Originally Posted by solipsism
1) This idea that because they switched to Intel CPUs that now all of the HW inside is the same as every other PC is ludicrous. The reason that Windows doesn't run on PPC is because MS chose not to port it, not because of some super-secret Apple patent. All PCs have the same basic components, but that doesn't mean they have the same quality, the same performance, the same power consumption, or the same combination of any of those. There are non-Mac PCs that are significantly more expensive than any Mac you'll find. Apple doesn't play in the cheap-end or the very high-end.
2) Find me a PC that is $500 cheaper than a Mac and I'll show you that just because it has the same GHz speed CPU doesn't mean they cost the same. The 1.8Ghz Atom in netbooks is about $25 while the 1.8Ghz ULV C2D in the MBA costs about $300. These are Intel's prices, not something that Apple magically made up to make you think it's better.
3) I implore you to research a some machines that have the same components as a Mac and see if they are indeed cheaper. The results are usually around the same price with the Mac often being slightly cheaper, despite having more in terms of included SW and no crapware installed. Of course, if you don't need all that, then buying a $400 does make sense over a $1200 notebook, but suggesting they are the same is not accurate.
4) Apple is the name of a company. There consumer PCs are called Macs. Calling them "an apple" is a common mistake for those new to computing but one that probably shouldn't be made if trying to make a valid argument against Macs.
See my post on page 3. I found an ASUS M70 series 17" notebook with the a faster HD, a LED 1920x1080 display, eSATA standard, FW400, an ExpressCard/54 slot, a non-soldered CPU, a user replaceable battery, a 7200 RPM drive and a better/newer/more energy effecient 9650M vs. Apple's 9600GTM (9650m is a 45nm process, the 9600GT is a 65nm process). The ASUS is $1449 (newegg.com), the Apple is $2799.
For a little more, $1899, you can get a BD-ROM drive and two 320GB drives (which you can RAID if you wish). For $2100 you can step up to the G50 series with a 9800M and a cooler casing, battery etc.
This isn't slightly cheaper, it's a whole crapload cheaper. The ASUS also has a superior warranty, though maybe not superiror in-store service. It's a 2 year, including one year accidental damage. Apple doesn't even offer accidental damage protection on the standard AppleCare.
The Apple has an aluminum enclosure, it's uses nVidia's "Hybrid Power SLi" technology, which switches from integrated graphics to dedicated graphics and has FW800 vs FW400 (but no eSATA, which is superior to FW800 in benchmarks, check barefeats.com) and has the magsafe power connector. Both Machines run OSX, though the ASUS requires OSx86.
So for $1,300 more I get a pretty case, a slightly nicer power connector and claimed better battery life from the soldered/non easy replaceable battery. The Hybrid Power mode, according to Apple's own Macbook Pro spec sheet, will allow up to 8hrs when running on the 9400 Integrated card. The 9600GT card will only eliminiate 1hr of battery time. In practice we know this is BS though because the battery life is more like 2-4 hours according to reviews on Tomshardware.com, Macworld.com, Barefeats etc.
Not exactly worth $1300 more to me. The ASUS is more expandable, much easier to service and doesn't soldered the CPU or make the battery hard to replace.
BTW, if you're ever going to buy a PC, buy an ASUS or an MSI. HP makes crap, so does ACER. Piss poor quality control. Dell is eh, ok.
I can find numerous examples of why Apple's hardware is grosely overpriced and limited on purpose. A netbook vs. a Macbook Air is not a fair comparison, but a ASUS G50 series in a 15" vs the 15" Macbook Pro or my above example for the 17" model is.
Aluminum and a magnetic power adaptewr doesn't cost THAT MUCH more to manufacturer. If anything Apple's machines are cheaper to make because they purposely eliminate components, such as soldering the CPU, not putting expresscard slots on the macbooks, no Firewire on the Macbooks (which makes backup and external hard drive performance really suck; usb 2.0 is slow as crap compared to eSATA or even FW800).