Apple are known as a premium brand and don’t sell any computer cheaper than the £399 ($798) Mac Mini. That’s fine with me, as one can argue that Apple’s higher prices are because they sell a quality product that comes with a great operating system (OS X) and suite of software (iLife). Of course, many […]
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Two Certainties: Death and Apple Taxes?

Apple are known as a premium brand and don’t sell any computer cheaper than the £399 ($798) Mac Mini. That’s fine with me, as one can argue that Apple’s higher prices are because they sell a quality product that comes with a great operating system (OS X) and suite of software (iLife). Of course, many people would argue that the product quality from Apple has dipped recently, but that’s probably anecdotal and something to discuss on another occasion.

However, there are a few other areas that Apple are commonly derided for when it comes to their prices. Are we paying too much? Are we paying an “Apple Tax”?

Displays

Apple sell three display units, none of them particularly cheap:

20” Cinema Display for £399 ($798)
23” Cinema Display for £599 ($1,198)
30” Cinema Display for £1,199 ($2,398)

I’ve read and heard many comments saying these units are vastly over-priced and cost far more than displays from competitors such as Dell.

Now, while it is true that Dell offer cheaper alternatives, they also sell displays for prices near to those of Apple. So, perhaps Apple are just trying to compete with these top-of-the-range offerings, and not the bargain units?

Here are Dell’s comparable displays:

20” Dell UltraSharp 2007WFP £340 ($680) – £59 cheaper than Apple
24” Dell UltraSharp 2407WFP-HC £692 ($1,384) – £93 more than Apple but 1” bigger display
30” Dell UltraSharp 3007WFP-HC £1,185 ($2,370) – £14 cheaper than Apple

It is true though that the Apple Cinema Displays haven’t been updated in years and don’t have as many connections or features as Dell monitors.

However, apart from the 23” version, where reviews are mixed, the 20” and 30” seem to get excellent customer reviews.

Memory

Now this is one area I don’t think Apple have an excuse for and speaking to an Apple employee, they even told me that the only reason Apple charge the RAM prices that they do is because people are foolish enough to pay them.

For example…

Apple charge a whopping £540 ($1,080) to upgrade a 24” iMac from 1GB to 4GB

Crucial will charge you £106 ($212) for 4GB

Yes, you have to install the RAM yourself but Apple has made it really easy on the iMac – just loosen two screws, pull out the old RAM and put in the new. Crucial guarantee the RAM and you do get to keep the original Apple RAM, which you can always put back into the Mac if you need to troubleshoot.

I for one don’t think the “peace of mind” of having Apple guaranteed RAM is worth the additional £434 ($868). With the money saved, I’d rather buy an iPod plus an external hard drive!

Wireless Mighty Mouse

What do you get for £49 ($98)?

A device that for many gets gunked up far too quickly so that the scroll ball no longer scrolls.

A device that collects dirt around the rim so needs to be frequently “polished”.

A device that sometimes forgets it has a right-click feature, which means you have to turn it off and then back on again to get it working.

A device that drains batteries far too readily for my liking. Yes, this is a common problem with Bluetooth devices but while the new Apple keyboard has tried to address this issue, it doesn’t appear to be the case with the battery-eating wireless Mighty Mouse.

For less than £50, you can get a Logitech MX Revolution, that has more buttons and features than the Mighty Mouse.

Of course, you could also decide to save £40 and just buy a cheap mouse that will still have a feature the Mighty Mouse lacks: a real right-click button!

Yes, the wireless Mighty Mouse is cute but does that warrant the price premium?

So, do you think we’re paying over the odds for the pleasure of having an Apple logo or an Apple branded product? When it comes to RAM, you don’t even see a logo, so why are we paying so much?

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