With all the noise we’ve made on Mac360 about Apple’s Mac hardware negligence in recent years, you might think we’re on some kind of crusade to get the company to step up its game and deliver on hardware that can be found everywhere else but an Apple Store.
Fair enough. Crusade it is. The reason we’re sitting on this saddle with the hair on top is Apple’s growing inability to pay attention to the customer. Apple remains an insular company which makes products its own engineers and designers seem to like– and, thankfully, so do their customers– but which leaves gaping holes here and there.
Holier Than Thou
Yeah, we know. Apple can be holier than thou, and we’re beating on the dead horse of Apple’s delayed upgrades from the past. Mac mini? Years since an update. Mac Pro? It’s basically end-of-life but you can buy one as if it was new. MacBook Air? Yes, they still make it. The only new Mac design in recent years is the iMac Pro and it’s new only on the inside. Thankfully, all that Xeon horsepower resides in a case design that is somewhat timeless. Apple is good at timeless design. Upgrades of such designs? Not so much.
Enter the latest Dell XPS 15 (9575), a 2-in-1 notebook that everyone who cares about Dell says is the most powerful ever. Ever. As in CPU and GPU horsepower. Corinne Reichert has the skinny:
The XPS 15 (9575) is powered by a choice between an 8th-generation Intel quad-core i5 or i7 processor, which features Radeon RX Vega M GL graphics with 4GB of HBM2 RAM; runs Microsoft Windows 10; and has a 3,200×1,800 15.6-inch UltraSharp 4K Ultra HD InfinityEdge touch display.
This is a Dell you can’t really get yet, but you can’t get a truly new Mac notebook or desktop from Apple, either, unless you spend $5,000. The XPS 15 starts at $1,300 and competes against the 15-inch MacBook Pro which starts at $2,400. OK, so there’s a difference. Alright, let’s get the hardware to match as closely as possible.
A fully maxed out 15-inch MacBook Pro comes with a 7th generation quad-core Intel Core i7 CPU at 2.9GHz, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD storage, and a Radeon Pro 560 GPU with 4GB of memory. Not shabby folks. And it’s only a dollar short of $3,200.
This is where it gets tricky because we’re always comparing Apple to apples. Dells new XPS 15 model was introduced at CES and all we know about pricing is the baseline model, so there is not an easy way to get comparable hardware, right? Except there is. Apple’s MacBook Pro line is old. So is Dell’s XPS 15 line from last year.
Let’s go there.
First, let’s give Apple some credit where credit is due? Have you ever tried to buy a Dell notebook? The number of options is incredibly confusing when compared to Apple’s website or the Apple Store.
Second, direct comparisons of hardware are difficult but we can come close.
Last year’s 15-inch Dell XPS with Windows 10 Pro, a 7th generation quad-core Intel Core i7 CPU with 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD, NVIDIA GeForce GTX with 4GB RAM, and a 4k Retina-like display weighs in at $2,410.
That’s almost $800 difference between comparably equipped 2017 MacBook Pro and 2017 Dell XPS. The Dell has a touchscreen with higher resolution. Both packages weigh about the same.
We’re early in 2018 and Dell just announced the latest 15-inch XPS model but they’re upping the game with the Radeon RX Vega graphics GPUS, 32GB of RAM, 15 hours of battery life, multiple Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C ports, and even a microSD card reader.
Hardware gets better every year. Why does Apple delay so long on hardware upgrades with the Mac? I have a theory. Complacency. If you want a Mac– which really means macOS High Sierra and Mac applications– you’re stuck with Mac hardware, you must pay the price, and you have no say in the matter because the Mac sells at record levels.
Maybe if the Mac had a string of lousy quarters with diving sales the way iPad experienced for a few years Apple would consider upping the game. For now, Apple doesn’t need to.
To paraphrase fearless leader: “Sad!“