Wow! Macs Really Are Overpriced

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on January 20, 2009

For a long time I have maintained that Macs weren’t really that expensive compared to Windows PCs; it’s just that Apple refused to make low-end systems. Recently, I’ve been suspecting that situation was changing. But I was shocked by what I discovered when I actually worked the numbers.

I decided to compare a 15-in. MacBook Pro with a Dell XPS M1530. I chose the Dell because it is a premium notebook with which I come very close to matching the hardware configuration of the MacBook. Here’s how the hardware lines up:

  Dell XPS M1530 15" MacBook Pro
Processor Core2 Duo 2.4 GHz Core2 Duo 2.4 GHz
Base RAM 3 GB 2 GB
Hard drive 320 GB 250 GB
Video adapter Nvidia GeForce 8600 Nvidia GeForce 9600+9400
Display resolution 1920x1200 1920x1200

The bottom line is the Mac comes with somewhat more capable graphics, the Dell with more base memory and a slightly larger hard drive. Not a lot of difference.

But the Dell can be had in this custom configuration for $1,324, and Dell often will discount this during promotions. The MacBook fetches $1,999, with discounts (other than academic pricing, which Dell also offers) rare to nonexistent.

Yes, the MacBook is considerably better looking and it comes with a really nifty assortment of software. But for that $675 difference, you can buy yourself a copy of Microsoft Office Home & Student, a copy of Adobe Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements, and have plenty left over for a nice netbook.

What has happened is pretty simple. Last year saw tremendous downward pressure on notebook prices, which Apple managed to resist. It successfully introduced new MacBook models last fall with upgraded specs at pretty much the same prices as the models they replaced. And the gap grew and grew. In today's market, those Apple prices look unsustainable, especially with Microsoft getting ready to replace the clunky Vista with a considerably slicker Windows 7.

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Reader Comments

PXLated

January 21, 2009 12:04 AM

Spec for spec, ya. BUT, you can' get OSX for Dell so it doesn't make any difference. You're buying a complete package, not specs.
Might be a different deal when Windows 7 arrives but that's probably a year (or more) off and even though the betas look good so far it's yet to be seen what the final will be AND Apple isn't necessarily just going to let OSX stagnate.

Vinland

January 21, 2009 05:34 AM

"especially with Microsoft getting ready to replace the clunky Vista with a considerably slicker Windows 7."

You got me lost here. Vista is now considered to be clunky?

Mark from the UK

January 21, 2009 05:45 AM

I'd love a new MacBook Pro but here in the UK I just can't do it at the current prices. I can spend £1,400 on a basic 15" MBP or £800 on a 17" HP laptop with Blu-ray, twice the memory and a larger hard drive (OK, the graphics card is a bit older). For USers, that's $800 difference at today's exchange rate. OS X is worth a lot to me so I'll still be buying Macs, but still, I can't help but feel like I'm being ripped off.

kirkrr

January 21, 2009 07:28 AM

Compared to the corporate editions of Dell, HP, Sony, Lenovo, etc - those items with consistent hardware internals for ease of management and deployment in corporate environments - Apple is equal or less expensive for every one of their platforms, with XServes being radically less expensive, even without the CALS cost of Windows factored in.

Pick a thin-and-light, top quality construction laptop, not a consumer plastic, flimsy, crappy keyboard, from any of these vendors, and the Apple is still less expensive.

Apple COULD produce products on a price parity level with the consumer machines, but they are unwilling - and rightly so - to produce lower quality product. Comparing consumer grade product, with all the variations in hardware that contribute to product instability (driver interactions, etc.), is not an appropriate comparison.

Combine that with - at least from my data collected over 5 years on over 500,000 desktops - the OS X platform costs me less than 20% of the management cost of a Windows desktop. Even among friends, the ones that have moved to OS X at my urging, have required a fraction of the support effort of the holdout Windows brethren.

So yeah, maybe you can acquire a Windows platform for less, but it is great to know that your time to manage, reboot, connect, secure, recover, etc. Windows is all free. Can you come work for me? I'd love to have support staff that feels that their time is worth nothing - that would really help keep payroll costs down.

Steve Wildstrom

January 21, 2009 09:09 AM

I would not describe the XPS M1530 as a plastic consumer product, but never mind. Let's consider a Lenovo ThinkPad T500, again configured to match the MacBook Pro as closely as possible (256 MB ATI Radeon 3650 graphics.) Price: $1,374, still more than $600 less than the MacBook.

The MacBook Pro is a great product and I will concede, as I have many times, the superiority of OS X. But I would hate to have to go to a CFO and try to explain why that is worth a 50% premium.

Raj

January 21, 2009 10:42 AM

I dont understand this. Any laptop you buy with even with the very latest configuration becomes obsolete within 6-9 months timeframe. Why would then people bother about flimsy plastic or iron clad laptop. It just matters if it can come clean for 1 year max as its time for replacement. If you buy MAC, it is a choice between holding on to your "top quality construction" for couple of years or spend $2000 every year.

pat hurst

January 21, 2009 10:45 AM

No doubt the Dell, and mony other PC laptops are cheaper. But I've found they crash and break down much more often than Macs (I've had two macs in seven years and I can count the number of freezes on one hand), and their customer servioe is appalling. I bought the new HP Netbook this Christmas. A setup issue sent me into the hell of their customer support. After four hours I finally reached a person who was supposed to be a specialist on the Netbook. He didn't even know what the computer's ports were for. So I bought a MacBook instead. Got it started instantly. Didn't need to call Apple CS. But I'm confident that if I do, they'll sort me out quickly and efficiently. Something that, in my experience, never happens with PC companies.

Mark Staller

January 21, 2009 10:46 AM

Well, looking only at specs is misleading. The bundled applications, the lack of need to worry about AV and other support issues and the fact that Macs tend to be replaced less frequently, means the TCO over the life of the product is less than a comparable Win laptop.
My state gov't IT shop uses HP laptops and replace them very quickly. Most get replaced within 3 years, desktops as well.

geo

January 21, 2009 10:48 AM

With the Dell, how much are you allocating to virus software? How much is your time worth dealing with all you will be exposed to over the years?

Daniel Stouffer

January 21, 2009 10:53 AM

If you’re entirely worried about the OS being Microsoft or Mac then yes you’re going to find the smother running Macbooks very tempting despite the price. However, if you throw in a Linux distribution into the fray, you will find that you can compare two laptops just on specs and price. And with the advent of WINE and VituralBox you don’t have to give up your favorite applications that run on only Microsoft or Mac.

AdamC

January 21, 2009 10:53 AM

Being virus free is worth much more than the $600 plus price difference.

smarterrrrr

January 21, 2009 10:57 AM

Steve, your examples are not apples to apples in any case cited.
Your excitement over being able to write why Mac's are needlessly more expensive is evidence that clearly shows just how clueless you are about the video capabilities of the 9600/9400 card and what it means and the underwhelming capabilities of the lesser 8600 and other cards.

You are doing everyone (interestingly enough, both you and Apple) a complete disservice with the publication of this POS dissertation, try doing your homework before you publish.

MPR

January 21, 2009 10:58 AM

It's worth the premium IMHO because it is the best, whether imagined or actual.

Actually, I pay the premium to be a legit user of OS X. If OS X would run on non-Apple hardware it's doubtful I'd buy another MacBook. (Yes yes, I know the kiddies can get osx86 hackintosh going and all that but in a professional capacity a hacked together system is not what I want to be relying on).

JT

January 21, 2009 11:01 AM

I think the point that the Apple folks are missing is that in the current economy the "average" computer user is likely to reject Apple's products because they are not savy to driver interactions and cost cutting hardware semantics. Does Apple make a superior product and OS? Absolutely. But if I were looking for a computer right now I would not choose an Apple nor would I recommend Apple for the school District I work for knowing there are more education cuts coming from President Schwarzenegger. Ultimately, the decision comes down to the bottom line on purchase day and it is much easier to look at the 30-50% savings and convince oneself that it is a better financial decision. So what if in the long run you break even or even lose money on the tech support side. Americans tend to be short-term thinkers and optimists (this windows will work...)so the money saved at the beginning could and often does overrule the superiority of the Mac OS.

I worry that Apple's insistence on the "high road" will hurt it unnecessarily in this economic climate.

Urs W. Keller

January 21, 2009 11:03 AM

@Steve: I hope your CFO also knows the term "TCO" (Total Cost of Ownership). It's not uncommon for a PC or laptop to have annual support cost that are higher than the purchase price of the item. This vastly reduces the price differential.
(No, I am NOT going into discussing the lower support needs, longer life expectancy, etc. of an Apple laptop ...)

Ken Court

January 21, 2009 11:05 AM

Sorry you're trapped in a short-sighted company (your CFO comment). Often times people get what they pay for and maybe, someday your CFO will appreciate durability and TOC (especially with support costs). Until then, hang in there and remember that bean counters, although important, are usually not good at recognizing that ROI has many factors including usability. If they really want the best specs for the lowest price why not build a linux box and use GNU or something like that?? The end user will hate it, the Frankenstein nature of the hardware will make repairs "fun" -- but it will be the cheapest!!111!!!

David

January 21, 2009 11:05 AM

A couple of factors you neglect to mention. First, Apple laptop tops actually retain their value for a long time. I trade in my old Apple laptops every two years and get more than half of the cost of the laptop in trade in value. Try that with a Dell. Second, the new MacBooks (and MacBook Pros) have a solid, virtually indestructible uni-body aluminum housing that makes them far more sturdy and resistant to the bumps and bangs that can shut down a Dell. As Kirkrr states, if you really try to pick a thin and light (and sturdy) alternative that is comparable to the MacBook Pro, you'll be paying more.

Lots A Bugs

January 21, 2009 11:08 AM

Apple has lost the ability to provide good, bug free software. Their updates seldom fix issues, and only lead to more crashing problems.

I have fewer problems with the Vista machines in my office than I do with the newest Mac's.

No more Mac's for me.

Chip

January 21, 2009 11:15 AM

Ah, if components were the whole story, you'd have a nice article here.

TCO on Macs is cheaper. The Dell is only cheaper if your time is worthless and you care not about the user experience.

Last year, a lot of people I know bought their first Mac. And once you switch, you never go back.

halapeño

January 21, 2009 11:18 AM

Comparing specs on a notebook is like comparing horsepower on a car; it's irrelevant unless you consider the rest of the package.

Fit and finish, user experience, resale and any number of other factors should enter into the equation. There is a reason a BMW cost more than a Chevy.

An inefficient tool can hamper a worker's productivity. A friend of mine, who works remotely, lost a week of work because her crappy Dell went on the fritz. It wasn't the first time. If you can get the job done with a Dell, then by all means get it. If not, a few hundred dollars is immaterial consider lost work time.

And don't get me started on the security aspects.

PDe

January 21, 2009 11:22 AM

I agree that they are much more expensive that similarly specd windows machines, BUT:

- you get a lighter, thinner and much more portable machine
- you get generally better performance
- you get Mac Os X which is stable, fast, problem-free compared to VISTA
- you get all the extra ilife software
- you get a virus-free experience
- you get a backlit keyboard
- you get better battery life
- you get a better, long-lasting LED display


The whole is much greater than the sum of its parts with the Apple machine and that's important to remember. You pay for the peace of mind that most things will work easily and that, when they don't, Apple has first-rate service that actually resolves your issues.

Having said that, I think Apple should lower the cost by about $200 to keep it more in line with the industry, with a premium for better quality.

Christian

January 21, 2009 11:27 AM

This is kind of a small thing, but I think after you pay $150 for MSoft Office, $99 for PS Elements, and another $100 or so for Premiere, that you only have about $300 left. Not really enough for a "nice" netbook, let alone "plenty left over", is it?

Of course "plenty" and "nice" may mean different things to different people, but the language that the writer uses is a bit inflamatory. Why exaggerate to make your point? It takes away from your entire argument.

pats

January 21, 2009 11:29 AM

Could you at least compare hardware from the same Intel/NVIDIA generation. It is easy to compare last years Intel/NVIDIA hardware with this years and come up with a better value. Performance obviously matters not. The core2 dou you talk about are not the same. even though the processor are both operated at 2.4GHZ. The FSB on the Mac is 1066 vs 800. Performance wise the 1530 compares well with the 999 white Macbook so if screen size is not the end all I think you can save 300$ buying the white MacBook.

