What makes an Apple Macbook more costly than the normal Laptop

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Sellatease, Aug 12, 2019.

  1. Sellatease macrumors newbie


    Aug 9, 2019
    I am still wondering what makes an Apple Macbook more costly than other pc. What are the features that distinguish and Apple laptop from the rest.
    Do you also think that the new generation laptops have attained the heights that Apple laptops attained?
    Let me hear your views.
  2. ruslan120, Aug 12, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2019

    ruslan120 macrumors 6502


    Jul 12, 2009
    Things are engineered to a greater degree, from the bottom up. The hardware is packed more densely together, and the software is more optimized for side hardware. That takes engineers on the payroll and researchers and intellectual property costs and R&D.

    I assume they also use higher grade components.

    Large ad budget.

    Custom engineering of hardware, such as the T2 chip and A-series processors, which require engineers and PHDs to design and build and result in hardware that's efficient yet powerful. And software engineers hired to write software specifically for the custom hardware and QA engineers to test it top to bottom and ensure everything works (and is supported on older hardware).
  3. gigatoaster macrumors 6502


    Jul 22, 2018

    There are 4 or 5 suppliers that are used by all the same computer brands (HP, Dell, Acer, Asus...) to manufacture PCs & Mac: Foxconn, Pegatron, Quanta and others I don't remember.
    The difference can be explained by what we call the Apple tax, which is the premium Apple is charging for its products. Cost is related to price and market positioning. As a luxury product, the more you increase the price, the more people will buy it, it is the concept in Economy of Positive Price Elasticity on Demand. Brand loyalty has a major impact on this and as Apple is often considered as the most powerful brand in the world, it definitely explains why there is such differences of cost but an Apple product and the competition.

    Then behind there is the R&D costs, the marketing and the supply chain. I don't have data so I can't discuss about it.

    Most people would say Apple prices are outrageously expensive and recent product decision by Apple comfort it. Personally, as I believe sales are still growing, there is still room to increase prices but other economic factors can impact this trend, such as the ecowar between US & China.
  4. velocityg4 macrumors 601


    Dec 19, 2004

    That's what makes them more expensive.:rolleyes:

    That's just part of it though.
    • OS: Apple makes the OS and provides new versions of the OS. Typically for seven years. This presumably costs as much to develop as Windows with about 7.5% market share. With no premium license variants (Pro, workstation, server) to offset costs. Yes, Windows Server is a different product but the desktop and server OS carry much of the same core set of components. So much of their development costs can be split.
    • Software: Apple provides a free suite of quality software which gets regular updates. Garageband, iMovie, Photos, iWork to name a few.
    • iCloud: Apple offers a free cloud service to keep your devices in sync and an optional e-mail address. This also includes a decent voice assistant.
    • Privacy: They have to pay for much of this through hardware sales. While some anonymized info goes to advertisers. It is a much more stringent network and so little useful data is shared they don't make nearly as much off advertising revenue as their competitors.
    • Support: They offer excellent customer support and stores around much of the world to get repairs, ask questions and take some free classes.
    • Hardware: Some components are designed in house. Apple uses non standard resolutions, aspect ratios and high quality panels. They also design their own SSD controller. They get semi-custom parts like specialty models of AMD GPU and some Intel CPU.
    Other companies mostly just neatly package off the components and pay an OS license. They might design the PCB, BIOS, case and keyboard. Most everything else is fairly standard. Any model doesn't require as much engineering or R&D. They also offset the cost by getting paid to include software. This all keeps costs down.

    Now these companies also make nice models with a fair amount of custom hardware. At which point they aren't much better than Apple in pricing. Although part of their high price here is Apple owns the high end market. They don't sell anywhere close to Apples volume in $1,200+ computers.
  5. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    To add to all of the above, Apple often uses more expensive components and more involved engineering. Their laptops for example have very good surge protection on ports (something only seen in expensive PC workstations and premium machines), the 16:10 display panels are more expensive, the power delivery appears to be more complex than most of other laptops, more advanced WiFi chips, the 15" uses a hardware GPU multiplexer rather than a software solution like gaming laptops etc. From their internal constructions, Mac laptops are closer to PC workstations, which cost similarly. And if you at other premium laptops, they are not really cheaper (e.g. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon costs the same as a 13" MBP).
  6. pshufd macrumors 65816

    Oct 24, 2013
    New Hampshire
    There are a lot of reasons and many of us complain about their high prices and annoying policies but their higher prices are justified.

