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Mac Tax, Dell Tax, HP Tax

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the get-what-you-pay-for dept.

Portables 858

Harry writes "Microsoft's new Windows ad, with shopper Lauren buying a cheap 17-inch HP laptop instead of a $2,800 MacBook Pro, has unleashed the whole 'Are Macs Expensive?' debate again. I'm diving in with a pretty exhaustive comparison of the MacBook Pro against machines from Dell, HP, Lenovo, and Sony that were as comparably configured as I could manage. The conclusion: High-end laptops tend to carry high-end prices, whether their operating system hails from Cupertino or Redmond. And the MacBook Pro wasn't the priciest of the systems I compared." We looked at this question, not in as much depth, a couple of years back.

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858 comments

First Posts are the most expensive (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27404867)

But then again, I use linux on an asus netbook.

Re:First Posts are the most expensive (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27404937)

Does the word "nigger" offend you?

typinsummary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27404881)

instead of a $,2800 MacBook

$x,2800? x=9? WTG?

-jcr

Upgrading (4, Insightful)

SpectreBlofeld (886224) | more than 5 years ago | (#27404885)

Ever priced a stick or two of RAM from Apple?

I know it doesn't affects us geeks, but it'll give Grandma a heart attack.

Re:Upgrading (1, Informative)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#27405125)

This just in: Buying from the manufacture cheaper then going with someone else.
Your news is sure to rock the automotive world.

Re:Upgrading (2, Informative)

chris462 (656034) | more than 5 years ago | (#27405149)

Apple's prices are inline with the compeition on RAM upgrades these days.

Re:Upgrading (2, Interesting)

Amiga Trombone (592952) | more than 5 years ago | (#27405251)

That's true. I was checking out prices for an upgrade from Crucial for a MacBook Pro. To my surprise, I found that just ordering the configuration I wanted from Apple would be cheaper.

Disk prices, on the other hand....

Premade (1)

AnonGCB (1398517) | more than 5 years ago | (#27404891)

What about whitebox? For some reason I don't seem to be able to install Mac on my own hardware. that generally cuts the price by quite a bit.

Re:Premade (2, Informative)

yakatz (1176317) | more than 5 years ago | (#27405007)

It is technically possible, and doesn't even look to hard, although I have not done it, to install Mac OS on your own hardware. http://lifehacker.com/software/hack-attack/build-a-hackintosh-mac-for-under-800-321913.php [lifehacker.com] or newer http://lifehacker.com/348653/install-os-x-on-your-hackintosh-pc-no-hacking-required/ [lifehacker.com]

Re:Premade (1)

AnonGCB (1398517) | more than 5 years ago | (#27405259)

Possible, but legality has been questioned and it's tricky.

Re:Premade (1)

Chaos Incarnate (772793) | more than 5 years ago | (#27405045)

A whitebox laptop?

That's fine but... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27404895)

The Apple tax is the lack of variety.
It isn't that the expensive laptops aren't worth it.
It's that there is no low cost Macs.

Re:That's fine but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27405209)

Yes, God, yes. Especially for the desktop. I would love to get a Mac desktop, but I have problems with all of their current offerings. Both the Mini and iMac lack upgradability, and the iMac is an all-in-one unit (DO NOT WANT). The Mac Pro is overkill (both in terms of hardware and price). Why can't they offer the equivalent hardware of an iMac in the shell of a Mac Pro and meet the halfway point in terms of price? That would be the sweet spot for me.

Re:That's fine but... (4, Informative)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#27405349)

Simply, they do everything they can do to limit 3rd party markets. The non-removable batteries we see in iPhone and the latest laptops mean little more to me than trying to limit 3rd party parts. If they made batteries removable, there are plenty of laws in various locations that make it illegal for them to attempt to prevent other people from selling parts compatible with your computer. Apple does this with everything it possibly can and control the market for 3rd party software as much as possible as well. Ostensibly, this is to control the quality of the user experience.

Where's the MTTF? (4, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#27404907)

pretty exhaustive comparison

I don't think it was exhaustive at all. What I feel like I'm buying when I buy a laptop is more than what this article implies. I am buying into a brick of hardware where if one piece fails or becomes obsolete, it might as well be the whole brick. Which is why it surprises me that talk of hard drives (though they are the easiest component to replace) doesn't even list the manufacturer of the drive! How about a Mean Time to Failure (MTTF) of each of the products used? How about even just telling me that all the USB ports are 2.0 (I mean, I'm assuming that but who knows)? And what about the support that comes with each laptop as far as # of updates (BIOS/firmware) issued for the mainboard and all devices?

High-end laptops tend to carry high-end prices, whether their operating system hails from Cupertino or Redmond.

Actually I advise people that high end Macs are a tiny bit more expensive than high end other laptops while low end Macs are much more expensive (percentage wise) to low end Dells or HPs. And I think that's better information (and I thought I read that in the article). You usually get what you pay for and I wish the article had done a more thorough analysis of the laptops component by component.

Re:Where's the MTTF? (1)

Latinhypercube (935707) | more than 5 years ago | (#27405253)

Agreed. Also the performance difference for any normal suburbanite between a high end mac laptop and a cheap dell laptop is MARGINAL. Processors have not increased in speed for 5 years ! Most people use laptops for web, email, youtube and dvd's. In all these cases ANY low-end Dell or Hp or Toshiba etc. etc. will perform as well as a high end mac pro laptop. Hence, there is no practical value in the added cost of a mac (unless you are a professional and you are using multi-threaded processor intensive apps)

Thanks Microsoft (3, Interesting)

Kohath (38547) | more than 5 years ago | (#27404911)

Maybe this will lead Apple to lower their prices a little. That would be great. Cheaper Macs.

