"Macs are so much more expensive" - actually, I disagree

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by joefinan, Jan 9, 2008.

  1. joefinan macrumors 6502a

    Sep 14, 2007
    Kingston-Upon-Thames, UK
    People always say that Macs are so much more expensive than a PC, but a few days ago I received my copy of iWork - which got me thinking.

    If you take a Mac and a PC of similar spec, the Mac is likely to be more expensive (albeit for a more refined machine with a better OS), but if you then continue to keep them similar, the Mac becomes increasingly cheaper.

    The Mac comes with a much greater compliment of software - video editing, Mail (does a PC have this?), photo editing software, DVD authoring software etc.

    If you add word processing etc. software, Apple's iWork costs just £45 opposed to MS Office's £304 (amazon.co.uk).

    And if you want to upgrade the operating system - Leopard £79, Vista £200.

    So I reckon that Macs are actually cheaper!

    And by the way, I think iWork is great - especially for £45.
  2. Osarkon macrumors 68020


    Aug 30, 2006
    Well yes, it's called Windows Mail. And if you want a more feature complete mail program, there's Windows Live Mail. Which is actually pretty nice I've found.

    I do agree with you though.

    Macs are definitely cheaper in the long run.
  3. edesignuk Moderator emeritus


    Mar 25, 2002
    London, England
    You do get a better bundle of software with a Mac in general, but this is party due to the fact they're allowed to ship OS X with certain abilities inbuilt or with packages installed. When Microsoft try to add features available via 3rd parties they immediately wind up in court being accused of being anti-competitive etc. :rolleyes:
  4. JSchwage macrumors 6502a


    May 5, 2006
    Rochester, NY
    I agree that Macs may be cheaper in the long run due to all the included software. But, being a new switcher, I have found that there is A LOT more Mac software that you have to pay for. When I used to use Windows, I used a lot of free and open source software. Not so on the Mac. I've found that a lot of free software on the Mac sucks so much it's not even worth it, so I end up buying another application. (Applications like Cyberduck and Open Office come to mind)

    But hey, Mac software is so much better than most Windows software. It seems like the developers put more thought into their applications.

    Anyway, that's my $.02.
  5. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Oct 9, 2006
    I might want to point out trying to say you have to buy word for a Office for a word processor is wrong. It is not a fair comparison. If you want a word processor just look up the cost of MS Works. Now I do not know exactly how much that cost besides it being a lot less than Office. I honestly do not care because I got Office 07 pro running on my desktop that I got though my college.

    Also might hate to break it to you but Office offers a hell of a lot more than iWorks.
  6. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    You'd be referring to Entourage and MSN Messenger (the two apps that come with Office for Mac that don't have an iWork equivalent)?
  7. andiwm2003 macrumors 601


    Mar 29, 2004
    Boston, MA
    no, i guess he refers to EXCEL and Word. There is no way to compare Numbers right now to EXCEL if you need a fully featured spreadsheet program. And Pages is a great program but many feel it's not a good word processor. (Can Pages work with endnote, reference manager or similar programs?)

    I think that only Keynote is actually better than Powerpoint. Pages is better as a layout program than Word.
    But in the end Office is the more fully featured office suite. You can't really compare them.
  8. janstett macrumors 65816

    Jan 13, 2006
    Chester, NJ
    ^ It also offers a database (Access). More sophisticated versions of Office also add Visio, Project, OneNote, and more.
  9. Dagless macrumors Core


    Jan 18, 2005
    Fighting to stay in the EU
    I've found them to be cheaper from day 1, actually.

    A month before I got my PowerBook I had bought a laptop. Laptop was a 3ghz P4, 512mb ram, 15" display. Battery life of an hour (damn P4!).
    Then I bough a PowerBook of half the clock speed (that ol' myth) yet it was a much faster machine. Photoshop ran faster, I could produce (basic) music in Garageband. Even the OS was just much faster on the PowerBook. Boot times had the P4 trailing.

    The PowerBook was £200 less than the laptop. Lighter, prettier and much longer battery life (even my old batteries now go for 2-4 hours in the right mood).

    Then the iMac last year. I bought it with an edu discount and got a machine that nobody else could match for that price and spec point. Plus I got a free £100 iPod. All for £600.

    Then add in the resale value. Apple machines hold their value very well. My PowerBook model goes for £500 on eBay. 3 years later and it's only lost half its value. It's mindblowing.
  10. aross99 macrumors 68000


    Dec 17, 2006
    East Lansing, MI
    I've alway found that Mac's are priced comparably to PC's when configured similarly, and of similar quality.

    Sure, I can get an Acer Laptop for $400, but the whole thing is made of cheap flimsy plastic and a slow CPU with no memory.

