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MacBytes
Jan 23, 2006, 09:27 AM
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Category: Opinion/Interviews
Link: Upgrading, Why It Hurts To Be A Mac User (http://www.macbytes.com/link.php?sid=20060123102740)
Description:: I am about to speak on a subject that annoys me greatly. And what is worse, it annoys every veteran Mac user out there as well. What am I referring to of course is upgrades. Though before I get too worked up I should be more specific and say Apple upgrades. You see, most software companies like to reward their loyal customers by knocking off a portion of the price of a current piece of software if they already have an older version of their product. It is really a great system because it not only encourages your customers to stay loyal but also to upgrade in a timely fashion. Everyone seems to be on the same page here, everyone, that is, but Apple.

Posted on MacBytes.com (http://www.macbytes.com)
Approved by Mudbug

angelwatt
Jan 23, 2006, 09:46 AM
Well when you compare OS prices between windows ($299) and mac ($129) you see that apple isn't ripping people off from the first copy you buy. Even when you're paying the discounted windows price of $199 you'll still never save a smuch in comparison to the macintosh price. Since Apple is starting with a fair price it isn't that important to have discounted upgrades. Besides I still get my school discount so I can't complain :cool: .

24C
Jan 23, 2006, 09:47 AM
Fair comments. I suppose it simplifies retail packaging just to have one box and one price, yet there are family packs out there on the shelves, but whether the shelves have space for an upgrade variant or enough mark up to sit it on the shelf in the first place only Apple know. It wouldn't be unreasonable to make upgrades an online purchase only.

OT. I couldn't get a family pack for a dotmac account in the UK, though you could at the time in the USA :(

Blue Velvet
Jan 23, 2006, 09:52 AM
When OS installations need serial numbers, that's when you might see upgrade options.

Same disks go out on the shelves, different codes on pieces of paper in the box much cheaper to produce. Much like upgrading Quark was; serial number for upgrade, old serial required for previous install.

Don't think it's going to happen though. Look at Quicktime Pro.

stoid
Jan 23, 2006, 10:12 AM
When I first saw this thread I thought it was going to be about upgrading Apple hardware and having to buy all new software. My dad has put Apple Computers in the house since the Apple IIc, and the computers have been so reliable that by time he has felt a need to upgrade Apple has moved to a completely new architecture in some respect and made all his software obsolete!

His purchases have been of new and fairly top of the line.

Apple IIc - 5.25" disks
Macintosh LCII - 680xx processor (all software had to be updated immediately)
PowerMacintosh 6320CD - PowerPC 603e (some software could be emulated since Apple had a 'Rosetta-like' tech available to run old 680xx software)
PowerMac G4 Quicksilver - 733 PowerPC (Apple soon switched to Mac OS X, all software had to be updated because Classic emulation really isn't that great)

Now, he's looking to upgrade in the near future, probably late this year, early next so it will be an Intel Mac, and again he'll have to buy software updates!

Granted he only buys a computer about every 5-6 years, but it's only because Apple computers are so rock solid! All he can't do with his current machine is work with H.264 in real-time (iChat AV and HD trailers). Everything else will at least work albeit with some lengthy render times.

AlmostThere
Jan 23, 2006, 10:36 AM
iLife and OS X are upgrades.

AFAIK, you cannot buy the "full" version - you pay out for the original version when you buy your Mac in the first place. Apple do not sell a version of their operating system comparable to the $299 version of Windows. You are either getting the OEM (~90 or bundled from the manufacturer) or the upgrade (~130) version.

Blue Velvet
Jan 23, 2006, 10:42 AM
iLife and OS X are upgrades.

AFAIK, you cannot buy the "full" version - you pay out for the original version when you buy your Mac in the first place. Apple do not sell a version of their operating system comparable to the $299 version of Windows. You are either getting the OEM (~90 or bundled from the manufacturer) or the upgrade (~130) version.


No. The box of Tiger that I purchased can be done as a clean install on a new disk... this is not an upgrade it's the full version.

