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Rory Cellan-Jones

Apple's "brave" price rise

  • Rory Cellan-Jones
  • 3 Mar 09, 17:10 GMT

Without the usual fanfare, Apple unveiled an upgrade to its entire range of desktop computers this afternoon. But UK customers were quick to notice one thing - they were expected to pay higher prices. At a time when world computer sales are expected to see their fastest drop in history, this is what a senior civil servant would describe in conversation with a reckless minister as a "brave" move.

From now on, Apple's entry-level computer, the Mac Mini, which comes without a screen or a keyboard, starts at £499 - as compared to £391 before today. The 20in iMac now costs £949 - the old price was £782. Right at the top of the range, the brand new 8-core Mac Pro costs £2499, but the quad-core costs £1899, up from £1712. Apple told me that buyers were getting a lot more in terms of specifications than the previous models offered - but I pointed out that my first desktop cost me £1500 in 1995 for a computer which had marginally less memory than me on a bad day. We all know the rules - wait six months to buy a computer, and you get something with a higher spec for less cash.

So what's Apple's reasoning? In a word, the pound. The company says it has fallen 25% against the dollar over the last six months, and that's why UK customers are facing price rises where others are not. It's true that Japanese electronics firms - notably Nikon and Canon - have also raised prices in the UK because a strong yen and a weak pound was making it impossible to make money. But UK consumers will point out that Mac prices didn't fall when you could get $2 to the pound last summer.

Apple has once again proved that anyone who thinks they're going to follow the rest of the computer industry down the low-margin netbook road is living in a fantasy world. But I'm not convinced that eager customers will be storming the UK's Apple Stores to buy the new desktops. After all, you could get two netbooks for the price of a Mac Mini and still have change. So, as I said, a brave move - let's see what the sales figures say about its wisdom a few months from now.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    I saw clearance netbooks in the window of Currys St Albans at the weekend for less than £100.

  • Comment number 3.

    I'm disappointed at the price rise for the Mac Mini as I was hoping to get one as a second machine for the kids rather than something like a netbook.
    However the old adage 'buy cheap buy twice' holds true - the last pc I bought cost round £750, was nothing but trouble the whole time I had it (as well as constantly having to download updates over dial-up which was no laughing matter); it lasted a little over a year and then died totally and completely. Similar could be said for every other pc and laptop I've owned in the last 10 years.
    The iMac I was persuaded to buy to replace it cost about £900 and is still running like a dream 3 years on with no problems. When I eventually decide to change it, will I buy Apple? You bet I will. And no, I haven't been brainwashed. I just like a hassle-free life.

  • Comment number 4.

    'Brave'?!! It looks like commercial suicide! There must be a new range of cheaper Netbooks coming otherwise their market share of hardware is going to plummet and with that less peripheral/software sales.
    Obviously its designed for the new OS 'Snow Leopard', this will come in different versions; cut down for iPhone, a bit more for iNetbook through to bells and whistles for iMac!!!! Its got to be that surely?

  • Comment number 5.

    An important thing to note is that the computers are still priced reasonably compared to the same products in the USA.

    A quick calculation and conversion reveals that the high end Mac mini model is cheaper in the UK, at $794 compared to $799 in the USA.

    The second-tier iMac is also cheaper, at $1467 compared to $1499 in the USA. Most of the other new models are a little more expensive in the UK, but only by a few dollars.

  • Comment number 6.

    I cannot believe Apple is raising prices during a recession!! I'm a Mac user, but until I see prices go down I will not step inside a Mac store!

    I was planning to buy an 8 core Mac Pro and I was just waiting for the announcement of a new machine. Normally they always maintain the price while offering better specs. It is a real shame, Apple has just lost another customer.

  • Comment number 7.

    This is the wackiest reasoning I've ever read. Apple is CRAZY to slap an extra £100 or more on the price of all their models. But you seem to think it's a brilliant move. We must be living on two different planets. Are you one of those people who think Apple can absolutely do no wrong?

  • Comment number 8.

    Apple has now released this statement about prices:

    "Apple suggests product prices internationally on the basis of several factors, including currency exchange rates, local import laws, business practices, taxes, and the cost of doing business. These factors vary from region to region and over time, such that international prices are not always comparable to US suggested retail prices."

    The company says that there are other factors as well as currency which means UK prices won't always be the direct equivalent of those in the US.

  • Comment number 9.

    If anything, I would say that Macs are TOO reliable. I still have some that are over 10 years old and they still work. I've replaced them with newer models over the years but can't bear to throw the old ones away.

  • Comment number 10.

    Apple can raise or lower their prices as much as they want. It's called capitalism, I think.

    Whether the Appleheads will continue to buy their overpriced products because they are fashionable and look "cool" is a different matter. Apple have obviously judged that they will. They are probably right.

