Darren Waters

Does Dell covet Apple's design status?

  • Darren Waters
  • 18 Mar 09, 10:37 GMT

For many years Dell was regarded by some people as the anti-Apple firm.

The company was founded on the ethos of selling computers to as many companies and individuals as they could.

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Dell computers were grey, drab boxes that lacked soul, in as far as a computer can have a soul.

They served a highly utilitarian purpose: they delivered cheap computers to the masses and have helped drive down the cost of computing power, putting it into the hands of many millions of people.

But Dell became synonymous with dull.

Almost two years ago Dell endeavoured to turn that perception around - first by offering colours for many of its laptops and then partnering with artists to add designs to machines.

Its latest step is to launch a laptop, called the Adamo, whose sole purpose is to make people re-think their perceptions of Dell.

AdamoI spent an hour with the Adamo at South by SouthWest trying to find out if Dell indeed had managed to turn heads and shift expectations.

At first glance, the silver, or Pearl, Adamo looks not to dissimilar to the aluminium Macbook and MacBook Pro range of computers. Indeed both Dell and Apple are using a unibody design to make the machines out a single metal sheet.

The clean lines of the Macbook range, however, have given way to more stylised details.

A Dell staffer told me that the company had wanted to invoke that sense of personal ownership people have with special pieces of technology.

Everywhere you look on the machine there is detail, detail and more detail.

The ventilation grill at the back of the machine is not just a drilled piece of metal - it is a curved sheet in which the holes fade away.

The top of the machine is part glass and part metal that has been etched by laser to produce a geometric design.

The little support legs under the machine have been designed to within an inch of their lives.

There are none of the usual Windows and Intel stickers - a fact the Dell staffer was only to happy to point out. Instead they too are etched into the underside of the machine.

Some of the legal notices will be hidden under a removable panel, which was created purely so the legal notices could be hidden from view.

The laptop is described by Dell as the world's thinnest - but if you were to look at the MacBook Air and Adamo in profile, Apple's machine looks a lot thinner.

But that is largely to do with the stylised tapering of the MacBook Air, and in fact, the Dell staffer points out, the Adamo is thinner at its thickest point than the Air at its thickest point.

Certainly, the Air is lighter than the Adamo, no matter how you measure it. Although the Adamo feels a lot more durable than the Air.

It is hard not to think that Dell have tried to out-Apple, Apple. And in some regards they have succeeded.

But why is Dell releasing a $2,000 laptop at a time of recession?

I was told it was because people will always want fine cars and fine watches and that Adamo is no different.

It is a luxury laptop for the fashion conscious - as evidenced by the magazine photo shoot images that accompany the launch.

But what about its performance? Does that matter? After all a fine watch tells the time no better than a cheap quartz wristwatch.

The specs of the Adamo are probably the most underwhelming aspect of the machine.

It has a 1.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2GB of RAM, and a 128GB SSD hard drive. You won't be editing much video on this machine, and some might question the value the laptop offers under the hood.

People have made the same point about the MacBook Air - although it does have a faster processor and better integrated graphics and, crucially for road warriors, is a one pound lighter at three pounds.

My colleague, business editor Tim Weber, pointed out in Twitter: "Are the people dissing Dell's Adamo the same people who are drooling over Apple's similarly priced and under-specced Air?"

It's a fair point.

But the biggest question about the Adamo is not about its size, weight or performance. It is about why Dell is launching a $2,000 luxury machine at a time when the market is crying out for innovation in the netbook market.

Dell has a number of netbooks and the market is growing rapidly. I have not seen the latest figures on premium laptops but I suspect the growth is either slow, steady or stagnant.

Dell told me that they had "modest expectations" for sale of the Adamo.

I suspect that Dell don't really care about sales of the Adamo. This isn't a balance sheet exercise this is part of a long and careful campaign to re-educate people about Dell and to shift pre-conceptions.

Given the interest surrounding the Adamo launch, sneers of Macbook Air owners aide, I think Dell is making progress.


  • Comment number 1.

    The problem with Dell is that for years they've been synonymous with selling cheap, underpowered machines to students and people who don't really care about computers. They're now trying to compete with a company who specialise in selling premium products and a massive fan(cult)base.

    And to top it all off they installed Vista Ultimate x64! After all the negative press that Microsoft had, who wants anything to do with Vista? They should have done a deal to install the RC of Win7 instead.

    No matter how beautiful, light or powerful the laptop may be, it still has a Dell logo on it and for people that they're aiming the Adamo at, Dell is not a 'cool' brand.

  • Comment number 2.

    Adamo, Adama or Armada. Which name is best? There's only one way to find out. FIGHT!!!

  • Comment number 3.

