In the UK, we pay out of the nose for Apple products and so forth, but when you consider it, is Apple really worth it. Are iPhones all that good, and whats an iPod when you can get something cheaper at CostCo....or WallMart...
I am never leaving Apple, and in my eyes they can do no wrong, but other people, "outsiders" and generally people who have not seen the light, can they really be convinced to pay out of the nose for quality?
It somewhat depends on your level of saavy what real Apple products are worth to you. Going down the list (my opinions):iPod:
no if you run Windows, yes if you run OSX. Other companies create good mp3 players, but typically the software is windows only. iPhone:
yes -- no one else has come up with an interface and API that approaches the iPhone. The quality of the web browser alone is worth it.Mac Mini:
yes if you are a low end user, and only want a "surf station". Otherwise they are pretty underpowered. They'd be better if they had better video (dual port or dual link, and maybe something other than intel GMA950) for the role of a small economical workstation... and this is a gripe more against the hole in Apple's product line between a Mac Mini and a Mac Pro. (I know, what about the iMac? read on.)iMac:
hell no. The reason is simple. I have a 20" display (1600x1200 resolution) I bought in 2003. It is perfectly good, and I am still using it next to my 30" display (which the iMac can't drive, because it doesn't have dual link). Had I bought a 20" iMac in 2003, I'd have a nice 20" display permanently attached to a 1.25GHz G4 that maxes out at 2GB of RAM (officially 1GB, but 2GB is said to work):http://www.everymac....1.25_20_fp.html
It is quite telling that Apple has not released new displays since 2004. iMacs of those days were still powered by G5 processors. Obviously I have strong opinions about iMacs, but I feel I at least have a defensible reason for it.Mac Pro:
The mac pro is a good deal if you actually need octo-xeons. The problem is that if you want a desktop to run dual displays, you either need to get a disposable iMac display, or a Mac Pro. If you want to have a desktop attached to a 30" display, you need to get a Mac Pro. $2300 (the cheapest Mac Pro, with one quad xeon) is very pricey for someone who just wants a lot of desktop real estate, and would be fine with specs otherwise seen in a mac mini. My hackintosh Q6600 in my signiture is specifically because of that hole in Apple's product line -- I needed a machine that could drive a 30" and a 20" display. I'd have been ok with a mini for my needs, except that I needed better video than a mini has.Macbook (white):
yes. the macbook is a good consumer laptop, and one of the best sub 14" laptops availible. I bought one of these for my wife, who is a kindergarten teacher. She loves it.Macbook (black):
hell no. $100 for black dye?!? WTF? (I like the black look a lot, but dude, you can get the same specs in white for $100 less.)Macbook Air:
I tend to think "no". The air is impressive to look at, but when all is said and done, it's an underpowered white Macbook for $600 more. The white Macbook is not what I'd call bulky, so unless you spend several days a week running through airport terminals to catch flights, I don't think the 2lbs is worth $600 more for inferior specs. Macbook Pro (2.4GHz 15"):
yes... if you need nVidia graphics. Otherwise a tripped out Macbook (white) is a better bet. However, the Macbook Pros are nice machines and $1999 is not a bad entry point for a professional laptop.Macbook Pro (2.5GHz 15"):
no. $500 buys you 100MHz and 256M of video RAM. ick. Might be a better deal if this model was offered with a 15" high resolution display (1680x1050).Macbook Pro (low res 17"):
no. If you're going this far, get the high resolution LED display.Macbook Pro (high res 17"):
yes, but only if you need the screen real estate. For me, it was worth it. One thing I like about Apple's 17" laptops, is that they are a lot less bulky for the screen size than similar PC laptops. In fact, the 17" Apple laptops are about the same bulk as most 15.4" PC laptops I've used. My old 15.4" Thinkpad z61p was only about half a pound lighter with the extended battery, had the same depth, and was actually half an inch thicker. Ok, the 17" is 1.3" wider, but the 17" 1920x1200 display is very pretty, and the Macbook Pro has a flat bottom and is much more comfortable on a lap than the Thinkpad which had rubber feet.
wheh... now as to real mac hardware versus hackintoshes, if you know what you are doing, are not a "noob", and have familiarity with hardware components, and UNIX, a hack can be a better choice... there are basically three use cases:OSX vs Vista:
OSX is worth a premium over Vista. hands down. If you are comparing buying a black box Dell with Vista on it to buying a Mac, OSX is worth a premium by itself. Joe User will have far fewer headaches with OSX than Vista.Hackintosh vs Mac Mini or Mac Pro:
if a mini won't fit your needs, you can spec out a quad core hackintosh for $1300 less (or more) than the low end quad core Mac Pro. This is nothing to sneeze at, and is the one case where I might advise someone to go the hack route, if they were tech saavy enough to understand PC boot mechanisms, OS kernel and extension models, and UNIX. There is some worth to being able to just use software update to do major OS updates and not have to worry about breaking your install, so if you aren't that saavy, I still might reccomend real Apple hardware despite the premium.Hackbook vs Macbook/Macbook Pro:
On this one, I would tend to reccomend real Apple hardware. There is not as much of a markup on Apple notebooks as compared to PC offerings, owing to the fact that you don't typically buy components and assemble notebooks. For the same reason, it's also MUCH harder to get a working hackbook, because you have far less control over the chips and components. I have OSX running on my Vaio UX handheld, and I had to do all kinds of hacking to get it working (including cracking it open and replacing the wifi card). I also tried to get it working on my z61p and failed. Overall, for a couple hundred bucks, it's generally not worth the hassle, tho I wish Apple would put a second mouse button on their laptops. (sigh).