May 23, 2006
When I wrote that the Mac Mini was an underpowered, expensive box at the beginning of 2005, I had no idea that Apple would do something wonderful to fix this: switch to Intel x86 CPUs.
I guess Apple has conveniently forgotten that whole "supercomputer on a chip" marketing campaign for the G4 processor:
Apple has been promoting the G4 as the world's first "supercomputer on a chip," noting it can process data in 128-bit chunks - double the speed of most traditional computers. Apple officials claim the chip is nearly three times faster than the 600MHz Pentium III chip manufactured by rival Intel Corp.
Today's modern Macs are powered by Intel Core Duo CPUs. And according to Apple, they run nearly five times faster than the G4 models they replace.
That's gotta sting a little.
But no matter. Forget the reality distortion field advertising. Forget the fact that Apple just obsoleted their entire PC line overnight. Again. The important thing is that the new Apple models really are as fast as PCs-- because they are PCs.
Although John Gruber's overbearing Mac zealotry grates on me, I have to agree with him on one very important point:
But second, look at that quote in the context of Apple's iPod strategy. "At the critical juncture [Ã¢â‚¬Â¦] when they should have gone for market share, they went for profits." Of all the myriad ways that Apple's iPod position today differs from their Macintosh position 20 years ago, perhaps none is greater than this: With the iPod, Apple is going for market share.
iPods are certainly premium products, at least in the greater context of "portable audio players" -- handheld audio tape and CD players typically cost around $20 or $30. Go back in time to early 2001, and I wager you'd have a hard time getting most people to believe that they'll soon be purchasing $300 and $400 handheld music players.
But when compared to other digital music players, iPods are not only competitively priced, they're often cheaper. Today's Apple is very different than the old Apple, but many people still haven't caught on.
I cut my computing teeth on the Apple //, and to a lesser extent, the Macintosh. I can personally attest that these were incredibly expensive machines at the time. But the current crop of x86 Apple laptops are cheaper than nearly every other x86 laptop of equivalent spec. That's amazing.
But don't take my word for it. Core Duo news examines the Macbook Pro:
[The Macbook Pro] is actually $500 cheaper then 17Ã¢â‚¬Â³ Dell XPS1710 with similar configuration. Granted, Apple Macbook doesn't have the latest and greatest nVidia 7900 card. But with the ability to run Windows XP, 17Ã¢â‚¬Â³ Apple Macbook Pro looks like a great choice to replace your old Wintel desktop.
.. and the latest MacBooks:
We already told you that the Intel based high end MacBook Pro was very competitive in price with high end Windows based rivals. So we checked the latest 13.3" MacBook with available PC alternatives. And we weren't disappointed:
- Asus W7J with 1.83 GHz chip, 1 GB of memory and 100 GB HDD will cost $1939. MacBook with the same configuration - $1699
- Rock Pegasus 330 with 1.66GHz chip, 512MB of memory, 80GB HDD and TV Tuner - $1343, MacBook with the 1.83GHz chip, same memory and HDD, without TV tuner - $1149
- Fujitsu Lifebook S6310 with 1.66 GHz processor, 512 MB of memory and 80GB HDD - $2033. MacBok with the 2.GHz Intel chip, same memory, HDD and other specs - $1349
If earlier you usually paid premium for Apple's laptops and desktops compared to Wintel PCs of similar performance, now you can get a MacBook cheaper then most of its PC rivals. The Apple MacBook is cheaper as a PC even if you have to purchase standalone Windows XP OS and run it on MacBook via Bootcamp. Is there any reason not to buy a MacBook if you want a highly portable 13" notebook?
I spent quite a bit of time searching for x86 laptops of similar spec and form factor, and there's just no avoiding it: the Apple x86 laptops are a great deal for the price. Sure, you can find a few edge cases where Apple loses, such as the ultraportable category. But the rare few laptops that are comparable in price and specification can't compete with Apple's design chops.
Running Windows on an Apple x86 laptop is relatively easy with Bootcamp, but it still takes some juggling to get a few essential things we take for granted with other x86 laptops, such as proper right-click support, and standard keyboard mappings.
If these kinks get worked out over time-- and I'm sure they will-- my next wintel laptop might just be an Apple.
Posted by Jeff Atwood
Of course, you had to wait to post this until the day after I order an LG S1-P3B3A, which is roughly comparable to the entry-level MacBook Pro. Speccg the MBP up to the same level would have made it several AUS$100 more expensive, but very tempting nonetheless (fortunately my wife can't see me typing that)
Heh, Acers are probably the only brand that undercuts Apple prices. I know some people disparage them for slow support, but they provide top of the line equipment in slim light (and stylish, imho) shells for cutthroat prices, just like Apple finally started doing. (Guess that's why they're number 3.) Even if Apple is becoming "Microsoft with style", I'll take more competition over less any day.
Right now I probably wouldn't pay over $1700 for 2.16/2G/120G, and that was a good price for my 1.66/2G/120G in february. (Damn cpu wars heating back up.) The listed prices seem exorborant, even for a month ago.
Personally, the lack of tap-click on the touchpad bothers me more than anything else about them. If that's my only complaint I know I could live with macbooks. =D
Oh, the one you quote is from only a few days ago. Even more mysterious. (And sorry, meant 2.0 GHz, T2500.) Check froogle for "TM4674WLMi" if you want to see what I mean.
