I Once Was Chic, but Now I'm Cheap

Discussion in 'MacBook Air, MacBook & MacBook Pro' started by funky_monkey, Jan 18, 2009.

  1. funky_monkey

    funky_monkey Member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2005
    Messages:
    156
    Likes Received:
    0
    tried to edit the topic title to I Once Was Chic, but Now I'm Cheap - Good read but its un editable

    nice article a friend sent me, your reactions please :)

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123207638721888963.html?mod=rss_Leisure_and_Arts#printMode

    I Once Was Chic, but Now I'm Cheap


    By DANIEL AKST

    A couple of years ago, fed up with Microsoft Windows, our whole family switched to Macs. Since then we've often giggled delightedly at the commercials portraying a PC as a hapless fat guy in a suit. A Mac, after all, is "the computer for the rest of us," as Apple's ads used to say.
    We own five Macs, along with iPods and other Apple paraphernalia. But recently, when we needed a new computer, we ended up buying a PC running Microsoft Vista. The reason is simple: Macs nowadays are computers for the rich.
    [​IMG] Associated PressWhat's the price of looking this hip?



    Like eating only locally grown food or majoring in gender studies at college, Macs have become luxuries that command a premium out of all proportion to their utility -- unless their utility is simply to broadcast your own disposable income. For a long time the extra cost of a Mac wasn't outlandish and seemed justified by its great design and ease of use. Our years of bitter experience with Windows systems involved far too much hair-tearing over random glitches and security problems. To us, going Mac was the price of computer sanity.
    But the affordability gap has lately yawned into a gulf. Today, with money scarce, a Mac costs roughly twice as much as a comparably equipped PC -- and in my recent experience, the PC performs impressively indeed.
    The $646 Dell we recently bought -- complete with 20-inch flat panel display and gigantic hard drive -- runs superbly, thanks to ample RAM and a discrete video card. Surprisingly, we even like the much-maligned Vista operating system. Windows PCs are more prone to viruses and other malware than are Macs, but Norton Internet Security has proved to be a useful antidote. Once widely reviled as a system-strangling resource hog, this defensive package is now so light on its feet that it operates on our system invisibly.
    Re-embracing Windows hasn't been guilt-free. I've been an ardent Mac proselytizer ever since my own conversion experience two years ago. I even got a used Mac for my mother. So I felt bad at first about buying a PC. Yet when I thought about why, I had to admit that the reasons were Veblenseque. We like to think that we're pretty cool at our house, so getting a machine running Windows seemed downright plebeian. But doing so helped me to realize, in turn, the extent to which "cool" is too often connected with "cash."
    It's cool, for example, to spend a fortune on solar panels or hybrid SUVs that will never pay for themselves in saved energy, even though the money could do far more for the environment spent in some less ostentatious way. Shopping at Whole Foods is cool, as is obvious from the hipsters in the aisles -- and the high price of the groceries. This kind of cool disdains luxury labels like Rolex and Coach yet works just as hard to impress.
    Most of the cool people I know use a Mac. My sense is that they like to think of themselves as egalitarian sorts unencumbered by snobbery -- rather than, say, brainwashed cultists obsessed with class-signaling. Yet at today's absurd prices the Mac is even less than ever "the computer for the rest of us." Instead it's a well-designed status symbol for the elite -- another way that people with money can distinguish themselves from hoi polloi.
    The current financial crisis has many causes, but surely the death of thrift has been among them. If there is a silver lining to the grim economic news that besets us daily, it may be that cheap will once again become chic. The sudden popularity of netbooks -- tiny, low-cost, portable computers that focus on the basics -- is a case in point. People are discovering that they don't need to spend $1,500 on a machine to send email when a $350 netbook will do the trick. If we keep this up, we may all soon find ourselves living within our means.
    There's no sign of such a cheap little device from Apple, and I'm not even sure the company wants customers like me and my family. Recently it announced a new 17-inch laptop that starts at $2,799, enhanced with a longer lasting battery and other neat features. But Apple left its cheapest computers -- the Mac Mini line -- unchanged despite puny hard drives and scant RAM compared with competing PCs.
    Apple has put a lot of effort into getting customers to "switch" in recent years, and my entire family did so. But a couple of our Macs are going to need replacing in the next year or so, and much as I find Apple products to be well designed and fun to use, we're going to switch back to PCs unless Mac prices come down. Cool just isn't worth it anymore.
    Mr. Akst is a writer in Tivoli, N.Y.
     
