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How to justify the 'Apple Tax' in a recession

Dan Fellini

If you've looked out your window and noticed your neighbors living in refrigerator boxes on your sidewalk, you know the US economy is in the tank. More and more of our friends are getting pink slips, some of whom work at highly-regarded and once lucrative tech companies. These are the same people who, a year and a half ago, had no trouble shelling out $599US for a shiny telephone with no buttons.

So much has changed in our little world since then. Including, for the better, the cost of a shiny telephone without buttons.

But as the global economy continues to nosedive, and our personal economies struggle to remain intact, it's getting harder and harder to justify extravagant purchases. While a new $199US iPhone might not be over the top for most, a $1,799US MacBook Air requires more of a gut check.

Two things are certain. Death (of our laptop batteries) and taxes (the proverbial Apple taxes).

So how does one justify paying twice as much for a Mac when a decent -- albeit mostly unusable and impossible to look at -- Windows kit can be had for under $800US?

The answer is simple. When the pink slip comes and groceries become luxuries, I'll at least enjoy searching for a new job, selling my car on Craigslist and begging my wife to take me back from the comforts of my $2000US MacBook Pro.

If you're like me, and would rather eat trees than give up the Mac, here are practical, everyday tips you can use to justify your Mac habit during an economic downturn.

  • Save heating costs by firing up Final Cut and rendering some video. My MacBook Pro gets soooo hot when I do that, and I mean that literally (although, really, it does get excited too.) Bonus: place it on its side, against a wall, and pretend you're back in your old college dorm room. Just add hissing noises and you've got a very expensive radiator.
  • Did you receive a new replacement power adapter for your iPhone 3G a few months back? Sweet. Hope you saved the box. It's big enough for you and your kids to sleep in. Bonus: use the included 300 cubic yards of foam as a mattress. Better than a Tempur-Pedic.
  • Wish you could hit the pub for a few cold ones, but can't afford to pay the barkeep? Download one of the many beer mug simulators from the App Store and fake yourself drunk. Bonus: the only way to win the game is not to play. Just sayin'.
  • Tap the Stocks app on your iPhone. Quick, turn your iPhone upside down. Wow, things look better now huh? Bonus: Do this with the Stocks Dashboard widget by turning your monitor upside down. Extra bonus if you have a 30-inch Cinema Display.

These are just my ideas. I'm sure you have more. Let us know in the comments.

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