Opinion: Why the upgrade cycle means the ‘Apple tax’ is lower than it seems

Photo: mashable.com

Photo: mashable.com

I’m sure most of us have at some point had Windows- and Android-using friends ask us why we pay the ‘Apple tax’ – the price difference between an Apple product and what they perceive to be an equivalent competitor product.

A large part of the answer, of course, is that the competitor product isn’t equivalent at all. You can’t compare a MacBook with its premium materials, build-quality, high-spec components, screen quality and aesthetics with a low-end Windows laptop with plastic casing, low-spec innards and cheap and cheerful display. No more than you can compare an iPhone with a budget ‘droid. When you do genuine like-for-like comparisons with truly equivalent products, the Apple premium shrinks considerably.

But to get an accurate idea of the effective purchase cost, you also need to take into account both the replacement cycle and resale value … 

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Today’s CIRP data on replacement cycles confirmed what Apple users already knew: Apple kit remains useful for many years. It’s not unusual to use a Mac for four years, and when we do finally replace it, the old one is likely to be either passed on to a family member, or sold for a decent proportion of the purchase cost.

As a somewhat extreme example, I have an old iMac in my kitchen. When I say old, I mean it: it’s an iMac G5, a 2004 PPC machine. Admittedly I’m not using it for anything demanding – it is mostly used as a recipe book and a kitchen music system (hooked up to a pair of speakers and streaming music from a shared library on my main machine). But it’s a ten-year-old desktop computer, it’s still working perfectly and it’s still doing something useful.

If we instead choose to sell, we’ll get back a decent chunk of the purchase cost. eBay prices aren’t always a reliable guide, as people may post ads with unrealistic starting prices which then fail to sell. But if you scroll down the filtering options in the left-hand column, there’s a handy ‘Sold listings’ checkbox. Tick that, and it will show only completed sales – so the prices you see are the actual prices buyers paid.


Taking a look at a few ads shows just how well Apple kit holds its value. For example, this 2010 base model MacBook Air 11 – now 3.5 years old – sold for $500.


A new one today costs $999, so your effective purchase cost for the replacement is $499. Another way of looking at it is your cost of ownership was $143 a year. That Best Buy special Windows laptop someone bought for $300 three or four years ago is, in contrast, now basically worthless.

It’s a similar story with other models. For example, this 2009 iMac – that’s a five year old desktop computer – went for $650.


A new one today costs $1299, so effective replacement cost is $649 – or an annual cost of ownership of $130. Again, a five-year-old Windows desktop machine will barely be worth the hassle of selling.

Same deal with an iPad. Here’s a bottom-of-the-range iPad 2, three years old, which went for $255.


Replace it with the iPad 4 at $399, and your effective replacement cost is $144, or an ownership cost of $48 a year. Opt for the lovely iPad Air, and it’s instead $499, giving a replacement cost of $244 or an annual ownership cost of $81. It’s a similar story with iPhones.

Now, we could quibble over details here. Yes, I have cherry-picked my ebay ads to some extent, but not unrealistically so. I’ve opted for devices that were described as well looked after – as that’s probably going to be the case with most 9to5Mac types – but I’ve ignored any that went for stupidly high prices, assuming there was something dodgy going on. I’ve also ignored selling costs, which range from nothing on Craigslist to around 10% on ebay.

But I think the point stands, and matches my own experience when I upgrade my own kit. The resale value of an iPhone, iPad or Mac is a high percentage of the purchase cost because the useful lifetime of the device is far longer than is typical for competitor products.

So yes, we spend more on our kit than friends who buy cheap Windows laptops and cheap Android phones; yes, we do pay a premium for what we get; but the Apple tax is significantly smaller than many suggest.

How does your own experience compare? How long do you typically hang onto your Apple kit, and what do you do with it when it’s time to upgrade? Let us know in the comments.

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  1. Chris - 9 years ago

    Very insightful post! Wow!

  2. Abhijeet Mishra - 9 years ago

    In my case, who has only ever bought an iPad 4 when it comes to Apple devices (I don’t like the limitations of iOS, nor do I want a Mac as I have only one PC at any time and I want it to play games, plus I upgrade manually), I think the premium is high only when you buy an Apple device for the first time. Once you’ve got one and then you upgrade, then, like you said, the premium isn’t exactly that high. Personally I think more of how flexible my OS is and all that so I chose Android, but yeah, I agree that the premium on Apple devices isn’t that high, they have extremely high resale value.

    • Ashish Maheshwari - 9 years ago

      one thing i would like to mention is that an iOS device is as much customizable as an android device after jailbreaking.
      and the quality of app store apps is better in iOS. even jailbreak tweaks and apps are of very good quality.

      • Abhijeet Mishra - 9 years ago

        Yes, I agree. But it just doesn’t sit well with me that I need to jailbreak a device that I paid a lot for to make it customizable, not to mention jailbreaks take a long time to come and offer features that aren’t something that are in the OS by default (actual multitasking, file access, easy file transfer, ability to set default apps, etc.). As for app quality, I’ve never actually been bothered by poor app design if I’m getting the proper functionality (I take functionality, features/flexibility over looks any day), probably why the poor UI in Android never made me switch to more closed OS like iOS or Windows Phone. Also, at this point, Android has come a long way, with apps that one would usually want having good UIs and performance, and the OS itself has become amazingly stable compared to what it was a year or two back, haha.

        But again, I agree, jailbreaks do make iOS as customizable as Android, and perhaps even more than Android in some cases.

    • Ben Lovejoy - 9 years ago

      I’m guessing the same is true of high-end Android devices, in terms of resale value, Abhijeet?

      • Abhijeet Mishra - 9 years ago

        Not exactly. For example, the Galaxy S4, which is newer and a higher seller than the iPhone 5 here in India, has a resale value lesser than that of the iPhone 5. Even the Note 3 has just a tad lower resale value than the iPhone 5, despite being an even newer device, haha. iPhones don’t sell well here because of the high price, but the resale value is still high.

        But yes, when comparing high-end Android devices and iPhones, the tax on the latter is not exactly that high (at least for a few months, as Android devices go down in cost considerably while the iPhone flagship remains at around the same). In my opinion there is tax on both: tax for the hardware specs on Android and for the complete experience on the iPhone, but again, the latter is a tad higher and generally not accepted by people here (small screen, lack of things like Bluetooth file transfers, etc., with the latter something that has been a common use case in the country since Bluetooth appeared in feature phones.)

      • Abhijeet Mishra - 9 years ago

        An example: my friend bought a Galaxy Note 3 when it launched, for $800. He sold it recently for another phone and received only $500, a huge difference IMO for a phone that isn’t even a year old. But it’s at least remains somewhat consistent even after a year or 2, haha.

  3. weakguy - 9 years ago

    Also, Apple products are so much more reliable than its counterparts. Its longevity totally worths the “Apple tax.” Note that Apple devices have so much less issues than Windows and Android devices as well.

    • Brian Victor - 9 years ago

      This is one of the selling points that got me hooked onto Apple. Oddly enough, I have had an atypical experience with my iMac 21.5″ 2009 (which I dearly love even as I add a MacBook Pro 13″ Retina to my inventory). I had to take in the iMac no fewer than half a dozen times (mostly under warranty). I have had to replace the hard drive, screen, power supply, and superdrive. Basically, I bought a lemon there, but Apple stepped up and made sure every issue was corrected as it was discovered. Am I upset? Not really. My old Windows XP machine had to be reformatted every year or two (had it for 7 years). I’ve done that once with the iMac.