Roger Dodger

January 21, 2009 11:31 AM

Hmm. My configuration on Dell's site turned up some different numbers.

I just configured an XPS M1350 on the Dell site, and found a few things:

First the Mac Book Pro uses faster parts than the Dell, so you might expect to pay more for a faster architecture.

1. The processor on the Dell has a Front Side Bus that runs about 20% slower. (800 Mhz on the Dell vs. 1066Mhz on the MacBook Pro)

2. The memory used on the Dell runs at about 2/3rds the Mhz (667 Mhz on the Dell vs. 1066 Mhz on the Mac Book Pro)

Second, the compared "equivalent" laptops aren't equivalent. The Dell as priced leaves out a number of things present on the MacBook Pro:

1. The Dell, as priced, doesn't have the fastest Wi-Fi available, it uses g, not n.

2. The Dell, as priced, doesn't include Bluetooth at all.

3. The Dell, as priced, doesn't include a DVD burner.

Add those three things in, and the Dell is up to $1498 total.

Now, software differences.

1. With Mac OS X, you get all the features of Mac OS X. With Windows Vista, you don't get all the features unless you have Vista Ultimate. (And if you were talking to your CFO about the pricing you would at least want Vista Business edition, which knocks $20 off the price of Ultimate.)

That brings the total to $1648

2. iLife includes iPhoto and iMovie, this would most closely map to the Adobe Photoshop Elements and Adobe Premiere Elements bundle for $99. Plus iLife includes iWeb and GarageBand.

The total is $1747.

Note that the configuration is already discounted by Dell. There is a $442 "Instant Savings".

The list price of the Dell is $2,189 before the "Instant Savings".

So, that's a difference of about $250 dollars, if the specs are more equivalent.

pats

January 21, 2009 11:34 AM

Could you at least compare hardware from the same Intel/NVIDIA generation. It is easy to compare last years Intel/NVIDIA hardware with this years and come up with a better value. Performance obviously matters not. The core2 dou you talk about are not the same. even though the processor are both operated at 2.4GHZ. The FSB on the Mac is 1066 vs 800. Performance wise the 1530 compares well with the 999 white Macbook so if screen size is not the end all I think you can save 300$ buying the white MacBook.

Dante

January 21, 2009 11:34 AM

to "PXLated": sign, another mactard spouting the Apple marketing schlemiel. Apples are now made using standard PC components - because its better. So yes, you can put OS-X on a Dell. Much like you can put an ultra chick Smart4Two engine in a Honda Civic. But who would want to when the Civic has better gas mileage? Oh yeah, you mactards. Because it's the "in thing". As to "Mark Staller", yes, Macs do NOT need anti-virus software. Corporations should all standardize on Apples and they will be safe. Do NOT load AV software on your Macs. Make sure to do all your financial transactions on a safe Apple via the safe Apple AirLink. My retirement funds will thank you.

Garry

January 21, 2009 11:36 AM

Yes for sure Macs are more expensive than PCs, but you have to take in consideration the stability of the machine and especially the Mac OSx operating system. You also should take in consideration the Virus factor, NO VIRESUS or almost none. Macs keep their value.

Steve Wildstrom

January 21, 2009 11:40 AM

Lots of commenters are claiming that total cost of ownership for Macs is lower despite the high selling price. Does anyone have some data to support that claim? You need to show a lot of ROI to overcome a 50% up-front premium.

hamster

January 21, 2009 11:47 AM

5 Reasons why Vista is better than Mac OsX

Reason #1: Vista runs more software

Mac OS X is a very pretty operating system, but beauty runs only skin deep. An operating system by itself is a poor thing -- it's the applications that run on top of it that matter. And here's where Mac OS X falls short. It can't run much common software, including enterprise applications and games.

Virtualization software like Parallels Desktop for Mac won't solve the problem. Parallels can't run even the most basic Vista games such as FreeCell, Hearts, Pinball, Solitaire and Minesweeper, because it doesn't support DirectX 9. And virtualization software creates big problems for enterprises with regard to volume licensing, technical support, creating standard enterprisewide images and so on. So it's no good for running enterprise applications either. Vista beats OS X here, hands down.

Reason #2: Vista is safer

As I've written before, Vista is a more secure operating system than Mac OS X. Mac OS X was easier to crack in a recent hacking contest. And security researcher Dino Dai Zovi had this to say about Vista versus Mac OS X when it comes to security:

I have found the code quality, at least in terms of security, to be much better overall in Vista than Mac OS X 10.4. It is obvious from observing affected components in security patches that Microsoft's Security Development Lifecycle (SDL) has resulted in fewer vulnerabilities in newly-written code.

Reason #3: It's the money, stupid

If you're got a lot of extra spare cash laying around that you don't care about, then by all means, buy a Mac. But if, like most of the world, you've got to work for a living, then you'll find that a Vista machine is far less expensive than a Mac.

Reason #4: The Mac is closed; Vista is open

Any person or company who wants to build a PC with Vista on it, and either sell it, or use it themselves, is perfectly free to do so, as long as they buy the operating system. Try to do that with a Mac, and you'll be spending some face time with Apple's attack dog lawyers.

Reason #5: Two words -- Steve Jobs

There's no doubt that Steve Jobs is a master marketer. And he also knows good design. But he's also vindictive, sends his lawyers after people who report leaked information about Apple products, and has hypnotized Apple users into drinking the true-believer Kool Aid. Don't reward him by making him richer.

By the way, if you're interested in a head-to-head death match about whether Vista, XP, Mac OS X, or Linux is the superior operating system, check out OS Smackdown: Linux vs. Mac OS X vs. Windows Vista vs. Windows XP. As you might imagine, I argue for Vista.

Steve Wildstrom

January 21, 2009 11:50 AM

@pats--Processor comparisons are a little difficult since Apple doesn't actually say what Intel part it uses in the the MacBook Pro. But the Dell part is a T8300, a current-generation "Penryn" chip. Yes, the 800 MHz front-side bus speed is slower than the Mac's and for anyone who knows what that means or why it may be important, perhaps the Mac is a better choice.

Steve Wildstrom

January 21, 2009 11:54 AM

@Ro♠dger Dodger--I priced the Dell with a DVD writer, Bluetooth, and 802.11 g/n.

dennis

January 21, 2009 11:58 AM

yeah but you can't run OS X on a Dell now can you?

HUMMMMMM!

dennis

January 21, 2009 12:04 PM

@ Hamster:
you are a dumb as you are funny...

Steve W

January 21, 2009 12:12 PM

The MacBook Pro display is only 1440x900.

"Somewhat more capable graphics...not a lot of difference" is misleading. The MacBook Pro has two graphics cards, and can drive dual displays - 1440x900 on the built in screen, and 2560x1600 on an external display. That is the biggest difference between the $2000 MacBook Pro and $1300 MacBook, and it is a big difference.

The next version of Mac OS X will include openCL, a technology that lets programs use the gigaflops of processing power in the graphics card for general purpose computing. In typical Apple fashion, the new Pro hardware is already capable of utilizing the next software upgrade.

Compare that to Dell's situation. Dell can only give you what Microsoft enables, and the Vista experience shows that what Microsoft promises most is vaporware. On the other hand, if Microsoft does manage to deliver anything like openCL, then your XPS will be made obsolete.

Nate

January 21, 2009 12:13 PM

AdamC:
"Being virus free is worth much more than the $600 plus price difference."

And if OSx were virus free, that'd be a valid argument here.

al

January 21, 2009 12:15 PM

The article is obviously right, but you also need to go the other way. Don't start with a Mac, start with a good reasonably high end machine, then ask what Apple has to offer to match it.

Its always half as much again to double.

Francisco

January 21, 2009 12:16 PM

Steve would you please reply to Roger Dodger's post
instead of just asking "to show a lot of ROI to overcome a 50% up-front premium."?
Thanks

smarterrrrr

January 21, 2009 12:16 PM

I'm so done with undereducated "analysts" and "pundits" that have never been in the business they are charged with understanding and writing about.
And if for some reason they "were" in the technology business, it was a decade ago and they failed at it.
They get it wrong, time after time and then try to play like the village idiot with their "show me evidence that disputes my ill-conceived conclusions" statements, nice, how about you research first, than write.

Steve,
You are needlessly trying to defend your unresearched conclusions that fly in the face of most published data.
Look up the specs for the nVidea 8600 family of video and compare that against the 9600/9400 that the MacBook Pro comes with, have someone explain the difference in functionality and software performance to you.

Next look at Roger Dodger's post and note how you compare laptops that aren't in the same league but you try anyway and fail miserably.

Then go to these links found on Google, perhaps you could research some yourself:

http://news.softpedia.com/news/Mac-VS-PC-Study-Shows-Macs-Have-1-3-Fewer-Problems-87097.shtml

http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&taxonomyName=macintosh_os&articleId=9023959&taxonomyId=123

Best regards,

George

vince

January 21, 2009 12:18 PM

all i can say is that after years of PC's that seem to have a life span of 2 to 3 years I bought a MAC 2 years ago and I haven't had any problems with it. NONE! No freezes, no crashes and most importantly: no viruses. when was the last time you had none of these problems for on your PC? probably never.
In the time I need to replace my Mac I would have gone through 2 or 3 PC's. So in essence your $2000 Mac matches about $4000 in PC's

Parka

January 21, 2009 12:19 PM

I think I've said this a million times whenever I read Mac-PC price comparison stories.

Here it is again:

Without the ability to install OSX, the Mac will be as cheap as the cheapest Dell.

Robert Laughing

January 21, 2009 12:28 PM

Bentley produces really EXPENSIVE cars in limited numbers; nothing, in a Bentley is necessarily better than what you get in a Mercedes......yet it can charge SUBSTANTIALLY more. You could buy your girl a diamond ring a Mal-Wart, but wouldn't she REALLY PREFER one from Tiffany, even at a greater cost for the same thing? Much of what we want, need, buy, is all illusion...er, PERCEPTION of value. It's what makes Huckster Capitalism work....until Clinton/Bush steps in it.

GloomBoom.com

January 21, 2009 12:30 PM

No viruses, no Vista, wonderfully elegant, OS X, etc.. I'm paying a bit more and getting a new Mac.

David

January 21, 2009 12:34 PM

I could echo so many of the comments made by Mac supporters on here, but then I'd just be adding a testimonial to something that they've already accentuated. But, I could echo some of them. However, The Best Example I can think of in reference to the inequality of the comparison that you put forth is that of purchasing a Honda Accord versus a Ford Taurus or a Hyundai... I have a 2003 Honda Accord EX V6 (Top of the line, every option) that was $26,000 brand new, even though I paid less than that. I could have purchased a Ford, Chevy, or Hyundai with similar specs in the $15,000 Range, but I chose not to. (Note to self: Recall that Honda doesn't need a Bailout Package) Why? My 2003 Honda Accord, which cost much more than the other competitors that I referenced in initial ownership has 160,000 Miles and has Never Had a SINGLE PROBLEM, EVER!!! Nothing... Ditto. I do regular maintenance, oil changes, and other things according to Honda's standards; And, my ROI for a wise investment with smart upkeep is a car that runs perfectly with no problems and will continue to do so for many more years and probably hundreds of thousands more miles. I switched to Macs after I purchased a Compaq PC in 2000/2001 when Windows XP Home Edition first came out and it crashed Non-Stop for 3 weeks and I couldn't get any help from Compaq or Microsoft; each one blaming the other for my issues. I think returned the computer to Circuit City (which just went out of business) and put my $1,600 towards a $3,000 Powerbook Titanium which still runs fine today with no issues... In 2006 I purchased a MBP for $3,000 that has had zero issues, for the most part. I followed this story b/c I'm open-minded about seeing other perspectives. But, it was obviously a complete waste of time. I buy a New, Top of the Line MBP for about $3,000 every 4 years; That comes to about $750.00/year and some change... My Friends who buy the laptops that you cite (Dell, IBM ThinkPads, Etc.) end up going through tons of hassles in addition to trashing their laptop and buying a new one every year or every other year. Having to buy 2 $1,300 laptops in a 3 year period comes to about $866.67/year. And, they have to deal with a piece of hardware that is less functional, has a higher cost of total ownership (Virus Software, Etc.), that crashes frequently, and that looks like crap. As I alluded to earlier, there's a reason why you see 90 Model and 2000 Model Hondas still on the road in 2009; and there's a reason why you don't see many 90 model or 2000 model Hyundais and Ford Taurus on the road. Finally, the average American buys a Dell or Other Non-Mac Computer; right? Well, Hummm, let's see: Where would I be today if I were like the Average American? It should be obvious to anyone with half a brain that your time is worth money... I think that this article is just like the comparison in that it reminds me of a simple equation in life: You get out what you put in...