    But I won't be among them.

  • Comment number 11.

    Any excuse to 'Rip Off Britain' ! ! !
    Simple remedy 'Don't buy Apple !'

  • Comment number 12.

    The price rise isn't nearly as bad as the rather feeble increase in unit specifications.

    Disappointing. Incredibly disappointing.

  • Comment number 13.

    As an example, a base level iMac costs $1100 in the US, and £949 here. So this is an example of "rip off Britain", right?

    Looking at the current exchange rate, $1100 translates as £854. But when you add VAT to that, it works out at £982, i.e. more that Apple actually charge. So where exactly is the "rip off" here?

  • Comment number 14.

    I believe, it's not brave but stupid. We are ripped off in this country and like you say, the prices did not go the other way when the dollar was weak against the pound. I was thinking about purchasing a mac mini but may decide on getting a clearance model or a 2nd hand one instead.

  • Comment number 15.

    Not sure what the price has to do with the dollar or the yen.

    Order a Mac online and watch it start its journey from China! That's the currency to watch.

  • Comment number 16.

    Mac Mini - 2.0GHz or 2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, Five USB2 ports, two video outputs, Firewire 800, NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics processor, iLife Suite. Two netbooks a mac mini do not make. A bad comparison, Rory.

  • Comment number 17.

    That kills Apple in the UK market then. Just as I was thinking of buying one. Simple solution, Apple. Manufacture in the UK for the UK market and you wont have to worry about exchange rates - sorry, is that too complicated for you .... ?

  • Comment number 18.

    I don't even understand why people buy macs! hello people they are no different to other pc's except they have a different OS installed and not a very good one at that. My colleague at work has seen how poor macs are and he rues the day he got one! macs are for people who think they are cool when in fact they are brainwashed fools that should just get a normal pc and install linux for free alongside windows to get the most out of a pc.

  • Comment number 19.

    For those that are angry at the price rises, if you do the math, you'll realise that a better target for your anger is the pound losing so much of its value over recent months, not Apple's decision to raise prices to compensate. (Whether Apple's prices are too high in the first place is another question entirely.)

    As other commenters have pointed out, the new prices are very much in line with the US prices. For those who can't be bothered to open the calculator, here's the math for the cheapest Mac Mini:

    It's now selling for ?499, once you strip out 15% VAT (Americans pay state sales taxes, if any, on top of purchase prices; it's not included) you get ?433.91. Convert this to dollars at the current exchange rate, and you get about $608. The current price in the US is $599.

    I agree that on the face of it it seems crazy to raise prices in a recession, but I think we Brits have to come to terms with the fact that the pound just isn't worth what it used to be, and so some imports are going to be more expensive.

  • Comment number 20.

    Oh dear, a number of people took my description of Apple's move as "brave" too literally.

    Perhaps they were never fans of the British series "Yes, Minister" in which Sir Humphrey, when advising a feckless government minister about to embark on a policy which was bound to end in disaster, would say,"Well, minister, that is a very brave move."

  • Comment number 21.

    As much as I love the products Apple make I like them less and less as a company. Those blaming the pound for the price rises should remember that Apple products in the US have always been cheaper than Apple products in the UK so the exchange rate has never had much to do with UK pricing. Apple has been fleecing UK consumers for years.

    Was willing to pay a bit more for the Apple brand, but if they think I'm going to pay that much more they need their head's read!

  • Comment number 22.

    Shock news! Apple are a corporation looking to rake in as much money as they can like every one else.

    I still find it hard to believe that some users have this idea that companies like Apple and Sony are trying to be our friends and give us these little toys as a treat.

    Get real every corporation wants to make money and they come up with ideas to do so.

    Why is it a shock to so many people?

    Why is it a shock that when the pound is strong we don't get reduced prices?

    Come on all every company cares about is cold hard cash.

  • Comment number 23.

    @ eatingmoodytom

    I guess broad thinking goes out of the window when considering anything other than a PC.
    Nothing wrong with a PC, I have to use both Macs and PC's - have done for years. I have read plenty of narrow minded opinions regarding both.
    OSX is streets ahead of Windows and that's why Microsoft are playing a very public catchup. Linux is getting very good - on my Mac I can boot into all of them or use virtualisation.
    My point being I USE THEM ALL. Clearly you do not. Who's the fool?

  • Comment number 24.

    Macs are cool for a reason: they're the best computers available. I've used them for over 15 years and they beat a Dell or any other PC hands down. (Don't even talk to me about Windows!)
    I have a new Mac Pro for my main work, and a 10 yr old G4 still going strong that acts as a server. If all you want to do is some surfing and send a few emails, maybe a spreadsheet or two, buy a cheap PC, but if you want to do real work then you need a better machine, with no security issues, no viruses out there, idiot-proof OS, just hassle free. You want the best, you expect to pay a higher price.
    It's like the difference between an Aston Martin and a Reliant Robin.

