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The missing prosumer Mac tower (Page 6)
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Clinically Insane
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Sep 3, 2006, 11:50 AM
 
Ask yourself these questions:

1) Is Apple Dell?

2) Is Apple Microsoft?

If the answer to either of these questions if "No," then perhaps we should accept that they are in a different position than these companies and are neither interested in nor capable of directly emulating them.
Chuck
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Sep 3, 2006, 12:57 PM
 
And perhaps you should consider that, having switched to Intel hardware, Apple is in a different position than they were when their systems weren't directly comparable to the Wintel platform. Apple's marketshare may be on a very slight upturn, but in order to achieve any serious growth (into, say, the ~%10 "safe" area) they're going to have to alter their marketing tactics and seriously go after the sections of the market where most consumers lie. What worked in the past may not necessarily work anymore. The prosumer market is huge, and for Apple to decide to cede it to other manufacturers just because the margins aren't high enough might be considered absurd. I think it's entirely feasible to offer a slighty scaled back version of the MacPro, same case, same expandability, with perhaps one less processor, or a slightly less powerful processor option, at under $2000. They don't even need to make a special prosumer case. The current tower would do just fine. Nor do they need to call it anything different; just make it a BTO option for the current MacPro. Choices are a good thing.

I'm not saying I believe that Apple will do this. I'm just saying that, in my opinion, they should.
     
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Sep 3, 2006, 01:01 PM
 
Originally Posted by ClockNova
I'm not saying I believe that Apple will do this. I'm just saying that, in my opinion, they should.
lol.. first. bow to those with higher post counts than you. chuckit has almost 9000 posts and you have not even 12 ... he's almost 900 times more right than you on anything posted here.

second. learn that if apple isn't doing something it's because they know that it's not in their interests.

third. an opinion without lots of internet links and percentages is useless to those who try to add together disparate information gathered over the last 30 years.

fourth. Apple is not dell and dell is not a macdonalds. Hell will freeze over before apple sells hamburgers. They're just too pedestrian.

lol.. btw, i completely agree with you.
( Last edited by zaghahzag; Sep 3, 2006 at 01:09 PM. )
     
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Sep 3, 2006, 08:05 PM
 
To all who mention low profit margin as reason for no-HEMs, let me say that Dell and HP and others have to pay for Windows OEM, while Apple doesnt have pay anything for OS X and all software installed on Apple computers. This significantly increases Apple margins on low cost HEMs compared to its Windows counterparts.
     
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Sep 3, 2006, 08:18 PM
 
Originally Posted by Hash
To all who mention low profit margin as reason for no-HEMs, let me say that Dell and HP and others have to pay for Windows OEM, while Apple doesnt have pay anything for OS X and all software installed on Apple computers. This significantly increases Apple margins on low cost HEMs compared to its Windows counterparts.
i tried that already. the answer is that microsoft doesn't make any money on windows either. In fact, in the history of microsoft, their R&D cost cycles basically even out with their profit in the OS division. So much so, that they don't have 45 billion$ in cash. That profit is all due to MSNBC, Xbox and their investment in apple.

so nobody makes money on mid range machines. which is why they all sell them. Unlike apple, those companies exist to lose money. And they've all been losing money for years. Especially Dell and HP. If you had invested in either of those companies, you'd have nothing to show for it now. Nothing.

not to mention the arithmetic that has been done numerous times in this thread which show that apple could produce a HEM and have a higher profit margin % than they have on their mac pros. Those points are all irrelevant. Apple has done market research and the market research shows that no matter how rational a point you make, it doesn't agree with the market research, and so it's invalid.

You see, because the only people who would want a machine that can fit more than one HD or have more than 2 gigs of ram, are people who can afford a mac pro. There are only about 12 people who would buy the HEM. And most of them have already posted on this board. and they're all geeks and losers anyway. Plus, they can just save up and buy a mac pro.
( Last edited by zaghahzag; Sep 3, 2006 at 08:28 PM. )
     
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Sep 3, 2006, 09:51 PM
 
Originally Posted by zaghahzag
i tried that already. the answer is that microsoft doesn't make any money on windows either. In fact, in the history of microsoft, their R&D cost cycles basically even out with their profit in the OS division. So much so, that they don't have 45 billion$ in cash. That profit is all due to MSNBC, Xbox and their investment in apple.

so nobody makes money on mid range machines. which is why they all sell them. Unlike apple, those companies exist to lose money. And they've all been losing money for years. Especially Dell and HP. If you had invested in either of those companies, you'd have nothing to show for it now. Nothing.

not to mention the arithmetic that has been done numerous times in this thread which show that apple could produce a HEM and have a higher profit margin % than they have on their mac pros. Those points are all irrelevant. Apple has done market research and the market research shows that no matter how rational a point you make, it doesn't agree with the market research, and so it's invalid.

You see, because the only people who would want a machine that can fit more than one HD or have more than 2 gigs of ram, are people who can afford a mac pro. There are only about 12 people who would buy the HEM. And most of them have already posted on this board. and they're all geeks and losers anyway. Plus, they can just save up and buy a mac pro.
This post is a joke, right? Please let me know before I bother telling you why almost everything you said is bullsh*t.
     
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Sep 3, 2006, 10:06 PM
 
Originally Posted by zaghahzag
In fact, in the history of microsoft, their R&D cost cycles basically even out with their profit in the OS division. So much so, that they don't have 45 billion$ in cash. That profit is all due to MSNBC, Xbox and their investment in apple.
You think Microsoft made $45 billion off normal OS sales rather than, say, Office and support contracts?
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Sep 3, 2006, 10:11 PM
 
Originally Posted by Chuckit
You think Microsoft made $45 billion off normal OS sales rather than, say, Office and support contracts?
no

clocknova, yeah i was kidding.. lolz.. i was poking fun.
     
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Sep 4, 2006, 01:37 AM
 
Originally Posted by zaghahzag
i tried that already. the answer is that microsoft doesn't make any money on windows either. In fact, in the history of microsoft, their R&D cost cycles basically even out with their profit in the OS division. So much so, that they don't have 45 billion$ in cash. That profit is all due to MSNBC, Xbox and their investment in apple.

so nobody makes money on mid range machines. which is why they all sell them. Unlike apple, those companies exist to lose money. And they've all been losing money for years. Especially Dell and HP. If you had invested in either of those companies, you'd have nothing to show for it now. Nothing.

not to mention the arithmetic that has been done numerous times in this thread which show that apple could produce a HEM and have a higher profit margin % than they have on their mac pros. Those points are all irrelevant. Apple has done market research and the market research shows that no matter how rational a point you make, it doesn't agree with the market research, and so it's invalid.

