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Is price no object to the typical Apple customer?

Apple recently freshened the Mac line, including souped up CPUs and new graphics from nVidia. What didn't change however was the Mac price point. Although there's now a (barely) sub-$1000 Mac, most Macs are higher priced compared to many Windows machines. Is price less of a factor to a Mac customer?

Apple recently freshened the Mac line, including souped-up CPUs and new graphics from nVidia. What didn't change, however, was the Mac price point. Although there's now a (barely) sub-$1,000 Mac, most Macs are higher priced compared to many Windows machines. Is price less of a factor to a Mac customer?

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In every buying decision, one of the top factors that's taken into consideration is price.  It's not always the TOP factor, but especially in economic times such as this it is highly important. When Apple refreshed the Mac line, it had a big opportunity to make a splash by dropping prices.

It didn't. Instead it created a token sub-$1,000 machine and focused more on the new CPUs and graphic cards inside the machine. Apple clearly sees itself more of a Mercedes brand than a Mercury, but is such pricing and position sustainable? Are Apple customers completely price insensitive?

How much does price matter?

In September I asked TechRepublic members to tell me what the most important factor was when taking a new laptop purchase into consideration. Of the almost 900 responses at the time, the top two factors were performance and reliability, which were practically tied for first with approximately 33% of the vote. Price was a distant third, coming in with only 8% of the vote.

Now the drawback is that our poll tool allows you to pick only a single item. You can't multi-select nor rank order your votes. That means that the poll doesn't really tell much about how important price is on a decision continuum for TR members, but because 10% still selected it as their top in the face of the other factors means that it's still significant.

Everyone who's attended any economics class (or just has gone to a grocery store) is familiar with the Law of Supply and Demand. If you want to sell more of something, you lower the price. If you charge too much, fewer people will buy. So why doesn't Apple lower the price to compete with Dell and HP? Especially if by doing so they'd crush them because of their supposed "superior" product?

Apple and price

The answer is obvious and simple. Apple has no desire to be Dell or HP. Although there's something to be said for the #1 maker of laptops and computers on the planet, Steve Jobs isn't going to do so if it means sacrificing margin for market share. I've pointed this out before in Steve Jobs doesn't want to be Michael Dell.

Apple is more of the Lexus and Mercedes of computer makers. It's priced the way it is on purpose: to command the highest price that the market will bear. Apple locks its customers into proprietary hardware and software and squeezes them for every last dime.

If Apple were to attempt to compete on a price basis, there would be a lot less chance to lock the customer in. Economies of scale favor traditional Windows vendors because even though companies like HP and Lenovo do some unique engineering, Windows is so generic that it runs on just about all hardware, driving profit margins out. Windows machines are commodities more like Fords and Chevys and less like a Mercedes. To successfully compete on price, Apple would have to accept lower profit margins and use more generic equipment. That would mean not doing things first like using the 6MB-cache Penryn Intel CPUs that the Macs are getting before other vendors.

Apple has tried before to grow market share at the expense of margin. Although it's more of a discussion in Classics Rock, you can look to what happened to Apple in the 90s when they introduced lower-priced Macs in an effort to grow market share. All that happened was that their profit margin dropped 4% in less than one year. It wasn't much later that Steve Jobs was brought back into the company, and those who championed expanding Apple's market share were gone. Steve's not to let history repeat itself.

Plus, let's not forget the Jobs ego. I'm sure the last thing he wants to do is see the company he created, the company where in epic fashion he was forced out of and returned to in glorious fashion and more than rebuilt, become a Ford. I'm sure he's quite happy to have it be viewed as a luxury brand.

Breaking the law

I was in an Apple Store over the weekend, and you could barely walk around the place. Clearly no matter how weak the economy is, people are still snapping up the new Macs, iPods, and other accessories. Apple's third quarter ended in June, and they returned record results. They'll report fourth-quarter earnings tomorrow, so it will be interesting to see if they can defy the law of supply and demand in a down economy as forecasters predict.

Beyond the cachet of the brand, it's hard to see why Apple customers would endure the price differential. ZDNet's Larry Dignan questions whether Macs are affordable enough and suggests that they're not worth the $100 price difference. On the other hand, ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley seems to think that a $999 price point may attract customers that might otherwise not look at a Mac.

What do you think? Why do Apple customers pay a higher price for Macs? Is price no object or at least not that big of a deal to a typical Mac user? And is Mac OS X worth the price difference?