It was Jaguar that came with my Mac and I've bought both Panther & Tiger and installed them on new and separate hard drives without going through an upgrade process on each of the drives.

Timepass
Jan 23, 2006, 10:46 AM
I have been hearing more and more complants from friends about the apple "upgraded" system and starting to call it more and more of a rip off. My view of iLife 06 and iWorks 06 over the 05 verson is that it nouthing more than an upgraded. Not worth the price of a new one. So if you owned 05 verson it should just be an upgraded.

The OS cost is starting to add up with apple releasing a new one every 1.5 years and then they semi force feed it to people by droping a lot of the support for the earilier verson (not all but new software and stuff like that). OS lifespans is normally 3 years or so. so that is 260 in just 3 years in OS upgrades. Windows is just 200 for the average time in upgrade cost but that is not really the point.

With computer last longer now this issue becomes a lot bigger. Back when the useable lifespan of a computer was about 3 years it was not a huge deal one upgrade but still it bother some. Now with computer average lifespan being 4-5 years before it is need to be replace that extra money really starts adding up. (that 4-5 year number is based on getting about a 1500 dollar computer mid range) If you want to believe on the fact that apple lifespan of a computer is even longer the extra cost becomes even a larger issue.

SiliconAddict
Jan 23, 2006, 10:52 AM
Well when you compare OS prices between windows ($299) and mac ($129) you see that apple isn't ripping people off from the first copy you buy. Even when you're paying the discounted windows price of $199 you'll still never save a smuch in comparison to the macintosh price. Since Apple is starting with a fair price it isn't that important to have discounted upgrades. Besides I still get my school discount so I can't complain :cool: .


Well first off most people who get XP get it through a new computer sale. So its bundled into the price. No doubt people are going to get a discount on Vista because they already have XP on their system. (People who don't have restore CD's though are SOL.) As for the $299 price tag that was the point of the article. If you own Windows 95, 98, 98SE, (god help you) ME, or 2K you can upgrade to XP for around $150-$180 (http://www.pricegrabber.com/search_getprod.php/masterid=477481/sort_type=bottomline)

Or less if you are somehow willing to settle for *shudders* Home Edt.
OS X is expensive if you consistently upgrade from 10.0/10.1 -> 10.2 -> 10.3 -> 10.4 The thing is no one is forcing you to upgrade. I know several people who didn't upgrade from .3 to .4. They are waiting on 10.5. But the author's original point still stand. they don't reward their customers in any way. IMHO

I think they do this because they know they can get away with it. Microsoft offers discounts to drive sales. Apple has a loyal enough user base that they don't need to do this.

wtmcgee
Jan 23, 2006, 11:04 AM
maybe we can finally find a use for those upgrade coupons we get with new macs. :confused:

nsb3000
Jan 23, 2006, 11:17 AM
No. The box of Tiger that I purchased can be done as a clean install on a new disk... this is not an upgrade — it's the full version.

It was Jaguar that came with my Mac and I've bought both Panther & Tiger and installed them on new and separate hard drives without going through an upgrade process on each of the drives.

This is besides the point. IF you read the licence for the tiger install, you will see that it is an upgrade...since it is impossible to own a mac that did not at some point have Mac OS on it, Apple figures all mac users are legit. But make no mistake, it is an upgrade.

Blue Velvet
Jan 23, 2006, 11:22 AM
This is besides the point. IF you read the licence for the tiger install, you will see that it is an upgrade...since it is impossible to own a mac that did not at some point have Mac OS on it, Apple figures all mac users are legit. But make no mistake, it is an upgrade.

You're pedantically chopping logic. To most people, an upgrade means something that can't be installed without a prior registered version.

Boxed versions of OSX can be installed on new clean drives without going through an upgrade process. You could build a Mac from cannibalised parts from other Macs and still install Tiger on it without having any prior version of OSX on there.