    Maybe at last people will realise that if you want quality it costs. Macs have been slated for being expensive for years - the reason being, you guessed it, quality costs.
    Coming from a company who's CEO once said "Apple should pay back shareholders and close the business" it's hilarious that this along with their new iMac attempt, Dell has become nothing but Apple copyists.
    You couldn't make it up

  • Comment number 4.

    I think DELL is making a good move by creating an upmarket device however I think they may be better served by marketing it under a new name in the same way that Toyota & Lexus operate. Also, will a slightly cheaper version be offered with Ubuntu instead of Windows?

    The most interesting thing will be if a new entrant into the upper end of the market will prompt action from Apple. I firmly believe that if Apple dropped the price of the entry level Macbook Air to say £799, the public would react by queuing at the door of the Apple Stores to get them.

  • Comment number 5.

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

  • Comment number 6.

    I must admit I have been waiting for the Adamo (not Armada or Adama as above :o) for a while and was disappointed by the specs given all the hype! At the end of the day you may as well get the Apple and install Vista as it’s a lighter and faster machine

  • Comment number 7.

    Sigh... Once again, for YEARS, we Apple fans can only watch as companies like Dell scratch their heads and poorly imitate products that we know... work exceedingly well and are functionally and aesthetically superior. It's simple- Apple CREATES while the others have no serious development. So why bother?

  • Comment number 8.

    I run a small Toshiba with Linux Mint so they all suck to me!

  • Comment number 9.

    My experiences of Apple support have always been positive. I cannot say the same for Dell.

    If Dell are going to compete against Apple on product terms, they're going to have to up their game on customer and product support.

    They cannot aim to provide premium products without premium support.

  • Comment number 10.

    I'm not really sure where Dell are going with this one other than a diversification of product range.

    Clearly there is a market for this kind of machine which is why the Macbook Air, smaller form VAIOs and Voodoo Envy sell, it's just that it's not a huge one.

    However this is a nice machine and it runs Vista x64 which is an excellent operating system and it is beautiful so I'm sure it'll sell to a select audience.

  • Comment number 11.

    I see it doesn't take long before the usual Apple 'elitest' attitudes start to surface spouting it's anti-Microsoft (and now Dell) propaganda.

    I fail to see why Apple should be given the monopoly on producing stylish products. The truth is that Dell have built up enough profits over the years to plug back in to R&D to produce better looking PCs. It's not an attempt to copy Apples attempts, it's simply the evolution of their business!

  • Comment number 12.

    I think the young chaps reaction to the price sums up 99.9% of potential customers: NO way!

  • Comment number 13.

    Dell, Doll, Dull?

  • Comment number 14.

    "There are none of the usual Windows ... stickers"

    You won't find any on a Mac either. And that's why people buy Macs: OS X

  • Comment number 15.

    the Adamo is pointless, but then so is the Air.

    Unless you're visiting London Fashion week. But we geeks don't do that.....

  • Comment number 16.

    I have to say for value, wide product range, and higher benchmark tests (the proof is in the pudding sorry Mac fans) Dell has it all the way.

    Unless you are someone who has to use a Mac OS then I would say there is really no comparison really.

    I used to use Macs but when I discovered PCs a whole new world of opportunity opened up.

    Macs use all PC hardware anyway...but tend to put a higher price on it and are confined to one OS.

  • Comment number 17.

    Re: 5. At 11:51am on 18 Mar 2009, twelveightyone wrote:

    Windows NT/XP/Vista, Linux/UNIX/BSD and OS/X are all POSIX compliant operating systems. In other-words they are all the same at a certain level. Bet you did not know that eh? OS/X will, actually, install on the Dell notebook when Apple's proprietary locks are removed, a simple task.

    Your comments are expected. As a typical Apple user you are vocal but not knowledgable. A good computer is not one that looks good but one with power and capacity. If Apple's computers were superior I would use them.

    That being said, selecting x64 Vista for the Dell laptop is a complete waste. With 2GB of RAM, Windows XP would be perfectly sufficient. I would recommend any owner of this laptop "downgrade" to Windows XP and double the performance.

  • Comment number 18.

    The usability of a machine is only as good as the usability of the OS - hence Apple have come up with the goods on 2 fronts, whilst however good a dell laptop may be, if it's running an inferior OS it's not going to compete

  • Comment number 19.

    Dell is desperate. They have been losing money for what seems an age and they simply see this as a new revenue stream to try and bolster falling demand and prices in their core market. Hanging on the back of a company that spends REAL money on developing products that PC box shifters eventually copy. Dells R&D - don't make me laugh.
    The equation is easy:
    Apple = Innovate.
    Dell = Imitate.

  • Comment number 20.

    Dell have spent a ton of money to develop and produce this expensive 'cheap imitation' of a Mac so they have to release it , even though the potential market for it no longer exists. Just bad timing.

  • Comment number 21.

