AP: Time to think different, Apple Mac beats Dell on price, software compatibility, and more

“For years, Macintosh computers have been praised for their cool looks and elegant simplicity while being knocked for often carrying a hefty price premium over Windows-based machines sold by Dell Inc. and others. It’s time to think different – again,” Robert Weston reports for The Associated Press.

“The recently released Mac Pro maintains the Apple shine in design, usability and software but also does something unexpected: It turns the old Mac versus Windows PC price equation on its head,” Weston reports. “A low-end Mac Pro will cost you $2,124 compared with $3,071 for a nearly identically configured Dell Precision Workstation 490. The Mac is about $947 cheaper – and the gap widens when you start piling on options such as more memory, faster processors and bigger hard drives.”

Macs are “also capable of running Windows if you’ve got a copy of the Microsoft Corp. operating system and supporting software from Apple or others,” Weston reports.

Weston reports, “The Mac Pro workstation is not only competitively priced, it’s fast, too… And the latest Macs are cool, literally. In fact, they run so much cooler that Apple was able to remove about half the fans used on the older machines. It frees up room for more features and makes for a considerably quieter system. The Mac Pro also is expandable. It comes with two optical drive bays, four PCI Express expansion slots and four hard drive bays. The computer also can handle up to 16 gigabytes of system memory.”

“Once again, Apple has produced a computer that really shines. With its ability to run Windows software too, it’s an attractive system for any Mac or Windows-based business or high end consumer who needs a powerful machine at a competitive price,” Weston reports. “The difference in price – and that it was in Apple’s favor – was so surprising that I contacted Dell to confirm that I had not made a mistake in configuring its workstation.”

Weston reports, “Dell spokesman Marco Pena suggested that the numbers might be closer after configuring the Mac to include a three-year warranty similar to the Dell offering. ‘But I think we’re still going to end up a little higher than the Mac,’ he said. ‘The results were a bit surprising to me too,’ he said. ‘But it is what it is.'”

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Ken” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Thurrott pits Apple Mac Pro vs. similarly configured Dell, figures out the Mac is less expensive – August 18, 2006
Thurrott: Apple Mac Pro ‘at least competitive and often cheaper’ than similarly configured Dell – August 17, 2006
Dell cannot compete with Apple’s new Mac Pro price or feature set – August 15, 2006
Apple Mac Pro with/ 20” Cinema Display less expensive than Dell Precision 690 sans monitor – August 10, 2006
Bear Stearns: Apple’s new Mac Pro, Xserve pricing well below comparable Dell systems – August 09, 2006
Dude, you got a Dell? What are you, stupid? Only Apple Macs run both Mac OS X and Windows! – April 05, 2006


  1. $2,124 compared with $3,071? Oh yeah, we left out the 3 year warranty! OK, for another $300 AppleCare includes a 3 year warranty AND free tech support AND free one-on-one training sessions at an Apple Retail Store. So let’s make that $2,424 compared with $3,071.

    “You can say what you like about “Total Cost of Ownership” until you’re blue in the face, but Joe Average isn’t going to look too far beyond the price sticker on the box. Even in the case of the Mac Pro, the cheapest Dell Precision 690 is a good deal cheaper than the cheapest Mac Pro. With the rest of Apple’s line, the initial price premium is even more dramatic. And the low end of the line is where it matters most. People in the market where the Pro is will look carefully at specs and see that the Mac Pro is obviously cheaper, but the average computer buyer will be looking at MacBooks and Mac minis, which are both more expensive on the shelf than comparable Dells.”

    Only until Vista escapes…er, is released. Then they will find that the bottom-of-the-barrel Dell won’t run it. The price differences will get even more increrdible.

  2. Decrypt3 needs to look at Dell’s web site. Their bottom of the barrel Dimension E series is $539 out the door. That’s the most comparable in specs to the mini, but it doens’t have core solo or core duo and it’s integrated graphics chip is not as powerful as the one in the mini, and their cases are no where near as elegant or useful as the mini. The mini’s size gives the computer a portablility factor and can be very useful in certain situations. Not to mention the software you get with OS X. No anti virus ect..

