999 and $2,299.

The refreshed 17-inch version also received a minor upgrade, as it will have a faster 2.8-GHz processor and a larger 500-GB hard drive for $2,499, which is $300 less than before. The new MacBooks are on sale today from Apple stores and Web site.

Apple also dropped the price of the ultrathin MacBook Air by lowering the price of the entry-level model, and introducing a beefed-up version with a faster processor and increased storage. A MacBook Air with a 1.86-GHz processor and 120-GB hard drive can be had for $1,499, while a version with a 2.13-GHz processor and 128-GB solid state drive can be had for $1,799.

While Windows laptops are available at much lower prices than the new MacBook models, Apple's lowering of prices indicates the company is positioning itself to be a tougher competitor on the higher end of the PC market. Analysts have long said that Apple is too expensive, particularly in the economic downturn, despite strong reviews.


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