Biting Apple

In Wired magazine’s Cult of Mac blog, Leander Kahney takes a swipe at a Business Week article that does the unthinkable: it criticises Apple and in particular, suggests that Macs are too expensive. Kahney writes:

Really, it’s the same old bollocks and clearly demonstrates Salkever [the BW writer] has no understanding of Apple whatsoever.

To be fair, some of the article is misguided: when Salkever suggests that Apple should emphasise the relatively virus-free world of the Mac, he’s forgetting that such marketing would be a giant red rag to the virus writing community. However, Kahney’s ire is aroused by the suggestion that Macs are too expensive compared to PCs, and it’s clear that Kahney doesn’t want to see “trashy cheapo machines”. I don’t either, but anyone who thinks Macs are competitively priced is perhaps a little too close to Steve Jobs’ legendary Reality Distortion Field.

When it was released in 1998, the original iMac cost USD $1,299 (roughly the same as a mid-range PC) and it quickly became America’s best-selling computer. Apple dropped the price in early 1999 (to $1,199) and started increasing the specification and dropping prices further; by 2000, the 350MHz iMac was $799 and the following year, the same money would get you a 600MHz iMac – which was anything but a “trashy, cheapo machine”.

Then in 2002, Apple introduced the flat panel iMac – and the cost of an entry-level iMac soared from $799 to $1,299, while PC prices continued to plummet. In one fell swoop the iMac went from being a computer for everybody to a fetish object for the polo-neck brigade, and it stayed that way; when it was finally canned this summer, the cheapest iMac was still $1,299.

Compare that to the iPod: in 2001, the cheapest iPod was $399, while today’s entry level model is $299 (and the iPod Mini is cheaper still at $249). With the iPod Apple hasn’t just boosted the specification (although of course it has: the original iPod range started with just 5GB of storage) but it has also cut its prices by 25%, and introduced an even cheaper model to tempt more people into the iPod family.

There are strong similarities between the original iMac and the iPod; both are/were great products with brilliant marketing, gorgeous design and that all-important “cool factor” that makes Apple kit so compelling. However, both the original iMac and the iPod also fell in price as their specifications improved, whereas the anglepoise iMac didn’t. The first iMac was the best-selling computer in America, whereas its successor wasn’t even the best-selling xMac in the Apple Store. That honour goes to the ageing, education-oriented eMac which, if rumour sites can be believed, was outselling the anglepoise iMac by four to one at the beginning of this year.

Kahney writes:

Though not the cheapest, Apple’s machines are cheap. Seven years ago, a stick of laptop RAM cost $1,300. You can get a fabulous iBook for less these days.

Indeed. Four years ago, a basic iBook was $1,599 and a basic iMac $799; today, the iBook is 30% cheaper while the price of the iMac has nearly doubled. What’s wrong with that picture?

update: 24 august

Behold the power of MacSurfer! Within about 12 hours of posting this entry, MacSurfer had referred around 700 people to this page; as you’ll see from the comments, most of them disagree with me.

The two points that are coming up again and again are that I’m not comparing like for like, so a entry level PC is a much poorer proposition than an entry level Mac; and that I’m being unfair on the eMac. To take the second point first, I think it’s a fair point but I still disagree: to my mind the eMac sits outside the main Apple product lines, which are iBook/iMac for consumers, and PowerBook/Power Mac for professionals. The eMac was never intended to be part of that range, and when it initially launched it wasn’t available to ordinary customers at all; after about a month of howls from the Mac community, the eMac was made available to everyone and it became a big success. However, from the perspective of potential switchers I speak to, the eMac doesn’t appear on their radar at all (and it’s a rare sight outside Apple Centres; in most computer shops round these parts you’ll see iBooks and iMacs, but not eMacs); when they’re considering switching to a Mac it’s the iMac they think of before buying another Dell instead. As I’ve said in the comments section that’s entirely anecdotal evidence, but that’s good enough for me :-)

The other point, like for like comparison, is perfectly fair: as one poster has pointed out, if you compare the specs of various PCs against various eMacs and iMacs, you do get more Mac for your money. Again, though, I’ll play devil’s advocate: firewire, general component quality, zero latency on soundcards etc etc etc are important to more experienced computer users, but do they matter to the mum and dad who are looking for a decent machine for their kid who’s off to university, or someone who wants a cool computer for getting on the internet, doesn’t really know much about the technical stuff and doesn’t want to spend too much?

