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back to article Apple nabs 90% of all 'premium PC' dollars

Apple may soon have the premium-priced PC market all to itself, if reports by an NPD analyst are correct. Although research firm NPD Group hasn't issued an official release documenting its findings, an article from Betanews reports that NPD says that over 90 percent of every dollar spent on a PC listing for over $1,000 goes to …

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Use of English

@DeFex - I'm with you on that! It baffles me. I presume it's something they heard on the tv and think it makes them sound like gangsters.

I run an IT support company. I have the lot, Windows (all flavours), Linux and a couple of Macs.

The Macs are fine, not especially fast, a bit quirky if you're not used to them, certainly not good value for money. Nice screen on the iMac, but as someone said, you have to replace the whole item when you upgrade, and any small upgrades such as a larger disk are a nightmare. Definitely form over function.

I always puzzle over the usual comment from Mac aficionados about the unreliability of Windows - my main machine, the much-despised Vista, just never goes wrong. I am equally baffled what exactly it is that 'creatives' can only do on a Mac, but there you go, it's my age, I suppose.

I still like Linux the best, but can fully understand why it is not mainstream.

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Flawed.

Anyone buying a PC over $1000 is almost certainly a gamer as any non-gamer would realise they don't need to spend that much on a PC, or in fact, even half that much for what they would want to do.

Gamers for the most part build their own PCs, and so wouldn't be included in the NPD stats.

It's dishonest to say that Apple has 90% of the premium PC market then, using stats that don't take into account 99% of premium PCs because they're bought as individual components and assembled by the user.

It should come as no suprise that of high end machines that are bought outright are Macs, because only a Mac user would spend that on a machine they wont use for gaming. The extortionate cost of Macs artificially changes the category the systems belong in. They're still used outside the premium/gaming category, but end up artificially in the premium/gaming category based on price alone.

But of course, this is the problem with categorising on irrelevant factors.

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Jobs Horns

Mac's are great...

..for cataloguing your friends in iLife.

Apple - for people who cannot install a driver without a support call.

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Alternatively

Run OS X on generic Intel hardware. Installed it a couple of days ago on a Dell Precision and honestly I've had worse Windows installs, only real problem was getting the sound working and that was mostly because it wasn't easy to work out what chip it was using.

In use it is very quick, boot time excluding POST is ~30s. Now I can run Lightroom with decent colour management on a good display for 1/3 the cost of a Mac Pro which would be overkill for an amateur photographer anyway. The main thing missing in Apple's line up (apart from a real 12" iBook/PowerBook replacement- 13" ones are still too big) is some sort of semi-pro tower with expansion potential and the ability to choose your own screen. They could use the Pro chassis to keep the costs down but base it around Core 2 or i5 chips instead of i7. Now if I could only find a Mini9 with a 32GB SSD...

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@Rob Moss

And Puma, Cheetah, Leopard etc is clearer because...?

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Silver badge

People seem to be missing the point of the story

Which is mainly that the commoditised PC market doesn't lend itself to the production of premium products. So when people decide that they want to spend more money on a computer as a lifestyle/design decision (you know, or whatever tenuous reasons people use to justify buying more expensive equivalents of products), all they find that appeals is from Apple. Since companies like Sony do make some very nice products in that niche, I can only assume that the moral of the story is that people like simple categorisation of products. A lot of the other manufacturers hobble themselves with overlapping lines of products and confused price tiering.

I guess some of the result is also because people that have decided they must buy Apple end up segmenting themselves into a discrete category for the purposes of this particular survey.

OS X doesn't really need to be better than Windows for this story to work — all it needs is that enough suppliers at the very cheap end are making enough hardware and software mistakes (flakey hardware and loading the thing up with trialware will do) that they create the perception amongst casual consumers that computers are differentiated by price. Following that you get some people who become willing to spend more, and once they're spending more they're attracted by pretty things.

And, of course, Apple's apparent share is further amplified by this being a retail-only survey. I don't know what segment of the Windows/Linux markets consists of people building their own kit or of industry buying in bulk, but I'd imagine it's substantial.

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N2
Bronze badge

Prefer Macs because...

