Dell's new laptop "thinnest on the planet," except for Apple, that is

Dell's new laptop "thinnest on the planet," except for Apple, that is

Summary: Dell claims its XPS-15z laptop is the thinnest 15-inch laptop on the planet. Except for the Apple MacBook Pro, which Dell specifically excluded from their comparison. Sour grapes, or bad marketing?


The Apple blogosphere is abuzz with news about Dell's new XPS-15z laptop, which it bills as 'the thinnest 15" PC on the planet.' Except it isn't. Dell specifically excluded Apple from its comparison list, and Apple's 15-inch MacBook Pro is, in fact, thinner.

Dell says its claim is based on an "internal analysis" done in February, pitting the XPS-15z against laptops manufactured by HP, Acer, Toshiba, Asus, Lenovo, Samsong, Sony and MSI.

"No comparison made with Apple or other manufacturers not listed," disclaimed Dell.

That's a pretty big exception. And it turns out, Apple's laptop is thinner than Dell's, according to CNet and Engadget reviews. Why Dell excluded the MacBook Pro is anyone's guess. It's just as much of a PC as any of the others on Dell's list. After all, it can run Windows, Linux and other operating systems too.

The news has been picked up by Apple blogs around the world, especially after noted Apple champion John Gruber pointed a link to an article that ran in the Guardian, penned by Charles Arthur.

Of course, there's plenty of gnashing of teeth from Apple users who consider Dell's omission to be a personal slight against Apple.

It's the latest salvo in a battle that's been ongoing between Apple enthusiasts and the Round Rock, Texas-based computer maker since 1997. Back then, Dell's founder and namesake, Michael Dell, told a throng at the Gartner Symposium in Orlando, Florida that he if he were in charge of Apple, "I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders."

It was a shocking, bold statement. And one that raised the ire of untold masses of Apple users. How dare Michael Dell slight Apple! What audacity! What did he know, anyway?

Ever since then, Michael Dell has been persona non grata to Apple users.

In fairness to Dell, times were tough for Apple back then. Steve Jobs had just returned after his company, NeXT, had been acquired by Apple. NeXT would ultimately fuel Apple's transition from "Classic" Mac OS to Mac OS X. But at the time, Apple's future was very much in doubt.

Since then, of course, Apple has had one of the great corporate rebound successes of the modern age. Its stock value has risen almost inconceivably higher than it was in 1997, and the company has ridden the success of brilliant marketing and product development campaigns, both with its Mac computers and consumer electronics devices like the iPod, iPhone and iPad.

Dell's market cap is one tenth Apple's. In fact, Apple could almost buy Dell just with its cash on hand. Then maybe shut it down and give the money back to Dell's shareholders. So clearly, ignoring Apple has worked out very well for the company since 1997.

It's ironic that Dell's marketing so specifically excludes Apple. Because judging from the early reviews of the XPS-15z, Dell borrowed styling and engineering cues from the MacBook Pro. So apparently not everyone at Dell has their head buried in the sand.

Topics: Apple, Dell, Enterprise Software, Hardware, Laptops, Mobility, Operating Systems, Software

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • RE: Dell's new laptop

    Well Apple isnt running windows so who cares?

    Im getting one as soon as its available in my area :)

    Great specs and battery life...
    • RE: Dell's new laptop

      @evolutionqy7 Why don't you go back and re-read the paragraph starting with "That?s a pretty big exception."

      - Peter
    • Last time I checked...

      ...Apple was fully capable of running Windows and Linux along with it's native OS X. That would be one more OS than that Dell will run (without significant hacks anyway). You should really know what you are talking about before you attempt to be clever.
      • RE: Dell's new laptop

        @tmhale13 I think evolutionqy7's point was that most Apple people wouldn't touch Windows with a 10 foot pole.
      • RE: Dell's new laptop

        And that too would still be an incorrect point, given how many of us use Windows at work and a Mac at home.