      • craftytony - 9 years ago

        Sorry to hear about the issues you had with your 2009. I also have a 2009 that still runs great, and I never had any issues with it “knock on wood”

      • Brian Victor - 9 years ago

        Thanks crftyony. Like I said, I know it has been an atypical experience and I have loved the iMac through it all. It does its job well in all other respects.

  4. Ken BigBear Morey - 9 years ago

    I’m a recent Apple convert, changed over about 3 years ago. Since that time I have not had to upgrade my equipment to stay up to date with the latest OS. Only had to get a new iPhone because my old one was stolen.

    • Ben Lovejoy - 9 years ago

      Yes, certainly historically that’s been an issue with Windows – you might be able to get one more generation of the OS out of your hardware, but usually not more.

      • Ken BigBear Morey - 9 years ago

        And I am fine with that because my mini will be upgraded and the old one will be used as a internet computer used elsewhere in the house.

      • Albert Davis - 8 years ago


  5. Matīss (@Pautzods) - 9 years ago

    Very interesting. I have my iPhone 4s that I bought the week it came it which is about 2.5 years ago. I put a scratch resistant coating on the display the day I bought the phone so it’s still in a perfect condition. You couldn’t even find a glimpse of any damage on the phone and it still runs perfectly after several software upgrades. When I’ll finally upgrade to the iPhone 6 which will be after another half a year I’m still looking to sell my current iPhone for a somewhat decent price for at least 1/3 of what it was worth originally.

    • Ben Lovejoy - 9 years ago

      Yes, iPhones have slightly higher depreciation, as most people change them on a two-year cycle, but you still get a decent chunk back

  6. As a user of both this ad is spot on. Years now I have sold both my old iPhones and MacBook Pros(MBPs) putting the money towards the purchase of a new one. In the case of the MBPs I have always gotten back 50% of the cost of the new one and those are 2 year old models. This is unreal when you compare it to a Windows machine. In the case of the iPhones I either sold them to make 50% of the cost of the new one or more otherwise it got passed on to my wife or a family member. I had the first gen iPhone which was used by 4 other family members until they were able to get their own newer iPhones. The first gen iPhone which hasn’t been used by anyone for quite awhile still sits on my desk, powers on and works!

  7. rahhbriley - 9 years ago

    Yup, totes true. Always point this out to my friends who consider Mac’s but get to the….well its X hundred dollars more than a Windows machine…then we sit down with pen and paper and show how it’s not much different.

    My first iPhone purchase was an investment cost, now I sell the old one after two years after contract, and upgrade to the new one on contract with virtually no cost to me.

    • Ben Lovejoy - 9 years ago

      Hopefully now you’ll be able to point future ones to this piece and not have to do the sums again. :-)

  8. Moz (@moz1234) - 9 years ago

    Very true Ben.

    My example, i got the iphone 4 in 2010 and and nearly 3 and half years later its still running beautifully (especially since 7.1) and when i checked a Carriers website in the UK for trade in, i could still get £150 wow.

    now comparing that to say the samsung galaxy 2 which is not even worth £40 no. just shows

  9. robertvarga79 - 9 years ago

    I do not want anything else than my iPad, iMac and all other i’s!! Nothing else will ever suffice!

  10. iPad 2 passed to a family member for an upgrade to an iPad Air.

  11. macboyspro - 9 years ago

    Unfortuntately resale values will be going down with the Retina systems. The soldered memory and proprietary flash is going to lower resale value on lower end models. Higher end models are so overpriced at this point, they will loose value faster than lower end models. I believe the resale values will change gradually on the next year or two.

    • Brian Victor - 9 years ago

      A valid point, but I doubt it will change all that much. The machine will probably run just as well in 5 years. RAM requirements are climbing like they used to and Mavericks plus the advantages of SSD memory have made it so that Apple can spec computers lower without sacrificing performance. We just aren’t seeing the minimum requirements of operating systems and programs climbing like they used to in order to get typical, everyday computing tasks done. Extending the battery life for a notebook is the real concern I have, but even when it can’t hold a charge you can hook it up to a monitor and turn it into a flattened tower. :)

      • Brian Victor - 9 years ago

        Whops, I meant to say RAM requirements are NOT climbing like they used to.

    • dpkonofa (@dpkonofa) - 9 years ago

      I disagree. The example given in the article is a G4, a processor that is no longer produced and that doesn’t even run on the current OS’s. I doubt that machine has been upgraded and even the Retina machines will still be just as capable at doing what they do now as they are now in 5-10 years. I doubt music and media files will get sufficiently large enough to make those machines unusable and HDD’s can always be connected wirelessly or via USB. There’s plenty of life still left in these machines.

    • I can see what you mean but I’ve had MacBooks from 2008 to now and even my 2008 macbook aluminum which i still use everyday work perfects fine on mavericks and you really never need to upgrade the RAM unless you have very intensive graphics programs running on your computer and for the battery apple can replace that for you and the screen makes up for everything else because i use photoshop and illustrator and it does wonders for those applications

    • Tallest Skil - 9 years ago

      Yeah, you don’t understand.

    • Ben Lovejoy - 9 years ago

      It is an argument for not getting the base spec. I’ve tended to max out on RAM which definitely helps longevity.

  12. Absolutely true. My first MacBook cost me £700 in 2008 and I sold it online for £400 in 2011. OK I threw in a mighty mouse and had to buy a new battery for it first, but all in all, I basically rented it for £100/year.

    Couldn’t get anything near that with a Windows machine.

    • Ben Lovejoy - 9 years ago

      Yes, I think the ‘rental’ cost is a good way to look at it. I take that view with a lot of expensive purchases. I have a B&O hifi system that cost a lot when I bought it, but I’m still using it (albeit with a Mac as the music source now) 18 years later!

  13. Brian Victor - 9 years ago

    Have an iMac 21.5″ 2009 as well and just bought a MacBook Pro Retina 13″ ($1499 model) because the family is monopolizing the iMac (so yeah, I’ve effectively passed it on the family). I replace computers about once every 4-5 years, but I will keep the iMac until it dies, hopefully not for at least another 4-5 years.

    • Ben Lovejoy - 9 years ago

      I generally work on four years from a Mac. I had to replace my MBP 17 a year early when it was discontinued (I wanted to keep it as long as possible so bought the very last model), and the amazing Haswell battery life persuaded me to upgrade my MBA 11 early too, but in general four years decent performance is very realistic.

  14. I just told a customer this yesterday. Once you compare the log term investment in a Mac, it’s cheaper than the windows computer. Our store recently replaced our POS Mac from 2002 because the hard drive was slowing down after 12 years of use, and we really didn’t want to hunt an IDE drive down and had a spare 27in hanging around. Other things i like about them, Anti-virus? No, disk defraying? Nope. Does it just work? Yup. As much as people hate the term, it’s true. I do run CleanMyMac 2 every month or so to free up some space since i have a 15in retina, 256GB sad, so i run about 40-60 free depending on the cleanup times. And concerning the resale price, I sold my previous 17in for 2010 mbp for $1300 and bought the retina in 2012 at $1800, so my real purchase was $500 or so after tax, and I plan on this thing lasting me year to come, unless apple blows me away with something else and I want to upgrade.

