The Downside of Buying a Mac

2007 has been a Mac-ilicious year, perhaps the most significant year in the Mac World since 1984.

Aside from a few complaints about Leopard (which are quickly being addressed with a few updates), the Mac has been on a huge roll to the point where Macs are now a mainstream product as opposed to a niche product supported by an avid – and rabid – minority.

But the Mac is far from being perfect, and I’m not talking about Leopard’s issues. One of the things that will surely disappoint many new Mac users is the cost of buying replacement parts or peripherals. Unlike Windows, there isn’t an army of third-party suppliers making inexpensive products that are compatible with a Mac.

David Winer, who should really know better, discovered this first-hand when his MacBook hard drive blew up. Not only did he have to pay a premium to get a new one but he’s not even sure if the new one is really an old hard drive refurbished by Apple.

Another example is Apple’s MagSafe power connector, which are terrific because they’re held in place magnetically so if someone trips on the chord, it comes out easily rather than crashing your laptop to the floor.

Unfortunately, Apple is the only supplier offering MagSafe connectors so if your power supply stops working, you’ve got no options other than buying from Apple – believe me, I spent a lot of time looking in the hope there’s a giant plant in China pumping out cheap MagSafe knockoffs.

Maybe the Mac users will see lower parts prices as Macs become even more popular, and/or Apple loosens its grip on the product ecosystem. In the meantime, get really to pay a premium for the privilege of using the world’s hottest computer.

More: Robert Scoble said Apple has its fault but does lot of other things (e.g. makes wonderful products, operates stores with real customer service, etc.). Scoble also mentions a growing number of anti-Apple rants (such as Winer’s) but I think this has much to do with higher expectations on Apple – something I wrote about last month.

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