The Apple Tax - $299 on a new MacBook

Apple's recent announcement that Mac Java support is deprecated inspired me to look at the so-called "Apple Tax" -- the premium price tag you're going to pay when buying an Apple computer, whether that be a MacBook, MacBook Pro, iMac, or Mac Pro instead of a Windows PC.

I just ran a comparison of a base model Apple MacBook versus two different Dell Windows notebook PCs, and the numbers are pretty scary:

The Apple Tax on a base MacBook is a whopping $219 to $299
more than faster, better-equipped Dell notebook models.

Apple Tax - MacBook comparison

Here's how the three systems I looked at match up:

  Apple MacBook Dell Inspiron 14R Dell Studio 14
Price $999 $700 $780
Display 13.3" LED 14" LED 14" LED
720p
Processor 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo
(fast)
i3-370M 2.4GHz
(faster)
i3-370M 2.4GHz
(fastest)
Video NVIDIA GeForce 320M ATI Radeon HD550v 512MB ATI Radeon
HD 540v
Memory 2GB DDR3 3GB DDR3 4GB DDR3
Disk 250 GB 320GB 320GB
7200 RPM
CD/DVD CD and DVD RW CD and DVD RW CD and DVD RW
Battery 10-hour 5-hour 5 hour, 27-minute
Weight 4.7 lbs 4.96 lbs 5.25 lbs
Ports Ethernet, 2 USB,
Mini DisplayPort
Ethernet, 2 USB,
1 USB/E-SATA,
HDMI, VGA,
7-in-1 Media Card Reader
Ethernet, 2 USB,
1 USB/E-SATA,
HDMI, VGA,
34mm Express Card slot,
8-in-1 Media Card Reader
Other Webcam, Microphone,
Speakers
Webcam, Microphone,
Speakers
Webcam, Microphone,
Speakers,
Back-lit Keyboard

(Note that you can find a comparison of the speeds of Intel processors at this link.)

Apple Tax - MacBook versus PC notebook comparison

As you can see, both Dell Windows systems have more processor speed, memory, and features. The only hardware advantage the MacBook offers is the longer battery life.

Of course the other major difference in this Apple Tax debate is the operating systems, Apple Mac OS X versus Microsoft Windows. For at least the last five years that had been a no-brainer in favor of Apple, but these days with Windows 7, Microsoft has narrowed the gap considerably.

Summary: MacBook versus PC "Apple Tax"

If you look at this from the perspective of a current Windows PC owner, I think you can see the Apple Tax very clearly in this MacBook versus Dell notebook comparison. You're looking at paying up to $299 more for a base mode MacBook compared to a Dell notebook, and the MacBook certainly has less to offer from a hardware perspective. Are you willing to "make the switch" at this price point?

I've certainly been willing to pay the Apple Tax for my recent Mac purchases, but with Apple looking to drop support of the Java programming language (see Apple - Mac Java is deprecated, and Apple Mac Java is deprecated, what it means), Mac systems aren't worth paying the Apple Tax any more.

Add new comment

Anonymous format

  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <pre>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.