    #1 funky_monkey, Jan 18, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2009
  2. Chito Limson

    Chito Limson Unfrozen…
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2007
    Messages:
    8,982
    Likes Received:
    853
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Miles ahead of you
    That should read: Veblenesque…

    Anyway, Thorstein Veblen is a Norwegian American economist (1857-1929). 'In The Theory of the Leisure Class, which is probably his best-known work, because of its satiric look at American society, the instincts of emulation and predation play a major role. People, rich and poor alike, attempt to impress others and seek to gain advantage through what Veblen coined "conspicuous consumption" and the ability to engage in “conspicuous leisure.” In this work Veblen argued that consumption is used as a way to gain and signal status. Through "conspicuous consumption" often came "conspicuous waste," which Veblen detested. Much of modern advertising is built upon a Veblenian notion of consumption.' - quoted from Wikipedia.

    Daniel Akst is entitled to his opinion, after all, it's his own money, and writing blogs does not seem to pay well nowadays. So he bought one PC recently and is rediscovering Windows. However, I'm assuming that the family is keeping their 'five Macs' (although he says he may replace a couple of them next year). Just you wait till he starts experiencing the headaches of Windows Vista and Akst may be singing a different tune…
     
  3. LeoCastillo

    LeoCastillo Maestro
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2005
    Messages:
    4,905
    Likes Received:
    286
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Philippines
    Not that I'm trying to defend Apple but well, the comparison is apples to oranges (pun very much intended).

    For the extra you pay for the Mac, you get:
    - iLife
    - No need to buy antivirus (how much is the Norton he mentioned?)
    - International Warranty (which Dell doesn't have)
    - Excellent customer service (you guys must try the Genius Bars in the US. Hanep)

    I agree that for some, Macs are a status symbol, but the truth is... it WORKS.
    Despite the perceived extra expense, I've known many who've seen the benefits of switching and never looked back. It may not be scientific, but that's a good indicator on the cost-benefit analysis of Macs.

    Netbooks however are a good niche. I would say go either Mac or Netbook. Do Windows only if you need to. That's how I've been making my recommendations lately... but that's me. Your mileage may vary.

    Just my two cents.

    Leo
     
  4. piedad

    piedad Well-Known Member
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2004
    Messages:
    2,766
    Likes Received:
    88
    Location:
    Philippines
    What many fail to realize is that the total cost of ownership of a mac is less than a windows PC. Purchase cost is just one item in this total cost of ownership calculation. Labor costs to maintain your computer in tip-top shape is part of it. Extra software like anti-virus, repair costs, etc. are also significant components. Add it all up and getting a Mac is not being extravagant.
     
  5. morphine

    morphine Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2006
    Messages:
    1,369
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Great Britain

    Mac is great when you can afford it. For people who don't want complicated life and just wanted to do emails and facebook, a netbook is fine even a mobile phone can do it....

    MAC OS is great but getting it only exclusive to Apple computers is really annoying. There are so may computers out there that we could choose from.... - NO OFFENSE TO APPLE FANS
     
  6. Chito Limson

    Chito Limson Unfrozen…
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2007
    Messages:
    8,982
    Likes Received:
    853
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Miles ahead of you
    If the rumor is true that Apple will soon license OS X to PC boxes and laptops, then we may see a dramatic shift to our beloved OS. As we all know, OS X just works!
     