    They integrate their operating systems with their hardware tightly and they have a nice consistency in their applications and they have common apps between their PC, Mobile and Web Apps. I really love macOS over Windows for the consistency that they can get with control over the operating systems and hardware. For a lot of people, it just works.

    Their hardware really isn't expensive. If you look at similar systems with similar components in similar form-factors, you're going to pay similar amounts. I have looked around at Pro-level machines from Lenovo, Dell and many other companies and the pro configuration that I'd like starts around $3,700. It's very easy to get up to Apple's hardware prices with other vendors when you start putting in premium parts. Apple also does use better quality parts - the SSD is a good example of that where they are typically faster in read/write speeds than everyone else. The Dell Precision offers a variety of SSD sizes and performance levels - if you want higher performance SSDs - you have to pay for it. Apple gives you the very high performance - you don't have any choice.

    If you have a problem with your Mac, you can take it into your local store for service. I can typically get hardware service overnight because my local store is staffed with repair folks that work overnight. I don't get this with other manufacturers.

    You control when you upgrade your operating system. That might seem like a given but Microsoft went to forced upgrades outside of their Enterprise customers.
  7. MrGunnyPT macrumors 6502


    Mar 23, 2017
    Pretty good explanation in my book especially when it comes down to panels
  8. Frieg macrumors member

    May 9, 2017
    you have and will read all sorts of things of how buyers justify their expensive purchase, but it's all meaningless, it all boils down to one thing: because the buyers do pay the higher prices. that's all!

    so the more important question would be, why are apple customers willing to pay higher prices than customers of other brands? to answer that, you have to dig a little deeper into how the different companies do their marketing, and apple was THE pioneer with revolutional new marketing strategy. they inspire, they are able to spark emotions in the customers. the decision making part of our brain is purely driven buy emotions, even if we delude ourselves that we made a decision out of pure sanity - we didn't. thats not how our brain is wired. so if you are able to spark emotions in your customers you have them on the hook, they become loyal customers because they just feel better using your products. and loyal customers arte pretty much forgiving. customers of other brands often try another brand after bad experiences, loyal apple customers stay at apple. it's fascinating how MUCH the forgive, you can read that in thousand of threads here, no matter how blatantly bad their hardware failed, they buy a new device.

    is it better apple engineering? no, just watch channels like that of Luis Rossmann and you will see how badly actually the devices are engineered. the engineers do stupid stuff on the logic boards that make you really scratch your head.

    is it a better os? well, no again, it's not better or worse than alternatives.

    you just have to get a bigger picture of the topics here. all those users freaking out because of the smallest imperfections they wouldn't even notice on other devices. because the buying decision was such an emotional one, they value the device on a whole another level than they would otherwise. but they don't value them that much because of pure facts of quality or performance, it's just rooted in these emotions.

    that's a REALLY fascinating topic, if you are interested I can really recommend reading these two books:
    Start With Why - by Simon Simsek and
    Hooked - How To Build Habit-Forming Products - by Nir Eyal

    They are a fun and easy read and in some ways an eyeopener.
  9. eulslix macrumors regular

    Dec 4, 2016
    Oh god really... you gonna bring Luis Rossmann out on this one? That guy has the emotional intelligence of a 10 year old

    Anyways, your post is very one sided, I think the previous posters covered very well where the money is going

    I'd also like to add that it costs **** tons of money to build Apple as a culture. All of the Apple stores, that contribute as another touch point to the whole user experience and build the brands strength, have to obviously be paid as well. In my country there is no single Microsoft store for example. And if there was one, I'm sure as hell it wouldn't offer me the same nice experience as an Apple store. Whether you need that experience is another question, but that's what you basically buy as a part of an Apple product.