    Dell’s real piece of crap machines are $279. These are the B series. (B as is BOTTOM) The Dimension B series are Celeron processors, 256MB Ram (barely enough to run XP), even worse graphics, cheap component parts, and all housed in a super big, bulky, and ugly box. And what kind of computing experiance will you get for your money, using three year old technology? Who buys these POSs? People who don’t know better and who will never use their computer to do anything useful. You can get better on Ebay. So, they can’t affor $120 more for a mini? Could Apple sell old G4 mini’s at that price? Sure, but why should they?

    Apple will never sell to this space. Apple should never sell to this space. People who buy these computers don’t know better, and maybe they don’t care, but they are a small portion of the computing buying public and the wrong clients for Apple. Where Apple chooses to target their products they are the best, the cheapest, and the most value for your money.

  3. This settlement also says Apple gets paid if Creative is succesful in suing others. Which means they are sharing the patent to an extent. I think the previous posters who suggest the Zen player will die off are probably right. Look at this as Apple paying Creative 100 million in seed money to start a new iPod accessory business. Let them sue other music player makers and recoup some of their costs. Get rid of ugly lawsuits that could hurt their stock price. Small price to pay to effectively get rid of the only real competitor to the iPod. I think Apple will more than get their money back in the long run.

  4. Decrypt3, you raise some valid points about hi-end vs low-end but to keep it in perspective they are comparing Professional desktops in the article and those that preceded it.

    As someone else pointed out that the focus has been on hardware and no mention of the OS except by name. I attribute that to the fact that those who know nothing about Mac OSX are loathe to write anything about it and those who have peripheral knowledge of it, bring hate and discontent upon themselves, from the zealots because of ignorance.

    Before long someone will write an article whose words will reverberate around the world. It will be the catalyst that will provide the unwashed their epiphany. When that article appears, someone will throw it up on Digg and it will catch fire.

    But before that can occur we have to kick the price around because that’s all most people understand. I truly believe that many Mac users refuse to settle for less, including price, because we know, more often than not, there is a correlation between price and quality, i.e. Macintosh, BMW, Rolex, etc. But when it comes to price and microsoft price-points prove to be the exception to the rule. Microsoft has this nasty habit of withholding features in order to create a tiered system because for them it’s about money and not the experience. Contrary to Microsoft, Apple has a single desktop OS that serves the entire computer lineup.

    We can expect many small businesses to begin conducting financial analyses and price comparisons between Macintosh and PCs and the return on investment. When they realize they can have their cake and eat too? Whoosh!

    A real plus to be found in the Mac column will be the fact that they can run their legacy windows stuff on the mac and in many cases use the same peripherals, and with a little effort be able to cannibalize the hard drives out of their PCs and put them in the new Macs, all of which could be accomplished by very handily overnight.

    People coming into work the following morning would see the Apple logo on a new computer that is running windows. It’s then that a light will go off in their heads.

    When leopard arrives and the Mac OS is running PC apps without the need for buying Windows licenses then small business will really begin to embrace the macintosh. No longer will they be getting jerked off by being caught in the middle of Dell and Microsoft who always blame each other for the user’s systemic problems.

    In the meantime, workers are being introduced to the Apple experience and thinking to themselves, I can afford an iMac!

    The worm is turning!

  5. “Macs are ‘also capable of running Windows if you’ve got a copy of the Microsoft Corp. operating system and supporting software from Apple or others,’ Weston reports.”

    What planet is this guy on? Such blatant misinformation in just the beginning of the story! Since WHEN have Macs been able to run Windows? Is he trying to be sarcastic?

    Any further credibility of this story is null.

  6. “and the gap widens when you start piling on options” actually, the gap closes in as you add on options. These AP guys make half of their stuff up. I’m surprised they didn’t find a way to blame Bush for Microsoft’s incredulity.

  7. For those of you complaining about Apple’s consumer models being still priced too high I should like to pose a question. What kind of a company do you think Apple would become if it decided to go after the bottom feeder segment of the computer market? I don’t want Apple to build computers for the masses if it means losing the characteristics that allow it to make those “insanely great” products we all have come to love and depend upon. The masses are asses; let them suffer with Dull Windoze.

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