OS X family pack vs Vista/Office non-family friendly pack

I recently needed to get OS X for a project I wanted to work on, so I went pricing different versions to find the best deal.  We have a a G4 Powerbook, and a G4 tower in the house as well, so I was not opposed to buying more than 1 license so I could upgrade all the machines at once.  This article is the result of that pricing search and a reaction to how much it costs to update windows based machines in comparison to apple.  First I deal with the windows world.

So, let’s say you’ve got a decent PC, something in the Pentium 4 2.0+ Ghz range.  It came with XP, and now you’re ready to go to Vista.  You’ve also got Office 2003, and you’ve decided to upgrade that to 2007 and get down with the “ribbon“.  Let’s price out your upgrade.

  1. Windows Vista Home Premium with SP1 Upgrade – $115.99
  2. Microsoft Office Professional 2007 Upgrade – $269.49

For a grand total of $385.48 (if you get it at Amazon, with free shipping/no tax).  Wow.  Realistically, you’re not gaining much functionally for that price.  Sure, some people will have to have the upgrade (like me, I needed Ultimate 64 bit so I could run my 8 Gb of ram).  But for most users, this upgrade only gives them the new whiz-bang features that they probably won’t really “use”, and makes sure they are on a supported platform for patches (Xp is still supported, but Vista will likely get priority for all new vulnerabilities).  Let me emphasize again.  $385.48 for little to no real gains (sorry, I am forgetting gains in pain.  Vista has a new explorer paradigm, UAC, and enough new look and feel that common activities become cumbersome again.  Office isn’t quite as bad, but it is disorienting).  Oh, let’s not forget.  That is for 1 computer.  So if you have a network like I do, $385 per machine.  Between my wife and I, we commonly use 5 machines (she has 2 gaming machines, I have 2 workstations and a laptop).   In a household with 2 adults, and 2.5 kids, I’d guesstimate there would be between 2-5 computers, depending on the ages of the children and the parents’ level of tech savvy.  So, between $770.96 and $1927.40.  OUCH!  And that assumes upgrades to already existing products that were purchased some point in the past.  If one of the machines needs a new copy of office (not an upgrade), well, the prices can really skyrocket.

Now lets look at the Apple household.  We need between 2-5 copies of OS X, and iWork (could use open office, but lets assume we want to pay for it and get support). So, we want:

  1. OS X 10.5.6 Leopard (latest release)
  2. iWork ’09 (Pages ’09, Numbers ’09, and Keynote ’09).

Check this out: Mac Box Set Family Pack

I’ve been aware of the OS X family pack for some time, eyeing it every time I go near an apple display.  I only have 2 Macs in the house, but it’s still cheaper than buying 2 copies of OS X ($109.99 for single license and $141.99 for a 5 pack).  But this pack has got to take the cake.  Not only does it include OS X and iWork, it also comes with iLife (iPhoto ’09, iMovie ’09, GarageBand ’09, iWeb ’09, and iDVD).  For, drumroll please, a whopping $185.99.  Huh?  That’s not so great, right?  But wait, there’s more!  Did I mention that was 5 licenses for EACH?  Say what?  Thats right, All 3 products * 5 Licenses for each for only $185.99.

Did I mention yet that I was jealous?  I’ll admit to a bit of rage as well, however, I do like my Windows machines and am used to the Windows way of doing things.  And did I mention most computer games are still Windows only?  So, I think I will settle for jealous.

And yes, I know there are those of you out there that will be hating on the Apple platform initial entry price point.  You would probably argue that while the price above is cheap, you already paid some of that into the system when you first bought it.  You might be right.  But I’ve also seen plenty of the consumer level Apple machines come in a lot cheaper than I expected to ever see them at.  I know it doesn’t compare to a Dell for $420 with a flat panel monitor included, but was the machine really worth what you paid?  How long will it last?  It may be equivalent to the Apple machine for $1200, and then again, it may not.  It all depends on your viewpoint on it (rabid fan-boys and girls aside).

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