We’ve argued that Dell, HP, and other computer makers should be terrified of Apple because PCs are beginning to become platform neutral, and Apple understands that good design is the key to winning consumers’ hearts and minds. We’ve also heard from a Dell spokesman who argues that Dell gets this, too, and that once-and-current CEO Michael has ordered Dell’s design teams to remember that humans use their products.
And it seems they have. For example, Walt Mossberg raves about some aspects of Dell’s new XPS One, a one-piece desktop monitor/PC designed to compete with Apple’s iMac: “The Dell XPS One is the first Windows all-in-one desktop I’ve tested that I believe matches or exceeds the iMac in hardware design.” And you get a free wireless mouse and keyboard, etc., too.
So, Dell appears to know what it’s up against and appears to be responding–which is good news for Dell shareholders and better news for computer users.
Alas, “design” is more than just hardware, and Dell’s transition to a consumer-centric company still has a ways to go. For several reasons, for example, Mossberg would still buy an iMac over the XPS One:
- Price: Despite Apple’s reputation for having premium products at premium prices, the entry-level Dell XPS One costs $300+ more than the iMac.
- Crapplets: Dell still can’t resist cashing in on all those annoying bundling deals that litter the screen of your new PC with icons and offers you don’t want (e.g., NetZero).
- Virus vulnerability. Most are still designed to attack Windows-based machines, not Macs.
- Vista sucks. iMacs come with Apple’s Leopard, the XPS One doesn’t.
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