Why is the 12" Macbook so expensive compared to similar laptops?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by Flerex, Jul 14, 2018.

  1. Flerex macrumors newbie


    May 27, 2018
    I know that Apple devices are usually a little bit expensive for what you're actually getting, but in most cases this is only about a $100 to $200 difference. This is not the case for the 12" Macbook thought. With a not so proficient processor, no dedicated graphics card, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, the base model starts prizing at the amount of $1.3k.

    I'm not trying to start any kind of argument, but I'm honestly asking why is the price so big? Is this computer actually worth that amount? I tried to look on the Internet for information regarding this but I couldn't find anything relevant.
  2. BODYBUILDERPAUL macrumors 65816

    Feb 9, 2009
    I own a 2017 512GB i5 MacBook and before that the 2016 M5 (originally, I had the 2015 which was replaced under AppleCare due to battery problems).
    I truly agree with you 100% and cannot really explain why it's so expensive apart from Apple's pure greed. Here in the UK, Apple pricing is somewhat distasteful due to a horrific 20% price increase 18 months ago which was probably the nastiest thing a company can ever do to its customers. It was a vile act and subsequently has made their products seriously overpriced.
    I guess over in the US you do get a better deal with BestBuy offering MacBooks at 999 dollars which is pretty decent considering you are getting SSD, Retina etc. The MacBook when it was £1050 in the UK was really due for a price decrease of £100 but instead the 20% price increase made it £1250.
    I paid £1550 for mine as I needed the 512SSD. Was it worth that? No way. It's beautiful but fragile and I'm not convinced that it'll last more than 3 to 4 years. £1200 tops would be a more accurate figure.
    Luckily, I'm a minimalist when it comes to tech - I have one MacBook and one iPhone and that's all I need. I use the MacBook for business & as a iTunes/Photos media hub. To me, it's a tool. I'm not a computer fan boy in any way, preferring sports, travel, the great outdoors any day but as a tool, it's great. However, I don't have respect for Apple these days like I used to - now I view them as a horribly greedy company with a very clever front/PR. But hey, that's capitalism. Not my thing, but many follow it!
  3. EugW macrumors 601


    Jun 18, 2017
    Well, for one thing the Y series chips are actually quite expensive. Also, the screens are Retina, and the SSDs are PCIe, roughly twice as fast as the so-called "pro" machines from the competitors.

    That said, yeah, they're still expensive.
  4. Dave245 macrumors 603


    Sep 15, 2013
    They are more pricey yes but i think what a lot of people forget is that for the most part you are paying not just for the physical product but for an experience. Most people who own Mac's are very satisfied with them, for example i have owned my current MacBook Pro since 2011 and my iMac since 2012, both are excellent machines that have served me VERY well over the years.

    My 2011 MacBook Pro has seen me through university and I'm still using it now in my writing career, not once have i had an issue (other than it now being old and slow) i turn it on and it works, there are no bloatware apps that come pre-installed like on Windows machines (i really hate those) and i don't have to defrag my hard drive or do any kind of maintenance at all, also Mac's come with Pages, Keynote and Numbers, Windows machines don't come with Office AND MacOS is totally free whereas Windows updates you still have to pay for (after 12 months i think it is).

    Also Apple's customer service is second to none! so yes the products can be expensive when you look at the price initially but when you think about the whole package i actually think it's very worth it.
  5. Mike Boreham macrumors 65816

    Aug 10, 2006
    I asked you why you felt this in another thread. As an ex MacBook, now MacBook Pro owner I don't see a difference in fragility.
  6. iPodClassic1 macrumors member


    Aug 27, 2017

    Is there any quieter machine when it comes to processing stuff? (not talking about the keyboard).
    Is there any other machine that retaines as much battery power?
    Is there any other machine that measures and weights the same as the Macbook?

    If there is, let me know so I can dump my Macbook and go for it; but until now, I've been using this thing for a full year and more, for 12pm to 8pm home office work, which means opening and closing it several times, taking it in my backpack for lunch, tea time and even dinner when I need to work, and I don't even feel it's there, I mean, it weights less than a kilogram; my previous laptop's battery weighted what this whole machine weighs.
  7. Flerex thread starter macrumors newbie


    May 27, 2018
    Yeah, I may agree on that but still the price difference between the 12" Macbook and the rest of the Macbook lineup is very big and you're getting the same experience than with the rest of the devices. I would even say that with other products in the Macbook lineup you would even get an even better experience.