50 comments
stenman
stenman

There is no typical Apple customer since the introduction of the Intel powered models. A Quad computer is cheaper than the equivalent offerings from HP or Dell by $1000 and to get a OS equivalent to OS X, one must pay for Server 2003 with a Wintel machine. Anyone in private or corporate roles making a decision to buy a Mac is also aware of the greater productivity with relative freedom from spyware, DLL and registry problems, and Microsoft applications. Apple tech support for customers has been rated number one for many years and continues to do so. What good is a computer when you need support and it really is not there? Sony support is non existent, Dell is up and then down depending upon profits and who is running the company, IBM is now Lenovo with support out of call centers in India, so Apple continues to be a bright light in a dimly lit sea of vendors.

dejongmb
dejongmb

I've written this comparison before. Some of us prefer to drive quality cars which cost 2-4 times as much as others. Please don't compare quality with CRAP. Drive an escort or drive a Cadillac, I choose quality that won't break down every time I drive it.

Fixit Once
Fixit Once

One thing to bear in mind with Apple, you will pay more to acquire the machine, however you will more than likely make up the cost difference over the life of the computer in maintenance costs, ie. anti-virus software or paying someone to clean viral, worm and trojan infections, etal. Although I'm a Windows user, I always direct anyone I feel is less than computer savvy to the Apple Store. With the inclusion of Apple Care in the purchase, competent assistance is a phone call away. You won't get that from Dell, Lenovo, Toshiba, Sony or HP. One caveat, I have been noticing Apple falling a bit in laptop reliability of late, particularly video/screen issues.

mdhemphill
mdhemphill

To the average consumer, it is not about price but effectiveness. The majority of users have issues while using a MS Windows PC versus the users of Apple's PC's. Also, look at the life span of an Apple PC, most users still have G4 systems that will run Mac OSX without having to change any of the components.

tmacconnell
tmacconnell

I am a long-time windows user, and I manage a windows network at work. Yet my last machine, bought 3 mos ago, was a MacBook Pro. I like it. It doesn't feel cheap. It feels well made. The Mac user has exclusivity for several reasons: First of all, the price prevents many people from owning one. This is the same reason why many people might by a Mercedes-Benz, as used in the original example. Second, even if they get by the original price of the Mac, they will have to purchase expensive "for Mac" software; likewise the Mercedes owner will have to pay expensive parts and maintenance costs. Third, the Mac user is "smarter" than the windows user because they know how to use Mac OS, and Mac Apps which are "better" than PC apps. Certainly the Mercedes owner is "smart" and has "made it" in life. Bottom line: I believe the Mac is better engineered, more durable, and holds its value better than PC. My last PC was a Toshiba notebook. Within 5 months you could buy a better machine for half of what I paid. However, the new MacBook Pro's have just some out and the price is the same as what I paid. And oh yeah, Mercedes and most other high-priced European luxury cars are also better engineered than their Asian or American competition.

Fregeus
Fregeus

I am not an Apple customer BECAUSE its more expensive than Microsoft systems. I would love to be, but because of the price difference, that is cannot truly justify, I am very hesitant to buy Apple. TCB

JJPEngr
JJPEngr

I have owned 4 Macs since 1996 for use at home. I tend to keep them as long as they meet my needs, and I even kept one of them for 10 years with several upgrades. My current Powerbook G4 is 4 years old and still does all I need. In the mean time, I have had to deal with PCs and all their associated issues at work. Although I have paid a bit of a premium up front for Macs, that can be offset by buying a previous version right after a new model is released and keeping it longer. Mac OSX is a superior OS and is much easier to use for the tasks I need to do. I would not consider buying a PC regardless of price. The aggravation is not worth it.

Tig2
Tig2

I paid about half the price for my HP laptop at the end of 2006 than I did for my MacBook Pro at the end of 2007. Here's why... I bought the HP so that I had new hardware that did not run Vista. I was not prepared to lose the functionality that I had at that time. The HP died less than 10 months after purchase and HP refused to honor their own warranty. By the time the HP died, I would have had little choice but to switch to Vista- something I was still unwilling to do. So I pulled out my old Dell and did some thinking. I am happy in a UNIX environment. Apple hardware is darned near bullet proof. I do mostly graphics manipulation and text on my machine. The few games I like to play are all available for OS X. While there would be some change over pain, it would be minimal as I had worked with OS X before. I could always boot camp it and install the XP Pro I had purchased prior to MS pulling the plug. Or I could order a Dell. Don't get me wrong- my Latitude has been a champ for nearly five years. It still runs better than the HP ever will. But I didn't want to deal with turfing the Vista that is was going to ship with and have to feel the pain of getting the XP working. Finally, I wanted out from under the MS thumb. I did what any sensible consumer would doin my opinion. I bought a Mac. While I was at it, I bought the biggest, baddest Mac available. I generally apply the Tim Allen approach to hardware purchases. Could I have saved a few bucks by buying a PC? Sure. But I had already wasted $1500 on a PC that didn't give me ten months of operation. If I was going to shell out the bucks, I wanted dependability. A year later I have the dependability and the flexibility of an operating system that is stable and doesn't crash. I rarely turn my machine off and never have to worry about it. On the other hand, I have friends that can't synch their devices without at least one reboot and they can't just leave the box running. I can run all the software I want or need without any problems. In my estimation, I got exactly what I paid for. In addition, I have access to the Apple Genius Bar and One to One service. I can take any of a number of Apple classes online. I can service my own machine if I have a mind to, or take it in. I have complete freedom on the hardware to run anything I want. That is worth the price of admission to me.