    Price out a decent Lenovo, or HP laptop with a Core 2 Duo @ 2.2Hgz, Vista Business, etc, and all of a sudden it's the same price as a Mac.

    The problem is, people are willing to take the cheap PC's for the lower cost, so we end up with the "PC's are cheaper" argument...
  11. Sesshi macrumors G3


    Jun 3, 2006
    One Nation Under Gordon
    I'd say I disagree as well. A Mac is cheaper than a good - and superior in terms of build quality, reliability and flexibility - PC to buy.

    In that vein, I would say if you can't afford a better PC, get a Mac.
  12. ::Lisa:: macrumors 6502a


    Oct 28, 2007
    Nottingham, UK
    ITA! When I was converting, I didn't think that way but I certainly realised that straight after, especially when I was buying Leopard and had a source that was willing to let me have an official copy of Leopard for just £65 brand new.
  13. jwt macrumors 6502

    Mar 28, 2007
    I was under the same assumption, and started pricing a PC at Dell, and for the equivalent hardware the Dell was much much more. Pricing the two machines equivalently, you don't get as much hardware from Dell either. Monitors are cheaper at Dell though.
  14. carlop macrumors newbie

    Oct 17, 2007
    I totally agree. I really hate it when people tell me iWork (or Google Documents, or Open Office, any other "Office-killer") is comparable to Office. If you think it is, then you shouldn't be using office in the first place. I started salivating when I realised what I could do with Excel and VB. It's a shame OSX-only users will never have that experience, as it seems like Office: Mac is developped as if it was Office's little retarded half brother.

    ...and don't get me started on the wonders that is Office 2007.

    But back to the OP, when I was looking for a new laptop, I did a price comparison on the dell website and with comparable specs (including useless features (for myself) such as the cam), price was either comparable or more to a MBP. So yes, the MBP is not "expensive"... but you'll only know this if you do your research and know what you want.

    ...just don't start buying mac ram...
  15. Denali9 macrumors member

    Jun 15, 2007
    If you consider existing software you bought, moving to a Mac may not always be a very good investment. For someone who does not own a computer and wants to get onboard, in the long run a Mac has an overall cost of ownership that is very similar to a PC., if not cheaper.

    What I hate though is Apple policy to keep price at same level until a refresh of their line. Currently, I can purchase similar components found on a Macbook Pro with similar quality for 1200$. The PC world and Intel have very aggressive pricing policy and hence when Apple introduces new processor, it's at very comparable level but 6 months later, it's harder to justify the price difference. I keep having to tell people to buy Apple only soon after a refresh.

    And actually, for me and many I know, Apple has not met our needs in the desktop category, I do not want an iMac, the mini is too underpowered and the Mac Pro is overkilled and hence my desktop is from HP and will probably soon be replaced by a box I'll build myself using Unbuntu and Vista to run it. I keep crossing my fingers for next week at Macworld, that Apple will come up with something that would fit my need.

    Don't flame me, if your need are met by Apple good for you. From a price perspective and the type of processing power I need, in the desktop category, there is nothing to match my need at a reasonable price.

    Actually, right now I can built a XPS M1530 with exact same specs as a middle MBP for 1499$. That is a lot cheaper than a MBP. This was not the case when the SR MBP came out, they were a very good deal for the specs, they are not as good of a deal anymore. Just want to point out again that as price of component goes down, Apple price should follow the industry but then again if they keep selling, why should they reduce their margin of profit :)
  16. dejo Moderator


    Staff Member

    Sep 2, 2004
    The Centennial State
    Corrected that for you. ;)
  17. PNW macrumors regular

    Feb 7, 2007
    It depends.

    If Apple makes exactly the hardware you want, then the Mac is definitely the better deal. But if you're like me and want an iMac level desktop (have all the monitors I want thanks), or my in-laws and want a MacBook level laptop with a 15 or better yet 17 inch screen. Then maybe not so much.

    But even when comparing, apples to oranges there are still other factors (many of which weigh in Apple's favor).

    OS X is definitely worth more than XP (which is worth more than Vista)

    You'll be lucky to get 30% of your purchase price back on the resale of a 4 year old PC, whereas you can easily get 50% (if not more) on a 4 year old Mac. So once you're in it's cheaper to upgrade. Also the lack of viruses and your system directory not slowly corrupting itself over time means you'll be thinking about upgrading less often.

    Macs come with a lot of extra hardware (e.g. bluetooth, remote) and software (iLife) that PCs charge extra for. If you use them they add value; if you don't they don't.

