The myth of the overpriced Mac

The recent release of the first Intel-based Macs at MacWorld San Fransisco 2006 has led to the inevitable discussion on Apple's pricing. I've read several blog posts and news articles that bring up that old subject.

It shouldn't surprise anyone that many complain about Apple's pricing, calling the new Macs overpriced compared to similarly equipped PCs that cannot run Mac OS X. And I am so sick of the constant whining about price, most of it from people who have never owned a Mac.

Yes, you may have to spend a little more money when you buy a Mac. So what? You get what you pay for. Why aren't people complaining about a BMW or Mercedes being more expensive than a comparable Skoda? They are all cars, they have four wheels, normally with rubber tyres, and they all work on roads, and they all transport you from point A to point B. Why should one cost more than the other? Or what about pens. Why would anybody pay up to hundreds of dollars for a Cross, Parker, or Mont Blanc pen when they could achieve the same thing with a Bic for... what, a dollar?

I can't speak for all Mac users, but here are two of my reasons for being happy to pay more for a Mac than I would pay for a Wintel PC:

  • Mac OS X. It doesn't matter if a similarly priced Windows PC is twice as fast as a Mac. It can't run Mac OS X, so it will be extremely uncomfortable for me to use. I would have to spend every day fighting my primary tool instead of using it.
  • Industrial design. Apple hardware is designed to look good and work well. Just take a look at the robust and elegant design of a PowerMac G5. Beautiful. Solid. Most Wintel PC manufacturers seem to use whatever piece of plastic they can find to stuff their components into. And then they paint it black or beige and finish their non-design by putting a few stickers on it.

Until you show me a Wintel PC that is designed with the same sense of aesthetics, feels just as good in your hands, and can run Mac OS X, I don't care if a Mac costs a bit more. It's worth it to me.

Somehow I think that even if Apple were to give away Macs for free, there would still be fanatic Mac-haters complaining that they are "expensive" and "overpriced".

End of rant. Thanks for reading.

Posted on January 16, 2006 in Mac