    To be honest I don't believe that there are no other devices that can match what Apple did. I mean, Apple does quality staff, I agree, but they still don't own the technology. Other companies can make similar products. Anyway, that's not related with what I was asking. What I'm asking is what makes the product itself so expensive, as the components are very unexceptional.
  8. BODYBUILDERPAUL macrumors 65816

    Feb 9, 2009
    The thinness and lightness to me makes it look incredibly fragile along with those damn keyboards. Just look how thin the lid is.
    Maybe it's because my background is professional studio equipment that's build for use 24/7 365 but for me, the MacBook is fragile. Mind you, in a different way to my old plastic MacBook that developed hairline cracks everywhere along with the bezel coming unglued that holds the screen at just over 1 year old at the time!
  9. iPodClassic1 macrumors member


    Aug 27, 2017
    I'm sorry I didn't state myself correctly; all those things I listed, are the reasons why I believe Macbook is so expensive.
    If you fine the same specs at a lower price, please do let me know.!
    --- Post Merged, Jul 16, 2018 ---
    I dropped mine a few times, not fragile at all. Yes, of course, it's a machine to work on your lap or a desk, not to be thrown from heights or to be abused in any way. I think what you looking for is something called a Toughbook.
  10. BODYBUILDERPAUL macrumors 65816

    Feb 9, 2009
    Simple answer buddy, margins! Apple likes to make lots of money and they test the customer to see what they'll pay. The MacBook is a terrific example along with the iPhone X at £999 - Apple's way to see if a certain kind of person will pay it. To me, it's dirty marketing but i've learnt that there's always one customer for anything.

    Yes it's 20-30% overpriced but that's Apple for you.
    But it's a chic little thing, does the basics very well and have Mac OS. Only problem is, the new MacBook Pro with P3 screen and true tone has made it harder to justify. Mind you, maybe in 2 years time, we'll have ProMotion which would be awesome for people like me who like to watch iTunes films. Having the correct frame rate would be lovely as iTunes films can look choppy and jerky on Apple computers due to incorrect frame rates!
    To me, it's a real shame that there isn't a 12" MacBook Pro as i'd buy one instantly.
    --- Post Merged, Jul 16, 2018 ---
    Maybe yours is still in its box :) That aluminium casing is certainly not to be dropped.

    Glad you love it though :)
    BTW it's only quiet because it's got a damn awful Core M processor.

    I was disappointed with mine today when using Skype for 30 minutes. You could of fried an egg on it.
  11. iPodClassic1 macrumors member


    Aug 27, 2017
    Haha, it's certainly not in its box, and does take quite a toll every day. Of course, I'm always careful but I do move it around a lot.

    I don't know what processor it has and how awful it is, all I know is I can open around 5 or 6 broswer tabs, use slack, my softphone, open teamviewer to connect to another computer; I can save files on it, do some work on spreadsheets, and work with emails. That's all I need. And it does its job very well.
    Again, if you want to do video editing, then the problem is not the computer

  12. bluecoast, Jul 16, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2018

    bluecoast macrumors 6502a

    Nov 7, 2017
    Apple no doubt designed the MacBook around the 10nm processors that intel were due to ship in 2016.

    Those cooler but more powerful chips would’ve made the MB pack a punch - and would’ve helped Apple sell a load and let it gradually decrease the price as its volume sales took off. (EDIT: the assumption would be that Intel would’ve been able to reduce the price of its processors this enabling Apple to reduce its price too - obviously they famously protect their margins).

    Why does this sound familiar? It’s exactly what happened with the Air, of course.

    It too was first released as a pricey underpowered computer, but then gradually became Apple’s most popular - and reasonably priced - laptop (for Apple!).

    Apple is no doubt keeping the MB around both to claw back the r&d cost and to wait for the time when it can launch the new rumoured MBA/or ‘13 inch MB’. Hopefully that time is coming very soon now. And hopefully it’s going to be keenly priced, too.

    Then, I’d expect the current MB to be retired for a while until it reappears as the new ARM MB.
  13. radiologyman macrumors 6502

    Jul 23, 2011
    Since you owned all 3 MacBooks 12, did it feel noticeably faster in day to day tasks as you upgraded from 2015 to 2016 and then 2017?
  14. BODYBUILDERPAUL macrumors 65816

    Feb 9, 2009
    Yes most definitely. You could really tell that the 2015 model was a first attempt. I filled around 350GB of the 512SSD. It was simply slower after 8 months or so. I noticed the dreaded beach ball even when loading pages such as the Independent. The battery design had problems and the logic board died in the end. It was replaced with the 2016 M5 which was a huge upgrade in terms of speed. It handled FCPX great. The 2017 is lovely and to me, feels the same as the 2016 M5 in day to day use of blogging, vlogging, FCPX editing, using Apple Pages. It's still a speedy lil thing.

    The 2015 worried me as I had TERRIBLE experiences with my late 2009 MacBook. Bought April 2010. Upgraded the OS in October 2013 to Mavericks and it made the MacBook truly useless.
    20 minute to start up in a morning, CONSTANT beachballs when browsing Safari, the fan always kicking in.