    There's obviously also community events, initiatives like renewable energies + materials, politics, law cases and so on... but that applies to other companies just as well.
  10. Frieg macrumors member

    May 9, 2017
    Is this your typical way to debate or only your way if you are anonymously writing stuff on the internet? imagine, you and and a co-worker of yours in a discussion with your boss. that co-worker e.g. has Aspergers (Louis shows signs of that or similar) but otherwise presented your boss waterproof facts based on YEARS of experience on his job but those facts would not support YOUR opinion, would you tell your boss something like "I did not really listen to his arguments because I didn't like how he presented those "facts", he literally creeped me out, he wasn't even able to look us in the eyes, he MUST be lying!!!11!!"

    who would look like the real fool in a situation like that? huh? duh!
  11. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    I don't think that anyone here questions Louise's skills or experience. Personally, I question his honestly. I didn't watch too many of his videos, but what I saw I had strong suspicion that he presents facts very one-sidedly (for instance, he was complaining that the MBP USB ports suffer from WiFi interference but did not mention at all that its a general well known issue that affects all kinds of hardware), and its also — sadly — well know that we was smuggling untested counterfeit batteries from China, and action that potentially endangers the customer. Overall, it is my impression that he uses his knowledge and technical skills to manipulate the less educated viewer and create polemic videos in order to increase his Youtube traffic.
  12. sub150 macrumors member

    Aug 7, 2018
    10 posts in and no one has mentioned gross profit or gross margin requirements.

    I doubt Apple Mac's actually cost significantly more than a PC. Apple runs leaner than other companies and has less SKU's so they can likely get better parts for around the same overall cost. They also don't update the hardware as frequently which helps keeps cost low.

    At least 75% of the higher price is because Apple margins are insane compared to others in the industry. Since they are the only way to get MacOS, they can keep the price high and not worry about competition. So the main reason Mac's are expensive aren't because they actually cost more, it's because Apple bakes in more profit in each sale.
  13. eulslix, Aug 13, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019

    eulslix macrumors regular

    Dec 4, 2016
    I've listened to Louis a lot and I do agree with quite a reasonable part of what he says. He still fails at seeing the bigger picture. I might be mistaken, but I don't see anything abnormal in his behaviour which is not fixable by doing exactly what you seem to accuse me of: Namely being a social being opening up to as many views at possible.

    I'm sorry, that you get this impression of mine, but I'm really tired of this guy. If his behaviour is excusable through Aspbergers, than so is the misbehaviour of countless of elitist engineering pricks that I had to deal with within my career (which is obviously the minority of all the otherwise awesome engineers I got to know)*. And then I kind of question the value of this diagnosis in the first place...

    *You don't have to be a social genius to be a good person, but being socially underdeveloped and vocal at the same time is just a ****** combination that no sickness forces you into
  14. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    I did :)

    They do though. They use more components and more complex circuitry. For instance, the GPU multiplexer in the 15" model. Even if Apple gets better prices on components, I doubt they can equal that out. But of course, the relation of their product margin to the increased cost is quite "unreasonable". For instance, the HBM2 GPUs+interposer will probably cost about $50 or so more to make compared to a "classical" GDDR5 GPU. Apple charges 4x of that.
  15. givemeanapple macrumors Demi-God


    Oct 2, 2016
  16. Frieg macrumors member

    May 9, 2017
    aspergers is NO sickness! they are just different, not sick. sometimes I wish there were more, they just say in your face what they really think without filtering any of their words. they are also unable to constantly lie in every ****ing conversation like "normal" people do. if you really wan't to know if you look fat in your new dress ask an aspie! he will tell you because he has no awareness what words will hurt you or not.

    concerning Louis, you just have to look the few videos where he has to interact with human beings he is not very familiar with, e.g. when he collaborated with Linus tech tips, he shows very clear signs of high tension and social uneasiness, or the constant nervous eye blinking, the stiff and a bit awkward posture.
  17. sub150 macrumors member

    Aug 7, 2018
    Ctrl-F found no mention of gross :)

    I bet you it's closer than you think. They get a lot of efficiencies by using as few components are possible, both in the upfront buy and the production. The difference in customization between a Mac and PC and night and day. Not that anyone will ever know the answer.

