Quiz: What is the the single Apple feature that you think best explains its price premium: Design? Performance? Integration? Aesthetics? I have another idea.

I was in conversation with geeks, many of whom have a sideline in friends-and-family tech support. (Sound familiar, dear reader?) Most of us have migrated our friends and loved ones to some Apple configuration or another; pain at both ends thus minimized.

But times have changed. Windows these days seems less the verminous cartoon nanny of yore; gets out of the way and does the basics.

And then there are the Chromebooks. I’ve never spent quality time with one, though I love the idea. When there’s a good photo editor and presentation tool I’ll totally give one a try.

And then there’s the fact that these Windows and Chrome alternatives are like half the price Apple wants.

Anyhow, this one fellow had a long-distance relationship whose MacBook was running out of gas, and had been trying to warm her up to the alternatives, pointing out that she really didn’t actually use any of the nice unique Mac features.

“But, no dice” he said. “She came back at me and said that there was one super-important feature she couldn’t live without: The Apple Store and genius bar.”

Which is obvious, once you think of it.


Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: Cliff (Dec 12 2011, at 22:34)

Obvious today, perhaps, but not so obvious when it was started. Chalk another one up to Jobs...


From: John Cowan (Dec 12 2011, at 23:28)

My daughter seems to be happy with the Geek Squad at the local Best Buy. Plus her friendly in-house geek, of course. Even if he cannot persuade her [*] to use Linux.

Higgledy-piggledy, my black hen

She lays eggs for gentlemen.

You cannot persuade her with gun or lariat

To come across for the proletariat.

--Dorothy Parker


From: JulesLt (Dec 13 2011, at 00:06)

I summed it up to someone at work as it not being any particular single feature, but the combination of a lot of small but useful features - i.e. I've used a Windows laptop with a large 'multi-touch' trackpad, but needed to disable the feature due to very poor performance (either hardware or driver - definitely not Microsoft's fault), the magsafe power lead (which has saved me on many occasions), working sleep/instant-on (still a premium feature on many Windows machines) and a decent battery life (ditto).

Having specced up your genuinely equivalent Dell it was 'only' 10-15% cheaper. As someone at work said, that's still £100-£200. But then as they have a more expensive car, with a personalised number plate, I guess it's a case of priority.

Personally, I spend more time with my computers than in my car, so I don't mind paying more. (The same has always applied to my Windows machines - I never seemed to have the same problems other people had, perhaps because I didn't just look for the cheapest price)


From: David Kågedal (Dec 13 2011, at 00:18)

Not so obvious over here (Sweden) where we neither have Apple Stores nor Genius Bars.


From: Gavin B. (Dec 13 2011, at 00:46)

Google introduces the Google Bar


compare & contrast!


From: Michael Rowe (Dec 13 2011, at 02:00)

What was that "price premium" again?


From: Nicholas Adams (Dec 13 2011, at 07:19)

My wife just purchased her first iMac (used off Craigslist) for her growing home business. For her, it was about a lot of things, including software integration and design. But the most striking thing to me was the initial experience. The person we bought it from hadn't bothered to wipe the computer. He just gave us the OS disc to do it ourselves. That would have been fine, but the disc was too scratched and wouldn't work. So we made an appointment at the Apple Store. We showed up, and without hesitation they loaded a fresh install of the OS on for no charge and no sideways glances. Service matters, a lot. And it is increasingly conspicuous in today's world of international customer service and phone trees.


From: Andrew (Dec 13 2011, at 08:27)

Price premium? Where? Show me an all-in-one desktop with a 27" IPS screen? Or buy a laptop with the same physical dimensions, battery life and CPU/GPU/RAM/disk/screen specs as a MacBook Air. At best you can shave $100 or maybe $200 off the Apple price and you still have to be the system integrator, a job that starts with wiping off all the crapware and never ever ever ends.


From: Anton McConville (Dec 13 2011, at 09:22)

I agree with the comment about the great service.

My three week old macbook pro suffered a fatal accident at home, and while there was a charge to replace it - that same day, it was small in comparison with the cost of buying a new one, plus they rescued a project that I'd been working on ( and hadn't backed up at that point ).

They've given me great advice on recording music, taught my kids how to make movies at their excellent summer camp ( snagging them young in the process ), and enabled me to print tickets for a soccer game that I'd forgotten to print before leaving for it.

So, there has been something extra for me too.


From: ebenezer (Dec 13 2011, at 13:10)

In which I contribute nothing original but note that Gavin B. handled this very nicely indeed. :D


From: Peter Meyers (Dec 13 2011, at 13:52)

"Verminous cartoon nanny": you, sir, are one of the reasons I enjoy firing up my web browser each day. Love it!


From: Don King (Dec 14 2011, at 00:18)

> I agree with the comment about the great service.

Funny thing is, just a few days ago Tim Bray posted on this blog that people should not try to sell information but service -- Tim states in that post he's willing to pay for a service (something that is reliable). If Windows is evolving now to the point where it can be self serviced, then why did Microsoft counter the Genius Bar with AnswerDesk?


From: Elaine (Dec 15 2011, at 14:42)

Which, curiously, is one of the reasons I didn't go Apple when I had to replace my elderly Macbook: the nearest Mac store is an hour and a half away by car or an almost impossibly complex journey by public transit. Or it was at the time, I haven't checked whether they've added anything closer. Life in a fairly small town, alas.

I will say that the old Macbook is the only device for which I've ever bought an extended warranty, and it was helpful. (Dead HD fairly early on; dead DVD drive & cracked case just before the Applecare expired.)


From: len (Dec 23 2011, at 10:46)

Those who pay more for the same claim to purchase the right to assert they are more intelligent when what they bought was a sales slip.

As the poster says, "MAC People: 10 per cent of the market and 99% of the crazies."


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