Partly out of my own curiosity and partly because a friend is planning to buy herself/be bought one as a birthday present, I’ve been playing around with the idea of an Apple laptop.
Along the way, I’ve noticed a few interesting things.
Macbook – bit old?
Firstly, the MacBook seems
ridiculously underpowered low-spec compared to its 13″ Pro cousin and, at least with Higher Education discount, doesn’t seem to be as much cheaper as it is lower-specced. The differences:
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There’s also a collection of other bits missing from the MacBook:
- Thunderbolt and Firewire 800 (no real loss in most cases, I’d suggest)
- SDXC slot (useful if you have a camera that uses SD cards)
- FaceTime HD camera (I’ve never used the webcam on any of my laptops, someone probably does).
Now fair enough, there’s a difference of £130-150 between the two and the weight and thickness differences are arguably minute, but you’re still getting a slower CPU, less memory and a smaller hard drive (you could argue that either CPU is more than powerful enough for most people but it’s been claimed OSX Lion wants at least 2GB, you don’t really want to be at the minimum; just about everyone seems to be able to fill disk space with video, music and crap).
Adding the missing 2GB of RAM and getting a bigger hard disk in a Macbook costs a total of £121 (£80 for the RAM alone1) retail and £103.20 (£68.40/£34.80) in the HE store, bringing the Macbook price up to £808.40 or £988 retail. That’s still including the other differences I’ve already mentioned.
Given all of this, it’s probably no surprise that they’ve been listed as “Don’t Buy! – Updates Soon” for a while now.
HE Software – huh?
After that, the really strange thing:
At the non-discount prices, iWork is £72 whether you buy it separately or as a build option.
Similarly for MS Office Home and Student 2011,
- on the normal store: £89.95 build to order, £109.95 family pack separately
- HE store: £76.80 BTO, £109.94 family pack separately
- £58.40 from Amazon, £37.89 from “Software4Students”, even if the site looks a bit iffy though they say they’re a MS Partner.
How does that make any sense?
- yes, you could get RAM cheaper elsewhere; that’s beside the point [↩]