"Apple tax" and the current state of the market

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Wotan31, Dec 7, 2009.

  1. Wotan31 macrumors 6502

    Jun 5, 2008
    Is it just me or is the MBP well overdue for a refresh? All the PC competitors are selling much faster hardware for 1/2 the price!!

    For example, I just went to HP.com and built a dv7t laptop with the following specs, for a grand total of $1695:

    • Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
    • Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-720QM Processor (1.6GHz, 6MB L2 Cache, 1333MHz FSB)
    • 50% OFF! 8GB DDR3 System Memory (2 Dimm)
    • 1TB 7200RPM SATA Dual Hard Drive (500GB x 2) with HP ProtectSmart Hard Drive Protection
    • 1GB Nvidia GeForce GT 230M
    • 17.3" diagonal HD+ High-Definition HP LED BrightView Widescreen Display (1600 x 900)
    • Lightscribe Blu-Ray ROM with SuperMulti DVD+/-R/RW Double Layer
    • Webcam Only
    • Intel Wireless-N Mini-card

    Apple doesn't even have anything close to this high-end hardware and yet the 17" MBP still costs nearly $1000 more! :eek: What do you get with the current MBP for $2500?

    - Core i7? Nope, still the old C2D.
    - 8 GB memory option for $250? Keep dreaming, Apple wants $600 for this.
    - 1 TB of storage? No way, only 1 HDD, not even any option to exchange the optical drive for a 2nd.
    - 1 GB Nvidia GT 230M? Not even close, crusty old (and defective) Geforce 9xxx series.
    - 17" LED display? Ok, we do have that one.
    - Blu-Ray? No not yet, only CD/DVD still.

    So what's my point? I'd really like to replace my Core 2 Duo MBP from 2007, but the current 2009 MBP is still a C2D and has roughly the same specs as my old one!! They really need to get with the times here. If they're going to charge a premium price for their hardware, at least offer some premium hardware. Whenever they come out with a new MBP, for the price Apple charges, it better be well *above* the specs of this HP, not just even with it. /rant.
  2. melman101 macrumors 68030

    Sep 3, 2009
    People believe Apple is waiting for the Arrandale Processor/Chipset so that the power requirements are less. They say Q1 2010 is when the refresh will happen.

    I am perfectly happy with my Mid 2009 13" C2D 2.53ghz and 4gb of RAM :)
  3. covertyows macrumors member

    Jul 2, 2009
    exactly, same specs for mine, and I am perfectly happy with what I bought. I like OS X and the layout and look of my MBP. sure it cost a lot, but I think it has been worth it.
  4. barkomatic macrumors 68040

    Aug 8, 2008
    You are correct and not the first to point out the MBP line is sadly, tragically, out of date. My advice is simply to wait until the line is refreshed--usually that wait is worth it. Other manufacturers are generally much quicker to include new technology but Apple laptops are better engineered.

    The truth is, most shoppers are not as technical as we are here and are completely unaware of new technology and what its capabilities are. To them, usability and form matter more--and Apple continues to sell them by the boatload.
  5. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    They have a fairly regular cycle for "getting with the times".

    If anything, your timing (posting a rant about specs on a model that's at the very end of its cycle) is what seems off.

  6. uberamd macrumors 68030


    May 26, 2009
    Eh, I would take my aluminum 17" Unibody MacBook Pro with an amazing screen (and resolution) over a thick plastic 17.3" HP with a crappy screen resolution and probably equally crappy battery life any day of the week. As a student I need a laptop that has great battery, performance, and is easy to carry. I haven't seen a 17" laptop that is better than the uMBP in those respects. Most 17" laptops I see are super thick, have batteries that last 2 hours, and garbage displays.
  7. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    This isn't the first time that apple has fallen behind in hardware and it won't be the last.

    Given the rumor that apple demanding the arrandale chips w/o the integrated GPU, the odds of seeing an update in early 2010 looks remote.

