Is Apple Done Commanding Premiums?

It seems Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is and has been having trouble pricing its smaller Retina MacBook Pro; the product is backing up in the supply chain because it is not flying off shelves.

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It wasn’t long after the launch of Apple’s 13.3-inch Retina MacBook Pro that the price dropped from the original $1,699 to $1,499 at Apple, $1,449 at some retailers, and even briefly $1,299 at MacConnection. The drops suggest that the little laptop wasn’t selling well at its original price and retailers had to do something to get the devices moving off the shelves.

The real reason behind the underwhelming sales of the device could be a number of things. Considering the steady decline of the global PC market, its not unreasonable to expect Apple to also have a harder time selling its laptops and desktops. But the small Retina MacBook Pro may also just not have the same wow-factor as Apple’s other devices; with a smaller hard-drive, smaller screen, and weaker hardware, it may just not be the MacBook Pro model that people are looking for.

Additionally, as the tablet market grows, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) may be developing into a clever competitor — especially with its Chromebook Pixel, which is comparable to the MacBook Pro in some ways, but features a higher pixel density touchscreen, a nifty feature the MacBook Pro doesn’t have…

The devices are priced similarly, with the Chromebook Pixel tending to cost slightly less — though its tech specs also fall below those of the MacBook Pro. The lagging sales may really just come down to that price tag. MacConnection’s drop to $1,299 for the computer occurred just last week, and suggests that the other prices retailers are offering may not be low enough to get the product flowing.

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Such big cuts in the prices of Apple products could be a bad sign for the company, which has long been able to bank on high margins from its device sales. If Apple can no longer sell its devices at high premiums, it could cease to be the company it once was.

Here’s how Apple finished trading on Wednesday, developing a strong finished to the past 5 sessions:

Screen Shot 2013-04-10 at 5.32.11 PM

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