    Nothing in this article surprises me since i’ve lived it all. You spend less time waiting for the computer to respond and more time doing what you want to do, so owning a Mac I can say I save time AND money.

  15. At_the_moment - 9 years ago

    In my limited experience, this is completely true. I just sold a 2010 13″ Macbook pro for 575$ (base specs). Admittedly I had to revise my initial price of 700$, based on the same inflated eBay price tags that Ben Lovejoy refers too.
    This sale paid for a third of a brand new Macbook pro, so yeah, happy!
    By comparison, I tried selling a 2009 PC lately, high end graphics (at the time), but no one would buy it so I gave it away to a friend. Still ran XP but Win8 did not run very effectively, too slow. It is my understanding an “equivalent” iMac would still run OS 10.9 today…
    Regarding my iPhone, I bought a 5 used from a friend last fall, just when the 5s came out. The best 450$ I ever spent.
    I think these resale values are so high precisely because of the perceived “Apple tax”: people believe these are premium machines because of the premium paid. A good thing its mostly true. Not too bad, for consumer electronics…

  16. Greg Brown (@gk_brown) - 9 years ago

    “You can’t compare a MacBook with its premium materials, build-quality, high-spec components, screen quality and aesthetics with a low-end Windows laptop with plastic casing, low-spec innards and cheap and cheerful display.”

    Build quality is important, yes, but the main reason I continue to pay the “Apple tax” is that I want to use OS X and iOS, not Windows or Android. In my opinion, the user experience provided by these operating systems is still far better than what is offered by Apple’s competitors.

    • Brian Victor - 9 years ago

      Aboslutely agree about the OS experience. Because I am National Guard I need a Windows platform to access certain sites so I keep Win 7 on BootCamp. Sure, you can get work done on Windows, but it feels cluttered and clunky in many respects to me. I also worry about viruses a lot more with a Windows machine.

  17. greswolde - 9 years ago

    Don’t forget the cost of the new OS for windows is upto about £165 compared to 10.9’s cost of £0

  18. Pierre Calixte - 9 years ago

    I agree with this article 100%.

    In my own experience, I sold my two year old 32gb 4S for $350 and use that money to purchase a 32gb 5S. I had to by the 5S at full retail so I cut the cost of the new phone down to $450.

    My friends who one android phones pretty much toss their old phones into a drawer whenever they upgrade. The phones aren’t worth much and not worth the trouble of trying to resell.

    • Brian Victor - 9 years ago

      Givne a life cycle of 5 years and an average purchase price with extended warranty of say $1800, you still only pay $30 a month over the life of the Mac. That is compared to $13/mo for a similarly spec’d PC. $17/mo difference. The price difference is the equivalent to an entree with drink at a restaurant. Not a big deal to get the OS and hardware quality you want. And if you sell it, the PC savings gap closes significantly.

  19. Mike Ross - 9 years ago

    This article is pretty good. You could have gone into greater detail with more numbers and using specific examples of comparable Windows machines to Apple machines. But this is a simple explanation to the biggest question I get.

    I can support this article. I paid $200 (on contract) for my 16GB iPhone 4S brand new, and another $200 for my wife’s. We both just upgraded in November to the 5S. We traded in our 4S at Best Buy for $225. Yes, granted we “paid” for that device over the life of our contract, but let’s be honest, how many people are in the same boat as us? It was “normal” to pay for a phone on contract. So, we MADE $50, as a family, after two years.

    On the Mac side, I bought my 21.5″ iMac back in 2009. Yes, I have noticed it getting slower. Yes, I have bought another Mac since then (a 13″ Macbook Air 2012) and yes I split my work between many devices, but that iMac still holds all of my media from iTunes and other sources and is the “go to” machine for getting heavy workload done at home. I have no plans of replacing it yet, just unloading all of my files to an Apple Time Capsule to speed it up a little.

    Also, I have never once needed to take my computers in for ANY service or repairs. I cannot say the same for the 15 years I was buying Windows computers. (That is just my experience)

  20. taylore90 - 9 years ago

    My upgrade waits on the announcement of the new Mac Mini. Come on already!!

  21. Albert Montijo Jr - 9 years ago

    I started off with the iPhone 3G and have subsequently upgraded after the normal two year window, skipping the “s” models and jumping to the iphone 4 and now 5. As far as the previous two models I had, I did my best to keep them in impeccable condition and only looked to get as much as was needed to cover the upgrade costs. The 3G was an 8gb and the 4 was a 16 gb. I sold both for about $250 (obviously two years apart) and forked over the extra cash for the 32gb on my iphone 5. So I have basically never paid an upgrade fee for my new models which I think no android or windows phone user could ever say. I also had a fully loaded iPad 4, which only had the 64gb option at the time, and ran on AT&T. I paid about $900 for the thing and used it for work travel for a year. One year later when I decided to get a new lap top instead, I sold it on ebay for $750 with a nice belkin keyboard case as well. I was just looking to get the cash fast, but I know I could have gotten a bit more if I tried. All in all though, my personal experience has been much like most of you.The reputation, build quality, and longevity of these devices are pretty much second to none in my book. Just like the old saying goes, “You get what you pay for”, and in the case of Apple users, you get a great experience, rich and expansive ecosystem, and devices that are just plain great.

  22. JLWord - 9 years ago

    Why do you choose to compare the Apple product to a low end Windows PC rather than a high end Windows PC. That would be a more accurate comparison. Though the resale value of the Apple product may still be more, deliberately choosing to compare a high end Apple product to a low end Windows product to demonstrate the value gap between Apples and Windows products isn’t giving an accurate picture. On another note, I too have a 2004 desktop, an HP which is part of my current workstation, granted I don’t use it as much as my four year old HP laptop though. I do most of my writing on my laptop and Lumia 1520.

    • JLWord - 9 years ago

      Though I am a Windows man I do appreciate a good product and Apples build quality and design are great. I must also add however that in Apples case, just like with virtually EVERY, product in the market, particularly those considered high end or premium, that there is an intangible value added to a product based on the perception of the consumer, often shaped by the marketing of the company that produced the product. There is then a social reaffirmation among consumers that the product is indeed as valuable as perceived even though all the costs that have gone into the product such RD, design, production, marketing and all of the other quantifiable factors clearly dictate a much lower value. Apples products indeed benefit from great value that can be calculated based on what has gone into the product, however there is a huge intangible value that is added, based on successful “branding” by Apples marketing team that consumers are willing to pay for.
      For instance many products, made in the same factories’, have a huge value difference based primarily on the label that is ultimately placed on the product. Branding.

      • Brian Victor - 9 years ago

        Much truth in your words. My father tells me of days of old when he worked in a factory making refrigerators for two companies. They stamped one set with a big brand-name, but internally it ended up with few differences. There is a huge benefit attached to the brand: customer support for the product’s life cycle for example. The OS ecosystem. The prestige of owning a certain brand. You make very fair points.