You see, because the only people who would want a machine that can fit more than one HD or have more than 2 gigs of ram, are people who can afford a mac pro. There are only about 12 people who would buy the HEM. And most of them have already posted on this board. and they're all geeks and losers anyway. Plus, they can just save up and buy a mac pro.

lol. Welcome to MacNN, the best Apple fora! Some people here at least as stubborn as Apple themselves - but its a part of fun
     
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Sep 4, 2006, 02:21 AM
 
Hmm... OK, back to the actual discussion.

Next to margins and upsale/downsale considerations, you shouldn't forget that Apple also needs to focus on market segments. They can't serve everybody, but they need to maximize the number of people that are interested in a certain line. This is especially difficult with the HEM. The potential HEM market might be just too heterogeneous for Apple to enter. Take a look at what a HEM could be:

"Big Mac mini"
- 2.0 GHz Merom, 2 RAM slots, 1 HDD, 1 Combo (or SD as a BTO option), 1 PCI Express for GPU
-> will likely be inexpensive, but probably not enough improvements over mini
-> lack of upsale

"Gamer Box"
- 2.4GHz Conroe, 4 RAM slots, 1 HDD, 1 Combo (or SD as a BTO option), 1 PCI Express for GPU
-> not competitive next to cheap Dell towers (likely pricier, but still less expansion options)

"Prosumer"
- 2.4GHz Conroe, 4 RAM slots, 2 HDD bays, 1 Combo (or SD as a BTO option), 1 PCI Express for GPU, 1 free PCI Express
-> very close to Mac Pro
-> either too expensive compared to PCs & MP ("Cube failure") or less profit for Apple due to downsale

Apple would have to decide to go down one of these roads. Apart from the difficulties associated with each of these options, they will also have to deal with the fact, that they won't satisfy the needs of people looking for something like the other two options.

In the PC world this heterogeneous market works well because there are tons of manufacturers and expansion capability is a cheap part of most products. You buy and add extras if needed. In the Apple world, expansion is something you normally pay quite a bit for and there's only Apple to chose from. The stuff they make has to appeal to many or else it has to drive huge revenue. There's no way in between.

Again, HEM is not impossible, but it's tricky business. It comes as no surprise Apple is being careful and taking its time.
     
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Sep 4, 2006, 05:00 AM
 
Originally Posted by Hash
To all who mention low profit margin as reason for no-HEMs, let me say that Dell and HP and others have to pay for Windows OEM, while Apple doesnt have pay anything for OS X and all software installed on Apple computers. This significantly increases Apple margins on low cost HEMs compared to its Windows counterparts.
Anything... except the entire development cost!
     
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Sep 4, 2006, 05:04 AM
 
Originally Posted by Chuckit
Ask yourself these questions:

1) Is Apple Dell?

2) Is Apple Microsoft?

If the answer to either of these questions if "No," then perhaps we should accept that they are in a different position than these companies and are neither interested in nor capable of directly emulating them.
I'm not suggesting they directly emulate either company. Dell produces a very good value for money product, sure, but it's not a product I'm interested in, and I'm not deluded enough to suggest Apple could start producing a much better product at the same sort of price point.

What I am suggesting is that there is a giant gap in the product lineup, where a headless iMac equivalent would fit well. Sell me the equivalent of an iMac, but in a tower case, and with upgradable graphics, for about $300-500 less than the iMac (to cover loss of the display I don't want anyway), and I'm happy.
     
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Sep 4, 2006, 11:34 AM
 
Originally Posted by Simon
Hmm... OK, back to the actual discussion.
"Big Mac mini"
- 2.0 GHz Merom, 2 RAM slots, 1 HDD, 1 Combo (or SD as a BTO option), 1 PCI Express for GPU
-> will likely be inexpensive, but probably not enough improvements over mini
-> lack of upsale

"Gamer Box"
- 2.4GHz Conroe, 4 RAM slots, 1 HDD, 1 Combo (or SD as a BTO option), 1 PCI Express for GPU
-> not competitive next to cheap Dell towers (likely pricier, but still less expansion options)

"Prosumer"
- 2.4GHz Conroe, 4 RAM slots, 2 HDD bays, 1 Combo (or SD as a BTO option), 1 PCI Express for GPU, 1 free PCI Express
-> very close to Mac Pro
-> either too expensive compared to PCs & MP ("Cube failure") or less profit for Apple due to downsale
I like these choices, but things like the # of HDD bays are really a function of the size and layout of the box. They don't add any other costs - most MBs support way more drives than a mac will fit.

So I'd combine the gamer and prosumer box into one, and that's it. 2HDD, 1 PCI E for GPU and one free PCIe card. up to 4 gigs of ram. one cpu slot. (speed is bto, starting at the lowest conroe and going up from there.) Make the box about the same size as that shuttle 1/2 a mac pro sized. Maybe even go back to the best computer ever: the Cube!
     
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Sep 4, 2006, 01:54 PM
 
Originally Posted by mduell
It seems that Apple has split their headless desktop market into the high-end (Mac Pro) and low-end (Mac mini), without anything in the middle. I've posted on this topic a few times before, but I just want to get a thead started to pull the comments out of the Mac Pro thread and discuss the possibilities.

I think that in the near future (perhaps January 2007), Apple will release the "Mac." I'm hoping for something in the same form factor as the Shuttle XPC, shown below.

Price and spec it somewhere around the $1000 point...

1.86GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor
2MB L2 Cache
1066MHz Frontside Bus
512MB memory (667MHz DDR2 SDRAM)
Intel GMA950 graphics with 64MB of shared DDR2 SDRAM
160GB Serial ATA hard drive
Combo drive (DVD-ROM/CD-RW)
Built-in AirPort Extreme and Bluetooth 2.0
Apple Remote
$899

2.40GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor
4MB L2 Cache
1066MHz Frontside Bus
512MB memory (667MHz DDR2 SDRAM)
NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT graphics with 256MB memory
250GB Serial ATA hard drive
16x double-layer SuperDrive (DVD+R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
Built-in AirPort Extreme and Bluetooth 2.0
Apple Remote
$1499

With the same 1 optical/2 hard drive bays and 2 PCIe slots (16x, 4x) as the XPC and 4-5 USB, 1-2 FW400, optical audio, etc. Maybe an X1900 and 2.93Ghz Core 2 Extreme upgrade for a gaming box.

