Why the @#%$ do Macs still cost more?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by AlbinoPigeon, Sep 11, 2005.

  1. AlbinoPigeon macrumors regular

    Jan 1, 2004
    Vancouver, BC
    With more and more components being shared between the Windows and the Mac world in terms of hardware, why is it that Macs generally still cost much more? This thought comes to me as I begin to shop for a new laptop. I currently own an iBook G4 800MHz. I need something a bit more pro so naturally I turn to the powerbook. Only problem is that it is overpriced. Now don't get me wrong. I'm a mac person, always have been. But when looking at other higher end computer makers and seeing that even they price their computers far lower than Apple makes me wonder what Apple is doing? Sure, fancy looks and the best OS out there may be enough to sway a few, but if Apple really wants to switch the many, they need to relook their pricing strategy. For example:

    A new Toshiba Qosmio F20-GS1 ($2499.99 CAN) which features:

    -Intel Pentium M 750 (Centrino 1.86 GHz)
    -15.4" display
    -100GB HD
    -Dual Layer DVD Burner
    -128MB Nvidia GeForse Go 6600 Graphics Card
    -PCI Express
    -Windows XP Media Centre (I include this because it comes with extra features and hardware over the regular XP OS)

    A new Powerbook G4 15" (2499.99 CAN) which features:

    -G4 Processor @ 1.5GHz (similar enough to the Qosmio)
    -15.4" display (same)
    -80GB HD (20 GB LESS)
    -Combo Drive (NO DVD BURNER)
    -64MB ATI Mobility Radeon (50% LESS MB)

    The only things I can see with the Powerbook that is any better is that it comes with Analog audio in/out, DVI & S-Video out and has a backlit keyboard. But really! The video out options are really needed by only a few super power users. Oh! And while a backlit keyboard is pretty flashy, it's not flashy enough considering you're getting a lesser product.

    BUT!! The Qosmio comes with a built in TV Tuner and PVR Functionality. And an instant on feature that allows you to play CDs and watch TV without turning on the computer!(sigh...)

    So let's see what happens to the Powerbook's price when you make it spec closer to the the Qosmio:

    You get a Powerbook with the same GHz, the same graphics memory, the same HD, but still not a dual layer DVD burner (but at least a burner). But you now pay: $3,354.00 CAN. Almost $1000 dollars more! HOLY JESUS!

    Really! I simply don't understand. And what's worse is that the PC users I try to convert really dont understand. Imagine me trying to convert my friends (all poor students like myself). What do I say? Well...if you pay $1000 more you get OS X! And a pretty damn slick glow in the dark keyboard!! I'm sorry. It just doesn't work. And that's why despite this so called "halo effect" that supposedly going on, Macs are still stuck at somewhere around 3%. And why while so many major retailers are plum happy to carry the iPod and it's accessories, you'd be hard pressed to find a single piece of computing hardware in the same store.

    Lastly, it seems that Apple themselves don't really care either. I mean when the homepage of the apple site is littered with references to the ipod, and just one picture of a computer (the Mac Mini) you have to wonder how serious they are about their Mac division. And further, when you go to the store front page, it's all iPod until a little ways down.

    So maybe someone out there who has done a bit more research than me explain why Apple buyers have to pay twice as much for the same RAM and HD and Graphics capability.

    Frankly, i'm a little pissed. And unless something happens soon, i'll be one of the first to use a hacked version of OS X for Intel on my nice new Qosmio.
  2. superfula macrumors 6502

    Mar 17, 2002
    Yeah Macs tend to run higher in price. Apple has one of the largest markups in the computer world. That's just their choice. A couple other reasons. The Powerbooks are smaller and smaller laptops tend to be a little more expensive. The exterior is also made out of Aluminum, vs cheap plastic for the Toshiba. The build quality for the Book is better. A couple friends of mine have the Qosmio. After having owned a Powerbook, there's no way I'd use their Qosmios. The Book is built significantly better. Throw in the great Apple apps, and OS X (worth the price difference on it's own), it's a no-brainer in my mind.

    You need to stop looking at the stats of each computer. Any company can throw components into a computer and put a cheap tag on it. It's no different with Powermacs. The build quality is heads and tails better than any pc manufacturer.
  3. iGary Guest


    May 26, 2004
    Randy's House
    LOL - You'll run hacked software on a machine just to save some money...
  4. Verto macrumors 6502a


    Jul 20, 2005
    Denton, TX
    Well, many people will give you a spiel about how Macs are more expensive upfront, but not when you compare it to the "fact" that Windows users all apparently spend 300 dollars on anti-virus software, etc. I wouldn't be surprised if while I was typing this someone posts that.

    I think it is comparable to buying clothes, where you can buy a pair of jeans for 50 bucks or a pair for 20 - both are made from similar or identical material, both serve the same purpose.

    The difference is the cut of the 50$ jeans is what is in fashion, whereas the 20$ jeans are your regular, plain jane.