      • Albert Montijo Jr - 9 years ago

        Although I completely agree with your point on Apple’s successful marketing strategy and the general public’s perception of Apple products, I must say that the general public’s perception is not entirely coerced. Android, and particularly the biggest android hardware maker Samsung, have done a good job of shaping people’s perceptions about their products as well. Their advertisements are hip, funny and witty in order to downplay the reputation of Apple & Windows products as a whole. However, and this is why I’m saying public perception about Apple is not entirely skewed, what Apple does the best in my opinion, besides making a seamless and expansive ecosystem, they appeal to the masses. Being a tech savvy individual myself, I understand why some technologically inclined individuals like android or even Windows phone. They are customizable, have live widgets, etc. They allow the user to shape their experience the way they want it for the most part. iOS is more restrictive in this aspect, but this is to make sure it is easy to use and understand. Most people want things to just work. They want to know that the essentials are there and easily accessible. They want to make sure their aren’t a million hoops to jump through to turn on/off this or that. Apple products aren’t just premium products because they are great at marketing, or people have been jaded by the nostalgia of the name, it’s because virtually anybody can pick up an Apple product (i.e. iphone, ipad, ipod) and get started on the things they love in a simple and straight forward form factor. This is and has always been Apple’s greatest accomplishment. They may not have ALL of the bells and whistles or niche programs/apps and/or hardware because its designed to appeal to everybody, young, old, whoever. This show of restraint and precision is why you won’t hear most iOS users saying their product crashed, or its jumpy and skipping. Of course this is just my opinion, but that is what I believe accounts for this “Apple Tax” or “Value Difference”, simply great products.

      • JLWord - 9 years ago

        Note my last statement is not referring to Apples products being made in the same factories as others, that statement was a comparison of how some clothing or furniture stores utilize the same factories as those labels that produce name brand products and and charge high prices based on the name of the label not spelt based on the value of the material product.

    • Ben Lovejoy - 9 years ago

      My point is that it’s precisely that comparison which results in perceptions of a high ‘Apple tax’. As I said in the opening, do a like-for-like comparison between a MacBook Pro and a very high-end Windows laptop and the difference almost disappears.

      • Brian Victor - 9 years ago

        Does it almost disappear in terms of on-board memory, RAM, and processor? Except for the Mac Pro, my understanding is that the those remained mismatched. Look forward to your clarification. (Good article by the way. I’m always pleased to see one written by you Ben).

      • JLWord - 9 years ago

        Ok thanks. It just appeared that though that caveat was introduced at the onset of the article the overall tone and some subsequent statements seemed to ignore that initial acknowledgement and appeared to communicate that that the value difference was indeed inherently much greater than a comparable high-end to high-end comparison would actually yield.

      • Brian Victor - 9 years ago

        I just did some homework. At bestbuy this computer (Samsung – ATIV Book 9 Plus Ultrabook 13.3″ Touch-Screen Laptop – 8GB Memory – 256GB Solid State Drive – Ash Black with i7) is priced $1750 compared to a customized 13″ MBPr with i7 at $1799. There are a few differences such as touch screen on the Samsung, graphics card and screen resolution (not sure of the pixel desity on the Ultrabook), but I would say they are comparable. Thanks for pointing out that the high-end computers compare Ben. I didn’t know that before.

      • Ben Lovejoy - 9 years ago

        You’re not alone. :-)

      • Ben Lovejoy - 9 years ago

        Thanks, Brian. Apple does indeed charge over the odds for RAM, but then so does Dell. I’ve always bought minimum RAM and upgraded myself, which is a definite downside of the fact that today’s MacBooks are almost impossible to upgrade yourself.

  23. reasonableguyca - 9 years ago

    I never sell off my old machines, except my son’s PowerMac G5. I keep them around as spares and loaners. Or to run really old software once in a blue moon. Still have my G3 2001 iBook in case I need to run something my 2008 MacBook won’t.

    I’ve owned Macs since summer 1984, and the only weak hardware I’ve encountered is optical drives in laptops.

    I’ve never regretted paying a bit more for Apple hardware. I don’t hear too many Lexus owners wishing they’d bought the cheapest Chrysler they could find either.

  24. Lagax (@Lagax_) - 9 years ago

    I don’t Know what I’m going to do with iPads, but I’m always upgrading to the full iPhone upgrades(non-S). Other point with iPhones is, that an iPhone 4S now gets you 300€ on eBay(Germany), the 5S now costs 700€. In two years this device lost 400€(approx. 57%) of its price.

    • Ben Lovejoy - 9 years ago

      That’s right, but the true effective cost of the 5s in that example is €400.

      • Lagax (@Lagax_) - 9 years ago

        True, but in on of your examples you have the price reduced by about 40% in 3 years, here it is 57% in two years(what is a lot intp this price class!).

      • Ben Lovejoy - 9 years ago

        I agree phones take the biggest hit

  25. aaronblackblog - 9 years ago

    I agree with a lot of what’s said here. Though I think counting on eBay resale is a little shaky. I’ve been cheated on eBay before when selling an old iPhone and there’s always the “Final Valuation Fee” (which I think is about 10%) and PayPal processing fees to figure in there.

    • Ben Lovejoy - 9 years ago

      Yes, ebay has the highest selling costs, but also often gets higher prices so it’s a balance. I usually try Craigslist and similar free services first, and only go to ebay if I can’t sell at the price I want within a fortnight or so.

  26. Kunal Kapoor - 9 years ago

    A couple of times I’ve purchased an 32GB iPhone for $279 on contract from my provider (or cheaper if there is a promo). Had the iPhone factory unlocked from my carrier (legally) after 3 months. Sold it for ~$650 second hand on eBay/Craigslist after 1 year of use. Then purchased the latest version of the unlocked 32GB iPhone directly from Apple for $749. Total upgrade cost ~$150. Apple resale values are so good that if you time things right you can consistently keep up with the latest Apple hardware for less than what you spend on coffee each year.

  27. Gordon Mann - 9 years ago

    Umm. I shudder to see that ‘it’s not unusual to be using a 4 year old model’. I’m a fossil therefore. I’m just about to buy a new macbook and I’ve been using my 2003 ibook G4 day and night since I bought it. The video card packed in a year ago so I had the hard drive switched into another.
    Essentially my mac is still supporting everything I want it to do. I consider after 10 years my mac owes me nothing but a gracious retirement to gentler pastures. I’m going to give it to my wife to practice on for when she buys her next computer which will be a mac. (She’s got a 3 year old pc and it’s driving her nuts.) Our 2 year old son already gravitates to my Apple not my wife’s pc. Naturally he is already iPad savvy.
    You’re article is spot on imho

    • Ben Lovejoy - 9 years ago

      Heh, you’re definitely not alone in running a Mac for longer than four years. I know people using much older Macs as their main machine, and I’m definitely not alone in having an ancient one still in use in a kitchen, kid’s computer, etc.

  28. Mark Carabin - 9 years ago

    If I had have sold my mint condition iPhone 4 with all of its cases, instead of feeling bad and giving it away to my cousin after hers was stolen, I would have broke even or possibly even made a profit when upgrading to my 5s. For most of my Macs I keep them around even after I upgrade until they just completely die, but they still last MUCH longer than friends with cheaper PCs. I’ve only had one iPad, my current 3rd gen, but I like knowing that when I feel like upgrading, there’s a market out there for these products even after they’re considered “old” by techies like us.