P.S. As for the school officials who opt for the cheaper equipment and choose to avoid Macs; Well, Gee, look at our educational system. Is it any surprise that the computer decisions are just as short-sighted as all of the other educational decisions? I have to laugh on that one...

Quix

January 21, 2009 12:38 PM

Despite the author's flawed comparison of two "equal" machines that really aren't, I will concede that Macs are almost always more expensive than their part-for-part PC equivalent.

And worth *every* penny.

That's my personal experience, and I'm sticking to it.

Perhaps for his next story the author can do a price comparison between a McDonalds Big Mac and a hamburger you get in a sit-down restaurant? I mean, it's all about the final dollars and cents, right?

lakshman Dalpadado

January 21, 2009 12:40 PM

My first Mac was a Mac Plus which I bought in 1989. Since then I have had a G3, G4 Cube, two laptops and now a Mac Mini. None have so far broken down. I used the Cube for 7 years and it's still working- had to give it up because it was a bit slow and the hard disc was creaking. I have, up to now,not installed any anti- virus software on any of the machines-- and was not affected by Y2K.

The Dell Inspiron Laptop I used to use at work was a different beast- the track pad had a mind of its own, refused to boot frequently, the left click buttons had come off and the little joy stick has stopped working altogether--and the Windows Me was a nightmare after Mac OS!

I will continue to buy Macs irrespective of the price. They are so nice to look at and touch - just like a BMW or a Merc!!

Pepx

January 21, 2009 12:44 PM

did someone said MONOPOLY?¡¡¡

after all we don't use PC's made by Microsoft LOL...

and well it's how all it works.

however an OS hardly can add over 600 bucks to a computer.

here at home we own 3 laptops (1 netbook, 1 mac, 1 pc) and 3 desktops (1 mac, 2 pc's)

and can sound odd but my personal use desktop result ofter more stable and faster than my dad's mac, also don't use to crash.
again part of the trick it's to keep it tuned i use a very short set of apps and no antivirus.
all this even with my addiction to download, download, download all i can
guys a machine it's a machine GM or Toyota, PC or Mac are machines and all are prone to fail if aren't properly kept.

pepx

January 21, 2009 12:46 PM

i forgot to tell i have nearly a year without formating the HD.
and as fast as new

John Evol

January 21, 2009 12:48 PM

Steve, this preposterous! You are coming back with your inflammatory "50% premium" claim without answering Roger Dodger's counterpoint posted 10 minutes earlier than your post. I read your article with interest and thought you had a point for a while, but I am glad I skimmed through all the comments and saw Roger's point.
Roger claim he went to Dell website and found numbers significantly lower than yours. At this stage, unless you show that Roger is mistaken, I value your article as total MISINFORMATION!

If Roger is correct when adding the missing items on the Dell box, then, yes, Apple is a bit more expensive (but much lower than you claimed!) when configured with equivalent components, but what they sell is STILL a better product considering BOTH hardware AND software: the unibody is mechanically superior (and does cost Apple a lo more to manufacture) and the OS X is superior.
So the relatively small price difference (based on Roger analysis) is fully justified, and in the end, it still boils down to Apple refusing to offer lesser products at a lower prices rather overpricing what they actually sell!
Apple is a premium brand and they need to only sell superior products to maintain the brand value. That's the final point.

Mark

January 21, 2009 01:03 PM

I aggree that the MAC is more expensive if you start comparing the hardware specs with other PC makers.

But the combo HW+SW that you get from a MAC is much superior than PC+Windows.

It´s out of comparison, the OS from MAC is much more stable.

John Bailo

January 21, 2009 01:03 PM

Apple and Windows are both wildly overpriced. You can take off the shelf hardware, add Linux and have a value (free software) that is multiple times what the aging tech giants are offering.

Steve Wildstrom

January 21, 2009 01:05 PM

@John Evol--First, Rodger is not correct about the configuration, as I pointed out in an earlier comment. Second, the 50% premium is a fact; it is merely a question of whether the MacBook is worth it. Leaving aside the important software questions, I think the issue is whether the user will really derive any benefit from the processor/graphics combo. My contention is that all but a tiny minority--those, who say, do high-end work on Adobe CS4--will not actually notice the difference.

Mark Spits

January 21, 2009 01:17 PM

I hate to say it but no matter how you shine and clean a PC and dress it up with nice hardware, it's still got Windows running under the hood. It's like those Porsche kit cars, they look awesome until a real Porsche pulls up next to you and wants to race. I'd pay even more for the Mac just for the fact that it's running OSX. Only a true switcher can understand that benefit. I switched to Mac about 2 years ago and will NEVER in my life go back to Windows.

Uhhh

January 21, 2009 01:17 PM

yeah because nothing screams "i've reached the top" like a 2" thick laptop infested with bloatware and vista.

I'll pay the extra $700 to avoid that nonsense, thanks.

pjl

January 21, 2009 01:22 PM

Apple would also have to give you bad customer support, an OS that is buggy and hard to use and you would have to shell out anti-virus and keep up with a larger number of service packs.

All-in-all if you do a complete accounting over the life of the laptop Apple wins. My time is valuable. Do I work with a buggy virus prone OS, or one that just works? My time is valuable. I need to do real work, not be my own IT person.

I used to maintain a network for a school district back in the day. We had 3 Mac labs and one PC lab. Where do you think I spent most of my time? In the PC lab. From that point forward I was sold on Apple. Despite a higher front end cost. As they say, "the stingy man pays the most".

schininis

January 21, 2009 01:23 PM

@Steve Wildstrom
January 21, 2009 09:09 AM
The MacBook Pro is a great product and I will concede, as I have many times, the superiority of OS X. But I would hate to have to go to a CFO and try to explain why that is worth a 50% premium.

Oh I can answer that one easy! Just tell your CFO it will last 100% longer : )

I have filtered 4 older Macs down to friends and relatives . . . and every single one is still running with no problems . . . and they are running the modern OS X.
I still won't give up my now vintage 2003 Power Book G4 because it handles Leopard perfectly, and fast. You simply will not find a 2003 PC notebook that will run Vista . . . or Windows 7 . . . well enough to be useful.

@hamster
1) wrong . . . macs run more software because they can run Vista AND OS X
2)wrong . . . one hackers view is not the last word. real world . . . for any number of reasons . . . macs are not taken out of service with security problems like PCs so they are more secure
3)wrong . . . see @Steve Wildstrom above . . . they have a longer useful life
4)correct . . . but a very small part of the market
5)wrong . . . you act as if you know Steve Jobs . . . and we all know you don't. They keep their trades secrets secret for a good reason . . . it allows Apple to have success with them before their competitors COPY them. Is there anyone else out there innovating like Apple? Unlike you I WANT competition in the marketplace . . . I want other companies putting pressure on Apple so that they are forced to bring their prices down when they can no longer sell at a premium . . . but I also want them to make money when they put out good products so they can keep the innovation machine on at full speed.

g2ok

January 21, 2009 01:28 PM

There is no doubt that OSX is a superior UNIX operating system which far more stable than Windows. Depending on what you do and your finances, the premium for a MacBook is up to you. I do agree that Apple missed the mark on the laptop updates this season. Apple's problem is that it thinks their computers are luxury items and people will fork over big bucks when the economy is in crisis. While a new Mac would be nice, it's just not affordable to many families and businesses. I expect the gap to be blown wide open once Windows 7 is released.

Turkey

January 21, 2009 01:28 PM

I've used both. I like Macs a lot, and I think they're a great product. When it came time to buy a new computer I looked at the cost of a PC laptop with good specs vs. a Mac laptop with great specs. For the stuff I need to do for law school (word processing, internet, note-taking) the huge price differential made the decision for me. I bought the Dell M1330.

Was the Mac a better machine? Would a high-end PC (Thinkpad) cost almost as much with similar specs? (Yes on both counts)

Why would I do something so stupid as to buy a PC, then? Because it was what I needed. The Mac may have had a marginally longer lifespan, and higher quality components, but it was more than I needed. I needed something that works for what I need. I don't need to make a fashion statement. If something went wrong with it (my last Dell laptop is 3 years old and going strong) I could replace it once (with a newer machine) and still spend less than the cost of the Mac.

In the end, even OSX isn't that great, it's just an operating system. It may have given me a tiny bit less trouble than Vista, but certainly not $1000 plus less trouble.

TexasToast

January 21, 2009 01:29 PM

According to basic economics, the value of an item equals what people are willing to pay. For those that purchase them, the Apple products (be it iPod, laptop, whatever) have a value equal or exceeding their price.

This type of arbitrary, partial feature comparison is a meaningless and waste of time.

Paul

January 21, 2009 01:30 PM

I completely agree - Macs are too expensive, thus over-rated. I bought my first non-mac laptop ever last week. I got a Comparable Sony with HD screen from BestBuy...it was so cheap that it was cheaper for me to repurchase Adobe for PC! Guess I'm done with macs - I don't know what all the complaints about Vista are about...it's pretty fabulous - works much like MacOS, even has widgets (gadgets).

delusional mac users

January 21, 2009 01:33 PM

the virus argument is a dying one - macs are extremely vulnerable, actually.

Harvey

January 21, 2009 01:34 PM

I have bought Dell and I have bought Apple. Even if the Mac were more expensive, which I doubt, it's worth the difference. Apple actually has customer support, and they will bend over backwards to make me happy. On top of that, I don't have an endless parade of patches, and I don't have to pay an annual fee to avoid viruses. Then there is quality. At work, we got a shipment of Dell laptops, all of which were missing a screw on the bottom. The case didn't fit too well.

Even if you could prove to me that Apple is more expensive--oh, pardon me while I yawn.

Dumbiste

January 21, 2009 01:37 PM

Interesting comments from all here. I would just add my thoughts to the fry. In our household there are MacBooks, IBM Thinkpads, iMacs, HPs and gray boxes, runing, of course, OSX, XP, Vista, Win2K, Ubuntu and CentOS. In my experience I cannot tell that one OS is much better than another, all have good parts and bad parts. One OS can be better for some people and can be not as good for other people. For me OSX is very frustrating, but that's me. It has great features, but for what I need is too closed and not much support. For other people though it might be perfect. Therefore a month ago when I needed a laptop I went for a Lenovo T61. Is it as nice looking as a MacBook pro? No. But I paid far less for better hardware. Plus it does the job it was bought for. For me a Linux/Vista combination does the job. Are they perfect? No. There is room for improvement in all of them. But I find Ubuntu 8.10 a very satisfying experience for what I need. I also think that when you buy an Apple you pay a premium for being in 'exclusive' club. Are they taking better care of you? Yes. So they do when you get to service your BMW. However if you are a tinkerer you might want to do things yourself. That's a better experience for you. As for lasting, I have a IBM Thinkpad that's 4 years old and runs the same, I have an IBM desktop that's 8 years old and it finaly gave up. It all depends where are you coming from and where you're going.

Harvey

January 21, 2009 01:42 PM

With the Mac, I have never tried to do something trivial at bedtime, only to find myself banging my fist on my desk at 3:00 saying, "Why won't it work?" With the Mac, I have never had a catastrophic failure that caused me to rebuild my computer from the ground up.

A Mac would straighten my teeth and cure my love life, but it does give me better sleep and more free time.

zeuskris

January 21, 2009 01:43 PM

I don't understand why people keep saying that PCs crash and MACs don't.
I bought a custom HP pavilion laptop 2 years ago for $1800. It hasn't crashed yet..other than occasional reboots as the processor gets heated up...which a laptop cooling pad would easily solve.
And i also don't agree with people saying that lifetime of a laptop is 1 year. It seems foolish to me to throw $1500+ for a laptop every year. It shows that either you don't know how to maintain a laptop or your dad is super rich.