    Personally, I'm extremely happy with the performance of my 08 unibody MBP and I have zero desire to upgrade. I can see the issue of paying more for less and that will bite them, but as in the past the impact won't be as severe as pundits proclaim.
  8. brentsg macrumors 68040

    Oct 15, 2008
    It's silly to compare a MBP to an HP in a crummy form factor with no battery life.

    Apple will catch up when the parts are available to do it right.
  9. killerwhack macrumors regular


    Aug 5, 2004
    Los Angeles, California
    Laptop Satisfaction Survey

    A third party service organization recently published reliability statistics on all the laptops they service. HP was dead last in reliability.

    I don't know about others but if I have any kind of problem with my laptop, I would think that the effort and frustration in fixing said problem is EASILY worth the price difference, IMHO.
  10. CrackedButter macrumors 68040


    Jan 15, 2003
    51st State of America
    Understand that Apple do what they want to do, not what the markets demands of them. If they drop the prices inline to dated hardware, it becomes harder to raise them again in the future. They want to keep to the price point they want, again not what the market desires.

    If people however don't agree, they should buy PC's, if enough people did it then maybe Apple would react but because they are making a killing anyway, why should they?
  11. neteng101 macrumors 65816

    Jan 7, 2009
    Look at "designer" models such as the Dell Adamo, Latitude Z, or HP Envy. Much of the so called Apple tax disappears, though the uBMP might be found lacking a few features... but all the PC counterparts are certainly more cluttered.

    When you buy a current gen uMBP, you get the clean aluminum unibody (too many vents and holes in Dell/HP), best trackpad in the business, long lasting battery for a mainstream laptop and ability to seamlessly run OSX. You lose on ports, Blu-Ray and some CPU/GPU power. Its zero sum really when you start comparing it correctly not to the budget PCs, but to premium PC laptops.
  12. harperjones99 macrumors 6502

    Nov 3, 2009
    I do not have to pay 2000 bucks for a "high quality" 15" PC laptop. Nobody has yet listed a fair and practical reason for the mark up but many have hit the reality that it is because they "can". If my MBP was twice as good all around as a comparably equipped PC then sure logic says it's worth it. It isn't however and that is not opinion based but measurable data based.
  13. lewis82 macrumors 68000


    Aug 26, 2009
    Totalitarian Republic of Northlandia
    I'd like to see a comparison between a 1.6GHz i7 and a 3.08C2D on single threaded apps...

    Guess who wins... And most consumer (I'm not talking about pro apps) apps are still single threaded or at most double threaded.

    EDIT: Well, I mean that most apps won't take advantage of two cores... Most apps use way more than one thread, my error.
  14. neteng101 macrumors 65816

    Jan 7, 2009
    The ability to run OSX and Windows simultaneously makes it twice as good for those who need multi-OS capability. Its something you can't do with a PC, at least not totally seamlessly without hugely compromising the ease of use of OSX.

    But like you say, part of what is charged is because they can. I can buy a quality watch for under $100, but yet people pay thousands for a swiss watch.
  15. madog macrumors 65816


    Nov 25, 2004
    Korova Milkbar
    Apple's prices are higher for several reason, most of which are a benefit to the consumer.

    I went in to some details, but it's all been said a thousand times. People either buy a Mac, or they buy Windows. The value of each to the owner is regardless of the actual price of the computer.
  16. harperjones99 macrumors 6502

    Nov 3, 2009
    Your last sentence makes no sense to me. The actual price is exactly why I don't find it a value. If my MBP cost the same as comparably equipped laptops of other brands I would find it a good value. The things I do like better about it are canceled out by things I do not. Value and price are very connected.

    Mac and Windows are not the only options BTW...obviously.
  17. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    I guess it depends in how you define "high quality".

    Threads like this seem to focus around a spec shootout -- CPU to CPU, RAM to RAM, HDD to HDD.

