I’m writing this on a Windows PC for one very good reason – Macs are too damn expensive. If only Apple were to lower the price of its full range of Mac computers then everyone could own one. Hell, it could even introduce a new entry-level base model of Mac to bring down the cost of owning a Mac, smashing the price-induced barrier to ownership in the process.
Apple could easily do this. It’s not like the company needs to make as much from each Mac sale as it currently does. And if it did head down this route then it would give Microsoft something else to worry about, on top of the fact that many people think Windows is long past it. Purely by the fact that I believe more people would use Mac if it cost the same amount of money as Windows.
PC vs. Mac
PC vs. Mac is a battle that has raged for what seems like forever, but it was especially fierce while Apple was trying to gain a foothold in the market. First in the 1980’s with the original Macintosh computer, and then again in the 2000’s after Steve Jobs returned to the company and rescued it from the brink of bankruptcy. Which, now he has gone, it could face once again.
Apple pulled off a masterstroke in characterizing PC vs. Mac with the now-infamous set of commercials credited with turning the fortunes of the Mac around. And yet the Mac’s share of the home computer market is still estimated to be only around the 10 percent mark (if we’re being generous). Which is pretty lame, all things considered.
Apple believes consumers will pay extra in order to own a Mac. Or any of its products for that matter. Having the Apple logo stamped on a product gives you kudos and suggests you don’t accept second best. In which case it matters not that you’re buying a product that’s overpriced compared to the competition. It’s somehow worth it because it’s Apple.
That is true for some people. The (less than) 10 percent who have chosen a Mac over a Windows PC, essentially. But it isn’t true for most people, who have to justify the extra $100, $200, $500 they’re spending on hardware that does little different than the cheaper alternative. There are a few reasons to buy a Mac though.
Why Buy A Mac?
For some people the Mac is, if not an essential tool, then a very useful one, as Macs come with excellent software such as iLife and iWork pre-installed. There’s the added stability, the masterly support, and the lack of viruses (purely because most are designed to target Windows rather than Mac).
There is also the often overlooked fact that Macs hold their price much more so than Windows PCs. Most Windows PCs are fit for nothing more than recycling (to developing nations) after a few years of use, while Macs can be sold on for a fair chunk of money. But it still means spending a small fortune to begin with. Not that money is everything.
The Linux Factor
If cost was the only thing that mattered then Linux would be number one, having broken through into the mainstream years ago. The fact it hasn’t suggests that the vast majority of consumers want a computer that works straight out the box and an OS that is simple to understand.
Both Microsoft and Apple offer this, while Linux requires some work on the user’s part. Yes, even Ubuntu. And most people are lazy by nature. All this shows us is that when it comes to price, simple-yet-affordable usually wins out, with the two extremes avoided by many. And Windows ticks all those boxes.
If the price of a Mac was similar to that of a Windows PC then Apple’s share of the home computer market would rise much faster than it is currently. However, I’m not sure Apple is entirely bothered at this juncture, as the company sees its future in mobile (thanks to the iPhone and iPad).
Talking about a post-PC era surely means imagining a post-Mac era as well. A Mac is just a PC with a few added features and a nice logo on it, after all.
Have you chosen Windows over Mac at some point? Was the added cost in buying Apple the key point in your decision-making process? Would you switch to Mac if it cost the same to buy as a Windows PC?