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Speaking of Apple's Prices... Why Are They So Damn High?

More than anything, users appreciate the undeniable consistency (and therefore, customer confidence) that comes with any Apple machine or app. This applies to both consumers and professionals, though some of the latter may hesitate in days to come. Of course, achieving this consistency can be a double-edged sword — the very measures that guarantee the quality you’ve come to know and respect of Apple computing are the same tendencies that see them labeled as “notoriously controlling.” This too goes for the staunchly unwavering prices of Apple products across the marketplace — that double-edged sword extends all the way out to how such pricing is so firmly set. And, in terms of sword metaphors, this is more often the kind that cuts a hole in your pocket than the kind that “slashes prices.”

Let me be clear, I’m a long-time Apple user — and fan, to a point within reason — of both its hardware and software. Why is Apple the biggest thing in tech (read: “consumer tech,” short for), anyway? Because its goods always work very, very well, and they look damn sexy doing it. Equivalent-or-better hardware or open extensibility are way secondary to elegant-but-robust functionality in sleek chic. The ways in which Apple all but brands the pricing into each and every polycarbonate shell for retail is no secret (or even all that sketchy) per se — but it’s certainly interesting. Basically, Apple uses some traditional business tactics in conjunction with each other, but to a whole other ‘perfect storm’ sort of success.

See first, Exhibit A: standard product, non-Apple — which may get up to a 50% markup at retail, in turn allowing for a lot of variability (and discount-flavored marketability) with pricing. Then, see Exhibit B, from MacWorld:

Apple, however, extends only a tiny wholesale discount on its Macs and iPads to your retailer of choice. The actual numbers are a closely guarded secret, protected by confidentiality agreements between Cupertino and its resellers, but the difference probably amounts to only a few percentage points off the official price that you find at Apple’s own stores. With such a narrow gap to tinker with, most retailers can’t offer big discounts and still hope to turn a profit.

The shorthand: Apple doesn’t cut anyone any breaks in wholesale — the price virtually can’t go down without retailers going under (or at least, losing on every Mac deal). The catch: Why not markup higher for larger profit? Well, because then you’d be the only store in town able to advertise “Highest Mac Prices in Town!”

This is where the second part of Apple’s retail strategy kicks in: The company supplements its tiny wholesale discounts to resellers with more substantial monetary incentives that are available only if those resellers advertise its products at or above a certain price, called the “minimum advertised price” (MAP). This arrangement enables retailers to make more money per sale, but it prevents them from offering customers significant discounts, resulting in the nearly homogeneous Apple pricing we are used to.

The shorthand: Retailers may pay less per unit on each order, therefore standing to make a higher profit — but only if the unit goes for however much Apple wants. The catch: Between this rock and that hard place, why carry Apple goods at all? Well, because the demand is so great, you’d be the only store in town able to advertise “Lowest Mac Prices in Town — Because We Don’t Sell Any Macs!” (Drivers-by may only read the top of the sign, and then sue you for false advertisement by their own error).

As it fittingly turns out, the way Apple can ensure a viable cost-to-profit margin — and a therefore sustainable “work great, be sexy” business model — is to keep prices as consistent as the performance of its devices themselves. It all echoes that absolute, pain-staking level of quality control. And with that invariable price comes a product of invariably high quality, to be sure — but since the body governing how much it costs virtually everywhere may be somewhat biased toward the product, the real worth is determined by the user. Whether you actually get what you pay for is up for you to decide — as is which platform you return to or depart from when it comes time to upgrade to the next generation.

[Update:] By the way, my first smartphone will likely be an Android — how about you guys? Is anyone quitting Apple and never looking back — because of things like price, or not? Is anyone else taking the mid-ground, and going for whatever the best deal for performance may be?

Link: How Apple sets its prices — MacWorld

[via Gizmodo]


We’re all here for the same reason: to better ourselves as writers, directors, cinematographers, producers, photographers... whatever our creative pursuit. Criticism is valuable as long as it is constructive, but personal attacks are grounds for deletion; you don't have to agree with us to learn something. We’re all here to help each other, so thank you for adding to the conversation!

Description image 97 COMMENTS

  • Soosan Khanoom on 01.16.13 @ 3:13AM


  • “Whether you actually get what you pay for is up for you to decide…”

    So, your conclusion is arbitrary? Cool story, bro.

    As for the misnomer that their products “works great…”, I have almost two decades of significant experience on both pre-eminent video production platforms and this argument holds no water.

    The only measurement left then is the “… looks sexy.” factor, which is more about ideology than about technology. And that is something I can’t really argue with any merit so I can will leave you with a thought. If you are buying a product made by a company that has the type of business model that Apple propagates, you might have more dollars than sense.

    • Dave Kendricken on 01.16.13 @ 5:33AM

      Hey bro — the main ideas here are the business tactics, but if you don’t appreciate the fact that one can do with this information what one will as a (hopefully, and perhaps as of now) informed consumer, well, I’m at least glad you took the time to read to the end. As for two decades of experience, which I of course respect, I was speaking of the more latter-day Apple, as in the one which has the most to do with the filmmaking/social realms — though the ‘working great’ and ‘sexiness’ aspects apply pretty well to all of the present-day products I’ve tried. What shortcomings these devices have apparently isn’t to the dissatisfaction of the general consumer — I hope I don’t have to explain what I mean here.

      I apologize for not telling you what (or how, even) to take away from all of this, given the arbitrary conclusion. I will tell you that I removed a pretty considerable number of words from this post that would have, in my eyes, colored the whole thing as a bit too Apple-hating. Apple is a business, a well-run one, and one that makes good products. To avoid total support of a business model the likes of which Apple propagates, please see the Hackintosh section. That said, I feel like ‘being a bit too Apple-hating’ is exactly what you’re really doing in commenting here — and I suppose I can respect that too?