Merom era is going to be fun, no doubt. =D
I'm always surprised by PC users who get really worked up about OSX. Reminds me of the Mayor of Spokane. Extremely homophobic, passed anti gay ordenances etc... But as is often the case, he turned out to be gay himself, just had an excess degree of self loathing.
So virulent anti-Apple friends, come out of your OS closets.
I just noticed this is ultraportable category... which makes a lot of comparisons rather useless. Oh well. Sorry for spamming comments, I'd've edited if I could.
I wonder if Apple will put out a Turion X2 version one of thse days to keep Intel at bay.
Matt, I just went to www.dell.com and configured the basic dual core Latitude e1505 per your spec:
- 2.0 ghz core duo
- remote control
- glossy screen
- 2 gb
- 80 gb 7200 rpm drive
- 8x DVD burner
- wireless and bluetooth upgrade
- x1400 256mb video card
I ended up with a price of $1,910.
Heck, you could now compare this with the MacBook Pro at $1,999! Even better specs (x1600), but less memory. Add 2gb of memory from newegg, $120, after you factor in the $30-$40 eBay resale value of the existing 512mb SO-DIMM.
And of course that doesn't factor in the value of the additional Apple laptop extras: camera, lighter and smaller, magsafe, OSX capability, non-crappy bundled software, better industrial design, etc.
Ya'll complaining about clicking on the trackpad must remember that there are solutions for all of this. SideTrack Pro lets you do whatever you want with the trackpad. For me button==click, pad-tap=right click, slide finger==scroll. Or you can swap it around. This give you more flexability than I've seen on a PC trackpad.
What I find particularly amazing about Apple's timing with the move to Intel is they seem to have set themselves up to be able to introduce yet *another* architectural shift: from 32-bit to 64-bit.
They already went through this once with the PowerPC range. Surely they're going to have to do it with the x86 too, unless they intend on continuing to use the PowerPC for their 64-bit systems.
What's amazing is that 64-bit PC laptops have been available for some time now, and Apple chose to jump right in there with the pre-doomed 32-bit version. It seems astonishingly short-sighted. Since they are already forcing vendors to rebuild all the apps to get the best from the new architecture, it seems insane not to make the jump to 64-bit at the same time.
Perhaps Apple enjoys putting this kind of grief in software vendors' direction, and wanted to make sure they were going to be able to force it on them again in 3 or 4 years.
..aptops, such as proper right-click support, and standard keyboard mappings.
I am not a mac fanboy, well maybe I am, but the only mac product I own is an IPod shuffle. But I am not all that into Mac computers should behave just like a pc. I have yet to see a MP3 player that are just as clean and beautiful as the IPod's. I often hear stuff like, "the mac s#xx because the mouse only has one button". Often said in the same way as "You cant do CTRL+ALT+DEL in Mac osx, so it is a bad operating system.", "Ohh Peter you suck, because you don’t sleep" or maybe "you stink because you dont breath the free air". Because our ways with windows is "standard", it does not mean it is the right and best way to do things.
Apple is famours for the design, and not many pc's come even close when it comes to the look and feel. But if Apple starts to become for everybody and they will start to power Win instead of MacOSX, then I am affraid they will loose even more of their creativity. I love the minimalistic design and I hope Steve Jobs will continue to "Say No".
...yet *another* architectural shift: from 32-bit to 64-bit.
Yeah I agree Ian, that is strange, but I am sure they already took that into consideration. Maybe it would have taken too long to go directly to 64bit, so they could not be in this good position they are in now? It maybe would have been too dangerous switching from chip vendor and from 32-bit to 64-bit at the same time?
Unless you just think a round white shell is ugly. It looks like a Prius to me, whereas Dells look like old Camrys, and I hate both. But fortunately there are other brands with some style (besides Sony), like Samsung. Check out their new ultra-thin cut-yourself-on-it portable. But even generic brands like HP have more style than Dell, so no more using them to wave the banner of PC style, please. Ugh.
The key is that there's enough design out there that you can get close to what you want without paying ungodly amounts to customize it. (Painting, decaling, and etching aren't nearly so expensive.)
Remember that the issue wasn't "style" or how it looked. Jeff's quote was all about price:
"But the current crop of x86 Apple laptops are cheaper than nearly every other x86 laptop of equivalent spec. That's amazing. "
I'm simply pointing out that this isn't the case. And saying that Apple is cheaper than the Dell XPS line is a complete joke. No one buys XPS computers. At the time I spent $1500 for my Core Duo E1505 the XPS line didn't even offer dual core. And an XPS with similar specs and only single core was over $2500! So let's be sure to do a real comparison before you say something like "Apple laptops are cheaper than nearly every other x86 laptop of equivalent spec.". Unless of course, "equivalent spec" means "overpriced" hunk of plastic.
"can't even run WinMerge"
Surely thats the developers fault?
And Text Wrangler and FileMerge are very good alternatives.
So let's be sure to do a real comparison before you say something like "Apple laptops are cheaper than nearly every other x86 laptop of equivalent spec."
It's true. Dell's Inspiron e1405/e1505/e1705 series comes close to the MacBook, but it's basically a wash, once you add in all the features the Apple laptops have. Try it with me now on the Dell website, OH YE OF LITTLE FAITH..
The closest model to the MacBook is the Inspiron e1405 with Core Duo. It's a 14" screen vs. 13.3" screen. Of course screen size is also a tradeoff with portability, but this is as close as it gets for now.
