Apples Price to Performance ratio is whats hurting them, especially when they dont include newer technologies that exist in competitors hardware. I have a single 1.8Ghz G5 PowerMac, I got it when it first came out for about $3000, now its only worth half that, and, needless to say, Im upset; furthermore, Im not impressed with its performance. Having said all that, I like and prefer Apple because I find it easier to work with and more reliable, but the price to performance ratio is devastating.
As an example: Alienware Laptop(s) Vs. Apple PowerBook (17)Alienware MJ-12m 5500
Height = 1.6"
PC3200 DDR Memory
128MB Video Card (Standard)
7200rpm Hard Drives (up to 2)
SmartBay for Optical Drive / Secondary Hard-Drive
SPDIF Digital Audio Output
Intel Pentium 4 Processor (Up to 3.4Ghz w/ 800MHz FSB)Apple G4 PowerBook
Height = 1
PC2700 (333MHz) DDR SDRAM
128MB Video Card Only available in 17 Superdrive Model
5400rpm Hard Drive (only 1 & at 5400rpm)
No SmartBay for Optical Drive / Secondary Hard-Drive
No SPDIF Digital Audio Output
G4 (Up to 1.67GHz w/ 167MHz FSB)
One thing I want to bring up is the Height debate; I know it has been discussed heavily before, but try this: take a ruler and mark where 1 inch is and where 1.5 inches is, use your thumb and index finger to grasp your own personal perspective while doing the following A/B test and asking these questions:
A (1) : Is this sexy?
B (1.5) : Is this totally not sexy?
A (1) : Is this worth paying more and not getting the performance I need?
B (1.5) : Is this height addition worth the sacrifice for getting better internal components?
My opinion: if the extra 1/2 inch in height would mean getting PC3200 DDR Memory, better standard video cards, a 7200rpm Hard Drive, and the possible ability to have more than one hard drive, then I say the extra 1/2 inch is worth it. Also, trying to find info about the G4s FSB is impossible; I spent more than 30 minutes trying to find it (Apple refers to the system bus, which, unless Im wrong, is the same as the FSB), and if 167Mhz is correct well thats an extremely poor front side bus.
In other Laptop hardware:Alienware MJ-12m 7700
256MB PCI-Express x16 Graphics
PC-4300 DDR2 Memory
Serial ATA Hard Drive(s) with optional RAID 0 or 1 configurations
Advanced High-Performance, Low-Noise Heat-Pipe Active Processor Cooling Technology
Again, in my opinion, Apples price to performance ratio would be better if it included these technologies. Im aware that including all these technologies would most likely push the PowerBook height to the 2 inches, which is unacceptable; however including some of these technologies would be nice and, quite frankly, needed.