It would be one of the worst possible things that could happen to Microsoft though.

The question isn't just "are Macs expensive" (5, Interesting)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#27404913)

... the question is also, "does Lauren need an expensive notebook."

Let's say the MacBook CAN justify its $2800 pricetag (i.e., it's not overpriced hardware, it's just good/expensive hardware and a lot of it). Ok, so the question is, is a $2800 laptop necessary? My $1350 dell ($2050 minus $800 deal) has been working for several years now (battery has died, that's about it. It's old enough that it has a dual core Centrino (32 bit processor).

"Overpriced Mac" can mean more than "the hardware added up doesn't equal the pricetag" ... it can also mean "it's twice as much as you need to spend for what you're going to do with it."

mod parent up! (4, Insightful)

WiiVault (1039946) | more than 5 years ago | (#27404999)

To me on the the biggest issues with Apple is that they don't really offer a full range of configurations. So if for instance somebody wants a mid-range tower they are out of luck. Or a consumer notebook with a big screen. What they do make I think is competitive in those markets. But an expanded lineup would really help.

Re:mod parent up! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27405179)

To me one of the the biggest issues with Mercedes is that they don't really offer a full range of vehicles. So if for instance somebody wants a pickup truck they are out of luck. Or a dirt bike. What they do make I think is competitive in those markets. But an expanded lineup would really help.

Re:mod parent up! (1)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 5 years ago | (#27405249)

There is always an ample supply of mid-range macs (Intel/PCIe and everything) here [ebay.com] and here [apple.com] . The second place will even give you a warranty.

I know that's not the answer everyone wants to hear, but it's not like it's physically impossible to get a mid-range Mac for a very low price. All you have to do is buy it from the sucker who paid full price for it when it was cutting edge two years ago.

Re:mod parent up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27405375)

To me on the the biggest issues with Apple is that they don't really offer a full range of configurations.

Exactly! Start with a Mac, read it's specs, got to Dell and order the same specs, it's about the same price. However, that's not even close to fair. Start by listing the specs you want. Check out Dell and Apple. The Dell's going to be substantially cheaper. Why, because with a Mac you're paying for a bunch of stuff you'll never use. Of course it your spec includes having a white apple glowing on the back of your laptop screen, you'll have to buy from Apple.

Re:The question isn't just "are Macs expensive" (0, Troll)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#27405177)

How well is OSX running on your 1350 dollar Dell?

Re:The question isn't just "are Macs expensive" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27405217)

How does ReactOS run on your $2800 mac?

Re:The question isn't just "are Macs expensive" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27405223)

KDE runs great on it. Thanks for asking!

Re:The question isn't just "are Macs expensive" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27405211)

(i.e., it's not overpriced hardware, it's just good/expensive hardware and a lot of it).

...It's old enough that it has a dual core Centrino (32 bit processor).

You can try and defend Mac by pretending you know something about hardware, but the fact is you probably don't know much considering Centrino isn't a processor.

The truth is, we can't really make a fair comparison, because there are two variables here, the hardware and the OS. Until we can throw Mac's OS on "cheap hardware", we can't really make a fair comparison.

Re:The question isn't just "are Macs expensive" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27405215)

This is the advice I always give to everyone: laptops are disposable, consumable items. They WILL break and you WILL need to replace it. No laptop will reasonably last more than 3-4 years. Different brands and higher prices just make different parts break first. Go with the cheapest one that has the features you want, and plan your replacement sooner.

No Mac Tax then (5, Insightful)

TrekkieGod (627867) | more than 5 years ago | (#27405247)

Let's say the MacBook CAN justify its $2800 pricetag (i.e., it's not overpriced hardware, it's just good/expensive hardware and a lot of it). Ok, so the question is, is a $2800 laptop necessary?

That's a good question that everyone should ask, but it has nothing to do with a Mac Tax. It's a "high-end computer tax." If Apple is making a business of only selling high-end computers, that's the market they've chosen, nothing wrong with that. Now if you want to say that macs are overpriced, you need to compare equivalently specs, you can't say, "look, the other company sells a less powerful laptop for cheaper." Of course they do, if their less powerful laptop was more expensive than a high-end computer, everyone would buy high-end computers!

I also don't really understand why there's all this hate against people who choose to buy high-end computers. It's true that they're not getting the most bang for the buck, but if it weren't for those buyers financing the high performance parts, the mid-range computers wouldn't advance as quickly. Basically, the reason you can get a very fast machine for cheaper today is precisely because of those people who buy the expensive high-end parts. It's the same concept Tesla Motors is trying to leverage. They can't build an affordable electric car, so they build a car for the rich. Those buyers fund the development of the technology and eventually they'll be able to build an affordable electric car.

If they want them, and can afford them, who are you to tell you they're wrong? Especially when you're indirectly benefiting from their choice.

Re:The question isn't just "are Macs expensive" (1)

Crock23A (1124275) | more than 5 years ago | (#27405295)

How does $2050 minus $800 come out to $1300? You gotta do simple math to get your good deal.