Thoughts?

mods: If you feel this belongs in the iMac, eMac & Mac mini forum instead, please move it.
what about the imac? isn't that kinda in the middle? certainly a step up from the mini, but not quite a mac pr. and it has a monitor.
     
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Sep 4, 2006, 01:58 PM
 
Originally Posted by zaghahzag
I like these choices, but things like the # of HDD bays are really a function of the size and layout of the box. They don't add any other costs - most MBs support way more drives than a mac will fit.
Again: Price != cost of components. And MB support isn't an issue anyway.

Adding bays does not make the Mac considerably more expensive to produce and yet Apple will have to charge considerably more. It's all about upsale/downsale and margins.
     
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Sep 4, 2006, 02:33 PM
 
Simon, I don't understand all this stuff about upselling/downselling and all that. But I do think that at least one of the models you proposed could come in around 1500$, which seems like a nice round number that a lot of people would be willing to spend on such a machine.

I'm bullish that we'll see such a box debut for the mac platform in the next three weeks.
     
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Sep 4, 2006, 03:43 PM
 
What Simon means is something like this: To preserve their bottom line, Apple needs to sell either a certain number of Mac Pros or something with an equivalent margin IN ABSOLUTE DOLLARS. If you make an xMac that a large percentage of the current Mac Pro buyers will buy instead of the Mac Pro they were planning to get, Apple will lose money unless the margin (in dollars) is the same or higher. The way to offset this is to grow marketshare, but that's a bet they have not yet been willing to make.

Next spring will see the relase of CS3, with native Intel support. Around that time, we should also see the next generation of the Mac Pro, with an updated version of the Intel chipset (the current one has a rather terrible memory latency). The combination of a Rev B Mac Pro (all the cool kids get the Rev B) with even better performance and the software needed to truly harness it should kick off upgrades for a lot of pros. Once that cycle is over, Apple will have less to lose by launching an xMac.
     
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Sep 4, 2006, 10:19 PM
 
Originally Posted by P
Next spring will see the relase of CS3, with native Intel support. Around that time, we should also see the next generation of the Mac Pro, with an updated version of the Intel chipset (the current one has a rather terrible memory latency). The combination of a Rev B Mac Pro (all the cool kids get the Rev B) with even better performance and the software needed to truly harness it should kick off upgrades for a lot of pros. Once that cycle is over, Apple will have less to lose by launching an xMac.
Now that's an argument I can agree with; it would be a bad idea now, bad idea around spring, but hey, maybe not too long after that. Was hoping for a little earlier, maybe at the same time as Rev B Mac Pros, but... sounds good to me. By then, Apple will have sold Mac Pros to the vast majority of people who are going to buy an overspecced system because they want one now, and can afford it, and a mid-range Mac can come collect those of us still holding out
     
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Sep 4, 2006, 11:15 PM
 
Out of the thousands of Macs sold each quarter at an Apple Store, maybe 50 of those go to Apple geeks that actually know a thing or two about the computer. The vast majority go to regular old consumers, just like the vast majority of people who buy cars are regular old consumers.

When I buy a car, I could care less about its expandability. I just really don't care that much. Similarily with computers, most people just don't care. People who buy Macs want something that looks nice and is easy to use, usually with "cool" features. Expandability is not important.
     
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Sep 5, 2006, 12:21 AM
 
Originally Posted by jamil5454
Out of the thousands of Macs sold each quarter at an Apple Store, maybe 50 of those go to Apple geeks that actually know a thing or two about the computer. The vast majority go to regular old consumers, just like the vast majority of people who buy cars are regular old consumers.

When I buy a car, I could care less about its expandability. I just really don't care that much. Similarily with computers, most people just don't care. People who buy Macs want something that looks nice and is easy to use, usually with "cool" features. Expandability is not important.


Perhaps that's the problem here, the demand for such a computer is really not high enough to merit such a machine. The Mini exists because there was a large need for it. How many times have we all heard "Macs are too expensive..."? That argument has been eliminated largely (Although I think they really should have kept it at the $500 price point)

Perhaps the problem is that there simply isn't a market a need. I suspect though that a market would be created by producing such a machine, which is why I think Apple won't make one, they want people to spend more money.
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Sep 5, 2006, 12:45 AM
 
Originally Posted by Simon
So instead of this childish kind of 'I want this so give it to me' you might want to consider a rational discussion about how Apple earns money (because that's what this is all about).
Um, because this type of machine makes up 90% of the desktop market, and is what 90% of desktop users want, so therefore more people will buy it, and Apple will make more money?
Originally Posted by Chuckit
Simon sounds like "wah wah"? Just buy a Mac pro and stop crying already. There: It's your solution for all the people who already own a monitor and want more machine than a mini.
"But all I need is a hunting rifle"

"Wah wah! You need more power than a BB gun? Just shut up and buy the nuclear ICBM."
Originally Posted by Simon
It all boils down to this: If your HEM suggestion would be so good and would earn Apple so much, they would be selling it. Fact is, they're not. So obviously they think it's not a good idea and won't rake in big profits. Yes, they could be wrong. But that's entirely irrelevant because they decide what they sell and what they don't. And just because some geek on a board says he would spend $3k on XYZ doesn't mean jack to Apple.
So by that logic, the Mini would have been a terrible idea because Apple wasn't selling it... until Apple did start selling it, and then it's a good idea.

Originally Posted by P
Of all the people I know that use Windows and are not major hardware geeks, the only ones that have extra expansion boards in their machines are the ones where I bought the board and installed it for them, to fix a problem they were having. Even people who game to some extent get a new computer rather than upgrade the graphics board. They would be better served by an iMac-type computer.
Funny, since most of the people I know that use Windows desktops may not use the expandability, but they definitely want it, and they will not buy a machine that doesn't have it. Those that don't want it get laptops instead.

And are they really better served by an iMac-type computer? Back when Apple was being stubborn about including USB 2.0, they definitely weren't better served. A tiny amount of time later, Apple themselves dropped FireWire from the iPod, making it practically incompatible with boatloads of machines, leaving no recourse other than buying a whole new computer. In the past there have been lots of cool new technologies that have showed up and changed everything such as wireless networking that quickly became requirements but could be added to older hardware... if they had an expansion slot.

