Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Monopoly (Apple MacBookPro) vs Competition (Dell Latitude)

After about 30 years of brainwashing the macfans somehow believe that the price for Apple products is equal to or at most marginally higher than the price for products on a free/open market - let's take a closer look at that - now that both Dell and Apple are shipping their similar models (but with the distinction that Dell only announced them when it was possible to ship - and not months in advance only to create some media noise - like Apple did).

So we will compare two very similar top-level configurations - generally speaking the hardware level is a little on the overkill side and while with Apple you have VERY little choice, with Dell you can get a cheaper CPU (also with less heat than the Apple machine, that can not be hold on your lap) and you will pay less. Also with Dell you can go to a HIGHER configuration - for instance you can get 4 GB of RAM - but again that would be an overkill option for 99.9999% of the users, but you can also get a video card with 512 MB RAM, and that will just leave the MacBook-nonpro miles behind ... in the amateur class :) With Dell you WILL get a FULL KEYBOARD (and not the brainwashed Apple version), TWICE more mouse buttons (actually 4 times, and both the touchpad and the "trackpoint") and you can also get for 19$ extra full a/b/g wireless and many, many other options ... but with Apple you are mostly locked :(

The Apple configuration is:

2.16GHz Intel Core Duo
2GB 667 DDR2 - 2x1GB SO-DIMMs
100GB Serial ATA drive @ 5400 rpm
SuperDrive (DVD±RW/CD-RW)
AirPort Extreme Card & Bluetooth
Backlit Keyboard/Mac OS - U.S. English
Apple USB Modem
AppleCare Protection Plan for MacBook Pro/PowerBook (w/or w/o Display) - Auto-enroll
15.4-inch TFT Display

PRICE: 3497 US$
(and the modem is external, so is probably the mouse, probably macfans never move their notebooks :) )

Dell configuration:

Latitude D820:
Intel® Core™ Duo T2600 (2.16GHz) 667Mhz Dual Core
Genuine Windows® XP Professional, SP2, with media
15.4 inch Wide Screen WXGA LCD Panel
Graphics:256MB NVIDIA® Quadro NVS 110M
Memory:2.0GB, DDR2-667 SDRAM, 2 DIMMS
Hard Drives:100GB Hard Drive, 9.5MM, 5400RPM
Optical Drive - Modular:8X DVD+/-RW w/Roxio Digital Media™ and Cyberlink Power DVD™ 8XDVRW
Dell Wireless™ 1390 802.11g Mini Card
Bluetooth:Dell Wireless® 350 Bluetooth Module
Hardware Support Services:3 Year Mail-In Economy Plan

PRICE: 2554 US$

So yes - you CAN think that the Apple configuration is only marginally more expensive ... if in your case about 1000 US$ are peanuts :)

There might be two other "arguments" from the macfans - that Apple build quality is better - that might be true if we compare a 2000 US$ Apple notebook with a 500 US$ consumer-level Dell, but believe me - a Latitude is actually miles AHEAD of Apple in quality!

And the other "pseudo-argument" that you will certainly hear is that with Apple you will get OSX - leaving aside the fact that the MacBookPro does not have WinXP and that currently you can not install a legal (meaning non-patched) version of it (as a result of Apple restrictions and not the other way around) - OSX is just an operating system on which you will have about 100 times less choice and only the ILLUSION of marginally better security - maybe some people might think that at the same price point as XP Pro the Apple OSX might be worth it (if you are a real computer pro you already know that it is not) but when it costs about 1000 US$ MORE than XP Pro only an idiot will continue to claim it is a better option !

Small update: any user with at least some technical knowledge would expect almost identical results from computers with almost identical electronic parts (only the video cards are different but even on that I expect Dell to be better); however if a lot of delusional macfans still would like for somebody to kill a lot of time in a rather useless way and benchmark those two configurations I am OK with that as long as they will pay for the entire test - so if there are any takers I will open a PayPal account and if it goes over 7000 US$ (no, it's not a mistake, there ARE other costs in benchmarking stuff) I will order those two and actually kill some time just to show that one or another is probably on average 0.01% faster :) (and obviously I will keep both - small payment for my time but at least I will be able to later debunk just another myth - like for instance the one for "resale value").