It’s been an interesting debate so far and I’m sure it’ll continue; I’m on deadline for the next few days so I’ll probably be pretty quiet, but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the feedback…

30 thoughts on “Biting Apple

  1. Anonymous says:

    Uh, it’s called an eMac! And guess what? It is in fact $799. I got one of these for my technophobic parents, and they love it, whereas they had ignored the previous PC that I gave them. The eMac is a great value and is really the budget model that the iMac used to be.

    The iMac is expensive because of all the extras that they put in it. I’ve done this several times at the Dell site where you configure a PC with the closest specs as possible to the iMac, and you find out that the Dell might save you $100-200 bucks. And the saviings are largely negated by the downsides of the Windows platform (crashes, viruses etc.).

    Finally, I do think that OS X will hold up better to viruses because of the UNIX underpinnings. It is a good solid base to work with, and I think that it will take a higher caliber virus writer to nail the Mac. Apple was way more security minded than MS (really, leaving all those port open wasn’t such a good idea!), who really made it easy for them to screw up windows. An OS X virus will no doubt appear, but I don’t think that they will be frequent occurrences.

  2. Anonymous says:

    More incorrect tripe. Why write when you don’t give the complete story? The eMacs were in every way more powerful than their iMac predecessor, but of course, that won’t be mentioned. Just that Apple is ripping everyone off. Hmm, lets see just how poor a seller the soon to be released iMac G5 will be.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Macs? Too expensive? Who are you kidding? Notwithstanding Apple’s superior ROI (Return on Investment) and lower TCO (Total Cost of Ownersip), you can go here and get a side-by-side comparison between Apple and Dell computers. [Here’s a hint – The price differential between similarily configured Macs and Dells is less than $50 at every price-point]

    http://systemshootouts.org/

  4. Anonymous says:

    I wish virus writers would target the Mac. Wanna know why? To write a Mac virus, you have to program on a Mac. That forces all of those Windows and Linux programmers that hate Mac to sit down on a Mac and use it, learn it and program on it. After they get finished writing something destructive, they might actually realize what a terrific machine it is!

  5. Anonymous says:

    the iMac had a 15″, 17″ or 20″ LCD display. While not as good as Apple’s $2,000 20″ Cine, the iMac 20″ was a very, very nice display – and so was the price, but I guess everyone knows the iMac, but no one knows the eMac (originally for education, but I guess other people started asking about them).

    So I would guess because the iMac is the best known Mac and because its price has gone up considerably (mostly because of the display and the stylish form factor) – people are thinking Macs are expensive.

    A bigger issue is for Apple to have the new iMac ready for school time… it does not seem like this will happen. That is a bigger issue!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Apple has changed strategy.

    iMac is now a fashion Mac and not a budget Mac. Fashion product is not cheapo.

    eMac is the budget Mac.

    When iMac was first launched, it is more a budget Mac than a fashion Mac. Apple could have learned that consumers are willing to pay more for fashion and that education buyers are the budget conscious guys.

  7. Gary says:

    Blimey, where did you lot come from?

    Some fair points there (particularly the stuff about the iMac being about fashion now rather than a computer for everyone), but a few I disagree with too. Firstly, if anyone thinks I’m some mac-basher then they’re misguided; I love Macs, and I’d like to see Apple sell as many iMacs as iPods.

    ROI and TCO are important, but I’m not convinced they’re important for home users. Businesses sure, but the iMac isn’t a business machine. In the consumer arena price is everything.