    Whether the additional 30$ is worth it, is up to you.

    Likewise, Apple computers are very similar in that although the parts may not be all that different (I really don't buy the whole "Apple has the greatest quality in every single component" argument since they are all made in some third Asian country anway) but the computers look more fashionable. I paid 1600$ for an iMac G5; I could've gotten similar if not better specs in a PC for much less; however, I put more value into the small foot print and overall beautiful of the iMac, as opposed to clunky CPU tower.

    I think the PowerBook is outrageously overpriced for the outdated features you get, which I think is more to do with Apple's lack of updating. The iBook makes for better comparison; although Toshiba laptops easily outpace it as far as specs go, the iBook's huge selling point for me is it gives you perfectly suitable processing power in a laptop that looks far cleaner than any Windows-based laptop: it is slim, streamlined, much better looking than a gray or black plasticky laptop.

    In short, it depends on your desired form/function ratio. I would say Apple goes for something closer to a 60/40, whereas the PC makers are more of a 40/60.
  5. fartheststar macrumors 6502a


    Dec 29, 2003
    Because it works better. Go buy your non-apple laptop and see how well it runs. You won't get any support help to run any programs on that "illegal" OSX you'll be running on it.

    OSX is worth the price.

    It's apple's choice to charge that price. It's your choice to pay it, or not. Running XP may be worth your time. You'll need to fix it often, you'll need a lot of spyware and anti ad ware, and it won't run nearly as well.
  6. 7on macrumors 601


    Nov 9, 2003
    Dress Rosa
    1. The screens generally have a larger viewing angle
    2. Thin
    3. I read somewhere that Apple makes generally 30% profit on their machines whereas Dell makes around 10%
    4. The Aluminum Casing is aluminum and not just aluminum plating on steel or other metal.
    5. Build quality, Toshiba is not known for their build quality. Someone I know has only had his Satellite for one year and new he's buying an IBM to replace it. I've had my Powerbook going on 3 years this upcoming March with few problems. The Qosmio doesn't leave me expecting too much from it's build quality.

    Oh and going Intel won't mean they'll cost less. Intel sells their chips cheaper if the manufacturer puts those Intel Inside stickers on their machines. Apple will probably not be putting Intel stickers on their stuff.
  7. FFTT macrumors 68030


    Apr 17, 2004
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    You may want to verify your prices on the Apple education store pages.

    WE are also waiting to see what Apple offers 2 weeks from now
    at the Apple Expo Paris. Hopefully we'll all see a few improvements.

    I configured the sweetest 15" PowerBook set up for you.
    Excluding 3rd party RAM

    I configured the following system @ $2279 USD
    upgrading the RAM to 100 GB and upgrading the VRAM to 128MB
    which works out to be $2677 CAD

    512MB DDR333 SDRAM - 1 SO-DIMM
    100GB Ultra ATA drive @ 5400 rpm
    8x SuperDrive (DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    1.67GHz PowerPC G4 w/128MB VRAM dual
    AirPort Extreme Card
    Backlit Keyboard/Mac OS - U.S. English
    ATI Mobility Radeon 9700
    15.2-inch TFT Display

    Sorry no dual layer burners yet, but
    most people won't need dual layer burning capabilites
    and the blanks are expensive.
  8. AlbinoPigeon thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 1, 2004
    Vancouver, BC

    First of all, my hacked OS X comment was just a closing joke to illustrate the fact that OS X is about the only thing Apple Hardware has going for it (and it isn't even hardware!)

    But what you said just proves my point. I wasn't arguing that PC's a superior in everyway. OS X and Apples apps are amazing things that give macs serious points. But when the average PC user that has been using Windows for years now and has become accustomed to running a buggy systems and doing weekly virus and malware checks, using the "OS X runs smoother argument doesn't always fly...they just cant understand.

    My point in writing what I did was to argue that Apple needs to do more to attract the PC crowd. And they cant do it with well built enclosures and bug free OSs alone. They need more matched pricing, component for component, than they have right now.
  9. crdean1 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 14, 2005
    Why does a Bentley cost more than a Ford Taurus? It's that simple. You pay for greatness.
  10. wako macrumors 65816

    Jun 6, 2005
    Mac cost more because mac is simply a hardware based company, specializing in what they build. Its a boutique :)
  11. nanc macrumors member

    Jul 8, 2005
    ok... think about this albinoe maybe apple is doing what they want to. maybe they don't want to bring in millions of people so that people start to write virus's for them. im not saying thats what they are doing but think of all the possibilities before you put some thing down
  12. crdean1 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 14, 2005

    Oh, you mean "Think Different"
  13. nanc macrumors member

    Jul 8, 2005
  14. CorvusCamenarum macrumors 65816


    Dec 16, 2004
    Birmingham, AL
    The short answer is that even though our beloved Macs tend to cost more, it's been shown that we will buy them at the price for which they are offered.
  15. Jovian9 macrumors 68000


    Feb 19, 2003
    Planet Zebes
    I've done a lot of research into this.....it's called using both platforms.....and well what it boils down to is:
    Macs are built better
    Macs look better
    Macs work like they are supposed to
    No viruses

    And the most important...... OSX.

