Open Thread: Apple Defies the Laws of Economics

21 Comments

After relying on my svelte Macbook Air for a long time, yesterday I broke down and splurged on a new Macbook Pro. I wanted extra power, and more importantly, additional storage — mostly to store two seasons of “Californication,” albums from Thievery Corporation, Nitin Sawhney and Bombay Dub Orchestra, and hundreds of non-digital photos that I have been scanning into my computer for about three months.

I ended up getting a 15.4-inch Macbook Pro with a matte screen — the glossy screens got tiring to be honest — and I had to pay an extra $50 for that option. It’s ironic, because Apple (s aapl) made matte screen laptops up until a year ago and then decided to switch its entire product line to glossy screens. A lot of folks wanted matte screens, and Apple listened — now you can get a matte screen if you pay extra for it.

I wonder if there are other computer makers that can get away with something like that? Are there any other brands that can charge extra for “retro” features? I would love to hear your feedback on this.

Photo of Steve Jobs courtesy of Acaben via Flickr

21 Comments

vikram

I have a macbook pro 13 inch running:mac osx 10.6,visat,win 7(beta),xp,solaris,full on unix,and garageband for my nieces with iphoto to catalog their “gigs”;how can anyone say this piece of hardware is overpriced?you simply don’t appreciate what you have.

Leif

Because you could do the same on a Dell for half the price (granted some effort involved for SL and the hardware isn’t as cute).

Suds

Sure. Companies charge a lot for retro features. Remember the early days when floppy drive went out the door as “standard” in a new PC. Dell used to charge $25-$30 for a floppy drive.

Mishan Kontroll

Apple is a socialist paradise, and shareholders and customers suffer. MacOS should have at least 50% of the market, but it doesn’t. Why? I almost wish Castro would die.

greg

Love Thievery Corporation too! Om is a great thought leader, writer AND has good taste in music??? Can’t be the same human being…

Yonidass

Isn’t it simply a matter of economics? Whether Apple went to glossy screens because of the greater feeling of depth, as Eideard says, or for other reason (I have no idea actually), you can’t just order a few million pieces of each type of display shield and hope they sell. A company that sells relatively fewer pieces for each product line simply can’t do that.

The surcharge covers the exceptions and pays for the actual assembly of the matte antiglare film, which goes over the exact same display in place of the glass. It’s a build-to-order option.

It stings to pay extra for something that used to be standard, but at least they listened to all those who complained.

Eideard

Quit looking as computing as a social phenomenon unto itself, folks. I realize that’s difficult if that’s what you make your living at – but, there is a larger world serving as context – even within the definition of technology.

Apple went to shiny screens because TV manufacturers discovered that glossy screens give viewers a greater feeling of depth to whatever they’re watching. People set up their TV sets at home to minimize glare and reflections – and generally their most satisfying viewing comes in dimmed rooms in the evening, as well.

Most laptop purchasers follow the same pattern 98% of the time – the time they’re in the same office space they use every day. And more and more laptop purchasers are using that machine to watch video content.

There will be a next-gen screen – and another behind it – and Apple is smart enough to look at the larger context of how most people use their devices.

The difference is Apple making decisions on how people actually use their products instead of geeks who want to decide how people should use these critters.

Panch Rupaiyya

What “laws of economics” did Apple defy? One law that you never defy is the Law of Compulsive Bullshitting.

Allen

The apparent gap is marketing. Apple are genius at marketing. Take the first generation iPhone, if you are able to review it dispassionately, despite the cool UI, a second generation phone lacking basic features with few applications should not have done so well. Such is apple’s marketing genius that few are able to review it dispassionately.

Aymerik

That’s not quite accurate. The first iPhone had a lot of great features. Threaded SMS messages, visual voicemail, fantastic and intelligent integration of the system wide address book, great map application, great media player, etc. On the whole, it made my stop using my BlackBerry, Danger Hiptop/Sidekick, and was way, way better than my Symbian-powered smartphone.

Trieu

It’s not at all strange for antiquated technology to cost more than the latest and greatest. A random example, DDR 266 memory versus DDR2 533 memory:

Kingston DDR 266, 1 gb – $32
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820134171

Kingston DDR2 533, 1 gb – $17
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820144151

Or, staying w/ Apple:

OS X Leopard – $199
http://www.amazon.com/Mac-OS-Version-10-5-6-Leopard/dp/B000FK88JK/

OS X Snow Leopard – $25
http://www.amazon.com/Mac-version-10-6-Snow-Leopard/dp/B001AMHWP8/

At some point, it becomes costly for companies to support older products. It’s in their interest to pass that cost on to their customers.

sfmitch

I was going to mention getting charged extra for ‘downgrading’ to XP but tino beat me to it.

I recently bought a Windows laptop from Best Buy and they tried very hard to have me pay for ‘optimization’. They actually said that they already did the ‘optimization’ on every one they had in stock. The Best Buy guy explained that ‘optimization’ was getting rid of all the crap that the manufacturer puts on. I refused to pay and they gave the laptop for the marked price – I didn’t have to pay for the ‘optimization’.

Mike

I would pay extra, and even consider upgrading from my 6 month old 13″ unibody Macbook (before it became a Pro) for an OEM matte screen.

Gerry

That’s my only complaint with the Macbook Pro. Hate the glossy screen!

But honestly, as a former die hard PC guy and a newly converted mac user, I have to say, this is the best computer I’ve ever had.

tino

Well MS charged extra to “downgrade” Vista to XP. They should get sued for this IMO.

Ngan

how about Sony? They charge you $$$ so that your laptop comes without those additional junk software or malware

Darwin

You got the best laptop money can buy. Dell charges $50 for additional colors. That should put it in perspective for you.

Ami

I bought both my first iphone and first macbook this year. I think that macbooks are priced more than they actually should be. I like using macbook but probably would buy decent competitor’s products with equivalent features at half the price . “All that glitters is not always gold :)”

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