    I’ve deliberately left the emac out of the equation because IMO it’s an education machine that just happens to be available to the general public too. I like it a lot, but Apple’s pushing the iMac for the general consumer market, not the eMac. And the increasing power of the eMac is a given: in the last four years, everybody’s computers have got significantly more powerful. When I think of the machines that cost nearly £3K a few years back, in many cases a budget cheapie outperforms them. Even though I’m still paying for the damn things :-)

    Personally I’d still love to see a headless iMac, although I very much doubt that’s going to happen…

  8. Anonymous says:

    Low cost PCs usually feature Intel integrated graphics with shared memory. This keeps what “appears” to be a comparably-equipped PC cheaper. Add in a decent graphics card, and the PC will may still be a bit cheaper, but the two prices will be a lot closer.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I’ll second the desire for a headless iMac (known in Mac circles as the iCheap).

    On the other hand, drawing comparisons between similar feature sets backs up Leander’s claims. Doing so requires that you compare high-end Wintels to mid-range Macs, but it’s Apple’s prerogative to not allow thier product to become a commodity. We could, for example, add excellent product reliability to lower TCO and better ROI as factors in higher price.

    It’s as important to know the _value_ of a product as it is the _price_ of a product.

  10. Anonymous says:

    “I’ve deliberately left the emac out of the equation because IMO it’s an education machine that just happens to be available to the general public too.”

    This statement confirms my thought that your analysis is flawed because it is not considering an entry-level Macintosh – the least expensive Mac a consumer can purchase. Instead it is considering the least expensive iMac you can purchase, which doesn’t make a great deal of sense.

    The iMac is no longer the least expensive entry point into using a Mac. Back when the iMac was introduced, the iMac was the least expensive entry point. Now the eMac is. (In fact, the eMac is more like the original iMac than the flat-panel iMac.)

    You state “Then in 2002, Apple introduced the flat panel iMac – and the cost of an entry-level iMac soared from $799 to $1,299, while PC prices continued to plummet.”

    However, that misses the point. It’s not the cost of an entry-level iMac that is important. (That’s just a marketing distinction, after all). It’s the cost of an entry level Mac that’s important.

    The sentence could just as well read. “Then in 2002, Apple introduced the eMac – and the cost of an entry-level Mac stayed at the price of $799, while PC prices continued to plummet.”

    That, at least gives the reader a more accurate picture of the true nature of the low-end offering from Apple at that point in time. Low-end prices didn’t go up – they changed the name of the CRT-based iMac to ‘eMac’ (and gave it a 17″ screen and a G4 processor).

    As for the distinction between an ‘education machine’ and a regular computer – that seems more like marketing hype than any major functional distinction.

  11. Anonymous says:

    While the emac is technically an “educational” machine – it is featured in every store that sells macs (apple store, online stores, compUSA, et al) side by side. It’s not underpowered – I think it might have a slightly slower video card but that’s about it so it really just comes down to a more stylish design and the LCD screen. I wanted to get a third mac for the house and as amuch as I liked the imac, $400 for the difference betwen the 17″ imac and the 17″ emac was just too much for me.

    YOu are also forgetting ilife. And I don’t even use garageband. iphoto, imovie and idvd are like the photoshop of photo, movie editing and DVD creation – what’s PS going for – $700? Apple could literally charge that much – of course, they’d be foolish to but it’s worth that much. There is nothing like it on the PC – not even close. Just read Walter Mossberg’s review of Roxio’s (now Sonic) version of ilife – to really appreciate the ease of use we mac users have.