Anonymous tsypin said...


I thought you were gonna compare the two notebooks, not just list specs.

How quickly do they boot? How fast do they rendor images? What about battey life?

And HTF can you say '100 times less choice and only the ILLUSION of marginally better security' You DO realise OSX is built using Unix. If you KNOW how you can do anything and for security . . . you remember rm-my-mac? The *Bogus* mac hack? A guy in America put up a webpage run on a minimac and told the net to hack the page. As far as I remember it was never hacked.

So just sssshh until you do some REAL research

3:33 AM  
Anonymous sr said...

What it is not clear is what video card does Apple use ?

Anyway a niche player like Apple has to have high margin otherwise it wouldn't survive. As long as the user thinks that it's OK to pay 1000$ for looks/prestige Apple will be fine.

3:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hehe, not biased at all!

This was the most stupid article ever. Firstly you say that apple has a monopol(y), which implies it has an advantage and that andvantage is OsX, which you say suck anyway. You compare hardware, and apple doesn't have a hardware monopoly.

Also, the reason you can't install xp on the new intel macs isn't because of apple not wanting you to, it's because MS doesn't support the "BIOS" replacement that apple uses.

5:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like a biased anti-Apple article to me. As far as operating system security goes, check these out:

Secunia Windows XP Pro
Secunia Mac OS X
Secunia Ubuntu Linux

Surely the last two operating systems are much better, don't you agree? Don't use the old "market share" excuse because anyone smart enough can tell that XP has problems because of running as admin. Not running as admin? Good luck running the majority of programs out there. Here's some Wikipedia links for your information also:

Criticism of Microsoft
Criticism of Windows XP
Criticism of Internet Explorer

Sounds like you need to do some more research!

7:46 AM  
Blogger cool_stuff_or_not said...

A few answers:

- probably the Apple machine boots slower but that is not relevant since most people will just place notebooks in standby or hibernate;

- the fact that nobody cared to use some not-yet-fixed exploit on a highly watched Apple machine does not mean anything (only morons without any experience would make security decisions on generic descriptions like "it is based on Unix" - just so you know, Unix was the place where all the initial Internet worms were started - but that was probably when most macfans were playing with colouring pens);

- as far as I can say the video card for the MacBook is "fixed" for each of the two major coombinations, I have used the better one (X1600 with 256MB)

- the "monopoly" is the fact that you can NOT buy OSX and (legally) install it on a computer from another vendor - so you are stuck with overpriced junk from a single vendor (which is pretty much the definition of a monopoly);

- is it surprising that only one of the people leaving comments was speaking about the content of main the article (pricing) and ALL the anonimous post were rambling about how great OSX is (with the implied meaning that everybody should throw away over 1000 US$ for it) ? :)

7:55 AM  
Blogger TK said...

What a crazy article.

OSX under the 'Illusion' of security? How many OSX viruses are there out there? Oh yes- none. What hppened to the guy who put his Mac up for the challenge of being hacked (hack-my-mac)? Nothing.

And as for '100 times less choice'- so what. Boot XP on the MB Pro and STILL keep OSX.

I was in a meeting earlier. Very boring. Not much to do. Midway through i pulled out my MacBook to take notes. I could almost feel the envy of those around me.
Two Vaios and a Dell, next to the MacBook Pro. The superiority was tangeble.

And as for "Overpriced junk"... Either the writer is very stupid, or in fact very jealous. Open your eyes, do some research and try writing a balanced, non-biased blog with some sense.

2:29 PM  
Blogger cool_stuff_or_not said...

Yes, dear tk - "I could almost feel the envy of those around me" - it is well known that people buy computers mainly for that envy ... oh, wait, correction - morons buy based on that and hype, most people buy based on performance/price !

7:48 AM  
Blogger dsadw said...

The Dell is heavier and thicker, and for some people this is relevant and justifies a cost difference.

Also, the cost difference is not as big for default configurations as for the high end configs. Apple sticks it to you for upgrades. If you buy the extra RAM elsewhere, you can save quite a bit. I know some people don't want to do that, but obviously Dell sells more and can better deals on those type of items.

I don't agree with the Dell quality either. Sure most last a while, but I've owned and used several Dells and they usually cheap out somewhere...keyboards especially. I'm impressed they finally didn't use a cheap plastic case for the 820.

