Is Apple Ripping You Off?

If you were to take the article seen here at face value, my article’s title may very well be the reader’s conclusion. Once you get past the rabid Mac fans who have made their perspective clear in the comments, there is finally one comment that actually sheds some light on what I think is the most likely answer:

Comment from CNET:

“The reason Apple hardware is so expensive is that they have to subsidize all of the software development from hardware sales. Developing all that “cool” software costs, and since they don’t sell the software (OS X, etc.) they have to compensate in hardware prices…”

Now I happen to be one office door away from my wife’s pricey iMac and I would be the first to admit two things that are undeniable – they are indeed expensive and they are also REALLY great machines. Yes, I went there, they do cost money. Despite what many people claim, in the end the Mac does cost more component for component than a well shopped for PC built to spec. And that is the key, being able to carefully shop around for your components or use the lesser quality hardware that Dell slaps in their boxes.

With all of this said, I would also point out that a Mac provides value for what you are getting. The OS, the included software and the fact that generally speaking, the quality is above average. And was the iMac sitting my wife’s office worth the grand+ that it cost me? Based on her usage, yes. Would I spend that much on a computer for myself? Not unless it was a nice notebook. And that said, I did recently spend that much on a Linux pre-installed notebook. So for me, it is less about the money and more about what I am getting for the money. My needs just happen to differ from those of my wife, with regard to technology of course.

I think that saying Apple hardware is “overpriced” is a dangerous statement. In the end, I think the user is paying for perceived value and perceived or not, it is very real to people who are using OS X. I would never argue against that. If the value is there, who can possibiy argue for someone buying a product at any given price that enables them do to what they need to do?

What I see as unfortunate, is a Mac is at a price point where someone willing to use Windows or these days, even pre-installed Linux for that matter, would end up with more machine for the same money spent on the lower end of the spectrum.

Again, I am talking about what I can get from a PC OEM for $600 vs what I can get for the same money at Apple.com. The numbers are there, so what do you think? Understanding that we are not speaking as to quality, rather Joe Average simply looking for a machine that can do the basics. High end to high end, things are much closer. It is the low end market however, I see people missing an oportunity with OS X.

Oh, by the way. I have used a Mini and they are not all that great. So I do not consider this a good option when compared to taking the same money and buying a comparable OEM box elsewhere. Most casual users would like to also receive a new monitor, etc with their $600-800 purchase. Apple is not providing this to my knowledge. Am I wrong?

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