Re:The question isn't just "are Macs expensive" (0, Troll)

captainjaroslav (893479) | more than 5 years ago | (#27405383)

Yes, and my $999 MacBook does everything I need it to do. Yes, the lowest-end MacBooks are not as cheap as the lowest-end Dells (nor as underpowered), but neither is the $2800 the only price point for a Mac laptop, as your post implies.

third post (0, Offtopic)

Shaklee39 (694496) | more than 5 years ago | (#27404915)

ftttdfgederQWED

but how much for .... (2, Interesting)

fayd (143105) | more than 5 years ago | (#27404917)

And how much are the Macs with features compared to the lower priced notebooks? You know, the ones with fewer features that I don't need/want?

Re:but how much for .... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27405275)

Ya know, idiots abound in this argument, obviously Mac OS X is not a big consideration for you, neither is reliability, nor support. If you only need a cheap laptop, you can get one and be done, quit complaining that the Cadillac costs too much and go drive your old beetle anywhere you want!

So in other words (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27404923)

you are trying to justify that Apple purchase and will try to seek out evidence to backup your purchase,
nobody wants to feel they have been ripped off and will invent any amount of reasons to avoid facing the reality that you have indeed been ripped off which is very common trait with the victims of crime/fraud.

witness the fanboys, large amount of customers that refuse to believe they got a poor deal and so band together for positive re-enforcement

hmmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27404931)

The interesting thing here is that Lauren bought a computer based on her image of how well it worked - not on a geeky standard of what are the specs.

Plus, the commercial mentioned low end macs - where are those comparisons here?

Unjustifiably expensive (1)

wraithguard01 (1159479) | more than 5 years ago | (#27404933)

Hey, that's why you buy a pystar machine. Cheaper than a real mac, but just as powerful. It is definitely true that Mac could afford to come down on prices.

Re:Unjustifiably expensive (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27405205)

True, And the Psystar machines are so noisy, you don't even have to purchase a separate jet for your living room, and so ugly you don't need to bother insuring them as nobody would steal them. Also their laptops are... Uh no, they don't have any. But at least you have that cozy feeling that each OS upgrade is hazardous and the logevity is questionable seeing as they are in the midst of lawsuits that could cause them the life and at least the support for running OS X on them. Damn my Air to all hell, wish I had gotten a Psystar instead.

Re:Unjustifiably expensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27405241)

Aw, that's a good apple fanboi. How smug of you.

Whoosh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27404939)

And you've completely missed the point of those ads, which is that Macs don't -have- a low-end option.

A more sensible rebuttal would have involved netbooks. Just saying.

Re:Whoosh (1)

jagilbertvt (447707) | more than 5 years ago | (#27405299)

Exactly what I was about to point out. The cheapest macbook starts at $1000. You can find low-end pc notebooks for under $500.

I bought a Mac (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27404941)

because it is well-known as THE "gay" computer. I'm hoping to use it convert young boys into the homosexual lifestyle. Can anyone recommend any software that would be effective at turning young boys gay?

Re:I bought a Mac (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27405023)

Anal explorer, Open orifice, Pornoshop,

Re:I bought a Mac (0, Offtopic)

Sebilrazen (870600) | more than 5 years ago | (#27405153)

myspace?

Wrong question (5, Insightful)

Arainach (906420) | more than 5 years ago | (#27404965)

The question isn't "what does a comparably specced machine cost". It's "what does a machine that does what I need cost". I can get a $500-700 PC Laptop that will work great for most of my use. I can't touch that with a Mac.

Non-Silverlight video link? (4, Interesting)

schmiddy (599730) | more than 5 years ago | (#27404975)

I know no one reads the fine articles but does no one really watch the fine videos? Or does everyone here have Silverlight install?

Would someone be kind enough to post up a non-Silverlight version. Bonus points for a direct link to an open video format (i.e. not flash), but I'm not picky.

Re:Non-Silverlight video link? (1, Insightful)

citylivin (1250770) | more than 5 years ago | (#27405243)

"Bonus points for a direct link to an open video format (i.e. not flash), but I'm not picky."

So you don't want to use this video codec because its made by microsoft? I fail to see how it is any different than flash, infact I thought it was flash! Especially when you then go and say a flash file is fine, thus destroying your 'holier than thou' proprietary video codec argument. I think you need to look up the meaning of the phrase "i'm not picky".

Re:Non-Silverlight video link? (1)

aztektum (170569) | more than 5 years ago | (#27405331)

...but I'm not picky.

Then install Silverlight :P

(I know, I know. He may not be able to.)

Gee . . . I Don't Know (-1, Flamebait)

LuYu (519260) | more than 5 years ago | (#27404979)

Let's see . . .

  • Average Netbook running Linux: ~$300
  • MacBook: ~$3,000

With early 90's pricing, why would anybody think MacBooks were expensive?

Re:Gee . . . I Don't Know (0)

edalytical (671270) | more than 5 years ago | (#27405053)

Apples to oranges.

Re:Gee . . . I Don't Know (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27405061)

Hey, let's throw out bad numbers and compare hardware that's totally different.

MacBook: $1000-$1500
- Core 2 Duo
- Nvidia graphics
- OS X

Average Netbook: $300
- Intel Atom
- Integrated Intel Graphics
- Linux

OS X -is- generally more user friendly and the macbook doesn't have, well, crap for hardware. Unless you mean to imply that an Atom == Core 2 Duo?

