Are Macs more expensive than comparable PCs?

The Software

Today, most software you can buy for a computer is available in Mac-compatible and PC-compatible versions. So if you're planning to buy a computer, software availability isn't really a factor. What is a factor, however, is the software that comes standard on most Macs. Even base model Macs come loaded with great, high-quality programs -- iTunes, iMovie, iLife, Safari, iCalendar, Garage Band -- whereas a base model PC can either be pretty bare or overloaded with a bunch of programs you don't need or want [source: Finnie].

But you can't buy a Mac that's bare minimum like you can for a PC, because what comes standard on a Mac is essentially non-negotiable. In other words, you can't pick and choose the software your Mac comes with. There's no lowering the price by saying, for instance, "I don't want Garage Band." And with premium software by default, it's easy to see why the base model Mac sports a higher price tag than a basic PC.

PC software, however, is totally customizable and you can pick and choose what you want in order to get to a price you're happy with. But adding and expanding software can be expensive, too. If you add the same high-quality software and multimedia tools to a base-model PC that comes standard on a Mac, the cost of that PC would jump [source: Hesseldahl]. Plus, you'll need to invest in good antivirus software if you purchase a PC, which is another factor that can ratchet up the price [source: Hesseldahl].

A final software advantage Macs have is that everything they run is automatically compatible with other Apple products -- so you can sync your iPod or iPhone with your computer hassle-free thanks to the standard software on the Mac computer and your other Apple devices. For some, this cross-device compatibility is an incentive to pay a little more for a Mac.