My Experience with the "Apple Tax"

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by SqlMac, Nov 19, 2010.

  1. SqlMac macrumors newbie

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    DFW Metroplex
    #1
    I hear many naysayers refer to the "Apple Tax". Here are my thoughts on this as I recently struggled with it and even made a return because of it (which I will be "unreturning").

    I have/have had various Macs/PC Notebooks/Workstations.

    Recently, I had bought a new MBA. Best laptop ever (for certain uses), but it was limited on specs and very expensive. I just needed to run some lightweight Windows Servers Virtual Machines and it did it well. So I started to realize that I could do the same thing on a cheap PC notebook for about 1/3 the price.

    So I returned it and bought an Acer. Now, the Acer, except for the CPU (core i3) has higher specs than even a $2K MBP and it only cost $529. But here is the deal: IT IS A PIECE OF CRAP!

    The keyboard is barely usable and has massive play and is offset. They keys also sometimes make a "crack" sound when you use them; the battery lasts 2 hours; the screen is abysmal, the whole machine flexes and creaks.

    So, I then went to Dell.com to see about getting a business class notebook for the same purpose. After adding it all to cart, it was just as much (actually more) than a mac. What would I be getting from the price? Better materials, better case, better keyboard.

    So, I am starting to really understand that the materials and workmanship IS in fact sometimes worth massive increases in price. Specs are specs, either the machine does what you need or not; but HOW it does it and what the experience is like doing it is, in my opinion now, potentially worth some serious cash.

    So, thanks for listening to my rationalization process. I am not sure an "Apple Tax" exists, but rather a "Quality built computer Tax". You pay the premium for Latitudes, Thinkpads and Macbooks. Now only if we could get apple to offer 3 year damage plans with onsite replacement like Dell and Lenovo...
     
  2. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #2
    You know there's such a thing as blogs to post your musings.

    FWIW, I've compared various HPs and Dell configurations and found that I can save anywhere from 400 to 1,000 dollars on similarly configured laptops.

    Are they same quality as a MBP, I dunno, but from a price/spec perspective I noticed that I'm paying more $$ for apple's product.

    the general perception of an apple tax is generally accurate as you do pay more for Macs. There's benefits for that price, and I'm not saying its not worth it but lets call a spade a spade and I have to spend more money for a mac.
     
  3. autacraft Guest

    #3
    You know there's such a thing as banal, repetitive comments that contribute nothing to a post?
     
  4. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

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    #4
    I'm always surprised when it takes people so long to figure this kind of thing out. Think about it this way: a Honda Accord and a BMW 5-series both get you from A to B. But the experience you have getting there is far from the same.

    I use my computer a lot. Paying a little extra for one I enjoy using is worth it. :)
     
  5. dr. shdw macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    Um...that's a horrible comparison.
     
  6. rkaufmann87 macrumors 68000

    rkaufmann87

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    Folsom, CA
    #6
    Some people understand value and some do not. For example some folks buy Hyundai and some buy BMW, while Hyundai's may have a similar feature set and good warranty the experience of driving a BMW is totally different. Some people are willing to pay for that some aren't. It's nice to have choices isn't it?
     
  7. pjcforpres2020 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2010
    #7
    How about you come up with a better one then?

    And the OP is 100% correct. If you get a laptop from anyone with the same level of materials, fit and finish, etc. you will end up paying the same or more for a Dell, etc. I, like the op, did price compare across the board, and the mbp was the most bang for the buck when all factors were taken into account, and it was just flat out less expensive than many configurations I was eyeing.
     
  8. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #8
    That's basically what I thought from your post :p
     
  9. lickitysplit macrumors regular

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    Sep 26, 2010
    #9
    I also agree. I use my MBP a minimum of 5 hours a day. And I wanted to buy something that I would enjoy using every single time. Also, my first notebook ever purchased was a MBP. Once you have a quality machine like a MBP its difficult to even consider purchasing something different.
     
  10. jlw2387 macrumors member

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    Nov 13, 2010
    #10
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/532.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0.5 Mobile/8B117 Safari/6531.22.7)

    My work computer is a Dell Latitude which cost nearly as much as my MBP and has similar specs, but is nowhere near the build quality of my MBP.
     
  11. jnpy!$4g3cwk macrumors 65816

    jnpy!$4g3cwk

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    #11
    I have had a similar experience to yours. But, I kept my Mac and my cheap windows laptop to run those certain apps. I have to be careful not to use the cheap windows box very long at all because I start to develop RSI symptoms if I use it very much.

    That said, there is a modest "OS X" tax. It is worth it, and will continue to be, as long as Apple does not mess it up for those of us who can actually type (slight anxiety about Lion).
     
  12. miata macrumors 6502

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    Oct 22, 2010
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    #12
    Sure you generally get higher quality hardware with with Apple, but you generally give up some spec numbers. However, you always get MacOS and makes all the difference for me.
     
  13. mark28, Nov 19, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2010

    mark28 macrumors 68000

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    #13
    Since when does a Honda Accord use the same identical parts of a BMW :confused:

    For the price difference, you can even buy a 27 inch IPS display, the same display that is used by the 27" iMac if you find the screen of PC laptops that bad.

    There is definetly a thing called Apple tax. Go buy RAM or HDD/SSD from Apple and compare it to the prices of somewhere else. It's superexpensive what Apple charges. I'll upgrade the RAM and storage myself. Much cheaper and I get longer warranty on my parts :p
     
  14. Malsi macrumors regular

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    #14
    I couldn't have said it better myself.
     
