Mossberg’s annual fall PC buyer’s guide: Apple Macs faster, easier and more stable than Windows PCs

“It’s time for my annual fall PC buyer’s guide. As always, this guide covers what average consumers doing typical tasks should look for in a desktop or laptop PC. That excludes heavy-duty gamers, corporate buyers, techies, or enthusiasts,” Walt Mossberg reports for The Wall Street Journal. “But this autumn, we find ourselves in a serious global economic slowdown. So I will focus this edition of the guide on how folks whose PC budgets have shrunk can still get something adequate for light use.”

Mossberg writes, “I consider the Mac operating system, Leopard, to be faster, easier and more stable than Windows XP or Windows Vista. It isn’t susceptible to the vast majority of malicious software that circulates on the Internet. And Macs also include Apple’s superb built-in iLife multimedia suite. Macs can even run Windows, though that costs extra.”

“However, Apple has consciously chosen not to offer machines in the bargain category. The cheapest Mac desktop, the minimalist Mac Mini, which doesn’t even include a monitor, speakers, keyboard or mouse, costs $650 for a model with a hard disk I consider adequate. The cheapest Mac laptop, the base model of the prior-generation MacBook (which Apple has retained in its lineup) is $999,” Mossberg reports.

“Both are good values, mainly due to the software. And Macs can save you money over time. But if the lowest upfront cost is your objective, you can pay hundreds less for desktops and laptops from Windows PC makers,” Mossberg reports.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Buy a superior Mac today or pay more in money and frustration over time. It’s your choice.

“This particular [economic] downturn is not creating a market of cheaper computers. That market has existed for some time and there are parts of that market that we choose not to play in. I think when people want a product of the class that we make, over and over again people have done the price comparisons and we’re actually quite competitive. So we choose to be in certain segments of the market and we choose not to be in certain segments of the market. And the question is, is the downturn going to drive some of our customers to those lower segments of the marketplace and get to buy lesser products? And I will be surprised if that happens in large numbers and I actually think that there are still a tremendous number of customers that we don’t have in the Windows world, or in the other 99% of the phone market we don’t have, who would like to and can afford to buy Apple products. So we’ll see what the ratio of those two things are, but we’re not tremendously worried.” – Apple CEO Steve Jobs, October 21, 2008


  1. still i consider the netbook a serious threat to apple’s business model and carriers starting to subsidy these netbooks (free with a contract) make things even worse. i hope i am wrong but a lot of anecdotal evidence (amazon’s top ten list, growing shelf space in the electronic markets i visit and people i know) tells me that this is a new, huge trend. i hope apple has an answer to this without having to lower their margins or cannibalizing their other products too much.

  2. Mossberg sent 2 friends to get a cheap Dell for $500 because…

    “they only wanted to run Microsoft Office, browse the Web, do email and manage photos, this machine met their needs.”

    For a smart guy, Walt can be real stupid sometimes. If that was all their computing needs were, they could get a G3 600MHz imac on ebay for $100. This way you save $400, avoid viruses and the cost of the software to protect you from viruses, save 1 to 2 hours a week in maintenance, avoid a clunky interface like windows, and already have one of the very best photo managers in iphoto.

    Remember Walt, friends don’t let friends use Windows!

  3. Uncle Walt noted:

    “(OSX Leopard) isn’t susceptible to the vast majority of malicious software that circulates on the Internet.”

    Which “malicious software that circulates on the Internet” is Mac OSX Leopard vulnerable to?

    As far as I know, an up-to-date version of Mac OSX Leopard is vulnerable to ZERO “malicious software that circulates on the Internet”


  4. If the perception of Macs to the non-Mac world is, “that’s the computer I aspire to get, if only it was a little cheaper…” that plays perfectly into Apple’s long-term strategy. Apple does not strive to dominate in market share for Mac OS X. Apple strives to become the #1 PC maker. It can do so with about 25% market share for Mac OS X, with the Windows crowd splitting the rest.

    Apple is making steady progress every quarter. In a few years, it will be the #1 PC maker. And it will get there withOUT being the low-cost low-margin high-revenue no-profit leader.

  5. “aapl already has a netbook for $225. It is called an I touch. I know because that is what I use.”

    You must have mistaken your mp3 player for a fully fledged computing device.

  6. “In a few years, it will be the #1 PC maker.”

    Right now Apple has about 3% worldwide share. the #1 players have about 25% worldwide share. Apple has a long way to go to even make the top 5 list worldwide, let alone take on the big boys.

    Please now post your obligatory reply about how well Apple is doing in retail sales to US home users.

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