Once Again, “PC or Mac?”

By  |  Tuesday, December 7, 2010 at 9:40 am

My new TIME.com Technologizer column is up–it’s a quick look at the pros and cons of Macs and PCs as of late 2010. As always, I’m agnostic rather than partisan.

I talk a little bit in the piece about pricing issues, but they deserve a story of their own–the pricing comparisons I’ve done in the past are all woefully out of date.¬† (I’ve often found that Mac pricing is reasonable compared to truly comparable PCs, but it seems high at the moment–it’s been a while since Apple has done its periodic CPU/RAM/disk bumps on most models. Time to do the math again.)

 
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  1. Mike Cerm Says:

    "Truly comparable" PC's are roughly competitive with Apple's prices, but that doesn't change the fact that almost no one has any business spending $1000-$3000 on computer these days. For the vast majority of people, a $300 netbook will do. If they want something larger, any $400 15.4" piece-of-crap laptop is far more powerful than the average person needs to browse, play Farmville, and (on rare occasions) do actual work.

    That's laptops, which are the larger segment of the market. In desktops, Apple is even less competitive. The only desktop segment that Apple IS competitive in is the extreme high-end. However, the number of people who need $5000 dual-processor workstations is tiny.

    I think the Corolla vs. BMW metaphor is apt. Even though a used Corolla will get them from A to B just as well, a tiny fraction of people will still choose the BMW. However, the corollary is that buying expensive cars is one of many reasons that most Americans are in debt up to their eyeballs.

  2. Ryan Says:

    When I bought my laptop last year, the comparable Mac laptop (screen size, processor, video card, ram) would have cost me about double. The thing with the PC world is that you can find things that are in between the Macbook and the Macbook pro (or, as Mike says above, LOWER than the Macbook pro). Apple doesn't provide enough variety in specs, IMO, and I can understand why – the less variables you have, the better user experience you can provide. But it also tends to price you out of certain market segments.