    • Photogoofer on 01.16.13 @ 7:54AM

      Holds no water? I’ve owned Apple hardware going back to their first edition of the Mac. I’ve also been among those that were required to use Windows-based hardware while working for companies that lived in the Windows world. There’s no comparison. As I was required to replace one poorly designed/manufactured windows clone after another. It was an annual ritual. In the meantime, I still have that working “vintage” original Mac, my first PowerBook, my 3G desktop, even my Apple Newton is still plugging away as it did when it was new. The main reason for upgrading in all cases was improvement in specifications and processor speed. I’ve gladly paid the price for quality and reliability. Because they work and are MUCH easier to use. Going into my 4th decade of experience with Apple hardware, I’d say this part of the argument holds a significant amount of the water!

  • Also, why do apple products in average cost 30% more outside the US then within? To my knowledge the actual products are not even built in the US so what is the point? Taking the Euro as an example, it looks like Apple converts dollars to euros at a 1 / 1 conversion rate when it should actually be 1.3 / 1.
    The sad truth is there is hardly any good alternative, because while I am not a fan of apple and where it is heading, using Microsoft products usually drives me to the edge of insanity…

    • errr… true but it happens with many many brands and not only Apple (Canon, Sony, Panasonic, etc…). It was always cheaper to buy electronic products in the US than in the EU (I don’t know why but probably it has to do with TAX policy regarding electronics. I’ve bought a GoPro Hero3 last week (in New York) for 399$ USD (which translates roughly to 320€ while here in Portugal where I live it sells for 460€.

    • Yes its all about tax. Europe has a VAT (value added tax) on just about everything you buy which is usually about 25%. Not to mention other random taxes on electronics. Hard drives for example just got an extra tax in Sweden for some unknown reason….murica!

      • Within Europe you find diferences in prices, here in spain Apple computers are about 200€ more expensive than for example Germany. I know most of brands do that, but why different prices within the same “territory”?? I don’t get it, anyway here in Spain our VAT (here is called IVA) it’s on the 21% :)

  • As for desktop computers, I would always go for a custom built Windows machine. More performance, less expensive.

    As for laptops, I’ve searched hours for an equivalent of the MacBook Pro 15 retina. I haven’t found anything that could come close at that price point, in fact at any price point. Whatever you pick, you have to make concessions at either mobility, screen quality and / or performance.
    The only thing that can match the performance and screen of the Macbook (or probably outdo in terms of color rendition, not the resolution) is an HP Elitebook with Dreamcolor, which costs at least twice as much and weighs a ton. Also it turns your legs into hot sausages.

  • Not sure how this article helps me make a film…

    But, I’ll bite.
    I’m an Apple user – because I am a graphic designer and when I started out in 2000, you couldn’t really go cross-platform due to fonts and other concerns. You wanted to be a designer, you had to be Apple.

    No, Macs don’t “just work”. I get less bothersome crap on my mac about codecs etc than I do on Windows, but then I’ve had 3 hard drives fail – 2 in an imac and 1 in a Mac Pro.
    My Cinema HD monitor also failed.

    I pay the extra because I’m a pro and Apple catered to me.
    Now all they care about is the lifestyle users, so I may switch at some point.

    • Dave Kendricken on 01.16.13 @ 5:41AM

      Fresno Bob — I’m sorry to hear of your troubles, especially with the drives. I can’t say for certainty that “Apple’s improved the hardware failure rates since 2000,” nor do I care to. What I can say is that I’m writing this comment from a 5-year-old Macbook Pro that, at this point, has little to no reason remaining to live — and yet it does. A friend of mine who worked for the Apple Store about 2 years ago gave me a diagnostic on the house, and told me my mama-board had but a year left until… well, you know. I’m sure my first MBP07-’posthumous’ comment will be something of an occasion.

      As for helping you make a film, well, perhaps this information influences what you’ll go for in a new editing machine. As for switching, I say do it.

    • sure… everything electronic/mechanic is bound to fail at some point the difference being how many times does it fail. having both macs and pc’s in my post-prod facilities I can tell you that if you were a PC user that hardware failure list would be a lot more extensive (and I mean A LOT!). And this is just hardware… if you were to compare software/os crashes than that difference would be even bigger.

      • This is an odd argument, because unlike Apple products, PCs can come from a variety of sources and combinations. It’s not as simple of an outlook. Are we talking HP hybrids, Dells, Gateways, Lenovos? They’re all different mixtures and only certain parts are compatible (like GPUs and processors).
        Apple has an advantage that their parts are all they same unless a new manufacturer joins their “family”. However you could’ve done the same with choosing a specific PC manufacturer or, the pride and joy of PC’ing, customize your own. Is it any wonder why the comparison of PC vs Apple= Manual vs Automatic gear shift exists?

  • I’ve always looked at like this :

    iLife is not free.

    And further, give me a mac without iLife for $300 bucks cheaper. Coz to be honest i don’t need it.

  • While I don’t like their direction of travel, staying with FCP7, I’ve just bought a second hand mac pro 2.93Ghz 4,1 for about half the price I bought the equivalent 1,1 I bought in ’07. And it’s not cos “they just work, look sexy”, but when they stop working, I can fix them myself, any problem I’ve had I’ve found the same problem and a cure online. Windows/Microsoft machines you basically have to take it somewhere, pay and wait for its return.

    For that i’ll pay a premium, and pay for Mac Book pro and 3GS, now 4S.

    • Ugh, FCP 7? You’re just crippling yourself by staying with that ancient piece of software.

      It’s time to move up, either to CS6 or to FCP X. Seriously.