kernin
kernin

Style, elegance abound in Macs at the hardware and software levels. A Mac is designed to please a human. A PC is designed to appease the IT department. The difference in price depends wholly upon user preference. -Dr. K

dcolbert
dcolbert

I've talked about this for years. In the late eighties and early 90s, every BMW 3 series had a multi-colored Apple Logo sticker in the back window. I think that brand analogy is apt and appropriate, as well. Mac, at that time, really positioned themselves on quality of components/construction/engineering compared to commodity PCs, on ergonomic and interface differences, and on speed/performance. All Macs had a Trinitron .25 VGA monitor or a very nice paper-white monochrome display. They had expensive SCSI subsystems, they have advanced bus interfaces. The quality of the components were generally superior in all ways to an off-the-shelf PC of that time. Now, even at that time, you could probably have built yourself a PC, or bought one, with similar quality components. Or, you might have gotten equal or similar performance out of a far less expensive commodity PC, if you shopped carefully. This same basic argument applies to BMWs. So does the propeller or the apple have some intangible value? Absolutely. Some people like to put NIN stickers on the bumper. Some people prefer Tux to OS X or Win32. In the end, it is all the same positioning as we did in High Schoo, just at a grown up level. I'm pretty much a BMW guy. I'm on my third, and I've convinced my wife who is on her 1st. But honestly, I had as much fun, maybe more, in my Miata as I am having in my Z3. But for a fairly similar price, the cachet of the propeller is a compelling reason to step up to the BMW. I don't feel the same way about PCs. I've owned a bunch of Macs, but only after they were so old and depreciated that I could have them for cheap. Right now, I've got a 933Mhz G4 Artic Silver PowerPC. It runs OS X. Good enough for me. On the other hand, I've got several Core Duo PCs, notebook and desktop. I think a great part of the appeal of Macs is to students who want to have posessions that convey success and affluence, but can't really afford a BMW or Benz on their ramman and rice Sophmore diets. Apple steps in here with compelling student discounts and a clientel of generally non-technical professionals (Doctors in particular, seem to love Macs, but so do educators). Professionals who have a self-image of superiority and standing apart from the mass... and college students. Spending more may be a certain badge of honor in this case. Apple has created the perception of added value. Makes perfect sense. Really, what was the tag-line of the Mac previous to the PC campaign? "Think Differently"... But one thing the PC and the Mac crowd can agree on... the guys with all the tats and piercings sitting over in the Linux crowd are freaks...

OnTheRopes
OnTheRopes

You say, "Apple locks its customers into proprietary hardware and software and squeezes them for every last dime." Apple promotes both Parallels and VMWare Fusion on their website, Those two programs allow a person to "run Windows at blazing speed." Hardly locked in to proprietary software, in fact, I think it's just the opposite. Seems to me that you can run any version of Windows or Linux on top of OS X and still have a robust OS to go back to whenever you're done with your Windows/Linux software. From what I've read at Apple's website you can also use most of the popular add-on cards that don't carry the Apple logo so you're hardly locked into proprietary hardware either. I've got a Dell 9100 Pentium D 830. It's Vista ready, according to the MS Vista Configurator Tool, except for the onboard sound so I'd have to buy a sound card. Seems to me I'm more 'locked in' to the software that came with my Dell than I would be with an Apple. I'm likely to buy a Mac Pro not because I need it but because I want it. I'd like to have a 64-bit machine that has a 64-bit OS designed for it. I can get that with a Mac Pro and if I want to run the odd Windows program I can do that too. Is price an object? Well heck yeah. In what Universe isn't price an object? Do an experiment: Go to Dell's or Alienware's website and try to configure a system that's the equivalent of a minimally configured box stock Mac Pro and let me know what you come up with for a price and then help me justify spending my money at either of those sites. Get prices to build from scratch to meet the box stock Mac Pro specifications and help me justify doing that too, if you've a mind to. Fortunately my daughter is in college and is eligible for the student discount from Apple. That drops the price some and, if the salesman wasn't lying to me, also includes the 3-year Applecare program. I could enroll in a course, get a student ID and an education and still get a faster machine for quite a bit less money than through Dell or Alienware. Price IS a good selling point. That's why I'm going to an Apple. I'll have a fast machine and still have enough cash left to drop a grand on applications too. http://www.parallels.com/ http://www.vmware.com/products/fusion/ http://alienware.com/ http://www.dell.com/ http://store.apple.com/

bdegrande
bdegrande

Price is always a factor. If you need all the things a Mac does - even the low end Macbook can do podcasts, audio and video editing, video chats, web sites, digital audio I/O, etc. out of the box, you aren't paying more than a comparable Windows laptop and you are getting a much better OS. If your needs are very limited, today the best answer is one of the cheap Linux netbooks or PCs. Vista isn't really suited to running on cheap hardware, so the Windows models are somewhere in the middle - if you need more than word processing/Internet, say, some business apps that won't run under Linux, but Windoows will feel increasing pressure from both sides unless Windows 7 isn't a topnotch OS.

