Archive - Jul 2012

July 19th

Nine Grand Delusions

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Memo to Jason Gilbert: SPEAKING OF OVERVALUED...

Time to dig back a bit, because, well, I've had other priorities. But about a month ago, Apple unveiled some new computers, including a high-end Macbook Pro with a high-resolution "Retina Display". And it was pricey. Nice, but pricey. Certainly well out of my sort-of-middle-class league. $2,200 for the base model, or, to put it another way, the same price as the last four pieces of Apple hardware I've bought combined.

And Apple does have a reputation for being expensive, because, well, their stuff can be expensive. Nerds can argue about value for money if they want, me, I'm just happy to make my own purchasing decisions without a global communications network weighing in on whether I made a good move or not. Mac vs. Windows, iOS vs. Android, iOS vs. Windows Phone, nobody gives a shit. It's 2012, and if it can play Angry Birds and surf to TMZ, that's good enough for 95% of the population.

That said, while I don't particularly give a shit whether people think Apple stuff is overpriced based on the actual price of the stuff, I was shocked to see an article by Jason Gilbert of the Huffington Post with the attention-grabbing headline "MacBook Pro With Retina Display Can Cost $9,000 With All Of The Accessories And Add-Ons".

Nine grand? I know Apple charges a lot for RAM, but that couldn't possibly be right, could it? No, of course it couldn't. Basically, what Levine ACTUALLY discovered is that if a hermit emerged from his cave after 40 years of solitude, learned that there were things called "computers", and decided to spend his hoard of looted pirate gold from the back of his cave to purchase everything he might possibly need to use the thing, then he might be out about nine grand.

The actual most expensive version of the MacBook Pro clocks in at $3,750, which is a lot of money, but it's less than half of Gilbert's final bill. And that's with everything, including Apple RAM upgrades (which only hermits and suckers buy) and maxing out the solid state storage under the excuse that you have to store a lot of songs on it. Because that's how people use their $3,750 Macbook Pros. But even with all the upgrades and ridiculous assumptions, that's not sensationalistic enough for Gilbert, so he tacks on "accessories' and "add-ons".

Some of these are borderline reasonable. Sure, you can get an external optical drive for less than $80, and sure, odds are even that someone splurging on this Macbook has had a need for a USB optical drive for an Air or a Mini or some other damn thing and thus don't need to shell out, but the idea that they might need one is not entirely far-fetched. The thousand-dollar monitor with lower resolution than the actual display on the laptop? Even Gilbert can only justify it with a speculative cry of "what the hell, it's only money". Seriously.

He tacks on $450 for full phone tech support and a series of classes from the Genius Bar, because people who buy max-specced Macs direct from Apple clearly need a series of classes from the Genius Bar. Another $325 comes from buying every single cable adapter that plugs into any port on the Macbook, plus an extra power supply, even though a grand total of none of those adapters are required for the unnecessary monitor he bought. Clearly, by this point, HuffPo's busy renaming its tech writing section to "The Fuckwit Bar".

Note that, with all this, we're still at less than six grand, despite buying an unnecessary thousand-dollar monitor and hundreds of dollars in adapters you don't need to plug that monitor in. Even a 3GB Time Capsule only brings the total up to $6,100. How the fuck does he get to 9? ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"If that's not enough space, you can also toss in a 12 terrabyte Promise Pegasus Thunderbolt-Connected External Hard Drive ($2,499.00), just in case you are storing an entire movie studio's films on your MacBook."

I shit you not. All you need to do to spend nine grand on a Macbook Pro is to buy the most expensive hard drive in the universe, that costs more than the base model of the computer itself, that Apple doesn't even fucking make, and you're almost there! Just throw in an AppleTV because that's a thing that Apple sells, and a cheap inkjet printer (Apple's site only sells three printers, all cheap), and your grand total still comes in $175 short of the promised nine grand.

In other words, a faulty premise, faulty reasoning, and he still had to make an incredible leap with a $2,500 hard drive just to get within spitting distance of a target number that seemed ludicrous enough to get click-throughs.

And presumably he got paid for this shit. Clearly, I am in the wrong fucking corner of Internet writering.