The base model e1405 currently costs $799 (after $100 off "instantly")
- add 1.83ghz CPU +$100
- add remote control +$29
- add TrueLife glossy LCD coating +$50
- add 60gb HDD +$40
- add bluetooth +$49
Total is now $1,067.
MacBook price? $1,099. Now consider what else the MacBook has that you don't get with the Dell:
- ability to run OSX
- non-crappy bundled software (iLife, iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD iWeb, etc)
- integrated iSight camera
- magnetic power adapter
- DVI connector output
- far better industrial design
So there you have it, matt.
The reason the bottom MacBooks is so damn cheap is because schools are going to buy them by the truckload. Move up from the base model and they rapidly approach parity with other laptops.
"Is there any reason not to buy a MacBook if you want a highly portable 13#8221; notebook?" - Second trackpad button. PLEASE! :)
(k know about that monkey combination af two touchs and click, but thats same as if apple ommited A from the keyboard saying that you can easily do fn+ctl+alt+s...)
64-bit is overrated anyways.
On the desktop, 64-bit is somewhat overrated. The main advantage is the ability to really USE lots of system memory, eg..
Many digital imaging applications, including The Panorama Factory, allocate a single, contiguous block of virtual memory to hold each uncompressed image during processing. As a consequence of running on a 32-bit architecture, the Windows operating system places a limit on the size of individual virtual memory allocations.
Under Windows NT4, 2000 and XP, the upper limit is slightly less than 1 gigabyte. In practice, as virtual memory becomes fragmented during the running of an application, the limit is often substantially lower than this, especially when two images must be held simultaneously in virtual memory.
It's a different story on the server, however:
Re: "[The Macbook Pro] is actually $500 cheaper then 17#8243; Dell XPS1710 with similar configuration."
Unfotunately Apple seem to have a different policy in the UK where the Mac costs 1900 and the Dell is 1740 ... 160 cheaper. I know there isn't a great deal in it but, given to the slight spec improvement of the Dell too, I know where I'd put my money.
I made the switch a few months back from a Thinkpad to the Macbook Pro. Haven't had a single regret - absolutely LOVE it, Windows screams on it. And, you get to play with OSX which is also a treat.
Hitting "ctrl-click" for right click isn't that big of a tradeoff for me, I typically use a bluetooth mouse anyways.
"Plus, I'd be stuck with a tiny screen."
The screen size on the MacBook is exactly the same as other 13.3" laptops. ;-)
" the Windows operating system places a limit on the size of individual virtual memory allocations.
Under Windows NT4, 2000 and XP, the upper limit is slightly less than 1 gigabyte."
I'm not sure that's true. The virtual memory available is 4GB, per 32-bit architecture. 2GB of that is per process and 2gb is shared amongst all the processes by the system. So the process can request up to 2GB of private virtual memory.
Most of the benefits from the current crop of 64-bit processors come from the threading system and the cache from what I understand, not the ability to address huge (16TB I believe) amounts of RAM.
re: HPs being ugly monsters. I just bought an HP laptop and it looks pretty good. I'm also an iBook owner so I have a great design for comparison. :) It's got pretty blue lights, no ports hanging off the back. No parallel port at all, 3 USB ports, media readers nicely integrated on the side. The case looks nice. Turion 64 procesor, 1GB of RAM, 100GB HD, dual-layer DVD burner for $65 less than the base Macbook.
"What's amazing is that 64-bit PC laptops have been available for some time now, and Apple chose to jump right in there with the pre-doomed 32-bit version. It seems astonishingly short-sighted."
Ian, keep in mind that Apple had the foresight to make sure their flagship OS ran on both PPC and x86 for a number of years. I can't believe that a company thinking that far ahead would jump ship to a doomed architecture, slap their head, and say "DOH!".
re: right clicking - ironically enough, you can right click under OS X. Hold down the button for a second and the right click fires. At least under OS X.
JonG - re: "Boutique operating system that can't even run Windiff". I pity you if you are still using that. ;) I've pitched my diffing tent in the KDiff camp and I'm enjoying a beautiful view with a river full of steelhead ripe for the picking from my tent. But that's a little like saying Windows sucks because it doesn't run iPhoto. Yeah, so? There are other photo managers under Windows. There are other diffing tools that work on more than one platform.
"Why? Because Inspirons regularly have a $750 off coupon that every non-moron can find by a simple Google search."
I hear this argument a lot. So, presumably, its perfectly okay with you that Dell is screwing every grandma or grandpa, kid, or any other person who isn't particularly tech saavy or prone to coupon searches?
They have, in essence created a whole pricing struture designed to ream laypeople.
Look, it would be worth using a Mac instead of a Windows PC even if they were slower, just for the OS. Now that they're not slower, there's just no reason not to. I am not going to quibble about a few hundred bucks here or there when I'm talking about my computer, which I use for hours a day, every day. Quality matters.
with only a half a gig of RAM
I don't include memory costs, because only the gullible and/or disgustingly rich would ever buy memory from a first party vendor. Gouge-o-rama!
Memory is super-easy to self-upgrade. Current newegg pricing for a 1 gigabyte SO-DIMM of DDR2 memory is ~$75. So you're looking at $150 to populate the two memory slots on the average laptop. If the laptop comes with a fixed minimum amount of memory standard as a SO-DIMM, you can sell that on eBay to offset that $150, too.
