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QOTD: What Don't You Like About Macs?

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 16 comments

I think it's fair to say that Apple has a hard time catering to the audience that reads Tom's Hardware. Based on some of my past articles, some things are really clear, while others are still up in the air.

A recent report by analyst said that Apple would have to reduce its price significantly, to do well in the current economy. The analyst gave a suggestion to Apple: reduce the price of its MacBook (the white one) down to $700. But, realistically, this one price reduction isn't going to make much of a huge impact for Apple during the recession. Let's look at some of Apple's prices:

- Apple Mighty Mouse Wireless: $69
- 8 GB 1066 MHz DDR3 SDRAM (2 x 4 GB) for the iMac: $1000
- 8 GB 1066 MHz DDR3 ECC SDRAM (4 x 2 GB) for the Mac Pro: $250
- 1 TB 7200-RPM SATA2 HDD: $300

I honestly think the above prices are stratospheric, insane. The 1 TB HDD for example, can be had for less than 1/3 of the price that Apple is selling it for. The 8 GB of memory for the iMac--which is Apple's mainstream system--costs a whopping $1000, five times as much as the same amount for the high-end Mac Pro. Obviously, there's the price issue here.

The question of the day is: What don't you like about Macs?

Is it the pricing?

Is it the software?

Is it the operating system?

Is it the compatibility?

Is it Mac users?

Or is it simply that it's Apple?

Explain your case.

About software: essentially now, there's hardly discrepancy between a Windows system and a Mac, because you can reboot into Windows natively. So in terms of software compatibility, both are the same. Mute point there for Apple. Also, with some recompiling of most Linux applications, you're able to run them on your Mac no problem. While Parallels and Fusion do virtualization, they're not as fast as running something native--hence Boot Camp.

Save for the actual design and some features, a Mac Pro a nicely built PC. The difference is clearly in the operating system. So it must be about workflow and the method in which you go about doing things. But even this isn't enough. And Apple's got a pretty bad rap with PC users.

But Apple's made some (limited) progress. Cutting some prices here and there. Apple's latest system, the Nehalem-based Mac Pro is quite a beast. The 8-core version is quite powerful, but it's priced at $3,299. Most PC users here will argue that they can build a very similarly equipped system for far less.

Challenge: Build your own Nehalem Mac Pro. The specs are as follows: 2 x 2.26 GHz Quad-core Nehalem-based Intel Xeon processors, 6 GB 1066 MHz DDR3 ECC memory, compatible server boar, 640 GB 7200-RPM SATA2 HDD, Nvidia GeForce GT 120 512 MB, sound card, DVD-RW drive, case, mouse and keyboard. In fact, use our store here to find prices for cheap components, or use a well known online retailer to build your PC. Try to beat Apple's pricing as far as you can. And then throw in a good operating system.

What's your final price? Post your build and price in the comments!

We all know Apple gives some heavy competition to big PC builders like Dell, and HP, and even give Microsoft good competition. So we welcome its presence in the industry. Competition is great for everyone. If you do like Apple hardware, what then would be the one major thing you would suggest Apple do differently?

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  • 0 Hide
    Devastator_uk , 16 March 2009 03:39
    This article is a bit stupid since you can't buy Nehalem-based Xeons yet
  • 0 Hide
    thepeganator , 16 March 2009 03:53
    Nehalem Xeons aren't out yet.

    Macs have a lot wrong with them:
    Over priced in the first place.
    Over priced upgrades.
    Using ECC memory when it's not needed.
    Lack of real gpu's, the 8800gt just doesn't cut it now.
    IMO they are not that nicely built and don't look terribly good (flame on people).
    The Apple image.

    The fact that apple try to limit what you can use OSX on
    Saying "we're so compatible you can use windows with us" isn't right when they restrict OSX to mac branded systems, it's unfair on other companies.
    Can you imagine the uproar that would start if MS limited use of Windows to pcs that MS built itself? That would be crazy, it's only because macs have a smaller market share that Apple get away with it.