  • Comment number 25.

    @ andrew646

    As pointed out in the original article it is perfectly true that the pound has fallen against the dollar but the point was also made that when the pound was strong we didn't get price falls did we? We paid considerably more then than our American and Canadian friends.

    @ neilephipps

    Typical Mac fanboy argument and also totally wrong in that you can use all the Operating Systems on a Mac but can't on a PC. Legally this is true but this true for one reason and one reason only. Apple's EULA. Microsoft could easily change their EULA to prevent Windows being run on any Apple hardware. Whilst Apple specifically specify that OS X can only be run on Apple hardware. It's not because Apple are so clever that only they can come up with a way to run all the Operating Systems. It's because they legally prevent PC users from just going out and buying and installing a copy of their fantastic Operating System. Why should they be praised for forcing you to buy their hardware in order to run the Operating System. If you're prepared to break the law it's getting incredibly easy to install OS X on just about anything now. There's plenty of Netbooks out there running it that can also run Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Linux etc. which cost £300. Whose the fool then? You for sheepishly following Apple mantra which uses a legal trick to force you into paying a massive premium. Psystar is a case in point. They can massively undercut Apple's prices with the same Operating System and more powerful hardware so Apple is taking them to court - even though they installed retail versions on their Mac clones. By the way, as far as I'm aware, Apple has never taken an individual who breaches its EULA to court. People who run its OS illegally (and by that I mean they've purchased a retail copy and run it on non-Apple hardware) can probably take some comfort in that.

    @ D4lien

    It's not a shock that we didn't get price drops when the pound was strong but it does mean that Apple can't say with any justification that its prices are connected to the exchange rate.

    @ Graphis

    No, they are not the best computers available. The best computers have the best hardware. The very best hardware is not available for the Mac. If I want to get a 4870 X2 I can't. If I want to get a GTX 280 I can't. Apple will not let you have them. Right now, even if you got the highest spec'ed Mac Pro that exists. In the graphics department, this sub-£1000 PC that I built myself, has it beat. Nothing Apple can make is more graphically-powerful than this PC. Fact. There's also plenty of other computers out there that that will run rings around Macs, for a lower price. As for the OS, it maybe your opinion that it's the best. It's got many advantages over Windows, no doubts about that. But it is entirely subjective. Take gamers for instance. They are extremely savvy users but you won't find them running Linux (as a main OS) or Macs because developers make the most games for Windows and the latest hardware is always available to them. As for the no viruses, no security issues thing. The same applies to Linux. Ah, now you say hassle free. Linux isn't hassle free is it? No, no, it isn't. Some distros are better than others in that department but surely no distro can best the mighty OS X in ease of use? As anyone in the Hackintosh community knows, well, anybody whose kept up-to-date with developments over several years, will attest. The ease and stability of a Mac is built on the foundations of its drivers because Apple know what hardware it will be running on. Therefore, comparing Windows and Macs in such broad terms is pretty much chalk and cheese. It's not anything that Apple are doing themselves. The trade off is less hardware freedom. If you're willing to make that sacrifice, fair enough, but let's not pretend it's something marvellous that Apple has created through its own ingenuity. Less hardware = Less drivers = Less to go wrong. It's that simple.

    It's the difference between an Aston Martin and a Reliant Robin? It really isn't, on so many levels.

  • Comment number 26.

    As I never been a Mac/Apple user (lied, actually I have used Mac at school's art department for a couple of times, quite a few years back but compare to the use of PC (DOS) since the age of 4. I am pretty comfortable to use the word 'never') Post 16 makes me think, what's the difference between a Mac from a PC apart from it's OS for people to pay the premium? Can anybody help?

  • Comment number 27.

    Macs are the best. They're the best because they run OS X.

    Not much more to say really.

  • Comment number 28.

    @ Skashion

    I think you missed my point - I have no problem with using PC's, I also like to use a Mac - both get the job done I simply find the Mac gets it done a little quicker. If I need to personally run a Windows app I can. Makes perfect sense to me.
    I get irritated by those bandwagon jumping Apple bashers who dive in with both feet but have NEVER USED A MAC and I would say the same to a Mac user who has never used a PC.

    Now i must get some t-shirts done on the front mine will read 'Sheepish' and on the back 'Fanboy'. Yours will read "IT and on the back 'Elitist'.....

  • Comment number 29.

    #24

    "It's like the difference between an Aston Martin and a Reliant Robin."

    No. it's like the difference between a Mini and a Toyota Yaris. The Mini is trendier, looks slightly better, has broadly similar performance but has fewer features and is 10% more expensive.