      • I have FCPX (and don’t really mind it too much), but have never once used it in a professional setting. My time is spent in FCP7, Premiere CS6 and AVID (AVID being a long time standard, and Premiere popping up more and more). FCP7 is still a standard in a ton of production studios here in NYC, because of the great initial investment they made to begin with.

  • @ Chris – that’s not a premium your paying – its a ‘stupid’ tax apple base their entire business around! ;-)

    PC’s are hands down the easiest to build, run and maintain both software / hardware wise. Add to that the complete freedom of being able to mix and match ANY components as required and choosing a PC over a mac is a no-brainer!

  • for me the question is: are Apple products REALLY more expensive than PC’s? I really don’t think so… when analysing a price one has to consider many factors and not only the price tag. I’ve bought my first (personal) mac in 2003, a G5 tower with a 23″ cinema display. This combo was a whopping 5000$ at the time. In 2005 I managed to buy my first Apple laptop, a macbook pro 17″ for around 3000$. In 2009 I replaced my macbook pro for the new unibody models for 2000$.

    So this is a total of 10000$ invested in Apple hardware over the course of 10 years (around 1000$ per year).

    What about my hardware? Well… the G5 served me well until the last update of FCP stopped running on Lion. It has many many hours of hardcore intensive HDCAM SR editing under it’s belt (back in 2003 HDCAM was the only way to shoot HD which means 440Mbps 12bit 4:4:4 footage). It is now used as network server.
    My first macbook performed flawlessly over the course of it’s life, editing on the field and travelling with me through Africa, Brazil and Asia, handling proxy versions of the HDCAM footage without complaining.

    What about my new Macbook Pro? Well, since now I shoot about 90% of my films on DSLR/C300 I realised I don’t need “heavy” machinery and I have to thank Apple for that. So now I edit my work on a Macbook Pro, connected to my 2003 23” Cinema Display (yeah, it still works and is hands down the best monitor I’ve ever had) and an array of RAID5 GTECH hard drives.

    Does this “look” a “professional” set up? Of course not… Does it perform well enough so that I can trust it with my professional work? Sure does!!!

    So… in conclusion: if anyone out there has done or thinks it’s possible to do the same thing with a PC workflow just let me know.

    • Oh boy. Of course it is. Probably for half the price.

      • ThunderBolt on 01.16.13 @ 9:25AM

        You need to know that Microsoft subsidizes most PC manufacturers which lowers the cost of many models. Without this form of welfare PC’s would:
        1. Be higher priced
        2. Have crap hardware
        3. Be higher priced with crap hardware

        It’s all about market share for Bill Gates and the Nazi’s of the North. Without providing corporate welfare to manufacturing, MS looses long term gains from future MS software purchases, upgrades and support. MS is about locking you into a false sense of value. In my world and the real world of professional creators, apple products pay for themselves in one project.

        • The name Bill Gate’s should never be used in the same sentence as Nazi. The man is doing amazing work with the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. We’re talking about computers, let’s keep the conversation grounded.

          • ThunderBolt on 01.16.13 @ 12:25PM

            No worries, both feet were firmly placed on the ground when I wrote this. Gates Foundation has little do do with MS, Entirely different entities, I think you can agree. Fact is, Bill has little to do with MS. So I stand by my characterization for those who make products based on buggy, spaghetti code and who also buy and then destroy good tech companies. These Socialist can only survive in mediocrity.

        • Then why did i build my new PC for $1500, with specs that ran +$2,000 from all the PC makers? A little bit of research and its amazing what you find. I have built my Gaming/Work PC and my HTPC with guidance from I really hope Apple learns to embrace the Hackentosh crowd and adds actual support for it, I might actually use them if they ever did.

      • Jake, I honestly think you don’t know what you’re talking about. 10 years ago there was no “off the shelf” PC on earth that could handle HDCAM SR. Back then you had three options: go for a high end “proprietary” editing system (like Quantel) which meant a few thousand bucks; take the AVID route (still more expensive than Apple and with an outdated software); buy yourself a “cheap” G5 tower, shove a Blackmagic HD card/ HD Link combo in there and install a little piece of software called Final Cut Pro that could handle up to eight streams of HDCAM SR in real time and still provide you with color accurate, pixel by pixel, 1080p real time monitoring (plus all the scopes and histograms). To have all this for 5000$ in a system that NEVER crashed was truly revolutionary and a real eye-opener for many companies. Oh, and for an extra 500$ you could have Shake, that was pretty much the industry standard compositing software back then.

        Nowadays you can do pretty much the same thing with a 1500$ iMac and 300$ FCPX.

        Expensive? I think not…

        • Yes, imac represents incredible value for money. Super fast, awesome monitor, reliable, great software. Also, you can edit 4k R3D in realtime… all on an imac. If price is an issue by an imac. Simples.

  • @peter

    No. It’s called sick of paying someone to fix the PC I had before it, you cannot afford to lose 2-3weeks, every 3months, when relying on it as a video editing machine, for paid work. You can only use “my machine is down” & missing deadlines, so often before a client marks you as unreliable.

    Apple gear was not superior, but it was reliable, and when rarely going wrong, easily fixed when it did. Neither stupid nor a fan boy. Certainly not a fan boy since FCPX arrived.

    • I guess that was just bad luck. I haven’t had a single problem with my PC gear in years. Also, Windows has come a long way since W95. Nowadays it really is stable, fast and easy to use, even for Mac users;)

  • Apple controls prices.

  • Hasn’t this been re-hashed a million times over by now? Still, I’ll bite:

    I’ve had Macs since 1991, and keep buying them. I don’t begrudge a small premium every couple of years on the tools I use to make a living; it’s like a builder buying a better hammer. Several tools I use and enjoy are Mac-only, which makes it an easy decision, and I can run Windows in virtualization (for checking websites in IE) or by dual-booting (for gaming). Retina displays are awesome, too.