    As to Office vs iWork: If you need Office you need Office if you don't, you're getting ripped off. iWork is a great collection of apps for home and lightweight business use. It does really amaze me how much better I like the Open Office for Windows' UI than Neo Office
  18. barijazz macrumors 6502

    Dec 29, 2007
    I agree that to get the software equivalent of mac OSXs software on a pc costs more than it's worth. But you have to also take into account the average computer user. A 12 year old kid playing World of Wacraft or a 20 year old kid playing World of Warcraft in his mom's basement, and maybe they don't want or need imovie idid iphoto etc. But for the sane people in the world mac is not only a better buy, it's a hell of a lot better buy.
  19. supremedesigner macrumors 6502a


    Dec 9, 2005
    Gainesville, Fl
    And don't forget that PC users have to pay more for anti-virus programs and they didn't realized it's the same amount of $$ as mac computers. Ya know what I mean?
  20. thinkband macrumors regular

    Dec 22, 2007
    I would like to agree with you on this point. Apple prices are comparable when they first come out but most PC's are updating more often thatn Apple products. It would not be so bad if Apple was to update all their major products on a yearly basis however. Overall I believe they have better products and a superior customer service to ANY. They have a significant amount of US service as opposed to Dell's questionable India outlet or whatever the hell Sony does for their customers (nothing). Service is surprisingly important because laptops break.

    Let me tell a quick story. Basically Mom's mini does not turn on anymore (incompatibility issue with mouse software made for both microsoft and mac os. After checking forums, turns out the cd locks up mac computers. Bring the book in the day after out of warranty and a genius fixes the computer within 15 minutes. No charge, no hassle, no long delays waiting for your computer to be repaired across the country. Is this quality of service worth an extra $400? I think so.
  21. CalBoy macrumors 604


    May 21, 2007
    I partially disagree with this point. In many cases (especially in the case of notebooks), getting the same specs can be very difficult. When you factor in battery life, thin/thickness, and weight, getting the same specs as a macbook/macbook pro can be very difficult. If you do find one, it will almost certainly be the same, and often times more.
    True, though there are many good free alternatives on Windows as well.
    This is not a fair comparison at all. iWork includes only 3 apps (word processor, presentation, and spreadsheet apps) while the high end Office for Windows has a laundry list of apps, many of which are important for many people (ie, Access for a tutorial center, where I used to work). If you want to compare Office and iWork, compare the basic version of Office to iWork, which gives you a closer price comparison.

    Nonetheless, Office is a bit overpriced, so I'll give you that point (though the 320 Pound difference you indicated is not valid; the difference is more realistically about $70[since I'm in the US]).
    That seems rather steep. Here in the States, Leopard is $129 and a Vista upgrade is ~$100-$200 (depending on version). Thus, Vista can be $30 cheaper or $70 more expensive to upgrade than Leopard. Nonetheless, I feel the need to point out that OS X often has more consistent and frequent upgrades, thus making it more expensive over a set period of time (ie, since XP came out, there have been a few versions of OS X, but only two versions of Windows).
    Technically, two of your points were focused on optional software. One needn't buy Office or iWork. NeoOffice/OpenOffice are free alternatives to both. In addition, one doesn't need to update OSs every time. It's a question of whether one likes the features offered by particular software that warrants an upgrade. Hence, Macs are sometimes cheaper than PCs, but not always.

    As for the hardware costs, I'll my use points above to point out that it's very difficult to ascertain whether or not Macs are really expensive since many aspects are highly subjective to individual buyers (I might not care about weight as much as the next person, etc).

    In the long run, I think both cost roughly the same. It really all boils down to what you like best, and that's what you should go with. :)
  22. joefinan thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Sep 14, 2007
    Kingston-Upon-Thames, UK
  23. Music_Producer macrumors 68000

    Sep 25, 2004
    One thing people tend to overlook is the resale value of a mac. My $1200 averatec is worth $200 on ebay.. while my 12 " powerbook G4 sold for a solid $895 .. so buying a new macbook was just a $100-$150 additional expense for me. You simply cannot argue against that.
  24. CF Fighter macrumors member

    Dec 30, 2007
    I'm about to switch to a Mac laptop, still will use a Windows desktop though, and I've spent hours upon hours the last week researching laptops and I just keep coming back to the Macbook. You know people say "Spec out a 2.2 ghz C2D, 4gb RAM (Aftermarket), Vista Ultimate, WIFI Draft-N, Bluetooth and then come speak to us again." But what they forget to mention is weight and size, both of which if you get those in a laptop will send the price up a bit. I specced out a M1330 and could not get within 2 hundred dollars of of a white 2.2 SR Macbook even with a student discount. Also I won't have to buy an antivirus program every year
  25. CalBoy macrumors 604


    May 21, 2007
    No! You're not. I was just pointing out how you need to broaden your analysis. :eek: ;)

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