John Sheesley - TechRepublic Pro
John Sheesley - TechRepublic Pro

Macs have always cost more than PCs since Apple shipped the first Mac in 1984. It has also tried to lower prices to gain market share. All that seemed to do was affect Apple's profit margins as I pointed out in Decision Central: http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/decisioncentral/?p=161 Do Apple customers care less about price than regular PC customers? If so, why do you think so and are they worth it to you?

cupcake
cupcake

Totally agree with you. I find that the quality that goes into my Apple products - current iPhone included - far outweigh the initial investment. Besides, after working for the past couple of decades and am at the point of being able to afford the best, I am happy to invest in more Macs. Got my eye on the newest MBPro... sweet!

pgree
pgree

I have several times over the last year tried to duplicate the hardware in a MacPro by pricing out the "closest possible match" hardware to the base MacPro dual cpu setups. The closest I have ever got was a minimal amount less, with a clearly substandard case and unknown performance running mac software as a "hackintosh". Bottom line is, you can't compare the lowest cost PC generic hardware to the cutting edge system that the Macpro is. Try it and find out, create a wish list at newegg and see. Try comparing the HP or Dell or Sony All-in-one PCs to iMac - the iMac provides more for the money. I recently purchase a HP all-in-one touchscreen only because of the touchscreen - other than that, the iMac was clearly a superior machine at the same price point. The key is to make sure you are comparing the SAME hardware - the exact processor etc. Not a cpu that cost $300 less wholesale then the one in the Mac and claim the PC is cheaper.

OnTheRopes
OnTheRopes

I didn't consider them until I started reading your blogs. Just from a hobbyist perspective there's plenty enough to do on an Apple vs. a pc. I like the idea of learning a new OS and all of the associated included applications. I like the idea of being able to put Vista on it and learning that. I'm also fairly certain that one or two of these Linux distros I have laying about will make it on there too. And finally, what's a computer without good applications? I've found a student package suite from Adobe that'll give me quite enough to tinker with and learn from even though I have no grandiose ideas of doing anything special with the software, well, except for photoshop. PS should keep me busy for quite sometime as there are a ton of free PS tutorials on the Web. Can I do all of the above on a pc? Sure. I've run openSuse in a dual boot configuration along side of Windows XP. I could load Vista if I buy I a compatible sound card. I don't have much in the way of applications though other than open source programs and Office 2003. I've had a LOT of fun with the GIMP and will likely keep that as it's included in some Linix packages. The thing is, on a pc, I'd be stuck with Microsoft and Linux and that's not where I want to be. It's as someone said up above, Apple provides a perceived value for me, a simple computer hobbyist. Build or configure costs for a pc equivalent to a Mac Pro show me that Apple's pricing is very good, all things considered. I'm glad I took the time to look at Apples after reading your blog. Thanks for speaking up.

cupcake
cupcake

Its been my preference since 1984 when my first Mac was the first Mac. the one thing I haven't seen here - an apologies if I just overlooked it - is the longevity of the Macs. I have always used the computers much longer than those around me with PCs. My biggest purchase, and the one I put the most money into over the years - was my IIci, which served me very nicely for over 7 years! Until we hit OS 9, it was a work horse. The only bad thing - IMHO - is that its much harder to find a job in the Mac environment especially when you're not in Silicon Valley.

dcolbert
dcolbert

Can you tell the preference of user for a PC or a Mac solely by the pretentiousness showing in their forum posts?!?

normhaga
normhaga

>[i]"You say, "Apple locks its customers into proprietary hardware and software and squeezes them for every last dime." Apple promotes both Parallels and VMWare Fusion on their website, Those two programs allow a person to "run Windows at blazing speed.""[/i] If Apple is so into virtualization and does not lock you into hard/software, then why can't I install OS X into a VM on a PC without a bunch of hacked kext's? Why wont Apple give permission to VMWare or Parallels to explicitly allow OS X on other platforms. Finally, why does Apple so vigorously pursue those companies that make Mac compatible machines at a lower price. [u]does not compute.[/u]

GoodOh
GoodOh

Just a note of caution. Apple Education prices don't automatically include the AppleCare coverage so just double check that you got the quote with AppleCare included and are still happy with the price. Either way, unless you are planning on definitely trading in the machine within 12 months I'd recommend getting AppleCare. Apple hardware does fail sometimes (just like all hardware) and AppleCare is definitely a huge protection in you suffer a bit of bad luck. One failed laptop screen and you are way ahead on the deal.