Interestingly, I don't see any 2gb SO-DIMMs for sale at newegg.. so I guess that whole "four gigabytes of memory in a laptop" concept will remain a pipe dream for now.
"...with a $600 operating system (the only thing that's good in it)"
How do you come up with the $600 figure for OSX?
only one thing is important : to have good tools
and it's what apple is providing
it's why people are buying them again and again , years after years even if they are not "standard" , even against the "pc" industry.
all arguments are fuss , bias, useless. let people use the tools they want.
I'm not sure that's true.
It is, in practical terms, according to the vendor. Remember memory gets fragmented, too, just like a hard disk. They're the guys writing the software, and I'm sure they don't want to spend time on the x64 edition unless they have to.
Their support calls on the "out of memory" issue have doubled in the last 12 months:
This is no doubt due to the increase in image size /megapixels for current cameras. Imagine stitching together a panoramic image of twelve 10 megapixel images..
Anyway, the point is that current 32-bit computers can't really use 3 or 4 gigs of memory effectively because of the addressing and architecture problems.
"Not the case here, but the funniest is when I see open-source zealots being fanboys of the most proprietary computer company."
because these "fanboys zealots" (two insult wow) were not fond of "open source' but fond of good computing.
something opensource brings to them. and a thing apple build and improves upon.
not complicate to understand. for many people, linux is not the point. the point is UNIX. close or open but good UNIX.
"funniest is when I see open-source zealots being fanboys of the _most_proprietary_computer_company_"
Really? Are Linux zealots fanboys of the Microsoft company (*)?
I had not noticed that.
(*) .wmv, .doc, frontpage/msie, etc. etc...
Buy your PC, be happy with it, but stop the elitist crap. It's not the nineties anymore.
since I don't buy $3000 suits, I guess I won't buy Macs either
But you miss the entire point of the article: Apple laptops are NOT expensive! Even the super frugal Dell Latitude e1505 model that Jon cited is basically the same price, and although it has some perks (larger screen, 1gb base) it also lacks some perks the MacBook has (lighter, camera, "free" OSX option, much better industrial design). So it's basically a wash.
Apple laptops are not equivalent to "$3000 suits". Not any more. Even the most pessimistic reader, if they did the research like I did, would have to agree that they have price parity at the very least.
Just a little clarification here: Mac OS X was never a 64-bit OS, if so it wouldn't run on G4s. The PowerPC versions of Mac OS X are simply 32-bit OS's that are capable of running 64-bit code with an appropriate processor. Nearly all applications for Mac OS X are 32-bit. Only the G5s were 64-bit processors anyway, so an machine with a G4 was incapable of running 64-bit programs.
64-bit is overrated anyways. The most significant advantage is the ability to address more than 4GB of RAM. As far as applications go, It is mostly used in mathematical and scientific applications, which have a very small market. 64-bit chips often run slightly slower than comparable 32-bit chips in many cases, due to the doubling of registers, data streams, and pointers, but with instruction stream and cache remaining the same size. The difference is small, but the fact is 32-bit processors are often slightly faster than 64-bit processors.
I thought you couldn't use the camera from Windows yet or did they get that fixed? That's not really a bonus if you can't use it.
I think it's great that Apple laptops are comparitively priced at last. I hope they sell like gangbusters so that PC makers understand that great industrial design actually does sell. Today you either get buisness-class blah or p0wnd-gamer-blinking-LED overdose. The few that try to go for style, like Viao's, are over-priced. If you can get power AND style for under $2500 then I'm happy.
This whole post is just nonsense. See if you can beat the deal I got on my Dell 1505. Apple can't touch this for less than $2000. And I only paid $1500.
1.83 GHz Intel Core Duo
80GB 7200 RPM HD
256MB ATI X1400 video card
802.11 A/B/G Wireless NIC
1680x1050 15.4" high quality screen
I pretty much maxed this thing out for about $500 less than some of the models that Apple is pushing on their web site with much lower specs. You just can't compare 512MB RAM and a 5400 RPM hard drive with what I got.
Sorry... if Apple can beat Dell in price then there is something seriously wrong with the world. How could anyone even claim such a thing? Are we to assume that Apple has some sort of magical capability to make computers cheaper than anyone else? I'm not buying it. I'd be happy to own an Apple computer and maybe some day I will. But it sure won't be because of price.
Jon, you could have gotten a MacBook for $1,099:
13.3 1280x800 display
1.83GHz Core Duo
60GB 5,400 RPM hard drive
I just checked Dell's site, and a roughly equivalent 1505-- upgrade the processor, add bluetooth, upgrade wireless to a/g, etc-- is at least $1100.
The MacBook is significantly smaller and a pound lighter.
The MacBook includes some useful hardware amenities the Dell doesn't have, too: camera, apple remote, magnetic power connector, etc..
But Jeff, you forgot to add the $300 off coupon for laptops $999 or more (2$WP$RS0GBXFLL). That brings the price down to $878 (you lose the instant $100 savings). So now the Dell is $200 cheaper.
Dell also has a coupon for $450 off of a laptop of $1499 or more. So if I spec the same laptop to about $1500 and apply the coupon then I will end up at about the same price as the Mac. So now I can get 2GB RAM and a 7200 RPM hard drive included for no more than the Mac costs! Tell me which one you'd rather have? I can personally say that having 2GB RAM and the 7200 RPM hard drive makes all the difference in the world. Yes, my Dell is a cheap piece of plastic. But I knew that going into it. I got exactly what I paid for (and I didn't pay much).
