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Schweb's Lounge Forum for general conversation, chit chat, or most topics that don't fit in another forum.

Is Apple keeping up?


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ApplePi

 
Member Since: Jun 13, 2008
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A buddy of mine recently bought a new HP laptop for $900. The specs were as follows:

1.83GHz Core 2 Duo
3Gb RAM
320GB HDD
Nvidia dedicated graphics card
15" LCD
1.3Mp camera
multicard reader
Dual Layer lightscribe DVD burner
as well as nice little features like the ability to turn of the trackpad with one button so you don't accidentally hit it when typing.

When I compare it to the low end macbook. The macbook is $200 more
comes with less ram, smaller hard drive, VGA isight camera, smaller screen, integrated graphics, combo drive (which is ridiculous), no card reader and no specialized buttons.

Now I love my mac, but competitively speaking, it's pricey for what it is, and really the only thing the macbook has over his machine is a slightly faster processor.

I guess my issue is this. I have no problem with the mac having a price premium over a nicely made HP like his. $200 more, no problem. But at least give me the same hardware/features.

Isn't the entire point of the mac supposed to be that they are stable and easy to use? So why is there no SD card reader built in? Like it or not those things are super handy. Sure beats having to carry an extra one around or pull out the camera and try to find the USB cable for it. Why are they still putting combo drives on these machines? Shouldn't all macbooks by now at least have dual layer superdrives? What about innovative new features like a trackpad off button? I can't tell you how many times I've been typing on my macbook and accidentally swiped my thumb across the trackpad and three sentences later I realize none of it registered and I'm looking at a context menu or something instead. But that's not even the biggest complaint, the biggest is the lack of a decent graphics card in all their machines. I can't run most of final cut studio on my macbook because Apple didn't put a powerful graphics chipset in it. Instead they expect you to buy a macbook pro. What if I don't want a macbook pro but still want to run that software? Maybe I could only afford FCS and macbook and not FCS and a macbook pro. So I can't use it because I didn't buy a ridiculously expensive macbook pro that starts at two grand?

I get the whole tier marketing strategy with their hardware. But I think as a whole they should do something to compete a little better rather then crippling some system to only certain uses. Some of these new PC laptops are looking really nice. The keyboard on my old Lenovo was 10 times better then on my macbook and it was several hundred dollars less.

I love the mac os and the hardware is generally nice, although limited. They need to start giving us more for the price premium we pay. The flashy case designs and the honor to run OSX alone isn't enough anymore. I just don't think Apple is keeping up, and companies like HP and Lenovo are really starting to shape up the look and feel of their machines and give you great features for the money.

Here's hoping the next version of the macbook/mac mini really sets a lot of this stuff straight.
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Dysfunction

 
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The HP has a slower processor for starters, the cost of the processor alone is more than the $200 difference.. Competitively speaking, and this seems to be a popular complaint TODAY actually, Apple is no more expensive than other tier 1 manufacturers. Setting up computers ala cart has really never been an Apple sort of thing to do. I don't see that changing any time soon.

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ApplePi

 
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Honestly I wouldn't mind a bit of a slower processor if they gave me a dedicated graphics card, super drive, card reader, bigger screen, more ram and a 320Gb hard drive for the same price. I think it's a pretty decent trade off actually.

But I'm not an Apple apologist. I'm happy with my mac for the most part, but really, it's not an even game, no matter what you say it doesn't equal out.
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Dysfunction

 
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I'm not exactly an apple apologist, but let me tell you.. the price difference between my MBP and a thinkpad t61p?


pretty much nothing. Course, you won't believe a thing I say. Go buy the HP, it's like a Lenovo N series vs a thinkpad.. the difference is noticeable. Won't believe that either I bet

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ApplePi

 
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I owned a V series lenovo before my macbook and the V series is pretty similar to the N series. Build quality alone the macbook feels like a toy in comparison. That machine had a better optical drive, larger hard drive, finger print scanner (which surprisingly worked well), 1.3Mp camera, card reader, plus the standard equipment the macbook has like bluetooth, ect. It just had a slower core 2 duo in it. But it was also cheaper

