I received an email with a news feed from a website where the questions was being asked, "Are Macs overpriced?" I thought I would subject my cynical self to the firing line of Apple fanatics and interject my observations on the site. I find it amusing that the people making the case for Apple being a great value are all had some association with Apple in their bio byline.
One of the comments stated that, "Most of the answers here are from users of Apple products, many of whom were previous Microsoft users." I'm not sure how that validates their comments? If they switched from Microsoft to Apple, I would expect their opinion to be somewhat biased toward Apple.
One person who said that Apple products were worth the extra money based on his experience that he described as follows. "Not one single Windows based PC or laptop I ever owned or worked with could go even a week without some issue cropping up. Especially if it was not shut down every night." The phrase "Windows based PC" could mean a wide variety of hardware or software combinations, it needs to be qualified. Likewise comments like "some issue cropping up" could mean almost anything. Once again I am not sure how those comments validates the opinion that Macs should cost more than Windows based computers.
I've seen people go off on tangents in advice forums on the concept of anecdotal evidence being given is worthless based on a single users experience. That's a good point. That's why I usually try to give answers that are framed by some context of my experience, and why I feel the way I do. My experiences are based on 35 years of working with desktop computers as a field service technician and a systems administrator.
I worked on CP/M based microcomputers in the early 1980s before DOS was the popular standard for desktops. I worked with Novell network operating systems for years before I started working with Microsoft network operating systems. Working for various school districts and educational institutions over the years I have worked on a variety of different Apple products over the years. My first experience with Apple products was with the Apple IIe used in schools back in the early 1980s. Back then I did maintenance and repair on Apple products as well as Commodore. Anyone remember Commodore?
There was a case to be made in certain professions, such as graphics arts, where Apple was the preferred products and because a sort of defacto standard for various industries. Apple was good at getting computers into schools very cheaply so they could get users to "grown up" with Apple products. Apple is great at one thing, marketing. Over the years Apple has built up a very loyal fan base. In a recent blog post on Apple computers I referenced an interesting point made in the Forbes World’s Most Valuable Brands article is that "Apple relies on its avid fan base more than Madison Avenue to promote its products."
I think I am not exaggerating when I say my career has been diverse and it is not simply based on being any type of fan Apple or Microsoft. I am trying to provide some food for thought in answer to the question, "Are Macs overpriced?"
The argument that Apple is higher quality reminds me of the same argument I heard back in the 1980s when IBM became a desktop standard, and the other white boxes were called clones. I would show people how the internal components of the IBM were made by the same manufactures as the so called clones. I worked in technology back when we actually repaired circuit boards, and did not throw things away and bought new ones when things broke. I would look at the price of individual components and noticed that exactly the same components would have different prices when sold as a replacement part depending on the brand of equipment it was being used in.
Maybe there was a time when the value of an Apple was more than a myth, but I don't buy that today. If you are still buying into the myth that Apple products are of higher quality and you don't want to take my word for it, I would suggest you do an internet search of Apple products made in Chinese sweatshops. I am not singling out Apple for using low cost sweatshops for creating so called high quality products, yes, I know everyone else does it. Can you say that Apple is higher quality and worth twice the price when they are using the same manufacturers as the cheaper brands?
To the person who asked the original question, whether or not Mac's are overpriced, I would try to understand the context of their question. Are you really wondering if Macs are worth the money? Or are you really asking if it is worth it to spend $1000 on a notebook computer? I would ask, is there any specific reason why you are looking for a Mac, rather than just a computer? There are numerous convertibles (notebook - tablet combos) that sell for less that $500, like the one I use shown in the photo attached to this article.
I've been working in technology since personal computers hit the market in the 1980s. Most people, as in individual home users, buy more computer than what they need. I remember a skit done by a popular comedian, don't remember who, about how a personal computer was nothing more than a $1500 deck of cards. Yea, it killed me to watch all those early computer users who never got beyond playing solitaire. If all you need is a very simple computer to do simple tasks, do you need to spend $1000 for a MacBook, when a $500 Windows notebook will suit your needs? That's for you to decide. I just hope I've given a few people something to think about.