It's called the economy.

Just as Apple (based in Cupertino, CA) is starting to make big leaps wooing more business users than ever, it may be shortlived. The problem: pricing.

Case in point, this month's release of the new MacBook Air. The low-end model costs $1800 and goes up to more than three grand.

Regular MacBooks and iMacs start above $1000. The cheapest Mac available is the Mac Mini starting at $600 (which was also the starting price of the iPhone last summer, not including the monthly nut to use it through AT&T).

PCs broke the sub-$1000 price point 10 years ago. I'm writing this posting on a Compaq laptop I purchased last year for $400. Sub-$200 PCs are now the price point to beat.

Apple historically, at least when Steve Jobs is at the helm, is great at marketing if nothing else. You don't see people camping out for three days to get the latest Sidekick or Dell Vostro.

Jobs and company understand how to market to people with disposable cash. But, what if the days of disposable cash for so many are over for the foreseeable future?

PCs, especially with the help of even more Linux-based machines coming available, are priced to sell as we ride out this economic downturn (dare I say it, a recession?). Apple doesn't even come close.

Apple has always relied on its core customer base, the Mac faithful, to open their wallets taking out a little extra of their home equity lines if necessary to follow the one true platform. But now that they've made some real headway expanding that customer base, not all those new customers can tolerate Mercedes prices during hard times when a Hyundai will have to do.

It'll be interesting to see what Apple does.