    I think you need to research what POSIX actually is before stating such wide ranging comments, yes OS X is a Fully POSIX compliant OS, but XP or NT? Tut tut tut.

  • Comment number 22.

    Deep breath.
    Okay here we go. I have been supporting Dell PCs and laptops (Amongst other makes including Apple) for over 10 years now. If someone had come to me around 1 and half to 2 years ago and had said "Should I buy a Dell?" I would have warned them to steer clear. But here's the thing.
    Dell laptops and PCs are now of a much higher quality in my opinion. They offer deals no-one else could really match and always have special offers on. Sure I would never buy a Dell to play games on or for heavy process applications but for most people who browse the web and create docs etc they are almost a completely changed in terms of quality and reliability.

    I would also like to mention that Dell support is excellent nowadays. Try using HP support they are a nightmare. Also my friend and his Apple iPod are having fun and games getting that little thing sorted.

    To say Dell imitate and Apple innovate is a little unfair really as all corporations imitate, stealing one and others ideas.

    Dell generally offer a choice of OS. don't like Microsoft? Get Linux. Don't like either of them then get OSX, oh no wait you can't as Apple wont allow it, unless you crack it illegally. But they are so open and lovely surely they wouldn't prevent it being run on other platforms. Give me a break.

    Use what suits you don't rubbish equipment you havent used and bear in mind all of these companies have the same thing in common. They are just looking for ways to get your money. Microsoft, HP, Dell, Apple the list goes on only care about getting your cash.
    By the way I have a PC running, vista, 7 beta, xp and ubuntu. I also have a mac with OS/X. all do what I need them to do and that's all that matters. Honestly the bickering about Apple being better and PCs being rubbish just irritates me. They all have their good and bad points depending on what you need the device for. Get over it. Every month we get this hatred of MS and Apple sprouting up, tiresome.

  • Comment number 23.

    Re: 21. At 2:44pm on 18 Mar 2009, Charles_Croker_Esq wrote:

    Throwing Wiki-references at me does not impress.

    However since you place so much worth in such things then you should research more yourself. Your own article states that Windows NT/XP/2000/Vista is POSIX compliant.

  • Comment number 24.

    Of course in response to any article in which Macs and Windows PCs are compared there will ensue the eternal debate over which is better. The answer, of course, is that it depends. From a pure hardware standpoint, Dell is generally going to offer more bang for your buck. If you're a PC gamer, a Windows machine is generally going to be the way to go. For others, there are other requirements.

    I am a web developer, I use a Macbook Pro, and I feel that OSX gives me a far better and less aggravating space to work in than Windows or Linux do, but still has all the UNIX stuff that I need. For me, it's worth the money - it's my livelihood after all. For others, it's not. But for anyone to argue a blanket statement that one is inherently better than the other, well, that seems rather disingenuous to me. Who are they trying to persuade?

  • Comment number 25.

    All this bickering is futile. Why shouldn't Dell, as a major player in the computer manufacture world, be allowed to follow the present trends of the so called innovative leaders? I personally think that it's great for consumers who've never found themselves sat in front of an Apple machine to be able to have stuff built to similar design standards.

    And as to the OS debate ongoing, futile doesn't begin to cover it. Lots of people like windows because they're used to it and it does what they need it to. I personally use Ubuntu Hardy because it's more stable, less prone to viruses and, and this is the thing that really, really swings it for me, it's FREE! Apple's OS may well be superior, having never spent more than five minutes using it I honestly couldn't comment, but is it really sufficiently superior to call people who've never had the chance to use it idiots? Or is it just a bit shinier?

    Grow up eh?

  • Comment number 26.

    @ D4lien
    Some fair comments. Personally I have nothing against using a PC, like yourself I use both daily. Microsoft do a good job at what they do and lets be honest creating sware that runs on 85% of the worlds computers is an uphill and thankless task (as Vista proved to be).
    I simply get irritated that Apple is seen as all flash, fashion but lacking true computing guts. Not so. This Mac Pro Quad core Xeon I'm using right now is the best system I have used. Period.
    A similar specced Dell is actually more expensive if you factor in all the elements.
    In my 20 years in this game I have found Dell products wanting. Shocking call centre service (trust me I know), shoddy build, cheap components and I think that is the public's perception of Dell - cheap.
    That's what I find so hilarious, almost embarrassing to blatantly copy Apple hardware and price points as if to say all our other products are not that good because they are cheaper and not as well designed (copied).
    Did Gerald Ratner get a job there?

  • Comment number 27.

    same old story my mac is better than your pc,

    if you look at any pc desktop or laptop they are always priced lower than any mac counter part, however when it comes to Dell machines they are slightly underpowered for the OS pre-installed on them, also show me a mac which can be upgraded by yourself at home. (graphics, sound, ram, processor, hard drive or optical drive)

    surprise, surprise there aren’t any so why bother with a machine that becomes out of date by the time you have enough money to pay for it when you can buy a better machine for the same price.