  7. macdrive007

    macdrive007 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2007
    Messages:
    3,667
    Likes Received:
    28
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Caleruega, near Tagaytay
    3 questions for the writer:

    1. Why will a couple of your macs need replacing?

    Old Macs function even better than most netbooks. Unless you got lemons (also some first gen products with defects), most of us keep our Macs as they provide longer service and advanced features than their PC counterparts. And even when they're old technology, they still provide functional service long after their PC counterparts are in the junk heap.

    2. Why not consider the second hand Mac market?

    Macs have value in terms of the longer lifespan of its hardware and software. Many of us in the Philippines switch from Windows to Mac by buying hand-me-downs. This is the market for those in financial crisis. If you are looking for a $500 and below Mac, welcome to our ukay-ukay! We are not a rich nation, but our mac buy-and-sell marketplace is vibrant - Macs for the rest of us!

    3. Aren't you rushing judgement by blaming Apple to be elitist simply because:
    a. 17" MBP was released, and no new MacMini?
    b. you find $1500 Macs expensive?
    c. no Apple cheap netbook?

    a. Could it not be that the new MacMini and new iMac are simply delayed in its release because of emerging hardware and software technologies that they want to incorporate to offer a better product? If you know Snow Leopard, iLife 09, iWork 09, NVidia graphics, and i7/better Atom Intel processors are coming, would not you as a manufacturer try to incorporate these (or at least future-proof them) in your future products? R&D is not something you rush and develop haphazardly (ehr, Vista?), and Apple always looks forward to the future in making its products. Apple is not your "assembled off-the-shelf computer" company. It invests in giving us a Mac we can use for 8 years or so... (iMac G3s and iBook Clamshell G3s are still useful for word processing, iTunes, email and web browsing - people still buy them here) That's not elitist, that's simply a company that looks to develop better products for us using future technologies. Just wait, the new MacMini and iMac will be announced next.

    b. Each Apple product has its own market and while the 17" MBPros are for mobile media content creators, the Macbook, iMac and MacMini are still being offered for other market segments. If you don't want an expensive Mac and will use it only for email, then by all means skip the $1500 Mac. Buy the white macbook or the lower model MacMini, or get a refurbished one or those on sale from discount stores.

    c. An Apple netbook for $500? Patience. And if it doesn't come, take the satisfaction that at least our Mac company is surviving by refusing to undercut its main products (and the second hand Mac market too!). Observe those PC companies and notice that while they are selling many netbooks, their core laptop and desktop products are suffering. Its a battle for survival, and Apple is still a company that will adjust to weather the storm of this global recession.
     
    #7 macdrive007, Jan 18, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2009
  8. chipmunk

    chipmunk Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2008
    Messages:
    158
    Likes Received:
    0
    mac is status symbol?
    does that mean na pag nakamac stable ang status mo.
    hehe.
     
  9. booblanco

    booblanco Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2005
    Messages:
    5,485
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Paranaque
    OT: the offshoot of SJ's health status. this move always makes perfect business sense but little else.
     
  10. rdy0329

    rdy0329 PhilMUG Addict Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2007
    Messages:
    5,598
    Likes Received:
    965
    Gender:
    Male
    I can agree with future proofing of Apple products, designs are great and it won't be mistaken from 2001 or so.... And I can say that all my works here costs more than the price I paid. All things I made through iLife and all the productive things I can do... I must admit that hacking my iPhone is also a breeze (not promoting anything). I tried vista for 2 weeks and it lags bad.. Now I'm back to my beloved OS X and I will stay with it.

    The thing with PC, like my sister's newly set up lenovo is that she needs to upgrade many things just to make the laptop usable, she even had to upgrade the 1GB ram to 2GB to make Vista Usable. I helped her install stuff pa (she's not a tech geek) what normally takes a day of Mac Setup is 3 days nightmare when compared to her lappie (and the hard part is, I had to endure it). She's a cheapo so I can't get her to crack on a Mac.
     