    Why is Toms trying to defend Apple so bad?
    Been a lot of pro-mac talk recently, which is always rejected by the readers.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , 16 March 2009 08:00
    Is it the pricing?
    Yes, in part at least. as the hard ware (ie gfx card) is old hat (may as well be tat), tho the limited amount of games makes a better card canna pointless. this too is a problem, as it is the only reason i use windows. (installed when i get a pang of i need to shot some thing dead / half dead or mearly not frendly to the games chariter
    Is it the software?
    The software itself seams to be clean fiendly and somewhat drab. but tends to be (even for all the drabness of it) stable. (better than what windows can do... some times.
    Is it the operating system?
    Not realy as osx dose have some thing witch i cant quite put my finger on. prityness perhaps or maybe its the lack of acturly needing to know anything about the hardware for witch you have just over payed for.
    Is it the compatibility?
    Agen kinda tho this is not on the whole apples fault. im speeking hear of gaming/lack of DX. wouldent it be so nice if you could just chose any os and use it on any computer and play what ever the hell took your fancy. (pipe dreams i fear. but with out dreams what have we.(too many os's that just dont do all that you want them to. but i digress))
    Is it Mac users?
    Well now something has hit home. and im not talking about all mac user just the ones that use it "cause its apple". they get to me. Example of a breif chat with one of those people Them: hay cheak out my new mac. ME: oh neet what one is it. THEM: oh its the new one. ME: ok looks prity what's so grate about the new one THEM: well its new ME: ok i got got that from the prefix new. ok how about this what spec is it. THEM: hmm well its got an all new (unibody)(insert latest apple sales line) ME: oh thats nice THEM: its grate ME: ok well ill see you latter THEM: but you havent even looked at it ME: i know i was hoping to avoid it, talk to you later THEM: but look its 17" bla bla bla ME:( gone)
    this of corse is not all apple-ites just the ones that talk non stop about apple/mac/ipods/steve jobs, or should i say quote apples sales lines non stop. there are people who use them for media editing and in this lies osx strenght. Ie software that works (and works well) with add on hardware/sound boards/or what ever else happens to be needed at the time.
    Or is it simply that it's Apple?
    See above.

    All in all if you have the money to buy a mac and dont inteend on working with media editing your ether easely infulinced by there sale pich or insaine or just an idiot.
    Explain your case.
    Just did. my last words (bet you thought id nevr shut up) are buy a better pc for cheeper and tell both MS and Apple (mostly apple) to go lick a tiger.
  • 0 Hide
    Rhisc , 16 March 2009 13:49
    Is it the pricing?
    For what you get, yes. The hardware spec is dismal by comparison to the equivelent in a PC. I can get a mac pro off the shelf for £1899 in london. I can order the bits and build a nehalem system with the same proc; 6gb of faster memory, a 1000w psu, 1Tb hdd, bluray writer and 1792mb nvidia 295 for £1564.


    Is it the software?
    I don't have an issue with the software, it's pretty smart tho the range limits ones choices a bit.

    Is it the operating system?
    Not bothered either way, it's just a platform for presenting my apps.

    Is it the compatibility?
    Lack of choice in how i do things.

    Is it Mac users?
    Scarf wearing, bearded vespa riders? Not so much tho some feel that being a mac user is somehow better. It's like a carpenter feeling superior to another because he has a shinier saw.

    Or is it simply that it's Apple?
    I'm not a fan of their strategies and that within a week of release issues are reported with new gear. e.g: graphics failing on new powerbooks atm.