Do you know that something like that isn't going to happen again? Do you know that you're not going to need something like eSATA to use some device you'll need or want in the future? Do you know that you're not going to need a better video card to use some cool new OS feature in the future? Only if you have a crystal ball.

Frankly, the non-expandable AIO may be becoming obsolete. A laptop does everything it does and is portable. Especially when the AIO uses mostly laptop parts, what's the point?

The only people who really use all of that expandability are, to some extent, geeks. Hardware geeks, or hardcore gamers. This is a very vocal market, but it's not a big one. Apple made the call not to focus on them. Don't get me wrong - I'd probably buy that minitower myself, so I'm not being disparaging of that group - but it's not a big one.
90% of the market isn't big?
( Last edited by CharlesS; Sep 5, 2006 at 12:51 AM. )

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Sep 5, 2006, 02:14 AM
 
Originally Posted by CharlesS
Um, because this type of machine makes up 90% of the desktop market, and is what 90% of desktop users want, so therefore more people will buy it, and Apple will make more money?
Wrong. It makes up 90% of the PC market. Not the Apple market. People buy Macs for other reasons and with other considerations in mind than PCs. Apple knows that. You obviously don't.

So by that logic, the Mini would have been a terrible idea because Apple wasn't selling it... until Apple did start selling it, and then it's a good idea.
Wrong again. A inexpensive entry-level Mac always seemed like a good idea. And the fact that Apple tried it over and over is well known (Performa, original iMac) to most. Prior to the Mac mini Apple first needed to find out how to "recycle" old components/knowhow (the Cube for example) and use cheap (and somewhat outdated) hardware in order for it to become profitable even with a $500 price tag. At the same time Apple also needed to be certain that this machine would attract more new buyers than increase downsale with previous Mac buyers. The iPod halo effect and the brick and mortar Apple Stores were required there. So in that sense yes, the idea would have sucked 5 years earlier. When Apple introduced the Mac mini at MWSF in Jan 05 the idea was perfect. This is all just about business. Apple did the right thing from a business point of view. And as a stock holder I'm glad they stick to the advice of people who understand that rather than advice like yours which is based on 'I want it, so gimme it" rather than simple business logic.

Frankly, the non-expandable AIO may be becoming obsolete. A laptop does everything it does and is portable. Especially when the AIO uses mostly laptop parts, what's the point?
Maybe in the Windows world. But it's been obsolete there for years anyway. In the Mac world the AIO is doing great. It's the reason Apple has a large market share in schools and universities. It's the reason everybody knows Apple. It's the reason they can rake in profits PC manufacturers could only dream of. What the heck are you smoking? Why should Apple drop a cash cow? Why should they stop doing what makes them one of the most profitable computer companies around? Apple isn't dropping the AIO just because a couple of geeks on a board would rather have another computer. Get real.

As long as the MBP doesn't come with a 20" or 23" monitor (23" iMacs coming on 9/12 btw), doesn't have cheap 3.5" HDDs, cheap full size optical drives, infinite battery life or a $1699 price tag, Apple will sell boat loads of iMacs. It might not be the Mac for you, but Apple doesn't mind that too much. They won't cry if you switch to Dell. They'll remain concerned with the majority of their market.
     
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Sep 5, 2006, 05:42 AM
 
Yea, Apple won't cry if you switch to Dell -- this is very sad expression of Apple policy in desktops... yet, curious that they priced their workstations cheaper than Dell - maybe they care after all (when they could price it 2000$ higher).. Simon\ your arguments do not fit reality well.
     
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Sep 5, 2006, 09:08 AM
 
Originally Posted by CharlesS
Um, because this type of machine makes up 90% of the desktop market, and is what 90% of desktop users want, so therefore more people will buy it, and Apple will make more money?
The only reason the mini-tower is 90% of the market is because the PC world hasn't figured out how to do it any other way. AIO hasn't hit them (majorly) yet, Not because these users are looking for expandability. Remember that the Majority of desktop computer users are new computer users. Computer adoption is still on the upswing. What people need and want are simple, small computers they can plug in. PC makers make mini-towers with throw-away motherboards that are manufactured en-masse, and yes, they have card slots and the case usually has an extra drive bay. Go do a survey on the street and ask who's added a new video card, or another harddrive, or swapped out their DVD player for a burner?

I'll bet the number is very low, because these people are the people that buy their computers at BestBuy for $500. They don't know the first thing about opening a computer case. They don't want to.
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Sep 5, 2006, 01:25 PM
 
Originally Posted by Simon
Wrong. It makes up 90% of the PC market. Not the Apple market. People buy Macs for other reasons and with other considerations in mind than PCs. Apple knows that. You obviously don't.
Yeah, I guess you're right. Apple only is interested in getting its current user base to buy new machines. They have absolutely no interest in getting PC users to switch to the Mac. They'd never, say, make specific marketing campaigns named things like "Switch" and "Get a Mac" designed to convince PC users to switch...

Oh wait.

Wrong again. A inexpensive entry-level Mac always seemed like a good idea. And the fact that Apple tried it over and over is well known (Performa, original iMac) to most. Prior to the Mac mini Apple first needed to find out how to "recycle" old components/knowhow (the Cube for example) and use cheap (and somewhat outdated) hardware in order for it to become profitable even with a $500 price tag. At the same time Apple also needed to be certain that this machine would attract more new buyers than increase downsale with previous Mac buyers. The iPod halo effect and the brick and mortar Apple Stores were required there. So in that sense yes, the idea would have sucked 5 years earlier. When Apple introduced the Mac mini at MWSF in Jan 05 the idea was perfect. This is all just about business. Apple did the right thing from a business point of view. And as a stock holder I'm glad they stick to the advice of people who understand that rather than advice like yours which is based on 'I want it, so gimme it" rather than simple business logic.
I never said "I want, so gimme it" - at the risk of sounding like Kevin, you're projecting and using straw-man arguments. In fact, I wouldn't be in the market for such a machine - my next computer is going to be a laptop. Furthermore, I'm not sure what is more "simple business logic" than offering the product that customers want, so that customers will buy it.