  29. Phil Andrews - 9 years ago

    I received a 2007 Macbook Pro 15in for my high school graduation before I went off to college. It is now 2014 and I still have that same MBP. I did upgrade the ram a couple of years back to its max capacity (6gb) and the machine is like new. There is definitely some wear and tear on it. The screen is starting to crack from the hinges after the 1000’s of times its been opened and closed. But that’s it. Compare that to the 2 PC’s that barely lasted me through high school. Recently I picked up a rMini and that’s been my go to. But eventually I plan to upgrade to a new rMBP. Apple all the way.

  30. Kieran Navickas - 9 years ago

    This is probably the best article that I have ever read at 9to5mac.com. Well written. Well done!

  31. herb02135go - 9 years ago

    This article is rubbish. It’s totally one person’s opinion using self-selected research.
    There was no mention of the free software upgrades to fix what Apple didn’t get right. How much productivity is lost from asking Siri something three times then giving up and typing the information?
    Or software (that worked great) that you have to re-purchase because of an OS upgrade?

    I can cherry pick my examples, too. Those are my real-world examples posted on these very same forums, so they, too, are fact.
    If people want to pay an Apple tax, fine by me. A fool and his money are soon parted, right?

    • jrox16 - 9 years ago

      What are you talking about? What other company provides computers and phones which have zero bugs in software that are never upgraded to get what Google/Microsoft didn’t get right?? They are all constantly releasing updates to fix things they didn’t get right the first time, that is the nature of complex consumer software development.
      And Siri took multiple tries in the past when she was in BETA. Today, she works 98% the very first time, I nearly never need to repeat myself. And that’s a feature you don’t have to use, how does that in any way become relevant in this discussion of selling used hardware?? This is an idiotic point you’re making. There are also many examples of old software that is no longer supported by the latest version of Windows, in fact, it’s much worse than OS X, so your cherry picking only serves to discredit your biased opinion. You are just trolling and hating without any factual information and are obviously very poorly educated about technology.

    • jrox16 - 9 years ago

      Oh yeah, and the author, and you (and me earlier, lol) forgot to mention: How much productivity is lost from dealing with malware, viruses, and trojan horses on Windows machines versus Macs? It’s a well known fact in the world of unbiased IT Managers, that Windows machines, over the long haul, cost far more than Mac counterparts because of the massive support costs companies have to expend in dealing with all the problems associated with them. I’ve worked on both Windows environments and Mac environments, and you can support roughly 5 times as many Mac workstations as Windows with the same number of network admins…because there is so much less work involved in supporting Macs, and that saves the company far more than what the initial savings on the cheaper Windows PC was.

    • Brian Victor - 9 years ago

      Regarding repurchase of software: you are describing a Windows experience as much as an OS X experience (speaking as someone who deals with both worlds). Siri was in beta for a long time so I would be hesistant to use that as an example. Nowadays, Siri gets what I am asking 75-90% of the time depending on my network connectivity and what I’m asking. That’s a remarkably useful tool to me that I haven’t seen matched by another software platform (though I understand Android is hard at work on closing the gap … good for them).

    • Ben Lovejoy - 9 years ago

      I’m not sure what your complaint is about free upgrades? All developers, OS X or Windows, issue multiple releases, and usually there are bug fixes as part of them. Siri does seem to vary by person, it’s about 95% accurate for me now – I dictate all of my texts, for example,

  32. jrox16 - 9 years ago

    I’ve never sold an iPhone for less than $275. In effect, because the very first one was a gift, I’ve never had to pay out for a new iPhone, the sale of the previous one always covered the new one.

  33. unitedelectronicsgroup - 9 years ago

    Replacing a used unit is one option, as you mention and exemplify with relevant detail. But to repair an old model is a viable alternative, especially if one has an attachment to and familiarity with the device. Often, the repair of a device is far more economical than replacing it. There are, of course, pros and cons to every scenario.

    • Brian Victor - 9 years ago

      This is exactly what I did a few months back. My 2009 iMac’s power supply was overheating and causing the screen to blank out. Here is where Apple earns some of its money; I took my iMac into a local store and they diagnosed it for free. Then to replace the part they charged a small flat labor rate. Total cost was just a touch over $100 and no issues since. Now it will probably last another 4 years.

      • Brian Victor - 9 years ago

        By the way, the local Apple repair shop wanted to charge $80 just to diagnose the problem. Fixing it would have been much more.

  34. Anoop Menon - 9 years ago

    I have used multiple laptops Windows and linux based. The longest period is a macbookpro now for past 4years. I cannot move to anything else as many of them fails either with plastic or slows down once you add more software etc. But Mac has really held up with no issues. Only change is I had to change HDD once after 3 years which is understandable. Quality is very high. I am a big fan of all their products and use also except iPhone. Always I prefer a droid or blackberry [use a bold9000 for years earlier]

    • Albert Davis - 8 years ago

      “I cannot move to anything else as many of them fails either with plastic or slows down once you add more software etc.”

      What a absolute ridiculous statement. Slow down when you add more software? Wow…

  35. Dave Huntley - 9 years ago

    I try to explain the TCO of the product to people but they simply don’t get it – you can show them early iPhones going for large sums (look at prices of 4’s and 4s’s) and Macbook Pros and the resale values are very high. I think Apple should push itmore in their advertising, but after several years trying to explain this to people it goes nowhere – people see electronics as dispoable, and within a limited time.

  36. Saku Salo (@finarctic) - 9 years ago

    My Mac history started way back in the early nineties when I bought a Mac SE. After that always when I bought a new Mac, the old one got a new life with one of my relatives.

    For a short period of time my last Mac was G3/266. I wrote my masters thesis and dissertation on that machine and then started to work with a local TelCo company. So it was a company PCs and Unix / Linux time for almost a decade.

    The G3/266 Mac + some customized 4D DB applications had a 12+ years second life in my mom & pop’s small business. It really had no problems running inventory, billing, email, and other semi-demanding tasks their business had.

    Just once I had to order a new CMOS battery to keep the time & date and other settings stored properly. All other stuff inside the Mac plus all the peripherals were decade old with one another exception.

    My donated LaserWriter 12/640 PS failed them after 10+ years of service. And that was only because I could not get a replacement drum / color units from local stores anymore. The actual printer was still working – slow compared to modern printers – but still working.

    I have now been running my own small business little over a decade. The first three years were PC only and after that a mix of PCs and Macs. Some industrial stuff just does not run on Mac very well, so it’s dedicated PCs for those apps.

    Still, after the year three I got so fed up with PC problems that I bought a MacPro for myself. It is still my primary computer at work with only some minor upgrades (2 x SSD). Some other staff members have picked up Macs as their computers of choice as well .

    So far I have bought 5 Macs for my business and every one of them is still in use. I have also bought 9 PCs and only one of them is still in use. So, to me the Apple Tax is quite small and I am quite willing to pay that. That stuff is quite useful for a very long time, especially if you don’t need cutting edge performance.

  37. scumbolt2014 - 9 years ago

    There is no Apple tax. My father-in-law was getting a new laptop for his wife. He said he didn’t want to get a Mac because they are too expensive. She only needs it for email, web and Facebook anyway. No big deal too me, it’s their money and not my place to tell them how to spend it. However, this prompted me to see what a PC laptop would cost if it had the same specs as a Macbook Pro. MPB in question is the 15″ with 2gb video ram, 16gb ram, 512gb ssd. Regular retail is around $2700 and it can be found occasionally as a refurb for $2200. The closest comparable PC laptop I could find on BestBuy’s website was $4500 and it only had a 128gb ssd (16gb of ram, didn’t dig deeper on the other specs). So when this is the reality, just what is the Apple tax? Getting a computer that lasts 5+ years that isn’t a piece of shit seems like a fantastic deal to me.

