Apple reveals new laptops

Tuesday, October 14, 2008 | 9:43 p.m. CDT; updated 10:11 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, October 14, 2008

WASHINGTON — Apple revamped its laptop line Tuesday, just in time to take advantage of what is usually the computer industry's busiest time of year.

The company's least expensive laptop, the white plastic MacBook, now costs $999 — down from $1,099 — the company announced at an event thrown at its headquarters in Cupertino, Calif.

On the higher end of its lineup, new MacBook Pros are priced at $1,999 and $2,499. That's the same price as they were before, but the new models come with a larger hard drive and more memory. Both started shipping Tuesday and should be available in stores starting Wednesday, said Apple chief executive Steve Jobs.

Some analysts had hoped for bigger price cuts from the company and had called for a new notebook computer from Apple priced under $800.

Stephen Baker, with research firm NPD Group, said he thinks Apple's tweaks to its laptop lineup are enough for now. "Apple did what it needed to do to keep its sales momentum going," he said. "They didn't do anything game-changing. I don't think this is going to change the dynamics of the PC market."

After years of single-digit market share in the home-computer market, Apple says that its market share is up to 17.6 percent. During his presentation Tuesday, Jobs credited everything from Apple's commercials to the performance of Microsoft's Vista operating system for its increased popularity among consumers.

Yet neither the company's popularity nor new laptops were of much help to Apple's stocks Tuesday. Shares closed at $104.08 Tuesday, down 5.6 percent.

Jobs acknowledged that some would-be Mac buyers have resisted buying Apple's computers because of a fear of not being able to use software designed for Windows computers. But that's an issue of the past, thanks to the fact that newer Macs with Intel chips can run Windows, Jobs said, though, he added, "this sends a shiver up my spine."

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