David

January 21, 2009 01:46 PM

To me, the big point is that this article is incredibly misleading and does a disservice to those trying to pick between Macs and PCs. Specifically, it presents an ostensible pricing analysis that seeks to compare products on some narrow points (a handful of components), while implicitly (and explicitly at times) downplaying other factors. That certainly isn't how you compare cars, or, in fact, any other product in which performance, utility, reliability, and overall fit, finish, and durability are critical factors. Ford and Honda, for example, may share some common parts, but only a fool, I think, would publish an article touting how the Honda is higher in price -- and falsely implying that all else is equal. I can tell you, as someone who has used Macs and PCs both at home and in business, that price is really the least of it. Important, but not enough to warrant a headline.

KT

January 21, 2009 01:47 PM

I wonder why there is no market for Mac in Asia except in Japan. Are they too poor for Mac? Or every laptop in Japan is as pricy as Mac?

Mike

January 21, 2009 01:50 PM

"...and other support issues and the fact that Macs tend to be replaced less frequently, means the TCO over the life of the product is less than a comparable Win laptop..."

Behold, the average ignorant mac-fan. They have the same hardware, genius. It doesn't magically last longer because the components were assembled in an Apple factory.

If anything, Macs get replaced less because their owners can't afford a new one. Their hardware breaks just as frequently, their hardware becomes obsolete just as frequently.

"My state gov't IT shop uses HP laptops and replace them very quickly. Most get replaced within 3 years, desktops as well."

3 years is not "very quickly".

LOL

January 21, 2009 01:56 PM

Nerd Fight. *slapslapslapslap*

SakuraDensetsu

January 21, 2009 02:08 PM

You are making the same mistake in comparing hardware that 99% of people do. There are other components of the computer to conscider which most people completely miss. Dell is notorious for using substandard motherboards.

The call center I work in had Dell support here until just a few months ago until Dell went 100% indian support. They constantly have issues with systems being put on the market with Motherboards designed to crap out early on purpose, or have other limits placed on them. Using what would normally be decent boards and having special versions made just for Dell cheaper.

Borderman

January 21, 2009 02:14 PM

I never bought a cell phone before, except the cheapest ones offered for little or no cost with plans. Never was into cell phone. But once the Iphone came I more than willingly paid the $300.00 price. Why? My experience with Ipod and Itunes. If I could afford, I would not hesitate to buy Apple computers. I do not have experience with Apples operating system, but based on my experience with Ipod, Iphone and Itunes, I am certain it will be as good as Windows would be, that is, in 2020. The only thing I don't like about Apple is that it is a teaser in adding simple technologies to its products, like radio and restricting the software capabilities of Iphone such as playing songs from your play list when the alarm goes off. You can do this with Ipod. I hope Apple people read this and adds the mentioned function.

Mike

January 21, 2009 02:15 PM

@schininis

1) Wrong. Given that modern macs are simply PCs with OSX installed, there's no difference between a mac and a PC in this regard. A mac can run vista and a PC can just as easily run OSX. However, calling a mac running vista a "mac" is disingenuous at best and intellectually dishonest at worst. Reality is that the suite of software available for windows is leaps and bounds more varied than it is for OSX.

2) Security through obscurity. If you really want to take this route, you're obligated to concede that, in this regard, while OSX may be superior to windows, it's inferior to essentially every other OS out there. Security experts do NOT consider security through obscurity to be a genuine form of security. That mindset relies not on the fact that people are UNABLE to infiltrate your system - simply on the fact that they're not TRYING.

3) Wrong. They do not have a longer useful life - particularly the modern ones that are using identical hardware as PCs. A Core2 duo 2.4GHZ does not become obsolete more slowly because it was put into a motherboard in an Apple factory instead of a Dell factory. Doing so also does not reduce the frequency of hardware malfunctions, which are generally limited to components with moving parts to begin with (PSU, drives, fans).

When all is said and done, you're basically paying for a pretty case. That's the functional difference.

T.H.

January 21, 2009 02:19 PM

At the end of the day, it all comes down to a matter of preference plus what value you place on a product or service. And when I say value I don’t mean in monetary terms. If a product or service offers value to you as the consumer for an attribute that is worth the price, then you will pay for it.

I personally prefer PC’s running Microsoft Windows. I have been using IBM compatible PC’s since 1983…DOS, Windows 3.0 all the way up to the current Win 7 beta install I have on one of my computers. In over 25 years of computer usage I have gotten 2 virus’s, none actually damaged the OS. I have called tech support a total of zero times in over 25 years! I currently have 2 desktops, and 2 laptop’s. I don’t normally care to spend a lot of money on hardware although I’m planning to buy a new laptop about 9 months from now. The desktops are Dell and purchased new in 2001 and 2003, both are running perfectly. The laptop I’m typing on right now was given to me and is a 5 year old Dell; I added more memory but other than that, it is quick and never crashes. The other laptop is a 4-year old ASUS that runs just fine, it has the Win7 beta install, pretty slick. Granted, I am not a novice user, I do know how to keep my computers “clean” and running efficiently; it really doesn’t take much time at all.

I’ve used Apple computers in grade school and the original Mac of my college roommate at various times. I recently spent a week using my sisters 17” Macbook Pro when I was visiting her. There are things I like about OSX, and there are things that I do not. During the time I spent with the MBP I had the following problems: 1) wouldn’t talk to my sisters new HP printer, took me many hours to figure out, later stopped printing. 2) installed Parallels and the install CD got stuck in the drive and I tried several methods to eject the cd including typing commands in the terminal window, eventually stuck a pair of scissors in there, I believe the case expanded due to how hot the MBP runs. There were some other nagging little problems. My intentions for spending a week exclusively with a MBP was because I considered switching. But I never cared for the operation of OSX, it just wasn’t compelling enough for me.

I have no idea what people are doing with their PC’s to have them crash so much, virus’s, or have to buy a new one every year or two. I gave my 8 year old Dell desktop to my parents a year ago. They have not had any problems and they are far from savvy computer users. They just use it to surf the net, check email, and view pictures of their grandkids. I would certainly welcome a switch to a Mac but that machine would have to be absolutely perfect because I never have problems with my Windows powered machines. However, up to this point, Mac’s are not 100% trouble free, therefore, I can’t justify the price of a Mac when I have perfectly running PC’s that utilize a much more open platform with more software choices.

So its not about PC vs. Mac or which one is superior, it depends on the consumers' needs and preferences. I'm a car guy and enjoy BMW's, i've owned several. I am willing to pay for the steering feedback, suspension feel, smooth engine and overall driving experience. My friend will not buy anything fancier than a Honda Civic. I'm not going to tell her how much better a BMW is than a Civic because it means nothing to her. She only values price and gas mileage, driving briskly down a curvy road in a BMW has no value to her life, thus not worth the price premium. The Civic does just fine for her needs.

MAC FAN by experience

January 21, 2009 02:20 PM

Let us not forget the advantages that MAC has over windows in terms of viruses, phishing and ease of use with no frustration to go through like some friends of mine experienced while Vista took upto 10 minutes to load on their brand new IBMs. Now, I think we should be concerned about that for sure.

Another major point- I have had iBook for over 3 years which has outlasted my old SONY (hardly lasted a lil over 2 years)and all my friends' (who use windows) Dells, SONYs HPs and IBMs. The friends who use MACs are equally happy as I am.

One more point- You can buy 5-6 softwares for MAC that do much diverse jobs for you for the same amount you can buy only MS office...

naack

January 21, 2009 02:23 PM

i choose windows over osx for software availability. ( cad ) no dont tell me there are good cad software for mac cuz there isn't. sometimes i wonder if macs were made on windows lol

also about the virus thing. u must be out of u'r mind or live in a bubble. sorry to burst it but u need an anti virus for u'r mac os. sure mac os has less viruses but it is not have immunity to viruses trojans and malware. so in the end u'd need an anti virus.

sure they are well designed thats something i hate about pcs.

jsut heads up to all windows seven is heading its way and seems like its on the right track. tested the beta. seems like microsoft are starting to use their heads.

david

January 21, 2009 02:24 PM

you can tell that the author of this article is a windows user. Why else would they not even consider the relative merits of the operating systems? And that is the most prominent difference in the two computers. As poorly as Windows is designed and for all the trouble it will cause you, I would conclude that the MacBook is a relative bargain. But I would rather use a typewriter than a Windows machine.

SizroSpunkmire

January 21, 2009 02:25 PM

@schininis

Look up IBM Thinkpad on Ebay. Windows based PC...7 to 9 years old and still going strong.

Using the useable length of a product doesn't validate it being any better then something else as I just showed you.

OSX retails for $150. That's it. Knock that price off and you're still over paying by $500.

Dante

January 21, 2009 02:34 PM

To "Stephen Wildstrom": See what happens when you leave the Cult? Trying to do a piece based on facts and figures? The Apple Cult members promptly ignore all evidences to the contrary and just repeat the standard Apple sermons / advertisements. And obviously, reading is not fundamental to these cultists as they blithely regurgitated the sermons even though missives were posted here proving otherwise.

PDE

January 21, 2009 02:35 PM

I just priced the dell system and included the following options to make it comparable to the macbook pro:

1. 2.4ghz core2duo
2. Windows vista ULTIMATE
3. High resolution LED display
4. Superdrive
5. 245mb nvidia 8600M Gt (not as good as the MBP but the closest you can get)
6. wireless N minicard
7. Internal bluetooth
8. Adobe photoshop elements (ilife is better, but that's subjective i suppose)


You only get 2gb ram with the MBP, but then again OS X uses memory much better so maybe it's draw. HDD definitely smaller on MBP.

With these additions - and they don't all match up or equal the MBP - the Dell will cost $1653. And that's not considering the design, OS and service quality advantages of the Apple computer.

I think this was a good example of sloppy reporting and you should consider changing your article to reflect reality.

clarus

January 21, 2009 02:38 PM

I agree with those who point out the value in a machine that runs OS X and virtually every other OS on the planet, but must disagree totally with those who insist on adding software to the PC in order to "equal" iLife.

Business user: value of iLife is less than zero because it's software that encourages employees to do non-work related things with their computer.

Home user: have any of you Mac people actually looked at the bundled software on name brand PCs? You'd be surprised what you get free.

This comparison is in the notebook space, an area where Apple does quite well. Apple is not doing well in the desktop competition because their emphasis is on style and energy consumption. Every component of a Mac desktop is a generation or two behind the PC world making it nearly impossible to do a fair comparison. Bargain PCs using the same old components have cheap construction. Better quality PCs have much newer, better components. It appears that Apple doesn't care if it never sells another desktop computer.

g2ok

January 21, 2009 02:40 PM

Yep, age old question.

I remember debating getting an Apple IIe or a C64 back in the day.

Bunny

January 21, 2009 02:45 PM

The author of the article is correct, but I guess is learning a lesson in questioning the church of Apple.

The Apple fanatics take no prisoners when they smell an Apple traitor.

Apple is a bad company, but what has driven me away from Macs is the constant irrational defending of Apple by the zombie like followers. Apple is not likely to improve as a company if they hear a deafening crescendo of fanatics screaming that Apple always get it right.

The Mac I will never upgrade has always crashed a few times a day. I have never owned a Mac that was not DOA... that is ~10 Macs. Fanatics will lie and tell you that their beloved systems never break down, are more reliable, and never crash. XP SP2 makes OSX look flaky. Any claim to the contrary should be seen as a rehearsed amateur advertising spiel.

Matt

January 21, 2009 02:47 PM

The people who say you're buying a "package" and that Mac OS is "worth it"

umm..... You can install MacOS X on any 32-bit computer now. It has a cost of $200 if you're paying for it.

So you'd rather spend (in this case) an extra $400 (The OS is valued at $200 so I took that off ther price difference) just for the OS? Sounds like Microsoft is more than fair in their OS pricing then :P

Randy

January 21, 2009 02:49 PM

I buy Apple (MBP) for a number of reasons which I think are valid.