  11. yoh_hectic

    yoh_hectic PhilMUG Addict Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2008
    Messages:
    2,715
    Likes Received:
    659
    It appears the article is spot on for a vast majority of new Mac owners who didn't nerd out and find out the advantage of Macs. I knew what Mac-specialized app I wanted to use before buying my 1st Mac. Later did I discover that it didnt have a right click, are affected by Windows programs like malware and you had to buy a USB floppy drive.

    The majority of the people I know and meet bought one because it was trendy and pretty. The iconic TV and print ads help too. The halo effect of some celeb using one also motivated them too. B.O. probably helped sell some more units too. The iPod had a definite impact as well. Heck I know a handful that bought a Mac because I was using one. They won't admit it naturally but after seeing one on my lap or desk or car a few days later was asking where I bought mine (because I know where to get em on the cheap negating the price difference between Mac & PC).

    Similar to the vast majority of people who bought an iPhone or some new celphone. They're an inexpensive enough status symbol to pay on a hulugan basis. Note that Globe emphasizes that the iPhone can be paid hulugan. If not a status symbol then it becomes a talking point for the owner/user or people who observe them use one. "Uy si Fed naka iPhone 3G na puti, pagkano kaya kuha niya?"

    If cars were inexpensive enough you'd see more modern Mini Coopers, modern Beetles, Smart cars, hybrids, Benzes, Audis, Alfas, etc on the road than sub-econoboxes with bad paint jobs of a shade a handful of people would appreciate, fart pipes and a kilo's worth of stickers.

    To be honest these arent bad things as others say "whatever floats your boat". If you like unboxing on a bi-weekly basis, great for you. The question is how loyal will you be or will the Mac you have now be a one-hit wonder because you just want to follow a trend. Which the WSJ blogger appears to be.
     
    #11 yoh_hectic, Jan 18, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2009
  12. yoh_hectic

    yoh_hectic PhilMUG Addict Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2008
    Messages:
    2,715
    Likes Received:
    659
    If Apple had more business apps (not just MS Office) and Microsoft will not pull Office off the Mac when they release OS X for generic whiteboxes. Then yes it makes business sense. But you lose what made the Mac special which is... a closed hardware ecosystem. Macs are not magically stable because Steve Jobs made it so but because the hardware Macs use are a well documented known quantity. Ask any hackintosh user how stable their machine is after so much effort and waiting was put into the device drivers that wasnt part of OS X and in which they needed.

    iWork is nice and all for your household requirements but your typical multinational needs a more robust product. Even Apple knows this and integrated better MS Exchange support for the iPhone and Snow Leopard. Apple can try but they'll get pummeled.
     
    #12 yoh_hectic, Jan 18, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2009
  13. Tecson

    Tecson Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2008
    Messages:
    376
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    X marks the spot
    the guy bought a dell, he is cheap...its not about Apple, i dont even get his point writing the article, what i do know and what i think he wants everyone to know is...
    He bought a Dell, He is cheap..some guy never learns..
     
  14. blacksocks

    blacksocks Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2007
    Messages:
    439
    Likes Received:
    0
    Macs have the best design, but they too malfunction. I wasn't expecting my video to fail on my one year old MBP as I have used many non-Apple notebooks before and I haven't had any major problems with them until it was time to upgrade after 3 years or more.

    Mac OS X is tops when it comes to UI design but if your main app is the web browser and stare at it for most of your computing hours, like many people I know, they all look alike across all OSes and platforms.

    Mac OS X is more secure and stable than Vista but it's not problem free. In my experience as a user of OS X, Vista and Linux, a little knowledge and common sense will help you achieve a computing environment that's problem free for a long time---unless some hardware conks out as I mentioned above.

    I have been using a Hackintosh since Tiger and I have consistently updated the same PC to all versions of OS X up to 10.5.6 including all patches and fixes. I have no problems with it and runs faster than my MBP. Under the hood of a Dell, Sony, IBM, Apple or a non-branded computer are hardware from different manufacturers. What differentiates them are in the manner they were put together and enclosed in their own cases. Quality no longer comes from a single brand.
     