8:59 PM  
Blogger rokeylounge said...

Personally my take on this blog has to be that the "author" is extremely biased, uninformed, and inaccurate. (I am a current Windows XP user making the switch to Apple/Mac in less than a month. I've been using computers over the last 15 years both personally and professionally, on various operating systems. I infact currently use two Windows XP boxes at home for both personal and business reasons. I use two computers because one Wintel-box is not sufficient enough to handle all tasks at hand. When I switch to Mac, I’ll be selling both of my overly equipped Wintel-boxes.) While Windows XP is currently a pretty good piece of work, I must say that it truly does fall behind when it comes to options, graphics, usability, and interface to name a few. For example, where does Gates keep his Widgets? Have you personally seen the imaging capabilities on a Apple/Mac? Are you aware that a good many of the animated movies produced are made on Mac’s? Most graphic arts professionals also use Apple/Mac’s. A lot of scientists are moving over to Apple/Mac’s. The world’s 3rd fastest supercomputer is a cluster of Apple/Mac’s which cost $5.2M. The 1st fastest cost $350M and 2nd cost $215M.

I’d like to note that your pricing is inaccurate; the Apple/Mac model which you listed has a MSRP of $3099, $398 less than your posting. While Mac’s may not have as many upgrade options as Wintel-boxes do, I assure you that most of the upgrades you are speaking of are unnecessary and mainly for boasting rights.

About upgrades, how much would it cost a person to upgrade the LCD screen on a Dell (or other Wintel-box) to the quality of a Apple/Mac’s LCD screen? Oh, wait… they don’t have that upgrade option, sorry, I was just kidding. For someone buying a Wintel-box, what is the cost of upgrading to a backlit keyboard with an ambient light sensor integrated specifically to automatically adjust the LCD screen and keyboard brightness? Specifically what good is an option which YOU personally defined as an “overkill option for 99.9999% of the users?”

Someone complaining about the single button mouse feature really is just having trouble finding problems with the Apple/Mac (the single button feature has been addressed). On your Wintel-box, when you open the screen, you have these snazzy hooks sticking out just waiting to catch something and get bent or worse, broke. Apple/Mac’s latches automatically retract into the screen before they get the chance to be a problem. How about a “web cam,” what would it cost for you to have one seamlessly integrated into your Wintel-box? Wintel-boxes also do not feature the motion sensor technology which Apple/Mac employs to ensure that in the case when your Portable PC becomes physically unstable (shaken, falls, etc.) the HDD locks itself in place before collision to ensure less damage to the moving parts. I’m not even going to request price consideration for the aesthetic design of the Apple/Mac, even though I should.

Honestly I could go all day about Mac vs. Wintel-box, but I don’t feel the need to embarrass you any further. I shall end this summarization of your incapability to distinguish the difference between a well written review and an undeniable biased, undefined opinion with the following statement. “If you come to my country, speak my language; if you wish to write an Apple/Mac review, think different, do the research, it just works.” – Rokey.

9:47 PM  
Blogger rokeylounge said...

Another quick note for the author. I have six IT certifications, a BSB in Accounting, and enough common sense to know that Apple/Mac truly is the way of the future, if the current standings of technology speak for anything. Have a good day. - Rokey

9:56 PM  
Blogger jalabi99 said...

>> Yes, dear tk - "I could almost
>> feel the envy of those around
>> me" - it is well known that
>> people buy computers mainly for
>> that envy ... oh, wait,
>> correction - morons buy based
>> on that and hype, most people
>> buy based on performance/price !

If it was true that "most people buy based on performance/price" then the whole world would be running Linux, which is available for free. And you and I both know that in the history of technology, the better technology doesn't always win in the marketplace (VHS vs. Betamax, to give one example).

Less emotion, more solid logic, more facts, less rants. That's what you need. Calm down, take a deep breath, and stop seeing a red flag every time you see something (anything) from Apple. They're not perfect, no company is, but when they do something right, you should be gracious enough to acknowledge it. And that goes for all the companies whose products raise such strong emotions (eBay, PayPal, Microsoft, Google, Wal-Mart, etc. etc. etc.). Jeez, get a grip. :)

9:59 AM  

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