    That being said I have an iphone. I'm a PC user through and through, a gamer and I build my own rigs. The iphone is inferrior technology wise in every way to the HTC touch HD, let alone the 4G and HTC will have new phones out in about 7 weeks. But I have an iphone because the apps give me the info i need in the way i want it and that's what counts.
  • 1 Hide
    tinnerdxp , 16 March 2009 14:42
    Considering that Apple won't give a s..t about these comments anyway... just my 5 cents:
    1. as stated by others - CPUs are not on sale yet.
    2. All upgrades offered by Apple (apart from branded things like keyboard/mices) can be bought elsewhere for at 30-60% cheaper...
    3. I rally hate the OS - it is simplified to bare minimum "to make it easy" for all those not knowing anything about computers making the whole experience limited a lot. If you want to do thing XYZ (and Apple thought about it) - you are welcome - click button number "A", if you would like to do "B" - which would involve just one more custom textbox where you could put your parameter - sorry - it's a no-no (as Apple does not approve that)... It just feels really "closed" - you cannot "play" and "tweak" with it... the GUI is absolutely not configurable (apart from few basic things) - you just have to LEARN what Apple's sold you - instead of JUST USE a "better OS". The keyboard - not so comfortable to be honest (this fancy aluminum one), mouse - absolutely horrible... Most people replace it with Logitech anyway so cannot Apple just "ADMIT" that their idea suck and change it to something comfy and usable at the same time? (answer is no as mouse would have to have 2 buttons and good old Steve does not like buttons).
    I hate the idea of hidden file extensions, the not so comfortable finder where you have to be very precise about where you click to get there... The UI is so simplified that when you click Save you need to click 4-5 times before you can achieve what you wanted - it's like Windows 95 - you just CANNOT do some things you know are possible elsewhere. And yes I hate Apple fanboys - they have no idea about most of the things, they do not understand computers at all... In most cases they just repeat what they've heard about their product without proper understanding or any will to understand. They simply think: "I've paid £2000 for a computer (worth £700) - so it has to be the best ever". Apple sucrifices the usability of a product by its design... Who cares about a flap being underneath the laptop? Who cares about if the other button is visible? Start thinking "Users" - not "Money and Design"... I am forced to use Apple's products every now and then - and every single time I get to a point where I say - I will never buy their products... They are just not good enough for me and cause me more grief than it's worth... I have used all other operating systems apart from mainframes - I started with Atari, C64, PC 286, PC 486 (DOS+Win3.1), Amiga 1200, Amiga 4000, Pentium2MMX, Celeron, Athlon, Athlon 64, Intel Core Duo, I have been donated Macintosh SE/30, iMac G4, PowerMac G3 so I have tried Tiger and Leopard at home as well as at my other workplace... and I still just don't like - it assumes you - the user are a complete idiot and just does not allow you to do stuff other than what Apple's "invented" (read: renamed something old).
    So,
    Is it the software? - YES (assumes you are stupid)
    Is it the OS? - Yes (too simplified, "closed" and forcing you to learn again and waste time on clicking things that should be there)
    Is it the compatibility - NO (why? Everything pretty much works or can be compiled - as the author wrote)
    Is it the Mac users - Yes (Bunch of "wannabes" who don't know much about computers at all and keep asking stupid questions (How do I install windows? I want to play games but I cannot in Os X, How do I convert a file? I've done it Numbers but I need I have Office at home? What is JPEG? What is CMYK? what is HTML? What is RAID? (ask any iMac user what a RAID is ;)  How can I put more memory in my mac? Can I have a bigger drive? Will my network switch/router/adsl modem work with my Mac? Will these speakers work with Mac? Will this mouse work? Will this LCD work?
    Can I connect TV to my Mac? And ALL OTHER SILLY QUESTIONS... These guys (Apple Users) they might be good at something - true... but they don't have a clue, knowledge, nor will to understand anything else - and yes I know it is just easier to say: "Apple is better, period" than to actually answer the question: "Why is it better?" But that is just not right for me...
    Is it APPLE as a company - Oh yes! They don't care about users, they sue everyone who could slice a piece of their pie, they censor their website, their software, their ideas... they are just bunch of greedy ba.....s and I will never buy anything from them - even microsoft can admit to their errors... Apple should too!
  • 0 Hide
    mi1ez , 16 March 2009 16:42
    yeah. what he said ^
  • 0 Hide
    Devastator_uk , 16 March 2009 16:44
    Getting stuff as close as I can (since you can't buy Nehalem-based Xeons yet and GT 120 cards are for OEM only):
    -2*Intel Xeon E5420P Quad Core
    -6GB DDR2-800 ECC
    -9500 GT 512MB
    -640GB hard drive
    -Vista64 Home Premium
    -Creative X-Fi
    -DVD-RW, Silver
    -MS 500 Keyboard
    -MS 3000 Mouse
    -EZCool Alpine 7104 Silver Case
    -700W FSP PSU
    -Tyan S5397WAG2NRF i5400

