Build It Ugly

Anecdotal evidence suggests that the perception that Macintosh computers are more expensive than comparably equipped computers from other manufacturers persists to this day, despite the fact that this has not been true for several years now. Steven Frank recently wrote:

"Despite recent dramatic price drops across Apple's line, I still hear from beloved but uninformed relatives that Macs are "too expensive". It's a stigma that they seem unable to shake, even with raw numbers in your face demonstrating that the Mac is equal to or cheaper than a similarly equipped Dell."

Most Mac users — and non-Mac users in the know — can tell you that Macs, for what they offer, are very reasonably priced. Yet the stigma remains.

I believe the reason for this is that Macs just look damn nice. People take one look at a Mac and just instantly assume that it must be expensive, because no computer — hell, no product — could look that good and cost the same as something less beautiful.

If Apple is ever going to shake the perception that their computers cost more, they're going to have to build them uglier. Actually, I think they should come out with a whole new budget product line. Encase everything in cheap, shiny, silver plastic — you know, that chromed shit that just looks and feels awful and flimsy. This should cover 90% of the machine. Some flashy lights and extra, useless buttons would be a good touch too. Latches and ports should also feel cheap and sport gaudy colors. Display hinges on portables should be stiff and unyielding. Maybe the Mac OS X interface should uglied-up a bit too. The display itself should, of course, be ultra-glossy.

Call it the UglyMac.

The UglyMac (Mock-Up): Same Price as a Pretty Mac, but Uglier
(click image for larger view)

Of course, the price points for this budget line would be pretty much the same, because Macs are already sold at an average market cost. But the perception that they cost more would almost certainly dissolve. Finally.

There you go. Problem solved.