To me and to most people I would wager that represents the full version.

lexfuzo
Jan 23, 2006, 11:50 AM
You're pedantically chopping logic....
...
To me — and to most people I would wager — that represents the full version.

Apples and oranges!
Technically, it's a full version, legally it may be an upgrade since you only may install on machines you already got an OS with.
So, what's the fuss about?

Timepass
Jan 23, 2006, 11:56 AM
well the OS argument on upgrade or full verson can go on forever.

A better question is why do we look at the iLife and iWorks. There is no agument there that those are full versons. NOT upgrades. I am wondering what people think about those. M$ does offer upgrades to all of is Office s(but the student one). And most major software you can get an upgrade edition and a new edition. So why do we look at the software apple offers that is not an OS.
That where I feel the problem lies.

Yes you can get there OS which is basicly an upgrade but what about other softwars

AlmostThere
Jan 23, 2006, 12:00 PM
You're pedantically chopping logic. To most people, an upgrade means something that can't be installed without a prior registered version.

Boxed versions of OSX can be installed on new clean drives without going through an upgrade process. You could build a Mac from cannibalised parts from other Macs and still install Tiger on it without having any prior version of OSX on there.

To me — and to most people I would wager — that represents the full version.

The same is true for Windows. You can install an upgrade on a clean disk but you need a valid serial number for the previous edition.

A full version (of OS X) means you can can you install it without owning a previous version of a Mac OS, which even cannibalisation implies. Someone, somewhere has paid Apple.

If you can install and are licensed to run it on non-Apple hardware, then I agree it is a full install - as far as I know this is not possible but then again maybe it is.

The broader issue is not to do with the amount of data written to a hard-drive but with what you are legally allowed to do with it. For example, the OEM version of Windows is NOT a full install because it only licensed for a specific set of hardware, even though you can blank the hard drive and reinstall. There may be nothing technical stopping you but legally you can only install on the machine with which it was purchased.

[edit] I wouldn't say this is being pedantic because software limitations are all too often a legal restriction rather than physical one. Compare server operating systems, where often the only difference in the product is the number of users connected.

dejo
Jan 23, 2006, 12:18 PM
Hmm, when the cost of the new versions of Apple software is less than the average cost of those other upgrades, I'm not sure I see the argument. I certainly don't want to see Apple charging more for the initial version, just so they can justify charging less for the upgrade. iLife is "upgraded" for $79 which, IMO, is a bargain.

nagromme
Jan 23, 2006, 12:42 PM
iLife and OS X are upgrades.

AFAIK, you cannot buy the "full" version - you pay out for the original version when you buy your Mac in the first place. Apple do not sell a version of their operating system comparable to the $299 version of Windows. You are either getting the OEM (~£90 or bundled from the manufacturer) or the upgrade (~£130) version.

Exactly. The day you can buy a Mac with no OS on it is the day there's a reason to sell a non-upgrade version of Mac OS.


No. The box of Tiger that I purchased can be done as a clean install on a new disk... this is not an upgrade — it's the full version.

It was Jaguar that came with my Mac and I've bought both Panther & Tiger and installed them on new and separate hard drives without going through an upgrade process on each of the drives.
That's an artificial rule people make up: "it's not an upgrade unless it does a technological check to make SURE you really own the old version." But that's not what an upgrade means, and upgrade just means going from one version to another. That can be done in lots of ways, and nobody will be confused by calling any of them an "upgrade." There is no ONE process that people think an upgrade has to use.

I know what you're saying, but if you think about it, the degree of version-check enforcement is irrelevant. Apple doesn't need to "prove" you already own a version of Mac OS--every Mac came with one.

So whether they offer the convenience of direct install or not, it's still an upgrade. Unless you choose to make a specific narrow definition of upgrade, chosen to allow you to say it's not one.

For example, if Omni Group were to release a 2.0 upgrade of an app for $19, while the full version cost $39... what if they didn't check? Would you then say the $19 isn't REALLY an upgrade?