Seriously people. Do you really think that Apple could ever beat Dell on price? But I just don't understand why you WANT to compare on price? Just say that you get what you pay for and that Macs are better computers. I'd be happy to agree. But don't come in here using your "fuzzy math" to try and say that somehow Macs are going to be cheaper. It just doesn't add up. And as soon as Macs become cheaper, then Dell just drops their price even more to squash them. It just won't ever happen.
Oh and for those of you who don't check out techbargains.com, here are the latest Dell coupons. Pay special attention to the one that is $750 off of a laptop $1999 or more. Wow!
$300 off Select Inspiron Notebooks $999+ (Excludes XPS)
Code: 2$WP$RS0GBXFLL Exp 6/1 5:59am CT or after 4000 uses
$450 off Select Inspiron Notebooks $1499+ (Excludes XPS)
Code: X?67S1XLMWCLCV Exp 6/1 5:59am CT or after 4000 uses
$750 off Select Inspiron Notebooks $1999+ (Excludes XPS)
Code: JHWP?6BZH8DFFM Exp 6/1 5:59am CT or after 4000 uses
Never buy a Dell computer without a coupon.
So if they are going to provide a coupon, why not price the laptop at the lower price in the first place?
I'll come right out and say it, I've had fewer problems with my iBook than with ANY Windows based PC I've ever owned. Just last night I had to reboot the previously mentioned HP laptop so I could EJECT A CD. I've never had to break out a paperclip, the official Macintosh repair tool, on my slot-loading iBook. Would you be willing to pay an extra $300 if you knew you wouldn't have to futz with your computer? I'm not saying Apple computers don't EVER have problems. I'm saying the problem rate is a lot lower than ANY PC line and many Consumer Report ratings support that statement. So, if I assign an hourly rate to my personal time, and calculate up all the time I spend maintaining a PC laptop vs. a Macbook I bet I'd spend a lot more on the PC than on the Apple. Which, in my eyes, evens out the cost. When I come here to read "Coding Horror", I don't want to have to make sure my anti-virus is running, enable the pop-up blocker and phishing filter, make sure my PC passes the Jen-yoo-wine Windows test, install a new video driver to make sure the one graphic Jeff has at the top renders perfectly, make sure that "ClearType" is enabled so the fonts render sharply, and have to watch my PC re-recognize my USB mouse just because I plugged it into a different USB port. I just want to start the browser and go.
I'll probably get a Macbook at some point, I'm just not sure I want to degrade my user experience by dual-booting Windows XP on it just to run Half-Life 2 or Windiff. ;)
Scott. No one is debating that Macs are higher quality than say the Dell counterpart. But a direct price comparison is clearly not going to come out with Apple on top. The reason that they ARE more expensive is because they are better quality. To compete directly with the likes of Dell on price, Apple would be forced to lower the quality of their laptops or basically offer them as a loss leader. It is pure economics.
I'm just calling Jeff out on his statement that Macs are becoming a viable option as a wintel replacement because they are cheaper. I was easily able to show that this is not the case. And Jeff didn't even add in the cost of purchasing a legitimate copy of Windows which boosts the MacBook price even higher. So now the comparison is:
Dell = $878
Mac = $1099 + $150? (Win OS) = $1249?
That's $371 difference to use the lowest Mac laptop as a VERY stripped down wintel replacement. That's 42% higher than a comparable Dell machine. Granted, the Mac will be much higher quality but it should be for the extra money.
Mac's are known for being high quality, not for being cheap. It would be like Lexus trying to do a direct price comparison against Chevy. Why would they even want to do such a thing? If this is really the way that Apple intends to go then I think it is a big mistake. But I tend to believe that this bit of hype has been generated outside of the Apple camp.
And in Jeff's defense, he picked one of the edge cases that he mentioned may not even hold true for his comparison. A Macbook has some inherent quality built into it even in the lowest model which boosts the base cost. So it makes sense that there would be cheap wintel laptops out there that could easily beat it based on price. I would be more interested in seeing the mid-range Macbooks against Dell and HP. I would bet that they would be much more compelling. And those are the laptops that developers will be buying anyway. Not some stripped down base unit with only 512MB of RAM.
Like I said, I have no problem with the quality of the Macbook and would love to own one someday. But it sure won't be because it is cheaper.
Never buy a Dell computer without a coupon.
Evidently that's the trick.. because without those special coupon codes, the Apple laptops have price parity.
I'd be careful about heaping on the upgrades, however. It's still much cheaper to upgrade certain things like the memory and hard drive yourself. For example, Dell charges $300 for 2gb of memory; you can buy two 1gb SO-DIMMs for $150.
Make sure you spend that upgrade coupon money on things that you actually can't upgrade yourself, like the video and display, etc.
Sorry, I didn't answer your original question.
"So if they are going to provide a coupon, why not price the laptop at the lower price in the first place?"
Because apparently not everyone knows about the coupons. ;)
Mr. Orange is so right. Why should Macs be cheaper than Dells in the first place? I will never use an ugly computer with crappy Win OS even if it run at 6 GHz and had four mouse buttons.