    In summary: they’re easier to use and maintain, run unique software, and you pay a premium up-front which you may or may not recoup in reduced ongoing costs. Fair enough.

  • ThunderBolt on 01.16.13 @ 8:40AM

    Sorry, but this post is sub-standard. Apple makes tools, good tools are not cheap tools and so may cost more than a subsidized PC with patches placed on generations on patches. I don’t think anyone can forget Windows Vista. As far as their marketing/business/vendor strategies go; who cares, really? What’s the point to speculate about business practices? This feels like a PC guy making statements about how apple will never survive, it’s worn out and will never be. Quality comes with a price and quality has helped provide me the life I always felt I deserved. I don’t know of a successful creative that doesn’t produce on apple.

  • I make more than enough money off of production work than to obsess over a difference in a few hundred dollars over the course of every 2-3 years. I just prefer the overall build quality and form factor of Mac portables; I also prefer working in OS X although I will admit that Windows 7 is fine for most purposes.

    I’m a bit nervous about their future direction (where size and form takes precedence over function), but if they can release an outstanding Mac Pro, I’d buy it in a heartbeat.

  • I am a laptop coordinator at school which has over 600 laptops (MB Airs, MB Pros, MacBooks) and 50 iMacs and two Mac Pros. I am also an Apple certified repair tech and we do all repairs in house…….repairing machines is the thing I do LEAST at my job. Most repairs I do are from student accidental damage.

    I don’t even want to think about supporting 600 PC’s running W7 in the hands of teenagers

  • Anthony Marino on 01.16.13 @ 9:06AM

    Interesting story. I’ve been on a Mac since 1999. Just recently (because of FCP and a lack of updates not to mention price) I have switched to a PC (I had built). In my observation comparing the new build to the Macs I’ve owned, It’s safe to say if you want a turn Key system without any hitches get the Mac. True you’re spending more, but The fact is you’re getting less power. i need the power now so a PC for me was the only way to go. I’ll admit there were some issues with my new build, I’ve rma’d the motherboard, Replaced my hard drives and video card and now happy to report my PC is working flawlessly at the moment (fingers crossed) It was very frustrating in the beginning, I definitely questioned my decision realizing this is something I’ve never had to deal with on my Macs. So I’ll conclude If you want a powerful system and have the patience to deal with possible issues that might occur a building a PC is probably your best choice at the moment. I tried to go Mac but it just didn’t add up. I’m sorry for that, I love Mac products but its obvious their direction is geared more towards the general public than professionals.

  • I’ve always used Windows and don’t even think about it anymore. Years ago there was a constant nagging fear that something would go wrong. Now it just works. Oh, and when recently I decided to upgrade my NVidia graphics card for faster CS6 speed, one thumbscrew opened the case, old card out, new card in and a few minutes later I was editing ripsh*t fast. Less gear, more art.

  • I understand wanting to build a hackintosh to get a really high spec machine for less money. But it sometimes seem people are trying really hard to make Apple incomprehensible. We know Apple computers are designed to always be the same price. This has been true for decades. Every year or two you get a much better computer for the same price which never goes down. We also know Apple is in the hardware business – not software, not selling music, not the App store – hardware. That’s where they make their money. This is key despite the fact that most of us buy Macs for OS X. Which explains the hackintosh impulse.

    Note that Apple is *nothing* at all like the Windows PC business which is based on a spectrum of types of self-built hardware, incidentally made of the same components Apple uses, but at commodity prices. The PC market is and always will be a kind of semi-commodity market. In other words, it’s about price – specifically cheap. Business-wise, it’s a race to the bottom. I don’t see that it makes sense to beat Apple with the stick of commodity hardware. They are different worlds and markets. What people often seem to demand from Apple runs completely counter to the premise and proposition of the company. Aside from which, the total cost of ownership (think viruses) for a Mac is very competitive – and it’s cheaper than broadband! (or a phone line, or mobile networking.) Apple software is about 75% cheaper than competitors like Adobe now too.

  • on 01.16.13 @ 10:31AM

    I’m of the group who looks for the best deal available. I’ve been using a Mac for the majority of my serious editing projects for the last six years because of the fact that it runs Industry-standard platforms, but if I could find an equally stable and more cost-effective alternative, I’d take it. I’ve considered building a Hacktintosh but I’m not that tech savvy in terms of assembling disparate parts. Though, given the recent article about Apple-quality displays, it may be possible to build something comparable or more powerful than a Mac Pro for cheaper.

    By the way, my smartphone is an Android, but not because of some agenda against Apple; it was a gift.

  • For me, running Photoshop or Premiere is exactly the same on a PC or a Mac. 2 years ago I was able to spec out a sweet Dell XPS system w 16G RAM and it rarely, if ever, hiccups during video editing. Not to mention I can have 4 or 5 CPU-labor-intensive apps running all at once with no problems whatsoever. An equivalent MAC system would have cost twice as much.

    HOWEVER, this past year, I dropped my PC laptop and cracked the motherboard so it was time to get a new laptop anyway. I decided to give Macs another go-round. Why? Because the prices had really come back where they needed to be, because the machine is all-aluminum, because there are rare virus issues, and as a bonus, the MAC OS has finally blossomed with the marriage to better Intel processors. The OS environment is so FAR above, and so much more sophisticated than Windows that it’s difficult for me to work on my desktop machine now. In fact, I leave Photoshop or Premiere open all the time on my desktop so I don’t have to look at that godawful Windows OS. The latest Mac OS is just vastly superior and smarter.

    One final note: I was able to pick up a 17″ refurbished MBPro, and thank god I did. Why did Mac stop making these? The screens are beautiful and I hate editing on anything smaller…

    I still believe that all systems are just tools to get done what you need to get done. But it’s a lot more satisfying to do it in a Mac setup these days. They are firing on all cylinders.