    because IBM hasn’t produced enough G5’s and at the right temperature, the imac has/had to live on as a G4 – maikng the imac/emac a comparison of looks & the screen but if $400 bought me the next generation chip, an LCD and looks, the decision would’ve been a LOT harder.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Mysterious voices: Price, price, price, price.
    Gary (or someone like Gary) says: I want a head-less Mac!
    Me: Why?
    Gary: Because I can pay less for it!!!!
    Mysterious voices: Price, price, price, price.
    Me: You want a head-less Mac? What are you going to use for a monitor?
    Gary: Oh…I’m going to use this Dell 17″ monitor that I currently own!
    Me: Oh, you mean that you don’t want a LCD screen?
    Gary: I can’t afford that!
    Mysterious voices: Price, price, price, price.
    Me: and you don’t want an eMac?
    Gary: No, why should I buy another 17″ monitor, if I already own one?
    Mysterious voices: Price, price, price, price.
    Me: I see….but I thought you really wanted a notebook.
    Gary: Well….yeah, I do.
    Me: and a PowerBook doesn’t tempt you?
    Gary: Almost, but it’s too much money for me.
    Me: iBook? (I fan the smell of a new iBook in his direction, like the lovely smell of fresh, baked cookies)
    Gary: Auuugghhhh! Cookie, cookie, cookie…err, iBook, iBook, iBook!
    Me: I thought you wanted a head-less Mac?
    Gary: (As he clings to his new iBook that he just bought) Wellllll….it is a head-less Mac, if I leave the lid down.
    Me: Uh-huh. I thought so.
    Mysterious voices: Common Sense. Common Sense. Common Sense.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Gary, I don’t think you’re being very fair. You disregard the eMac, and the only reason you give is that it is an “ageing” “education machine.”

    Just what in the heck is an “education machine?” Does Dell/HP/IBM/Sony/Gateway offer an “education machine?” What about the eMac makes it education-oriented? It comes with the same software as any other Mac, FireWire, DVD burner, 1.25 GHz G4… it even looks like your lost and lamented entry-level iMac! Why doesn’t eMac exist for consumers? I mean, it’s right there on the Apple Store page next to all the other Macs – not even so much as a “WARNING: You are about to purchase an education Mac. This operation cannot be undone.”

    Why, why, why? (Before you answer: I don’t consider invoking the magic “marketing” word to be an adequate answer.)

  14. Gary says:

    Heh, some insightful posts there. I’d highlight specific ones but you’re all called “anonymous”, so this may get confusing, fast ;-)

    The comment about value as well as price: yeah, I agree. Price certainly isn’t the only comparison, but then again I’m playing devil’s advocate here: does the average punter know the difference between integrated graphics and a dedicated graphics card, or a rubbish onboard sound controller? Do they care about firewire? I’m asking the question because I genuinely don’t know. These things are important to you, and they’re important to me, but do they matter to the mum and dad buying their kid a computer they can use at uni?

    Genuinely interested…


    This statement confirms my thought that your analysis is flawed because it is not considering an entry-level Macintosh – the least expensive Mac a consumer can purchase. Instead it is considering the least expensive iMac you can purchase, which doesn’t make a great deal of sense.

    Fair enough. Obviously I disagree or I wouldn’t have written that about the eMac; I still think it’s something of a throwback (I suspect we’ll have to agree to disagree here), a machine that for all its benefits (and there are many, as I said earlier i *like* the eMac) doesn’t fit well with the current Mac lineup. As I see it (and as it’s presented here in the UK, at least from my perspective) Apple has two distinct product ranges: iBook/iMac for consumers, PowerBook/Power Mac for pros. I don’t think the eMac fits in that line-up and certainly in any conversation I’ve had with would-be PC switchers, it doesn’t appear on their radar. Obviously your mileage will vary and the eMac may be a big deal in the US or outside my wee bit of the world, but certainly in the (non-Apple) computer stores round these parts you’ll usually see an iBook or iMac, but not the eMac.

    When the original iMac was about, the people I encountered who were buying ’em were new to Macs: they saw the iMac, fell in love with it and had to have one (and at $799, they could afford it. Heh). Whereas the only people I know who’ve expressed an interest in the eMac are people who are already in the Mac family. Anecdotal evidence? Absolutely.


    The sentence could just as well read. “Then in 2002, Apple introduced the eMac – and the cost of an entry-level Mac stayed at the price of $799, while PC prices continued to plummet.”

    That’s not strictly true, though, because when it was first announced the eMac wasn’t available to “normal” punters. Apple did backpedal on that, but it wasn’t originally part of the consumer range.

    iPhoto/iDVD etc… no argument from me. They’re great programs.


    because IBM hasn’t produced enough G5’s and at the right temperature, the imac has/had to live on as a G4 – maikng the imac/emac a comparison of looks & the screen but if $400 bought me the next generation chip, an LCD and looks, the decision would’ve been a LOT harder.