    It seems very rare that anyone would consider adding a $-figure to some of the unique MBP design elements, such as the 1" aluminum unibody, magsafe adapter, glass multi-touch trackpad, new technology battery, backlit keyboard, etc, or the services that Apple provides for free to any Mac owner (free training workshops, free tech support @ the Genius Bar, even post-warranty, etc).

    I understand that those design elements may mean diddly-squat to some, and that many people will never be able to take advantage of any free Apple service, but that doesn't make the associated costs any less valid.
  18. madog macrumors 65816


    Nov 25, 2004
    Korova Milkbar
    It makes perfect sense. Value and price can mean two different things.

    The usefulness of a Mac, to me, is exactly why I find it more valuable than any Windows based computer, regardless of the initial purchase price (which isn't the only cost associated with a computer during it's life for most users, and should not solely be judged by it). While value can differ from person to person, my previous statement is applicable (as would yours, if that's how you value items).
  19. harperjones99 macrumors 6502

    Nov 3, 2009
    Not to me. Value is inextricably tied to price. If I find the price is worth what I get then it's a good value. Pretty simple.
  20. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    No it doesn't. You pay several hundred dollars more for an apple then for a dell or an HP. The difference is only going to grow because apple is still using the core 2 duo but HP and Dell will be using i7/i5

    I recently spec'd out a dell laptop with the same configuration of a MBP and it came in about 700 (or 800 I forget now) dollars cheaper. Yes, there were some minor differences because you cannot get the exact same components but over all it was fairly close component wise but the price was markedly lower for the dell.

    The bottom line is people are willing to pay more, if they perceive value. I'd rather spend a little more money and get a better designed/manufactured laptop that will easily last me 3 - 5 years. The same may not be said for Dell and HP. Resale values bear this out as well as if I opt to sell my laptop in 3 years, I'll get more $$ for a MBP then anything else.
  21. Davidkoh macrumors 65816

    Aug 2, 2008
    I pay for those+OS X, specs aren't that important, as long as I can watch full-HD movies im happy. If I want a crazy powerbeast I get a desktop anyhow. Having a computer that stands out fairly well (more ppl got PCs atleast) is a bonus too ;)
  22. skye12 macrumors 65816


    Nov 11, 2006
    Austin, Tx
    And of course, we all buy mac's not because of the hardware alone, but
    because of OSX.

    Mac's are easily worth it-I like things that just work. Hey, but that's just me.
  23. Gabriel GR macrumors 6502a

    Gabriel GR

    Jul 12, 2009
    Athens, Greece
    I'll tell you what. I used to feel the same. Why should I get a Mac, spend 30-40% more for the same tech. Also, please keep in mind that I am in Greece and the cheapest 13" MBP starts at 1219 euros which is 1800 dollars and applecare costs another 450 (I didn't get it and I'll probably go the ebay route).

    I've had windows desktops for 15 years. From windows NT4 to 2000 and finally XP. And they always seemed to work pretty well. I had the occasional BSODs, driver conflicts, virus related issues etc but computing was pretty straightforward and productive. Last year eventually I bought my first laptop simply because it was too tiresome carrying my files from work to home computer to do work. So I sacrificed some performance for the ability to have my computer everywhere. I spent 1000 euros on a Fujitsu laptop. 2GHz CPU, 2GB of RAM and a mediocre GPU. It also came with vista... At first I thought it wasn't that bad. Disabled UAC, got Service Pack 2 on it added some RAM, a faster HDD. I ended up looking for drivers to get back to XP and that's what I did. So after 9 months of use the whole thing rattles, battery lasts 30 minutes, my lap burns when I am compiling something and the keyboard flexes a good couple of mm when I am typing aggressively...

    Story No.2.