  • Comment number 30.

    Apple have raised prices that is factually correct BUT in the past few months we have been buying Apple Computers at significantly lower prices than shoppers in the USA. Apple have not been raising prices each week at the £ loses more and more value. While our prices have gone up we are now paying the same prices as the US (if you exclude local taxes).

    If you look at the UK iPod prices and compare them to the US prices (minus the Taxes), you will see that we are still paying a lot less than US shoppers. In the case of the 32GB iPod touch it is £35 less in the UK than it is in the USA.

    Apple have been protecting UK shoppers from the US/UK exchange rate for many months and will have been losing significantly due the exchange rate. They have simply taken the opportunity to level the playing field.

  • Comment number 31.

    Dear oh dear, I'd love to know why my initial contribution was taken off the blog. The problem is when they're whipped off the blogs there's never any explanation why. Just the usual standard email. I suspect the good old BEEB doesn't like overt criticisms of APPLE. Maybe APPLE's lawyers are a little too touchy? Oh, and Rory, Yes Minister is OK, but how about something from the IT Crowd instead?

  • Comment number 32.

    OK, there appears to be some fanboy-ism's on both sides here.

    Firstly, I don't know how anyone mistook Rory's article to think that he thought this was a good move.

    Apple Mac computers appeal to certain people that just want things to work. I switch about 18 months ago, paid more for my Mac than I could of got a 'standard' PC for, but I have never looked back.

    Yes, it limits my hardware choice, well, I did get a Mac Mini afterall! But, I know OS X works brilliantly and easily straight away.

    To a degree, Windows has problems because it supports so many products. Well, maybe they should reconsider that, so they can make a more stable OS? I'm hoping for big things out of Windows 7, I really am.

    leunvcy, to answer your question. Mac hardware may be similar to what you can buy from most PC stores, but it is of better quality construction. That's not to say there are not PC makers out there who don't make quality PC's, take AlienWare for example; but you always pay the premium.

    OS X is a great operating system and it is what you use everyday. So you pay the premium for a better build of computer and the ability to run OS X. Believe me, if you switch you won't look back.

    Now obviously, if you love to tinker with hardware or play all the latest games, the Windows is your best bet. But for most other things, I would really recommend a Mac.

    And no, I don't think there price increases are a good idea and I was hoping for something a bit special from them, but as has been pointed out, they are here to make money. Let's see if this plan works.

    Oh and Skashion; the computer is the software; so the best computers have the best software. OS X beats Windows, that's not subjective, that's fact. Just because gamers can only use Windows as it's the 'popular' choice, because of a stupid mistake by IBM, way back when! Just because more people use it, or more people develop for it, doesn't make it the best.

    Yes, hardware matters, but Mac's hardware is great for what's needed.

    Both OS's have there good and bad points, but Windows has more bad points.

    It's amazing how people still hate Mac's even though they've never used them, or has a friend who has had issues so they must be rubbish. Love it.

    Buy a Mac, be happy. Buy a PC, be happy.

    Just don't judge until you've used and enjoyed the Mac experience.

  • Comment number 33.

    @#26 - the difference used to be PPC chips, these days it's just build quality (quality components configured for the OS instead of Windows running on any old hardware), and design quality.

    I was holding out for these updates, but I can't justify the price hike for the specs. I may still buy a refurbished iMac if I see one in the next couple of weeks, otherwise I'll be getting a PC - for the first time.

  • Comment number 34.

    I must admit, I've been holding off buying the 2nd from top iMac for a while, as I was waiting for this refresh. However, I wasn't expecting price rises to the level they've appeared at. And I know that Apple are saying it's "down to a number of factors, including currency" etc, but if that's the case, they've been fleecing us for years while the £ was doing well.

    They have effectively put up their prices despite sitting on a £20bn+ pot of cash (see their last trading figures for Q1 2009). They have stated that the Desktop market is no longer the mainstay of their operation.

    Their best bet would have been to try and restart the Desktop market by pricing them as they were, and aggressively marketing the Mini as a PVR (possibly including some form of HDMI connector, internal tuner card etc), whilst removing the Apple TV line (use the Mini to replace that as it is just essentially a stripped down version of the Mini running a proprietary version of Tiger). With the amount of money they are generating from their other lines, and with the dropping sales in their desktop lines, it was time for them to step up and prove that they're the market leader for innovation. It looks to me as if they are sitting on their laurels until Snow Leopard appears (which is probably another reason I'll hold off upgrading - will see after March 24th, which is meant to be for another press event), or until El Presidente returns from his leave of absence.

    They have said that they've made iMac/Mac Mini more affordable in their press releases, but I don't see it. Not based on the previous specs, or the new specs, and not compared to other hardware providers out there.

