Let me be straight about this: I think Apple products are overpriced and over-hyped, but that’s just my opinion. After all, nearly everyone I know has a MacBook Pro or a MacBook Air or some other MacTastic MacRipoff.
Lately, Apple have decided to thumb their noses at their customers by coming up with an utterly obnoxious design concept: everything must be done in their factory at great expense. Unlike a PC laptop, or an old Mac, you can’t add RAM because what you get is already soldered onto the motherboard. If you happen to crack the screen (it happens!), you can’t send away for a replacement and fit it yourself. Instead you must get a whole new lid fitted, where? That’s right — in the Apple workshop. You can’t even buy a new battery when the old one wears out. Instead, you have to send the entire computer where? Don’t even bother guessing.
For the privilege of all this, you pay about twice as much as you would for an equivalent PC.
Now, the question is this. Do you get components of twice the quality? I don’t think so. A motherboard is a motherboard. A hard drive is a hard drive. RAM is RAM. Since the move from Motorola to Intel, the Apple runs on exactly the same processor as any other PC, so what exactly do you get for your money? What you get is the Apple operating system which I’m willing to admit is a lot slicker than windows and always has been, but is it worth doubling the price of your new machine?
A friend of mine had to buy a new Macbook Pro recently because his old one gave up. Who knew an Apple could break down just like any mortal computer? He paid something like €1200 for his new machine which had, working from memory, 4GB of RAM, a 2.5 GHz processor, 500 Mb hard drive and a 15″ screen. For an exorbitant €80 more he could have 8Gb RAM instead. Meanwhile, last month, I bought a higher-spec 17″ PC laptop for a little over half the price.
But the Apple OS, you say. Will nobody think of the operating system that makes a Mac so special? Well, if I wanted to, I could install the Apple operating system on my new laptop. I think I might have to dedicate 4Gb of RAM to running it, but guess what? I can add another 8Gb of RAM to my machine at a very small cost, so it’s no big deal. It’s called a Hackintosh.
And suddenly, here I am with my non-Apple Hac, running the Apple interface but why would I want to do that? Why would I need the Apple look when that’s not what I do with my time? I’m interested in the programs it can run, not how it calls them up. My less-costly machine runs Photoshop just like a Mac does. It runs Premier Pro just like a Mac. It runs Dreamweaver just like a Mac. It has a better processor, more memory and when I want to upgrade it or fix it, I don’t have to send it to the factory for ruinously-expensive alterations because I can do all that stuff myself on the kitchen table.
Don’t get me wrong now. I’m a sucker for slick marketing just like the next guy, as my drawer-full of extinct iPods will tell you. They were sleek, they were white, they were sexy and they were designed to scratch the second you looked at them. Six months later, they were designed to die.
That’s what I dislike so much about Apple: the whole planned-obsolescence thing, the idea that they know what’s best for the customer and you will line up like an obedient little consumer. Do not ask hard questions. Do not poke that beehive or question the Emperor’s clothes.
All the Mac users I know are happy to tell me how much better their toy is, but none of them seem to have tried a PC to find out if it’s true.
There’s a tendency in people to defend unwise purchases. I’ve done it myself and I’ll probably do it again, but I wonder how much of that is going on with the loyal Apple fan-base. If they admitted that there was a cheaper, better alternative all along, would it make people feel a little foolish at having been conned so easily?
Maybe I’m wrong about this. No doubt somebody will be on straight away to tell me just how wrong I am.