    For me, I find it a true disgrace that Apple could of churned out such a low spec Mac that would be 95% useless after 3 years of 'basic' use. This is why I simply couldn't over spend on a Mac as I know 4 years down the line, the user experience is not pleasant. Same with the iPhone 4S that I had at the time - 2 years of OS upgrades and the slowest iPhone around - it took 5-7 seconds to open an app such as the original Apple music app or photos app.

    This is why spending too much on a MacBook with upgraded 16GB RAM and say the i7 just doesn't make sense to me when it hits £2000. Three years on, I'm not convinced that lil Core M will be playing well. Let's see! Plus of course, new models will be around with P3 screens, TrueTone and maybe ProMotion which doesn't seem to get much mention these days on macRumours.
  15. waquzy macrumors 6502a


    Sep 9, 2013
    Leicestershire, UK
    Great screen, super lightweight, no fan noise - many ppl prefer this over high specs you see, cos ppl are different with different needs ;)

    For me it’s hands down the best laptop I have ever owned. It does everything that I want and it looks great.
  16. Dave245 macrumors 603


    Sep 15, 2013
    I wonder what the 2018 version will have in order to make it even better. The design is great, it’s and light enough so my guess is they could add:

    Better processor (obviously that’s what they will do)
    True Tone display
    Maybe a P3 screen

    On the other hand if they also announce a 13” version it could have all of the above and maybe better specs.
  17. Falhófnir macrumors 68020


    Aug 19, 2017
    They’re about the same price as the equivalent U series chips, they sold the MBA 11.6” for $899 (granted it had a cheaper display and 128GB storage)
  18. Macintoshrumors macrumors 6502


    Oct 18, 2016
    Don’t blame Apple for the price hike, blame your country and brexit.
  19. leeuk321 macrumors newbie

    Jul 21, 2018
    Not defending Apple's pricing, but obviously you've got to consider a lot of imported items have increased in UK due to brexit and how bad the GBP has gone. Also, I hear the "It's X amount in the US!" argument a lot, and what a lot of people fail to understand is that US rates are always excluding sales tax, which is added on checkout as it varies by state. So, with the UK having a general rule of displaying figures including VAT, the real cost of the £1250 Macbook is £1042, if it was advertised excluding added tax. The $1300 Macbook in US at the 2017 average USD-GBP rate of 0.776691 is about £1010. Again, not going to defend (or condemn) Apple's pricing, but the UK price argument that a lot of people make isn't really thinking the whole thing through.
  20. ondert macrumors regular


    Aug 11, 2017
    That ultra small motherboard, those stacked battery cells should also increase the price I guess.
  21. tdream macrumors 65816

    Jan 15, 2009
    It has nothing to do with Brexit. Prices on the Irish store are also ridiculous. Ireland, the country Apple funnel international profits through, which doesn’t even have an Apple store for compulsory tax disclosure reasons (Belfast has one (600k pop), Dublin doesn’t (1 million+)).

    The cost of the base Macbook in the US is 1299 dollars vs 1549 euros, at the current exchange rate that’s 39% increase, basically 40% increase.
  22. Ro_Ro_Bear macrumors newbie

    Jul 9, 2015
    Completely agree that there is a price difference between the two but we need to consider the taxes, tariffs and maybe a smidgen for the premium of the brand outside of the US.

    In the US, you add the sales tax at the point of sale. The price you see is before tax not after tax like it is in Europe (sales tax/VAT is also higher in Europe). So that $1299 is not the whole story.
  23. zhenya macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2005
    You can't say that it's overpriced without giving some examples of machines that are equivalent - not just in the relatively meaningless hardware specs, but in terms of physical size, weight, battery life, overall build quality, etc. I don't follow the laptop market as closely as I used to, but I suspect that the list of 2lb premium laptops is quite short. It's expensive because it's a premium product packed into a tiny package. It's the first laptop I've ever owned where the weight and volume essentially disappears in your bag - you can carry it everywhere and barely notice its addition. That's what you're paying for.
  24. bluecoast macrumors 6502a

    Nov 7, 2017
    I’m interested to see what A chip is in this year’s iPad Pro & how it performs - is expect with with single tasks (ie running only one app that’s doing a task requiring the majority of available processing power) its going to outperform whatever chip is in this year’s MacBook.

    Then I’m interested in seeing its successor in the MacBook in 2019, with marzipan apps, the T2, LTE and similar battery life to the iPad.

    That’s going to be the ultimate mobile first laptop.
  25. whohasaquestion macrumors 6502a

    Sep 17, 2011
    I know why it's so pricy.

    Because you keep buying them!

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