  • Comment number 28.

    "I was told it was because people will always want fine cars and fine watches and that Adamo is no different.
    It is a luxury laptop for the fashion conscious - as evidenced by the magazine photo shoot images that accompany the launch."

    People will always want luxury brands. Apple is; Dell is not. The fashion conscious will not be telling others that they have a Dell when, for the same price, they can tell others that they have an Apple.

  • Comment number 29.

    I am an Apple user and have been for many years and so Apple are part of my comfort-zone.

    I congratulate Dell on producing what is a rather good-looking laptop. It's a shame they gone for some adolescent type scribbling on the body which would, IMO, have looked better in plain metal. It's good to see manufacturers other than Apple realising that good industrial design is not only good eye-candy but actually makes their products more desirable. Sony did a fairly good job externally with their Vaios.

    Nonetheless, the MacBook Air is faster, cheaper and, in most areas, better specced than the Dell. However, the Air is a niche product and not part of the Apple mainstream laptop range so I'm not sure the Adamo is going to sell enough at that price.

    Design apart, the biggest problem is the operating system ... hiding the Windows Vista stickers won't make Vista go away and, rightly or wrongly, Vista has not been a good thing for Microsoft or computer manufacturers.

    I'm lucky enough to have an Apple Store within a mile of work. I can confidently go in there and get free advice from knowledgeable staff, play with their machines at will and even attend free seminars. As a marketing strategy Apple have got it right for a lot of people who want to use a computer but don't want the hassle that often goes with it. Although Apple is still perceived as being expensive, a quick comparison on specs and quality soon reveals there's not much difference.

    I do believe Apple is more creative and innovative in many areas but can sometimes frighten the horses (as when they got rid of the 'floppy').

    In the end, though, it does come back to what you're used to. I have Macs at work to do a publishing job and they work very well indeed. So I have Macs at home, too.

  • Comment number 30.

    Oh you're not impressed with Wiki? How about Microsoft then?

    "There is no support for POSIX or OS/2 programs in Microsoft Windows XP-based or in Microsoft Windows Server 2003-based operating systems."

    Tut tut tut!

  • Comment number 31.

    #25. To be fair I have upgraded my Mac a couple of times.

  • Comment number 32.

    #25 Sorry, meant to say 27

  • Comment number 33.

    @ raven2751

    Macs have been upgradable from the get go.
    Take a look at the current Mac Pro's VERY upgradable.....

  • Comment number 34.


    My Mac Pro is upgraded, 2x Solid State Drives as Boot drives (Raid 0 - Striped) , upgraded Graphics Card, and RAM, with BlueRay Optical Drive. I am a home user. So is my G5 PowerMac and various G4s!

    Macs can have their RAM and Hard Drives upgraded by a home user.

  • Comment number 35.

    many people forget that modern macs can run Windows native along with osx. It is a much underlooked feature.
    The Dell will only run windows.

  • Comment number 36.

    # 28 - That's the problem I deal with when ever I roll out a new laptop. People see Dell and think cheap. Of course, they are but they do the job.

  • Comment number 37.

    Okay, I've used both PC and Macs for design work and, for the record, OSX always offers more stability and speed than any flavour of Windows.

    It's gets a bit frustrating when people fail to understand the price difference between Macs and PCs. It's really quite simple and can be summed up in a few sentences.

    The average PC design plan is as follows:
    Take a bunch of components, motherboard, processor, Video car, Ram etc. Put them together, stick inside a package, laptop or desktop, add monitor if required, 'design' a few nice features for the packaging, attractive air vents or lights etc. Sell.

    A Mac's design process is like this:
    Spend several months designing the look of the machine, taking into consideration it's use. Talk to suppliers and ensure all components are optimized to work flawlessly together. Take away and test. Test again and liason with suppliers to tweak the components to get even better out of them. Test again until absolutely satisfied. Place parts into a package that has had months of design, often including completely new features like the multitouch track pad (Macbook Pro), or the 'through machine air vents (first on the silent G4 Cube and then G5 iMac and on). Ensure entire machine works perfectly. Test repeatedly to try and iron out all problems both with hardware and software. Test one last time and then sell.

    I'm sorry if I've ranted a bit but people really should understand why Mac's are more 'expensive'. It's because Apple oversees EVERY step of their products design process, hardware and software.

    I really do think it's good that Dell are having a go at making a stylish machine and, having used a Macbook Air, I also understand it's lack of power and price.
    Heat and size of components.
    No way on earth are you going to get a full powered laptop into a package that small.

