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Mac/PC Prices

Apple finally stopped protecting the information about the new (relatively) low-cost Macs enough so MacWEEK published specs, though the local Apple rep has said that people at Apple haven't finished arguing about what the details will be. It appears that there will be a 68000-based machine, the Mac Classic (wasn't John Sculley from Pepsi, not Coca-Cola? :-)), a 68020 machine, the Mac LC, and the IIsi, a 20 MHz 68030 machine placed right below the IIci in power. All the machines will include 2 meg of RAM.

Prices haven't been finally set, but people on Usenet have been batting around $2000 as the list price for the Mac Classic. This has brought up the age-old debate of whether or not the Macintosh line is pricy in comparison to comparable PC-clones. The major conclusion that seems to have appeared is that the Mac line and the PC clones are not comparable - at least for knowledgeable users. One problem with the higher prices for the Mac is that inexperienced users will buy the machine that will perform basic computer stuff at the lowest price, and that machine will seldom be a Macintosh. Apple will have to face a small market share in that price range, but it may be worth it if most inexperienced home users never upgrade to more powerful equipment.

Our feeling is that yes, you can get a powerful PC for less than you can get a powerful Mac. One catch is that you really have to know what you are doing if you want to get the lowest price around via mail order, because the cheaper machines have worse support, cheaper parts, and negligible documentation. A power user can get away with that, but a novice user could be burnt badly in the process. Another catch is that the prices go up rapidly when you start outfitting a PC to be more like a Mac, with extra memory, networking hardware, a VGA monitor and card, a mouse, Windows, a large hard disk, and a fast processor. The major difference I see is intense competition between the major vendors, forcing prices to drop constantly. Apple could get into the market gently that way, by allowing the most reputable mail-order vendors to sell Macs at whatever price they want. Nah, it'll never happen.

Information from:
Adam C. Engst -- TidBITS Editor
Jim Gaynor -- gaynor@hpuxa.ircc.ohio-state.edu
Matthew T. Russotto -- russotto@eng.umd.edu
Norman Goodger -- ngg@bridge2.ESD.3Com.COM
Peter Kovac -- pkovac@pro-truckstop.cts.com
Paul Raulerson -- paulr@pnet51.orb.mn.org

Related articles:
MacWEEK -- 21-Aug-90, Vol. 4 #29, pg. 1
InfoWorld -- 20-Aug-90, Vol. 12 #34, pg. 1


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