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The Macintosh is cheaper…??

As anyone reading this blog knows, I bought a Macintosh recently. Heck, all I’ve written about during the last couple of weeks has been my MacBook Pro. I am pretty happy with my new computer, but I’m the first to admit that a Macintosh isn’t exactly an economical alternative to a PC.

Or is it? I read an article today that made me stop and think (click the “Continue” button to get past the advertising). The idea put forth by this article is, firstly, that Mac OS X is better than Vista (debatable). And secondly, that Macintoshes are cheaper than more or less comparable PCs…this latter flies in the face of any comparison of shelf price I’ve ever made. It simply can’t be true…or at least that’s what I thought until I read the article.

The basic idea: PCs, whether they be Dells, HPs, or Lenovos, are cheaper than Macintoshes by a significant margin when you buy them. However, when you try to sell them, their resale value is far less than a Macintosh.

Resale value? What the heck- who resells a PC? They are worthless after a couple of years. Not so with a Macintosh, apparently. And that’s exactly the point the article makes. Even two or three years later, the Mac you bought for $1,000 is still worth $700 or so, while the PC is barely worth the effort to drag it to the trash heap.

Hmmm. The author of the article makes an interesting point, I suppose: enough so to make me reconsider some “rules” about how I buy and use computers. But one thing the Macintosh still can’t win on- computer games 🙂

2 comments to The Macintosh is cheaper…??

  • There are people that will pay $700 for an old Mac. Is it “worth” $700 dollars? I guess to them it is, but there is no functional basis for that value IMO.

    Does an old Mac work better than a new PC? No. So people must be paying for the name, the look, the logo. And of course, they have every right to do so. But that’s not anything that I really look for in a computer.

    Would I pay more for a computer just because years down the road I can sell it to someone … even if I personally don’t think there is intrinsic value to back up the price I’m asking for? No. I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing that.

    To be honest, most things I buy are ancient, obsolete or worn out by the time I am done with them… I tends to keep stuff a long time so re-sale is not a big factor in any of my purchases. The only things I where resale is an issue are things I’m not happy with. And I’d just as soon have not bought those items in the first place.

    But then again, I’m not a Mac buyer 😉

  • You raise some good counter-points. I don’t claim the article is right, but it made me think. I consider computers to be “disposable” or “consumable”: 2 quarts of milk, a pound of sugar, and a couple of gigahertz with a side of RAM. I use a computer until it no longer delivers the value I want: pretty much what you say you do, only my threshold for replacement comes a lot sooner because I play a lot of games and generally like the newer toys.

    But what if computers were more like cars? I buy a car wanting a good, solid vehicle with some features I want, sure, but a part of my decision process is definitely driven by resale value. If I actually thought someone would want my computer in a few years, and would pay me something for it, might that not be part of the purchase decision just like with a car? The rate at which computer technology is changing seems to be slowing down: maybe that will lead to a situation where the resale market has a lot more meaning than it does now.

    Regarding what people are paying for when they pay more for a used Mac…some of it is certainly that they recognize the name. But another factor is that a Macintosh from three or four years ago can still run the latest OS. A four year old PC would have a devil of a time running Vista. I’m not saying that the four year old Mac would be as fast….but it would still work, and it would still identifiably be a Macintosh.

    Not that *I* would want a four or five year old Macintosh 🙂

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