    Apple prices seem too high right now, but that could be because I think most of their products have glaring flaws right now.
  18. Isamilis macrumors 6502a

    Apr 3, 2012
    Few years ago, I and my sister in the same time bought laptop. I bought cMBP 13" and she bought Fujitsu ultrabook. We both use for taking grad school. Pricewise is similar. Few years later (3-4 years), we met again, and looked at each laptop. Mine is still like new, very small fingerprint on the keyboard, the touchpad is still perfect. While her laptop already had small crack here and there, the touchpad and keyboard clearly shows their age.
    So the answer is, IMO, the build material.
  19. an-other macrumors 6502

    Aug 12, 2011
  20. pshufd macrumors 65816

    Oct 24, 2013
    New Hampshire
    Price out a Dell Precision 7740. I got up to $12K without too much trouble. Nice configurations cost a lot. True at Dell, Lenovo and lots of other companies.
  21. sub150 macrumors member

    Aug 7, 2018
    Of course. You can always config something crazy. But for the products selling the most (near base configs), Apple is higher and it's due to profit margin, not cost. You can verify this with financials as Apple margin blows everyone out of the water, thus their COGS must be roughly equal with a much higher ASP.

    I would guess Apple markup is double or triple PC markup on COGS. So if Dell is selling something at 30% markup for 23% gross margin Apple is probably around 75% markup for 43% gross margin.

    Apple could lower their margin and move a lot more than product and increase revenue, but the margin would be whacked and that is bad for the enterprise value. They could make more revenue and more net income but really hurt their stock price due to a lower gross/net income margin.
  22. redheeler macrumors 604


    Oct 17, 2014
    Some of it is because of higher-that-normal R&D and custom component costs, and some of it funds the MacOS software development. But the rest is just because they can due to having a monopoly on MacOS and enormous brand recognition. That portion of the cost has undoubtedly increased in recent years.
  23. pshufd macrumors 65816

    Oct 24, 2013
    New Hampshire
    Dell sells cheap stuff. Apple doesn't. Dell's Precision stuff is just as expensive as Apple's stuff if you put in similar components.
  24. Maziar, Aug 13, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019

    Maziar macrumors 6502

    May 22, 2010
    As someone who's in the market for a new laptop, I've read and watched a lot of reviews and the reason I'm leaning towards a Macbook is mainly because it has a combination of everything. It may not excel in all departments but as a unit, it's a complete package.
    16:10 screen,good performance/battery life, great trackpad and speakers, and a great size to weight ratio.
    The only thing that worries me is the butterfly keyboard(which seems to have been 'fixed' in the 2019 versions)
  25. ApplesandOranges macrumors regular


    Jul 27, 2019
    Apple charges a premium because they can. As long as people keep saying their prices are justified the prices will not change. In years past I did not even think about the prices Apple charges as being premium. When the iPhone came out I didn't care how much it cost I just wanted one. It was a game changing product. That alone justified the price.

    Nowadays it is harder for me to justify the premium prices because there are so many laptop offerings that are just as innovative and many times more current than what Apple is offering.

    Sure R&D takes money, time, and resources, but other companies do the same. I've read it takes a Billion dollars or more for a car company to design a new model, yet when the model is released their prices are still competitive based on the competition. If people were willing to pay more because they feel the car brand was "Premium" then the brand would obviously charge more.

    Yet even if you factor the "Premium" status of Apple products and try to justify the cost based on software offerings and design costs, that still does not explain their record profits and cash reserve. That can only come from making a huge profit by charging more than everyone else for their products and services. Apple is enjoying its "Premium" status and making a killing milking every last cent out of their customers because we enable them.

    They don't give anything away for free. iCloud basic service is free with 5gb of storage which is as pathetic as offering 128gb of storage in their base model hardware. You have to pay a "Premium" to make it usable. If you want to add features it's going to cost you. The cost to upgrade memory, storage, and processors is exorbitant.

    Some people prefer to use MacOS, and some prefer to use Windows. The Windows user can get a lot more for their money regardless of whether we "Apple" folks like the look of the product they use. It's a choice and for what it's worth the "Eco system" argument is getting a little old. I can move pretty seamlessly between Mac and Windows. The only things that are not available to me between platforms is Airplay and iMessage. Even that is changing.

    As an example of Apple's premium reputation just look at the solid gold Apple Watch they offered a while back and now the credit card. To me this is playing to the customer idea that Apple products are a status thing. I'm reading here that people are treating the credit card as a status thing even though the perks and benefits are no better than any other card.

    For my basic needs Apple prices are becoming too high. Not because of my economic status but because the value is no longer there. I recently purchased a MBP 13" mostly because it was on sale. Because of all the perceived problems and issues with the recent and current MBP line they are on sale just about everywhere. Funny thing is to bring the MBP down to a price point more competitive with other companies there had to be some negative press.

    Again perceptions can work both ways.

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