I've installed paid updates of apps that didn't require proof of past ownership. At least Apple HAS that proof already.

It's not the technological limitations that make something an upgrade, it's who it is meant for and how it is priced. Which in the case of Mac OS is only ONE group (people who bought a Mac) and only ONE price.

Now, I'd love it if Apple had staggered pricing where the newer your "old" OS (or iLife) is, the less you pay. But that complicates things in retail stores, and you can't just point a finger at Apple for that: very few software upgrades are staggered like that. Most have one single upgrade price.

The fact that there is no "first version" of OS X on shelves means there's one price, not two like there would be with Photoshop, say. But unless Photoshop came pre-installed on every computer, it's not a valid comparison to OS X--or to iLife.

Now, in the case of iLife, we may get upset at those lucky G3 PowerBook owners (etc.) whose machines did NOT come up with iLife. Why don't they get charged more than I do? I'd feel better if they were charged more too. Or better yet, if I were charged less :) But on retail shelves that added complexity doesn't always make sense. Nonetheless I agree that iLife isn't as clear a case as OS X is.

But iLife is hardly expensive, either--and you don't have to buy every version if you don't like the price or don't use it. (I buy every other version, or just wait for a new computer that has it.)

We'd all love a reason to demand that Apple give their work away cheaper, but the "upgrade price" argument ain't it :)

Timepass
Jan 23, 2006, 12:49 PM
the next question is what about iWorks 06 that does not come preinstalled on any mac. You have to buy it to get it put on. Or you can look at quick time pro updates (going from 6-7) and things like that.

nagromme
Jan 23, 2006, 01:00 PM
the next question is what about iWorks 06 that does not come preinstalled on any mac. You have to buy it to get it put on. Or you can look at quick time pro updates (going from 6-7) and things like that.
Agreed. Apple offers upgrade pricing (by separate package, by rebate, however) on its pro apps like Final Cut. iWork clearly deserves the same.

And paying again for QTPro is fair only IF you're not paying again JUST to keep old features (like paying to keep Full Screen working). If you get a new version of QuickTime and all the NEW stuff is stuff the free QT users get too, and all you're paying for is to KEEP features you paid for before, that's objectionable.

Sometimes a QTPro upgrade has added new features just for Pro users, that Pro users never had before. But not always.

The main problem here, of course, is that the really basic stuff (full screen play) shouldn't be called a "pro" feature in the first place.

mainstreetmark
Jan 23, 2006, 02:33 PM
I'm of the "They're all upgrades" opinion.

As stated, even if you're assembling a mac from some motherbaord you bought on ebay, that motherboard originally came with an Apple OS, since it's an Apple motherboard. That's why Apple always charges the upgrade price, even for people that have never purchased it separately before.

iWork/iLife is stickier. But, since I've always thought that those things were pretty reasonably priced ($79 for a Word and PowerPoint, with, in some cases, much better features?). So, the author could have stood and praised Apple for never having an introductory price ($159, say), with a $79 yearly upgrade.

It's all in the spin.

ITR 81
Jan 23, 2006, 02:51 PM
The reason I upgrade the OS as soon as another comes out is because:

First it's only $129.
Secondly it comes with the newest verison of iLife a $79 value.
Thirdly if you get a gov or edu discount your basically just paying for iLife...and that is something I know I can't pass up.

Though I have a feeling this next OSX upgrade will be the last my old TiPB will be able to take since it slowed alot with Tiger...that and HD space is getting smaller with every Apple update.