Maybe in the Windows world. But it's been obsolete there for years anyway. In the Mac world the AIO is doing great. It's the reason Apple has a large market share in schools and universities. It's the reason everybody knows Apple. It's the reason they can rake in profits PC manufacturers could only dream of. What the heck are you smoking? Why should Apple drop a cash cow? Why should they stop doing what makes them one of the most profitable computer companies around? Apple isn't dropping the AIO just because a couple of geeks on a board would rather have another computer. Get real.
Maybe Apple is doing so well despite the AIO. Maybe the lesson the PC world is showing us is that given a choice, users would rather buy a mini-tower over an AIO. Maybe the reason the AIO is doing relatively well in the Mac market is because there's no other choice.

I'd say there are plenty of reasons Apple is doing well. Chief among those are the iPod halo effect and the fact that users are getting rather pissed off at Microsoft right now with their security problems and Vista delays. I don't think they're doing so well simply because they offer an AIO. The original iMac was popular, but it wasn't Apple's first AIO machine by any means. Apple's always offered some sort of AIO, including during some of their worst times. Furthermore, the iMac isn't even a big seller right now, even if we're just talking about the Mac market. Where Apple is doing well and increasing market share is their laptop division - their desktop sales are doing poorly, and sales there are way down. Guess why.

Finally, to knock down one more straw-man argument - I never said to drop the iMac or kill it off. Just give users the option of a mini-tower and let the market decide. There'll probably be a little market for the iMac among those who want a simple just-plug-it-in-it-just-works machine (although those users are going more and more toward laptops now), people who want to use it as an entertainment center, and people who just plain don't know better. But it's a niche, and isn't well-suited to handle the entire mid-range desktop market.

As long as the MBP doesn't come with a 20" or 23" monitor (23" iMacs coming on 9/12 btw)
They've got a DVI port. Just plug one in.

Plus, some people consider the huge screen a disadvantage, since you're paying for it, and you're going to have to chuck it when you replace the computer.
doesn't have cheap 3.5" HDDs,
Okay, there you go. The one advantage of an iMac.

cheap full size optical drives,
Full-size optical drives? Since when? The optical drive in the iMac is, to the best of my knowledge, a laptop one. It's a slot-loader, and vertically mounted. Can you get a 16x SuperDrive in an iMac? Didn't think so - it's the same 8x one that the laptops get.

infinite battery life
Uh, just plug the laptop into the wall.

or a $1699 price tag,
$1699 is really high for a non-expandable, non-portable, disposable computer. A MacBook can be had for way less, and it's just as powerful except for the graphics card.

Apple will sell boat loads of iMacs. It might not be the Mac for you,
My current machine is an iMac. Imagine that.

but Apple doesn't mind that too much. They won't cry if you switch to Dell. They'll remain concerned with the majority of their market.
Who will just keep on buying Dells because Apple won't give them what they want, causing Apple to utterly fail in their goal of gaining market share (except in laptops).

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Sep 5, 2006, 02:43 PM
 
charles i agree with most of what you said, and many other people here do as well. I do think that a good point was made that apple might be holding its high-end machines alone for awhile to try to maximize some profits, although i think those machines might have much smaller margins that we realize given the high prices of their CPUs.

apple's expandable desktops have been shrinking or stagnant for awhile now, in large part due to the fact that the entry level machine was so expensive. the obious way to change this is to offer a headless IMac w/ a normal case. This would make a lot of sense for them to do, and frankly, i'm mystified (despite everyone here's attempts to convince us that it's not in apple's interest) as to why apple doesn't offer such a machine.

Apple has made huge points when they've recently taken away what were until then huge stumbling blocks to people migrating (mac-on-intel, boot camp, etc).. I know a lot of people who are buying macs to run 80% mac 20% windows on. I also know a lot of enthusiasts who won't ever buy a machine without a GPU. Ironically, those people often tell their families what to buy and apple has never made a machine that they would think twice about.

again, i'm mystified, apple switched to intel, standard MBs and all that.. but they won't let you use a PC video card. its like they hate us.
     
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Sep 5, 2006, 03:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by CharlesS
Um, because this type of machine makes up 90% of the desktop market, and is what 90% of desktop users want, so therefore more people will buy it, and Apple will make more money?
You and I both know 90% of those people don't need an extensible Mac Pro Ghetto Edition like people are proposing here. If they ever opened up their computer, they'd probably think they broke it.
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Sep 5, 2006, 03:10 PM
 
Originally Posted by CharlesS
Funny, since most of the people I know that use Windows desktops may not use the expandability, but they definitely want it, and they will not buy a machine that doesn't have it. Those that don't want it get laptops instead.

And are they really better served by an iMac-type computer? Back when Apple was being stubborn about including USB 2.0, they definitely weren't better served. A tiny amount of time later, Apple themselves dropped FireWire from the iPod, making it practically incompatible with boatloads of machines, leaving no recourse other than buying a whole new computer. In the past there have been lots of cool new technologies that have showed up and changed everything such as wireless networking that quickly became requirements but could be added to older hardware... if they had an expansion slot.

Do you know that something like that isn't going to happen again? Do you know that you're not going to need something like eSATA to use some device you'll need or want in the future? Do you know that you're not going to need a better video card to use some cool new OS feature in the future? Only if you have a crystal ball.

Frankly, the non-expandable AIO may be becoming obsolete. A laptop does everything it does and is portable. Especially when the AIO uses mostly laptop parts, what's the point?
I agree that a lot of people want expandability but don't really need it. It's my vain hope that they, like I did, eventually realize this fact about themselves.

Apple was stubborn about USB 2.0 a little while too long, but you have to remember that the turnaround time for adding a feature to the chipset is longer for Apple, which designed all chipsets from the ground up until quite recently. They also missed the boat on CD-RW, but remedied this with a vengance. They were very quick with both 802.11b and 802.11g, and their record is pretty decent overall.

Expansion is becoming less important every day though - because of USB. I added 802.11g networking, with WPA2 and all the whistles, to my old iMac slotloader, with a USB plug. THAT is the wave of the future - using an external port to connect an external box instead of the xpansion card. Sucks with lots of boxes on your desk? Well, yes - but doesn't it suck more with a big empty box on your desk?

Why keep selling AIOs when they use laptop parts? Market segmentation - compare the cost of the 17" iMac to the 17" Macbok Pro.
     