Nobody has mentioned malware here. What price do Win PC users have to pay for viruses and virus protection in terms of dollars and wasted time?
I just bought a 15" MacBook Pro for Mac development. I run Windows in a window with a href="http://www.parallels.com/"Parallels/a desktop. This works so great it isn't even funny. I could literally get rid of my PC laptop (an HP) and just use the Mac, running "everything" in the Windows window [at full speed] and using OS X when I want to. Apple has totally hit a home run here.
paid just over $1100 for this machine
I'm assuming that was with a web coupon? One thing I've learned from this discussion is that Dell's web prices aren't that great until you factor in the web coupons.
I just don't see how you guys can attempt to compare MacBooks to something like a Dell Inspiron on price. Right now I'm sitting here typing this on my e1405 that I got 3 days ago. I paid just over $1100 for this machine w/1.6Ghz Core Duo, 1 GB ram, 80GB disk, bluetooth, upgraded wireless, upgraded 1440x800 glossy screen, 3 year warranty and... California Sales tax.
Reading this post I thought maybe I goofed by not more seriously checking out the MacBooks. So I went to Apple and tried to configure a similar machine... not even close $1500, and $1621 after adding in CA sales tax. The only thing that was better on the Mac was the 1.83Ghz processor speed.
I can certainly understand how someone would prefer OSX to Windows. And that alone might be worth it for some when it comes to choosing. And while the Macs have certainly come down from the stratosphere in price, they are not yet competitve with all PC makers.
Computers are just tools, getting your panties in a twist over why one OS is better than another is a waste of time. Its all about what the machine allows you to do. Some people need the flexibility of the PC, some need the specific mac only apps, and some just need to look cool.
The price I paid for my machine didn't involve any web coupons that I found. This was just the price that Dell was offering at the time. I do believe that there was some sort of coupon or discount applied, but that was done automatically by Dell.
The base price on this machine started out at $700, with Core Duo, 1GB RAM and 40GB disk. I upgraded from there. I've been watching the Dell coupons on Slickdeals.net for the past couple of months. And thought I really missed out when I didn't pick up a machine a couple of weeks ago. The coupons are great if one coincides with your buying timeframe. But they are not the only way to get a good deal on these machines.
As far as developer tools are concerned. All of the stuff the other guy just mentioned are available for free on the PC. The only thing that really costs is if you want to develop with Visual Studio .Net (or whatever it's being called these days). Most people are not software developers so those tools are meaningless to them.
I myself am a professional software developer, with 20 years under my belt, and those things are meaningless to me also. I do development on desktop workstations, not notebooks.
I'm not saying Macs aren't great... heck I'd love to have one. But it is not a cost efficient option for me now, nor has it ever been in the past.
Once again, computers are just tools, not religions or statements of one's personal intelligence.
Do their keyboards still miss }, \, ~, etc. ?
I'd like to get a MacBook when I'm next looking to buy a notebook computer, but unfortunately they're a lot more expensive in Australia. I checked the price of one of the MBP's on Apple's US site and converted that to Australian dollars, the same MBP in Australia costs nearly AU$1000 more. The Dell's on the other hand are only a little more expensive than in the US which means they end up quite a bit cheaper than the Mac's for us. Also, the Dell's are more customisable. To be able to get the minimum specs I need with a MBP, I also have to get a heap of other stuff that I don't need, whereas with the Dell's the customisability is almost as good as I get with Desktop's by building them myself. And it's not even about the Mac only supporting a limmited set of hardware here, I'd be happy if I could just mix and match parts between different MacBook versions.
So even though I'd like to get a MacBook, it's just not an option for me at the moment, which is a shame. I've never actually used a Mac before, and if I could afford to buy one, maybe I'd find I really liked it and would /then/ be willing to pay the extra for them, but at the moment it's not worth the risk.
-Guy using a laptop he bought from Dell for $1000 off
The coupon argument is invalid.
Most people will NOT do research, at best they will do cursory shopping around if at all. I dont pay full retail for my MacBook, hell i dont even pay edu pricing for my MacBook. For me to then go around touting 'oh but you never pay full price for a mac' is just arrogant.
Compare the full retail price of each product.
The only exception to this is if the coupon is automatically added on all purchases from dell ?
As for mac laptops and heat problems, please, ALL laptops these days get blazing hot. It's just that the MBP probably don't immediately chop the processor speed in half when you unplug the power cord. And as for batteries, at least Apple is willing to recall any bad li-on batteries BEFORE the start exploding on a regular basis. Just do a search on "explode" and "Dell laptop". As for me, when I can pay a little bit more for a car and get German design over Detriot, you bet I will. Apple=Audi, PC=Ford,Lincoln,Mercury. Did Ford just turn the brand around with the new Mustang? Sure, it's freakin' hot! But it's just one diamond awash in a sea of crap cars they've been pumping out since the early 70's. The only decent Fords? the Focus series. But do some research on where THOSE designs and quality standards came from...
I like the Apple/Audi analogy, I'm a VW diehard myself (and looking for an Audi wagon to complete my stable of VAG products). Onto the topic!
All Intel Based laptops as of 10.4.8 OS released support right-click with a two-finger tap, a one-finger tap is a left click, two finger scrolling up and down and side to side two finger scrolling if you move your fingers into an "o" pattern. So the point about the mouse being behind the times is totally wrong -- you didn't read the ReadMe file.