    I think Apple may well have made a faux pas.

  • Comment number 35.

    Excellent news. We don't want to see poor people with macs, it would ruin our image.

  • Comment number 36.

    @ neilephipps

    Elitist? Hysterically funny. I'm anti-elitist. I think anybody who pays a premium for underpowered hardware is elitist because there you are paying for brand and style. Me, I like bang for buck and I build it myself to cut the costs even further. I'd hardly call wanting value for money an elitist quality.

    @ jacko101

    I never questioned the fact that OS X is better than Windows... And nor did I ever, and nor will I ever, claim that Windows is best because it's more popular. Please refrain from strawman arguments in future. However, what is subjective, is the use of a computer. If someone uses a computer mostly for gaming then Windows is the preferential choice for the vast majority of gamers. If it's say, media editing, then OS X is almost certainly better. That is subjective. And, no, jacko101, a computer is not just software. Hardware matters, a lot. Oh, wait, you do acknowledge that in your next paragraph, thankfully. OS X, running on a more efficient architecture, does make a difference to performance but wholly seperating hardware from software is completely ridiculous. Moreover, my argument against the whole Mac vs. PC thing is that you should be able to run any Operating System you want on a Mac and the same for a PC but you can't run OS X on a PC because Apple's EULA does not allow this, legally. However, usefully, we do have evidence from Hackintosh benchmarks which prove that a less costly PC will outperform a more costly Mac, both running OS X obviously, simply because PC hardware is cheaper because you don't pay the 'Apple tax'.

    *Disclaimer*
    Just to make my views clear before anymore Mac fanboys accuse me of bias. 1. I acknowledge OS X, at least architecturally, to be superior to any Windows Operating System. 2. I think what Operating System is best depends entirely on what the computer is being used for. For everyday, average user use i.e. email, web browsing, viewing media I would consider OS X to be better than any Windows Operating System. For gaming it's generally the latest version of Windows - though many gamers continue to prefer XP to Vista despite Vista's support for DX10. For servers, Linux etc. 3. Hardware matters! 4. Apple do rip off UK consumers - and also charge a premium for their computers in general which is widely known as the 'Apple tax'. When the pound was strong UK consumers paid considerably more than Canadian and Americans. Now, it maybe roughly equivalent but to counteract the overcharging of the years when the pound was strong they would have to allow UK consumers to buy at relatively lower prices. The UK is being unfairly treated by Apple, there's no escaping that fact. For anyone who disputes the fact that there is an Apple tax. I will give you a rock solid example. With the old Mac Pros, they charged you 400 pounds for a 2 x 2GB of DDR2 800MHz RAM upgrade. At the same time you could get 2 x 2GB OCz Reaper HPC (overclockable) DD2 800MHz RAM for 40 pounds. Apple were charging ten times that. Ten times! How is that not a ripoff? To be fair to Apple, they have now seemingly acknowledged this problem and their new Mac Pro DDR3 RAM upgrades are a lot more fairly priced. Although this is a extreme example I think it can used to demonstrate that, often, Mac owners are paying a premium for a very capable Operating System, not powerful hardware.

  • Comment number 37.

    Why should British consumers pay the price of Apple's poor hedging strategies and their frustratingly US-centric nature?

  • Comment number 38.

    Skashion

    I guess the irony was a little wasted.
    So you have the most powerful PC and there are non better because you built it...ok. I think we have a fuller picture now.

  • Comment number 39.

    in these hard times, putting the price up is a serious gamble. macs are great, but i think people will perhaps look at refurbs rather than visit the Applestore. Times are tight and the economy is gloomy. Not sure where Apple are coming from...................

  • Comment number 40.

    'Do the Math' ..... ? Yo dude, i did the 'Maths' and they are now overpriced for the spec increase .... with stupid glossy screens. When the pound was £1 = $2 i cant remember the prices crashing?

  • Comment number 41.

    neilephipps

    Can you find me where I said anything like that? Can you quote me please?

    If not. What I actually said was that you cannot get a Mac Pro from Apple which either has a 4870 X2 or a GTX 280. The point being you cannot get the latest and best graphics hardware for Macs. It's a perfectly legitimate point. Because of this there is no Mac machine currently available, from Apple themselves, which has a more powerful graphics solution than my PC. That is completely different to saying, 'So you have the most powerful PC and there are non better because you built it'. Firstly, my PC certainly isn't the most powerful out there. In fact, it's pretty standard as far as gaming PCs go. Secondly, I never said there was any correlation between how it performs and the fact that I built it. I said building your own PC lowers costs, which it does.

    Irony? I don't know quite where to start with that little revelation. Self-delusion is a vice, not a virtue.

  • Comment number 42.

    Skashion

    So it's built to play 'Games' - I see, nuff said

  • Comment number 43.