They are cheaper, since changing to Mac all the un paid admin has long gone, I no longer hear things like:

Why cant I connect to the wireless network? when its working perfectly well

Oh, why has this happened, Ive not seen this before? when some random BSOD occurred

& so on, If I billed MS £1.00 an hour for the wasted effort, created by failed software patches, un-ruly device drivers & this wont work with that because you need to... Id be quite well off thank you.

Anyway, all that is a thing of the past, If I need windows I run it under VMWare, when it croaks, I recover in about a minute.

I wish my PC was half as good as my Mac, so perhaps thats why Macs are dearer.

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@Chris Parsons

"Nice screen on the iMac, but as someone said, you have to replace the whole item when you upgrade, and any small upgrades such as a larger disk are a nightmare. Definitely form over function."

Form over function? What a load of bollocks. How often does the average user upgrade their disks? It's a trivial thing to plug in an external USB / Firewire drive should you ever need more disk space and, let's face it, storage for the typical home user is becoming more and more network bound anyway (NAS anyone?)

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@ThomH

Yes, you're absolutely right...never really thought of it from that perspective An astute observation.

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Linux

Reliable Macs?

I've never seen one. Mine -dual processor G5 - rapidly lost its screen, keyboard, mouse and built in DVD drive. Now it runs for perhaps 5 mins before collapsing. And its not just me. All over Mac people are having to have new "logic" boards and considering it perfectly normal.

Well let me tell you Mac Boiz, EVERY PC I have owned since time began has been 100% hardware reliable. The Operating System? Well that;s a different story - remedied by inserting a penguin flavoured disk in the appropriate orifice.

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Happy

@Nick G

"And Puma, Cheetah, Leopard etc is clearer because...?"

.. because they're *consistent* code names for 10.1, 10.2, 10.3, 10.4, 10.5 etc, not to mention the fact that you'll never see a stupid number of editions of each such as "OS X Home Premium x64"

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Happy

Sensible people just use whatever does the job best...

I'm typing this on a macbook (a black one which is a couple of years old). It is running Leopard. It has a virtualised Windows XP installation running happily under Parallels. I'm using it to connect (using the PC version of Citrix client because it's better) to my office as I sit here at home doing work. At the office I have two XP boxes, which are used for everything from documentation to software development in various languages. The database servers at work are running Oracle on some flavour of Linux. All of this is perfectly simple to deal with. I used to use a WinXP laptop (which was 5 years old when I retired it) and the major reason for moving to a mac was that at the time Vista had just arrived and I just didn't want to waste large chunks of my precious time dealing with the sort of hideous messes which were being reported with Vista. Life is just too short.

Since moving to a mac I've found that it really is (in my opinion anyway) a slicker system to use, with very few of the annoyances that Windows inflicts. But I can get work done with either, just as in previous stages of my life I've got work done on everything from CP/M machines, through various flavours of DOS, Windows from 3.0 onwards, real computers running flavours of Unix, PDP-11s running all sorts of weird OSs, VAXen running VMS, etc etc. At the moment the setup I described above gives me the most flexible, irritation-free computing environment which fits my needs, and for that reason I'm perfectly happy that I spent something like £1300 on the macbook a couple of years ago instead of going for a cheaper PC laptop.

As for people who build their own PCs... In my youth I used to get involved in a bit of car maintenance - I know how to adjust the valve clearances on a BMW small six engine, or adjust the idle speed on a stromberg carburettor. Now? Life is just too short - I take the car to the garage and get someone to service it and pay them some money in exchange for doing so, because I am no longer interested in the nuts and bolts - I just want a machine with 4 wheels which gets me where I want to go with a minimum of fuss. It's the same with computers.

People need to get over their prejudices and just use what they find most comfortable. If that involves spending a bit more money to get a better experience then it's down to personal choice.

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@Nick G

>And Puma, Cheetah, Leopard etc is clearer because...?

Because they are nicknames that you don't need to use. Let me provide a brief rundown of say the last 8 major Mac OS revisions...

Mac OS 8

Mac OS 9

Max OS X (or "Ten", if you insist)

Max OS X 10.1 (Cheetah, why not)

Max OS X 10.2 (Jaguar, between friends)

Max OS X 10.3 (Panther, if you feel the need)

Max OS X 10.4 (Tiger, if you must)

Max OS X 10.5 (Leopard, if you insist)

Max OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard, if you insist)

No premium editions, home editions, pro editions, versions without a browser, versions without a media player, versions that are only available on netbooks, versions that restrict functionality based on how much you spent merely by using a registry key to stop you using software that is included but turned off, etc, no seperate 64 bit versions, no concurrently available versions based on entirely seperate kernels - I think you get the point. Surely?