    Fair play to Dell but I feel they need to spend a few more months at the design stage, probably using Linux rather than Windows or at the very least, Windows XP.

  • Comment number 38.

    Macbooks are nothing more than shiny boxes used to accessorise Latte's.

    Computers for the fashion conscious not for the tech conscious.

  • Comment number 39.

    @ dbithead

    "Windows NT/XP/Vista, Linux/UNIX/BSD and OS/X are all POSIX compliant operating systems. In other-words they are all the same at a certain level. Bet you did not know that eh?"

    No I didn't know that. You know why I didn't? Because it is not true! Some versions of Windows are 'partially' compliant, and that is as compliant as they can get with what is basically DOS. It will never be fully POSIX compliant, but as of OS X 10.5, every Mac is fully POSIX compliant.

    What 'certain level' are you talking about? Or is that just proof of your basic knowledge about POSIX compliance. And what on earth has POSIX compliance got to do with this debate?!?

    "OS/X (sic) will, actually, install on the Dell notebook when Apple's proprietary locks are removed, a simple task."

    And you will be breaking the law. OS X can only be installed on Apple hardware. You might not like it, but the law is the law. I mean, I could be a millionaire overnight, all I'd have to do is rob a bank. Anything is possible when you simply remove any legal obstacle in the way.

    "Your comments are expected. As a typical Apple user you are vocal but not knowledgable. A good computer is not one that looks good but one with power and capacity. If Apple's computers were superior I would use them."

    I love how you assume so much, so I'll tell you a few facts about me: I use UNIX, OS X and Windows XP/Vista every single day. I am an MCSE, and also a fully qualified Admin for OS X. Next week I will be aboard an Iranian crude oil carrier called 'Hoda' that uses Windows XP systems to keep the thousands of tonnes of crude oil it carries at the right temperature, using proprietary XP software. I know Windows. I know OS X. I know UNIX. Probably better than most, which is why I'm allowed to work on the Hoda - it is an Iranian vessel and relationships between Iran and the West are strained to say the least. But my knowledge of software safety systems (especially on Windows) means I am allowed to travel to Tehran and work with NITC (National Iranian Tanker Corporation). The one thing that puts me at ease about the systems on board Hoda - it is not connected to the internet in any way. And that is the only way you can truly secure Windows.

    "That being said, selecting x64 Vista for the Dell laptop is a complete waste. With 2GB of RAM, Windows XP would be perfectly sufficient. I would recommend any owner of this laptop "downgrade" to Windows XP and double the performance."

    Wow. What a statement! XP is an 8 year old OS that, come the release of W7, is a full 2 versions old! It's like recommending people who buy a new Mac wipe Leopard and install OS X 10.2!

    I do enjoy these blog pages, they're always full of funny comments!

  • Comment number 40.

    Isn't it amazing - you get what you pay for, Take a Dell machine, spec it to match an Apple (screen, processor, bus etc.) add in all the anti-spy/virus ware, service plan, etc., and guess what - it costs more than an Apple. Of course then, you have to deal with Windoze. Nicer looking machine than the old ones, but it's like a Corvette vs. an Aston Martin - which looks better?

  • Comment number 41.

    Looks like the moderator has bought one of these abomba notebooks coz it's certainly slow...

  • Comment number 42.

    @ 17: good comment

  • Comment number 43.

    DELL is a joke, this is a sure sign that they're out of ideas and out of customers and if you have used their products you'd understand why.

    I am a network technician, we bought 300 DELL laptops, of which 300 broke after 13 months. DELL refused to replace the batteries on them (That was the issue) because batteries don't come under waranty and also it was a known issue that we should have known about before buying according to them.

    What i don't understand is why they sell products that they know don't work.

    They will never be in the league of apple, or look as good.

  • Comment number 44.

    Wonky360 wrote "many people forget that modern macs can run Windows native along with osx. It is a much underlooked feature.
    The Dell will only run windows."

    No, it could run any of the many forms of Linux, or with some, 'tweaking' could run OSX (not that I can see why you would want to, other than the "My shiny thing is way better than your slightly less shiny thing that costs a lot less because Steve Jobs and the guys at the genius bar tell me so" reasoning).

  • Comment number 45.

    @ aphexrephlex

    Aaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrhhhhhhh. An attitude and mindset of the UNconscious.
    It's Cappuccino for Christsakes !!

  • Comment number 46.

    At 2:07pm on 18 Mar 2009, neilephipps wrote:

    "Dell is desperate. They have been losing money for what seems an age..."

    Neil, Dell has never, I say NEVER, lost money. You should probably think twice about telling lies. Your momma would not be happy.

    Dell has 8 billion (US) in cash and has never been in the red.

  • Comment number 47.

    @ twelveightyone

    Right on. Nice new Apple market but don't tell Abama...

  • Comment number 48.

