Apple Store“I’m a Mac dabbler, not a Mac user. My teenage daughter accuses me of not being cool enough to ‘get’ the Macintosh gestalt, and she may be right. But I’m hearing from more and more small business people who switched, and I’ve identified three primary reasons for the surge in Mac deployments: lower costs, Intel chips, and Web applications,” James E. Gaskin writes for Network World.

Gaskin writes, “Macintosh prices haven’t dropped to PC levels, but they are closer than ever before. The Mac Mini for $599 costs more than an entry level PC desktop, but at least the Mac has an entry level, which wasn’t always the case. An Apple iMac at, including LCD monitor, is under a $1000. It still costs more than a comparable PC with comparable LCD monitor, but again it’s closer.”

MacDailyNews Take: Forget for a moment the important fact that only Apple Macs can run Mac OS X, Linux, and Windows natively and also concurrently via fast virtualization and ignore the value of Mac OS X, iLife, Front Row, etc. Please find us a PC that offers the following for less than $999 in anything remotely resembling iMac’s slim form factor (or even just a box and monitor):
• 1.83GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
• 512MB of PC2-5300 (667MHz) DDR2 memory
• 160GB Serial ATA 7200-rpm hard drive
• 24x Combo drive (DVD-ROM/CD-RW)
• 17-inch LCD (1440 by 900 pixels)
• 802.11n Wi-Fi
• Bluetooth 2.0+EDR
• 10/100/1000 BASE-T Gigabit Ethernet
• Mini-DVI output port with support for DVI, VGA, S-video, and composite video connections
• iSight camera
• Support for external display in extended desktop and mirroring modes
• Two FireWire 400 ports
• Total of five USB ports: three USB 2.0 ports (up to 480 Mbps) on computer, two USB 1.1 ports on keyboard
• Headphone/optical digital audio output
• Built-in microphone

Gaskin continues, “Many more people are willing to pay a couple of hundred dollars extra for the Mac Cool Factor than are willing to pay a cool thousand extra, which has been the case in the past.”

MacDailyNews Take: The difference between a “Mac dabbler” and a “Mac user’ is obviously the ability to recognize the value of Mac OS X and Apple’s Mac-only applications. James, your daughter is right.

Gaskin continues, “[Apple Macs run] Windows as well as OS X. You can dual-boot between OS X and Windows using Boot Camp, or you can get the popular Parallels Desktop for Mac and run both systems at one time… This solves the common Mac user problem of needing to run one or two proprietary Windows applications… You still need to buy Windows software for your Mac, and you pay a little more for your hardware than if you stayed with a PC, but you face a speed bump rather than a brick wall. Many readers have told me they have switched to a Mac and love it, and feel the extra dollars to keep a Windows app or two available are a small price for happiness.”

MacDailyNews Take: Again, while Apple doesn’t play bait-and-switch by selling bare-bones, cut-rate, cheapo PCs, is a Mac really more expensive than a comparable PC?

“If you’re going to buy new hardware to support a new operating system, you may find that switching to a Macintosh costs less and gives you more than upgrading to Windows Vista. Besides, regardless of Vista’s new glass-like interface and Mac-inspired Gadgets, Apple still does Macintosh better than Microsoft copies Macintosh. And Apple is about to roll out its operating system upgrade to answer Vista, which should keep Macintosh that much farther ahead.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: (Added 1:24pm EDT) Obviously, Apple already “answered” Vista years ago. Mac OS X Leopard will simply extend Apple’s already significant lead over Microsoft’s Windows.

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