    I work on a new PC with Windows 8 at my job. Photoshop gets buggy and has to be restarted a couple times a day (layers that are on top that should be visible aren’t, never happened once on my personal Mac) and Internet Explorer runs like it’s 1997. You get what you (don’t) pay for in my opinion.

    • Ben Anderson - 9 years ago

      I think the $2700 vs $4500 is a bit of “artistic license” on your part XP
      But yes I have seen many windows laptops sell for the same or more than the equivalent MacBook Pro.

      People think Apple products are expensive because they don’t sell anything cheap. Dell sell frighteningly expensive products, but people think Dell are cheap because they have a range of cheap equipment. It’d be the same for Apple if they had a $500 MacBook in the range.

      I hope Apple never does that, though. Racing to the bottom would only damage them.

  38. Ben Anderson - 9 years ago

    Oh this is very true, both in the fact that a true equivalent is not that much cheaper (or sometimes more expensive!) and the resale value of such a prestigious badge as Apple’s is nuts.

    My last MacBook Pro was the very first 15″ with Thunderbolt (early 2011). I recently sold it – it was a £1300 machine (student discount) with around £200 worth of aftermarket upgrades: RAM and SSD. I got £800 easy for the thing, more than half its original price! That money went straight to the 2nd Gen MBPr so I only had to put £900 on my credit card! How nuts is that!?

    My Hex Core 2012 MacPro tower, I suspect, will fetch a pretty lofty amount when I finally come to sell it in several years time.

  39. ricardogomez297167426 - 9 years ago

    I had this conversation with some colleagues a while back. I’ve been a Mac user for only the last 2.5 years. But have been a PC user for over 20 years.

    My PC-user colleagues also complained about the Apple ‘tax’. But they didn’t see the whole picture. On a purely technology level, Apple usually puts in premium processors into their computers. You’re lucky to see a quad-core PC, much less PC laptop, have one of these installed. Then you talk about the aluminum case materials. Drop a Macbook and you might get a ding. Drop a PC laptop and hope it doesn’t shatter into a million pieces. And lets not forget the amazing screen. How many laptop makers have a Retina quality screen? Then my colleagues also saw the ‘tax’ shrink as well.

    I bought my Mac mini mostly because of the Mac OS. Windows 8 really terrified me. Mind you, I’ve been a technical support specialist for most of my life. Windows 8 really seemed like junk to me. I know most of the people I support are going to hate it. So I took a chance. And completely happy I did.

    Not only has the Mac OS UI withstood the test of time, but the hardware JUST LASTS. I was talking to another colleague recently and she was telling me how her partner uses a 2009 MBP in the living room while she uses the home-office. I mean, 2009!

    I want to upgrade my Mac mini simply for processing power. I have the least expensive 2011 version. Even though I’ve installed 16GB and a 256GB SSD into it, exporting images from Lightroom takes too long. However it runs Photoshop and Lightroom just fine. Speed is completely reasonable. Just don’t play a movie while those apps are open!

    For now, I’m saving to purchase the best Macbook Pro I can afford. It’s going to be expensive for sure. But I know I’ll be using it 5 years from now and be completely useable. How many PCs can you say that about?

  40. aaronkrahn - 9 years ago

    Reblogged this on Aaron Krahn and commented:
    This is why I switched 3 years ago and haven’t looked back!

  41. Ryan (@rman0726) - 9 years ago

    People also tend to ignore the outstanding warranty that Apple provides. When I dropped my 1 month old iPad Mini with Retina, I was pissed. I was a little better after being told that the hairline fracture that resulted shouldn’t have happened and was a defect with the screen. Good luck doing that with any Android or Windows device. I already made my “Apple tax” back. I surely would have paid another $200+ for a Nexus 7 replacement not even bothering to call up Google and have them blame Asus and vice versa.

    And there are many, many stories about how Apple will go above and beyond in terms of customer service. I could give a decent sized list on just myself and my family. Most of the problems not really being Apple’s fault.

    • Ben Anderson - 9 years ago

      I’ve got a good story for ya then.
      I had a 2008 MacBook Aluminium Unibody (before the 13″ was renamed the MacBook Pro). I noticed the DVD Drive firmware was out of date when I tried to play a DVD on it in 2010 (it was second hand, BTW). So I downloaded the correct SuperDrive software and installed it. Next thing I knew I had a bricked DVD Drive.

      I took it to an Apple store expecting to pay through the nose, especially since I was the second owner. NOPE. They just took it off me, fixed it whilst I got a cup of tea at Starbucks and came back to a fully working laptop. Not a single penny spent and a 3 month warranty on the DVD Drive.

  42. Kevin A (@kevinsky) - 9 years ago

    My first Mac, a 2002 PowerMac G4 Quicksilver, was my main computer for 7 years. Right now it’s only being used as a pedestal to display the PowerMac manuals and keyboard though… I should get that sucker on ebay.
    2008 MacBook Pro was good for me for 4.5 years, it was still a fully functional laptop when I sold it for 400 dollars last winter.
    2008 Mac Pro was still a powerhouse in 2012 when I was forced to upgrade due to software requirements. Just can’t run a production company with an aging Mac pro. Still haven’t sold it though.

  43. Len Williams - 9 years ago

    This “Apple Tax” is simply a derogatory slur only meant to insult and demean, and has no basis in fact. If you buy a BMW are you paying a “BMW Tax”? Of course not. You’re simply buying a BMW because you like its styling, engineering and handling over some other brand–and you have the money to afford it. If all cars were the same, then any old vehicle would do.

    The idea that an iPhone is just the same as any other phone or a Mac is just like any other Windows computer is where the problem arises. I’ve been using Macs since 1989. I’m also very fluent in Windows systems, but I’d NEVER buy Windows for my business or home use. I don’t find it anywhere close to the fit, finish and attention to detail of any of Apple’s products. The “Apple Tax” is a fiction made up by some author who seems to have the idea that a computer, is a computer, is a computer, and that no differentiation on how it’s built, functions or how long it will last has anything to do with buying choices. Essentially, anyone who talks about an “Apple Tax” is either parroting or has zero ability to differentiate.

    I buy Apple products because I like the way they function, the operating systems (Mac OS and iOS) and because they LAST. Well made products in any category tend to cost more. Is this news? The “Apple Tax” is just one of many slurs that have been leveled at Apple over the years by Apple-haters and is a term that should simply be ignored, sort of like someone with glasses being called “four-eyes”.

  44. Oscar McBride - 9 years ago

    Bought an HP DV7 with very strong specs from ebay a couple of weeks ago. An equivalent Apple product would have cost at least twice as much. That isn’t an Apple tax, that’s Apple extortion. It’s obvious brand inflation. Furthermore, Apple-philes have far less choice than PC users. Both in terms of hardware, software, and upgrades for both. My observation as a support professional is that most users of Apple kit don’t tend to expect much out of their gear. It runs mostly vanilla. I see a lot of PC users crater their gear because they’ve done something creative with it that isn’t good for it. Obviously the end result is a bad thing, but the fact that creative things can be done with PC hardware and software by end users is probably a sign of the freedom of a more relatively open platform. I have and support Macs and PC’s. Mac products have many excellent attributes, but choice and cost of ownership are not among them.