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Anonymous Coward

From an ex_HP bod

@Alexander Stanza said:

"If you want to advertise for HP, buy HP"

"When hell freezes over" is my reply. Let's just say I don't like the company any more.

My current Mac does almost everything I want it to do and is now 7 years old. It was 50% more expensive than a roughly equivalent Compaq at the time, but still cheaper than a ThinkPad or Sony Vaio. The only reason for me to upgrade is to get a machine which can run Snow Leopard when that arrives. If that lasts another 7 or so years, I'll be well happy.

TCO? Far less than I would have spent on Windows alternatives, and the development tools are included in the price of the OS. There's also all that *nix freeware out there which is usually just a compile away.

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WTF?

What about DIY

komplett.no sells 180K motherboards/year.

Real enthusiasts/fanboys build their own high end pcs, no statistics on those.

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Stop

I use a Mac

... and I use a Mac because I like it. It's user interface just makes more sense to me. It's not about security (after all, a computer is only as secure as it's owner), nor is it about speed. It just does what I want it to.

PC users who are calling Mac users "fanboys" are just as bad as the pretentious over-bearing Mac users out there. It must be jealousy or something. I can't think of any other reason why you'd get so screwed up about it.

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FAIL

@abdul

i know he prolly wants the abuse but LOL

PCs are for boring things like sequencing genes or calculating pi to the zillionth decimal to get rounder fractals or something...

Yeah real boring life saving stuff

understanding the universe etc

Gaming I love it, im guessing your prolly one of those noobs who always got pwned instantly

jeezus this guy is in charge of a marketing firm

Funnily enough google just brings up his linkedin page so yeah im guessing its not somebody with a shitty second hand old mac whos trying to make it, and bought the thing to try and prove he a big man, prolly got a fake rolex and all !!!

vice president comming out of school Yeah right like his CV isnt a crock of shite

Hey abdul do you want me to send you a BMW badge to stick on your 1998 mazda ????

AC cause this post is to nasty to be me :D

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bex

1 and 1 equals 3 ?

Sounds like someone can't add up to me.

As for bringing windows versions into it , yes Microsoft dropped the ball with windows but are more on course with 7.

You have Home Premium if you are don't want to be on a domain or you pay microsoft's domain tax and get The pro edition of you are on a Domain. Now that professional has the media center the so called Ultimate can be safely ignored

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@barth

"...keeping apps open even though I closed them."

cmd-Q is your friend. Alternatively click on the application menu and select Quit. A little RTFM never hurts.

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Unhappy

My experiences of Apple.

I am an Apple fan, but am happy to accept that both platforms have strengths, and both have weaknesses.

I've owned two laptops. They both cost are £700.. One was a PC, and one a Mac.

The PC was a Vaio. God awful 17inch thing that wieghed a few kilos, had a 40 gig HDD and (when I stopped using it) 1 Gig of RAM and a 3GHz Pentium CPU. More than powerful enough to run XP at a reasonable speed.

After about 18 months, I was getting minutes of life out of the battery, and after the initial run of patches, XP slowed to the point where it was unusable. Never found out which patch caused the problem.

Compare that with my Mac. OK, it *is* a faster machine (Core 2 based) and does have more ram (upgraded to 2 gig), but after two years use, it is still more than fast enough for what I need (as would the Viao be if it didn't' slow down), but, more importantly, using the same battery maintenance regime I did on the Viao (regular discharges/charges), I still get around 3 to 3.5 hours battery life. Oh, and it's consderably lighter.

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@Nick G

10.0 = Cheetah. 10.1 = Puma. 10.5 = Leopard. Not really that hard to grasp. The big cat names are development code names, like "Longhorn" and "Project Natal". Not rocket science from where I'm sitting, and far clearer than the Windows model, illustrated above.

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Dickwads

"Oh yeah right, 90% of 5% of the market is just not a sales position to be proud of, or whatever the market share is for $1,000 units.. But the 90% figure looks good in board meetings and this tact has been used for years by marketing people to make themselves look good."