    Good point. I agree.


    Me: You want a head-less Mac? What are you going to use for a monitor?

    The same flat panel that’s hooked up to my PowerBook? ;-)

    You’re right about the smell of iBook, though. I’m on my fourth.


    Gary, I don’t think you’re being very fair. You disregard the eMac, and the only reason you give is that it is an “ageing” “education machine.”

    I think I might have answered that already up there somewhere. Again, I think it’s a case of having to agree to disagree – to me, the eMac doesn’t fit with the rest of Apple’s product strategy and it’s an accidental success. It’s abundantly clear that lots of people don’t share my opinion, though.

    OK, it’s late and I’m going to bed. Thanks to everyone who’s posted comments – I appreciate the feedback.

    And I still want a headless iMac ;-)

  15. Anonymous says:

    Gary is right. They need a cheaper mac desktop. If you walk into a computer store like Frys or Bestbuy you can get a very powerful Wintel machine for $600. Now if you have a monitor already and you want a Mac what is the price point you are comparing against: $1800 for a G5?? Sorry but the eMac is not attractive. It is not expandible. It does not make a good gaming machine and a lot of people – rightly so – now prefer LCDs. So the iMac is the most attractive low end option, even though it too is limited. And the iMac, although it is a nice design, is 2x the cost of the PC. iLife as good as it is, is not going to make up for $600 of hardware costs for most consumers.

    So either Apple needs something to compete with a whitebox PC – or it should cook up a release of Tiger for Intel boxes. Since Apple does not have a product in this space – it is not going to canabalise many sales. People who like iMacs are not going to switch to Dell boxes. Mac laptops are already competative, and Apple does not need to support PC laptops. G5s are price competative too, so the high end is ok. Why should Apple make hardware where the margins are so slim, they shouldn’t. But they should extend the platform into the kind of machine that most people use.

    Apple is doing so well with the iPod becuase it is embracing competition. The cost to switch to iPod is not a new PC – that is the point of releasing software that lets people experience Apple technology without tremendous cost.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Gary is right. They need a cheaper mac desktop. If you walk into a computer store like Frys or Bestbuy you can get a very powerful Wintel machine for $600. Now if you have a monitor already and you want a Mac what is the price point you are comparing against: $1800 for a G5?? Sorry but the eMac is not attractive. It is not expandible. It does not make a good gaming machine and a lot of people – rightly so – now prefer LCDs. So the iMac is the most attractive low end option, even though it too is limited. And the iMac, although it is a nice design, is 2x the cost of the PC. iLife as good as it is, is not going to make up for $600 of hardware costs for most consumers.

    So either Apple needs something to compete with a whitebox PC – or better it should cook up a release of Tiger for Intel boxes. Since Apple does not have a product in this space – it is not going to canabalise many sales. People who like iMacs are not going to switch to Dell boxes. Mac laptops are already competative, and Apple does not need to support PC laptops. G5s are price competative too, so the high end is ok. Why should Apple make hardware where the margins are so slim, they shouldn’t. But they should extend the platform into the kind of machine that most people use.

    Apple is doing so well with the iPod becuase it is embracing competition. The cost to switch to iPod is not a new PC – that is the point of releasing software that lets people experience Apple technology without tremendous cost.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Gary is right. They need a cheaper mac desktop. If you walk into a computer store like Frys or Bestbuy you can get a very powerful Wintel machine for $600. Now if you have a monitor already and you want a Mac what is the price point you are comparing against: $1800 for a G5?? Sorry but the eMac is not attractive. It is not expandible. It does not make a good gaming machine and a lot of people – rightly so – now prefer LCDs. So the iMac is the most attractive low end option, even though it too is limited. And the iMac, although it is a nice design, is 2x the cost of the PC. iLife as good as it is, is not going to make up for $600 of hardware costs for most consumers.