    I doubt with the price that Dell is asking $1999, its going to work. This price is already Apple and Sony Vaio territory. This won't work for Dell, which is not considered a cool or upmarket brand.
    Furthermore, what do you get for this? An underpowered processor, and no proper graphics card. I would rather spend my money on the Macbook Air. Yes it doesn't have a Combo Drive but how often do you use those? I think the processor power and the graphics card are more important and on the Air you get both of these better for less the money.

  • Comment number 49.

    I'm not really sure why Dell is even bothering trying to update its look anyhow. They already own Alienware, so are they now going to compete with themselves as well?

  • Comment number 50.

    Everyone says Macs are great. Then you point out to them that gaming on a Mac is nowhere near as good as it is on a PC...

    Dell bought Alienware in order to cater for the "boutique" clients that are out there, so yeah I'd say Dell want to emulate Apple's success by making their brand a much revered brand.

    It's no worse than M$ trying to copy Macs OS.

  • Comment number 51.

    "Isn't it amazing - you get what you pay for, Take a Dell machine, spec it to match an Apple (screen, processor, bus etc.) add in all the anti-spy/virus ware, service plan, etc., and guess what - it costs more than an Apple."

    No it doesn't. Try again.

    As for securityware, most consumers don't pay for it.

  • Comment number 52.

    For me, this doesn't compete with the Air. Spec-wise its fine - I'm perfectly OK with the ultralight market being expensive. What I want in a laptop is the comfort and screen space of a high-end laptop with the portability of a netbook. If that costs me money, well, it costs me money.

    But a pound is a lot of weight on a laptop. And there's nothing I get for my pound. I still have to lug my optical drive separately on the Adamo. I'm shaving off a few millimeters and getting nothing for it in terms of travel ease. Lame.

    Also, this is more expensive than the Air. Which, as I said, I'm willing to spend money on my computers. But I'm not going to just throw it away. (And yes, I'm well aware of the inherent markup in many Apple products. I accept it as the "tech supportable installation of OS X" fee, and I'm willing to pay it as such. Being a Mac is a feature, and I will pay for it. Being a Dell is not.)

  • Comment number 53.

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

  • Comment number 54.

    I agree that, with the launch of the Adamo, Dell are providing a different view to their brand, but I think that they've failed to hit the nail on the head and now they're trying to pull it out and try again.

    For a while, Dell computers have been bog-standard systems, nothing fancy, and ideal for a workstation where it does what the user needs it to do for common tasks.

    However, with the rising market share of Apple devices, Dell realise that they have been focussing too much on designing the computer to do what it should do, rather than making it increasingly more user-friendly. That might seem contradictory, but in this day and age, more and more people are getting tired of using the same exterior designs of computer systems, and so the demand for nice-looking computers has gone up dramatically in the last five to ten years.

    Although Dell have now begun actively manufacturing computers that look nicer than the standard ones, they have another problem; the performance of the computer. At the moment the Macbook Air base model has a processor speed of 1.6GHz, ideal for carrying out any common tasks, but also for more complex tasks, such as video editing. The Adamo, on the other hand, has a processor speed of 1.2GHz, and although this can still carry out the same tasks, it will have more trouble running tasks simultaneously.

    In conclusion, I believe that, although Dell are entering this branch of the market now with a fair competitor, their trying-to-give-Dell-a-better-name means that they have no experience in the market so the balance of hardware and posture is non-existant, and for this reason I do not think that the Adamo will take an overly-successful stance in the market.

  • Comment number 55.

    I'm sorry, but for a brand to really position itself as 'cool' they have to overhaul their whole brand image. DELL are synonymous with 'a PC' - doesn't matter which box it gets chucked it in, as long as it works and no-one claims back the warranty that's all they care about.

    If they think that this machine will have a 'halo' affect on the rest of their products then they are most certainly barking up the wrong tree.

    I remember a phrase that GM's director of design said as he took up office a few years ago, whilst he was unravelling the mess of blandness of all the products - Good products should be design-led and not brand-led. So look at their brands - XPS, Inspiron.. They all look the same blocky, bulky eyesores in perhaps a different shade of silver or black etc, etc...

    To have an effect on the way that they want people to perceive DELL, they really need to take a look at *all* their products and not just rely on the halo one.

    And another thing... Who says good design has to be expensive???

  • Comment number 56.

    The power of modern computers million times exceeds power of the navigational computer lunched the man to the Moon. And what they doing with that power today? They compete whose computer box is thinner, nicer looking, more classy and fashionable?!
    Computer business looks as a fashion business now!

  • Comment number 57.

    I have to say that on my render farm I have Macs as well as PCs. The Macs running windows run it very slowly in comparison to other computers.

    I often have to switch the Macs off in certain modes (distributive render) because they slow down the rendering process too much, which is no good when working to tight deadlines.

