The Cost of Apple Discipleship

by Chris Howard Oct 18, 2006

2007 is going to be a good year for Apple. A very good year. Apple in 2007 will ask you to dip into your pocket a bit more than usual. Do you get your money’s worth from Apple products?

Apple Protection Plan
Most people would rather pay a premium and get a higher quality product. Generally they assume higher quality equals longer life. One of the big disappointments in life is paying for quality but getting crap. It does create a feeling of getting stooged.

Apple has something called the AppleCare Protection Plan - a fancy name for a three year warranty. I’m always cynical when I see extended warranties. If the product is good enough, why only give it a twelve month warranty? Why not give it a three year warranty outright? Looks a bit like profiteering from where I sit. Otherwise it’s an admission that the product won’t last three years without failure of some sort. Why spend good money on a computer that the vendor is betting will be having problems by three years of age? If you’re going to have trouble anyway, why not just buy a cheap computer? No wonder people choose cheap PCs over Macs.

iPod shuffle
Excuse my cynicism, but has Apple managed things nicely to make you replace your shuffle every year or so? The battery in the white iPod shuffle is not replaceable. Ours has conked out after a little over a year. Apple recognize this fault and will replace your iPod shuffle if this happens - for a small service fee that is so close to the cost of a new shuffle it’s not worth it.

On this one hopefully Apple’s acknowledgment of the problem means batteries in subsequent shuffles will have a much longer life. But I won’t hold my breath. After all, in an interview with NBC, Steve didn’t seem at all concerned about the idea of people buying a new iPod every year, saying “You know, you keep on innovating, you keep on making better stuff. And if you always want the latest and greatest, then you have to buy a new iPod at least once a year.” Try as I might, I can’t read anywhere between the lines that that bothers him.

What do you think Leopard will cost? US$129? Probably. It will have been two years since you bought Tiger so you wont mind, will you? Until you discover you’ve got to fork out more than that again to take advantage of its new features, in particular Time Machine. Time Machine will require a separate disk or volume. Some people will already have a second hard drive but many others will find themselves having to fork out $100 or more for a new one.

Also, if you want to take advantage of Boot Camp and run Windows, that could cost you another $199 or more.

I personally think .Mac is worth having. A lot of people talk about how they can get the same services elsewhere (although I haven’t heard of any that will sync your Keychain), but it’s the all-in-one convenience of .Mac that keeps me coming back.

However, I do agree that it’s no longer justifiable to charge for it. Maybe the first time, but an annual subscription is just milking us.

iWork and iLife
Add these two to your annual cost of Mac ownership. Although they are optional and I didn’t upgrade to iWork ‘06 because there were insufficient features in the new version to justify it - which in itself raises the question about being charged for it.

So what could it cost to own a Mac in 2007 (in US dollars)?
- Leopard: $129
- External HDD: $100
- Windows XP Home: $199
- iWork 07: $79
- iLife 07: $79
- .Mac: $100

That totals $686 and of that, Apple will be pocketing $387.

Apple makes great products (that should come with three year warrantees), but it does stretch the budget and friendship when it so regularly cajoles the loyal customer into forking out their hard earned for yet another “necessity”.

Some people will argue it’s optional, and so it is, but that doesn’t and shouldn’t justify it. Although some years more than others, the cost of discipleship is often too high.


  • it had little to do with you or your post so I am a bit confused as to why you took offense.

    Neven’s spell-checking response was to my post, ubertone, not yours.  And like the ubiquitous Godwin’s law, the person who resorts to criticizing spelling in an online post is the one out of ideas.

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Oct 18, 2006 Posts: 2220
  • This was most disconcerting to my Mac-tardedness but it eventually was fixed and my Macvangalism was quickly dealt a swift blow of humility. I guess according to Beeblebrox that makes me a Mac-tard…ok…

    Humility would be a step in the right direction away from Mac-tardation, that’s for sure.

    Is the cost of Discipleship too high? Not for the disciple. It will be when they stop paying for it.

    An excellent point.  Is there any cost too high for the Mac disciple?  Probably not.  Does that mean that, by definition, the cost is NOT too high?  I guess so.  Scientology is more expensive than most religions, but for those who can afford it, it offers a comfort and spiritual cocoon that they find to be worth every penny.  Only for those of us outside of it who compare it to what we can for less money do we say it’s “too expensive.”

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Oct 18, 2006 Posts: 2220
  • *g* Beeb, did you see the Rocketboom episode about Scientology back when Amanda still did the job?

    Bad Beaver had this to say on Oct 19, 2006 Posts: 371
  • .Mac is too expensive, especially concerning the alternatives out there. It might offer more convenience, but enough to justify the price? If it offered greater storage (even half of Google’s gmail) it would be more attractive. I don’t see myself renewing again.

    Applecare is too expensive. It should be unnecessary, but I’ll wear it though, if just for the peace of mind. Call me a sucker…

    Upgrading to Leopard? Probably. It’s cool, does fancy stuff (my emotional response) and has demonstrated features that would help me work more efficiently (my wallet response). Is it too expensive? No.

    Paying extra for a hard-drive? Huh?  Obviously you’ve already got one for back-ups and if not it should be on your purchase list no matter what type of computer you have. Nothing to distinguish Macs or PCs here. Back-ups cost. Not having back-ups cost more.

    iLife & iWork? I didn’t upgrade the former and haven’t purchased the latter. Maybe one day. But it’s not a “cost” of owning my mac any more than buying any other media management or document/presentation creation software is. It’s software. Like all software, if I need to upgrade, I will. If not…

    Bummer about your iPod.

    oz-nom had this to say on Oct 19, 2006 Posts: 13
  • Beeb, did you see the Rocketboom episode about Scientology back when Amanda still did the job?

    I didn’t start watching Rocketboom until after the implosion, so no.  But I’m in LA so I’m kinda surrounded by it.

    I’d actually never noticed the parallels until I posted my analogy above.  Eerily similar actually.  smile

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Oct 19, 2006 Posts: 2220
  • Opinion’s a bastard thing, isn’t it? It’s okay to have one provided it’s the correct one. smile

    Thanks, Bad Beaver! “Worst ever”? Cool! That means somewhere it’s someone’s “best ever”!

    Chris Howard had this to say on Oct 19, 2006 Posts: 1209
  • I commented on .Mac in my blog awhile ago.
    The service is dead and needs a major overhaul to stay in existance. Even though my predictions for the day where wrong my ideas and thoughts are what the article is about.

    metfuel had this to say on Oct 19, 2006 Posts: 3
  • Are you the kind of guy who gets golden plates and a trim job or a new stereo every year for his car?

    I bought a new Mac every 3 or 4 years for the past 20 years, plus the occasional one in-between. They come with the latest system and tons of up-to-date software, and I always hook up a backup disk. Who said you needed to get all the junk you’re talking about to be a good disciple? Just buy a Mac and be happy. Until the next one.

    Pierre Saslawsky had this to say on Oct 21, 2006 Posts: 4
  • heheh, Pierre, I’m not sure Steve would like you calling iLife, iWork, APP, shuffles, .Mac and Leopard “junk”. smile

    Chris Howard had this to say on Oct 21, 2006 Posts: 1209
  • btw Pierre, what you say is logical, but only in theory. In practice, if people did that, Apple would have been out of business years ago.

    Apple know you’ll only update your Mac every three years or so, but they’ll work overtime to find ways to get you to spend money on it in between.

    Chris Howard had this to say on Oct 21, 2006 Posts: 1209
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