  • As for as smart phones, I love the iphone. Why? Because when it breaks at can be fixed. Every non-apple product I’ve owned phone wise (Samsung, HTC) has broken, and then been thrown away and replaced. They just work correctly, always. I feel the same about tablets (ipad vs ___ ) and laptops.

    Desktops are now a completely different conversation, as we all know. I’m halfway between hackintosh and a windows build. I love my imac, but it’s not close to powerful enough now. The new 27″ is great looking, but it’s really just a giant macbook when you crack it open. MacPros are a huge mess right now. Tough decisions to be made for freelance editors.

  • I love the Mac operating system. I wouldn’t care less about the ‘sexy’ factor. This is why i’ve built a Hackointosh instead of buying an iMac.

    I’ve had an iPhone and an iPad, but I almost immediately sold them and bought an Android equivalent.

    I hate where Apple (and Microsoft for that matter) are going with their mobile devices. And they are extending this into their main operating system.

    I want a workstation on which I can do ‘work’, not being restricted to what Apple allows me and the application developers to do.

    Maybe I should be looking into Linux in the future, with lightworks, if it ever comes out.

  • My first computer was an Apple IIgs. I moved to a IIc. I loved that you cold plug any Apple peripheral into it and it would work the first time. Then I decided I wanted to run a bbs system. Apple fail. No software. What hardware out there had to be modified to work. I switched to a Microsoft platform, cursed it because nothing plugged into it worked the first time, but it was very flexible; I could make it work and, to the limit of my ability, hack it together. So, I like Apple because they run well, but I have never owned an Apple computer because of the lack of flexibility. My phone is an Android just because I can hack it.

  • Some heated discussions going on here, eh?

    Though I feel the article was essentially asking, ‘do you subscribe/support the business model of apple?’, I could already see the storm clouds gathering…

    I’m a PC guy. Boom. I said it. I don’t hate Apple and I’m versed on most NLE’s (Avid, Fcp, Adobe, Vegas) and a handful of subsidiary post production programs. Why don’t I use, what is very much fact, a more reliable/more intuitive system, ie. Apple? /plays the little violin/

    It’s like wanting to have the fastest car on the road; yeah, if I could afford a lambo I’d get one, but instead ill super charge the hemi on a rusted Plymouth I bought off my uncle. It’s got a ton of guts.for a fraction of the cost but it may not handle so well and you definitely have to feather the clutch (and a million other nuances) to get the most of it.

    As a business minded young man, applause to Apple. They create a good product, market it better than anyone else and make a killing on the books.

    As a budget filmmaker, applause to PC for creating the next best thing that I can afford.

    /comment written on an Android.

  • Tyler Larson on 01.16.13 @ 11:27AM

    I know little about computers, but I do know the macs I’ve used that have equal or even a little less power on paper are significantly quicker and more reliable than the PC’s I use. The monster PC editing stations with 12 core’s and 24+ gigs of ram have a new issue EVERY DAY. Apple computers just work, and they work damn well. That’s the end all for me. The price is a hard bandaid to pull off, but worth it in the long run.

  • I writhe in terror that I may, one day, be forced to use a PC to get my work done. Perhaps, with a little luck, I will die before that day comes.

  • I have had two android phones one rooted with a custom OS. Switched to an iphone a few months ago and enjoy it more.

    Tablet front included one android based tab, then an ipad 3 which wins hands down. Better color, res, and usability.

    Have built PCs from scratch for myself since the beginning. Yes I lived through Vista?! Pain in the a**.
    When it came time to upgrade my 07 laptop took a chance and went mac. Cost was justifiable at the time considering my options. I still use a windows 7 based desktop as my main machine. And it works albeit lots of headaches are involved. I find myself fixing more problems on windows than I do the mac. But still doing most of my editing on the PC. What works for me wont for others just adding to the conversation.

  • A few years back, a production company I worked for bought an Avid Nitris system, and I asked the Avid Rep which workstation platform he recommended. He said PC, hands down. Way faster than the G5 at the time, and more stable. That’s coming from Avid! Of course, this PC was built to Avid specs, and that’s why Avid migrated to PC in the first place.
    And we ended up getting the G5, and guess why: Our editor was a Mac guy! Remember when Apple had unwavering loyalty from professionals? Now they make shiny widgets for the masses, lol

    • You act surprised when the Avid man recommends a PC? And Apple make their biggest rival product… lol

  • i don´t think PCs for high-end use are cheaper than MACs. I have two dell towers, high-end PCs, that cost me around 90% of a ‘pro’ apple. The price of my new dell notebook is as high as apple macbook pro (but it has no retina display). My old dell pro notebook lived for 5 yrs. with me, and is still alive in the hands of a friend that just make music with linux (ardour, lmms, hydrogen). I´ve never had a problem with it (I use dell pro hardware since I got out of college), they run smooth with linux and all software I run with it.

    well, my only problem with dell pro hardware is it´s ugly as hell if we compare it with mac pro stuff! :D

    The same way some people are connected with the ‘sexiness’ of apple design, I´m connected with open source philosophy, but I guess in the end, a high-end machine, be it mac or pc, will cost higher and have a similar price.

    about software problems, well, in a not so good hardware being used to do high-end video or 3D or music or ________, the possibilities of a O.S. to fail is big, whatever the O.S. is, a unix like as osx (freebsd), linux or even the fatty windows.

    cost, power, needs, in the end it is what gonna define most of how we choose our hardware, by reason. by emotion, the looks and ideology will rule. :)

    and about evil bill gates vs. apple… well, I don´t know if to spread transgenic seeds that will lead to corporation control (cargill, monsanto, etc) over africa is a good deed, but in the end, when alive, steve jobs even defended the bad working conditions in foxconn factories more than once… so, let´s face it, in venture capitalism in information age, no one is innocent, no user, no maker, no communist, no capitalist! no big corporation is better than the other in the end. Profits and market share is what rule the game. :) In a way, that´s the ‘tragedy’ of being an artist in mediums that depends on higher technology than a paper, pencil, brushes, body and imagination. :)

    • Totally agree. Apple does use high-end hardware, you always have to compare apples with apples (pun intended).
      When the MacPro uses two Xeon processors, you’ll have to know that a single one of these cpus costs like 900 dollars. Also a PC case with the built quality of a MacPro case easily costs 250-300 Dollars, you cannot at all compare it to some cheapo 50 bucks PC case.

