QOTD: Is Apple value for money? | PDA-247.
I saw the advert for this on another website and was thinking how predictable it is, the advert that is. I can't really defend Apple on this one and nor do I think I should have to but no doubt I will. Their products are more expensive when compared to other similar specced computers, there is no doubt about that but a simple price comparison fails to take into account several important factors.
Firstly, it's not so much the Apple hardware I like it's far more the underlying o/s. I'm more used to it and over the years have spent a lot of dosh on Mac software. If I could buy a Sony or HP branded laptop running Mac OSX I would give it some serious thought. Most of the software on my mac is stuff I really use a lot and like. To buy equivalent stuff for windows, if it is available, would be upwards probably of around £200 plus when you add in the cost of buying Mac OSX that's up around £300. That would probably negate the initial laptop saving I would make by switching to Windows. Plus of course there is the comfort factor. When I change to a new mac all I have to do is attach a firewire cable and all my stuff is transferred across. I couldn't do that if I moved to windows unfortunately which is not a slight on the latter at all but a pure statement of fact.
Next up is specs and you hear all these PC users saying how their devices have similar or better specs than the Apple equivalent. Fair enough, in fact more than fair enough, but simple specs are never the full story, it is more about the underlying hardware and how efficient and how good it is at using those fancy specs. Mac OSX is a very smooth operating system and I'd wager it runs the underlying OS better than most Windows PC's run Vista. This of course adds to the user experience. It's like this, a V6 engine in a lighter car will run better, be quicker and be more reliable as there is less stress on the engine.
Lastly, as I don't want to get bogged down with this as it is one of those "each to their own" scenarios, I wonder if Macs are better built and last longer. My desktop iMac was purchased nearly 5 years ago and has worked flawlessly, it is still very quick and still runs the very latest version of the Mac OS with room and speed to spare. In 2 years time it will still be working and will STILL be able to run the latest and whatever is the greatest Mac software. My sister however, who bought an HP desktop at the same time (one that had similar specs to the iMac at that time), has had to replace it as it had basically ground to a halt. The thought of running Vista on it was a complete no-go as it was struggling even with XP after 5 years. If Microsoft brings out a new super-duper operating system in the next 2 years, how many of current PC owners honestly believe their current 2 or 3 year old computer will be able to run it comfortably without some serious upgrading? Clue….think Vista here……
PC owners may not appreciate that most Mac users will have seriously used Windows too and have moved to a Mac for a reason or two, they have made a conscious decision whereas the same cannot be said, more often than not, of current Windows users who will have had little experience of handling a mac over and above a quick, dismissive 5 minute play in PC World.
Another factor is the 2nd hand market. You could spend £500 on a windows system but how much will you get back in 3 years time? Macs of an equivalent age still fetch decent prices on eBay. It's odd but Apple to date has cleaned up in the mp3 market because the offerings, iPods, are attractive objects that have the huge advantage of being very competitive on price. When you combine those two important factors you have a hit on your hands. It makes you wonder if their laptops and desktops were similarly competitive on price would they have a much larger market share? If you believe so then it begs the question, why doesn't Apple lower their prices to get a bigger slice of the pie? Perhaps it is because the quality of the hardware, the materials used and high quality components do not allow them to sell them for £500. Just a thought. Apple doesn't have a big slice of the market pie therefore it can't go for the build 'em cheap and churn 'em out end of the market, instead it has to make a bigger profit from a much smaller market segment.
As I said before, each to their own. My experience of the two is that the Macs I have owned have been reliable and good to use, 3 of the 4 I have bought in the last 8 years are still working away in our house whilst the Windows laptops I have been using at work for the last 9 years (I'm on my 4th) have not been reliable and generally (putting it mildly), have not been as good to use.