Sorry Apple - you have become too expensive

I thought it was about time I presented one of my more controversial commentaries. Lately, resellers have reminded me about one particular aspect of selling Macs that is now causing a noticeable problem.
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For many years Apple dealers have had to respond to the criticism that Macs are too expensive. Countering this comment used to be easy when Apple priced their machines not too far above the level of the best-quality branded PCs. All you had to do was show the design and demonstrate Mac OS X to justify the difference in price. But all that has changed.

I’ve got to admit that I now agree Apple computers have become expensive – seriously expensive. A quick Google will confirm that I’m not alone in this opinion.

For the past few months I’ve returned to computer sales basics. I’ve been working part-time at my local PC World branch, assisting with their new Apple store-in-store. And even though the impressive, dedicated, Apple Storethemed area clearly shows Apple to be the premier brand, it doesn’t take long to spot that even the cheapest white MacBook appears poor value against a high-spec, feature-packed, equally well-built Sony F-Series at the same price.

There are reasons for this; Apple doesn’t cut corners on component or build quality (but then neither does Sony), its designs are more expensive to build, and the attention to detail of the whole package is staggering. But don’t forget, Apple has said many times that it would struggle to meet the increased demand for its computers if its prices were lowered by 10 to 15 per cent. But does this really stack up?

Ignoring the iPad, there are presently very good stocks of Apple computer inventory out there, and all the major resellers have plenty of units. If you ask them, most will say they’ve watched a slowdown of Apple computer sales over the past four to six months. PC World certainly has large stocks of all but the very latest machines throughout the company. I wish I knew someone in Apple who could tell me how many of their machines are in stock for sale through their retail stores.

Dealers can upsell on all the usual features and benefits of a Mac, but for most buyers, the jump in price over an equivalent Windows PC begins to make no sense, and with Windows 7 being such a good operating system, it is increasingly difficult to justify the huge difference in price. But then, I did just take delivery of a new Apple MacBook Pro.

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