  15. padapada macrumors regular

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    Jun 20, 2010
    #15
    I drive a 45k euro honda. My brother-in-law a 95k euro BMW 5 series. Guess which car is at the dealership 5+ times a year? Sometimes even multiple days.

    I like to think of a Mac as a Honda Accord :)

    Patrick
     
  16. dr. shdw macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 27, 2008
    #16
    It's like buying a Toyota vs a Lexus, same chassis, similar engine, different fit/finish/attention to detail.

    You can't compare a Honda Accord to a BMW 5 series, try comparing a Honda to an Acura or something.
     
  17. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #17
    Car to computer analogies rarely work.

    As others stated, car manufacturers use different parts, they target different audiences and basically a car is not a computer.

    Regardless of what people here believe, and in fact it really doesn't matter what people here think, because the general perception from consumers is that you pay more for an apple computer then any other.

    Consider the dell XPS15 selling for 850 bucks. Its a 2.53Ghz core i5 15" laptop that's fairly similar (except for the GPU) to the MBP which retails for 1,999.

    Sure people can split hairs on some of minutia but to most typical people who are not apple fanboys, they'll ask the obvious question. Why should I spend 2,000 dollars for a MacBook Pro when I can get nearly the same laptop for 850 from dell.
     
  18. jlw2387 macrumors member

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    #18
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    The OS is deffinately the major difference though, how many of us here would pony up the extra cash if it ran the same OS as every other laptop?
     
  19. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #19
    And thus the allure for hackintosh.
     
  20. Mantasis macrumors member

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    Dec 25, 2007
    #20
    It's not only the OS, I love the build quality of a Macbook Pro, I've never used a PC laptop that felt as solid and well built as a unibody Macbook. I've never used a laptop with as great a trackpad, which is a huuuge deal for me, cause that's the component I'll be completely reliant on when I'm web browsing...And when I'm web browsing, it has to be a pain-free, thought free experience :D

    Side note: I find it funny that this thread has more posts about cars then comps..
     
  21. gonnabuyamacbsh macrumors 6502

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    Oct 24, 2010
    #21
    I don't understand why people say a pc and a mac runs differently. windows and linux both run just as quick and efficient for me as a mac. the only reason I want a mac is because I like the look and feel, it's worth the extra price to me.

    lol so a mbp is a bmw 5-series?

    [​IMG]
     
  22. ThisIsNotMe macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2008
    #22
    Until my most recent MBP, I was always willing to pony up the Apple Tax for the build quality. Usually the computers would simply last longer.

    Now the build quality has gone down and Apple customer care is a complete joke, the Apple Tax is less and less palatable.

    When Apple was small it had incentive to support its customers. Now that Apple makes it money on CE and is larger, they can (and have) turned the once great support into a joke.

    I will probably be looking at non Apple laptops for the first time in 16 years.
     
  23. Eddyisgreat, Nov 19, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2010

    Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2007
    #23
    Guess what. I'd still use an Apple computer even if I only ran windows and linux on it. Scratch that. I use OS X and Windows about 50/50 via bootcamp, and while i'm in OS X I typically have Windows running in unison.

    My MBP has decent specs. No, not a mobile quad core or twin SLI cards w/ 2GB of vram, but enough for me to do what I need to do and do it very well. The boxes are super clean and finely tuned. No annoying stickers talking about stuff that I don't really care about, no built in crapware that requires a mandatory decrapification process (which, btw, PC manufacturers get paid to put on their machines. That's another reason they are cheaper). Why would I want to associate with a vendor who will ruin my computing experience right out of the box so they can get a few extra bucks? Geek Squad will even charge you to remove what shouldn't have been there in the first place! Users can't even get a freaking restore CD. On every new PC i've unboxed in the past 3 years, none include a legitimate Windows reinstall disk to do repairs with. It's either a silly proprietary recovery partition or the user is forced to create the disk themselves. Most users i've dealt with don't make these disks until after the machine has already been blown to bits.

    Don't bother me with annoying facts that I already know. I already know foxxconn makes the world go 'round, and that their products are in both Apple and wintel machines. Big deal. You don't just throw components down on a motherboard and watch it fly; attention to detail is a must. This, IMO, is what Apple and some other premium manufacturers i.e thinkbooks provide. Dells? //sigh. Everything is the lowest common denominatior in their cheaper boxes. Poor cooling, 'just enough to get the job done' components, crap PSUs, and nothing else. All computers are NOT equal. Try and tell me an emachine is just as robust as a high end server housing mission critical data, and i'll probably just block on the forum.

    And as far as customer support goes, Apple has taken care of my machine each and everytime i've brought it in. Whether it's just a short drive to my local store, or sending it off to texas when i'm away from home (and reciving it before I even leave the hotel). Never got that with any other manufacturer.
     
  24. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

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    Jun 27, 2007
    #24
    You are describing the Windows tax on usability and sanity.
     
  25. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #25
    Actually windows 7 is very stable, very easy to use and has more features that make life easier then OSX at this point. Apple has been resting on its laurels with OSX because of the Vista debacle. Well Microsoft has leap frogged apple, and hopefully apple will jump ahead with 10.7 but I suspect apple is more interested in the ipadification of OSX then adding more features.
     

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