I'm not totally knocking mac, I mean I own one, I did switch a couple months ago for a reason. The integration of hardware/software on the mac is way better. OS X is smooth as silk. My beef is just that for the money I think Apple could be doing more. The hardware they make is slick looking and decent, but I think Apple could at least throw us a bone and put in a few more important features, like a better graphics card, superdrives standard and at least an SD card reader, how much do those really cost?
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axmasta

 
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Coming from a point of view where I support most of my friends new laptops and deal with customers in need of media editing help with macs (I'm a best buy guy), I can tell you that, for the 1K you'll spend on a macbook - very sleek machine, gorgeous OS, decent for personal use - a comparable HP notebook (my favorite at the moment) with around 2gigs ram, at least a 2.0Ghz dual core intel chip, a decent indepenent Radeon video chipset, and a great set of external controls and ports, all packaged into a very sleek metallic package, many with awesome graphic art on the lid, is around $200 to $300 less.

So is apple keeping up? Not enough to convince the majority of the customers I talk to. Many don't want to pay more for something that has no major sway factor.

Now, vista comes with comparable photo, video, DVD burning, mail, and chatting/remote meeting software. iLife doesn't seem persuasive enough for customers anymore.

Vista's running pretty stable on every machine I see, from neighbors to customers to close friends, including my own desktop I assembled myself. The most i've ever had to do was show them where settings are located and provide input on hardware choices.

My norton ran out around a year ago, and I haven't replaced it since, with no fishy looking Program folders or sketchy resource-hogging processes.

Macbooks are lovely, but it could be argued that the price isnt quite right... yet.

/used macbook arrives at my front door in the next week.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ApplePi View Post

...I guess my issue is this. I have no problem with the mac having a price premium over a nicely made HP like his. $200 more, no problem. But at least give me the same hardware/features.

Isn't the entire point of the mac supposed to be that they are stable and easy to use?
Oh dear sounds like we are about to loose another one to the dark side. >_>"

Please read this.

The point of a Mac is that it's the best OS around I can do without the card readers. ^-^"
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tkim

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrimsonRequiem View Post
Oh dear sounds like we are about to loose another one to the dark side. >_>"

Please read this.

The point of a Mac is that it's the best OS around I can do without the card readers. ^-^"
Personally, I think this article does a terrible job at making comparisons between Mac and PC. On the first page it compares a 15" MBP to a 17" 'desktop replacement' notebook. Then goes on to highlight that the MBP is thinner AND lighter. Well obviously that's going to be the case when you compare a 15" notebook to a 17" notebook, not exactly comparing apple's to apple's there.

It does make a fair comparison when it compares desktop's. Pound for pound harware wise, it stacks up cost wise to the latest and greatest stuff available price wise. But you can basically piece together a PC for a lot cheaper but still maximize the performance for a lot less money.

Don't get me wrong, I love my MB. I've had it for a week and don't regret buying it. I'm just trying to be objective here. I used to be a heavy gamer in college, but have since stopped all types of PC gaming. I've gutted and sold my desktop parts and only have my MB now. But when it comes down to it, Mac's just aren't gaming PC's, I think everyone knows that.

Sure you can run bootcamp, but you still have to pay for an XP license, which cost even more money after paying a MBP or Mac pro which has a video card capable to play games on. But when it comes down to it, what do you need your 'personal computer' for? Is it to primarily play games? If so, I think you've made a mistake by going with Mac. Are you primarily wanting to do video and audio editing? In this case I believe Mac's are a whole lot better.

Up until I bought my MB, I've always built my own PC's from the ground up. I was able to piece my PC together with cheaper parts that maximized performance, specifically for gaming. You can NOT beat that. I don't care what anyone says. I believe Apple falls short in this aspect with the lack of customization options. But like a previous poster commented, Apple has never been that way and I don't see that changing any time soon.

I don't think that article you are telling people to read is a good one, but that's just IMHO. To each his own, for now I'll enjoy my MB

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Just an opinion here...