    A colleague at work got a nice 16 inch VAIO. Full HD screen, 2.53 GHz P8700, 4GB of ram. 1600 euros (same as 15.4 MBP). 4 months latter it's slow as ****. She is afraid of formatting and reinstalling anything. Virtualization doesn't work (we need unix at times). It also comes with 40 preinstalled VAIO-sth programs that load at startup with popups, notification items in the taskbar and all. Completely unacceptable for the price.

    When I got my mac, it asked me my name and timezone and everything worked flawlessly. I put it to sleep and open the lid and everything is there just as I left it in 3 seconds. It has preinstalled the latest Java developer kit, Jboss, Maven. Eclipse works like a breeze. It doesn't crack or rattle, the battery lasts for 5 hours of constant use. it's light, small, easy to clean, comfortable to type on, looks nice and attracts me to work on it. After a week of getting used to OS X, the lack of a good office program and missing msn, i started exploring the machine and it was rewarding and fun. Also I knew that if I did something wrong, I could just pop in the installation disk and have a clean, stable, fast system. That's what you pay for.

    There are great PC laptops. HP Elitebook, Lenovo Thinkpads, Dell Precise M mobile workstations. Made with great materials. Tougher than the Macbook. Faster than the macbook. And they are black (not as flashy) without a glowing apple on the back of the screen (some love it, not me). But guess what? They are more expensive, heavier, bigger and they either run Vista or Windows 7. Vista was an insult to the experienced PC user. Windows 7 is "not bad" but that just doesn't cut it.
  24. panzer06 macrumors 68030


    Sep 23, 2006
    Do we need another thread about this?

    This entire thread is pointless. There are countless threads on this site, grousing about the lack of this feature or that. None of it matters.

    Yes, even $800 Windows-based laptops have many more features, more USB ports, BluRay, HDMI and usually legacy VGA, docking station options, etc.

    Doesn't matter it's not a Mac! Do some of us want more in our Macs? Yes

    Is it likely we (Mac owners) will ever have complete parity with systems 1.25" to 1.5" thick and run Windows? No!

    If you want a Mac -- you have to buy a Mac, at the cost and with the limitations that come with it. You buy what Apple offers or you don't get a Mac. That's it. There's nothing else to say.

  25. madog macrumors 65816


    Nov 25, 2004
    Korova Milkbar
    Well, yeah, that's why at the end I stated that it can differ for people, and if pure cost is what you value, then that's your prerogative.

    However, as I also stated, the initial cost of a computer isn't the only price one pays for it. With a PC, there is AntiVirus software many people purchase and pay a subscription for. There's the cost of support if you want to get your computer fixed locally. Not many (possibly not any) PC manufacturers have a physical store where you can get warranty support (more warranty coverage for a PC than Mac, but far less easier to obtain). Also an iLife equivalent would cost much more (for most users). Then there are also software upgrades of which the Windows version is always more (normally $120 for a Mac OS update with every feature included, versus $120 for Windows 7 without all of the same features). With a Mac, you can go into an Apple store to get warranty support, and even take classes which many would value much more than just the cost of a machine. Of course, I have to mention the other small factors, like built in camera, BT, WiFi, backlit keyboard, thin design, and aluminum case. Those obviously aren't things many thing about, but they do add to the value of the machine, of which many PC laptops still don't come with features like that built in.

    As I said, it's all fairly relative. The more you pay for a Mac isn't arbitrary. Furthermore, it's just how PC manufacturers run their business. They can afford to sell their machines for hardly a profit due to the sheer volume they sell as well as subsidized pricing from included demos and "bloatware" included. Apple has no similar competition for their OS and hardware, therefore they sell at a traditional 20% markup or so, and their company is just as profitable as any other PC maker out there.

    It just comes down to personal preference. If you don't think it is worth it, then you either aren't seeing the forest for the trees, or you don't care for the other aspects of it, or you don't like the OS. They aren't for everyone, and you don't have to get one if you think it costs too much.

    Lastly, expect a MacBook Pro update in early January (latest Feb.) if you don't like them currently.

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