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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  • http://wp3.lockergnome.com/dabrace1984/ Doug

    As the owner of a current generation MacBook Pro, I have to say that the Apple experience really is great. With that said, I didn’t buy this laptop because I wanted to get high off the Apple experience. No OEM is perfect. See the URL below as evidence.

    http://wp3.lockergnome.com/dabrace1984/2008/03/09/apple-lcd-display-pixel-anomalies/

    As a side note, not all Apple products are more experience than other OEMs. The current generation of Dell’s 30″ monitor costs $1,999 USD. The current generation of Apple’s 30″ monitor costs $1,799 USD. You may not consider that the best example but as you go up the performance and specification scales, Apple products are either cheaper or equal in price.

    A Mac Pro with 1, 2.8 GHz Quad Core Xeon Processor, everything else set to standard, adding a 3-year warranty, and a 20″ monitor comes to a cost of $3,147.00. Compare that to a Dell Precision T7400 with 1, 2.8 GHz Quad Core Xeon Processor, everything else set to standard (3-year warranty is included), and a 20″ monitor comes to a cost of $2,749. So the Dell doesn’t cost as much. If you take the same exact configurations listed above but add a second 2.8 GHz Quad Core Xeon Processor, the Mac Pro costs $3,647 and the Precision T7400 costs $3,948. Now the Mac Pro doesn’t cost as much. Those are cold hard facts that show as performance and specifications go up, Apple’s products are cheaper.

  • George

    It just depends, for instance, my mom, who only uses the computer to check email bought a cheap $300 dell, and it works just fine for her needs. Now, I am a hardcore gamer, so I make my own machines, and I like working with high quality stuff. I like being able to pick out my own hardware. So, a windows computer can be very high quality, and I prefer it because I can pick my own stuff. At the same time, apple will always be high quality because they make and sell all of their products. So, for the average consumer with money to burn, I would recommend apple. But for somebody who know computers well and is considered an expert, I would expect them to go with windows. Also, I hate mac fans, because they are so rude.

  • Scott Salvo

    you’re correct, of course, in the general sense. But here’s where mac haters miss the point: it is the software.

    First, they simply don’t crash. And the occasional frozen program is easily closed out without affecting any other running program.

    Second, I don’t have to spend money on virus protection. Yeah, I know, blah blah proof of concept blah blah. In 4 years my PowerBook G4 has never had an infection, and I’m online
    and download a lot. No extra yearly fees, no overworked processor.

    Third, I just purchased my wife a brand new dell vostro 1710, loaded up; $2200. She needs windows for work. It detects my home wireless Internet, but won’t connect to it. The day
    I purchased my PowerBook I told it the wep password and I
    was good to go. Now I have to call dell customer support and waste my time. How much is that worth? A computer that just works. Oh, and I get two operating systems; OS X and unix. Windows is the power users OS? Not unix? At the end of two years a mac will have paid of its price differential and still be going strong, you’ll be buying another new windows machine trying to get it to run right for the first 6 months.