      However the question is, do I really need two 900 dollars Xeon processors, or would I be fine with just on i7 quad core in my desktop system. And no, I don’t want an iMac as an editing system. That is where I can’t choose anymore with Apple. The options are very limited. for a hardware freak like me who sees a million options that I can build myself into a nice system, I always end up building a PC system.

  • Hackintosh from Koo’s guide; never looked back. After tinkering it blows everything I’ve had by apple out of the water for cheap

    Plus I got… lemme see… 10 or so usb ports? 4 3.0 ports? gratzi koo

  • The production company I worked at used Macs(all Mac Pro). I had only ever used pcs, and I spent a bit of time learning the software. I do like how folders are setup, and the speed at which programs open, but there was a problem… When we decided to get a better rig, none came at a price point low enough for what we needed. For a mac pro that came with 8gb ram, a lousy atI card, and no ssd drives, the prices were enormous.

    It doesn’t help when you upgrade to cs6 and have an ATI card, when you need an NVIDIA for the mercury playback? The lack of upgradability hurts. When paying $3000 for a mac pro and getting less than you could on a pc at that price point denies professionals the hardware they need to get the job done.

    Working with After Effects all day long, mac was good, but when we needed more power, we couldn’t simply slip in a few gigs of ram or a new video card. Both systems have their advantages, I choose upgradability, instead of buying a new system every time.

  • I’ve worked on video editing and animation on both platforms, and from my experience neither one is more stable than the other. I’ve been able to crash my mac with the same specs just as much as with my pc. I like to build computers, so naturally I prefer PC and I save a ton of money in doing so while still getting what I want in performance. If you want to spend the extra money, then by all means, but I certainly won’t.

    • Agreed. If I have the freedom and ability to build a system for what I need, I’ll do that. Apple to me offers the easy way out. Sometimes its good, but the day will come when they are too over bearing and controlling of their products, and that turns me off to their business.

      Hell, if adobe ran flawlessly on Linux, I’d take Linux over pc or apple any day.

      • Nygel bissel on 01.16.13 @ 4:48PM

        To Mason …
        You meant to say that you will take Linux OS over Microsoft windows I guess.
        avoid the confusion

    • I totally agree. I work with Macs a lot professionally, but I have been assembling my own Windows PCs since 1998. The stability or speed or workflow of a good windows system (since Win XP) is no other than that of a Mac system. My own self-assembled Windows PCs have a certain hardware quality which assures that the PC runs just as stable and fast as the Mac system, only my options are better and the price is a little lower.

      What I am tired of hearing is that Macs run much more stable than PCs or can do stuff better and quicker. As I said before, I work with Macs a lot, and every time a program crashes on me I think “good thing I have a Mac, because they always work perfectly”…

      Don’t get me wrong, I kind of like Macs and OSX. Macs have are well designed computers with good hardware, and the OS is really good, too. Security wise OSX is still a little better I think because of its Unix core, I’ll admit to that.
      However I hate being so limited hardware-wise. Apple never had a middle-ground desktop system, they only ever sold the overpowered Mac Pro with the most expensive server hardware, or the stylish but very limited iMac. My PC systems were always in-between, where I was getting a lot more power than from the iMac, but at 1/3 of the price of a MacPro.

      Right now, the MacPro is pretty much old hardware for too high a price, it is not really an option for anyone half sane.
      But would you really want to use an iMac as an editing workstation? I wouldn’t! It only has a mobile graphics chipset, you can’t even change the graphics adapter, and changing the harddrive is a days work if you even dare to do it yourself.

  • trackofalljades on 01.16.13 @ 3:18PM

    …and now of course, the comments will run all over “anything I’m anoyed with Apple about today” instead of pricing. I’ll bring up one pricing related story though, which I found interesting. Last month, Apple actually did something unprecedented. They allowed a major retailer (well, THE major retailer) to set some especially low holiday prices without taking their usual semi-legal action against that retailer for stepping out of line with the standard MAP.

    (there are much better writeups elsewhere, but CNN’s is brief for TLDR folks)

    I, for one, found this kind of disturbing actually. It doesn’t set a very good precedent for the speciality shops out there that persist and provide the kinds of professional-level interaction that you can’t get from an Apple Store (but some OS X users still need).

    I’d hate to see those kinds of places continue to disappear, while $%^&* Walmart of all places makes record Apple sales.

  • For me personally, Apple does not offer enough to justify the extremely higher cost over building my own computer. For the price of a Mac Pro, I can build a computer with far greater performance.

  • Apple made a net profit of $8.2 billion in Q4 2012. $8.2 BILLION. They are so far beyond “a viable cost-to-profit margin” it isn’t even funny. On the iPad, if I’m not mistaken they could literally cut the price of the device in HALF and still be making a decent profit.

    I’m quitting apple with my next computer and smartphone because the products are increasingly poorly made and I’m tried of having to take them in for repairs, but the pricing doesn’t help either. Apple could be offering most of its products for way way less, and the only difference would be lower annual bonuses for Apple employees, less in the company war chest, and probably lower stock prices. But I’d bet that even if they reduced every product’s price by 25% they’d still be making a better profit than most tech companies.

