Things are getting interesting with the recent announcement from Apple about the MacBook Pro and iMac with Intel processors. According to Michael Kanellos over on Apple Notebook Not For Bargain Hunters, Part II the price difference between the MacBook Pro and a comparably equipped Gateway notebook is somewhere between $355-$380, all things considered. Michael also states 'Historically, Apple has generally maintained a $300 price premium.' As always, there is a lot of discussion on both sides of the fence on the 'these are comparable' debate.
It's been hard to compare Windows to MacOS because the hardware delta has added to the number of variables for consumers to evaluate. I've actually thought having dissimilar hardware was a smart approach for Apple because it allowed them to dismiss hardware as a much less important factor in recent years (they long ago gave up performance comparisons). Until their move to Intel hardware it was difficult at best for customers to compare the hardware apples and oranges.
In other words, the Apple pitch (and I've heard it stated this way first hand at their stores) has been 'they've got hardware, we've got hardware and hardware is hardware -- let me show you why our software is better.' It seems they aim to keep this approach since the Apple home page reads 'What's an Intel chip doing in a Mac? A whole lot more than it's ever done in a PC.' It will be interesting to see if this pitch still holds water now that the MacOS runs on (theoretically) identical hardware to Windows. It becomes much more easy for consumers to compare the real costs / benefits of the operating systems and available software.
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