    Skashion;

    You talk about the 'Apple tax' and the fact that you pay more for the Apple computers that you can get cheaper elsewhere.

    Hey, guess what. Apple build quality products, much like some PC makers, like AlienWare; they are not cheap either. I can get the spec of an AlienWare PC and build it myself at a much lower cost.

    You are paying for quality, support and service.

    And it's a little bit of a contradiction that you think that Apple should have OS X released for any hardware, but then say that OS X is more stable because of it's limited hardware base.

    So, I think I'll stick with Apple Mac; reliable, easy to use and very productive.

    What's the point of all that great hardware if the OS isn't stable? The best computers are the ones that you get most out of and in my experience, that's a Mac.

    Oh and you *did* infer that Windows was better because it was more popular, maybe you didn't mean to, but you did.

    It's quite simple really. If you want a games PC, you have to choose Windows. For anything else, I would choose a Mac any day.

  • Comment number 44.

    Bottom line is - stop worrying about which operating system is best - the real issue is to focus on what you want to do with the pc/Mac - does it do what you want it to do for a price you are happy to pay?? if so - nuff said.

    tye Apple hardware is nicely designed but under the skin it's just a pC these days with Inetl processors and graphics cards so the differnece is down to styling and price....

    WRT virus's and bugs - someone mentioned there are no bugs or virus's in MAC's - check this out... Extracted from an article. Also check out ...

    http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/apple-macbook-laptop,review-31499-2.html


    It’s Apple’s turn on the Patch Day treadmill and, for Mac OS X users, it’s quite ugly.
    As I write, Apple has released four different bulletins to cover 48 documented vulnerabilities in the Mac OS X ecosystem, a solitary code execution flaw affecting Safari for Windows and four different security problems in Java for Mac OS X.
    Security Update 2009-001 is quite a whopper, providing patches for holes in a wide range of components, including several open-source implementations like ClamAV and fetchmail.
    [
    This is a high-priority update for all Mac OS X users so don’t fool around when you see that Software Update alert.
    If you’re a Windows user and Safari is installed on your machine, pay special attention to this alert, which warns of code execution exposure on Windows XP and Windows Vista.
    • Multiple input validation issues exist in Safari’s handling of feed: URLs. The issues allow execution of arbitrary JavaScript in the local security zone. This update addresses the issues through improved handling of embedded JavaScript within feed: URLs.
    Apple also shipped a Java for Mac update with fixes for 4 more security problems:
    • Multiple vulnerabilities exist in Java Web Start and the Java Plug-in, the most serious of which may allow untrusted Java Web Start applications and untrusted Java applets to obtain elevated privileges. Visiting a web page containing a maliciously crafted Java applet may lead to arbitrary code execution with the privileges of the current user.


    SO the bottom line is buy what suits you and wat you can afford and want to use it for and whatever the platform , make sure you keep it secure.

    Finally, if anyone has played about with the Windows 7 Beta as I have they will find it is a real revalation - well worth looking at. I know someone who has put it on a netbook and runs like a dream - a very different beast to Vista..

  • Comment number 45.

    jacko101

    I would criticise Alienware too. I think they massively overcharge. The difference between PCs and Macs though is that you can walk into a PC world and get a gaming PC of reasonably high quality for a reasonable price. And don't talk about quality components because at the top-end, low-quality components do not exist to a large extent. I agree that PC manufacturers at the low-end do cut corners which reduce quality but this is marginalised at the top end because there are far less corners to cut.

    You may pay for support and service, if you are aware of that and you want to pay for that, fine, it's your choice.

    No, it's not a contradiction. I think that no company which makes an Operating System should be able to tell anyone who has purchased the rights to run an OS should be legally forced to run it on the hardware they specify. This applies to unstable OSs as well. I also pointed out that individual users have never been pursued by Apple for breaching their EULA, and this is a good thing. Essentially I see it as Apple having no right to do this. It's not a technical issue. For instance, if Apple were to remove this qualification from their EULA, but still continued to support the same narrow range of hardware themselves I would have no issue at all with that - although it would be nice if they made an effort to support more hardware of their own accord. What I want is for Apple to allow users the freedom to use their own hardware for the Operating System. Stability on the other hand, is a technical issue. Again Hackintoshes demonstrate the relationship between the range of hardware available. Although it is getting much easier to install OS X on PC hardware there are still quite a lot of issues and you often have to do a bit more work if you want everything to function properly and there is little doubt that they are less stable. However, there are easy ways to reconcile these two views. As I say one is an ethical standpoint and the other is technical. Further, Apple could retract the EULA and allow users to legally install OS X on non-Apple hardware and then put the onus on the user and the community to stabilise it. Thus, if you want to have the easy life, you buy a Mac and Macs retain their stability and reputation, but if you want hardware freedom, you and the community have to do some work yourself. It gives the user a free choice. There are two ways Apple could help this scenario. One, that I keep going on about is, retract the EULA requiring OS X to be run on non-Apple hardware (though I doubt Apple will ever do this because of the fear of companies like Psystar). This would get the community out in the open and allow for more collaborative efforts which is the one of the major reasons why Linux has developed so fast AND supports lots of hardware stably. Two, Apple could stop creating hurdles for Hackintoshes and get rid of those that already exist. Apple continues to introduce updates designed to break Hackintoshes and though these are normally easily overcome, it does hinder development and restrict hardware choice to a degree.