1. Build Quality: Aluminum and glass are much more resistant to scratching, cracking, melting, etc. After years of use, aluminum notebooks show far less wear than PC notebooks.
2. OSX: Its easy to keep OSX maintained and running smoothly. Run a few scripts once a month and reboot once and a while and OSX will continue to run at the same speed as the day you loaded it, unlike Windows.
3. Developer community: There is a pile of very useful and innovative freeware and shareware for Mac. If you find a program for Mac, it almost always has a slick interface and is easy to use. There is a lot of freeware available for Windows, but you have to wade through heaps of crapware to find it.
4. Apple phases out legacy hardware and software: This keeps the Apple ecosystem up-to-date and not weighed down by old systems.
5. User experience: I like the overall user experience better than Windows, but that's just my opinion. (built-in drivers, hi-res screens, continuous OSX improvements, innovative features, etc.)
6. Resale value: I can usually sell my old system for 40-50% of the purchase price after 3 years. This is NEVER true of PCs.
7. Apple hardware can run Windows if you need specific software.
8. I've never owned an Apple that needed repair. (Apple IIe, LC, Performa 637CD, Powerbook 5300, Powerbook 1400, Powermac G4 "AGP", iMac G5, and Macbook Pro 2.16 (early '06).

Pde

January 21, 2009 03:01 PM

The problem is how evaluate and quantify the value of elegance, smooth operation and general lack of hassle? I use both pcs and macs and gladly pay whatever premium there is to be able to get away from the windows world. It's not about snobbery, it's about having a really enjoyable and troublefree daily computer experience. That's worth tons, to me

Teepee

January 21, 2009 03:02 PM

People buy Macs for the same reason we drink Starbucks...'status & atmosphere' over 'normal and distasteful'.

Apple seems to agree, judging by their marketing. You'll notice that Mac users never complain over price. Not ever.

Tito184

January 21, 2009 03:03 PM

I bought a macbook and surprisingly have to spend more time trying to fix it than the windows machine. So I'm not too sure about the whole "mac's take less time to maintain" comments.

There are definite pluses to owning my mac, but my friends that "converted me" never told me about the minuses that take forever to fix. I now regret my purchase.

In short, I kind of regret buying my mac.

Rob

January 21, 2009 03:04 PM

How about factoring resale value - I'm pretty sure the apple will have more value. The PC computer will end up polluting a someones landfill. Any cost analysis usually factors this in. I've wasted too much time dealing with pc issues to ever turn back.

Leo

January 21, 2009 03:06 PM

Very sloppy reporting. You choose a couple options and think they are more or less equal? As noted in the above comments, once you consider the other spcifications, and attempt to equate them, the price is par. And this is considering that with Macs you get the OS, stability, design, and ergonomics, with less intitial crapware and junk you get with the Dell. And with apple you get much better costumer experience.

Truth in Hyperbole

January 21, 2009 03:11 PM

We've got an article here comparing an Apple laptop with a Dell laptop that is pretty much hinging it's whole argument around the fact that they both use a 2.4 Ghz Core 2 Duo. Never mind that the Mac is using a more current/faster 2.4 Ghz (P8600 vs T8300), a faster frontside bus (1066 Mhz vs 800Mhz), faster memory (1066MHz PC3-8500 DDR3 vs 667MHz PC2-5300 DDR2) and faster graphics (GeForce 9400M with 256MB of GDDR3 SDRAM and GeForce 9600M GT with 256MB vs Geforce 8600M GT with 256MB). All of these specs are easily found, but we can ignore these "minor" details to create a story with this great attention-getting title.

But that's not the worst sin of this article. One overlooked detail is that there is a MacBook Pro out there that is EXACTLY like the Dell that it is compared to (Same CPU, same Bus speed, same memory speed, same graphic card). This last generation model is still available through resellers. Do a google search on MB075LL/A and you will find it can be had for $1399.

If you had truly done a fair comparison with this model, would this article of ever existed??

new topic

January 21, 2009 03:17 PM

Refreshing to see a new topic like PC vs. Mac stirring up new arguments.

Why do people try to convince others that what they prefer is better for others? If you want a mac get one, if not, don't. Pretty simple.

Your user experience and/or bank account level does not have anything to do with how anyone else interacts with technology on a daily basis.

Seanmc

January 21, 2009 03:20 PM

I had a lot of PC's and a lot of friends with PC's. I now have a MACbook. The quality difference between the two products is absolutely obvious. PC's have a lot of useless garbage that sells. Windows is the main reason though. Unless MAC quality changes, ill pay the extra so I never have to use Windows again.

Harvey

January 21, 2009 03:25 PM

I keep hearing about how the Mac has security by obscurity. Since when is the Mac obscure? Why don't I see a post from a certified geek asking, "What's a Mac?" Is there anyone who has the skills to write malware who has not heard about Macs?

It's obviously easy to write a virus for Windows, but writing a virus for a Mac would really be an accomplishment--and a very public pie in the face to all those insufferably smug Mac users like me. So why hasn't anyone done it?

OS X is certified UNIX 03, along with AIX, HP-UX, and Solaris 10. OS X has no viruses, because UNIX has no viruses--not because Apple is special, but because UNIX is.

Someday a virus will come, but I don't think I'll live to see the day.

R Perkins

January 21, 2009 03:26 PM

It is all about frustration!!!!
MicroSoft=frustration-always!
...
Try spending hours downloading Windows 7 (not even as good as System 7!) You have to have Vista to get it to upgrade? Nowhere at MS's site do they tell you that!
What about the millions of PC IT people?-you don't need even one if you use a Mac-Genius bar!
"YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR"
And face it, MS didn't pay Doug Englebart one cent for his mouse or his desktop platform! Apple bought it and made it better. So go ahead and stay frustrated by saving $400!

Tim

January 21, 2009 03:33 PM

I bought this model for Christmas from Amazon.
$1998 base price

$100 instant rebate
$100 mail in rebate (which I got in the mail yesterday)

Final cost: $1798

So..not that big a difference eh?

Aldon Brewer

January 21, 2009 03:34 PM

I agree, it's amazing to me as someone who sits firmly in the PC camp to watch both sides argue for their love.

There have been lots of comments about how awesome Apple is, but it usually comes down to "It doesn't crash" or some other reliability statement.

ALL COMPUTERS CRASH. I don't care WHAT you are running under the hood. It is the nature of chaos that some computers will work just fine while others (from the same brand/company) will crash like crazy. Apple has made this a little easier by integrating the OS into the hardware better. But this is because they own proprietary trademarks on the hardware. PCs are much more "open source" in the sense that some systems will differ greatly in hardware spex.

I've seen it all on both sides and I'm firmly convinced that it all depends on who won your heart first. I'm still pining for Commodore to come back from the dead and make me an Amiga 10000000

;)

LOL at mac users

January 21, 2009 03:42 PM

Do any of you mac users understand why Apple says it's OS is "virus free"? Well you think you do. "OSX is soooo awesome durrrrr". It recent times more and more people are starting to use macs. However the amount of mac users during the PC dominated market were dwarfed in comparison. Yes it's still PC dominated. My point... you don't get viruses because hardly anyone is writing them. It would be like trying to spend millions on making a movie that you know will only sell 5 tickets. It's not worth their time. Looking ahead, if Apple keeps their clever marketing and you mac fanboys/girls keep bragging enough, macs will assuredly get a bigger market share. With that, more viruses.

Fez

January 21, 2009 03:47 PM

You can’t compare Dell to an Apple.
Apple is in the fashion business and Dell and HP are in the Computer business.
I have observed that most Mac users fit a certain type of profile, which includes an absolute lack of knowledge of compute hardware. This includes folks who barely know how to push a power button. I am sure Steve Jobs looks at the Apple keyboard every day and beats his head asking, why does it have 103 (or whatever) keys ..LOL.
I personally find OS-X to be a toy OS , like a nice skin on a Unix or Linux distro...I begin wonder, till how long Apple will peddle expensive hardware just to keep selling their toy OS

Andrew Aversa

January 21, 2009 03:48 PM

It's funny that people bring up longevity and customer service with Macs. Here's a little story. In early 2005 I picked up a new laptop - a Dell Inspiron. This computer has never needed a repair. I have formatted it once, not due to viruses or spyware but simply to start fresh after having installed a lot of apps. I've needed a new battery, but that's a given.

In 2005, my fiancé got a Macbook Pro. A key popped off in 2007 - Apple wanted to charge her over $200 to fix this. I'm not kidding. A key popped off, and due to the design of the keybed, needed to charge $200 to replace that ONE key. I had to argue very hard w/ CS on her behalf, spending several days going back and forth between their phone support and a local Mac repair store, before I managed to get them to waive the charge. Not exactly what I'd call good CS though given the time spent.

She also needed a new battery for her machine TWICE because the connector kept getting damaged. I'm glad Apple fixed that issue.

In late '07 she got a new laptop, a new model Core 2 Duo MBP. 8 months down the line, it just randomly booted into a black screen with some random prompt. I didn't have a clue why. Neither did Apple's phone support, who I spent hours on the phone with. The CS nightmare between the phone support and the local Apple store cannot even be described. To make a long story short, I had to go there on three separate occasions and leave it with them for over a week in total.

They "repaired" it several times and sent it back with us, only for us to find that the problem was still there. We were forgotten about at least once. The "Geniuses" were never able to tell us WHY the problem was being caused. Their solution was to keep wiping all the files and then migrating the old data. Of course, every time we'd do this, the problem came back. We asked why, and if there was a way to find out what the source of the problems was (they had no idea.) Ultimately, their best solution was for us to format yet again and then manually drag and drop every last file and app over.

What a load of bull. We wasted so much time and my fiancé went without a functional laptop for a total of about two weeks, only to find that neither Apple nor the "Geniuses" knew ANYTHING about what was causing the problem or how we could avoid it in the future. Meanwhile, my Dell laptop is still running like a charm.

Marc

January 21, 2009 03:51 PM

I have always owned Windows-compliant computers since I got my first one at 16.

My current machine is 5 years ago, frequently upgraded for performance sake, but still has the original XP OS it came with. Never had an issue except for catastrophic sibling/parental stupidity (OOOO, luv_me screensaver from.. Cheryl?, that must be harmless, right?)

I don't think I would ever own a Mac since I am mostly a gamer (and thus change hardware quite often), and Mac's niche doesn't accommodate a lot of titles, but I recognize the appeal of their brand of OS.

I suppose it just depends on what niche they occupy (less monopoly/more "popular" = more software/more malware?)
and what kind of user is using it?

I think Windows gets a bad rap mostly because it lets dumb people do bad things to its customizable operating system. Mac OS's just don't let you tinker under the engine very much. Maybe its for the best.

Pde

January 21, 2009 03:51 PM

It's not about convincing anyone that macs
Are better. It's about commenting on really poor reporting that is selectively choosing items to compare in order to get readers. I couldn't care less about what other people think about which system is better.

Fred

January 21, 2009 04:11 PM

These comments lead inexorably to the conclusions that (1) the article is simply wrong that Macs are "really overpriced"; and (2) it's nice that consumers have a choice between PCs and Macs.

It seems pretty clear that, in terms of raw componentry, Dell laptop doesn't really compare to the MacBook Pro. Each component appears to be both slower and reflect an older generation of technology. Does that mean it is "worse" in any practical sense? Probably not. Few would not the performance differences in the real world. Yet, if you are going to compare, you need to be honest about this kind of detail. The author was either ignorant or dishonest. Shame on him. That a journal like Business Week would publish this kind of slipshod article is troubling. I guess accuracy in promotion ("Hmmm. Macs May Cost a Little More") doesn't generate click-throughs.

Jon Boyd

January 21, 2009 04:21 PM

Wow,

A lot of opinions on this.

I am responsible for 11 Windows machines and six Macs. I'm happy to use the Windows machines where they are required because of software.

But for the times when I choose what operating system I'm on, it will always be the Macs. OSX is just a great OS.

I evaluated the laptop comparison in 2008 and even though I could have bought XP or Vista machines for hundreds less, buying four MacBooks was more prudent because I value my time and other than backups I've not needed to do a thing to the Macs.

Jon Boyd Ann Arbor Real Estate Buyer's Broker

Hamster-Eater

January 21, 2009 04:41 PM

What planet are you from, Hamster? Have ever USED anything EXCEPT Vista?? Try using more than ONE o/s before you post a todo list.

Another Randy

January 21, 2009 05:02 PM

I enjoyed the fellow who claimed iLife encouraged employees to slack off, when so many games of Minesweeper are being played all over the world.

I've used iLife (iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, Garageband, iWeb) to make business presentations that have blown socks off. I can't buy an equivalent capability on Windows.