Nickygoat
Jan 23, 2006, 03:24 PM
The reason I upgrade the OS as soon as another comes out is because:

Secondly it comes with the newest verison of iLife a $79 value.
Thirdly if you get a gov or edu discount your basically just paying for iLife...and that is something I know I can't pass up.
Ummm... no. The upgrade (or full version out of the box) does not include iLife. That is a separate purchase. Note how the Apple page for Tiger (http://www.apple.com/macosx/) makes no mention of iLife. And the Apple Store page (http://store.apple.com/1-800-MY-APPLE/WebObjects/AppleStore?productLearnMore=MA190Z/A) (subject to timeouts - how do I get around these?)
The current iLife is included on a new Mac, but upgrading to a new version of OSX doesn't include the newest version of iLife. Believe me - I upgraded from Panther to Tiger in May but I'm still running iLife '04 ('til I get into Regent St ;) )

ChrisA
Jan 23, 2006, 03:38 PM
There is a good agument that Apple is only selling you abut a third of an operating system when you buy "Tiger". They are giving away the bulk of it. The core of the OS is "Darwin" and it is available for free at http://developer.apple.com/darwin/ and what's more you don't even need to buy Apple hardware to run Darwin. It will run on any Power PC Mac, any Intel (or AMD) PC and even some other boxes and Again Darwin is free What you pay for is a thin layer on top of Darwin. So give Apple some credit. The core of thier product is Open Source.

Does this make OSX more or less expensive? I don't know how to calculate an answer. BUt compare this with MS Windows, none ofthat is free. But if you compare Darwin to Linux, BSD or Solaris it's a wash.

ripfrankwhite
Jan 23, 2006, 03:48 PM
The prices are already LOW. You just compared the prices. Don't you see that they are still less than the competition? Be happy that you have a wonderful machine and that the company is still releasing new software for it. You're not always going to have the newest version.

I wish people would stop complaining about everything being so expensive. It is NOT expensive. How much should it cost? When does it end? Should it be free?

Jay42
Jan 23, 2006, 03:54 PM
Apple keeps me loyal with superior products, and the total ownership cost of a Mac is far lower than PC's, so I don't know how they're "out of the loop."

macidiot
Jan 23, 2006, 04:03 PM
The reason I upgrade the OS as soon as another comes out is because:

First it's only $129.
Secondly it comes with the newest verison of iLife a $79 value.
Thirdly if you get a gov or edu discount your basically just paying for iLife...and that is something I know I can't pass up.

Though I have a feeling this next OSX upgrade will be the last my old TiPB will be able to take since it slowed alot with Tiger...that and HD space is getting smaller with every Apple update.


Tiger comes with iLife? Then maybe I'll upgrade iDVD 2.0 and iMovie 3.0. Then again, Tiger doesn't come with iLife, so I won't... cause I have a problem paying for upgrades to "free" software.

Your mistaken if you think iLife is included with Tiger.

Maybe your thinking about iChat, which is included with Tiger.

macidiot
Jan 23, 2006, 04:10 PM
The prices are already LOW. You just compared the prices. Don't you see that they are still less than the competition? Be happy that you have a wonderful machine and that the company is still releasing new software for it. You're not always going to have the newest version.

I wish people would stop complaining about everything being so expensive. It is NOT expensive. How much should it cost? When does it end? Should it be free?


Yes and no. osx is cheaper than winxp. But, over the past 5 years, if you upgraded each time, osx ends up costing more than xp. Significantly more. Part of that is due to Microsoft failing to get longhorn out, but the fact remains that if you've done Jaguar>Panther>Tiger, you've spent almost $400. If you upgraded from 95/98/me/2k whatever, you spent $199.

nagromme
Jan 23, 2006, 05:36 PM
Yes and no. osx is cheaper than winxp. But, over the past 5 years, if you upgraded each time, osx ends up costing more than xp. Significantly more. Part of that is due to Microsoft failing to get longhorn out, but the fact remains that if you've done Jaguar>Panther>Tiger, you've spent almost $400. If you upgraded from 95/98/me/2k whatever, you spent $199.
And arguably:

a) You GOT something for that extra money when you opted for OS X instead of Windows.

b) You didn't HAVE to buy every upgrade. If it has enough value for you , you buy it. If not, you wait for a later one. Those that LIKE the Windows schedule with a long time between major versions can easily obtain that same benefit with OS X: just choose to upgrade less often :) You've still got a better OS, AND you've paid less than Windows.