Re:Gee . . . I Don't Know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27405087)

Let's see that again
* Average Netbook running Linux: ~$300
* Number of times netbook is thrown out the window in frustration: 10
* TCO for Netbook: ~$3000

* MacBook: ~$3,000

By my calculations, they cost the same

Rehash... (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27404987)

Haven't we all reached the conclusion that:
a) no, Macs are not significantly more expensive than PCs
and
b) there are far fewer hardware configurations available such that when you take any one premium feature and then try to go bargain hunting on other features, Macs will be significantly more expensive.

If you want a laptop with a 17" screen, 512M RAM and a 60G HD, suddenly you're comparing an $800 PC against a $2700 MBP since Apple doesn't make a computer with a 17" screen and less than 2G RAM. But if you actually want all the stuff in the 17" MBP, a comparable PC won't be all that differently priced.

Long story short, buying a Mac forces you to upgrade in areas that you may not need whereas buying a PC allows you to save money on any component of the system that is less important to you.

Flawed process? (4, Insightful)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 5 years ago | (#27404989)

The way most of these comparisons work is that they take the feature set of the most expensive laptop and start there as a base point, or start at the most feature rich, like this review did. I've seen the commercial in question and the girl/actress/whatever had two requirements: a 17 inch screen and a sub thousand dollar price. Say what you will about that but that seems like a pretty common way to start shopping. Sure, the Macbook Pro is $2800 (?!) but I'm sure it has a ton of stuff she's simply not interested or aware of. The general public likes cheap computers, and I personally think it's a pretty effective ad.

It would be nice if they could have had a longer version where she's in the Apple store and finds her 17" laptop but not at the price she wants.

Effective ad for me, but it's personally not going to influence any of my purchases. I buy most of my stuff off Craigslist (17 inchers for under $100? yum - that's what she said).

Re:Flawed process? (1)

iangoldby (552781) | more than 5 years ago | (#27405197)

they take the feature set of the most expensive laptop and start there as a base point... [but] the actress had two requirements: a 17 inch screen and a sub thousand dollar price.

So the MacBook doesn't qualify. But there is a difference between expensive and poor value.

What this review did was perfectly correct - they baselined the specification and compared prices of similar machines. Any other way and you just get into pointless value judgements about whether this feature or that feature is worth the extra spondulicks. Well, is it worth it to you?

The problem with Macs (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#27405005)

It's not so much their relative price, it's that they offer such a constrained selection compared to PC's. I can buy a PC laptop or desktop at almost any price point (and get my money's worth). With Apple, I can buy a Mac Mini--or a very expensive desktop (little middle ground). And I don't think Apple even MAKES a netbook. It's pretty much right to the expensive stuff if you want an Apple laptop.

We looked at this question... (5, Funny)

iamhigh (1252742) | more than 5 years ago | (#27405011)

We look at this question, not in as much depth, on nearly every Mac story.

Fixed that for you.

Re:We looked at this question... (4, Insightful)

spotter (5662) | more than 5 years ago | (#27405323)

Dells, HPs, Lenovos..... they all go on sale for significant discounts.

Do Macs? Not from my experience.

I can buy a souped up T series lenovo laptop for probably around half the price of an equivalent macbook (in the 1250-1500 range vs. 2500-3000 range for the macbook pro.

And one can get features in the T series that apple just doesn't think there's any market for (such as the old T42p I'm currently typing on that had a 15" 4x3 lcd w/ 1600x1200). Try to find any mac that has anything approaching that pixel density.

Mid-range Apple Notebooks (1)

Adam Zweimiller (710977) | more than 5 years ago | (#27405013)

I did not RTFA but from the summary it sounds like the conclusion is that the Macbook Pro is worth the money or at least comparable to other high end notebooks. That's nice, but it doesn't really offer an explanation as to why Apple hasn't entered the $500-1000 market. I cannot imagine the staggering marketshare they would gain with a laptop that a majority of parents could afford their college bound kid. Anyone got any insights into Apple's complete disinterest in the mid-range notebook market?

Re:Mid-range Apple Notebooks (1)

JoaoPinheiro (749991) | more than 5 years ago | (#27405161)

Profit margins. Also, it's not their style to cut back on quality in order to lower the price tag. Apple doesn't do cheap.

Re:Mid-range Apple Notebooks (1)

drunkennewfiemidget (712572) | more than 5 years ago | (#27405325)

They don't do cheap in the pricetag you pay sense, but they definitely do cheap in build quality.

I've sat and watched as people around me buy macs and insist their better, when > 50% of them have had some failure of some kind in their first 3 years of ownership. Some of them are menial (headphone jack stopped working/has no volume), some of them are in the middle (touchpad for mouse stopped working), some of them are significant (mainboard fried).

I don't know what's in the kool-aid, but with the astronomical rate of failure I've seen with Macs, and the fact that while MSRP on a comparable piece of PC hardware is about the same, the fact that you can *always* find a better deal with PCs where as better deals for macs are a pipe dream, I can't imagine wasting my money on a mac.

Re:Mid-range Apple Notebooks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27405361)

You're right. Their style is to cut back on quality in order to increase profit margins.

Re:Mid-range Apple Notebooks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27405195)

Profit margins. Tech support costs. Brand image.

That is all.

Re:Mid-range Apple Notebooks (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#27405225)

Anyone got any insights into Apple's complete disinterest in the mid-range notebook market?