Apple has an unfair advantage. The software people work under the same roof as the hardware and OS people. They can collaborate, butt heads, and solve problems. This makes the user experience very satisfying, and is a source of the much - commented customer loyalty.

This tight integration is not possible with PC's, as the supply chain will always be spread across multiple vendors that communicate little, if at all, and are driven primarily by price.

The less expensive Macbook has very similar internals to the Pro in a smaller size, I'd like to see that comparison with Dell.

AJ

January 21, 2009 05:15 PM

Andrew Aversa:
Sounds like you got one of the few bad apples. ;) As for the key popping off, I have taken apart quite a few macbook pros on custom projects and unless she broke off the actual key connections the key can just be popped back on.
Every computer and every OS has its own problems and quirks. I have owned many of both operating systems, and haven't had any major issues. The reason I choose to own a MacBook Pro over a windows based laptop is simple: I don't pay the retail price, but instead find it for a better deal locally or on ebay, usually for $200-300 cheaper than retail. I have bought and sold over 6 laptops in the past year and a half. The windows based HP I paid $900 for, and it couldn't even sell for $300 5 months later. Every one of the 5 macs I have bought (ranging from $500-2400), then used, then sold I have either sold for basically the same price I paid or in a lot of the cases more. You can say this is due to fanboys being stupid and paying more, but this argument over which one is better will never end as people have their opinions. For me, Macs hold their value while PCs drop steeply. I like both, but since I go through a computer so fast it doesn't make sense financially to buy a PC. Now if I stuck with one computer until it died...I'd probably still choose a mac as they are built to last longer. I can run XP, Vista, or the new 7 on my Mac just fine, legally. All of the hacks to run OSX on a pc are technically illegal as they violate the EULA or whatever Apple calls it. Flame away, my life doesn't revolve around forums or what other people think of me.

Aaron

January 21, 2009 05:23 PM

I love how the Mac fangirls keep acting like Vista crashes nonstop, as if vista users spend 90% of their time fixing blue screens.

I have been using vista for about 2 years. I have had one blue screen of death, and that was from bad ram... once i replaced the ram (15 mins down time), it worked great. I had no down time due to the fact that my old computer had 2 GB ram so i took out the broken one till corsiar replaced the ram.

So if you look at it my current up time is over 99.9%.

Pde

January 21, 2009 05:23 PM

It's not about convincing anyone that macs
Are better. It's about commenting on really poor reporting that is selectively choosing items to compare in order to get readers. I couldn't care less about what other people think about which system is better.

Brian

January 21, 2009 05:53 PM

Wow, your comparison really brought out the Apple Jihad, didn't it?

Here's the low-down -- if you buy Apple, you're buying a closed, crippled, proprietary system built out of standard hardware with a MASSIVE markup.

Apple hardware is just generic Intel hardware in a pretty case priced 50% to 200% more than any other systems vendor will sell it to you for.

Apple's OS is a hacked-together derivative of the open-source BSD operating system that you can download on any old PC.

Basically, Apple has made some cosmetic adjustments to standard hardware and software and added a HUGE premium for a pretty case and fancy glowing logo.

Of course, Apple users will insist that Windows is horrible while Macs never crash (false), that Apple has no viruses or security problems (false), or that Intel-designed hardware stuck inside an Apple case is magically better than Intel-designed hardware stuck inside an HP or Dell case (false).

What they can never, ever do is produce a machine that is truly a good VALUE.

If you're an average user and want to spend under a grand, Apple will sell you a flimsy plastic MacBook with three-year-old hardware for twice the price of an equivalent-specced Wintel machine.

If you want a decent experience with a mid-range Apple system, you have no choice but to spend a minimum of two grand.

Average users want value and performance. That's why average users steer clear of Apple computers -- they're an overpriced luxury brand stuck on generic hardware in an economy that's refocusing on value.

Teris

January 21, 2009 05:56 PM

As Merlin Mann put it once, Trying to explain the Mac experience to a Windows users is like trying to explain Van Halen to a horse. Pound for pound, the hardware is at a premium, but the experience out of the box is literally incomparable- you get what you pay for....

Objective Consumer

January 21, 2009 06:00 PM

Hi I just want to say is $600 worth your human life? What about your dog and humans life? I bought a dell computer and I think it almost blew up. It got very hot on my lap, not to mention the viri (viruses for all you windows users). The computer viri were nasti but i also think i got a bacterium or parasite from the packaging. Then let's talk about the OS. No competition. I think it took 3 hours just to change my wallpaper in vista while a baby could do some serious programming on OSX.is your life worth the risk?

Reese

January 21, 2009 06:10 PM

REALLY? A Mac vs. PC article? Grow up.

Macbook laptop fires

January 21, 2009 06:21 PM

To Objective Consumer: So you have never heard of the Macbook fires? I read about them occasionally. Don't remember if it was due to the laptop and/or the battery. Various companies supply batteries to Dell, Sony, Apple, etc. Therefore, battery defects and fires affect everyone. Plus, you have to remember, Apple products are manufactured in China and Taiwan by ASUS, Foxconn and other electronics contract manufacturers so it's not like they are immune to manufacturing defects.

http://www.appletell.com/apple/comment/exploding-macs-are-back/

http://forums.mactalk.com.au/29/28926-macbook-inferno.html

Also, if it took you 3 hours to change the wallpaper on Vista you have some problems intellectually and/or mentally. You could have searched for the task or simply went into 'Display' properties, it's pretty self explanatory and common amongst most operating systems.

Grant Johnson

January 21, 2009 06:52 PM

Yes, but you forgot that 2gb of ram on the Macbook is ddr3 not the dell's ddr2. The dell over a 5 year period needs $500 worth of yearly virus protection. Word costs a hole lot more the iwork does. Also i've been using the same mac since 2001, my best friend has gone through probably four high end dell desktops. Yes macs are more expensive, but they last a heck of a lot longer and don't need software fixes.

Tayster

January 21, 2009 06:55 PM

You might want to take a look at the $999 Macbook. http://www.apple.com/macbook/white/specs.html

Today Apple quietly upgraded the specs on the 13" Macbook. No formal announcement. Yes, the processor is 2.0 GHz, but now has 2GB RAM and 320GB hard drive. Since the front side bus is much faster than the Dell, it compares extremely favorably. So here's a question: Would you pay $325 more dollars for a screen two inches bigger on the Dell?

mrfearless47

January 21, 2009 07:07 PM

For all who said that Apple's machines, especially the new laptops introduced in October, are overpriced: look at today's financials from Apple. Apple increased 9% in Mac sales for the last quarter of calendar 2008, compared to a -3% in the rest of the PC market. This is in total sales, before profits are counted. To say that this economy can't handle the pricing of the Apple laptop is simply not true. What is happening parallels what is happening at my local BMW dealer. Premium products that are well made, have a low TCO, and good longevity will continue to sell. I've owned dozens of PCs, managed a department with hundreds of PCs in an educational environment, and they were always a headache and lots of lost time spent reformatting hard drives, reinstalling Windows, etc. When I retired and after Apple went to Intel processors I switched to find out what all the shouting was about. I bought one of the first MacBook Pros. I still have it. I now have, in addition, a unibody MacBook Pro, a 2.8 GHz iMac, a black MacBook, and two Mac Pros (a 2.66 GHz Quad Core and a 3.0 GHz Octocore). They are all networked together in my home and have been happily running without issue for as long as they've been in service. No muss, no fuss, no dishpan hands. My daughter drives a computer harder than any kid I know with her constant downloading of EVERYTHING in site. I have no parental controls enabled, and aside from having to upgrade the hardrive on her Blackbook, she's been trouble free for over 2.5 years.

I've experienced nothing like this in the computer world. I've used and serviced Dells, IBMs, Compaqs and HPs and none of given me the service and performance I get from the Mac.

Moreover, the allegation that we Mac users are all a bunch of elite snobs who know nothing about computers, is simply not true. Some of the most elegantly written software is written for the Mac. I write in multiple languages for the Mac - Objective C, REALBasic, Python, and Ruby and I am more productive with the Apple supplied Tools (OK not for REALBasic) than with any of the tools available freely for the Windows world.

To me the price differential is about the total experience, not simply the front end cost. Like with the BMW and the Lexus, you simply get what you pay for. If I want a trouble-free, hassle-free and mostly repair free experience, I'll stick with Apple. If I want to buy the cheapest computer, I'll look to Dell.

Fernando

January 21, 2009 07:08 PM

Macs are not expensive, you are poor.

Dave

January 21, 2009 07:30 PM

My daughter goes to a school with many "cheaper" Dell computers in their IT lab. The IT staff cannot keep them all running, so there is always a shortage and someone is left out in the cold. Not my daughter though, she takes her two year old white MacBook to school and joins the wireless network so she can get her work done.

Nick T.

January 21, 2009 07:35 PM

i've been a mac user for over 20 years and am so ticked off that my G5 needs a new mother board that it makes me wonder about the QC and engineering over at apple, of course i am biased if i say they are overpriced...

IONLYUSEOSX

January 21, 2009 07:37 PM

1.79 million laptops sold during Apple's Q1 with $3.6 billion in cash generated during the quarter, giving Apple $28.1 billion in cash overall.

Apple makes high quality products and it's customers know this and are willing to pay for it.

I believe Apple's latest quarterly results puts this article to rest by a long shot.

Apple reports record profit for first quarter
http://www.macworld.com/article/138362/2009/01/earnings.html

Objective Consumer

January 21, 2009 07:43 PM

@macbook fires

everyone knows those fires were set with GASOLINE by either Dell or terrorists. I think we're all above irresponsible and misleading hyperlinking. let's be big boys and girls.

2. not only did it take me 3 hours to change the wallpaper, my computer crashed right after I changed it to my fav desu design. not only did it crash but i think my hard drive totally died. I would have tried to turn it on but getting help from Dell CS on how to turn on a crashed computer is like asking Barry Bonds to stop using steroids.

Nick H

January 21, 2009 08:14 PM

I think an obvious problem with this comparison is the lack of home-built prices. I've built the last 3 computers that I have used, and the price difference is incredible. If you take the time out to buy from a site like Newegg or the like, you can easily save 20% or more off of the standard PC prices, let alone Apple's bloated figures. If you can follow simple directions, a la assembling a home shelving unit, etc, you can build a computer.

Even though I run Ubuntu on my later builds, which gives me total control over my UI and renders me virtually immune to viruses, you can put any OS on the thing. OSX on a solid computer for Less than 1500? Yes please!

Spridel

January 21, 2009 08:23 PM

"Old Trek is better than new Trek!" That is what you all sound like. It matters not what is in the machine, what matters is what you do with it.

Alex

January 21, 2009 08:45 PM

Built a custom computer and I dual boot Debian Linux and Windows Vista :) If I owned a mac, I may have never got a virus, then researched how to fix it and many other problems. May have never learned everything I know about computers. If I ever had a problem, I would find a way to fix it and basically friends and family come to me for help to solve their problems. I have moved on to linux and I find there is more on here than anything else can provide. Due to my experiences with windows, I am capable of solving problems that I run in to on Linux because I know how to research and problem solve. Due to my experiences, I chose computer sciences to be my lifetime career choice. If I lived with mac, I may have not found a career that I enjoy. I was never good at art either. Personally, I see the apple OSs as a pay only user-friendly version of Linux with a lack of a community replaced by fandom.

Sam Walton

January 21, 2009 09:26 PM

Here is the spy video of the Apple plant in China www.boopie.notlong.com

obvious tag

Partners in Grime

January 21, 2009 10:58 PM

Mac users have bigger cursors. Definitely worth a price premium right there.

Brian Flores

January 21, 2009 11:30 PM

Sorry, Stephen, but this is epic fail reporting at its best. Do you get paid to write this garbage? The standard 15" MBP comes with a brand spankin' new 256MB video card, not the older card featured in the Dell. It comes with 2GB of DDR3 RAM, not the DDR2 RAM in the Dell. And I also ran the Dell configurator, and could not reproduce the result you achieved. The cheapest price I could get for a Dell that was similarly equipped to a MBP out the box was $1603. That's still a premium of $400, but the sub-$1400 price you posted was wrong or disingenuous. Way to compare apples to Apples.

And Brian, you obviously don't know a thing about hardware. Keep trying, and keep getting smacked down by people who do know a thing or two about computers.