At least Apple innovates faster than MS so that those who WISH to upgrade more often (like me) can do so.

Also, I assume you meant Cheeta > Jaguar > Panther > Tiger: starting with 10.0 Cheeta on your machine (or 10.1 which was a free upgrade) and then paying three times for 10.2, 10.3, and 10.4.

3 OS versions @ $129 is $387. Or at education prices, 3x$69 is $207. And Amazon always has great prices on Apple stuff: 3x$99 is $297.


I have a problem paying for upgrades to "free" software.
If the new software is only worth "free" to you, then I agree you shouldn't buy it. It's a great deal for those that find value in it, though.

macidiot
Jan 23, 2006, 06:35 PM
And arguably:

a) You GOT something for that extra money when you opted for OS X instead of Windows.

b) You didn't HAVE to buy every upgrade. If it has enough value for you , you buy it. If not, you wait for a later one. Those that LIKE the Windows schedule with a long time between major versions can easily obtain that same benefit with OS X: just choose to upgrade less often :) You've still got a better OS, AND you've paid less than Windows.

At least Apple innovates faster than MS so that those who WISH to upgrade more often (like me) can do so.



If the new software is only worth "free" to you, then I agree you shouldn't buy it. It's a great deal for those that find value in it, though.

well, your preaching to the choir a little considering I've owned every version of osx including the beta. But saying that your getting value because osx is superior to winxp is besides the point. That choice is made when you commit to using a Mac. And that first copy of osx is included with the mac.

Also, to a certain extent, some of the upgrades to osx were required. 10.2 was basically a required upgrade. It arguably was the first fully complete, "ready for prime time" version of osx. 10.3 was also a compelling upgrade, with several under the hood changes. A lot of new software is written to 10.3 or better.

now Tiger is somewhat questionable and appears to be a version that can be skipped, given the intel switch and how important 10.5 will be to the new macs.

Saying that one doesn't have to buy every upgrade is somewhat besides the point too. For one thing, Apple has a history of releasing an os that breaks existing code. When that happens you either have to upgrade or are locked out of upgrade paths for other applications. For another, the assumption is that you are buying os upgrades. Otherwise, the article could be discussing the cost of home renovations in Brazil.

In other words, yes, you could never upgrade, saving money. Of course, you could never buy a computer, and not even have to worry about this. The point is, if you do choose to upgrade, the pricing is somewhat unfair.

Yes right now, Apple is updating faster than MS. However, through most of the 90's, MS released OS's faster than Apple. I did state that MS would have released an upgrade to XP by now but is having major problems getting it out the door. You might be to young to remember, but Apple had a problem getting what was supposed to be System 8 out the door. It was supposed to come out in 94-95. Pieces of it ended coming out in around 97, I think. Basically, they salvaged what they could of the project and called it system8. Kind of like longhorn.

Apple is not known for good pricing. Case in point: .Mac. Which really had the same scheme as iLife. Lock people in, then once they are committed, start charging for it. Kind of like a drug dealer ;) the first hit is free...

The truth is that Apple corporate culture fundamentally doesn't care about software, either osx or iLife, or even pro apps like FCP. It is developed merely to move hardware. And to allow Apple to charge a premium for that hardware. Apple considers itself a hardware company. Apple to a certain extent does not want people to simply keep their old hardware and just upgrade software. They want people to keep buying new hardware. And if you do, you get the newest version of osx and ilife for "free." Obviously they like the additional revenue stream from software. But ultimately, I believe that they price it just high enough to be annoying.

macidiot
Jan 23, 2006, 06:44 PM
Also, I assume you meant Cheeta > Jaguar > Panther > Tiger: starting with 10.0 Cheeta on your machine (or 10.1 which was a free upgrade) and then paying three times for 10.2, 10.3, and 10.4.

3 OS versions @ $129 is $387. Or at education prices, 3x$69 is $207. And Amazon always has great prices on Apple stuff: 3x$99 is $297.


