Once upon a time, back when Mac users were purebred, we didn’t hear complaints about the price of Macs. Much. We certainly didn’t hear complaints about paying for new OS versions. And we definitely didn’t hear complaints about things that cost about $8/month like .Mac. We knew what we had was insanely great and well worth it. And the alternative was unthinkable.
Recently, in the last few years, though, all we seem to hear is a smallish, but vocal group of so-called “Mac users” complaining, whining, and crying about have to pay for quality goods and services. These aren’t the Mac users I know. No, they’re coming from someplace else. They’re coming with some ideas that are foreign to real Mac users. They’re coming from Wal-Mart, I guess. After passing through K-Mart, presumably. One thing I do believe is that these Mac whiners are all armed with low-end G3 iMacs (of the $799 variety) and maybe a few low-end iBooks. A PowerBook or PowerMac is as alien to them as the concept of paying full retail price. Not a one of them isn’t a member of Sam’s and/or BJ’s Wholesale club. These are not “Mac users” in the classic sense. They’re “iMac users” is the worst possible sense. I call them “Mac Whiners.” There is a schism in Macland.
The iMac was launched on August 15, 1998. About six months later, the distant murmurings of a new breed of Mac users complaining about Apple pricing started to be heard. And I mean pricing for everything from mice to cables to software. This strange new offshoot regularly shops at Wal-Mart or K-Mart or Some-Mart somewhere (where Macs are conspicuously not for sale), yet for some reason, they actually bought an iMac. I guess they all bought Blueberry iMacs since they reminded them of their beloved Blue Light Specials.
Listen, if you bought an iMac first and foremost because it was $799, you’ve made a mistake. Please sell it on eBay immediately and go buy a Gateway, eMachine or whatever piece of crap some no-name Wintel box assembler is peddling this week. I’m tired of these cheap, Johnny-come-lately, discount iMac bargain hunters’ whining and moaning. You’re clogging my favorite Mac chat rooms, you’re getting quoted by Wintel-leaning media outfits, and you’re just plain annoying.
A brief history lesson is now in order. Mac users, as a group, are historically richer and better educated than Wintel PC users. Mac users are used to paying higher prices than Wintel users. Mac users don’t drive Ford Fiestas. Mac users don’t whine about prices. Certainly not about Apple prices, because we know that you get what you pay for and we’re glad to pay it in order to not have to be subjected to Windows. BMW owners don’t complain about the price of leather upholstery and Mac users don’t complain about things like .Mac, okay?
I realize that this is the price we pay for Apple going after the consumer market. I realize it had to be done. And wait until the “Switchers” begin to infiltrate the Mac camp. We’re going to have to put up with a certain amount of “newbieness” with all of these new people coming to the Mac platform. And I’m all for that! I gladly help new Mac users, anytime, anywhere, and anyplace. I am just tiring of listening to them badmouth Apple because they can’t see the tremendous value in front of their faces, can’t recognize why QuickTime Pro costs $30 bucks after all of the R&D Apple invests in it, can’t figure out why Jaguar isn’t mailed out free like AOL disks, can’t understand why a Macintosh costs what it does, or why .Mac is subscription-based. Apple costs more because it is better.
If you are upset with Apple charging for Jaguar, please go buy a Dell, dude. If you can’t handle the tremendous cost of .Mac, eMachines is for you. If you think an eMac costs too much, mosey on over to Gateway. If Apple costs too much for you, you should go get a commodity PC and run Windows instead. Everything will be cheaper. I’m not kidding; here are the links:
Now, if you’re still with us, I have no problem with expecting Apple to do the best they can with pricing. I’m even for leaning on them from time to time when they make a mistake. I’m not suggesting we write Apple a blank check. What I am suggesting is that as Mac users, we support Apple, sign up for .Mac since it is going to become a much more important, useful, and integrated part of the OS, pay for OS upgrades if we want hundreds of new features, and basically act like Mac users. Stop complaining about the cost of leather seats, if all you really want to pay for is cloth. You don’t get leather seats standard.
SteveJack is a long-time Macintosh user, web designer, multimedia producer and a regular
contributor to the MacDailyNews Opinion section.