Regarding price, we buy lots of Dell and Apple hardware where I work. LOTS of it. We've begun the process to beef up the Apple relations because with BootCamp we can make an $800 (our price) mid to high end iMac function in Windows XP without any real sacrifice. Not only that, when you factor in that the puny little workstations that dell was shipping to us that did not support many DVI monitors, are known to overheat constantly, etc etc... whereas Apple has similar issues and fixes them much, much faster. Their support systems cant even be compared, really, we make a call to Apple and typically have the product replaced or repaired in a matter of days. It can take days to get Dell to acknowledge we have a problem.
As for the consumer market, why is Best Buy #1 at selling PCs and other electronics? Because people don't care, much like buying a car it's all about price and performance. Many people want small, portable and good on gas...er battery life. You cannot compare the Dell in battery life to the life of a MacBook pro, because OS X has far better power management abilities than Windows XP. Furthermore, the Apple systems are of better build quality and Apple does acknowledge and fix its screw ups. To compare Ford and Audi is just like comparing Dell to Apple -- they both make entry, mid and high level products. You can get a Ford Focus (aka death trap) for under $9000 financed (on a $1700 wagon) if you're trading in an old Ford, get the friends and family discount, special limited time 0% APR financing, etc etc. However after the warranty expires and your $345 throttle body goes, two radios, a wiper motor, three hatch seals, a set of tail light assemblies and 40,000 later... the Audi which cost a good $12,000 more with a many many many more features and didn't develop any major issues until it surpassed 50,000 just seems like the better buy, don't it? Same thing here -- I've got many MacBooks and MacBook Pros in my support area and we're not seeing nearly as many come back faulty as we did with the iBook G3 series or any Dell to to date. It's a matter of perspective, Apple sells a lifestyle and Dell sells a tool. It's like buying pamapered chef over the walmart brand, they both work for now but in the longrun your pamapered chef knife will probably still be looking good and functional, where the handle to the walmart branded one broke, cutting your finger off, and medical bills aside the savings didn't work out in the long run.
My analogies sound too far fetched? Then why not go to a Dell Kiosk (The Apple Stores are another reason you should buy a Mac -- localized, real time, people-based support) and ask the salesperson how often people come in asking if they can help them with a problem regarding their existing dell. Compare that response to what an Apple Store employee - sales staff or Genius - has to say. Then tell me you wouldn't buy into Apple's "complete package."
The only thing Dell has going for them is printers. That's really about it. Apple has their iPod, computers and this new little wireless phone. Apple isn't a Dell, they're a Sony -- expect Plasma TVs within the next year.
Tomorrow my third MBP arrives all the way from Shanghai. The first was a complete lemon, the second ( a replacement after me being a bastard and not accepting more repairs) was a banana within two weeks, so another replacement ...!! Now I wish that Apple would turnback the time, stop being a fashion accesory and use good hardware!! The price for my MBP was over $3000 loaded, and now I wish I could get my money back and do the stepover to another platform. Tomorrow I may have the hole fruit basket together...Thanks Apple!!!!!
I'd love a Mac laptop but they are just *too* expensive. Here in New Zealand, I can buy a 15.4" laptop with a 3 year warranty for $1800, actually I can buy one for as little as $1000 (Acer) but I'd want some level of performance. I don't want a 13.3" screen, it's just too small. The cheapest 15.4" Mac laptop I can get with a 3 year warranty would cost me about $3600. That's double. The additional cost over 3 years and assuming increased resale price would work out at about $10 per week.
That's not much, I'm on a low income and I'd rather spend that money
elsewhere, I could see one extra movie, or 1.5 Big Mac combo's, or subscribe to the daily newspaper.
i have a macbook pro.. 2.33
it is the best machine i have ever owned...
well second to my civic.
were can i find a white laptop
Well idk all I know is that it is down right crazy that we are so going to belive this crap
Sure, if you buy top of the line equipment and pay the sucker price you might as well get a Mac laptop. I just got a Dell 1505 pretty well loaded for $1260 last month though, because it had a $600 instant rebate. Dell's got deals all the time, and a super deal about once a month.
People really pay $3000 for a laptop? What the heck are they doing with them? I push my computers hard, and I can't seem to spend over $1300 on a laptop as long as I shop around a bit.
A 13.3" laptop with only a half a gig of RAM and a boutique operating system that can't even run WinMerge? What would I do with it? Look sexy in coffeeshops?
The dual boot / cheap laptop thing ignores the cost of an additional Windows license, by the way. Not a factor for everyone, but something to think about.
Jeff and I have a running joke on WinDiff vs. Beyond Compare. The real point I was making was that an out of the box bottom of the line MacBook isn't really a bargain if I want to run my Windows programs - the model he listed at $1099 would need a RAM upgrade and a Windows OS license, which would bump me back over the $1260 I paid for mine. Plus, I'd be stuck with a tiny screen.
So, I agree with the general sentiment that Apple makes great hardware and that the prices have come down to the point where it's approaching being comparable to the PC market, but I wouldn't call them Good, Fast, and Cheap. The Good, Fast ones are not at all cheap ($2500+), and the Cheap ones are not Fast (no RAM, slower CPU's).
It's is absolutely stupid to compare the price of a MBP to a Dell Inspiron. Why? Because Inspirons regularly have a $750 off coupon that every non-moron can find by a simple Google search.