    For smaller/less computer-intensive tasks they are ok .....I wouldn't want to get one myself though.

  • Comment number 58.

    I thought it was a good review all in all, some good points. Apple will always lead the market for style (in my opinion) and good on other companies taking up the challenge. The only problem is this writer's spelling. If your writing a report that is read world-wide, you would think he would do a proof read or something? for eg. "machines out a single metal sheet." out - of - a single metal sheet would make sense... and "air owners aide.." aside perhaps? sheesh.

  • Comment number 59.

    57. hon3stly wrote:
    "I have to say that on my render farm I have Macs as well as PCs. The Macs running windows run it very slowly in comparison to other computers."

    This seems very curious. There should not be any great differences running Windows natively under Bootcamp on an Intel Mac as compared to running it on a similar-specced PC.

    A little while back one of the PC magazines - PC Pro, I think, but I may be wrong on that - found the MacBook Pro was the fastest laptop available for Windows Vista.

    Are you sure you're not running PowerPC (ie pre-Intel) Macs under emulation - that is slow, but still, they had a go at it.

    You haven't told us the age and specs of the Macs you're using compared to the PCs. But hey - anything to bash the Mac.

  • Comment number 60.


    Sorry not trying to 'bash the Mac', I'm just saying it as it is.

    The ~Macs where bought 12 months ago, they are imacs. I don't use any laptops on the render farm I need to use workstations. My company have the use Macs and PCs so I add what is available in the office. These Macs are running boot camp. I also checked the benchmark tests by a recent consumer magazine for my software. Macs compete when running their own OS when rendering, but not when running windows in boot camp, and I need to use windows for this software.

    I know my main workstation is a pretty nice workstation. But I find that as far as the high end rendering goes, the Macs are too close to my older workstation from which I upgraded (which is 5 years old now) and still use on the farm, which is pretty old now.

    Again, I don't say this to disrespect Mac users I am just talking from experience, I was once solely a Mac user too.

  • Comment number 61.

    Farrari with a Yugo engine and sell at the price of a Farrari Perfect!! I will chip out $2000 for it, in your dream Dell.

    Give up you PC makers whether you are Dell or Hp or Acer, as long as you are using GarbageSoft OS, doesn't matter how you dress it, it's still going to ba a piece of trash.

  • Comment number 62.

    I used to hate Apple for same reasons people have mentioned here but I switched because Vista made me!

    OSX(Mac) is the best operating system I have ever used. Its stable, its not resource hungry and it doesn't have loads of features I need to turn off. Also unlike Unbuntu you can use it out of the box no tinkering required.

    Mac's do cost more than PC's but how often do you have to go to a PC shop and pay to get you windows based system fixed because of a virus? Macs get viruses but definitely not as often. Also the Genius bar in a Mac shop is free providing hardware does not need replaced.

    Apple are the trend setters, Dell are just doing what PC manufacturers have been doing for years and that is copying Steve Jobs innovations.

    Mac book Air is Apples worst product, why is Dell copying it instead of the MacBook? Asus Eee pc is probably more popular than either of these products.

  • Comment number 63.

    60. hon3stly wrote:

    "#59.Sorry not trying to 'bash the Mac', I'm just saying it as it is.

    The ~Macs where bought 12 months ago, they are imacs. "

    This actually explains a lot.....Not quite sure why anyone would expect to use an iMac in a rendering farm - you can do, of course, but it's a 'consumer' machine - and although we use them here in the office it isn't a 'Workstation'

    For professional-level processor-intensive work why aren't you using Mac Pros? I think you'd find a big difference....

  • Comment number 64.

    Your comment: I suspect that Dell don't really care about sales of the Adamo. This isn't a balance sheet exercise …..
    However, I believe that Dell has a sinister intention with a hidden agenda. They have hidden Adam in Adamo. Well, wasn’t Adam who ate the Apple?

  • Comment number 65.

    You don't get a reputation as a great designer by copying someone else's work. Nor is there any status achieved in buying a copycat product. The Macbook air was just some cool but gimmicky product they put out in between making something useful. Dell should have ignored it, downplayed its worth, and then produced a worthwhile product of their own.

    I really don't think Apple has been all that innovative in recent years. It is just that the Wintel PC makers have been so lacking in that regard. Pretty much none of them thought there would be a market for a reasonably priced mini PC until the non profit OLPC tried to produce and market them to the developing world. Heck, I'm not even sure that any of their Wintel PC towers compare in build quality or even looks to that of say an Apple G3 or G4 tower from a decade ago.

  • Comment number 66.


    Yes I understand the point. But I checked the prices through the price checker on the apple website at that time and it was very steep for the spec/hardware that I would have been given.