Compare Apple's profits to Dell's, Gateway's etc and see what's happening - about 15% up year on year in the biggest downturn since about 1930 or so. I guess there is a market for overpriced hardware after all eh? Alternatively you could be Acer etc in 2nd place trading on fuck-all margin and high volume, hurrah!

Come the big financial shitstorms tell me how does Ford/GM fare compared to Porsche/Audi/BMW? Guess what, rich people are still rich whatever happens, that's why Apple targets the market it does. Qu'elle fucking surprise!

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@magnetik

"Form over function? What a load of bollocks."

"How often does the average user upgrade their disks?".

Being in the IT support business, I can assure you, fairly often. As most laptops make it easy to upgrade a disk without taking the whole thing apart, I would have thought it not beyond the wit of Apple to do the same. External disks are fine, but they are slower and less robust than internal, as I am sure you know. So, I repeat, form over function, whether you like it or not.

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FAIL

@Abdul Omar

"The fact is, whenever someone is doing anything productive like in filmmaking or design for example, the computer used is sure to be a Mac."

I ask you sir, to back that statement up with something other than what the Apple Marketing dept. shove into your amoeba-like brain.

I know that Apple would love you to believe that they are better for this sort of thing, but my experience is that the Intel/PC architecture running Avid or Premiere is still the weapon of choice for the masses.

Go on, admit it... you're only 14 years of age aren't you?

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Linux

Ha!

Macs do look and preform very well, but for the price of £1000 I could buy three PC's, each with a large screen. I just can't warrant spending that much for one single computer.

I can just as easily get a PC for a third of the price and install Linux. I've got stability, much better security than mac OSX or windows, and all the same flashy effects and more on a less powerful graphics processor. If I need I can also dual boot windows for the rare occasion that I might need it. Macs really are just for those who are too lazy to read documentation.

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Jobs Horns

Apples to Oranges

It's VERY difficult comparing Macs and PCs. Yes, you can compare the processors now that Apple is using Intel processors, but things like the quality of the LCDs used in the computers is something that is not rated.

At my desk here at work, I have a 17" Dell LCD monitor with 90 degree swivel capability to use it in portrait aspect mode. Unfortunately, the quality of the LCD is so poor that, when you swivel the monitor, the picture is nearly unusable. You have to precisely angle the monitor to see an image with decent contrast. The colors on this monitor are incredibly muted as well. Fortunately, I'm just using this system as a document creation system, not a graphic design computer.

When I take a photograph and display it on my 24" iMac at home, the colors are clear and crisp. I don't have to worry about angling my iMac so accurately to eliminate brightness drop-off.

It's the same with laptops. My friend purchased a 17" HP laptop. The picture quality was HORRIBLE. I brought in my MacBook Pro the following day and he was amazed at how much better the picture was.

Apple cuts fewer corners with their computers, which is why they're more expensive. It also tends to even the cost when you figure in yearly anti-virus updates and software that approximates the iLife suite of programs. (Yes, they're really quite good!)

Could Apple make a cheap, shitty machine with no extra software? Of course. They choose not to.

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This mean?

the more someone as money, the more morronic he is.

90% of revenue for PC over 1000$ is generated by clueless idiots)

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Heart

now now lets try to be objective about this

Please forgive me for I am attempting to take a pragmatic approach to this article however I am human.

Hardware wise the Mac and PC are not different considering they are both x86 64 bit systems these days save a few examples(certain netbooks and specialty hardware and the like). The question really comes down to the OS. Now having used various flavors of OS whatever, Windows whatever, and a few flavors of *nix, they all perform the same task and a lot of it depends on various software available to perform said task

Mac has Ilife which in and of itself is a fine suite of tools for doing base level movie, music, photos, and general web2.orhea production Windows has several tools available to, some free and some at a cost(so does Mac), to perform the same tasks. As for *nix if you can dream it and code it then there you have it or someone has done something similar to what you are trying to do.

So what is the big deal? Artsy's like Macs, Beancounters like PC's. To be honest70-80% of the user base could get by using a netbook attached to a keyboard, mouse, and monitor. Most don't want to record an album or stare at spreadsheets at home. They just want to check email, maybe IM, check bank balances, etc and don't care who the brand is on the OS or the box.

