I know that I am late, but I could not hold back on this one. Roughly four years ago, my buddy Keith had become one of the most vociferous Apple fanboys. He attributed this odd behavior to his frustration of stuff simply not working on the Linux platform. Mostly he was tired of reading, hacking and discovering. I was very sad for him, as he began to sound like an old man ;) I publicly called him Judas when he decided to leave the Linux community and become an MVP.
Actually, I have mellowed much since then. I am better now. What is it about the Apple platform that makes people overspend and subject themselves to so much abuse?
Well I do understand the idea of lifestyle products. Steve Jobs has worked very hard closing down the architecture, so that you must love his art or else. FWIW, his art is quite eyecatching, albeit costly. A friend recently mentioned something about the uniqueness of the powercord on Macintosh computers. Actually, I had never given it much thought. I suppose the concept is quite trivial. The device attaches to a wall via a magnet. If someone accidently trips over the cord, it decouples from the cable without dumping your overpriced notebook on the floor.
Simple enough. Why don't you see this "innovation" on PC hardware? Well it's called economies of scale. Apple only deals with a handful of suppliers, while Dell probably has hundreds of suppliers. Apple is a hardware company, while Dell is a logistics company. Both do an excellent job of walking lockstep with the vendors that place their components inside of the case that ultimately becomes a desktop or notebook computer. Basically, Apple owns the entire computing experience, so it _ought_ to just work out of the box. In fact, the Mac is so closed that you even have to buy a set of golden wrenches just work on the hardware. Help me understand, I just spent thousands of dollars on some hardware, and you tell me I can't work on it? Ridiculous.
What annoys me most about people who try running Linux for the first time is that they expect the same experience. They exclaim "Linux isn't ready for the laptop or desktop !" I retort Unix/Linux is user friendly, it is just particular about who its friends are...
Basically, Linux is nothing than a powerful kernel with some excellent GNU tools. Now when you start talking about the plethora of distributions (Slackware, Debian, Gentoo, Fedora, etc...) then you get tons of software. Hence a workable computing experience. Linux is not a software or hardware company. There are no promises when you download or buy a shrinked wrapped copy of your chosen distro. The only constant is that you will likely learn something new, and most importantly you have the freedom to do as you wish. Some might argue that Linux does not have legal codecs.. In some cases that is true; however, I do not lose much sleep over it.
These problems will be sorted out eventually. Now, Mr. Elder makes some great points about the Apple history and the whole Power Computing (read: eating your young) blunder. I believe the broader issue is economies of scale. If Dell decided to add some of the unique and rather exotic hardware to its platform, the added costs would certainly be passed onto the consumer.
Personally, I look at a computer as a commodity that is critical for learning. Not some luxury item that my people should drool over or wish they could whip my ass and take it from me. That said if you're in the Apple camp, you will continue to get raped with over priced hardware.
But you knew that already :)