        As it stands, the original point that "Apple isnt running Windows" is all too easy for anyone who actually uses a Mac to debunk.
      • RE: Dell's new laptop

        To clarify Dell's comparison chart it goes to "stock" configurations. Last time I checked, Apple doesn't natively install Windows on their systems. Which is why Dell labels it the "Thinnest PC...PC...PC in the world" Remember the word PC in "native/stock" build standards. So in essance, yes Dell has created the "World's thinnest PC".
      • RE: Dell's new laptop

        You do understand what P.C. stands for? Personal Computer. Now if you were to say Windows PC, then you?d have a point. The last time I checked a Mac is indeed a Personal Computer. It?s not an IBM PC, or a Windows PC, but it is still a Personal Computer.
      • RE: Dell's new laptop

        - Remember the "I'm a PC . . . I'm a Mac" ads? Need more be said? Apple is more than capable of mincing words at least this finely, so good for Dell (who've already added a qualifier anyway). Actually, is there a story here somewhere? What is it with all this i-defensiveness?
    • RE: Dell's new laptop

      @evolutionqy7 Engadget's review shows otherwise. The Thinkpad gets 7 hours.
  • RE: Dell's new laptop

    I'd be inclined to agree with you that Apple was a PC before those "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC" commercials. If Apple themselves don't consider their computers a PC, I don't know why we should.
    • Apples are PC's just like a Dell is a PC

      it's a personal computer. Apple just wants to call it something else so that people won't see it for what it really is:

      Just another PC.
      John Zern
      • Actually I think it became common knowledge

        @John Zern
        or excepted knowledge that PC's were Windows based and Mac's were not before even OSX came along. So most everyone assumed that a PC was a Windows based system. I would and have always argued that that assumption was STUPID because PC meant Personal Computer and one could not get more personal that a Mac and it's wonderful OS:P However I was often shouted down by the wisdom of the "collective" So when Apple made those commercials it took the joke and ran with it. Good for them....

        Pagan jim
        James Quinn
      • RE: Dell's new laptop

        @John Zern

        "PC" came from the IBM PC, which was not an Apple. So we're left with the legacy term, which now seems to mean a Windows machine.

        What to we call a Linux machine?
      • funny...

        @John Zern Wintards are happy to exclude the Mac as a PC when it comes to a comparison with a Dell product but all too happy to include the Mac as a PC when it comes to a discussion on malware
  • RE: Dell's new laptop

    All of this over-analysis. Dell excluded Apple because including Apple would remove Dell's ability to claim the thinnest PC in the world.

    Simple is that. This says more about Dell's confidence in their technology than anything else. However, ultimately, the choice is simple. Apparently, if you want the thinnest PC in the world, get an Mac. If you want something close, get a Dell.

    Not a big deal.
    • Obviously

      @ dhmccoy

      It's just like Apple's claim that Macs are immune to 'PC viruses', which of course keeps them on safe legal ground, since Macs running Mac OS are immune to Windows malware (and vice versa for PCs running Windows and Mac malware).
  • Not Another Dull For Me

    I've got a six-year-old iBook G4 that has slogged through the harshest winters of Norway & Denmark, with some trips to Germany and Singapore thrown in, before it decided to resettle for good in California. It's still working well. Compare that to an underworked, less-travelled barely three-year-old Dull Perspiron which went through a blue screen of death and has been unused since. If the DULL HQ was nearby, I would gladly return this corpse of cheap plastic & metal to them for free. But they won't get any money again from me. Jamais! Nunca!
    • RE: Dell's new laptop


      If your Apple PC is so great, then why did you buy a Dell. I know - you needed Windows to do your job. Oh, your G4 is plastic as well and it's made in Asia. like Dell's laptops. Also, I upgraded to Lion and now my Mac has several issues - where is the blame OS X or the hardware.
  • RE: Dell's new laptop

    Dell advertising their laptop as ?the thinnest 15? PC on the planet.? is technically not inaccurate - according to mass amounts of people that separate Mac's to PC's...

    For many computer user's "PC" = Computer with Windows while "Mac" = OSX/Apple-branded computers.

    Apple themselves even advertised this with their "I'm a Mac" ads.
    • RE: Dell's new laptop

      You're playing with yourself again.