MikeGall
MikeGall

Apple for the most part aims for the mid to high end of the computer market. You pay a premium for Apple but not much if you were to get a PC, which would have to be a mid to high end one to have similar specs. Often the Dell specials skimp on something to look good. You get a 2.4 core 2 duo but you only get 1GB of slow ram, or you get that free upgrade to a 320GB harddrive but the systems in a huge form factor and has integrated graphics. That isn't all though Mac OS X comes with a lot of features that are premium on a Vista machine (eg. Time Machine, several file sharing protocols not just one, dashboard). So can't even compare a mid range PC with Vista Home, to a MacBook, you'd have to have Vista Ultimate (that is what you need to get backup out of the box with a PC) at which point I'd wager that a similarly configured PC will be more than a Mac.

jasondlnd
jasondlnd

I recently had to spec a computer that required 8 monitor outputs. For this task, I went to both the Alienware site and the Apple site. When customized to the specifications I was looking for, the estimate for the Mac Pro was approximately $2100. The estimate for a similiarly configured Alienware computer was approximately $5300. Mac tax? I'm having trouble seeing it...

dmagner
dmagner

As a dual platform consultant for over 14 years I have a unique perspective on this discussion. All I can say is I would starve if I depended on Mac users calling me for help. PC users keep me working with the never ending virus, spyware, and OS defects. I enjoy the analogy of the Mercedes since the PC users paid for my Mercedes, I would be driving a VW if my business depended on Mac users. Many of the people defecting to Macs do so out of frustration with the never ending litany of problems using MS based OS. Most notably the recent poor experience with Vista, and I have had several clients use Vista for a few months and dump the new system and purchase a Mac in disgust with their experience with Vista. It is really quite simple, the Mac OS is made to be user friendly and it just works and does what people want to do, user their computer without the need to be part geek. The hardware is elegant and dependable, my recently purchased MacPro is just amazing and built like my Mercedes, opening the side cover is like looking under the hood, quality and elegance is obvious even to an untrained eye. The bottom line from my perspective is TCO, (Total cost of ownership) and the Mac wins hands down when viewed on that basis. Thankfully I am near retirement and my plan is to drop my PC clients and keep my Mac clients which will reduce my income by 75% and totally eliminate the frustration and stress associated with my business by 100%. I am thankful to Microsoft for having provided me with a steady stream of work that has allowed me to buy a Mercedes and head into retirement better off than I ever dreamed of. The Mac vs. PC argument will never end but I will tell you in fourteen years I have only had two or three clients that bought a PC after using Macs and they had specific technical needs (architects using CAD mostly), and they are now considering going back to Macs based on their poor experience with PC's. I have seen a growing wave of users going from PC to Macs especially now with the Intel based chips and the several virtual programs that allow use of Windows for specific needs.

skershaw
skershaw

The only thing that price is affecting in my case is having MORE, MORE, MORE. I bought the 20" iMac instead of the 24" because of cost. I haven't purchased that really nice display, again, because of cost. The problem here is that I really dig Apple. I mean everything about it. One thing though is when I do get something Apple (after saving my lunch money) I really have something. And get this; I really believe I've got something. To sum it all up price is an object but I'd rather wait and purchase an Apple product verses having some other brand. Nuff said....

swivet
swivet

Mac systems are not necessarily any more costly than other personal computers with comparable build and specs. They are just over-specified compared to most people's acceptable minimum. Do your own comparison shopping at Dell or HP, and don't leave anything out. I understand that snobbery works for the bottom line of Apple Inc., but I never cared for the car-maker brand analogies. I would compare a Mac Pro to a Husqvarna chainsaw instead. Are heated handles a wasteful luxury? Well, how cold is it, and how long were you planning to work?

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

running an OS that doesn't blow up 3 times a day, being able to run multiple platforms without much trouble... etc

ScarF
ScarF

I don't see Apples being more expensive than the PCs in the same class. I don't own an Apple. I planned once but, I am so happy with my 5-year old IBM T41 that I continue to postpone this. But, when one looks at the price tag for the T41 may see that it is quite an expensive machine - for good reason. So, the real choice is: buy a cheap piece of junk or buy a reliable machine - no matter who produces them. What Apples does and have always done, is to not compromise the hardware quality - and quality in general. Otherwise, Apples have the same price as any high quality PC. It is my opinion that Apple makes its margin by locking down the user, only. Close to the Open Source type of business by making money from selling services and not crap which must be replaced every 2 to 3 years. That, in my opinion, is the reason why Apple buyers don't care about price. Because, actually, it is nothing to care. The price tag is a false problem with Apple's computers.