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Sep 5, 2006, 03:11 PM
 
Chuckit, I'm surprised you'd call requests for a tower priced under $2500 "ghetto." Kind of ivory tower elitist of you, no?

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Sep 5, 2006, 03:16 PM
 
One more point: 90% of the Desktop market (if that is even true - I doubt it) is still only about 40% of the total personal computer (non-server) market. Laptops outsell desktops these days. Many of those laptops are constantly placed on someone's desk. Think it may have something to do with the "big ugly box" syndrome?
     
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Sep 5, 2006, 03:27 PM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac
Chuckit, I'm surprised you'd call requests for a tower priced under $2500 "ghetto." Kind of ivory tower elitist of you, no?
Eh, the Mac Pro costs less than $2500, and I don't call it "ghetto."

Anyway, I meant a computer that includes effectively all the "pro" features of the Mac Pro at a much lower price. Round these parts, "ghetto" is slang basically meaning "cheap but inferior."
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Sep 5, 2006, 03:47 PM
 
Originally Posted by CharlesS
Full-size optical drives? Since when? The optical drive in the iMac is, to the best of my knowledge, a laptop one. It's a slot-loader, and vertically mounted. Can you get a 16x SuperDrive in an iMac? Didn't think so - it's the same 8x one that the laptops get.
My bad, mixed up the specs in my head. It is indeed 8x.
     
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Sep 5, 2006, 03:49 PM
 
Originally Posted by Chuckit
You and I both know 90% of those people don't need an extensible Mac Pro Ghetto Edition like people are proposing here. If they ever opened up their computer, they'd probably think they broke it.
Oh really? I guess none of those customers ever have stuff put in their machines at the time they buy them... oh wait, that's Dell's entire business model.

Also, you forget that customers don't need to open up their computers themselves. They can take them in to a service center to do that. Or they can bring the machine to a friend who does know how to open up the computer. How many times have I seen this? Plenty.

If opening the box up is such a big deal, then you could at least put an ExpressCard or a plain old CardBus slot in there to give users some sort of option. Hell, the iMac's using laptop components for just about everything else anyway.

My brother has absolutely no idea how to open up a computer. That doesn't mean that he wouldn't ever have any use for the ability to add USB 2.0 to his USB 1.1 Mac it so he could use the latest iPod. It also doesn't mean that he wouldn't appreciate the ability to have someone put in a new Ethernet card for him if the built-in one failed. Not everyone has tons of dough to constantly blow on new computers.

When a new deal-breaking technology such as USB 2.0 comes out, you're absolutely 100% screwed with most of Apple's lineup today. If your Ethernet port or your USB ports fail, you have to buy a new computer. Hell, nowadays with the Mac mini and the iMac, you can't even replace the frigging hard drive without a doctorate degree in neurosurgery. Does Steve Jobs live in some magical world where hard drives never fail? I dunno, but get this. Ever notice how Apple started losing the education market to Dell shortly after the iMac came out? Well, consider this: educational institutions don't have a lot of money, and they don't like having to chuck an entire machine just because some component failed. Who has heard people at educational institutions complain about Apple's lack of expandability? I have! I also remember reading articles about this back in the early iMac days.
Originally Posted by P
Apple was stubborn about USB 2.0 a little while too long, but you have to remember that the turnaround time for adding a feature to the chipset is longer for Apple, which designed all chipsets from the ground up until quite recently. They also missed the boat on CD-RW, but remedied this with a vengance. They were very quick with both 802.11b and 802.11g, and their record is pretty decent overall.
That whole situation with USB 2.0 was basically a scam. How ridiculous to have to replace the whole machine just to get standard functionality that was standard even at the time your machine was new.

Expansion is becoming less important every day though - because of USB. I added 802.11g networking, with WPA2 and all the whistles, to my old iMac slotloader, with a USB plug. THAT is the wave of the future - using an external port to connect an external box instead of the xpansion card. Sucks with lots of boxes on your desk? Well, yes - but doesn't it suck more with a big empty box on your desk?
You can add a few things via USB, but they're limited. Plus, too many USB devices and there goes all your bandwidth. Good luck adding something like 802.11n in the future, too - it's faster than USB 2.0 is.

You could say the same thing about FireWire, but I don't see any FireWire-to-USB 2.0 adapters to let owners of older Macs use the iPod 5G.

Plus, have you considered that a tower can be put on the floor? Then you use less desk space than an AIO, not more.

Originally Posted by P
One more point: 90% of the Desktop market (if that is even true - I doubt it) is still only about 40% of the total personal computer (non-server) market. Laptops outsell desktops these days. Many of those laptops are constantly placed on someone's desk. Think it may have something to do with the "big ugly box" syndrome?
Documentation? My understanding is that while the laptop market is growing faster than the desktop market, it's still quite a bit smaller.

And no, I'd say it has more to do with portability than "big ugly box syndrome."
Originally Posted by Chuckit
Eh, the Mac Pro costs less than $2500, and I don't call it "ghetto."
So you basically think anything less than $2124 is ghetto. Okay...

Anyway, I meant a computer that includes effectively all the "pro" features of the Mac Pro at a much lower price. Round these parts, "ghetto" is slang basically meaning "cheap but inferior."
PCI slots and hard disk bays are not "pro" features. They can be found in the rest of the industry even in dirt-cheap machines. If a feature is found in a $350 piece-of-junk Dell, then it definitely is not a "pro" feature.

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Sep 5, 2006, 04:03 PM
 
Originally Posted by CharlesS
OPCI slots and hard disk bays are not "pro" features. They can be found in the rest of the industry even in dirt-cheap machines. If a feature is found in a $350 piece-of-junk Dell, then it definitely is not a "pro" feature.
In the Apple world, they are "pro" features in the sense that only the pro Macs offer them. If Apple introduces such features in inexpensive Macs it will increase downsale. That means less profits. And the stock holders don't want that. If Apple increases the price in an effort to balance the downsale effect, we have the Cube failure. Stock holders don't want that either.

There is no conspiracy. Why should Steve do something that reduces profit?

Here's the real deal: If you want a HEM, please prove that every $ lost to downsale can be compensated by increased revenue due to additional switchers. Chance are you can't. Obviously Apple's market research people couldn't either. Once they can, we'll see a HEM. Not before.
     
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Sep 5, 2006, 05:15 PM
 
Originally Posted by Simon
In the Apple world, they are "pro" features. . .
There's the problem.
     
