Everyone’s used to hearing Apple addicts ramble about how much better Macs are than Windows-based PCs, but what’s really the big deal? What about them is so great and worth the (comparatively) large investment?
A few months ago I posted an article about the poor state of the personal computer market (“How Dell ruined the industry with $500 PCs and why Apple won’t“), which has been getting some renewed attention lately. While some folks agreed with my point that Apple cannot lower their prices to bargain PC levels due to their reputation as a premium product provider, others disagreed with this view. They felt that since Macs now use many of the same general components as PCs (Intel processors, NVIDIA graphics chips, etc.), there’s not enough to differentiate them and make the higher starting prices worth it.
I enjoy a good debate and am thrilled that a healthy discussion about the topic has opened up since it’s of interest to a lot of people. There’s no doubt that Apple’s cheapest notebooks (starting at $999) are much more expensive than those from Dell or HP (in the $500-$600 range). The truth is that those machines are last year’s technology, or even the year’s before that, with no trace of innovation to be seen. For some people, yes, that may be all they need, which is where Apple’s stance about choosing not to serve certain segments of the market comes in.
However, even when you directly compare specs like a 2.0GHz Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB of RAM, or a 320GB hard drive and find a Mac to be slightly more expensive, are you really doing a fair analysis of the fundamental differences between a Mac and PC? Absolutely not. When you’re looking at buying a Dell, HP, Acer, or Toshiba those things are definitely the deciding factor. Buying a Mac, on the other hand, is a whole new game. There are so many seemingly tiny things people often forget about which add up to create a truly unique Apple experience that’s worth paying for.
Instead of babbling on and continuing to write a novel about this subject, I thought the best way to present the top selling points for buying a Mac would be in list form. Where possible, I have added links to Apple’s website for more information about each point. Hopefully this helps anybody who’s not familiar with the Mac platform get more acquainted and understand what sets them apart from the computers they see on the shelves at Walmart or Staples.
- One full-featured version of Mac OS X (no Basic, Premium, or Ultimate editions)
- No viruses or spyware
- iLife media suite
- Solid and secure UNIX foundation
- Backlit keyboards
- Unibody aircraft-grade aluminum notebook casing
- MagSafe power connectors
- Large trackpads with Multi-Touch gestures
- Ability to run Windows natively or virtually
- Large and helpful user community
- Environmentally friendly
- Superior product packaging
- Fast Gigabit ethernet ports
- 802.11n wireless cards
- LED backlit displays
- iSight web cams and easy video chats
- Apple retail stores
- Plug-and-play peripherals (no driver headaches)
- Automated backups with Time Machine
- Large selection of free or cheap third party software
- No tacky Intel or Windows stickers
- No crapware (pre-installed junk software)
- Helpful & knowledgable tech support
- No operating system activation hassles
- Thin, sleek, and lightweight hardware design
- Excellent resell value
- Built to support open standards (Webkit, OpenCL, UNIX)
- Built-in .PDF and .DOC creators/viewers
- Sudden motion sensor
- Microsoft Office compatible
- Sleep mode that actually works
- Easy file and screen sharing among networked computers
- Simple drag & drop program installations
- Better iPod and iPhone integration
- BONUS: Free Apple stickers
Whew… that’s a decent selection, but there are even more. It’s just about impossible for one person to come up with every unique feature & benefit of owning a Mac, so your help would be greatly appreciated! Apple fans: What do you use as selling points when trying to convince others to switch to a Mac?