dcolbert
dcolbert

What tech site would be complete without some dude showing off his "Tux" tat? I know that there are some Apple logo tats out there... and somewhere in the world there is probably a few idiots walking around with BMW logos inked onto their body... But in my mind, the ink and piercing crowd has a strong cross-over appeal with the OpenSource Linux crowd. :) Seriously. "I'm such a fanatic for this OS, I'm going to have it's mascot inked forever onto my skin"?!? Really?!? I guess it beats getting a tat of a girl's name. (Yeah, I'm talking about "Guy who used to date Christine until he found her in bed with his best friend and is now considering laser removal or inking something over her name" from the gallery.)

OnTheRopes
OnTheRopes

I don't have a quote yet as I won't be buying a Mac Pro until January. I'm just going on what the salesman said but he may not have a clue either. I'm getting conflicting advice regarding Applecare. I can service a PC alright, not getting a laptop, so I'm really wondering if the Applecare is a good idea. I still have much to think about.

GoodOh
GoodOh

I doubt this is a good bet "I'd wager that a similarly configured PC will be more than a Mac." But the point you are making is a good one. If you factor in everything the differences in prices are not as huge as people make things out and since it is very rare that any of us NEED in an ultimate sense the machines we buy (a cheap 2nd hand job running Linux is all a lot of people NEED - at some greater or lesser amount of inconvenience in exchange for the 'saved' dollars) the laptop most of us have is a luxury item to make ourselves feel good. If Apple design and OS X is what makes someone feel good then is $500 or so over a 3 year life really that big a deal? If someone can afford $5 a week to have something (MacBook Pro / Alienware / Vaio / whatever) that makes them feel a heap better than a 'wow this is cheap!' option then it seems to be money well spent in my opinion. I am so bored with this discussion. Yes if you are buying 10,000 machines for a corporation then every dollar matters (that's why PCs rule that world (running Windows or Linux). But if you are buying a single machine for yourself then the cost differentials between 'so-so' and 'pretty awesome' are not a big deal over the life of the machine (how much will ISP costs be over that some time?). If someone wants 'bling' and it makes them feel good then get it and stop counting every penny and start enjoying life. I switched to Mac 4 years ago and it makes me happy. I'm not going to justify that it is cheaper or better or whatever argument anyone wants to put to me about their choice. It's choice that fits me and that's what matters. Just little things like knowing that anything I put in iCal on any machine or phone is synced to the others without thought or effort is worth every cent all this gear cost, let alone any differential between another cheaper option I may have gone with instead. Having a real terminal instead of the Windows command shell is such a buzz for me. Small things and all that. In no way do I suggest that my choice is right for anyone else but the last thing I am interested in is discussing saving small percentages of costs in various alternatives. It's a stupid discussion whether it's in my favour or to my disadvantage. It's infra dig.

foster.ryan
foster.ryan

Are you serious? Alienware is not the only other company making PC's, and any other company will beat them for a computer with the same specs. ANY other. For Alienware consumers, price is no object, or they would go to another company. All they have is a great ad campaign (to their demographic.) Mac's on the other hand are much closer in price to the competition, and it is a hard call. It used to be a larger discrepancy before they went to serial processors. There would be no debate if one was to compare Alienware to any other manufacturer.

MytonLopez
MytonLopez

I can't believe all these MAC lovers. Every Mac person I ask why do they like MAC's and all they can say is that the graphics is better and they don't get any viruses, and never have problems with the OS. I can't believe that a PC with a high end video card is not the same as a MAC because I don't see the difference in the graphics and I just had Lasik done and can see better than 20/20. I can see the price difference quite clear though. As far as viruses I have had many computers in my days and worked on alot of computers and rairly do I run into computers that are infested with viruses. These days the anti-virus software works alot better than it did back in the days and today it is more likely spyware is more of an issue. Maybe it is just me that I know how to use a PC proficiently that I don't have any blue screens and any other problems. I don't install alot of stuff like other people and that is most likely the problem people have is that they install crap that messes up their computer or they don't run their updates. So I had went into a MAC store and looked at one of their high end desktops and it was slow. It had a star wars game loaded on it and tried playing it and it was slow and the graphics were not all that impressive and I messed around with the OS and didn't think it was user friendly like they say. Maybe if I have never touch a computer before in my life and started to use a MAC I wouldn't know any better but come on people...everyone uses PC's. If MAC was so prevalent than why is corp america, the military, and top companies out there all using PC's? It's because everyone knows how to use a PC. Like I mentioned before the MAC's were slow and I could buy a beefed up cpu that can run faster than a MAC and still save money. Are you telling me that Alienware, Dell XPS's, Falcon Northwest computers are not up to snuff to MAC's?....Your crazy!