    All adds up to about £1,497.36 ($2,130.00 / 1,633.44€), I know it's not quite the same but about as close as can get.
  • 0 Hide
    ukctstrider , 16 March 2009 17:27
    For me it's down to two issues.
    1) Price. It's completely ridiculous the prices they charge, the older hardware makes sense though as Apple test everything as a whole system and write the drivers to make sure it all works, you need older well understood hardware for that to work.
    2) The OS. Ok when it works it works well but as with everything Apple it's all locked down and if you need to do anything different to the norm there is usually no way to do it.
    3) I have over ten years of experience with Windows, why would I throw that away to start over on a new system? The argument that you can dual boot is pointless. That just means I've paid around double the price for a Windows PC and don't get ANY of the benefits of having a Mac...
    On a side note, I recently bought a Linux EEEPC and the OS is terrible... whilst I admit that I am still learning, it's not at all intuitive, and it's really quite buggy.
    Microsoft get a lot of flack but their OS works reasonably well 95% of the time, it's easy to use, and because of the depth of userbase it's very well supported by 3rd parties. Also many of the tactics Microsoft get criticised for are done by Apple and they get away with it...
  • 2 Hide
    mofnet , 16 March 2009 17:35
    i agree with most of the comments above, exepct to compare the mac pro to a custom made rig is a mute point, you should compare to another "off-the-shelf" pre-built system, the obvious one is dell, where you will find that their workstation xeon class systems are of a similar price if not a bit more (here in the uk). This is because once your into this price of system, you can invariably beat any ready built computer by building your own, and it also gives you more flexibility to build exactly what you want or need, and not what they are selling you.

    Also as a thought, is it that bad to say that most mac users don't understand anything about computers? isn't that the point? computers are so part of life now that most users don't know how they work. Does everybody who drives a car know how to take the engine apart and rebuild it, i think not!

    I have used pc's for a long long time now, and also now use macs, and i find the mac a lot easier to just get on with and use, your not fighting to make windows work with everything you have, yes the mac is very closed, but thats the price you pay for stability and simplicity, you just have to decide whether you want simplicity or complexity. And in a world where 99% of computer users do not know how they work, a computer that "just works" is far batter to have is it not..?
  • 0 Hide
    tstebbens , 16 March 2009 18:40
    "Why did the Mac chicken cross the road?

    Apple decided that no reasonable chicken owner would want a chicken to cross the road, so didn't include the function to tell it to." - anon
  • 0 Hide
    tinnerdxp , 16 March 2009 18:52
    Well... People who just want to get from point A to point B could use any mean of transportation right? At least they can say:
    1. taxi - expensive but quick
    2. bus - cheap but crap
    3. walk - free but slow
    When comparing that to Apple's "dictature" you get a bus looking like a VIP taxi... You cannot stop where you want, you pay much more for a journey and generally speaking you just look good in a limo :) 
    I guess this comparison works pretty well.

