The term “Apple tax” was coined long ago as an attempt to explain why Apple products seem to cost more than the competition. Ask anyone to explain what the Apple tax is, and you will inevitably hear that the “Apple tax” means you’re paying extra just for the Apple brand.
Here are a few things that are not being taken into account when people think of Apple tax:
OS: Windows 7 $120-$220 vs. OS X $20-30*
Office: MS Office Home & Student $149 vs. iWork $71
Included with the system
— Native .iso mounting. Create .iso images with Disk Utility.
— print to PDF.
Included with iLife:
— Photo editing with iPhoto (even RAW). No, it’s not like MS Paint.
— Music creation & editing with Garage Band.
— Free automatic system backup for iOS devices.
— Free synchronization for other apps. In iCloud-enabled games, I’m in the same place on my iPad as I am on my iPhone. Some Mac apps like the DayOne journal even sync via iCloud.
You can’t talk about the Apple tax without talking about user experience. A quick word on user experience: there’s a lot more to it than just aesthetics. Aesthetics is how it looks. User experience is how it works with the user. Good user experience means you have an efficient workflow.
Easy = Saves time = Saves money.
So the main difference is that while Apple charges you up front, Microsoft rakes in the money with surcharges.
*It’s difficult to compare the OS costs because Apple only sells upgrades. So it’s basically $30/year to upgrade. If you need to upgrade a decade-old Mac through all 8 versions of OS X, it would add up to be about as much as Windows 7 Ultimate.
What triggered this age-old topic? Harry Marks’s article on the Apple tax.