foster.ryan
foster.ryan

Up here, generally pretty damn cold. If that was an option the last time I bought a saw I would have done it (price depending.) I will have this saw I am sure for another 20 years just as the one before it lasted that long before I decided that I could get the same power from a lot less weight this day in age. That is unless I buy another one with the power focused on torque instead of speed. (fast saw great of cutting to length, torque saw much better for felling trees...) Hmm... A lot of laptop parallels here, just longer time-lines. (btw, my chainsaw runs Debian :) )

aswift
aswift

It seems to me that in an arena of techs we all seem to want prove that what we are doing at the moment is greater than most. Apples to Oranges(PC)comparison is soooo over done. If you want a Mac get one, regardless of price. I work with both formats and probably am partial to PC, but I do not own a DELL or HP I built my pc to do several things, all for $375.00. I hear you chuckling, but this pc handles, games, graphics, music, etc. It hasn't gone up in the 3years that I have owned it, did I mention games... I have upgraded the video and cpu once to maintain an edge for high end gaming, but I also use it for Photoshop, DAZ, Bryce. The point I am making is that it doesn't matter whether you pay the premium cost for your system regardless of the format or you elect to go at it on your own as I have for years. The thing to remember is that it is all electronics, which means components fail. I have serviced Macs as well as PC's since '89, none are infallible. We are techs, users, administrators, whatever. We will never agree on this topic, but will agree to disagree. 'nuff said. :)

OnTheRopes
OnTheRopes

I wonder how many other people thought like us. I can't see myself getting inked for any reason, thought about it once, but I haven't really noticed that the Linux crowd has more of a tendency to get tat's. Interesting. I'll pay closer attention from now on.

OnTheRopes
OnTheRopes

I didn't get one on my Dell and it's still putting along just fine. I think the people at Dell were a little irked that I didn't get one as the entire faceplate was off of it when it arrived. Sabotage! :0 (Paranoia :^0 ) Two minutes later and it was put together. The big thing that's scrambling my brain is that I'm thinking about spending more money for a computer and applications then I've ever spent before. It's a serious commitment to what is essentially a hobby for me. I'm pretty sure that I'm going to do it. I want to do it right, get what I need and want and no extra.

richard.e.brown
richard.e.brown

AppleCare is like any other extended warranty service. It's expensive, and a real moneymaker for the vendor, since the statistics say that most people won't use/need it. That said, my general rule is always to get AppleCare for laptops, as they get bounced around a lot. I have used it on a couple of my laptops over the last 15 years, and smiled every time. (Check out Small Dog Electronics - they generally have a good price.) We don't get AppleCare for desktop machines at my company, as they seem reliable enough and don't cost enough money to justify the extended warranty. If a machine poops out, we just get it repaired or purchase another. For personal/home machines, you have to decide whether the likelihood of failure (low, if you get a Mac) outweighs the pain of having to come up with the bucks for the replacement. (Obligatory warning about backups applies. Your data is probably worth *way* more than the computer...) Best regards from Hanover, NH

Tig2
Tig2

He missed a few points- In order to build that system, he has to build it. I value my time more than that. Whatever he builds, he has two choices- Windows and Linux. You will never hear me say that those aren't two fine operating systems. But neither are my preference. I prefer OS X. So no matter what the price difference, if the system isn't running OS X, I have little interest in it. He assumes that price is a driver for many Apple owners. While price is certainly a consideration, many of the other benefits that have been identified in this thread appear to have more weight. I strongly advise leaving this be. He doesn't care to look beyond his prejudice and you, frankly, are better than that.

MytonLopez
MytonLopez

Here you go OnTheRopes and Cupcake.... ?Intel Xeon E5450 Harpertown 3.0GHz 12MB L2 Cache LGA 771 80W Quad-Core Processor with ASUS motherboard- Retail 969.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819117141 ?Kingston ValueRAM - 2 GB - DDR2 - DIMM 240-pin - 800 MHz - CL5 - $27.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820134581&nm_mc=OTC-Froogle&cm_mmc=OTC-Froogle-_-Memory+(Desktop+Memory)-_-Kingston+Technology-_-20134581 ?DIAMOND ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT 256mb ddr3 dual link dvi pci express (retail) - $65.55 http://www.mwave.com/mwave/viewspec_v2.asp?scriteria=4436573 ?Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST3320613AS 320GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM - $59.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148316 ?SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD+R 22X DVD-R 16X DVD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 22X DVD?R DVD Burner with LightScribe ? OEM - $27.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827151173 ?COOLER MASTER HAF 932 RC-932-KKN1-GP Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case ? Retail - $159.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119160 Total price - $1,311.50 Mac Pro price 2,799.00 - http://store.apple.com/us_smb_78313/browse/home/shop_mac/family/mac_pro Difference of $1,487.50 Granted I could have upgraded on the parts on a lot of the components and still had a cheaper price. I also could have gone a little cheaper but this build-out should be valid and still gives you a lot of money for your keyboard/mouse and monitors....Game Over!!!

