The Fruity Option pt. 1: Joe’s Opinion on Apple

There’s a lot of opinions about Apple out there.  Most tech reviewers are obsessed with Apple while most “PC Enthusiasts” can’t even talk about the fruit without shuddering.  Unlike both those camps, I’ve actually dealt with the long-term effects of Mac ownership through my old IT Repair Center job.

Today, I’m going to change things up a bit and put the summary up here:

tl;dr:

Apple makes some great stuff whose initial price premium is fairly small compared to similarly high quality laptops from Dell or Lenovo.  If you’re looking for an audio workstation for live music or need to do color-correct work on the go, then their highly-optimized drivers and fantastic hardware screens make the MacBook Pro a great choice.  Except in those specific use cases, the poor thermals, lack of upgradability, and Apple’s apparent hatred for self-repair make it difficult for me to recommend their products over a Dell Latitude or Lenovo Thinkpad.

Debunking Some Myths:

Macs work better than PCs

False.  Blanket statements like this are always wrong.1haha, get it? ‘cuz this is a blanket statement?
…I’ll see myself out.
  Or, at least they miss important nuances.  But my real pet peeve is when someone replaces their super budget and terribly-built computer with a brandy new MacBook Pro that costs 3-5 times the price and then goes around saying “well Apple just makes better stuff!!” Yes. That is absolutely true, a $1500 MacBook Pro will soundly beat whatever $300 garbage you picked up last Black Friday. What I like most about Apple computers is that with very few exceptions, they offer exclusively good products.  Compare that to a company like HP, where, sure, their ProBook line is probably pretty good, but also offer the 15z, a computer that as of 10/30/18 costs $318 that has no chance of being a good buy.  No, please make it a fair comparison.  Spend the same budget on a computer from Dell’s Latitude line or Lenovo’s Thinkpad line, you’ll get a computer with the same, if not better, performance as a Macbook Pro. More importantly, you’ll get easier and cheaper out-of-warranty reparability for when something breaks.

Like everything, there are some things where Macs are better than PCs, and there are some things where a PC will beat out Mac.  And I’ll get to that comparison next week.

Macs Don’t Get Viruses

Partially True. Windows has the biggest market share, and most businesses use Windows, so it’s more profitable for bad actors to focus on messing with Windows than MacOS.  Since MacOS is based on a completely different code base compared to Windows, Macs can’t get Windows malware!

But Not entirely.  I removed quite a bit of adware from Macs back at the repair center.  I never saw anything worse than that, but reports of Mac-specific malware have increased over the years as Apple increases their market share.  Plus, you still have to be careful of browser hijacks regardless of your OS.  Just because you own a Mac doesn’t mean you’re immune to “The Hackers”.

Macs come with the best warranties

False.  New Macs come with a limited 1 year warranty that covers most of the parts.  It does not cover accidental damage or normal wear on batteries.2Source: the actual warranty statement.  It does say it will cover batteries if a “failure has occurred due to a defect in materials or workmanship,” but that’s got some serious wiggle room that I’d be wary of.  This is pretty standard as far as laptops go, regardless of manufacturer.

What most people are referring to is the $269 optional AppleCare extended warranty, which extends the warranty period to 3 years, and includes extra things like one new battery, 2 accidental damage repairs priced at $99 for screen or $299 for anything else, and 24/7 phone support for apple software.3Source: the AppleCare store page  That’s not too bad, especially since their customer service is pretty great, but I have a hard time seeing how that’s better than Dell’s Professional warranty.

Any Dell Latitude you buy comes with 3 years of warranty without any extra charge.  You can buy an additional 2 years (5 years total) for an extra $140.  Or, if you’re worried about accidental damage, 3 years of Pro Support Plus will cover damage from drops, liquid, and surges for $233 (as of 10/30/18, it’s on sale for $80, apparently!).4Source: https://www.dell.com/en-us/work/learn/accidental-damage-service  Plus, there are far more places that honor Dell’s warranty than are Apple Certified, so finding a repair shop should be easier.

EDIT 7/2/2019:  Apparently Dell has recently changed their policy and their Latitude laptops no longer come with a 3 year standard warranty.  It’s not particularly clear from their store page, but a representative confirmed that only their Professional Desktops come with a 3 year warranty, and that their laptops only come with 1 year.  Disappointing.  Still, $2405As of 7/2/2019, according to the store page of this Latitude 3400 I’m considering for my youngest sister for 3 years of ProSupport Plus, which includes 24×7 phone support, labor and parts, and coverage for accidental damage looks to be cheaper and cover more than the Apple Care warranty.

Macs are more expensive

Not as true as you might think.  This goes back to what I said above.  At the end of the day, there’s actually not a huge price difference when you compare Macs with their Professional PC counterparts. The lowest-end MacBook Pro is only about $200 more than a Dell Latitude 5490 with the same specs, and that can easily be chalked up to the Mac’s much better screen.

Of course, you get up to the highest-end 15″ MacBook Pro, yeah, you’re looking at an absurd $2800 price tag.  But you’re not looking at that, right?  Because if you need real computing power, you’re going to get a desktop, right?!

Multi-part series alert

I (apparently) have a lot to say about Apple, and it’s all not going to fit in one post.  Next week I’ll talk about the benefits and the problems that I’ve encountered specifically.

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this:

If you want to put 0 thought into getting a computer but still want a great general-purpose machine, then by all means, get yourself literally any of the MacBook Pros. You’re going to overspend compared to your needs and you’ll have to rely on overpriced Apple Store repair for when anything goes wrong, but they’re all great machines that have extended warranties available and a whole bunch of accessories that work seamlessly with them.  Sometimes paying a little more for easy is better.

But if you’re reading this blog, you know that those little payments add up.  And if there’s one theme of this blog, it’s to spend money on value, not ease.

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