    So either Apple needs something to compete with a whitebox PC – or better it should cook up a release of Tiger for Intel boxes. Since Apple does not have a product in this space – it is not going to canabalise many sales. People who like iMacs are not going to switch to Dell boxes. Mac laptops are already competative, and Apple does not need to support PC laptops. G5s are price competative too, so the high end is ok. Why should Apple make hardware where the margins are so slim, they shouldn’t. But they should extend the platform into the kind of machine that most people use.

    Apple is doing so well with the iPod becuase it is embracing competition. The cost to switch to iPod is not a new PC – that is the point of releasing software that lets people experience Apple technology without tremendous cost.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Gary is right. They need a cheaper mac desktop. If you walk into a computer store like Frys or Bestbuy you can get a very powerful Wintel machine for $600. Now if you have a monitor already and you want a Mac what is the price point you are comparing against: $1800 for a G5?? Sorry but the eMac is not attractive. It is not expandible. It does not make a good gaming machine and a lot of people – rightly so – now prefer LCDs. So the iMac is the most attractive low end option, even though it too is limited. And the iMac, although it is a nice design, is 2x the cost of the PC. iLife as good as it is, is not going to make up for $600 of hardware costs for most consumers.

    So either Apple needs something to compete with a whitebox PC – or better it should cook up a release of Tiger for Intel boxes. Since Apple does not have a product in this space – it is not going to canabalise many sales. People who like iMacs are not going to switch to Dell boxes. Mac laptops are already competative, and Apple does not need to support PC laptops. G5s are price competative too, so the high end is ok. Why should Apple make hardware where the margins are so slim, they shouldn’t. But they should extend the platform into the kind of machine that most people use.

    Apple is doing so well with the iPod becuase it is embracing competition. The cost to switch to iPod is not a new PC – that is the point of releasing software that lets people experience Apple technology without tremendous cost.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Gary is right. They need a cheaper mac desktop. If you walk into a computer store like Frys or Bestbuy you can get a very powerful Wintel machine for $600. Now if you have a monitor already and you want a Mac what is the price point you are comparing against: $1800 for a G5?? Sorry but the eMac is not attractive. It is not expandible. It does not make a good gaming machine and a lot of people – rightly so – now prefer LCDs. So the iMac is the most attractive low end option, even though it too is limited. And the iMac, although it is a nice design, is 2x the cost of the PC. iLife as good as it is, is not going to make up for $600 of hardware costs for most consumers.

    So either Apple needs something to compete with a whitebox PC – or better it should cook up a release of Tiger for Intel boxes. Since Apple does not have a product in this space – it is not going to canabalise many sales. People who like iMacs are not going to switch to Dell boxes. Mac laptops are already competative, and Apple does not need to support PC laptops. G5s are price competative too, so the high end is ok. Why should Apple make hardware where the margins are so slim, they shouldn’t. But they should extend the platform into the kind of machine that most people use.

    Apple is doing so well with the iPod becuase it is embracing competition. The cost to switch to iPod is not a new PC – that is the point of releasing software that lets people experience Apple technology without tremendous cost.

  20. junkie says:

    Gary is right. They need a cheaper mac desktop. If you walk into a computer store like Frys or Bestbuy you can get a very powerful Wintel machine for $600. Now if you have a monitor already and you want a Mac what is the price point you are comparing against: $1800 for a G5?? Sorry but the eMac is not attractive. It is not expandible. It does not make a good gaming machine and a lot of people – rightly so – now prefer LCDs. So the iMac is the most attractive low end option, even though it too is limited. And the iMac, although it is a nice design, is 2x the cost of the PC. iLife as good as it is, is not going to make up for $600 of hardware costs for most consumers.

    So either Apple needs something to compete with a whitebox PC – or better it should cook up a release of Tiger for Intel boxes. Since Apple does not have a product in this space – it is not going to canabalise many sales. People who like iMacs are not going to switch to Dell boxes. Mac laptops are already competative, and Apple does not need to support PC laptops. G5s are price competative too, so the high end is ok. Why should Apple make hardware where the margins are so slim, they shouldn’t. But they should extend the platform into the kind of machine that most people use.

    Apple is doing so well with the iPod becuase it is embracing competition. The cost to switch to iPod is not a new PC – that is the point of releasing software that lets people experience Apple technology without tremendous cost.