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Sep 5, 2006, 06:12 PM
 
frankly, i don't know anyone who buys a mac who doesn't add their own memory and upgrade the HD eventually on their own. Right now, everyone that I know who's buying MBs are replacing the HDs with 120s or 160s on their own, buying external cases and putting the old HDs in there.

seriously apple kind of forces you to crack the new macpro case open or pay them ludicrous prices for additional hardware. What's the memory upgrade price? Double the market rate? 3x? it's total insanity. And their 500 gig hd's are about double market retail price.

for the cost of a HD upgrade in their laptops that gets you like 20 extra gigs, you can buy one that doubles the HD space, and you have another one left over.

Sure apple doesn't want you to open the box. LOL... they practically FORCE you to.
     
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Sep 5, 2006, 07:37 PM
 
Originally Posted by zaghahzag
seriously apple kind of forces you to crack the new macpro case open or pay them ludicrous prices for additional hardware. What's the memory upgrade price? Double the market rate?
About the same as anywhere else, last I checked.
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Sep 5, 2006, 08:23 PM
 
Originally Posted by Chuckit
About the same as anywhere else, last I checked.
It's a lot better than it used to be, I have to admit. Still, looking at upgrade price on a Mac Mini (from 512mb to 1gig), Apple charges $100, while Crucial charge a difference of $65 between the two memory sticks.

It's even worse buying from the UK store; £70 for the upgrade from Apple, or £35 difference at Crucial.

There's also hard drives; 500GB drives for the Mac Pro cost £270 from Apple... or £150 from Scan ( Computer hardware and software at amazing prices, available online from Scan Computers UK ).
     
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Sep 5, 2006, 08:42 PM
 
Originally Posted by Chuckit
Eh, the Mac Pro costs less than $2500, and I don't call it "ghetto."
I consider Apple's minimum advertising price to be the lowest standard price. The fact that the low-end configuration can be downgraded a bit is of little significance. The lowest advertised price is $2500. At worst, there should be a tower for under $2000.

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Sep 5, 2006, 09:43 PM
 
Originally Posted by CharlesS
Documentation? My understanding is that while the laptop market is growing faster than the desktop market, it's still quite a bit smaller.
Worldwide laptops overtook desktops in terms of sales dollars a few years ago, and earlier this year laptops overtook desktops in terms of units shipped. Laptops overtook desktops for units in the US last year.

Google search for links.
     
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Sep 5, 2006, 11:19 PM
 
Originally Posted by Simon
Here's the real deal: If you want a HEM, please prove that every $ lost to downsale can be compensated by increased revenue due to additional switchers. Chance are you can't. Obviously Apple's market research people couldn't either. Once they can, we'll see a HEM. Not before.
And how is anyone supposed to do that without a crystal ball? By that logic, the Mini shouldn't have been introduced, because there would have been no way to prove that it would attract more switchers than downsales. Hell, by this logic, you'd never be able to change anything at all. Just about any decision involves some degree of risk. Frankly, the customers are being gouged right now, so if there's a little "downsale" then boo hoo. Customers should not have to spend $2200 just to get PCI slots. That is simply unacceptable.

Okay, so from Apple's point of view, why would it make good business sense to make a mini-tower?

- It would get more sales (read: $$$)

- It would increase market share, which Apple keeps claiming they want to do

- More market share would mean more software applications would be developed for the Mac, which would then lead to more sales

- Having a flexible Mac model that didn't require winning the lottery to afford would help dispel the common perception that Macs are crippled, disposable toys for children, thus increasing sales

- Thanks to Boot Camp, the time is perfect to try to attract PC switchers who want to try a Mac while still retaining the option of running Windows. But you have to give them a machine they want if you want to get them to buy it

- Thanks to OS X being on Intel, if Apple doesn't give the customers what they want, they will end up hacking it to run on cheap PC boxes, thus leading to massively reduced sales

- The iPod halo and Vista delays put Apple in a prime position to grab market share now. These conditions, and thus this opportunity, won't be open forever.

- More market share means a healthier Apple

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Sep 5, 2006, 11:21 PM
 
Originally Posted by mduell
Worldwide laptops overtook desktops in terms of sales dollars a few years ago, and earlier this year laptops overtook desktops in terms of units shipped. Laptops overtook desktops for units in the US last year.

Google search for links.
According to the first link in your Google search, that's in the US only. Worldwide, desktops are still the majority, with only one in five computers sold being a laptop.

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Sep 5, 2006, 11:34 PM
 
Originally Posted by Simon
If Apple introduces such features in inexpensive Macs it will increase downsale. That means less profits. And the stock holders don't want that. If Apple increases the price in an effort to balance the downsale effect, we have the Cube failure. Stock holders don't want that either.

There is no conspiracy. Why should Steve do something that reduces profit?
I guess the primary difference between you and me, Simon, is that you believe that the company exists solely to make money, while I believe they exist to provide me with the products that I need, while making a profit in the process. You may, in fact, be right, and therein lies the fundamental problem. The fact is, though, if Apple won't offer the computer that I need, I'll wait until someone gets OSX running on standard PC hardware (virtually the same hardware that Apple uses now) and I'll buy one of those. Do I want to have to do that? Of course not. But I'm not going to let Apple tell me what computer I need. I'm going to buy whatever suits my needs as I define them. Fortunately for Apple they have an operating system that is so much better than its alternatives that they're at least guaranteed some small amount of money from me when I buy it.

We should never become so complacent and infatuated with a single company that we're willing to take anything they give us and justify it by how much profit it will earn them. Customers are far more important than stockholders.
     
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Sep 6, 2006, 03:06 AM
 
Originally Posted by ClockNova
I guess the primary difference between you and me, Simon, is that you believe that the company exists solely to make money, while I believe they exist to provide me with the products that I need, while making a profit in the process.
Look, I've said it countless times already, I'd really like a HEM and I'd certainly buy one. I'm not arguing against a HEM, I'm trying to explain why Apple didn't do one yet.

The point is, if we want to debate what Apple could offer and when, we need to think in terms of profit and not in terms of what we'd like. Apple is a business. They don't want to change the world, they want to earn money.

