Now I understand what some Mac pundits mean by “The Apple Tax.” It’s that absurdly ridiculous extra amount we pay for the privilege of avoiding Windows and going with Apple.
Intel Inside doesn’t mean lower prices. Everything Mac is getting more expensive. This isn’t a rant. I’m not about to switch to a Windows Vista clutter box from Dell.
This is an observation. I’m concerned about spread of The Apple Tax, that extra amount Mac users have been forced to pay for years. Now it has spread to Mac software developers.
The fault is my own. I expected Intel chips to reduce the price of Macs. That hasn’t been the case. Macs are and will remain premium products with a premium price.
The so-called Apple Tax, that extra amount we pay to go with Macs, has increased since Mac OS X hit the stage just five years ago.
Many Mac users were charged for the public beta of Mac OS X, then charged again when the full version hit the streets. A year later, another upgrade charge—full price—for Mac OS Jaguar.
Sure, you get the new OS with a new Mac, but count your blessings that you’re not buying a new Mac right before Apple introduces a new version of Mac OS X Cat’s-Name-Here.
To be fair, the price tag from Apple’s Tax has remained about the same. $129 with discounts here and there.
So it was another $129 for Panther, and another $129 for Tiger, and I expect to pay another $129 for Leopard “sometime in early 2007.”
Yes, I know Windows Vista will have an upgrade price, and it’s likely to be even more than a full version of Mac OS X. But that’s only part of the Apple Tax. There’s more.
iLife. It was once a free update, then it became $49, then $79. That is, for all intents and purposes, another annual tax from Apple to Mac users to stay current. Will iLife ‘07 cost another $79?
If Apple adds yet another application to iLife it could easily become $99. Granted, the value is there relative to the money spent; but every year?
What of iWork? For another $79 you get a nifty word processor and a great presentation package. Value? Certainly. But iWork is now an annual tax of $79 and when Apple ships a spreadsheet in the next version of iWork, we could be paying $99.
Yes, I know we get what we pay for, but hindsight is better vision than foresight. In hindsight, the dollars add up to an annual-or-so Apple Tax.
Worse, the Apple Tax is a spreading virus and some Mac application developers are picking up their cues from Cupertino.
My case in point is the excellent PhotoToMovie, now about to hit version 4.x. I bought in at version 1.x, paid again for 2.x, and again for 3.x, and have been forwarned that 4.x will cost me again.
Added up, the price tag on PhotoToMovie is nearly as much as Final Cut Express. Wait, it’s not the price, it’s the “cost”, right? Total Cost of Ownership. TCO.
I’m aware of the difference between price and cost. Carol will drive all over St. Louis to save 20-cents a can on a few canned goods, or 50-cents of a few boxes of cereal, not recognizing that it probably “costs” a dollar for every mile we drive.
TCO is not price. But not everyone measures their activities on their Macs as pure productivity.
In the case of PhotoToMovie, there’s a Windows version, too, so they have to pay their fair share of The Apple Tax (though, in this case, it’s for the developer of an application that’s Mac and Windows).
As I look through my stack of Mac applications to review, I’m impressed at how many that are free, no-charge, open source, don’t cost a dime. Total cost of ownership is na da, right?
Wrong. Even free software takes time to learn, update, tinker with and use. There is no free lunch even for free software.
Also impressive is how many Mac applications are now in the $24.95 to $49.95 price range. Many Mac developers have taken their pricing cue from Apple and assume that the Cocoa and Xcode framework for rapid application deployment also means “charge more.”
If we’re not being dinged by Apple with a couple of annual taxes, we’re now being dinged by some Mac developers for mediocre software that’s actually developed faster than ever and we’re being charged more than ever.
We love our Macs, we cherish our Macs, we’re happy we’re Apple customers, but I’m beginning to see the dollar signs, and they’re not in my eyes. They’re in the eyes of the Apple Associate in the Apple Store ringing up my latest Apple purchase.
iPods, anyone? They’re a tax. The first iPod was so good, even overpriced at 5 gigs, that I had no trouble going to a 20 gig model for a little less money than the original.
When the iPod went to 60 gigs, I bought again. I was happy to be taxed again, and again. Apple kept me ahead of the curve, each tax was modest, but cumulatively, it’s a hefty tax for being hip.
I watched with surprise the new Apple TV commercials; the ones with “I’m a Mac… I’m a PC.” Did you notice the Mac character could only afford jeans, a t-shirt, and a hoodie (and, apparently couldn’t afford to shave), while the PC user could afford real clothes?