    As it is I know the company director spent between £800/ and £900 on those imacs. For a professional machine with a graphics card that was supported by my software and I was looking at over £3000 (£3.2K as I remember) for a base machine before adding the hardware extras. That would have been with adding the minimum available hardware ie memory space, ram, and no network adapter. I know that I can get something very very nice for much in a very competitive PC market.

    I like the ideas of macs being a unique and luxury computer but I need the computing power and performance results at the best price, which is what I find in the PC market.

    I guess Apple are now declaring themselves more of a consumer electronics form now judging by their recent company name adjustment, mind. Which I think for a firm like Apple is a good in these times.

  • Comment number 67.

    Why are people still going on about Apple's being this and PC's being that. At the end of the day Apple themsleves gave in and now builds Intel based MACs exclusively, which in short means they build PCs just like everyone else.
    The only differences are the operating system and cost. With an Apple you pay extra for the look that Apple are now known for, you also pay over the odds for software, but do get a virus free experience and one very simpler to using Linux on a PC, expect Linux is free. Also As Apples are Unix/Linux based they have less processing overhead than windows and so can be faster than PC's for some things, but its rare that an Apple will beat a PC costing the same amount of money.

    I like MAC's I have had every version of there laptops and the last two desktops. Do I own one now, Not at the moment. Will I in future maybe if they stop ripping people off.

    Something no one has mentioned here is that Dell for the last few years is not known for making low end PC's far from it. Those who claim to be techies should know that DELL makes some of the highest spec, fastest and in my view best looking PC's and laptop's on earth they are just not badged DELL. So who makes my laptop, my Gaming rig and my work PC, o and the server, that all blow (not just Apple but 99.5% of all other companies) away?

    Thera all DELL:
    DELL make my server.
    ALIENWARE make the rest.

    So thats looks, speed and world beating performance all covered. Value for money, no, do Apple make items as fast, no. No the G5 dual processor will not be faster.

    I would buy a new G5 but there is no point.

  • Comment number 68.

    P.S. (#63 ) Like I said it was not my choice to buy these consumer electronic machines....they were just available in the company for the graphic designers at the time. So I added them onto my render farm seeing as the option was there.

  • Comment number 69.

    Apple products are synonymous to me of style over substance. If you need to use a computer there is always a better spec cheaper windows machine. If you need a phone there is always a better spec cheaper alternative. Same goes for MP3 players (and you don’t need to use the hateful itunes). Macs are for people who don’t need to ‘use’ a computer properly.

  • Comment number 70.

    58. At 02:24am on 19 Mar 2009, gudanawiri wrote:
    "The only problem is this writer's spelling. If YOUR (sic) writing a report that is read world-wide, you would think he would do a proof read or something? for eg. "machines out a single metal sheet." out - of - a single metal sheet would make sense... and "air owners aide.." aside perhaps? sheesh."

    I couldn't agree more. By the way, it's "If you're writing a report ....." not "If your writing a report..."

  • Comment number 71.

    does it realy matter what it looks like as long as it is able to do the job it has been built for.
    has humanity become so shallow over recent years that looks are more important than any thing else, sadly judging from recent laptop trends we have.
    but could the producers create ugly laptops that just do the job at a reduced price making savings on styling.

  • Comment number 72.

    71 Delminister

    Form follows function, 1st rule of good product design.

    If it looks like rubbish it will perform like rubbish.

    Any inspired computer designer will strive hard to produce the most elegant software or hardware thus guaranteeing it will work cleanly & efficiently. If the Company has control of all of the design process then the product will succeed, as shown by Apple.

    Apply this philosophy to all the other products in your life. I bought a new Charles Eames Lounge chair, made by Herman Miller in 1973 for 173 pounds stirling, it is still my daily resting place and is now a collectors item. Quality lasts, is a joy to use and worth paying for. And yes I am typing this on my 1st gen iMac (with home installed upgrades!) but running the latest OSX.

  • Comment number 73.

    So thats looks, speed and world beating performance all covered. Value for money, no, do Apple make items as fast, no. No the G5 dual processor will not be faster.

    I would buy a new G5 but there is no point."

    You are aware of course that Apple have not made G5s for a number of years? You are hardly demonstrating good product knowledge, which kind of damages the rest of your argument.

    I use XP and Vista at work and Leopard (and TIger at home), I know which I prefer, (I am a "switcher" by the way). Open your eyes and you may find that you will too.

  • Comment number 74.

    Not being funny but Apple didnt have the first ever good looking laptop. There were plenty before. Heck some of the early apple lappys were damn well hideous.
    Sure the Air is thin, but so what, its a gimmick frankly especially given its price/performance/functionality ratios. Its not even that attractive! The dell is much better looking, but need not cost so much.

    Some of us actually hate apples so called 'style' and find them about as cool as the center as the sun.


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