Psst! Wanta buy a Mac


By Matt Bentley

Recently Apple made a bit of stir by releasing a $US5000 computer screen, then charging an extra $US1000 for the stand that the monitor required to stay upright.

The cynic in me thinks this is probably just a marketing stunt – they wanted to charge $6000, but knew they’d get more publicity if they got everybody riled up about how ridiculous this is, and keep themselves in the headlines for a lot longer than if they’d just, you know, sold the thing.

The cynic is probably right; this is standard American media engagement in the Trump era.

Still, it begs the question, do you ever really need something that expensive?

The answer from most Apple fans has historically been, yes. And the answer from most computer technicians has been, no.

Apple products are made from the same components as PCs nowadays, and with the odd exception, there’s very little difference to the hardware aside from cosmetics. However, hardware’s not really what Apple’s selling.

Apple had a lot going for itself in the past – while it never invented anything, or was the first to bring anything to market, it was very good at packaging things well and popularising them: the mouse, the graphical user interface, the touchscreen phone. It deserves credit at least for understanding the average consumer and targeting their interests better than competitors. And of course the first Macintosh computers were light-years ahead of what was available on other platforms.

Gradually the gap closed though, and now you’ll find aficionados on either side of the fence; some prefer Mac, some prefer Windows, some Linux, but most don’t really care so long as they can check their email, watch Netflix and get the job done. Brand loyalty doesn’t last 40 years without a bit of a reality check.

Microsoft lost 10% of its desktop market share to Mac over the past decade – largely because of Windows 8 and 10. And so more than one person has asked me, should I get a Mac instead of a PC?

How big is your wallet? is the first question I ask. The second question is, what made you want to jump ship? The answer to that is typically that the new interface for Windows 8 or 10 is confusing compared to Windows 7.

The third question is, do you want to get used to an interface you’re even more unfamiliar with? The usual answer to that is no.

My general recommendation then is to fix aspects of Windows 8 or 10 to make them more like Windows 7, which takes a little bit of effort but once it’s done, the interface is far more familiar and usable.

After that it really comes down to time and experience as to whether or not you want to go over to Steve Jobs’ stable. Many people prefer the user interface of a Mac and I don’t blame them; it has, at least, stayed static for the last 20 years. Some would say ‘stagnant’, but personally I feel like (and maybe Microsoft should’ve taken note of this when it designed Windows 8 and 10), if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Speaking of that, Macs are great when they’re working, but when they break, they’re not designed to be easy to fix. They are, nowadays, throwaway products. So bear that in mind, along with the heavy price tag, the unfair labour practices and the massive tax evasion that Apple perpetrates on a year-to-year basis. They may have been market leaders once, but they’re lagging behind nowadays – not just technologically, but also ethically. But I guess Steve Jobs might say, ‘if it ain’t broke’…

* Computer writer Matt Bentley is director of Bentley Home PC Support.

Email Matt on or phone 021-134-8576.

3 thoughts on “Psst! Wanta buy a Mac

  • June 25, 2019 at 12:16 pm

    As an evangelical supporter of Apple Mac’s from the day they arrived, I felt I had to respond to this very good article. I have always had to use PC and Windows as well, and even converted one of our Apple Mac’s to run Windows when we became frustrated with the relatively new Apple laptop failing. I agree largely with everything Matt Bentley says with two significant exceptions.

    From a technician/engineering perspective, I can well understand and accept that fixing an Apple is more difficult than a PC. But Apple’s are made for USERS, not fixers! The combination of the hardware and the operating software (and many applications) made and written by the same company (Apple) results in a user experience that is much better than for Windows. Having been a user of both Windows and Apple Mac I can say that with confidence, though like Matt, I agree that difference has decreased a lot. Furthermore, Office 365 which runs on both Macs and Windows, is excellent, so why pay much more for an Apple?

    As an engineer myself, this is the second area that I (gently) disagree with Matt. Because of the software and hardware integration that only exists on Apple, they appear to last a lot longer as a useful tool if they are religiously updated, and improved wherever possible. My 27″ 2010 Mac has a dock for about 45 applications that I keep there because I use them and my old Mac is only just coming to the end of its life due to “non-fatal” software and hardware faults (eg for the first time I can’t update it to the latest operating system any more). So apart from investing in memory upgrades, I haven’t had to buy or learn to use a new computer and software for almost 10 years. I am what most people would consider computer literate and totally depend on it for my income so I will not tolerate something going wrong. So perhaps I have paid a lot less for the Apple Mac than a Windows PC over the life of the asset.

    On a lighter note, Matt draws some logical conclusions about Apple’s (US)$6,000 display and $1,000 stand suggesting that it is a marketing ploy. If you watch the Apple Developers Conference where they introduce all new products to the software engineering community, you can see quickly that nothing is further from the truth than this. The display is a very carefully engineered product from top to bottom to be the best available in the world, competing – as Apple says – with specific $40,000 displays. These displays are not for most of us, they are for very high-end film and video producers. If you have the “best display in the world”, perhaps you are ok with a $1,000 stand that allows you to use it to its best potential.

    • June 26, 2019 at 10:32 am

      With all due respect-
      I have seen consumer PC’s built in 2001 that are still running, and myself have a machine which I built in 2008 that is still in use. My work laptop was also built in 2008. There is little difference between mac and pc in terms of hardware, and it only comes down to whether you prefer the software.
      Elite vloggers such as Linus Tech Tips view the newer mac products as subpar, generally due to the underwhelming construction – glue rather than screws, etc. While there are budget laptops etc (HP is the brand that springs to mind) which will fail faster, you can get a pc laptop that will last as long at half the price. And likely when it needs fixing (hard drives have a median lifespan of 6 years, while a 1/4 fail within the first 4 years) it will be much more cost effective and easier to do so.
      You can pick up monitors as good as the mac one on the PC side for less than half the cost. They are not in the same category as $40000 displays despite the spin. And the computing world generally agrees the separate stand is a foul joke at the expense of the consumer. (
      My intent is not to rip on apple – but people have to know things as they are – not as the apple marketing team portrays them. And as mentioned, I certainly don’t begrudge anyone using their products – they lok nice, for starters (well, with the exception of that ‘cheese grater’ desktop, which I find ugly as boots).
      Cheers 🙂


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