The $200 difference game

Apple announced the update of its 13-inch MacBook today. It comes in any color you want, as long as what you want is black or white. Here are the lists of features of what comes with the $1,299 white version or the $1,499 black version. Remember when you were a child and in the doctor’s waiting room and you flipped open the Highlights magazine and tried to find the difference between the side-by-side pictures of two giraffes or the hidden picture games. You can play the same games on the following two lists.

The 2.16 GHz, 13-inch white MacBook, for a suggested retail price of $1,299 (US), includes:

* 13.3-inch glossy widescreen 1280 x 800 display;
* 2.16 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor;
* 667 MHz front-side bus;
* 1GB of 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM, expandable to 2GB;
* 120GB Serial ATA hard drive running at 5400 rpm, with Sudden Motion Sensor;
* a slot-load 8x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD+R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW) optical drive;
* Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950;
* Mini-DVI out (adapters for DVI, VGA and Composite/S-Video sold separately);
* built-in iSight video camera;
* Gigabit Ethernet port;
* built-in AirPort Extreme 802.11n wireless networking and Bluetooth 2.0+EDR;
* two USB 2.0 ports and one FireWire 400 port;
* one audio line in and one audio line out port, each supporting both optical digital and analog;
* Scrolling TrackPad;
* the infrared Apple Remote; and
* 60 Watt MagSafe Power Adapter.

The 2.16 GHz, 13-inch black MacBook, for a suggested retail price of $1,499 (US), includes:

* 13.3-inch glossy widescreen 1280 x 800 display;
* 2.16 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor;
* 667 MHz front-side bus;
* 1GB of 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM, expandable to 2GB;
* 160GB Serial ATA hard drive running at 5400 rpm, with Sudden Motion Sensor;
* a slot-load 8x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD+R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW) optical drive;
* Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950;
* Mini-DVI out (adapters for DVI, VGA and Composite/S-Video sold separately);
* built-in iSight video camera;
* Gigabit Ethernet port;
* built-in AirPort Extreme wireless networking and Bluetooth 2.0+EDR;
* two USB 2.0 ports and one FireWire 400 port;
* one audio line in and one audio line out port, each supporting both optical digital and analog;
* Scrolling TrackPad;
* the infrared Apple Remote; and
* 60 Watt MagSafe Power Adapter.

Easter egg and hint: There are two bullet-pointed items on these specs that are worded differently. One, however, is not an actual difference.

Bottomline: No matter how one tries to butcher the cliché, black is always the new black.

  • scott

    if you want to compare apples to apples, it’s really a $125 difference. for those people really wanting to show off, they’d skip the blackbook and waste their money on a colorware pc macbook.

  • Rex Hammock

    Scott, for purposes of “this game,” it’s a $200 difference. The tangible difference ($75) and the intangible difference ($125) is why Apple can only be compared to Apple.

  • scott

    except it is not a $200 difference. they are not identical machines – one has a 120gb and one has a 160gb. you are not paying $200 for black. you are paying for black and a larger hd. that hd is a $75 bto option for the whitebook, so if comparing identical machines, the difference between white and black is $125.

    how ironic that someone who takes such issue when writers toss out numbers falls victim to the same problem of trying to puff up something and spin it for maximum effect.

  • Rex Hammock

    Scott, I’m sorry if you thought this post is about math. It is about marketing. This post is about looking for the difference in the two machines that you (and I) realize is so obvious: the black MacBook has 40GB more of memory. Again, that’s the solution to the challenge presented in the opening paragraph of the post. The answer as you note, precisely, is this: For $200, you get 40GB of additional memory and the color black. Furthermore, the issue that is worth exploration for those who aren’t as literal as you, is this: why are certain customers willing to pay $125 more for something of intangible value? The answer, of course, has to do with style and fashion, not gigabytes. Again, this was not a math quiz.