    • Ben Lovejoy - 9 years ago

      It’s not a bad machine, but I don’t think you can seriously compare it with a MBP. Low-res screen and partially plastic.

  45. I just sold my iPhone 5 for 360 and bought a nexus 5. And the same with my iPad and used the money to buy a nexus 7. I don’t really use my macbook pro anymore but have a hackintosh.

    I simply got tired of using the same old iOS ui. This does everything basically the same plus Swype (mmmmm) and I “upgraded” and still had money left over.

    The premium was worth it when they were innovating but they have simply been evolving the past few years.

  46. theflashisanascarfan - 9 years ago

    Well, I’m still proudly using my iPhone 4 as my daily smartphone (my wife is enjoying a 5 currently, as I look forward to this year’s presumed 6 model). After the terrific iOS 7.1 update, it still feels like new, as a fine example of Apple’s commitment to ensuring that their products maintain usefulness far longer than the industry average. In fact, we just synced our old iphone 3G with all of our iTunes music so we can use it to listen and also as an alternate wi-fi connection. Our 6-month old son loves holding onto it while the music is playing. It is very surreal seeing that it was my first smartphone so many years ago, and now my son is “using” it. The wonderful cycle of Apple life.

  47. Jasper Yeung - 9 years ago

    last year i just bought my first mac, it a macbook pro, and i expect ill use 4 more years!! it get no sign of laggy performance even if i play some high resolution game . And , there is my iPhone 5. I’m thinking that i will remain satisfy with it until the launch of iPhone 6s.

  48. Weiwen Ng - 9 years ago

    I had a first-generation Macbook Pro that lasted 4 years. We now have one mid 2010 Macbook and one mid 2010 Macbook Pro that have lasted 4 years as well. I fancy that the newer Mac models have got more reliable – I had a number of display problems with the older MBP, plus some logic board problems with an older iMac. While I hanker for a Macbook Air, our current laptops are good for at least another year.

    However, I do not have similar experience with PC equipment. What are upgrade cycles like for PC laptops that are priced to similar Macbooks?

  49. A Tool Box For Dad - 9 years ago

    For me.. It all started with an iPod… Now I own practically the whole line up… iPhones, iPads, macbook, iMac and apple TVs… Their stuff just works… And apple stands behind their products too! IF something would go wrong with it… And not your fault… The replace it or repair it… I love apple!

  50. ggoocchh - 9 years ago

    This is exactly how I feel. I bought a 15″ 2008 MacBook Pro brand new just after college. It was one of the first models to sport the new Intel chips. Because of this timely purchase, I have upgraded the operating system all the way to Mavericks. Every operating system has been great on it. Mavericks is a bit much for it to handle, it runs slower than before – but it’s also a 5 year old computer. But it’s not unbearable, or dead. It got me through a post college gap year or two, a masters degree that was graphics intense, and a law degree. And I woke up everyday happy to see that silver beauty ready to perform. It’s 2014 and it still runs well, but I’ve finally started to think, maybe, it’s time to replace.
    Contrast this with my sister who buys cheap sony laptops and my father-in-law who buys cheap Acer laptops. Each of them are on the second or third computer in this same time frame. I will happily pay more for longetivity and performance over “disposable” PCs.

  51. Andy Cook - 9 years ago

    I’ve been witness to both sides of this story.
    My sister got an hp laptop back in 2007, and within a year had to replace the battery, then in another year the whole machine was just non-functional.
    In February 2008 I bought my first 13″ MacBook, used it until December 2011when I upgraded to a 27″ iMac, and gave the MacBook to my brother, who still uses it with no issues even today.

  52. Christopher Cuevas - 9 years ago

    Excellent article, I couldn’t agree more. Bought my first MacBook refurb end from apple for $1149 ( Late 2011 13″ Pro i7 & 750gb) used it for over a year while putting in an SSD and 16gb of ram ($150 in upgrades). I sold it for $1200 over a year after purchase meaning it only cost me $100 to use it that whole time. Add that $1200 to the $500 my new job gave me to buy a laptop to use for work and I was able to buy the entry level 15″ retina MacBook Pro from the apple refurb store for $1599 and almost cover the tax. Nothing holds it’s value like an apple product.

  53. Steven Langer - 9 years ago

    Love my apple products. Started out with an iPad, then a iPhone, iMac, and now also a new Macbook Pro. And lets not forget the new AppleTv. I love how all the devices work together and their integration with social and news media. It was a learning curve to start with but glade I made the change from PC.

  54. A sensible article. I’d been using an iPhone 4 for quite some time (3 years, probably), and sold it for a good price when I upgraded to the 5. I have a nearly 4 year old MacBook Pro now, which is still as good as new, and is fluid and slick, unlike a Windows Laptop I had earlier (not undermining the potential of my Windows laptop, but then it just got slower as time went by).

    While we do pay Apple tax initially, I believe it pays back in the long run.

  55. Ryan Karolak - 9 years ago

    While I agree with the general idea that Apple devices hold their value longer, you are comparing entry level PCs with a $1000 Apple laptop and a cheap Android phone with an iPhone. Better comparisons would be something like a $800 ultrabook and a flagship Android phone. Your point still stands, but to a lesser degree, and is probably a more realistic comparison of equivalent specs and build quality.

    • Ben Lovejoy - 9 years ago

      I agree, and that’s the point I make in the opening: that if you compare like-with-like, there is very little Apple tax

      • JLWord - 9 years ago

        Hi Ben:
        I think the perception comes in because though the article opens with that statement regarding comparing like with like the meat of the article seems to focus on the superiority in quality of Apple products, and the evidence used to support those claims is taking a high end Apple product with premiere specs(Apples product consist solely of these types of products -they position themselves as a luxury brand) and comparing them intentionally to low end Windows devices(Windows OEMs produce BOTH high end and low end devices). It just seems that if the point of the article were to accurately define and place the “Apple Tax” in perspective and proper context in relation to Windows devices to which they are compared, and the price difference between the devices being the source of the “Apple Tax” label, that a like to like comparison would be utilized to communicate the the physical differences, specs between like devices and the difference then in the prices between those devices. And then discussing the “Apple Tax” and why or why it is real or relevant or acceptable based on that accurate comparison. But to intentionally choose a high end Apple device(apple devices are “luxury” devices) and compare it to the bargain basement priced devices of the competition(when there are actually comparable high end, high specced, devices available to be compared) that are lower speced, comprised of appropriately less expensive materials because they are positioned as low end and then to highlight the spec disparity, and quality disparity of the devices for the readers and promote that as a plausible reason to accept the cost of the Apple device, and evidence of the much higher quality and value of the Apple device just doesn’t seem entirely like an honest presentation of the data. As you state and when you compare like to like the Apple tax virtually disappears, so why continue a presentation of data where Luxury is compared to Low End, as if the Low End Windows Products to which the Apple products are being compared is representative of the entire Windows based PC product line. If I were comparing American high restaurants, to disparage McDonalds service and food quality would be unfair if I am comparing it to Carmen Anthony’s. Of course the service and food at Carmen Anthony’s will be FAR superior to what I will get from McDonalds! To write an article about the superior service, food, and ambiance of Carmen Anthony’s over McDonald’s and submit it to readers, without comparing Carmen Anthony’s to a high end restaurant and though I provide an initial caveat the remained of my presentation leaves some readers with the impression that McDonald’s represents the quality of all restaurants that are not Carmen Anthony’s, because I fail to include a comparison, even one high end restaurant(ultrabook) seems incomplete, and biased. I think to put the “Apple Tax” topic in perspective the quality, value, specs and durability of a high end Windows device should have been compared to the Apple devices to leave readers with a clear picture of how the value of a high end up Windows Device compares to the Apple device

      • Ben Lovejoy - 9 years ago

        The point of the piece is, when people talk about the ‘Apple tax,’ they are doing what I refer to: comparing low-end kit to Apple kit. That’s what I’m debunking.