  21. Anonymous says:

    the iMac was not priced at 799 until the very end, when the emac was announced – and it was a CD version (not DVD combo) at a speed of less than 700 (the older iMacs, were still be made available, to of all people, education only). The eMac came out at a slightly higher price, correctly for the education market that still clamored for a CRT Mac to cut costs.
    It is VERY true that Apple brought it out as an educational unit, and considered it such. Even after they offered it for sale to consumers. In the US, anyway, that changed a couple of years back, when the eMac moved from being in the kids corner in the Apple stores to the same prominence as the iMac is. As did the marketing literature. Although you may not, it is the Mac I have recommended most, and has been bought by many. None of then educators. All of them were looking, specifically, for a Mac at the lowest cost entry point with an 8 X DVD. To be honest, I told many to wait for the USB 2.0 version – which many have now picked up.
    The Reason I believe iMac sales were down in the states was that people here felt the eMac was a significantly better deal. I sure think so.

  22. Anonymous says:

    and you can always attach a flat screen to an eMac and not use the internal monitor. Although not using a DVI connection…

  23. Anonymous says:

    Price is everything? What idiot thought that up? Any consumer who wholheartedly believes that deserves a Windows box.

    If Price were, indeed, king, why would anyone buy anything but the lowest priced anything? Just think of it, no Jaguar, Rolls-Royce, Cooper, Land Rover, just Kias and Yugos for everyone!!! Everyone into the Tube. We don’t need cars for urban transportation.

    Fly across the Atlantic? You jest! Boats are cheaper!

    My obnoxious point here is that Price is but one of many components that comprise a purchasing decision. Each persoon weights those components differently to arrive at the purchasing decision. Many people ‘start’ their journey by examining the price of an item

    Look at Price here –

    $800 – http://www.systemshootouts.org/shootouts/desktop/2004/0413_dt0800.html

    $1300 – http://www.systemshootouts.org/shootouts/desktop/2004/0413_dt1300.html

    $1800 – http://www.systemshootouts.org/shootouts/desktop/2004/0324_dt1800.html

    There’s more, but, hopfully, you get the point.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Bought my parents a $679 eMac. They live in PA, me in CA. We video confernce with the new baby daily. The clarity and quality is astonishing.

    My wife is looking for a new laptop and asked that I include a PowerBook in the search. I priced a Toshiba, HP and PowerBook all with similar components meeting her must have requirements. The Apple was most expensive: $2331 HP, $2,423 Toshiba, and $2,689 Powerbook.

    So, Apple still are a bit high but you have to trade off things you get for free on the Mac (eg: iLife) and all the s/w you have to buy on Windows to keep the system healthy. For example, my wife had me buy her Norton Ghost, Norton Utilities and some Spyware Sweeper. These were near $200. Additionally, at work today, my boss hijacked the meeting to plug in his Dell laptop (“real quick”) to the InFocus projector only to have his mouse lock up. Later, a coworker in a conferene room lost his ethernet connection (someone unplugged it) and his Outlook went down and he lost the IP stack and had to go through the manual reboot cycle to get it. Oh, yeah, IPCONFIG could have worked but didn’t.

    In other words, consumers often buy on price alone but don’t consider other factors like the time it takes them to maintain a machine or how frustrating it can be. It’s hard for Apple to quantify this and I find the only way people actually accept it is to wake up and decide one day, “I’m going Apple” like a smoker that finally “quits” on his own.

  25. Gary says:

    If Price were, indeed, king, why would anyone buy anything but the lowest priced anything? Just think of it, no Jaguar, Rolls-Royce, Cooper, Land Rover, just Kias and Yugos for everyone!!! Everyone into the Tube. We don’t need cars for urban transportation. Absolutely. If price were that important, mainstream airlines would be forced to cut prices to compete with the runaway success of budget no-frills airlines, supermarkets would be driving down the price of music CDs, DVDs and consumer goods, people would buy books from Amazon.com at 30% discount instead of the high street, loads of people would import DVDs and CDs from the US and Canada, software piracy would be rampant, broadband ISPs would be in a constant state of price cutting, people would buy cheap printers that cost a fortune in ink over their lifetimes and the global market share of PCs would be increasing at the expense of the Mac market share. Er… ;-)

    I don’t think your point is “obnoxious” – although the bit about “deserves a windows box” is a little harsh, IMO – and the links you’ve posted are interesting. Thought the shootouts were fair, too.

