Apple prices, too high?
I've been reading a lot this last year on Apple products since I got and iPhone 3GS. One thing that keeps coming back from users comments or reviews is the cost of apple products being too high compare to the PC world, and now in the smartphone and tablets world.
A few years ago, I bought a cheap laptop (1000$, yes, it was the cheapest). At the same time, an Apple laptop would cost around 1600$ for their cheapest laptop... So did I made a good bargain? 600$ is good money when in your pocket... But that laptop (Averatec) started having some trouble not even 2 years after the purchase. The battery died completely after 2 years, the LCD panel cracked in the left corner of opening and closing the lid, the plastic got washed out where my hand would rest when typing, it's overheating easily and the power connector brakes at least once a year... It is now barely usable, even net books seem more powerful. But it was cheap at that time...
I bought also a mp3 player from Sony 4 years ago. The device was great and could play like 18 hours straight. I got it for 120$ at that time. It was light, slim the size of a flash drive. The hardware was great, but the software going with it was so crappy (SonicStage) that it made it hard to sync music to it. I could have bought an iPod for a bit more I think... Or a really cheap mp3 player but I wanted a good sound quality, so I went with Sony. At that time, I still had the impression that apple products were too pricy...
And i'm not talking about those desktops, that I kept upgrading to keep on with the new windows version ;)
Currently, the cheapest laptop from Apple is around 1000$ while you can get a cheap Acer for 400$. But what about the quality of the components and after sale purchase services? How long will the battery last and how long before it won't charge anymore? Apple's laptop are aluminum built and acer's laptop are built with cheap plastic. And how will perform that Acer laptop in 2 years from now?
Cheapest is not always the greatest... You end up frustrated after a year or so because the plastic case is cracking, the display colors are washing out, it will cost you more to repair than buy a new one, and you really don't know where to repair it...
So, I got a cheap laptop that almost died only 2 years after purchase. I got a mp3 player but with no support from the vendor... (I even got to creating a software for that mp3 player to replace SonicStage, which was a great success in the open source community). Maybe I should have bought an Apple Laptop and it would still work like a charm. Maybe I should have bought and iPod and it would still be supported with current softwares (iTunes)...
Other products I bought:
PSP : outdated with new releases but it was good
Desktops: outdated as soon as it was unboxed...
Dell laptop: a beast, still doing great, but it was not cheap...
Cheap Headphones: last a few months before wires brake, or sound is crackling
Playstation 2: lasted a while, like 6 years before starting having troubles... Money well spent
Wii: still doing great, but not much upgrade...
Palm devices: outdated as the new OS/device would come out...
Generally speaking, those who cost more, lasted more... So Apple simply just don't put crapy stuff on the market. You get what you pay for. I was simply amazed with my iPhone when I got it. The quality of the glass, the cover, the quality of the built-in camera, the apps, 3d games, browsing the Internet at full speed, steaming videos, upgrades that really added to the device... It was a way more than a cheap LG phone, but the 3GS is still a beast after almost 2 years even compared to actual products. The iPad 1, first of it's kind is still amazing after a year on the market compared to actual tablets. The only thing I would consider is the iPad 2 for now as a replacement.
Speaking of tablets, androids tablets were supposed to be way cheaper than iPads... Its not the case at all...
iPad 2 16 gigs wifi 549$, 3G 649$ (no contract), 32 gigs wifi 619$, 3G 749$ (no contract)
Galaxy Tab 16 gigs wifi+3G , 7 inches display 399$ (with a contract), 625$ (no contract) ( 24$ cheaper to equivalent iPad)
Playbook 16 gigs wifi only 499$ (seems to be really limited on apps) (20$ cheaper)
Iconia from Acer 32 gigs 499$ ( offers looks great, but it's an Acer product...) (really cheaper than the equivalent iPad by 120$)
Xoom 32 gigs, wifi only, 599$. (20$ cheaper to the equivalent iPad)
(Canadian dollars, prices from FutureShop and Best Buy)
So, are android based really cheap compared to the iPad 2? Only the Acer offer is cheaper from a 120$, but it's an Acer... To me, on the price level and quality, the iPad is still the cheapest overall... Because you get great apps, great services and support, regular update and new features, quality of the hardware...
One thing I give Apple is their build quality if nothing else. Sure there are threads and posts about the ipad2 not being up to snuff but if you do the math of the number of complaints vs the number of units sold, the percentage is still lower than most manufacturers consider acceptable losses.
Again read, if you can find any, reviews from owners of devices that have been owned 6 months or more. They are rare but mostly because most reviews are from owners of said device of less than a week, often less than a day.
My sister got her iPad last fall and it has been trouble free, I saw Target had knocked $100 off so it fit my price range. It was actually $200 cheaper to get one for my wife than the laptop I had just taken back because she wanted an iPad instead of a laptop yet told me she wanted a laptop (another story for another day :D )
I'm no Apple fanboy but I am a "value" shopper and found my and my wife's iPad to be the best value. I choose my vehicles, cell phone/carrier, clothes, etc with the same mindset. I could care less about a name, just want it to last and be useful. I've got a Zen music player (2008 model) that, IMO, kicks the crap out of iPod but that is because it does the same thing, sounds better than my kids iPods, has a built in radio, and cost half as much as theirs. It's almost 3 years old and no problems.
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my wife is still using her 14" iBook from several years ago. She is thinking about a new MacBook, but hesitates since her 2005 iBook is still doing just fine. We did replace the battery once, and added RAM, but other than that, it is just fine. The only reason she is considering a new one, is the G4 chips cannot handle anything beyond Tiger (10.5) and my 2006 iMac and 2010 MacBook Pro will be good for a few more versions of the OSX.