  15. carloslegarda

    carloslegarda Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2005
    Messages:
    656
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Manila
    I used to be a PC user.
    I would always get the cheapest parts for a basic system.
    I would often feel the need to upgrade my hardware every 3 months. from More RAM to a bigger hard drive to a SCSI card for my scanner, to more USB ports, to an ethernet card when we got a cable connection...
    I would always feel the need to do a clean install every 3 months or so or when I thought there might be a virus because of a significant slowdown in performance.
    On My PC laptop I noticed it came with tons of stickers touting what components and what software it was running. From Intel Inside to WinXP to what multimedia functions it had.

    Now I'm a Mac User. I've always appreciated how Macs came with everything the user needed (except maybe for the lowend iBook or MacBook which came with a stupid Combo Drive) or might need in the future. They came with built in FireWire, with decent audio, now with built in webcams. and are also bundled with excellent software (for the common user). I like that a MacBook when sold looks the same as any other one. They leave you a blank slate that you can use to personalize it with your own stickers, not Intel Inside or Core2Duo or whatnot. It's not about what you have but how you use it to do what you want to do.

    Now I worry that Macs are becoming more like PCs in the sense that they're removing the "non-essentials" (FireWire). Non-essential to whom?

    Finally, it's not about being Chic or Cheap. It's about getting what you want or need to get the job you want done.

    You can argue that it's more Chic to get a NetBook nowadays cos it's what everyone else is buying.
     
  16. Hero33

    Hero33 PhilMUG Addict Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2007
    Messages:
    2,027
    Likes Received:
    397
    Location:
    Makati
    The way the operating system was built in OS X, I rarely have felt the need to upgrade. Add all the software for media I get with the machine and the easy, not very stressing interface (think dock and self-maintaining, no defrag needing hard drive) and I'm all set.

    A one time, big time expense on my part, backed by Apple Care, makes my Macbook Pro worth every dollar.
     
  17. Salaryman Ryan

    Salaryman Ryan PhilMUG Addict Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2007
    Messages:
    5,909
    Likes Received:
    711
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Tokyo, Manila
    I do believe the writer does have a point. Cheap is chic in this awful economy. Everybody wants a cheap Mac. But I believe that despite of the global recession Apple will stick to its guns and keep on offering to the luxury market. The only way for Apple to lower its prices is when Mac sales start to dwindle.
     
  18. Treb22

    Treb22 Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Messages:
    2,682
    Likes Received:
    19
    Whenever I promote the ease of use of Macs with my officemates they always say its expensive. Until I show them the latest gadget mag and show them a couple of laptops even more expensive than Macs. Then they smile and realize that somehow they can afford it.

    My point, its expensive if you cant afford it. hehe.

    I have to agree with the previous poster here, its worth all the money on this machine.
     
  19. yoh_hectic

    yoh_hectic PhilMUG Addict Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2008
    Messages:
    2,715
    Likes Received:
    659
    Excellent point. Apple will still sell to the premium market because they deserve the design and ease of use. Everyone else can put up with Windows or gah! Linux.
     
  20. LeoCastillo

    LeoCastillo Maestro
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2005
    Messages:
    4,905
    Likes Received:
    286
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Philippines
    Not to start an argument, but I think the removal of firewire is fair. I would hazard a guess that at least 90% of those with Macbooks never actually used their firewire. I wouldn't be surprised if that number was much much higher.

    Leo
     

Share This Page

  • About PhilMUG

    Since the mid-1990s, PhilMUG (formerly the Philippine Macintosh Users Group) has grown to become not just the Philippines’ but one of the world’s foremost Apple user groups. Our online community brings together thousands of members from the Philippines and around the world for the latest news and discussions covering all Apple products and related hardware and software. Anyone can join PhilMUG, from newbies to experts, subject to our membership rules and guidelines.
  • Like us on Facebook

  • Buy us a beer!

    The staff works very hard to make sure that PhilMUG is running 24/7. Care to buy us a beer or help out with our hosting fees? We'd really appreciate it!

    Donate to us!