  26. Gary says:

    consumers often buy on price alone but don’t consider other factors like the time it takes them to maintain a machine or how frustrating it can be. Absolutely. Look at the endless exposes of the price of printer ink; people buy ultra-cheap printers which are sold at a loss, and then spend a fortune on ink because they’ve gone for low-volume machines with low-capacity, ultra-expensive cartridges.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Apple cannot and does not want make a compromise on quality: higher then average quality in architecture and components cannot make a cheapo configuration; hence for a fair evaluation, Apple configurations should be compared with equivalent quality competitor’s offers, equipped with comparable features; I read recently a very well organized article on this, but unfortunately I cannot remember its address. This exercise would be much indicative of who really holds a better value/cost ratio apart from any TCO & ROI consideration, as someone already mentioned here.

    Nevertheless, it is undeniable that a lot of people accept to compromise on everything for a low, initial cost of purchase (regretting the choice afterwards but that is another story).

    Let’s have Apple making its own clone.

    Apple should create a subsidiary, clearly differentiated from the parent company, for targeting a different market segment.
    The configurations created by this new subsidiary, would have nothing in common but the processor and OS: a different brand, cheap architecture, cheap components, and bare-bones features.

    Now I am voluntarily and provocatively exaggerating on that, but I am sure that even without the need of compromising on all of that, a competitively priced device can be built at the lower end; a device which can employ commonly found wintel h/w: for the pleasure of the custom built PC lovers, for niche applications, not exigent users, or whatever else use. For the rest who still want quality married with style and are not afraid to invest a bit more, the Apple Mac is there.

  28. Anonymous says:

    “So, Apple still are a bit high but you have to trade off things you get for free on the Mac (eg: iLife) and all the s/w you have to buy on Windows to keep the system healthy.”

    Was I dreaming for the last couple of years? Apparently MacOS is better than windows now because you get all this bundled software with the OS so you need to buy less – unlike Microsoft who, erm, where ordered by the US Government to stop bundling software as it was anti-competitive. So Microsoft-like business practices are OK as long as it isn’t MS doing it?

    Out of interest – as a UK person – the first I’ve heard of the eMac was reading this thread.

    “Price is everything? What idiot thought that up? Any consumer who wholheartedly believes that deserves a Windows box.”

    I had to read that several times to make sure that I hadn’t imagained it. Exactly what little fluffy world do you live on? Price is the most important factor in buying any consumer item, and anyone who doesn’t believe that has got too much of it.

    My PC is getting on a bit and could do with an upgrade. Unfortunately I don’t have the money for a mac – I barely have enough money for an entry level PC. I needed to buy a car instead. And I didn’t buy a Rolls-Royce or a Ferrari because I couldn’t afford it. I bought a small economical car. I would love to have bought a really nice one, but I don’t have the cash. I would so love to live in your world.

    I can’t agree with all this Mac-huggery though. I’ve got a windows machine and a 1st gen iBook. The windows machine is 10x more reliable than the mac. Programs are easier to install (and to find once installed), upgrading is easier. I’ve had the mac equivalent of a BSoD once every 3 times I use it (mainly when using external devices) and I am left with a puzzled look on my face when it happens. The only BSoD I get on the PC is caused by a component failure that I haven’t the time (or cash) to replace. I’ve used Macs since 1988 and PC’s since about 1989 and I would still buy a PC. Sorry. Mind you, the new Powerbooks are really nice designwise.

  29. Gary says:

    No offence folks, but if this is going to turn into a Mac vs PC flame war then I’m butting out of the thread permanently – “Macs rule! Windoze sucks!” “No, Macs are teh sux0r!” threads bore me to tears…

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