$387 is almost $400, which is what I said. $13 difference.

Education pricing is not standard pricing. Microsoft also charges less for xp in different situations. But its standard retail pricing is $299. $199 for the upgrade.

nagromme
Jan 23, 2006, 06:52 PM
Well what one person considers a fair price isn't the same for someone else, so I won't deny your opinion :)

The truth is that Apple corporate culture fundamentally doesn't care about software, either osx or iLife, or even pro apps like FCP. It is developed merely to move hardware.
But I WILL counter that point :) Apple's culture strives for excellent integration and ease-of-use for hardware and software designed together, to work together. Apple's OS and software are outstanding products that DO show a lot of care, even if they don't make as much money as hardware sales do.

And to allow Apple to charge a premium for that hardware.
That actually hasn't been the pattern for some years now. If you look a TRULY comparable non budget-brand (= cheap, failure-prone components) PC bundle, such as from Dell or Sony, you will seldom find the PC to be much cheaper. It will often be more expensive, in fact. (Unless you pick just certain specs--like MHz and HD--and ignore other details. Which is common practice, but wouldn't be fair when comparing two PC's either.)

Once upon a time Macs were insanely expensive, and maybe they were worth it, I don't know--but that perception is no longer reality.

What IS still true is that Apple doesn't offer a super-stripped down Mac--such as one with just a CD drive and no GPU. Find a PC like that, with no software bundle, and compare to a Mac Mini with iLife, and the PC will be cheaper (not to mention big and noisy). But that doesn't mean the Mac Mini comes as a premium: it's not a comparable package.


$387 is almost $400, which is what I said. $13 difference.

Education pricing is not standard pricing.
I know, I was just adding more data to the discussion of what's fair.

macidiot
Jan 23, 2006, 07:22 PM
But I WILL counter that point :) Apple's culture strives for excellent integration and ease-of-use for hardware and software designed together, to work together. Apple's OS and software are outstanding products that DO show a lot of care, even if they don't make as much money as hardware sales do.

What your referring to is what old Apple employees would call the "gestalt." The combination of software and hardware to create something better than the parts. What your saying is true. But the reason for that philosophy is to move hardware. Apple creates its software to sell hardware. Basically it is adding value to the hardware. Apple is attempting to make the best hardware experience, and to do that it needs good software. Apple is not trying to create the best software and add hardware to it. It doesn't mean that the software is poor or an afterthought. It means that Apple fundamentally considers itself a hardware company. Unlike, say, Microsoft.

Take online music. Apple considers itself a hardware company. It wants to move iPods. To do so, it creates software and an online store. Ultimately Apple does not care about the online store(which is a breakeven operation) or iTunes, which it gives away for free. Apple creates a compelling complete experience through software. However, it is doing so to sell iPods.


That actually hasn't been the pattern for some years now. If you look a TRULY comparable non budget-brand (= cheap, failure-prone components) PC bundle, such as from Dell or Sony, you will seldom find the PC to be much cheaper. It will often be more expensive, in fact. (Unless you pick just certain specs--like MHz and HD--and ignore other details. Which is common practice, but wouldn't be fair when comparing two PC's either.)

Once upon a time Macs were insanely expensive, and maybe they were worth it, I don't know--but that perception is no longer reality.

What IS still true is that Apple doesn't offer a super-stripped down Mac--such as one with just a CD drive and no GPU. Find a PC like that, with no software bundle, and compare to a Mac Mini with iLife, and the PC will be cheaper (not to mention big and noisy). But that doesn't mean the Mac Mini comes as a premium: it's not a comparable package.

Apple hardware pricing has come down significantly from its traditional 100-200% markup(which it maintained up until the mid 90's). However, Apple still maintains the highest margins in the industry. And still sells its hardware at a slight premium to PCs. It manages to do so through design and software. I personally value those things and feel the premium is generally worth it. However, I'm also aware that I'm paying a premium for that.