    I'll pay twice as much for this.
  16. funkychunkz macrumors 6502a


    Jun 1, 2005
    Ottawa, Canada
    Another possible reason: less people buy them. If more people bought them, than they could afford to cut the price right? But anyways, you get whatyou pay for.
  17. topgunn macrumors 65816


    Nov 5, 2004
    To sell a laptop, Toshiba has to compete against Dell, Gateway, IBM (Levano), HP, Sony, Fujitsu, Alienware, Acer, Sharp, VoodooPC, Sager and on and on and on.

    Apple sells the only laptops that work with Mac OS X. Their product is unique enough, they don't have to beat their prices down to compete. They do not have the manufacturing capabilities of HP, Dell, or IBM so they have to make a higher GP on smaller volume.

    As for your decision, Apple is either worth the premium or it isn't.
  18. Koodauw macrumors 68040


    Nov 17, 2003
    A lot of it has to do with perception as well Higher price = better quality in most peoples mind. And lets be honest, Apple loves to think of itself as being better than the others.
  19. javiercr macrumors 6502


    Apr 12, 2005
    Exactly , the Bentley may be slower than many cheaper cars, even have less gadgets, but it is built better. The casing of macs is more expensive than other computers and in this world design has a price.

    Apart from that, the thing doesn't run windows which is priceless :)
  20. FF_productions macrumors 68030


    Apr 16, 2005
    Mt. Prospect, Illinois
    Wait for some powerbook updates, if any even happen...
    Yeah, Apple may have some high prices, but I still prefer it over a windows xp based machine.
  21. geese macrumors 6502a


    Oct 23, 2003
    London, UK
    Analogy flaw: Bentleys cost more because they use the greatest engines, greatest cabin materials, and are hand built to perfection. That s why they are great. A ford Taurus is all factory built using an inferior engine, inferior cabin material and so on, hence it being cheaper.

    Compare Mac hardware to PC: Beneath the superior skin, its still using the same parts as its PC cousins do. And they are not the greatest.

    I guess its worth paying extra for the OS X advantage, and the the superior design, but 30% mark-up? Thats a wee bit unfair.
  22. fartheststar macrumors 6502a


    Dec 29, 2003
    Even though some "parts must be the same" the total experience on a mac is greater than the sum of its parts, while the experience on a PC is ... ok at best.
  23. AP_piano295 macrumors 65816

    Mar 9, 2005
    I would say you are absolutely right... for the powerbook. All apple computers are more expensive then their compareable pc counterparts what your paying for is the the cooler look and the ease of use with the osx opperating system. However the powerbook is monstrously overpriced I mean waaaaaaay. Powerbooks havent had a significant preformance boost in over a year and they are possibly the most expensive laptop out there you could not pay me to buy a powerbook because I would still end up shilling out ofver 2000 bucks. Where apple is doing well is their middle of the line desktops and lowend laptops. By my calculations with the current edu discount you can get an imac rev b 20inch monitor for about 1600. If you sell the ipod mini for 170, or 180 bucks.

    As to your problem try the ibook much faster than your current machine.
  24. iEdd macrumors 68000


    Aug 8, 2005
    You get what you pay for.. I've only ever seen fugly PC laptops.

    I have a 5 yr old G3 Pismo PB... It's only had two problems.. Failing hard-drive(<year ago), which we wanted a bigger one instead anyway, and a power adaptor(week ago), which is on it's way now.
  25. FFTT macrumors 68030


    Apr 17, 2004
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    No one is really arguing that the PowerBooks need some improvements, but I wouldn't go out and spend a fortune right now on ANY machine with the looming introduction of dual core processors.
    Regardless of platform, these upcoming machines will be leaps and bounds
    ahead of anything you can buy right now at a reasonable price.

    If you NEED a new system, get what you really need and keep it reasonable.

    Most average users would be more than covered with an iBook if they really need a portable.

    Those wanting a full desktop replacement in a portable are paying a huge premium for that portability.

    Otherwise, a well equipped 2.0 GHz iMac G5 for $1499 education
    is by far a better system than most any portable.

    In fact many are now seeing the wisdom of having BOTH for about the same price as any top performing desktop replacement portable..

    Current Windows users should also strongly consider what will happen to their Wintel/AMD hardware and software investments once Microsoft finally gets around to releasing Vista. What will it cost you to upgrade to Vista?

    The next 12-18 months are going to be a rocky road regardless of what you buy.

    If the machine you buy today will cover your needs for 3-4 years,
    then you've done well.

    What many fail to consider is the Total Cost of Ownership.
    In most cases an Apple product wins this contest hands down.

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