If they start to appear common, they lose their hip mystique and can't charge as much for the higher-end models. And to be fair, I'm regurgitating something I've read on /. a bajillion times, so it's not my insight.

Re:Mid-range Apple Notebooks (1)

MeanMF (631837) | more than 5 years ago | (#27405355)

Apple buyers don't want a laptop that everybody else has - they are willing to pay more for a premium brand. This isn't unique to Apple. You see this in a lot of other industries like cars and fashion - i.e. you won't see a BMW or Mercedes branded econo-box any time soon. If they come out with a low-price model, they would not only cannibalize sales of their high-end, high-margin products, but they would also lose that "look at me" appeal that their core customer base thrives on.

Graphics? (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 5 years ago | (#27405017)

So a NVIDIA Quadro FX 2700M is the nearest he could get to a 9600M GT on the Dell site?

"I didn't want anyone to be able to accuse me of rigging my research, consciously or unconsciously, to make Apple look good."

Sorry, that's exactly the way it looks to me.

Quad-Core? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27405301)

The HP 8730W, 100 euros cheaper than the maccy, comes with a Quad-core processor (Q9100) and a _very_ high quality display. I guess if you pick the most expensive HP retailer...

You're answering the wrong question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27405031)

The question really isn't whether you can make a PC as expensive as a Mac. Of course you can. PC's run the gamut of very capable $250 netbooks all the way up to as much as you care to pay.

It's what I'd call a "straw man argument".

The way most people start by shopping for something like this is to establish a budget and a list of capabilities they feel they need. They'll factor information like brand reputation and reliability from sources like Consumer Reports and pick the cheapest laptop that fits that criteria. Or worst case, they figure "I've got $600 to spend on a laptop, what can I get".

You can find decent PC laptops for $600. Brand names, with full support. You can say things like "Oh, that's an HP/Compaq/Dell/Acer and they're all crap. But that's not a logical argument, it's an appeal to emotion".

By the same token, I believe that Macs are primarily bought on an emotional basis... they're cool, nice design... "which one can I afford?". I'm not saying they're not good machines, but the reason Macs seem expensive is that they are expensive for the segments they compete in. And please spare us the emotional rhetoric around "they're designed holistically" or "they use better materials" or "OS X is sooooo much better". You can't put that in a spreadsheet.

So yes, Mac's are expensive. I own 3 of them. But I don't pretend it's for any other reason than they're cool, and the fact that iLife is the best application out there for consumer use (emotional response, admittedly). If they made iLife for PC's, it would be hard to justify getting the Macs for me.

Choices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27405035)

I think the biggest problem with Mac laptops is that there aren't any low-end options. If you want a powerful machine, the price will always be high, but if you just want a low-powered machine, you're out of luck with Apple.

Apples and Oranges err... Vistas? (4, Interesting)

goltzc (1284524) | more than 5 years ago | (#27405041)

It's part of Apple's strategy. They offer hardware that makes their machines operate at a level that they find acceptable. HP, Dell etc. build machines at price points that they think will sell.

I know I'll spark off a debate on this one but you never hear folks complaining that Macs are slow. Part of that is likely to do with OSX but the other part has just as much to do with the fact that Macs are NEVER sold under powered.

On the other hand we have PC manufacturers selling dirt cheap machines that "run" Vista but not well. If those same manufacturers only sold machines that ran their intended software well, the price point comparison would be pretty moot.

Re:Apples and Oranges err... Vistas? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27405089)

Part of that is likely to do with OSX but the other part has just as much to do with the fact that Macs are NEVER sold under powered.

Erm... Yes. Definitely.

(I'm forever delving inside my latest Apple acquisitions, upgrading the memory or replacing the hard disks with something a bit less ... slow. Like my old iBook G4. Before I upgraded the memory, that thing was ridiculously slow...)

reliability and construction (1)

yanyan (302849) | more than 5 years ago | (#27405049)

What does it matter if all notebooks nowadays come from probably the same Chinese factory anyway?

Advantage points seem a little dubious (5, Insightful)

Digital_Quartz (75366) | more than 5 years ago | (#27405055)

Giving the Apple a point for "construction" seems a little dubious to me. There's no doubt that the fancy aluminum shell on the Mac is much sturdier than my all plastic Dell from work, but my Dell laptop seems to stand up just fine to the rigors I put it through. If the Mac were made of aircraft grade aluminum, would it be even better? Not really.

Giving a "point" to Apple for Firewire seems equally dubious. Most consumers who are choosing between a PC laptop and a Mac likely don't know what FireWire is, and the other laptops all HAVE a FireWire port, just a slower one. FireWire 800 is a "feature" that very few people need.

The point to Apple for "sound" is perhaps most dubious of all, since the Sony has some slick specs in this department as well.

Methinks the TFA is slightly biased.

Fanboy reacts to negative Apple publicity... (5, Insightful)

rtilghman (736281) | more than 5 years ago | (#27405057)

News at 11.

Whether you want to say Apple doesn't make notebooks most people can afford or they're notebooks are too expensive in general, it's essentially a wash.

Also, the entire basis for this comparison is wrong... as the ad shows, it has nothing to do with the "exact" features. Consumers look for a couple key features and operate "within a market." If you want the real take-away here it's that Apple either a) doesn't understand the market they're targeting with the 13" macbook or b) is purposely trying to drive people to the more expensive machine. Either way, they don't have a product that meets what I think you can safely say is the "vast majority" of US consumers.