Scott

January 22, 2009 02:52 AM

I did my best to check all the spec's for both laptops, with options to try and make them as similar as possible:

DELL XPS M1530
Genuine WIndows Vista Home Edition
2.4 Ghz/800 Mhz
15.4" (1440x900)
4GB DDR2 SDRAM/667Mhz
320 GB 5400 RPM
8x Slot Load CD/DVD Burner + External Qflix-enabled DVD Burner
Slot Load DVD+/-RW (DVD/CD read/write)
256MB NVIDIA® GeForce® 8400M GT
2.0 MP video camera.
HDMI and VGA ports
Three USB, One Firewire 400
10/100 BASE-T Ethernet
ExpressCard
8-in-1 Card Reader.
Intel Wireless-N Minicard
Bluetooth
56 WHr 6-cell Lithium Ion Primary Battery
Weight: 5.78#

APPLE MACBOOK PRO 15"
Mac OS X.5x (Leopard)
2.4 Ghz/1066 Mhz (faster Bus)
15.4" (1440x900)
2 GB DDR3 SDRAM/1066 Mhz (faster RAM), room for 4GB.
250 GB 5400 RPM (smaller, but faster)
8x SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT and NVIDIA GeForce 9400M/256MB GDDR3 (better!!)
Built-in iSight Camera.
Mini DisplayPort output port with support for DVI, VGA, and dual-link DVI (with adapters).
Combined optical digital input/analog line in, combined optical digital output/analog line out
Two USB, One Firewire 800
Built-in 10/100/1000BASE-T (Gigabit) Ethernet (better)
ExpressCard
Built-in AirPort Extreme Wi-Fi 802.11n (a/b/g, too)
Bluetooth.
50 Watt-hour Lithium polymer battery
85W MagSafe Power Adapter.
Precision aluminum unibody (milled from single piece of aluminum).
Weight: 5.5#

Advantage Apple:
The Mac has much faster Bus speed and RAM (1066 vs. 677 Mhz). Big part of added cost.
2nd graphics card: Adds about $100 (both much faster models), plus motherboard internals.
Fire Wire 800: Adds about $25
Gigabit Ethernet: Adds about $25
MagSafe adapter

Advantage Dell:
The Dell has an 8-in-1 card reader, and one extra USB port.
There is double the RAM, but it's slower (goes with slower Bus).
The hard drive is bigger (about 1/3 more GB, adds a few dollars).

The other items are equal (more or less). Hardware fit and finish, and software, can be pretty subjective, so I'm skipping it altogether. Apple has been getting industry leading marks for customer satisfaction for a while now, though....

Overall, the MacBook Pro is geared toward someone who wants to handle lots of video while on the road. It goes for $1,999. The XPS is more like a middle-of-the-road laptop. On the Dell site, I got $1,459 for the above spec. The Apple model is clearly a stronger product, that's why the higher price. You get what you pay for.
You should spend more time checking facts. That's what we come to you for. And, the title of this article is just flamebait!... or, was that your real intent? Judging by the responses thus far, it's working!

soham

January 22, 2009 04:05 AM

and after all you will be dealing with shitty shitty windows!!! I would pay the 600 extra just to use MAC..

michaela

January 22, 2009 05:22 AM

I work as IT professional and am exposed to pretty much every platform out there. All things being equal (hardware wise), it comes down to this, the OS.

Apple designs their OS from the average user point of view, where you don't need a degree in the "Computer Sciences". Things are logically grouped and structured.

Microsoft tends to design their OS from the tech's point of view. Where everything is can be done in 30 easy to follow steps. Another interesting point is that Microsoft has pretty much given up on Vista (all six versions), the release of the beta for Windows 7 is evidence of this (even after all the hype on TV). Remember "Windows ME"?

What wasn't mentioned about viruses is that you have to buy a collection of apps to be fully protected from spyware, malware, scareware, phising, rootkits, and just plain old trojans. I recently had a rash of virus removals that infected machines that had anti-virus installed (all of which failed to prevent or detect the infection). I eventually had to buy specialized software to remove the problem.

Mac users are fortunate about the whole virus situation. It will probably change in the future as the market share of macs increase. But for now, (the trojans found in the wild) are more of a compromised system, where a user visits a site which directs them to download and install a program. The user then does (like an idiot). I have yet to receive a call for a virus removal for a mac. In comparison, sometimes just the act of visiting a webpage can infect the system. I receive 5-10 calls a week for virus removal.

A mac can be hacked, but what computer can't? Even then it was done by a super nerd at a contest.

I guess by now you can guess what I have in my home. I am a mac-fan, not because I am blindly devoted to the company, but because I know what "is" out there. I started on a PC and converted to a mac 14 years ago, and now the poorly programmed Windows OS, pays for my expensive Macs and BMW.

Jon T

January 22, 2009 07:16 AM


HERE IS YOUR REAL COMPARISON STEPHEN WILDSTROM....

Example 1: Clive Christian 1872 for Women Pure Perfume Price: $700.00

Example 2: Vera Wang perfume by Vera Wang for Women Price: $49.90

(Check them out on Google Shopping) for yourself.

In both examples the bottle costs about $5.

Is the first example overpriced?

The container counts for nothing. The perfume is what matters. Just as it is with Macs and Dells.

OSX is incomparably better than Windows which in other words means you're buying the FUTURE with Mac and the PAST with Windows.

jxajason

January 22, 2009 07:58 AM

Its simple math. buy an apple and it lasts your for year longer. I am running everything I need on a five year old Mac. Ebery one of ym friends on windows has had to buy at least two machines in that time, getting ready to buy a third.
So my $2000 investment in a decent mac has paid off, comared to the $3000 they had to spend.

And thats only in the straight purchasing power. I have never had to call customer support for any reason. All apple software runs without crashing onceor twice a day.

We ended up taking M$ office off our machines because of how often they crashed. If we must work in Office files, we open them in OpenOffice or iWork.

I would welcome any Mac being given to me, I would turn down any windows machine, because I don't haev the money to spend on maintenance that shouldn't be necessary.

Griff

January 22, 2009 09:04 AM

Windows is for people who like worms, infections, trojans, spyware and constantly struggling to keep their computer running smooth.

OSX is for people who don't like worms, infections, trojans, spyware and don't really have to worry about keeping their computer running smooth.

From a developers stand point OSX comes with its compiler and SDK.
Windows you have to pay more than a Mac Book costs for the compiler and SDK.

All I know is I'm glad I made the jump from the Stone Age Windows PC to my Metal Age Apple Mac.

When these poor people have had the courage to own both. Instead of belittle what they are jealous of because they think its more expensive. Then they will see the error of their ways.

If businesses ran mainly on Apples then the economy would be in a far better state than it is now.

Millions of working hours have been wasted fixing / re-installing windows.
Hours that didn't need wasting.
Miilions have been lost to fraud. Millions that didn't need losing.

Macs aren't as overpriced as any machine that has Windows installed.

Even if the computer was free.

Joe

January 22, 2009 09:24 AM

This entire thread is people saying how bad PCs are, or how dumb Macs are. The reality is, all of you are too lazy to actually learn how a computer works. Build your own PC and save a few hundred more than the Dell (whitebox laptops are great fun). Learn about hardware, software, STOP LOOKING AT BAD PORN SITES AND GETTING VIRUSES!!! Computer operation is not a difficult thing, OSX is the rubberized safety version while windows is more intricate but contains sharp edges that lazy slobs cut themselves on. If you want easy dummy mode, never want to play and good games, and would rather shell out extra money for stuff you don't really need, then by all means go get a Mac, you also get to join an exclusive club of people who love the smell of their own shit...

badlogic

January 22, 2009 10:33 AM

First: The 9600 is just a renamed 8600 so the hardware argument just isnt there.

Second: OSX can be installed on the dell

Mac is overpriced simple as that.

Sean Berger

January 22, 2009 12:13 PM

PCs -- inspite of all the firewall programs and antivirus protection out there -- are still vulnerable to attack. Macs require none of this. Hands down, a Macbook over the life of 3 and 4 years will outlast any DELL notebook.

Plus, my friend Derek had AppleCare. In year three of his contract, his Mac G5 failed. It was completely replaced by a brand new 17 inch MacBook Pro. This is the norm for Apple customer service. A brand new notebook!

I recommend ordering through Nebraska Furniture Mart. They have 12-36 month no interest financing and can order any Apple product for you. http://nfm.com/ They aren't listing Apple products on their site, but they have excellent customer service and additional warranty options for notebooks and desktops.

Quix

January 22, 2009 12:37 PM

@ Bunny

"The Mac I will never upgrade has always crashed a few times a day. I have never owned a Mac that was not DOA... that is ~10 Macs."

That comment of yours just sent my bullcrap meter into overdrive.

"Fanatics will lie"

Ah, now you've explained the basis of your entire post - lies based on fanaticism.

I love to hear you anti-Apple folks get yourselves all in a lather while complaining about the fanaticism of Apple customers. Hypocrites much?

Al

January 22, 2009 12:39 PM

I use PCs + Windows 2000 and XP at work and Macs with OS X at home.

Let me explain the Mac vs Windows Virus thing to you Windows only users through an analogy.

I won't use cars, I'll use doors.

Mac OS X is a steel fire door. It'll take an RPG to knock it down but it can be done.

Windows OS, be it 2000 or XP or Vista/Windows 7 is a screen door.

Even a mosquito can get through a screen door.

Until Microsoft starts over with a Unix or Linux base, it's no contest when it comes to vulnerability.

There are no Mac OS X viruses and only 1 or 2 Mac OS X Trojans in the wild. No Mac running OS X has ever been compromised without physical access to the Mac and an admin password.

All this Mac OS X vulnerability stuff is BS.

MAC SUCKS

January 22, 2009 01:51 PM

"Mac OS X is a steel fire door. It'll take an RPG to knock it down but it can be done."

=================> WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!

There are more exploits discovered MONTHLY for Safari than for Microsoft Internet Explorer.

NOW, this doesn't mean that "macs are safer because theyre better supported". That's a bogus claim that somehow assumes that a constant stream of bug fixes imply safety.

What you're missing, is that those fixes are fixing SECURITY PROBLEMS THAT WERE THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE.

And unfortunately for macs, the running process of your precious safari is run with YOUR FULL CREDENTIALS, as r00t isn't widely used on most macs.

What this means... they can FUCK YOU UP EVEN MORE THAN WINDOWS, because THERE ARE MORE ENTRY POINTS TO BEGIN WITH, BECAUSE THESE ENTRY POINTS ARE VISIBLE FROM THE SHEER VOLUME OF PATCHES SOMETHING AS UNSTABLE AND INSECURE AS SAFARI HAS IN THE FIRST PLACE.

Don't think you're safe. H4CK3RS WILL FUCK YOU IN THE ASS, AND PACK A MAC ANY DAY OF THE WEEK.

# of security bugfixes ALWAYS

===================

QED, YOUR MAC IS NOT SAFE.

MAC SUCKS

January 22, 2009 01:52 PM

Good luck with your "NO-KEYBOARD" Mac coming up.

Only a company as dumb as apple tries to come up with that crap.

Captain Angry

January 22, 2009 02:32 PM

Wow so much hate. Macs are more expensive for the same reason why iPods are more expensive than Zunes, they're just more trendy and popular. (Those hilarious Mac Vs PC ads aren't free you know--)

I also don't see how much longer people can hold onto this "safe from viruses" dogma when apple's market share grows and grows every year--especially with more PC novices opting for Mac (as they are being told to) how long before the trend in hacking will also shift? The predators will follow the meat...

matt

January 22, 2009 03:13 PM

Actually - Supply vs. Demand.
If you keeping buying MACs at 2K a pop.
Any lots of people do - then Apple will keep adding to the cash pile -
what is now - 28 Billion in cash, not investments, cash, Banco Macintosh.

They make a good product and some of the profit goes into making an OS that works well with their product.

I would like to see a reduction in their overall product prices.
But if you buy a MAC,any Product, and you put in more APPLE Branded memory than required, shame on you -

Kingston and Crucial sell it for far less. Get your MBP with 1 or 2Gb of Apple Memory - then go spend $80 dollars at Crucial and by 4GB kit.

