AppleInsider is running an article saying that Macs are only 13% more than a comparable windows desktop, or 10% for a comparable notebook. They did this research to squash the notion that Macs are way more expensive than PCs.
One of my problems is the cheapest Mac – the Core Solo – is still $699 CAD. At my local computer store, you can buy a basic PC for $279 plus $120 for a copy of Windows XP Home. Sure, this isn’t “comparable” to the Core Solo in terms of components, but in terms of functionality pretty much everything is there, and certainly it is for someone who just wants a PC for web browsing, email, to listen to and burn music, and the occasional word processing task.
So what else is the Mac Mini offering that makes it worth that much more money? The small form factor? Okay, that’s neat, but I have lots of space, and don’t care about the size. Firewire, wireless ethernet, and a remote? Again, I don’t need any of them.
So for someone looking to get a basic computer, it seems to me that an Apple is 75% more. This is a far cry from 13%. This is even a place Apple should be looking to convert users, as these basic tasks do not require any Windows-only software — typically the sticking point that prevents switching. They’ve effectively priced themselves out by offering too-fancy hardware with options many users don’t need. I know the Mac Mini was Apple’s answer to offering a low-cost PC, and compared to traditional Apple prices, it is low-cost.. but that’s sad in itself.
I think Apple should really create an introductory system that targets a sub-$500 (CDN) price point, and market it against the basic PC. But then, maybe I’m off the mark here. Maybe people are really willing to spend $700+ on a system that is 10x more than what they need (Future Shop and Best Buy seem to be selling computers, after all..).
I have never owned a Mac, but would love to buy one — unfortunately I just can’t justify it when I can buy a PC that meets my needs for so much less (less than half the price, running Debian Linux). Maybe someday Apple will learn..