Personally I just hate the "I know what's good for you" Apple mantra. I be surprised if more /.ers wouldn't agree given the fact that Apple is essentially the antithesis of open source.

-rt

buttons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27405059)

But for the price of a PC, you get TWO buttons for your mousing!

Selling Silverlight (3, Insightful)

burnin1965 (535071) | more than 5 years ago | (#27405071)

So is it an ad for Windows or Silverlight?

What is the point of putting out an ad to sell a product if you limit your market to those who are already using your product? Are they simply trying to stop the bleeding of market share?

Yeah, I know, there are ways to view the ad without buying Windows, no thanks.

A few points kdawson doesn't quite comprehend... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27405077)

Well. There are a few things about this article that don't make much sense to me. First off, you chose the business class. Those do come with a premium attached. Why not use a similarly equipped gaming laptop? They're just as good, if not better, than the business class, at a lower price.

Secondly, the Macs uni body case tends to cause them to heat up very hot...white hot. I can honestly state this without resorting to hyperbole: I have seen them hot enough to melt magnesium after playing GTA IV for longer than 15 minutes. I don't agree with giving them the advantage on that, especially with it causing the problems with the faulty Darth Insidious chips.

Thirdly, the battery. HP is gearing up to launch their new puke Green battery, which is supposed to hold its charge for 3 years and is made entirely of human ethanol vomit. And the fact that its sealed in on the macs is a major turn off for many people, myself included.

FIREWIRE IS DEAD! DEAD! DEAD! DEAD! DEAD! DEAD! DEAD! DEAD! DEAD! DEAD!

Optical sound out is great if you are using the mac as a dvd player. I wouldn't necessarily give it to mac, but that's just a matter of opinion. Fingerprint scanners, while neat, aren't much of an issue for most people...except for me and I'm big pussy. Every non-business HP laptop has Works on it in some form, unless they changed that recently.

And now, disclaimer: I prefer PCs myself (both windows and Linux) and I realize some of my arguments are biased. But the article seems slanted towards the mac, because of the business class laptops from the windows camp.

Here's a treat for the shit-eating Apple fags out there: Macs are more stable (though Vista is much more rock solid on good hardware...say like a 386 running at a blistering clock speed of 33MHz). This is because of the limited amount of hardware they're built for built fort built fortissimo.

Dan East

Re:A few points kdawson doesn't quite comprehend.. (1)

OMGcAPSLOCK (1507399) | more than 5 years ago | (#27405303)

FIREWIRE IS DEAD! (caps filter kicks in to curb the drama)

It's clear you don't do any kind of work with digital audio.

Doesn't Microsoft Always Tell the Truth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27405095)

MS Vista is faster and more secure than XP, XP is faster than Windows 2000... Yeah, right. I look at any MS ad the same way I view an ad for 'male enhancement' and get-rich-quick schemes. There may be pinch of truth buried within a ton of lies. I'm not really boycotting Microsoft, just not paying for an overpriced, buggy beta OS for my computer.

Initial investment (4, Interesting)

qoncept (599709) | more than 5 years ago | (#27405101)

I don't take anyone questioning whether Macs are expensive seriously. They are, period. Getting the same specs on a Dell may cost the same/nearly as much, but you* can get a laptop that has everything you need for far less than you can get any Mac. The difference is resale value. Look at ebay. A 1 year old iMac with upgraded memory often sells, used, for what it cost new. A year old PC is relatively worthless.

The point? The cost of ownership over 10 years for a Mac vs PC is a whole lot more comparable than the up front cost. You may not have an extra PC laying around a year later after you buy your Mac, but you can upgrade to this-year's-model for next to nothing if you are willing to sell your Mac.

* You being most people

Cheaper doesn't matter if it doesn't work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27405133)

Really though... I don't care if a PC costs less, if it's not reliable and able to run the applications that I need.

The hardware is just a way to enable software...

Saving $100 on a system that isn't stable is not a savings to me.

That said, I am enjoying my new Mac, and doing my bit to help the economy.

That was painful to watch (1)

Lord Byron II (671689) | more than 5 years ago | (#27405139)

That line where she said that between the two computers, the design of the HP was "drawing her in" sent a shiver down my spine. I can't tell you the number of times I've argued with a friend/neighbor/spouse that looks don't matter in a computer. Usability matters. Easy-to-read screen, comfortable keyboard, good specs, etc, etc.

Just a silly question (0, Redundant)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 5 years ago | (#27405147)

I have a silly question for all you anti-Mac people: why are you so offended that people would choose to buy from Apple? What is it about that company that makes you rabidly deride anyone who exercised their personal choice to buy a computer they desired, for whatever reason? How does it hurt you? I have to assume it hurts you, because the derision is so very strong and often personal (for an anonymous interaction, anyway.)

Is it something as simple as your belief that your opinion is somehow more correct? Could it really be something that wrong?

Re:Just a silly question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27405369)

Don't know if you meant to word it that way, but just replace Mac and Apple with MS and you can make the exact same argument. Heard enough fanbois on both sides to make my ears bleed.

Apple violates the GPL and steals from Open Source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27405155)

And that's all you need to know. Apple violates the spirit of the GPL by Tivo-izing Webkit for the iPhone, among other things. That's just as bad as violating the letter of the license. Apple makes their fortune by closing open source, and they must CHANGE or DIE.
Never forget!

IN CODE THERE IS FREEDOM
LIVE FREE OR DIE!

