New Zealanders pay almost the same price as everyone else for Apple computers. That’s not the case with PCs. That changes the way some of us think about buying and choosing devices.
Writing at The Guardian, Jack Schofield tells a UK reader an Apple MacBook is an expensive choice for working from home.
It is. He says:
“The cheapest Windows 10 laptops cost around £130, which compares with £749 for the cheapest MacBook Air.”
Apple computer customers pay a premium. That’s universal. We know that.
Yet the size of the Apple premium over other brands depends on where you live. In New Zealand, the price gap between Apple and its rivals is lower.
Lenovo, HP less expensive
Schofield names the Lenovo Ideapad 100s and the HP Stream 11 as two of the least expensive Windows laptops in the UK.
When a Stream 11 or Ideapad 100s is £130 and a MacBook Air is £749, the British can buy almost six of the low-cost Windows laptops for the same price as one MacBook.
In New Zealand the ratio between Apple and low-cost Windows laptops is lower.
New Zealand PC prices
At NZ$1600, Apple’s cheapest MacBook Air still costs much more than a basic Windows laptop. You can buy an HP Stream 11 here for NZ$500 — the price is now higher than when I reviewed it. Shop around and you’ll find Lenovo Ideapad 100s prices start at NZ$450.
Which means a New Zealand buyer can get 3.2 low-cost HP Stream 11 laptops for the price of a MacBook Air. Or 3.5 Lenovo Ideapads.
In both cases the New Zealand ratio is more favourable to Apple than the UK example in The Guardian.
The Guardian story points out bargain basement Windows laptops are not a good idea for most people.
Schofield goes on to mention other, more suitable Windows laptops. Not all of them are on sale in New Zealand. Yet in every case where you can compare, New Zealanders pay a lower premium if they choose to buy a MacBook Air instead.
By the time you get to the upmarket Windows laptops Schofield mentions in his The Guardian story, some sell for more in New Zealand than the cost of a MacBook Air.
So while Apple Macs are expensive choices sold at a premium price in New Zealand, the premium we pay for Apple product is not as high here as it is overseas. 
This alters our perception. What we see as a bit more expensive is a lot more expensive in the UK.
There is an unpleasant side to this. In an ideal world we could write about computers without worrying about snob value. Human nature makes that impossible.
In the UK, someone paying five times as much for an Apple laptop gets to flaunt their wealth more than a New Zealander paying three times as much. This nonsense matters to some people.
And that’s where this leads us: perception and reality. New Zealand computer buyers see the Apple MacBook in a different light to UK buyers because, when it comes to PC prices, we live in a different reality.
- This hasn’t always been the case. In the past New Zealanders had to pay many times the US price for some Mac models. ↩