    • Nygel bissel on 01.16.13 @ 6:30PM

      I agree 100 percent with you all guys. Apple products are to damn expensive for the quality offered ..

      • I priced a MAC desktop @ $12,000.
        I then built my own PC with the best components I could find for just over $2,000.

        I own a MacBook Pro which I can’t replace because they dumbed the new ones down so much.

        I bought a loaded 17″ PC laptop that runs Premier Pro et al with no problems. I paid only $1,000.00 for it.

        Apple’s just not worth the money for what they offer.


        • Thyl Engelhardt on 01.21.13 @ 4:00AM

          Which surprises me. To get to 12000 dollars, you need to spec the system with dual 6-core Xeons E5645. Two of them alone would cost me 2800 _Euro_ at a well known, cheap supplier here in Germany.

  • We have switched permanently away from apple on all platforms and not looking back. The $30 connector for old iphones to new charger, the childlike advertising campaigns, and the lame anecdotal worn out arguments like Macs don’t get viruses / windows breaks down more have caused my production company to move completely off of mac including iphone.

  • A lot of my friends hold Macs, and every time they upgrade to a new model, they buy the pricey Apple care warranty because when they start behaving badly, they are impossible to fix by the average user. So add that to the pricey machine.

    Working as a promo director, I’ve crashed just as much on Macs (running FCP) as on Windows machines. For me, the legendary Mac reliability factor is a myth.

    Most motion graphics artists I know work on Hackintoshes and they favor the Windows side more than the Mac.

    So for me, the extra money you spend on a Mac is for the looks and myth that it’s a better platform.

  • HACKintosh all the way, baby.
    And that’s true for desktop & laptop.
    I just can’t wait now for a laptop like the VAIO Z to go out with Thunderbolt, and I will likely buy it.

  • Wait, you’ve made it to 2013 without a smartphone?

    • My thoughts exactly

    • Yeah, me too. and you know what? it feels good and I do not miss anything :)

      • Ironically, I haven’t had a phone for about 3 years and I’m 17. I don’t really care. If I was to ever buy a smartphone it would have to be a high end one because the lower end ones are just a waste of time. The S3 or iPhone I would much rather prefer over a $150 phone, mainly because of the screen size. They give you a touch screen and expect you to type using such a small size. Blah.

  • I agree that Macs may be way too expensive but even though I am well aware of that, I still would prefer to use them. That’s not to say that I won’t ever switch over though. I use and buy what’s familiar and available to me. I won’t buy a PC only to save money. I have to feel comfortable in numerous areas. I use what works for me.

  • john jeffreys on 01.16.13 @ 8:29PM

    Hating Apple has really become a huge trend on prosumer websites lately- the exact opposite of how it used to be. Name me a PC laptop that has a 7 hour battery, mid/high level internals, full aluminum construction, a damn good anti-glare screen, and is less than an inch thick and weighs under 6 pounds. Oh wait, it doesn’t exist.

    • Exactly. It’s not enough for a piece of hardware to have the same specs to be the same. It’s not about processors, or graphic cards, or a hardrive, it’s about the whole package, hardware + software in a real working enviroment, and no one can come close to what Apple does.

    • Hating on any one who questions why Apple is over charging? Whether or not its worth the price is very debatable, Ever since Apple switched from IBM CPU to Intel CPU we can now compare apples to apples! While i used to be an Apple fan boy, I do not see the Value in them anymore. Every “No one makes it like Apple” is usually about how it feels, not how it works. As to your MBP pedestal.
      The samsung series 7, Intel Core i7-3630QM 2.4GHz, 1.5TB HDD, 16gb ram, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675M 2gig, 17.3″ screen, Blue-ray.

      it is a little bit thicker at 1.29″ -1.9″ but at $1,699 I’ll deal with it.

    • Asus Zenbook Prime UX32VD-DH71

  • I think to the consumer or even “prosumer”, Macs (high end iMacs and Mac Pros) may seem pricey, but show me a laptop other than a retina MacBook Pro that I can see more of my footage AND edit native Red Raw on location! Perfect playback and no lag. You can’t.

  • Now that I’m always using Premiere for my cutting, and about every other Adobe product, there’s no reason for me not to build up a much less expensive, much more powerful editing/effects rig to my exact specifications. I’m actually quite excited to finally be able to customize again!

  • This post has over 70 comments now, and it’s not even about filmmaking. Coke vs Pepsi, Republican vs Democrat, Mac vs PC…. Nobody ever wins these types of discussions.

    • john jeffreys on 01.17.13 @ 2:14PM

      In general, the people talking about cameras and gear online are not the ones outside making movies. NFS is a great example- people just sit here and get into BMCC vs. RED bloodbaths or argue about how much they hate Apple.

      It’s particularly depressing, though, that lately there have been 4-5 articles here, interviews with filmmakers whose projects are screening at Sundance, and none of them have ANY comments. While threads like these, mostly about prosumer bullshit and the non-creatives that love them, get hundreds of replies.

      • Feel free to comment on one of our Sundance posts. :)

      • Did it ever occur to you that not everyone here must be a “filmmaker”?
        I am not a filmmaker, I am a cameraman, and I mean cameraman – less dop, more camera operator. And I like it. I work as a cameraman and I shoot mostly documentary type tv pieces for the company I work with. It is not glamorous, it is not Hollywood, but I like it!

        I also like to read about and talk about cameras, camera tech, and computer tech, which besides photography is my other big time hobby.

        So yes, I do everything you criticize. But believe it or not, I love it!