  56. We still have an original iPad 64gb that looks brand new except for a bump on the side. It it still useful but is starting to drag. It also does not have the capability to upgrade to iOS7, so that is the biggest downfall. We love our MacBooks and we just added the third one to our family. My daughter got my Mid 2010 MacBook Pro and my husband no longer has to share his Mid 2011 MacBook Pro. I upgraded to an Apple Refurbished 2013 MacBook Pro with flash storage. This thing is fast and so much lighter. I love Apple Genius’ and Apple Care. Apple Care is worth every cent. We are an Apple family and nothing compares to the stability of the Macs and iPhones. Plus, if we do ever have a problem we see a Genius for help via phone or in the store.

  57. Ben Lovejoy - 9 years ago

    I ran out of time to reply to all the comments, but I have read them all and appreciate everyone posting their examples and offering personal perspectives. It’s one of the reasons I love writing for 9to5Mac – so many of you take the time to engage in discussion about opinion pieces.

  58. Bill Shamblin (@bshammy) - 9 years ago

    Been using Macs since the 90’s. Bought a 11 in. Mac Air a few years back – In the first couple of weeks I dropped it. Queue to sick feeling in stomach. But when I picked it up the only damage I could find was a flat dent in the casing.

    At first, I was kind of upset – I had put a dent in my pristine Air. Then I thought about it. A dent? Every other laptop I’ve had in the past would have exploded.

    I’m amazed, we’ve come to a point in time when you an put a dent in a laptop.

    I love that goddamn dent.

  59. Melvin Wijenayaka - 9 years ago

    I have experienced this as I frequently upgrade, Android phones and PCs depreciate much quicker until they very quickly reach a very low residual value, where as with Apple products I always manage to command a fairly good price when it comes to replacement, this even applies towards the end of the lifecycle of around 3 years.

    This very much mirrors, cars, where you find that premium makes of car such as BMW or Mercedes for example also maintain much better resale value compared to more everyday models such as Ford for example.

  60. lin2logger - 9 years ago

    Too bad you didn’t take peripheral, value added components into account. In which case the price skew is even that much BETTER for the Mac.

    Because we know now that pretty much EVERY app we buy from Apple off the app store (assuming it even costs anything!) will be absolutely FREE in the future. Be it the OS (what is that by itself? A rough average *$200* cost per year on the Windows side being saved on the Mac??!), the office apps (even if they’re not a 100% replacement for MS office, but more than I and IMHO most people need either way), or even PRO apps! Final Cut Pro cost $299 *THREE YEARS AGO* and nothing since, nor will it ever again.

    Something only Apple can do and something that adds up QUICK as a clear overall disadvantage for “the other side”, but is gladly ignored.

    • Albert Davis - 8 years ago

      Since a new Windows OS doesn’t come out every year, that’s your first mistake. Every App I get on my Android has been free and will be free in the future.

      The rest of your drivel, meh.

  61. Randy Jantz - 9 years ago

    I have had every iPhone since the 2nd generation and each and every year I sell my iPhone for just slightly more than I paid for it. You can’t hardly go wrong with that. Love my Apple products and the integration they bring. My MBPR will be around for many many years and it is happily running OSX, Windows 7, and Windows 8…all at the same time. Do that on a Windows box!

  62. Mads Y (@baekalfen) - 9 years ago

    This all sounds very familiar. Bought a MacBook Pro 13″ in 2010 for 9,000DKK, sold it last month for 5,000DKK (although i spent 350DKK on 8GB RAM).

  63. Martin Israelsen - 9 years ago

    .good article – I would also point out that when you purchase a Mac, you don’t need to buy and install other software packages such as norton antivirus or mcafee – they will add $70 or so to the purchase price every year

  64. John Martin - 9 years ago

    I have a 2007 20″ iMac upgraded 2 to 6 GB of ram. It still runs Mavericks perfectly. I even run a few older(2004-2009) games on it.

  65. Peter INova - 9 years ago

    Thanks for formalizing what I’ve been telling people for years. You can think of a computer as a consumable supply, like printer paper, if it is a PC.
    But if it is a Mac, you figure its value as a rental price over its life in your hands on a yearly basis.

  66. Anthony Dodd - 9 years ago

    Greetings Ben. I worked in an Apple Store back in the early days… when there were like 6 stores in the United States. Every day I had to explain the ‘Apple Tax’ to new buyers. Much to the dismay of management I helped coin that phrase, because it’s undeniably there. Back in those days Apple would skinch every last nickel because they weren’t sure if they were going to be in business.

    However, once I explained to customers the trick you explain above, they couldn’t believe it. PCs die in the bottom of closets by those sneaker you just can’t throw out yet. Macs? Unload on eBay at the tail end of your AppleCare. And try to buy your new Macs during Black Friday sales. With AppleCare I rent all my two Macs for about $169 a year (each) after the initial investment.

    Yes, I know PC types moan at that, but I never have to upgrade a thing on my ‘PC’. Ever. The way I upgrade is selling the unit three years later and getting an across the board upgrade. Plus I’m never outside of warranty for anything that needs to be fixed. Plus Amazon sells AppleCare cheaper than most.

    All said and done, though, I’m looking forward to iOS Book and iOS Desktop ‘Macs’. Based upon Chromebooks and items like the HP Slate21, and taking foreign markets into consideration, and taking taking in low domestic wages, and taking in the success of iOS, and taking into account the desktop class A7s and A8s of this world — Apple’s future is in offering a second line of ‘cheap’ iOS computing products.


    • katiebeetle21 - 9 years ago

      Hi guys quick question, I’m looking at buying a second hand mac , 2010 13 inch MacBook Air with cosmetic damage to the edges , can anyone tell me what I should be paying for it roughly ?

  67. Carlos G. A. K. (@CG_AK) - 7 years ago

    My first macbook is from 2007 and it is quite fast if you dont open various programmes at once, my current macbook pro early 2011 isnt slower than current machines thanks to an minor upgrade to ssd. Even battery life is still very good with about 3-5 hours depending on usage. I use an iphone 6 128 gb that i currently almost sold for 680 euros. When i bought it the iphone 5 16 gb sold for 380. My iphone 1 still works perfectly if you dont need an app store. 4 to 5 days of battery life. And the screen is the only one that is perfectly readable in sunlight. I never had problems selling my devices. Usually i have 2-5 buyers the day I post it onto the internet. Thanks to the major price increase in europe selling prices are stable.


Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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