    You stick with your Mac. I'm not trying to convince you otherwise. I'm just making the point that Macs are overpriced in terms of hardware, and specifically hardware updates which have nothing to do with service because whether you get a high spec Mac or a low spec Mac you receive the same level of service and quality. There is no rational reason why you could have justified 400 pounds for a 4GB RAM upgrade is there? It's not a labour-intensive job, the hardware isn't expensive. You don't get a better level of service. It was purely a profit-making exercise designed to exploit people who do not know how much individual components of a computer actually cost. Apple were, in effect, charging a 900% markup. It was scandalous.

    Oh I did, did I? Well, you'll have to quote me on that one; where I inferred it that it is. Because the fact is I don't consider Windows to be better at all. If you want to check my previous posts in my profile you can see that I bitterly criticise not just Windows, and Windows Vista, but Microsoft as a company too. You can't portray me as a Windows fanboy much as you would like to, no doubt. So, first point aside. I do not think Windows is better which I have stated several times now. Second point, even if I did think that I would never use the argument of popularity to justify it because it is invalid argument. Again, as I've stated many times, which Operating System is best depends on what it is being used for. I argued PCs, with Windows, are better for gaming because 'because developers make the most games for Windows and the latest hardware is always available.' I said it was more popular amongst gamers because of those factors and I stand by that statement.

    I quite agree that a computer needs to be stable and that there is no point in having great hardware without a stable Operating System. Hence why I dumped Vista when it became apparent just how unstable it was. I have to say I haven't had an issue with stability on this PC with either XP or any Linux distro. I do accept that Apple limiting their hardware does make it more stable. This is a good reason to use a Mac, along with many others. OS X is a good Operating System, better than Windows in my opinion. My points are essentially that the price you pay is a more limited range of hardware which isn't the best available and you pay a premium for it. If you know this and still prefer a Mac then I understand that. What I do have a problem with is people peddling false arguments for using OS X. Also, as I've said above, I don't think this is the only way Apple can do it. I think they can retain their model of limited hardware and maximum stability of their own Apple branded hardware, and open up the market for individuals who wish to run OS X on their own hardware via the two steps I discussed earlier.

    What about entertainment computers which make use of a Blu-Ray drive and HDMI outputs? I know you can now get them for Macs but not from Apple you can't - the option with Mac Pros from Apple is still one SuperDrive or two, and, in most cases, they have to be external, expensive, bulky solutions. What about servers? Is OS X Server the best OS for servers?

    Personally, I prefer Linux to OS X but I'm not an average user and I wouldn't say it's better as such but it offers more choice and more hardware compatibility whilst having the same security advantages as OS X and being free (gratis and libre).

  • Comment number 46.

    Skashion; You are right that both Alienware and Apple do overcharge for their products.

    However, it's not just as simple as that. They do provide a much better package overall. You can buy a top end HP PC that will outclass Mac's for the money, but you open that box and see how you feel.

    It's just another beige* box with no life. From the first moment you open the Mac box, you know someone has thought about it and it almost feels personal.

    Is that worth the extra money, not on it's own, no.

    *OK, it's not beige any more and it might actually look good!*

    Should Apple be allowed to legally enforce what hardware you can use, sure. It's their product, to do with what they want.

    It would be great if I could get any hardware and put OS X on it, but then maybe it wouldn't work as well.

    So that's the trade off and I am happy to live with it.

    If you need the bleed'in edge and want to have access to every bit of hardware, you won't be able to with Apple.

    Oh, and I apologise for saying you inferred that Windows was best, I just read back and I must have misread it.

    Of course on the back of all this, I honestly do hope that Windows 7 is great. Competition is good for every one. Whether it would tempt me back to Windows is a different matter.

  • Comment number 47.

    One word - Design.

    Thanks to Royal College of Art trained Jonny Ives and his team Apple consistently have products which are 'life style aspirational', the things in life which are worth every hard earned penny spent on them.

    Some of us feel the look of a product is very important and, of course, when perfect the form also has functionality.

