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Black is Beautiful; or, $125 for Paint

May 16th, 2007

TUAW pointed out something that I’d noticed before, but never tested in detail: that when you buy a high-end MacBook, you pay a premium for color. In the old MacBooks, there was at least a difference in hard drive capacities, though only a small one. But with the new set of MacBooks, you can configure the models so that all technical specifications are exactly the same, and the only difference that remains is color.

The price difference? $125. That’s right, Apple is charging people $125 for black paint instead of white paint. See:


Go ahead, try it yourself. All you have to do is upgrade the white MacBook’s hard drive to match the black MacBook. Quite a hefty surcharge for a dead simple, purely ornamental difference.

That said, the black finish on the MacBook is way cool. However, I don’t think that I could ever really bring myself around to paying that much for a color.

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  1. May 17th, 2007 at 22:22 | #1

    This has to do with the added cost on the assembly line to pulling parts out of the normal routine and painting them. It always costs more when a variation is offered. From what I’ve read, the black ones are white ones that have been painted and deep scratches show white. If Apple had a ready-made black shell, there probably wouldn’t be a price difference. It’s actually a pretty reasonable increase considering the high likelihood that they have to paint them “by hand” and handle them differently when it comes to assembling and packing. They probably still make more money on them but not as much as one might think.

    Personally, I think the black ones are just as boring as the white ones and Apple hasn’t designed a truly “cool” notebook for quite some time. They look only marginally better than your average PC notebook because of the edges and mainly look nicer because Apple has a better logo than it’s competitors plastered on the back.

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