OnTheRopes
OnTheRopes

Apple Mac Pro basic configuration: Two 2.8GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon “Harpertown” processors 2GB memory (800MHz DDR2 fully-buffered DIMM ECC) ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT graphics with 256MB memory 320GB Serial ATA 3Gb/s 7200-rpm hard drive1 16x double-layer SuperDrive Post comparable specs and pricing from Dell and Alienware. I can't believe that most Apple consumers would be so ignorant as to believe that Apple is just going to give them Parallels or VMWare Fusion along with a copy of Windows. I also haven't seen figures for it but I don't think that most Apple consumers even care about the above as they can do everything they most likely want to do right out of the box. Just because I want to do more doesn't mean that everyone does.

cupcake
cupcake

I work on a PC all day because that is what my current employer has... geez. Prior to this I worked the majority of the past 20 years on a Mac... so yes, I am a Mac lover. I'd give my right arm to be back working on a Mac, but right now, this is the job that pays the bills. I can work on both and do... so I think that lends credence to my opinion. How about you? What was the last version of Mac OS that you worked on?

MytonLopez
MytonLopez

We have HDTV's setup to monitor servers and routers for failures and such and yes we purchased HDMI video cards to get the full resolution of 1080p. We have not messed with BlueRay yet but can see the need to backup data on one disk at work. BlueRay would be more widely used at home for watching BlueRay movies and probably burning backup copies of purchased BlueRay movies. e-SATA is built into all our desktops and yes the speed is much faster than firewire especially when transferring gigs of data. As far as spec for a pc I asked you first. Come on you seriously can't believe I can't price out a pc with the same specs of a MAC for cheaper especially when Frye's has sales all the time. I though you were a MAC lover and you admit you work on a pc all day...enough said. GAME OVER!!!

cupcake
cupcake

Good argument Myton... I can see that you really spent a lot of time thinking that one through. I work on a PC all day long and there isn't a single one at my organization that has HDMI, BlueRay and e-SATA... and frankly, if we're talking cost... give me an example of a PC config with all those features.

MytonLopez
MytonLopez

What configuration tool are you talking about? Never heard of such a thing. Are you talking about building a custom PC? I have never seen a MAC cheaper than a PC. I can build my own PC far cheaper than a MAC. Give me the specs you require and I will prove it. Don't forget to add the Apple tax to you total since it seems like all MAC users love running XP on their MAC's. Check out Brad Brooks's Apple Tax article - http://news.cnet.com/8301-10805_3-10064580-75.html From website: If you go to Apple's Web site today, their No. 1 selling feature that they're telling students as to why buy a Mac is because it does run Windows, and that you can get Office when you're running it in Boot Camp or Parallels. But, then you're just paying that tax again. You're paying for an upgrade to Windows, you're paying for the full version of Office, where you could get all of that at one price, at a price point that with a Blu-ray disk drive you can get with an $800 range from an HP or Sony. If it's a tax, it seems to be a tax that more and more people are willing to pay. Brooks: You know, I think it's a good point. I think the question is, though, do customers really know what they're getting into? I don't personally believe that customers really know that a copy of Parallels is going to cost them $80, or that when they really look at what they're going to have to pay in terms of another $200 for a (full boxed copy of Windows), that they're going to pay for another $149 for MobileMe to put on there, Internet services, which they can basically get all the same functionality when they have Windows and Windows Live working together.

OnTheRopes
OnTheRopes

Configure the equivalent of a box stock dual quad core Mac Pro using the minimal components then come back here with your talk of pricing. Don't expect somebody else to do your homework.

MytonLopez
MytonLopez

That is the weakest comback I have ever heard. Anyways than why is it that MAC's don't have HDMI, BlueRay, & e-SATA?

cupcake
cupcake

There is a lot of history that plays into why Windows machines are on the majority of every companies desktops and not Macs, and it doesn't have anything to do with PC's being better. In the early days of computing, Jobs & Wozniak wanted a platform for people to be able to use computers without being programmers... maybe you're too young, but if you've ever had to use a computer without a GUI interface then you will understand why the "Steves" wanted a tight control on their interface and peripherals. Back in the late 80's, it was a given that if you bought anything with a six colored logo, that it would seamlessly and effortlessly work together without any 'BIOS tweaking' or any of the other chicken-sacrificing that went on to make hardware work together. And trust me, if circumstances were different about the time that Gates allowed third party companies to create clones that ran Windows... it would be 80%+ of the world running Macs... But you know, in the end, not everyone can drive a Mercedes...