I hate to say it, but MS had a good point (5, Interesting)

THotze (5028) | more than 5 years ago | (#27405183)

I've been a Mac user for 6 years now, and have loved every machine I've purchased. Having said that, I'm a certain kind of user who matches the machines that Apple sells. I want mid- to mid-high range hardware, capable of pretty extensive multitasking (which, in my experience, works better under OS X than Windows), and the ability to do graphics design and layout (I admit, this was much more hardware-constrained in 2003 than it is now). Macs are a pretty good fit for the featureset that I want, and are price-competitive with Windows boxes.

HOWEVER in the ad, Lauren wants a machine with a certain amount of raw horsepower, a keyboard she likes (which, with Apple, is either entirely true or entirely not) and a 17" screen. That could mean a wide variety of machines -- processor architectures, memory, integrated or discreet graphics -- but Apple, when you want a 17" laptop, assumes you're a higher-end user, that wants a very well engineered battery, a lot of horsepower, a fast dual-core CPU, etc. etc.

Lauren doesn't. She doesn't want a lot of those things. She just wants a computer with a 17" screen. Apple doesn't sell the machine she wants -- but because there's at least 3 or 4 PC brands at any Best Buy, she can walk in and get what she wants for a fraction of what Apple sells it for.

It's a question of mapping: the goal isn't to take an APPLE to start with then compare it to the price of a similar PC; instead, it's to take a PC you want, and asking if there EVEN IS a similar Mac -- in a lot of cases, there just won't be.

ORLY? (1)

sootman (158191) | more than 5 years ago | (#27405191)

"Microsoft's new Windows ad... has unleashed the whole 'Are Macs Expensive?' debate again."

It has? I thought intelligent people figured this out years ago. If you compare comparably-specced machines, Macs are usually in the neighborhood. If you want a stripped-down machine, which Apple doesn't offer, then the next closest Mac is usually higher. If you want a form factor that Apple doesn't make (tablet, netbook, etc.) you're SOL. Did I miss anything?

What about resale? (1)

Binkleyz (175773) | more than 5 years ago | (#27405221)

It has always been a mantra of people that think about these things that a given PC laptop will be worth at least [the initial price delta] LESS in 2 years than a comparably (as much as possible) configured Mac.

Meaning:

$600 (when new) PC laptop is worth maybe $200 after 2 years. $1000 (when new) MacBook is worth at lest $600 after that same 2 years.

If you believe that (And I do, personally.. based on Ebay prices of used laptops), then the whole thing is a wash.

Oh, look, fanboy whining (5, Interesting)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 5 years ago | (#27405229)

Let's rile them up some more: I've owned four laptops in the last ten years, from IBM, Toshiba, HP, and Apple.

The Macbook Pro was the most expensive, has the worst LCD viewing angle, has the worst speakers, is the only one that overheats if you use it with the lid closed, and the only one to have a battery go all 'splody in slow motion. I also had to reflash the power management firmware because it stop charging due to a bug in the previous version. I don't care how much or how little they cost, I'm never making that mistake again.

Mac Vs PC AGAIN!!! (1)

nickrjsmith (1407237) | more than 5 years ago | (#27405261)

yes we know... macs are great.. will probably save the earth from global warming, create rains in africa and feed the starving... if i want to spend gazillions of £ on a computer that looks pretty and works well then fine, to be honest you can't do a like for like comparison because they're are different things. i drive a van.. it slow, but it gets me and all my stuff where to go... i don't want a sports car pointless for what i do. same thing applies with computers. if i want all the extra freeware / shareware / supported apps / gamess etc that a pc gives me can i just buy one and not be made to feel like i'm not in with the style crowd? PLEASE!

But, who actually buys machines like that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27405263)

This is all well and good, but the average person who goes into a shop and buys a laptop doesn't buy a machine like that, if they went into an Apple store they'd buy a Mini because thats all they could afford (if say there budget was £500 and there was no way they could stretch to £700 for the baseline Macbook)

If they walked into any shop that sold windows laptops however, they could get a far greater selection, with Core 2's and 4GB of RAM laptops as the advert showed.

Just face it, Apple doesn't cut it if your on a budget, they just don't cater to that end of the market, never have done and (most probably) never will do.

If you were looking for a laptop and like me you were a student so say had £300-400 to spend, the only choice on the Apple side would be the mini, and who would go for the mini when you can get a really decently specced laptop on the Windows side? If you don't like the OS just wipe it and use Ubuntu, or just have the best of both worlds with Wubi.

This is what people don't seem to get, stop trying to compare the high-end Mac's to the high-end Windows laptops! It isn't about that, it's about the low-end budget laptops, where Apple just doesn't compete.

The high-end wasn't the point of the advert, and it seems some people STILL don't get that...

I don't care what Dell, HP, or such want. (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 5 years ago | (#27405281)

What matters is this.

Go to Best Buy or any other store selling Apple and Windows computers. They average consumer isn't going to compare that high end Mac laptop with a high end Dell/Sony etc. They are going to compare it to the door buster and then say "it doesn't have this or that but for XXXXX dollars I can live with it"

Yeah, I can but a similarly priced item but what I found by not looking at Mac based laptops is that I can make trade offs, trade ups, or whatnot, much easier because so many more companies are offering me options.

The name Mac Tax should be replaced with "CASE tax" because with similar hardware your more paying for a fancy case than the guts of the thing. I won't place a value on the OS because Apple doesn't legally; apple wise; let me buy it for my PC.