  • I researched their PC workstation at the time and it exceeded the G5 in every performance test I found. “You mean the Avid man wasn’t lying?” It’s true Stevie boy, cause when you’re dropping 90K on an Avid system those politics don’t come into play. We even bought our G5 from Avid along with the Nitrus. The sales rep was a straight up guy and the people at Avid know their stuff. BTW, they like PCs because they can optimize their workstations to their software. Hey, doesn’t that sound familiar Stevie boy? lol

  • Don’t know if this is still the case, but 3 or so years ago, I was doing my research on buying my first iMac, the RRP I was looking at was around about 2900 and the reseller I went to said he could get that down to $2800, no further and even at that point he’d only be making 100 dollars on the unit anyway. So wether this is an isolated case or being an Apple reseller seems to be a horrible business decision.

    As for the Mac vs Pc argument, I can see the merits in both systems, but for me I’ve been a Mac user for 3 years (and with the purchase of my brand new top end 27 incher) I’d say for 3 years more. For me, it works, I like the infrastructure and to beat an old horse “it just works” …for me.

  • Tim Rockwood on 01.17.13 @ 9:52PM

    Perhaps reading Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs biography will remind some folks that there’s an ethical imperative to supporting innovation, which always costs more. Few draw the Macintosh–Mercedes analogy but it’s worth considering. Hyundai and Kia have bought and deconstructed many of the Stuttgart machines and attempted to emulate; the price differential is set by human consumptive behavior in the marketplace.

  • Seanj Hegarty on 01.18.13 @ 5:28AM

    Apple has always been a cunning business model. In 1984 they cut a deal with a bunch of colleges across America to force students to buy it’s computers at $1500 a piece. I had to buy one of the first ones to go to college where I wanted to. It was a 128k machine and within 6 months they released a 512k. The 128k version was basically useless at that point because there no programs being made for it anymore. Also it looked really cool with it’s original windows setup, but you really could not program on it without some external software you had to buy. Radio Shack’s TRS80 was $599 at the time and if you learned DOS you could make it do what you wanted. Today, I could build the most awsome Pc platform computer for the Price of the cheapest Mac. Compare the HPZ800 with all of it’ upgrading capacity to the Mac Pro and see what the comparison is or even go to your local computer repair guy and see what he could put together for you with $3500. I would never buy another Mac no matter how “sexy” they look.

  • Danny Derakhshan on 01.18.13 @ 12:21PM

    I use Mac computers and as a Google fan, I am trying to use Google Docs/Drive software, I love my Android phone and plan to keep Apple for desktop/laptop computing and Android as my phone OS. I also have a Kindle for reading books only.

    • I’m on the exact same lineup… Kindle for reading (cross-platform), Google everything else (cross-platform), Macs for laptop/desktop hardware, Android for mobile.

  • I left Apple behind almost 2 years ago.
    No certainty in the Pro market left me no option but to switch to PC.
    You still pay top dollar for HP Z series but like Apple the hardware is configured precisely to the OS – in this case Win7x64. And it is rock solid.
    I must say that other than the superficial sexiness of a Mac the PC edges it in performance and reliability.
    Plus you get a 3 year warranty from HP and it’s just so damned easy to upgrade especially with all that nVidia goodness.
    And luckily the Avid license is transferable and it also means I don’t have to use the dying Final Cut anymore (by the way… Premiere is now second behind Avid as the best cutting software).
    I enjoyed my Mac days, but I ditched them before they could ditch me.

  • Who cares?

    I’ve worked on tons of different boxes, different platforms, software from Flame to Nuke to AE, Avid, and Vegas. If the projects suck, or you suck as an artist, it doesn’t really matter. I know I’m deviating from the topic here a little bit, but I think it’s important to remember that no matter what gear you’re using, it makes no difference if the creative is garbage, or the story is lame.

    With that off my chest, I will say that I do prefer LInux > all for speed and functionality. It’s been no secret that Apple’s product is an overpriced luxury. Their brand is what they sell. They sell an image. That image has been related to creative professionalism. I remember I used to get chewed out by workmates for calling attention to that. Now it seems it’s publicly acknowledged. There is a reason they clear 28.3 billion in revenue yearly. Overpriced is an understatement.

    They are pretty, though. I typed this on my girlfriends macbook air 2012.

  • “Wait, you’ve made it to 2013 without a smartphone?” What is a Smart Phone? No ,really ,what is it ? I have yet to see one that is very Smart (literally or figuratively).
    Some of you people are SO funny. Still arguing about what is best PC or Mac? Really? You haven’t figured it out? But you are all so smart !
    Don’t forget ,just a very short time ago you were the turkeys lugging around Bricks thinking you were Kool . Then ,but a few minutes ago you had antenna hanging out your ears to let everyone on the street know how important you were. You know for when that call from the CEO comes in for you.
    Me ,I prefer my Cross -Platform Legal Pad and Sharpie.

  • At the end of the day its just the same thing in an expensive box. Abet one you cant open.

    Oh and anyone who tells you macs “just work” obviously has not worked with enough of them :)

  • I’m on the same reflexion since a few months. The first step was my new smartphone. I had an Iphone 3GS, and when came the time to change, after a lot of time, I decided to buy a Lumia 800 (at this time, WP8 didn’t exist).

    Why Windows Phone and not Android ? For the same reason that I choose Mac Vs PC. I knew I would be tempting to manage a lot of things in the OS. I just want a system who works well without the need of “manipulate” (in French, we say “bidouiller”, I don’t know the english word) the OS. For me, it’s lost time.

    At work, we use Mac computers (Macbook pro & iMac, and we are waiting for the hypothetic new Mac Pro). At home, after a few iMacs, I decided to build my own Hackintosh (your blog was a good source of inspiration !). It runs really well, for the same budget than an Imac, I’ve got a really powerful computer.

    Sorry for my language mistakes, I’m French :-)