The enthusiasts will always be trying to squeeze that extra bit of performance out of their machine. A branded machine will never do well enough for them. Yes it is the mechanics approach to computing but they will always be there. Those are the guys that take their machines to point the OEM's didn't think could be reached. Same as a guy who takes a base Ford Mustang and modifies is to a point where it is a threat to a Ferrari. Yes yes I know perish the thought and all that. Sure maybe he could buy a Ferrari....but whats the fun in that.

Now for myself I am a fan of the Mac screens but Im happy with a Samsung for price vs performance metric. I have an Acer Aspire that I purged Windows from and installed Slackware since I like control and a command line. Desktop is a home built system where the last upgrades cost me $600 for a new motherboard, processor, and 4 gigs of RAM. most everything else was recycled from the older system. It runs XP, Win 7, and Slackware triple booted(just for the record I mainly game on this system). When OS X came out I put it on to try it out. looks nice and Im sure its very capable but just not my cup of tea.

So please all of us out there in thar interwebs. Please let us all join together and get along and push out the lunatic fringe for all parties involved.

P.S. Sorry for the book

Cheers, off to the bar, pub, drinking establishment

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Badge of honour

Thought experiment:

Take a brand new Macbook and tell a typical Apple target consumer that they can have the Macbook for half the normal price, but only if they stick a Dell badge over the Apple logo and have to promise (honestly) that they will not tell people they own a Mac.

Pound to a penny that 90% of would-be Mac owners would turn you down.

Of course, I'm not saying that 90% of MS owners would rather not run Windows (especially Vista), but the Apple badge is as least as big a selling point as the hardware and OS.

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Paris Hilton

Whatever works for you

I've come close twice to switching to PCs when I've needed a new machine and going through a period when I'm not exactly holding folding. The reasons for switching are obvious and all involve cost; cheap kit, cheap (really filthy cheap!) games etc etc. On the first occasion 10 years ago I decided not to largely because I just found windows unusable for the type of work I do (photography/graphics), just bit the bullet, shelled out and when the new machine was up and running breathed a sigh of relief at a near miss.

In 10 years since I've used windows a lot more, mainly troubleshooting for those who can't do it for themselves, and still never really got to like it. Six months ago I decided my 6 year old powerbook really was too long in the tooth, but lacked the wonga to replace it with another mac. I bought a decent PC laptop for a fraction of the price, really to use for web work, configuring various systems for clients who use PCs and configuring/flashing the seemingly endless number of devices that require windows for such things. The machine has Vista, which seems at first sight to be a great improvement on its predecessors - I say at first, because it quickly becomes clear that it's a thin skin putting a largely cosmetic gloss on the usual pet hates about windows that remain seething below the surface.

But I bought a shed-load of games for it which it runs very well, it does the work related stuff well enough and doesn't seem to throw inexplicable fits too often. So once more I started thinking of throwing the Mac money I didn't have at a much more capable PC as a primary tool to replace the Mac, and almost managed to convince myself I was happy with the idea.

Then a plump little job turned up and poverty (relatively) disappeared; within 24 hours I was the owner of a Macbook pro and continually giggling rather manically at how close I got to serious PC ownership. With an honest appraisal, there really is just no comparison if you just want to get on with it, without having the OS pepper you with either patronising or inexplicable error messages that end in ".dll", and have no serious interest in learning what the fuck a registry is or why you should spend so much time on it. But really it's the simple things; creating a new folder with an easy to remember shortcut, having external drives mount intuitively on the desktop, opening a link in a new tab Firefox without having to right click. The Leopard OS is simply more pleasant and intuitive to use and just looks better.

Going on past experience the Macbook will far outlast the PC, although in cost terms it would probably be an even match. Upgrading the OS costs far less on a Mac and most of the apps are the same price on each platform. I'd like to give Linux a go if it wasn't so much of a fiddle, and I am certainly not wedded to the apple logo on the hardware; if you could run Leopard on PC hardware without the grief, I'd happily save the cash. But you can't. And I still have the PC for games and other PC stuff.

It comes down to using what works for you; if you're used to using windows, you probably get more out of it that you would a Mac, and kudos to you. I have no idea what goes on in my system folder, by and large, and have no real need to which works well for me since I just want to get on with other things without HAVING to know. 90 percent of those I know in my industry also use Macs for much the same reason - you don't need "you can't do that but I'm not going to tell you why" messages with a deadline an hour away.

