Help, Guides, and News on making the Switch To Apple Macintosh Computers
How to Switch Part Five: The Misconception Macs Are Too Expensive
Apple’s switch to Intel processors has helped Apple put aside the cost and comparison barrier that existed when the company used PowerPC processors. It is now easier to compare a Mac against its PC counterparts. Processors aside, Macs can be compared to PCs on issues such as security, stability, and operating systems.
In January 2005 Apple recognized that the price barrier made it difficult for consumers and businesses to purchase a Mac by introducing the Mac mini. The Mac mini is the most affordable Mac available on the market, with a starting price under $600 and is a cost effectice system for switchers. Please refer to the following January 2005 article at Macworld following the release of the Mac mini: Comparing Apples and Oranges for a comparison between a Mac mini and a Dell Dimension, an interesting read for those of you who are thinking about switching, you might be surprised! Since then, the Mac mini has seen two revisions, most recently with Intel processors. On almost a daily basis, reviews are released comparing the new Macs to PCs. You can find some of them here.
Thanks to the Intel transition, Apple has the ability to ship systems using Intel's current processors. This has allowed Apple to ship Macs that can no longer labeled as underpowered or overpriced. In fact, Macs are more affordable today than at any other time in history. Mac desktops start at under $600 and Mac laptops start at under $1,100.
Each Mac revision has brought forth a better value as Apple has rolled out new systems with more features, speed, and performance. Apple lowered the price of iMacs in October 2005 and maintained the prices in January 2006 following the Intel powered iMac release. In 2006, Apple has introduced Intel powered iMacs, MacBooks, and MacBook Pros. The MacBook Pro and MacBook bring to the market lower cost notebooks when compared to prior generation of Mac notebooks, Powerbooks and iBooks respectively. MacBooks and MacBook Pro notebooks can easily be compared to their PC counterparts. Apple builds computers that utilize the same technologies and features found in computers sold by Dell, HP, Toshiba, Sony, and Lenovo. Case in point, all current Intel Macs contain the following hardware features:
- Serial ATA hard drives
- 802.11g wireless networking
- FireWire 400
- USB 2.0
- Bluetooth 2.0
Apple has also included features such as an integrated iSight video camera for video conferencing, an infrared remote control, and digital/analog audio in/out ports. Apple's professional line of sytems offer features such as Firewire 800.
When analyzed objectively, one can see that Macs are not more expensive than PCs. In fact, one can make the argument that Macs are more cost effective, have a lower total-cost-of-ownership (TCO) and offer a better value. Please read the "Going above and beyond" article at NetworkWorld. Winn Schwartau, a network security expert, evaluates the TCO for an enterprise to maintain a Windows system. He even includes a TCO spreadsheet that you can download. The following quotes are taken from the article:
"The results of this TCO astounded me. For my small enterprise, owning a WinTel box for three years costs twice as much as owning a MacTel. When I talked with several of our clients, I found that the burdened cost of ownership per PC - just for support - ranged from $1,300 to $4,000 per year."
"At recent security shows I have seen that more than 50% of my compatriots use Macs and recognize that OS X was a huge leap forward. We are all suggesting some forms of migration. The small enterprise and home office should migrate completely"
Apple’s Boot Camp software allows Windows to be installed on an Intel Mac but with the limitation that only one operating system (OS X or Windows) can be active any one time. Another product, Parallels Desktop for Mac, provides Mac users the ability to run Windows without leaving OS X. Parallels' limitation is that it doesn’t allow Windows to run at native speed. Windows will run within a "virtual machine" and as a result, will run slower than a Mac booted directly into Windows. This feature offers a compelling reason to purchase a Mac, the decision to switch is now easier.
When one takes the seamless integration, stability, ease of use, quality engineering, the TCO, and the ability to boot Windows, one can easily conclude that a Mac is not necessarily a more expensive proposition. In fact, Boot Camp and Parallels allow a Mac to behave as two systems, a Mac and a PC. No other system on the market offers the ability to legally run OS X and Windows on a single computer. This is a great feature to help switchers as they can learn to use OS X over time and it offers the flexibility to use software that can only run on Windows.
With a Mac, consumers get ease of use, security, stability, and an enjoyable computing experience. A Mac doesn’t run the risk of infection from viruses or spyware. OS X is a more secure operating system. These reasons alone will save a Mac user from headaches, frustration, lost data, compromised personal information, time, and money. Mac users actually have the time to devote to using their systems. Windows users are all too often occupied with locking their systems down, installing the latest security patch, updating anti-virus and spyware programs, recovering from crashes, and reinstalling the operating system.
The argument that Mac’s are too expensive no longer applies. Although you can spend between $600 and several thousand for a Mac, stay within your means and purchase a system that meets your computing demands.
- June 22, 2006: Added information about Boot Camp, Parallels, current Mac hardware features, and links to other posts.