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"Macs are expensive" is a common mantra among general computer users, and in fact probably a lot of people probably wouldn't consider buying a Mac when faced with sub-$500 computer rigs offered by Dell, Compaq, or even an independently-built computer. And for the most part, it's correct: the up-front cost of a Mac vs. a PC is a bit higher.

But up-front costs aren't the only factor in the value of the equipment. In this article we'll look at a few more things to consider when buying a computer. What we find is that Macs actually cost less than PCs over the long term, they're more durable, and have a much higher resale value. This isn't just opinion, either: check the links at the bottom for more reading.

When most smart people look into buying something, they look at the Total Cost of Operation (TCO), rather than the up-front costs of a product. Let's use a printer as a quick example. Yeah, there may be a Lexmark at Wal-Mart for $29, but factor that in with the cost of the ink cartridge x however many years of use you get out of said printer. Paying $50 for a new cartridge every few weeks (if you do lots of printing) would cost you WAY more in the long run, and if you'd done a little shopping around maybe you could find a printer that costs a little more, but the ink cartridges are significantly cheaper.

Macs have a lower TCO than most PCs. All kinds of studies have been done to prove this, look them up. But I believe the numbers are around $250/year for a PC vs. $50/year for a Mac.

Smart people will want to consider the durability of a product as well. How many years of significant use will you get out of it? Macs have a longer shelf life than your average PC. There's iBooks and Power Macs and iMacs out there in the field today that are pushing 4 and 5 years, yet they're still highly productive and usable machines.

Most folks junk a PC after 2-3 years and buy a new one. But a lot Mac users keep their machines for the long haul. In this forum alone we have active Pismo users, classic iMac users, Power Mac G3 users, and more.

Finally, if you're smart you're also interested in what kind of resale value a product has. IBM clones have nearly no resale whatsoever. They drop like a rock after just a few months. Apple computers have some of the highest resale on anything I've ever seen before. Take a look at the used prices for Power Macs, for instance. A 2-3 year old Power Mac is still worth well over 800 dollars or more.

It's just like shopping for a car, see. Are you going to go out and buy the cheapest thing you can find? Hell no. You're going to consider things like TCO, durability, and resale value. Same is true for any high-dollar purchase you might make. The smart consumer is not going to waste their time with the cheap crap. And yes, in fact, most Mac users are smarter. But you already knew that, right?

Apple's a premium kind of company. They just don't sell low-end equipment like Dell & others do. And if you price out a similarly-equipped PC with a Mac, you can easily pay just as much for the PC. You're not going to touch a Mercedes for under $20,000 are you? Of course not. And no one is complaining about Mercedes. (Mercedes has an even smaller slice of the pie in the car market than Apple has in the computer market!)

So why exactly would Apple lower prices? Are they worried about losing customers? No, quite the opposite. A lot of companies would kill for the kind of consumer loyalty Apple has earned. You think they should lower prices (reduce revenue) to compete with bargain-basement under cutters like Dell, Gateway, etc? Apple isn't competing with them. Apple sells to their own market. Either you get it or you don't. There's no foundation for Mercedes to try and "beat" the price of a Pinto, either.

Overall, it has been my experience that the cheaper product ends up being the costlier. Some folks only "see" the up-front costs. Wiser folks see the TOTAL cost.

Links for further reading
»www.macobserver.com/comments/com ··· ?id=5982
»www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/pulp ··· 814.html

And one more link, a brand new one: »www.linuxinsider.com/story/36120 ··· 120.html

Expand got feedback?

by rjackson See Profile edited by tmpchaos See Profile
last modified: 2004-08-28 09:16:24