@Abdul Omar - PC users may well hate Mac users, but we all unite with Linux users to despise creative directors (parasites) "branding and marketing communications agencies" (collectives of parasites) and those who describe themselves as pieces of computer hardware (brainless parasites) all of whom are definitely "ark B" material. Our perceptions of you are indeed measurable, but I very much doubt you could alter them, except perhaps in a direction that might cause an uncomfortable itch in your goatee.

Paris - way more brains than any creative director.

on the other hand, am the creative director of a branding and marketing communications agency and

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@Chris Parsons

Bollocks again I say. Upgrading the internal disk means backing up data to an external drive before installing, in which case you may as well save the bother and just plug in an external disk. Sure, they're slower but perfectly fine for the average person who wants to store their music, photos and home videos.

Besides, replacing the internal disk isn't the nightmare you make out. With the right tools you should easily be able to do it in ten minutes. People tend to replace their iMacs every four to five years, and I can't imagine the average user would want to upgrade their disks more than once in that time. Is ten minutes of effort once in the lifetime of a machine such a big deal?

That you can label a whole machine as "designed for form over function" for such a trivial issue is quite pathetic.

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Jobs Halo

Built In Monitor?

I'd just like to point out that the Mac Mini doesn't come with a built-in monitor. I paid £200 for my (used) Mac Mini, £110 for a half decent 19" monitor, £20 for a keyboard and £5 for a mouse. I probably don't show up in any statistics and I'm not alone. Take a look at how many Macs are selling on eBay. BTW I upgraded my first Mac Mini with a larger capacity HDD, memory and a Superdrive, plus a Firewire backup drive. Special tools required: 1 penknife and a X-head screwdriver.

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IT Angle

Windows Versions

Windows 1.0

Windows 2.0

Win 3.0

Win 95 aka Win 4.0 aka Win NT 4.0

Win 98 aka Win 4.10

Win ME aka Win 4.90

Win 2k aka Win 5.0 aka Win NT 5.0

Win XP aka Win 5.1

Win Vista aka Win 6.0

Hence

Windows 7

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RE: @Adam White

Well what term would you use to describe IT Professionals such as Paul Thurott and he ilk?

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FAIL

Engage your brains gents.

@Doug Glass - Explain Apple's last 2 quarters then. Much better than the likes of HP and Dell I'd say. If that's nothing, I'd gladly take 3% of it!

@Aristoles... - iMovie is an order of magnitude better than all of the consumer level video editing apps on the market, especially the rubbish like Windows Movie Maker. Premier is a 'Prosumer' editor much like Final Cut Express, Avid is a non-linear professional level editor like Final Cut Pro. In both instances, Final Cut is generally regarded as the better product by professionals and used by editors. Who are the 'masses' that you refer to? Your file-sharing buddies?

@Watashi - No. Nothing 'scientific' there. Conjecture based on narrow minded prejudice which you have tried to disguise as fact. Try harder next time.

@Nathan 11 - Nice try. They are kernel versions and isn't Windows 7 actually 6.1? You have just linked the kernel version to the product version. The original point stands. Microsoft do not have a coherant versioning system in place for Windows.

@Adam White - Thurrott is the very definition of a Windows fanboi!

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RE: Engage your brains gents.

Except he gets paid to love Windows, a true fanboy does it for free

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Anonymous Coward

@Adam White

Fair point!

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Flame

@ Abdul Omar

Right, wasn't gonna comment, but I'm getting tired of this tosser.

"the creative director of a branding and marketing communications agency"

Says it all really. And no, what it does say is not good.

"The fact is, whenever someone is doing anything productive like in filmmaking or design for example, the computer used is sure to be a Mac. PCs are for boring things like sequencing genes or calculating pi to the zillionth decimal to get rounder fractals or something..."

Translation - The coloured pencil department likes their shiny, pretty toys and get mesmerised by flashing lights. If, however, you want to do important work, stuff that matters, stuff that involves the kind of maths that gives flighty arty types a migraine just looking at, then use a computer instead. Don't care what branding is on the box, so long as it crunches numbers rather than wastes CPU cycles on trying to look pretty.

Fire cos all marketing types should be thrown on top of one to make more room in the world for people that actually do something real with their lives.

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