    I agree that not everybody has to know how computer work to use / have one. I am saying that the "whole package" that apple offers is absolutely wrong approach for most of us - and they are simply abusing the "less IT-minded" people by exhausting their budgets to the limit saying: "but it looks nice!"

    apple will always have an advantage until they reach microsoft's market level... then people will start writing viruses, trojans and what nots just because there will be enough people being able to do that. At the moment all apple fan-boys will just buy anything that shines and has got apple's logo on it without any intentions to use it for anything productive - first because they don't know how, without asking non-apple users or not being able to, as apple did not think of that... [joke] That's why there are no viruses on OS X [/joke] :) 
    Ok, I am overreacting on that but the bottom line stands. Too expensive, too closed, too "in your face" to actually enjoy it... an the whole "cult" behind apple is well sick in my opinion...
  • 1 Hide
    Devastator_uk , 16 March 2009 20:08
    The way I see it the price is such a huge negative that I don't need to look at whether or not there are other negatives or positives, at that price even if there were plenty of good points (which there aren't) the crazy price outweighs it.

    Personally I prefer Linux OS, although a lot of people end up choosing the wrong distribution (including me initially) and then never try another one, with the correct one it it no easier or harder than Windows, it's just different, so it you're used to using Windows you may find the change difficult (and sometimes not worth it). Now I've never used Mac OS but I would imagine it's in a similar boat.
    The other issue can for some people be the lack of software support.
  • 2 Hide
    mofnet , 16 March 2009 20:52
    i suppose even the price point is mute as apple are effectively controlling their size via price point, if they made their computers cheaper, then more people would buy'em and they'd become microsoft with all the reglatory baggage that comes with... They've already stated with the iphone that they don't want the everyday phone market, they want the top tier small market share. In apples case its all about margins, keeping a 30 to 40% profit margin makes them more stable as a company and better positioned to deal with fluctuations in the market (as is the case now with the recession). You just watch how dell respond to falling pc sales if that ever comes around which i suspect it will, their prices will start to rise too, and once u've been the cheapest, its difficult to justify price rises...

    Continuing the car analogy, there are premium marks (mercedes, bmw etc etc...) and mainstream marks (ford, gm etc..). Effectively you pay more for the premium mark and get a slightly better ride, but you don't really get anything major above the lower brands, you just pay more... (sometimes lots more!!) Its the nature of the game, supply / demand, sales results / targets... Basically manipulate the price point to reflect the demand and satisfy your own company objectives and targets..
  • 0 Hide
    wifiwolf , 16 March 2009 22:06
    That is exactly what I think, so I'll just add to it that Apple still wants to be minority, not only for the biggest profits but also because that keeps them from being a a major target for the EU, hackers and viruses. So they keep profits high and still out of problems.
  • -1 Hide
    Helloworld_98 , 16 March 2009 23:27
    Just to add, MAC OS X is a form of linux and they're telling you to pay £120 for what should be free software.

    It's all about pricing, why would you buy a £700 macbook if you can get something more powerful for half that and put hackintosh on it?
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , 25 May 2009 05:06
    Is it the pricing?
    Yes

    Is it the software?
    Nope, it's nice stuff to use - I'd even be willing to pay a LITTLE more over windows.

    Is it the operating system?
    Nope, very slick, intuitive and a decent bit of kit

    Is it the compatibility?
    A little, if I bought one I'd want to be able to use my own mouse and keyboard with it, for example, and the lack of ability to add third party tuner cards and general upgrading are a major letdown.

    Is it Mac users?
    They're often irritating, but I don't like a lot of PC users either - I don't exactly have to go to dinner with them, do I?

    Or is it simply that it's Apple?
    Not at all.

    The compatability is a big problem, I'd never get a non-laptop apple for that reason. I like (nay, need) to be able to add, remove and upgrade my hardware, both as a personal geek thing, and a money saving measure. A laptop, maybe - since I've never upgraded one yet.

    The price, that's the issue. A 50% markup on the equivalent hardware with a microsoft logo is just beyond justification, even for a self-professed geek. I can easily spend £200 on hardware on a whim, my Eee PC was an impulse buy... even though I can't afford it. Apple manage to price themself even outside well justified expenditure. Add to the fact that I can't upgrade it on the cheap and you have a recipe for my cash staying firmly in my wallet.