Linked by Eugenia Loli on Wed 7th Apr 2004 05:50 UTC
Apple By most counts, they're a hit. But they were intended to woo new users to the fold, yet Mac market share has only budged -- lower, says BusinessWeek.
Permalink for comment
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
re: Mac price misconceptions
by PainKilleR on Wed 7th Apr 2004 17:03 UTC

I found your post rather light on details, but I'll address what can be addressed. For instance, to actually do a price comparison ourselves, we would need some information on the configuration of the systems. On the other hand, I'll quite easily give you that a 12" notebook is probably going to be cheaper from Apple than from other manufacturers, primarily because Apple seems to price 12" notebooks as a price choice, while other PC manufacturers seem to price them as a feature choice (ie from Dell, for example, you pay more for a 12" notebook because it's smaller and lighter, while from Apple a 12" notebook costs less because you get less screen area).

While giving that a 12" notebook is cheaper, it's quite easy to find many 14" notebooks from Dell that cost less than a 12" notebook from Apple, even when upgrading the hardware to get equivalent items (such as DVD+/-RW/CD-RW combo drive).

The fact that you can't custom build a Mac yourself doesn't help the misconception though. With a PC, you can custom configure your computer and buy less and therefore pay less. But that doesn't make it less expensive, but rather, more configurable.

On the other hand, for those that don't have a want or need for the parts they would not buy, the lack of configuration makes it more expensive to buy a Mac. This is exactly the problem I usually have with looking at a Mac, because I get charged for a modem, keyboard, mouse, and maybe an 802.11 adapter, all of which I will never use on a desktop system (I have 802.11g in my house, but anything that doesn't move gets wired). When buying a notebook, configurability shouldn't come into the equation, as you are similarly limited on the x86 side. However, because of the number of x86 OEMs out there, you still have more choices of configurations with x86 notebooks than you do with Apple notebooks.

After making side by side price comparisons with several individuals who doubted the price to performance advantage, I was surprised to see the same individuals -- who previously were calm and collected -- get overly defensive and turn somewhat irrational.

This paragraph has no point without explaining why or in what way they might become irrational or defensive. You allude to it in the next paragraph, but overall you avoid stating any points they may have given for your comparison being problematic.

I'm embarrassed to admit it now, but I too had similar feelings when I first considered a Mac. It doesn't make sense now, but I had to come to terms with the fact that I wasn't admitting any sort of defeat by making a switch and it was only I that had the most to gain if I researched my options properly.

What did you do with your old computers? Did you research the cost of upgrading the older hardware? This is another point (beyond configurability) where Apple has a hurdle to overcome. There are quite a few people out there who do not go out and just buy a new computer, but rather extend the life of their hardware by buying new parts for the old computer. Many of the parts are really small-cost items (DVD/CD drives, DVD/CD burners, floppy drives for those that still want them, hard drives, many of the cards in PCs unless they were built into your old motherboard), but in total can add up rather quickly.

So, I took up the challenge that was put before me, made the comparison and then was surprised to learn that Apple's new computers were indeed less expensive.

iMacs and PowerMacs often have to stand up against $200-500 desktop PCs for comparisons, and when the Apple products start at 2-3x the top end of that curve, things tend to go south quite quickly.

I wish more people would stop trying to justify their computer purchase to the world by spreading lies about alternative computing platforms. It does a disservice to the entire computing populace as a whole

I wish people would stop being vague about such things and point out exactly why they feel the price difference is justified. For many people the price of a computer is one of the first items that determines what they get, and these people are simply not the market that Apple is looking for. You can't even buy a new Apple notebook for under $1000, and I doubt they really want to sell one in that price range. Similarly, you can't buy a desktop machine from Apple for under $700, and again they really don't seem to be worried about aiming for that market.

While not aiming for a particular market is certainly not a bad thing (after all, if you eliminate the low end market, you can pull in more profits), I often wish that Mac users would stop trying to claim that they can compete for the same market that the Windows and Linux desktop PCs have generally saturated. Apple's prices are in no way out of line in the markets they appeal to, but as a PC manufacturer they appeal to a higher end market than the bread-and-butter of most x86 manufacturers. You'd certainly be in better hands comparing Apple's products to more niche-oriented PC manufacturers, though in most of those niche markets either Apple or the particular x86 manufacturer thoroughly trounces the competition (for instance, Apple's going to own the market for mid-to-high-end music for some time to come, and have made some in-roads into the low-end (where they only recently lost the market), Alienware, on the other hand, is perhaps the best known manufacturer targeting gamers today, and Apple's unlikely to compete in that market without getting more game developers on-board, although their hardware is competetive enough on those games that exist and their prices are probably better than Alienware's).