    Go inside an elegant Apple Store and see the many females of all ages excited by the beautiful products, then look inside the average PC retailer. Computers are not just for 'geeks'.

    IMHO Apple is gender/age unbiased. I've continuously owned Apple computers since the early 80's but was forced to use PC's in the work environment. It's always a thrill to see each new Apple development, and their products make my retirement rock.


  • Comment number 48.

    We are reaching a fork in the road, I reckon.

    I read an article about Windows 7, and the fact the the reviled Vista doesn't really like laptops. It is too clumsy, demanding of memory and power.

    Micrsoft seem to want to introduce a cheap and stripped-down upgrade of XP to serve the laptop market, but charge as much as they dare.

    I suspect that signals the end of peak-microsoft, as in 'peak-oil'.

    Downhill all the way for the Redmond Mafia from now on.

    This sector is now over-mature. The releases of Office, Windows since before the century started, have barely been of use. The leaps have really been in hardware, the software has not got smarter, just more flamboyant.

    Cloud computing for a revenue-stream?
    How embarrassing.

    Regards,


  • Comment number 49.

    Skashion you crack me up and obviously over rate yourself when it comes to technology. Macs aint that expensive to upgrade the RAM. Have you been looking on the apple site or something...

    Now macs are on intel chips (ironically because microsoft needed too many of the old motorola chips for the XBOX that motorola couldn't keep up with demand...) You can use bog standard RAM inside your mac. SO your kinda wrong bout the hardware. Secondly If you think Apple broke EU rules then you must surely agree with me that Microsoft have held back new technology right the way through out the 90's and as a consequence they and their users are suffering now. They bailed out apple so they didn't become a monopoly. And have billions that they still owe in fines.

    Fair enough you may be using your linux or whatever. But I've seen macs running all three operating systems at the same time in different windows. So don't keep going on about macs having less software than Windows.

    Who cares if apple up their prices anyway, who can really afford to upgrade at the moment. And be who would want to. ^ Allmyfault is correct home software hasn't been advanced as much as the hardware allows. SO at this moment in time if you have a reasonable computer nothing is really going to come out to make you really need to upgrade. Unless of course you love video games.

  • Comment number 50.

    I've always been a PC user. I run both XP and Linux. I'm interested in at least trying Mac, and I want my next computer to be Mac. In other words, I'm a potential costumer.

    The problem is, when I look around, the economics of it don't make sense to me. I have owned PCs for 15 years now, and I never had any major reliability issues. My dirt cheap notebook runs everything and does everything I want.

    I'm still open to the idea of buying my first ever Mac in the near future, but not at the current prices. If Apple are looking to increase their market share, they need to attract people like me.

  • Comment number 51.

    Mel0dymaker, likewise, you crack me up.

    The discussion at hand here is whether Apple overcharges (look at the title, 'Apple's "brave" price rise', not, 'Can a Mac Pro use bog standard RAM') so how much Apple charges is the legitimate point here, not yours. I've also repeatedly mentioned Hackintoshes in this discussion so how you can argue that I'm oblivious to the fact that OS X can run on "bog standard" non-Apple hardware suggests you either haven't been paying much attention or you're engaging in a Straw Man argument. In either case, you're very wrong.

    Where on Earth did I mention EU rules, much less Apple's breach of them or lack thereof? Are you having a discussion with yourself here? Is this a published inner monologue?

    Can you find me ONE quote (this should be quite an easy task considering that I "keep going on about" it) where I referenced Mac's lack of software? I would be very interested to see one. Furthermore, yes, you may well have seen Macs running all three Operating Systems using virtualization but the only reason why you can't do this, legally, on other Operating Systems is because Apple don't want you to. Both VMWare and SWSoft have confirmed that this is the reason why official virtualization software does not exist and that if Apple changed its EULA it would exist. Again, the fact that number of projects have succeeded in running OS X in both Windows and Linux demonstrates this to be the case. Therefore, Apple does not deserve praise for enabling Macs (through third-party developers) to run Windows and Linux. Instead, it deserves criticism for striving to prevent Windows and Linux users from doing the same.

  • Comment number 52.

    Hmm.. well, more fool Apple for not going the budget route. I have purchased my latest OSX program and have successfully, without any problems, installed it onto my Advent 4213.. I might also add that this is a dual boot installation so I get the best of both worlds and OSX runs really smoothly- However, this little netbook's party trick is 3G connectivity and OSX seems to handle it very well. Apple are missing an opportunity here...

  • Comment number 53.

    In fairness all PC components are more expensive now. I built a PC for a friend last year for £650 (quad core, BR drive, HD4870 GPU etc), this year it would cost over £725 for the same parts.
    However the price increase does make Apple even more irrelevant because it pushes the price to an unacceptable level. A Mac mini for £499?? Get real..

 

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