Caveat Emptor

CannotBelieveThis

January 22, 2009 04:44 PM

Stephen, you have superbly managed to fill your journalistic track record with one kind of Schrankschande. If only the Internet _were_ able to forget.

Seriously: Do you buy cars by horsepower alone? Yes, that is a significant figure, but by far not the only one.

So it is with computers. It starts with the look and feel of the case, the keyboard, the trackpad, the plugs. Then the display, the fan. And then speed is not just GHz, but how far you get done what you want to get done. A friend of mine asked me about my Mac recently, and he was quite surprised to find that it wasn't faster than his PC nominally, because in terms of smooth user interface and getting things done, he thought this must be some miracle hardware.

Steve Wildstrom

January 22, 2009 04:54 PM

@CannotBelieveThis--"Schrankschande?" That one is not in my Cassell's, nor can Google Translate or de.Wikipedia help. I know what a Schrank is and a Schande, but I can't make them fit together.

jmmx

January 23, 2009 12:00 AM

OMG I can't believe this!!

Hey dude -

1- IF YOU CAN'T BENEFIT FROM THE INCREASED PERFORMANCE THEN BUY THE MACBOOK AND SAVE $500!! There goes your price diff

2- ANYone who does extensive photo or video work will benefit from them performance boost (and gamers).

You have really just admitted that the Dell IS NOT EQUIVALENT.

People out there - if you do not need the extra power - get the MacBook not the pro and save the money.

=)) =)) =)) (lmao)

------
Steve Wildstrom
January 21, 2009 01:05 PM

@John Evol--First, Rodger is not correct about the configuration, as I pointed out in an earlier comment. Second, the 50% premium is a fact; it is merely a question of whether the MacBook is worth it. Leaving aside the important software questions, I think the issue is whether the user will really derive any benefit from the processor/graphics combo. My contention is that all but a tiny minority--those, who say, do high-end work on Adobe CS4--will not actually notice the difference.
------

=))

Dan

January 23, 2009 01:13 AM

i used a PC for 6-7 years, bought a mac and have never looked back can't believe i used to use that junk and put up with its crap!

Aaron D

January 23, 2009 07:59 AM

wow did u take into fact the better video card -- from a 8600 to a 9600/9800 is a million times better and that a big cost difference -jus saying ^_^

xwordx

January 23, 2009 06:10 PM

Check this out www.insanelymac.com

Ben W

January 24, 2009 02:58 AM

I work as a support tech for a company that manufactures Linux based hardware firewalls. I support network setups with Macs and PCs, and I've seen a lot.

Build Quality:

Here is the deal, PCs are cheaper. Some companies make laptops that suck in terms of build quality (Dell, consumer grade HP), others make tanks (IBM/Lenovo, business grade HP). Macs are on par with the better end of things, though the Thinkpad keyboard is a million times better than any shit ass backlit keyboard. I don't need to see my keys, I can type by feel. (This is a valid statement, we're all computer nerds here. Anyone who can't touch type can eat a dick.) Plus, how many of you have ever seen a Mac laptop missing keys off its keyboard? I'm guessing a lot of you.
Mac screens are very washy and not as bright as Toshiba or Samsung, about the same as any CCFL Thinkpad. Connectivity is about the same all around.

OS:
OSX is nice. Though I don't need Garage Band, and Mail is the crappiest default email client I have ever had the misfortune of seeing. The dock is bulky and gets in the way.

I generally see PC networks done on the 2000/XP platform. Here's the deal: roaming profiles are bad-ass. Remote auth is bad-ass. Group policies are bad-ass.

Bottom line on the OS, gloss and looks are nice, and playing amongst themselves OSX machines are great, but for a large scale networked setting, Windows wins.

Hardware Support:

Macs have little to no third party hardware support.

PCs have an entire economy based on third party hardware support.

I understand that Apple doesn't want to open the floodgates to crappy hardware. I get it. However, a good network admin won't install shitty hardware that guaranteed to fail, after all that just makes more work down the road.

Third party hardware is more American. Anyone else heard of free market capitalism?


The Final Verdict:

PCs win. Cheaper, more hardware support, and build quality that is as good as any Mac ever. Don't shop at Walmart kiddies, and you'll be safe. Furthermore, the OS doesn't make the difference for the price. Idiots can manage to fuck anything up. Even Velcro. A moron at the keys will ruin anything, even your precious OSX.


Joey

January 25, 2009 04:37 PM

Microsoft Office comes with around 8 different programs, I dont know what you mac fanboys think "Office" program is. I can run OSX on a PC. Who actually gets viruses now? Dont go to some porn sites if you have that problem. Plus with Mircosoft you can guarantee that you won't look like a tool

Scott

January 25, 2009 06:10 PM

Schrank: a cupboard or cabinet + Schande: a scandal.
= Schrankschande: a "cupboard scandal",
Meaning a tempest in a teapot, which is certainly what most of these comments amount to.
If you had titled this article: "MacBook Pro With Faster RAM, Motherboard, And Graphics Card Costs More Than Dell XPS", would you have gotten the same interest?
Nothing to see here..... move along.

Kythorne

January 27, 2009 07:33 PM

SBS with Exchange.
Nuff said.

the doc

January 28, 2009 10:43 AM

I keep my Windows systems updated, I don't run crap from untrusted sources, and I've always been happy.

So, to me, those big problems lintards and mactards are always bitching about are just pure fanboy BS.

Jim Green

January 29, 2009 02:08 PM

You get what you pay for.

distoro369

February 3, 2009 12:58 AM

Macs are for those who can't think beyond one mouse button.

willpeavy.net

March 2, 2009 01:17 PM

There are plenty of capable anti-virus apps for Windows that can be installed and run for free.

If you are worried about security in the enterprise, then why on Earth would you want to run Mac? You'd be much better of with something like Solaris or BSD.

OuchJohn1966

April 4, 2009 01:40 PM

@Distoro369: I would rather say that Macs (among other similarly well-built computers) are for those who look for value rather than price alone.

That does not mean to say that Macs are the only computers of value: Dell builds some nice solid value computers. So do other brands. None of them are perfect. But then, neither are Apple's.

But in any case, Apple usually dismisses easy salespoints for the sake of well-balanced systems: Energy consumption, speed, noise, price, storage capacity, design, ruggedness, ease-of-use, .... As with any balance, it is clear that the system will not excel in all categories. And I would expect that the price is fair but not outstanding.

That said, I second the notion that this article had better not been written. The value comes from the comments more than from Stephen's original work.

@Stephen: Schrankschande, if you haven't come across this in your journalistic career, is just one Google-search away. You will find official definitions on Wiktionary and examples of the word being used in the wild. The explanation on Wiktionary matches with how I have heard it used.

@Scott: (Now, this is really off-topic) I would not say that tempest in a teapot describes the same. Stephen might like to have fanned a tempest, and if only in a teapot. A Schrankschande is just something very embarrassing that cannot be easily discarded. Now, without diving too much into research for the origin of words. But other cases mention e. g. "uncle John giving you a gift, which you utterly dislike but must keep for the sake of your relationship with your (sometimes difficult) uncle John". So in a figurative sense, Stephen will indeed have a hard time to discard this poor piece of writing from his record. Sadly the internet does not easily forget things.

JustAnUser

April 17, 2009 09:18 AM

I didn't mind paying a bit more for my 13" Al macbook than I would have had to pay for a cheap PC laptop. I thought that little extra was worth the following: It solved all the problems I had with my old ordinary PC laptop:
- power connector bending dangerously when forgetting about the wire
- plastic case feeling weak and bending when using the laptop on a lap instead of a solid desk
- dvd drive tray sticking out and bending easily
- screen heating up and taking lots of power (no led backlight)
- cheap plastic like look (I dont care about this much, but better looking is a small plus)
- short battery life, both running time and capacity decrease over years

Another reason was 9400M, I wanted a cheap but more powerful GPU than most laptops had to offer in the stores around here.

I use XP in bootcamp sometimes but I also wanted the OS X option after I had studied what Vista and Windows 7 beta had became like.

Steven H

June 8, 2009 04:12 PM

The 18 inch screen entertainment laptops from HP blow away any Mac laptop for much less money. PC laptops now offer quad core processors. Apple is too far behind and always playing catchup in the power department. Apple doesn't even offer Blu-Ray drives. That is a show stopper for me. I don't want to rent or buy HD movies on I-tunes when I can rent Blu-Ray movies for far cheaper with Netflix. I can't see how Apple stays in business?

Justin

October 16, 2009 01:55 PM

Really? Macs are more expensive? We'll see. First off, my 13" MacBook Pro sweeps the floor with any other "comparably equipped" Windows notebook I've ever seen. (I've done side-by-side comparisons). As a matter of fact, our computer lab has 3 GHz quad-core scream machines and my little Mac STILL blows them away on speed on all but the most processor-intensive tasks.

And that's not to mention that there are more things than just pure performance. The level of software (both free and paid) available for the Mac is mind boggling. The ability to multitask at the level I can with Mac OS X has left more than a few people around me wondering what the heck I just did. I can juggle multiple windows and documents so fast it's almost scary; with Windows, it's near impossible.

There's not much I can do to prove Macs are cheaper to buy than PCs; if you want a cheap computer, you'll get a PC and get a cheap computer (although add antivirus/antispyware/etc. and it won't be, unless you want it to get infected in a week). But if you want a computer that you'll actually enjoy using and that will make you more productive instead of having to worry about whether the computer is going to crash the next minute, you'll get a Mac.

Wayne

October 17, 2009 02:24 PM


Stephen,

You used the wrong Dell Laptop for the comparison, you should have used the Precision model, it's the closest to a Mac in performance, and it's actually more expensive.

Kiran

October 23, 2009 04:09 PM

Wayne,

The Precision series is NOT close to the PERFORMANCE of a MacBook, Open a MacBook up and look at the parts... they use the same old run of the mill Intel OEM motherboards that many notebooks use. the largest difference however is that the CPU is SOLDERED into the socket....you know just encase someone caught wind of the idea that they could upgrade the CPU in their laptop instead of buying a entire new one. The Dell Performance series largest extra expense comes from large solid state drives and Nvidia Quatro Graphics (the professional CGI workstation graphics cards... you know those ones that have never been in any F%$^ING MacBook EVER!!!) ---don't jsut try to find something with a similar price and say some stupid crap... look at the parts.

The HUGE price Differential between Mac's and other computers is for 2 things:

1.) OSX -- I won't knock this operating system, its solid build on the foundation of Nextstep OS with a heavily modified Linux like Kernel. I wish they sold it in the marketplace and allowed people to install it on ANY COMPUTER, that way MS might actually get a run for it's money and the competition in the marketplace might actually bring about real innovation in the PC operating system world.

If you are interested in installing OSX on ANY computer then check out: http://www.osx86project.org/

....now you can go buy a non insanely priced notebook from the company of your choice and install OSX onto it.

2.) Trendy Fablousness!!
Lets face it... you are mostly paying for the fact that it looks cool (at least most people think so) and you get to be a member of the cult that is owning a Mac Computer! They ask questions like "Which MacBook are you?" the answer to which is quite frankly... I am a FREAKIN HUMAN BEING NOT A F*&$ING COMPUTER!!!!


In the mid 80's to the early 90's Mac's were amazing! Their hardware made PC's look like total garbage, but then again Amegia's made PC's look like garbage too. The only real benefits of a PC during the age of early Personal Computing were: they were cheap, and there was quite a bit of Open Source material around which allowed customization.

Mac hardware got left in the dust by the competition spawned between PC part manufactures.

Competition In the PC Graphics card industry between companies such as: Matrox, 3DFX, Nvidia, and ATI made the graphics capabilities of PC's so much better that Apple began offering Geforce Graphic Cards as upgrades to their standard macs.

AMD and Intel, which brought about faster and stronger CPUs for continually lower prices, made mac's processors Price to performance rations turn to crap in comparison.

After struggling to make their Computers not like like overpriced piles of crap using technology which was years behind PC's, they threw in the towel and decided to use PC PARTS.

So What Kind of Computer am I?

am I a MAC? am I a PC? .....
Wrong F-in Question they are both PC's

so what Brand of PC am I? -- I am a HUMAN who uses a Home built PC that Triple boots Vista x64, Slackware Linux, and OSX 10.6.1

Spending most of my time in Windows or Linux.

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.

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