Basically the "reviewer" did what every mac fanboi does, makes excuses for making certain choices so he can arrive at the point he decided before writing the article. Look, I own an iMac, love it, but I am not fool enough to pay retail for it. No, I went and took advantage of whatever fanboi came by first who needed the cash for his latest new Mac. Works wonders. Got a great machine less than year old for 2/3rd the price. Very nice packaging but even at the price I paid I could buy the same hardware but no where as neat as packaging for a lot less.

Go read the Mac forums, more than enough owners don't upgrade because of price. With the hackintosh community doing well I will be highly interested if Apple actually enters the "netbook" range considering the Dell 9" is one DVD and about half a dozen boots from running OS X for three hundred dollars.

Too bad the "Pro" only stands for price now. It used to mean something but it doesn't anymore.

As to when it breaks, lets see who has best turn around. I have yet to get something back in less than two weeks with Apple and had an iMac out for nearly a month while under warranty. (and for desktops Apple will not come to you like Dell/HP at home contracts really work out to be)

* I own an iMac, Touch, and iPod, and a custom PC. I have purchased two Dell refurbs as presents in the last year.

Oh, STFU... (0, Flamebait)

pinkfloydhomer (999075) | more than 5 years ago | (#27405313)

Macs are expensive. They're not high-end. They're just expensive. My computers perform a lot better than any Mac and they are all cheaper than the cheapest Mac.

Macs are expensive.

facepalm.. (1)

Terrorwrist (1376873) | more than 5 years ago | (#27405317)

Do I see something wrong in this sentence? "buying a cheap 17-inch HP laptop instead of a $,2800 MacBook Pro, has unleashed the whole 'Are Macs Expensive?' debate again." Look again slashdot editor. $,2800???? It is supposed to be $2,800 you insensitive clod. Wow first time I ever seen this. Im surprised no one noticed it lol.

She doesn't compare anything to the macbook pro (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27405319)

Would some of you apple-colored glasses wearing neanderthals go back and watch the damn commercial again?!

She has $1000 and wants a laptop with a 17 inch screen!

Here's the most important quote from TFA:
"I also selected a 17-inch Apple laptopâ"which turned out to be pretty easy, since thereâ(TM)s only one. That would be the 17-inch MacBook Pro."

"SINCE THERE IS ONLY ONE" - the highlander of apple 17 inch

She didn't opt-out of a macbook pro to get some other dell/hp/sony/lenovo/toshiba monstrosity, instead she had a fixed budget and wanted a certain screen size. Welcome to the real world! People like having CHOICES! There is no apple laptop available that would fulfill her requirements... so she gets a fucking HP! That's all there is to it! Now shut the fuck up about this shit already!

Target consumers anyone? (1)

rivendahl (220389) | more than 5 years ago | (#27405329)

Here's what mom would ask: what's the cheapest thing I can get to do what I want? Well, what do you want? Internet, photos, maybe some CD's I doubt movies but that would be nice I guess.

So, what's the cheapest laptop or PC? Usually it's Linux or Windows based (with Linux beating out, generally).

That's my $.02. (don't forget the Verizon conversion tables to accurately account for pricing).

Dell has much more variance in prices ... (5, Informative)

Wrath0fb0b (302444) | more than 5 years ago | (#27405347)

In my experience, Macs are priced by Apple and rarely discounted much until they are EOLed for the next generation. Sometimes Microcenter or Macmall has $100 off or something like that.

Dell, on the other hand, changes their pricing and offers more often than I change my socks. I've found that you can get killer deals on them if you are willing to wait a few weeks until a deal rolls around. For instance (now expired), there were great deals for 17" laptops at 30-40% off what TFA paid:

http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/hot-deals/913148 [fatwallet.com]
http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/hot-deals/912911 [fatwallet.com]

Of course, if you are incapable of that kind of patience, preferring instant gratification, then Dell is more than willing to charge you a lot more if you are foolish enough to just go to dell.com and start clicking on things. [ Slightly OT Side Story: Ever since my boss found out that I know how to work the magic dell website, I've earned huge brownie points for buying the same equipment at basically half the great educational rates offered to my university. Actually, at one point I accosted the school's Dell Rep with a printout of the various orders I put in through Dell Home and asked if they would give an educational institution the same deals available to everyone -- no points for guessing the answer. ]

Bottom line: Dell's prices are volatile and the author of TFA is totally clueless on how to best work that.

Timing is everything. (1)

sennyk (1046330) | more than 5 years ago | (#27405363)

I've noticed that right after an Apple spec update, their prices are similar to their competitors' products in the same class; However, during the year the other manufacturers drop prices or update more frequently than does Apple. If one does this comparison 6 months from now Apple will be collecting a tax.

At the Workstation level (1)

xrayspx (13127) | more than 5 years ago | (#27405377)

This argument goes from "silly" to utterly moot, as if you price a Dell or HP workstation (not "home computer", but under their SMB workstation sections) and go part-for-part, the Dell/HP easily comes out at hundreds more than a Mac Pro.

I've got a whole ranty article on this written yet not posted for some reason. It's actually a big reason why I have a Mac Pro and not an HP running Linux. The Mac was by far the better value, plus, you get OSX, which is great. I was a solely Linux desktop guy for 10 years before OSX, and I don't see it as "toyish" at all.
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