Card readers make the laptop look a bit rubbish I think - adding too much cheap kit to the machine to make it seem better value - and for some people it absolutely is better value.

Dedicated buttons also are not to everyones likeing - but again I can accept that some pople really will find value in these.

Ulitimately we are all very lucky people - we have choice - and you are welcome to use it as you wish
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tkim

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RNDdave View Post
Just an opinion here...

Card readers make the laptop look a bit rubbish I think - adding too much cheap kit to the machine to make it seem better value - and for some people it absolutely is better value.

Dedicated buttons also are not to everyones likeing - but again I can accept that some pople really will find value in these.

Ulitimately we are all very lucky people - we have choice - and you are welcome to use it as you wish
I tend to agree with you on the card reader. I haven't seen very many laptops with card readers on them and it would definitely make the mac less sleek.

Of course we can all CHOOSE what we wish But having less options to choose from does stink when it comes to mac. The MB's start at 1K. Sucks for people who want a Mac but just can't afford it. There is always second hand stuff but there is nothing like buying/owning a brand new Mac out of the box, ya know?

I guess that's where the perception that Mac's are only for rich/spoiled/hippy folks comes from. But by owning a Mac and being on this forum, I know that's not the case. Nonetheless that perception does exist to those on the outside, now I'm beginning to get a better understanding as to why that is.

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ApplePi

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrimsonRequiem View Post
Oh dear sounds like we are about to loose another one to the dark side. >_>"
No that's not the case. I've been building my own PC's since 1998. I've owned a couple of macs here and there over the years. I still use my desktop PC at home and the one I have at work. But my macbook has become my everyday personal machine because I can take it everywhere and I love the OS. I also love the look of the machine.

In the Apple world you really only have two choices for portables. Macbooks and Macbook Pros. So there are limitations. If you want to use mac os on a laptop you have to use one of those two machines. You don't have as much choice. You can't say, "I like this 13 inch model better because it has a card reader and a dedicated graphics card". You just aren't given that option at all. So while one can say "you do have a choice" we really don't. Because if we want to use mac os we have to buy the limit hardware choices Apple provides us. I think most of us whether we admit it or not, would like to have more hardware choices.

As for an SD card reader, yeah most laptops these days have them. I think Apple could easily provide one in style. I mean all it would be is a little slit on the side of the macbook, kind of like how the slot load optical drive looks but much smaller. All I hear when people say "it would dirty up the design" is more blind fanboyism. Really you can be a fan of the Apple and not agree with half of the things they do. This isn't an extremist religious cult. I'll be the first to admit I'm one of those people that generally loves macs and what Apple does, but they do make some really big bone headed choices sometimes. I remember the keynote where Jobs introduced the imacs with CD Burners in them. He made a statement similar to "we discovered that people love burning music CD's" it was like "no sh** Steve, we've been doing it for years". The guy is brilliant but sometimes absolutely clueless. Off in his own little world. I have a feeling SD card readers are probably somewhere outside his world at this moment, in other words, he doesn't use them personally, so why would anyone want them on their mac?
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Interesting you should bring this up today - just ran into this article that explains the price disparity well. Warning: Some inappropriate language in the article title, hence the tiny URL:

http://tinyurl.com/5s6flb

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having used macs for 17 years now, macs have always cost more and generally offered less as far as the hardware goes..... compared to pee cee's.

it's always been that way. one of the few downsides of buying a mac...
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Discerptor

 
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Macs don't keep up with competitive pricing. They tend to be competitively enough priced when they first come out, but then they Apple charging the same price for that exact same hardware until the new model comes out half a year later. This is in the US, of course. In the UK, Macs are always twice the price they should be.
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I just got a macbook and I quickly found out that a card reader is pretty handy. With a PC, when I want to take a quick pic of something and throw it up on the internet, I would just pop the memory card into the computer and be done. With the Mac, I've gotta hunt down my USB cable and sit the camera close to my computer so I can connect it. It makes transfering pictures more of an event.
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