While most analysts yesterday seemed critical of Apple's latest product refresh, Oppenheimer analyst Yair Reiner did a spec-by-spec comparison of the new Apple iMac with offerings from both Dell and HP and found that found the new iMacs to be "a better value than competing Windows-based products." Well, do they?
Here's what Reiner had to say:
A side-by-side comparison suggests the new iMacs match up favorably against Dell and HP’s All-in-One’s on a price-to-performance basis. For example, the $1,499 model has a faster CPU and RAM with better or comparable graphics, and is still $100-$250 cheaper (though it lacks a TV Tuner, ~$60-$100 upgrade).
Check out the Feb 09 Apple refresh image gallery
Reiner offers a chart to back up his conclusions:
At first blush is looks like Reiner has a point ... but ...
If Apple had done this a year or so ago, it might have been big newsFirst off, the chart is a little biased (accidentally I assume) in favor of Apple. For example, when comparing the 2.65GHz dual-core CPU in the iMac to the 2.33GHz quad-core CPU in the Dell, Reiner puts this down as a win for Apple. Hmmm ... sure the clock speed of the Apple piece is higher, but there are fewer cores. I could equally debate the 6MB of CPU cache verses 4MB ... if feels a bit like Reiner is clutching at straws a bit to bring validity to his chart.
Other examples of oddities in the chart include the inclusion of iLife to the chart, not giving Dell a win for the 2.0 megapixel webcam, and the odd inclusion of the weight of the base case to the list ... not sure what that means to anyone.
Let's not forget that as things stand right now the tech economy is being driven along by notebooks and netbooks, not +$1,500 desktop all-in-one systems. Apple's own Q1 '09 financial results conference call told us that of the 2,524,000 Macs sold in that period, 728,000 were desktops and 1.796 million were notebooks. Put another way desktop shipments fell 25% compared to Q1 '08 while notebooks surged 34% compared to the same period. A price/value war is going to be fought at this lower end.
If Apple had done this a year or so ago, it might have been big news, but doing it now, in a market where desktops are tanking I really don't think it's that much of a big deal. You've also got to factor into the equation the fact that Apple will be stuck with this lineup at this exact price for a few months, while the big OEMs will be regularly refreshing lines and tweaking prices.