Apple marketing strategy a sign of the times

January 6, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Cupertino-based Apple has a reputation for pricing its computers higher than most PCs. But at Macworld, the big Apple expo underway in San Francisco, high prices are noticeably absent. Why the change?

Without saying so, Apple has to be mindful that the country is in a recession and that many consumers are being tight-fisted with their money. Apple has plenty to offer without requiring a hefty outlay

Apple did unveil a slick new MacBook pro laptop for $2,799. But in tune with the times, it was stressing value and even a lower price for songs on its iTunes store.

"They'll still be 99 cents. There will also be a pricing tier at 69 cents," said vice president of marketing, Phil Schiller, during his keynote speech.

It has upgraded its productivity software packages for creating music, documents and presentations. The upgrade is $79. But the bargain of the day may be downloadable lessons to learn piano and guitar.

For just $4.99, you can learn guitar from John Fogerty, the Berkeley native of Credence Clearwater Revival fame.

Veteran tech analysts like Leo LaPorte say Apple has its pulse on the recession.

"What they need to do now is kind of retrench, step back, add more value to the Mac proposition. So now you've got a Mac, here's more stuff that you can do for $75.... That's a very good move on Apple's part at this time with the economy," said LaPorte.

Apple continues to offer new and varied applications for its popular iPhone. Most are either free or cost a modest 99 cents.

"The App store -- the good thing about it is it's a pretty small purchase here and there. So you're not really feeling the huge pinch when you go and buy two, three, even four or five iPhone apps at once because it's maybe a $5 or $10 total," said Leslie Ayers, MacLife editor-in-chief.

One of the free ones, called Shoutcast, provides access to 25,000 stations, which provides added value to an Apple device you already own.

Tim Bajarin, an analyst with Creative Srategies, says this is just the start with more to come in 2009.

"Apple doesn't sit on their laurels. I think we can expect a lot of new products probably in the spring and fall through the normal cycles which they always do," said Bajarin.

There was, however, plenty of disappointment that Apple CEO Steve Jobs was not on-hand for the keynote address. One resourceful company handed out signs in the shape of the Apple logo that read, "Bring back Steve Jobs," hoping he would come back.

ABC7 Extra: Wozniak interview

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak was also in attendance at Macworld. He is still a big fan of Apple technology and technically, still an Apple employee, receiving a modest salary.

But he was at Macworld to demonstrate an Apple tablet computer he likes made by Axiotron.

Wozniak sat down with ABC7 News afterwards and admitted he has a habit of buying every iteration of a product that comes out just to see what he likes or dislikes about it -- with one exception.

"I didn't go so far as to buy an Android because the iPhone was just too good. That was the stopping point. For some reason I bought every single cell phone, every single smart phone over time, and all of a sudden after the iPhone I just stopped... that's the ultimate," said Wozniak.

Wozniak had plenty of other fasinating things to say, even letting us in on the fact that he is planning another Us Festival. Learn all about the festival and more in our full interview with Wozniak which is posted here.

Macworld live blog

Read David Louie's live blog from Macworld 2009 here.


Load Comments