Is price king? When we look to buy things do we look at price or the value they’ll provide us in our lives? I’ve been around long enough to get great prices on things that turned out to not be good deals.
Thankfully, as my situation in life has improved I’ve been able to focus more on the value provided by my purchases and less on the prices. But it wasn’t always that way—especially when it came to electronic purchases.
I bought a laptop that I was super excited about while I was at college. It was 2007 and Windows XP was feeling a bit long in the tooth. So I bought a laptop with a sticker saying it was designed to work with Windows Vista. I even got a good deal. As a college student prices mattered especially on big purchases. I have to admit I was focused very little on what I needed the computer to do and more interested the deal I thought I was getting.
Those who lived through that era will understand how this story plays out. Vista was more power hungry than the machines could handle—mine included. Features like wifi, and keyboard lights were included but their implementation was wonky. The wifi was an older generation. The keyboard light was an LED that would shine down from the top of the monitor onto the keyboard below with light spilling down onto the display.
It was an average experience for the time and I didn’t much think about it.
I solved the problem by switching to Linux. Ubuntu was a lot of fun and just screamed on that hardware where Vista chugged.
Fast forward several years and I’m working on an iPad Pro in the evenings and crunching my work stuff on a Mac. The experience doesn’t include as much freedom as running Ubuntu, but it does feel polished. Someone had built machines for experiences and not for specs.
One of the videos that popped up on the iPad was Steve Jobs explaining that Apple doesn’t sell junk. The question was unexpected, but Jobs’ response was as well played as if it had been rehearsed a hundred times. It’s a short clip that’s worth taking a listen to.
In the video Jobs makes the point that if you were to add in all the features that ship with the Mac products of the era and add those same features into non-Mac devices that the Apple products will often come in cheaper. And in 2021, he’s still right.
The difference now is that we’re not just calculating the hardware elements. There’s also a service and software component as well. When I buy an Apple device I get a slew of software that just works.
- Voice Memos
- Photo Booth
- App Store
- Time Machine
- Find My
- QuickTime Player
Sure Photos isn’t PhotoShop, and Podcasts isn’t PocketCasts, but they’re still functional and generally easy to use. Keynote is better than PowerPoint when it comes to actually doing presentations. There’s nothing close to what GarageBand offers on the PC in the same price point. Sure hardware for hardware you pay more for what you get on an Apple device, but you invest in a software suite that provides first class experiences—especially compared to that Vista machine I bought all those years ago.