MBP are neither cheaper nor better than the competition. For their price I can buy a much better Lenovo ThinkPad or ASUS Ensemble, without all the overheating problems of the Mac. Same for the MB.
Are they a great deal? Maybe for Apple fanboys, who are used to paying hundreds extra for the fruit logo. Who do you think is paying for that stupid cube on the Fifth Avenue, Mother Teresa?
Actually, I would never compare a Macbook Pro to a Dell Inspiron myself. The Inspirons are budget computers, meant for people who look at the specs first and quality second. The Dell Latitudes (which have their own $400 of $1600 price deduction) are much better computers.
There are tons of better notebook PCs than the MBP, without its famous overheating problems. Just a few examples: the Fujitsu E8210 or the Lenovo ThinkPad with FlexView screen (the former is consumer-oriented, the latter business-oriented).
Of course, lazy impulse-buying people will always find some good pretext for buying the Macbook (Pro). One can rationalize all he wants, but the truth is: the only reason for buying a MB(P) is that... one wants a MB(P).
I've been researching my notebook purchase for more than a month now, and I still have doubts. sarcasm Thank God for the intelligent people who have decreed that Macs have better price/(performance x quality) ratio. My search ends here. /sarcasm
"the only reason for buying a MB(P) is that..."
Sorry. I meant the MAIN reason.
"Who do you think is paying for that stupid cube on the Fifth Avenue, Mother Teresa?"
Steve Jobs paid for that out of his own pocket.
Oh, the charitable Steve Jobs! Come on, anyone can see the megalomania.
"I am not going to quibble about a few hundred bucks here or there when I'm talking about my computer, which I use for hours a day, every day. Quality matters."
Really? Then go buy a ThinkPad.
I would consider the MBP a disgustingly overpriced notebook, even if it worked perfectly. Right now it is just a good-looking on the outside, melting on the inside, pretty regular notebook with a $600 operating system (the only thing that's good in it). Why do you think Apple is so afraid of selling OS X for PCs?
"The Cult of the Mac, the Church of Steve Jobs." Whoever said it, s/he was right on spot.
Not the case here, but the funniest is when I see open-source zealots being fanboys of the most proprietary computer company.
The way the Mac zealot came up with the idea that the MBP is $500 cheaper than the Dell. :p
That is a very good argument, and I am all for it. A computer is just a tool, and everybody should buy what they prefer.
I am just pissed off when people start to apply their bias to comparing "the tools". I didn't lie when I said that I had been researching my future notebook for more than a month. I would bet that none of the "preachers" who declared the MBP a winner did anything close to real research.
3-4 months ago the MBP was number one on my list. But, in the meanwhile, I learnt that there are so many better PC notebooks that I shouldn't buy a Mac, except the case I couldn't live without OS X.
Buy your Mac, be happy with it, but stop the elitist crap. It's not the nineties anymore.
I don't really see anything revolutionary in what Apple does. They put a nice interface on an otherwise excellent OS (BSD). And made it all proprietary. (Can I install OS X on a non-Apple PC or can't I?)
For me, Macs are not tools, but designer tools. They DO the same thing as normal tools, but LOOK special. And, since I don't buy $3000 suits, I guess I won't buy Macs either.
Anyway, it's not worth arguing about a company which has 3% of the market. Whatever you say, people!
In my opinion, respectfully, you need to do more research, starting on notebookreview.com and notebookforums.com. Search for MacBook Pro (overheating) problems. You'll find plenty. Not to speak about underclocking the graphics card (now isn't that a shady move?). That's unacceptable for a $1850 computer.
Better buy a Mini.
" Search for MacBook Pro (overheating) problems."
It's a bit premature to say this is a "widespread problem." Given that I know several dozen people with MacBook Pros who don't seem to have any heat problems, this could just as well be a relatively small number of vocal people. (Along with a bunch of others who have never used a "hot" laptop before, read the complaints of group #1, and think, "Yeah, my MBP is too hot, too!")
Like most things Apple, if it isn't perfect out of the box, people make a fuss about it. My guess is that just as big a percentage of Dell, HP, and Lenovo Core Duo laptops get just as hot, but their owners chalk it up to normal operation. Today's faster laptops get hotter, people -- it's called the Conservation of Energy ;-)
Matt, you're like those dwarves at the end of the Narnia chronicles - the ones who could have gone to paradise/heaven, but refused to believe it was real.
Yeah, macs have been overpriced for a long time, but that's not an absolute.
Do macs still use SCSI? Do macs still use different keyboard connectors than PCs? It's about as absolute as those things. Times change - change with them.
"Oh, the charitable Steve Jobs! Come on, anyone can see the megalomania."
Think what you want. But what precisely does this have to do with the pricing of an Apple computer? You claimed the price structure of Apple's lineup is paying for the "stupid cube." Clearly, it's not, since Jobs paid for it himself. So, what's your point? Do you usually argue by spouting vitriolic and irrelevant trash about a company's CEO and a glass cube storefront when you can't come up with a better supporting point?
For programmers, one should consider that the Macs come with a complete set of developer tools for C, C++, Java, Python, etc. This includes a tool called 'Shark', which is a really excellent code profiling tool for C, C++, and Java, which helps you see the bits of code that are slow and need optimization, and even gives you hints and suggestions on how to improve the code.
Shark alone is probably worth hundreds of dollars, judging by the prices of similar products.