Market research mavens NPD went computer shopping, and came back with some info we've all suspected for a long time: Desktop or laptop, a Macintosh computer costs more than double a roughly comparable Windows PC machine. Since they compiled prices for three years running, they also saw which way the trend line was going. Average selling prices for Macs either went up or stayed the same, depending on whether it's a desktop or laptop, while Windows machine prices either held steady, like desktops, or in the case of laptops --plunged. Joe Wilcox of Applewatch noticed the same thing while pricing laptops:On Saturday, Aug. 2, I got to wondering about Mac versus Windows PC pricing after seeing two HP notebooks on sale at the local Target. One of them, a 14-inch model, the HP DV2946NR, sold for $699.99 and packed 4GB of memory and a 320GB hard drive. Capacity for both features is twice that of the $1,299 MacBook—and shared graphics is 356MB compared with a meager 144MB for the MacBook. I wondered: If Vista notebooks are selling for so little and packing so much, how does this compare with Mac desktops and notebooks?
Today I contacted Stephen Baker, NPD's vice president of industry analysis, about computer average selling prices at retail. That HP notebook is right on mark: ASP for retail Windows notebooks is $700. Mac laptops: $1,515. Yeah, right, they're more than twice as much. But there's more: The ASP for Mac desktops is more than $1,000 greater than for Windows PCs, and Mac desktop ASPs were higher in June than they were two years ago.
NPD supplied this handy comparison chart:
Joe Wilcox is a self-described Apple defender about pricing, but even he's sailed over the edge of the Macintosh map and started asking if it's really worth paying double for an Apple. He scratches his head and comes up with some insight on why an Apple costs so much: Because they charge so much to buy one:There are lots of ways to look at the pricing differences:
1. Apple chooses to sell its computers at premium prices, meaning above $1,000.
Brilliant! While we direct Mr. Wilcox to the dictionary to look up "tautology," we should point out that Apple has cautioned investors that their profit margins would drop by five percent in fiscal 2009, from 35 percent to 30. Perhaps Apple knows that their loyal customers will are willing to pony up a premium for a Macintosh, but some price reductions are in order to keep them that way.