As a Mac user and geek I'd prefer them to try out a HEM, redo the Cube, show their implementation of a tablet Mac, do a PDA or phone, etc. As a stockholder I'm glad they're sticking to profitable markets. As long as they're doing as good as they're doing now, there's no need for experiments. For the sake of their future, I'd prefer to see them analyze markets and cater to what promises to rake in good profits rather than try to be everywhere and do everything.
( Last edited by Simon; Sep 6, 2006 at 03:25 AM. )
     
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Sep 6, 2006, 04:48 AM
 
Oh, another thought for everyone; Apple could do something a little like the "short" option from Starbucks (it's an option they don't put on the menu, but is considered by many to be better and cheaper than other drinks; more details at The mystery of the "short" cappuccino. By Tim Harford - Slate Magazine ).

While having a completely different Mac design as an option you have to know to ask for, would probably never recoup the R&D and QA costs, making further options in Mac Pro customisation available to the sort of people who are going to care enough to research, while not to most of the buying public, could help grab the sales that they might lose otherwise.

Option wise, my initial thought was just one CPU, or no HD (so you supply your own HD at cost). Thinking more about it, however, I think if Apple offered a "bare" option of no CPUs, HD, memory or graphics, it could make customers happy, and they could make a saving in construction costs to boot.

Thoughts?
     
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Sep 6, 2006, 07:31 AM
 
Originally Posted by ClockNova
Customers are far more important than stockholders.
Originally Posted by Simon
As a stockholder I'm glad they're sticking to profitable markets
Actually, there is a balance that must be maintained. Corporate executives of any public traded company have a fiduciary responsibility to shareholders of the company and must therefore make decisions that are in the best interest of their business. That doesn't mean that it is at the complete expense of customers either since the company must still create compelling products (with sufficient margins) that consumers want to buy not only to maintain profitability but to also grow the business.

A companies revenue growth perspective is always an important metric utilized by Wall Street when putting a price target on the stock and therefore, justifying that valuation (which is based on future earnings estimates). Apple's stock currently trades at 26 times next years estimated earnings and that multiple is higher than Dell's 18.2 and HP's 14.8. What this means is Apple has to show significant year over year revenue growth by earning more per each outstanding share compared to Dell or HP in order to justify the valuation given to its stock. And that challenge of meeting ever loftier expectations becomes more and more difficult to achieve each year especially in a mature market like computer hardware. The iPod does help Apple's overall growth picture somewhat but even that potential is going to taper off. Analysts who provide coverage of AAPL make their recommendations and price targets based on this and if Apple doesn't show good growth prospects from all of their market segments, the stock isn't going to go anywhere and will just trade within a range because larger institutional investors and fund managers (i.e. market movers) take their cues from those recommendations. One natural measurement of growth is market share and Apple executives have consistently mentioned during their earnings call that increasing Mac market share is an objective to growing those year over year revenues. CFO Peter Oppenheimer even offered some guidance as to how each percentage point of market share gained would translate into approximately $2 billion in revenue (see this link).

When offering that type of guidance to the financial community, Apple needs to execute in the way of compelling products and services. Increasing market share in meaningful numbers does not happen by selling into the installed base of customers. For that, they have to attract new customers and that is what the past switcher campaign and the current "I'm a PC I'm a Mac" ad campaign is for. That is only a part of the equation; the computer product line is another and those must be compelling enough to those individuals Apple is trying to capture in order to increase their market share. If Apple is truely only concerned about playing it safe within their niche and being profitable, they can do that but then they must also lay off saying they want to increase Mac market share in their financial teleconferences. This would also mean shareholders not expecting to see any sizeable return on their investment because no growth expectations means exactly that (in the tech sector).

With that said, a headless prosumer tower is more than likely a missing piece of the above in terms of covering their headless computer product line to cover a price point midway between the high end Mini and the low end Mac Pro (that comes in around the $1500 range which is the price point Conroe based systems happen to fit in). As mentioned before, comparing what Apple did in the past isn't as applicable today since back then, they were limited by the number of PowerPC processors. Intel has distinct processor/chipset families with different strengths and right now, Apple not using Conroe somewhere in their computer product line sticks out like a sore thumb. Not utilizing Conroe could also be construed as being contrary to Apple's desire to increase the Mac's market share because in order to do that, they have to compete against Dell, Gateway, HP in that specific space. Competing with a 2.33GHz T7600 iMac would get embarassingly spanked by a much cheaper 2.67GHz E6700 and peretuate the same old myths which Apple has been trying to beat down across its computer hardware offerings. While no one besides key people inside of Apple have any idea as to what they plan to do, my own take is it is probably a calculated move they are doing in not releasing anything now so that they can upsell Mac Pro's first and then concentrate on updating the rest of the lines to the Core 2 Duo (or at least the iMac and MacBook Pro first) without throwing something new into the mix and therefore, stealing attention away from those lines. Re-expanding their product matrix after those Core 2 upgrades might make more sense towards the end of the year. Such a system would not only fill an product/price point for new customers but also work as an upgrade path for mini users. Likewise though, Apple has to build this product such that it meets peoples needs and equally important, priced right so that it will sell.

Originally Posted by rnicoll
Thinking more about it, however, I think if Apple offered a "bare" option of no CPUs, HD, memory or graphics, it could make customers happy, and they could make a saving in construction costs to boot.
Just as Apple tends to like setting price points and filling them with a product (with an associated profit margin), a "bare" option is something they would also shy away from (I would personally like that myself but I can see from an operations management view how much of headache it can be in the overall scheme of things). They have to deal with inventory logistics of managing many parts that would have normally gone into those bare systems (its easier to determine components based on the number of systems being built). This is complex when you are dealing with the number of systems Apple has to build and component management would require accurate forecasting to reduce over ordering of those items. For someone like Tim Cook who likes to run a very tight (JIT) ship, I doubt they would consider this route. The savings in manufacturing costs could easily be negated by wrong forecasting of demand for bare systems versus fully configured ones. Example: Apple calculates to build x number of systems but holds off on bare systems to avoid inventory of such systems. If a large number of bare system orders come in, they now have components which would have gone into those systems as excess inventory. That excess inventory costs money not only in individual parts costs but also storage.

This is why even their current CTO is calculated and simple (despite the marketing hyperbole of "millions of configurations") compared to what you can do with a Dell or Gateway build to order where you have a large number of choices within an option. It's meant to reduce the amount of inventory required which means lower costs from an operations and logistics perspective (eg. with the Mac Pro, the only option for adding drives in the other bays is 500GB rather than dizzying array of options from 160GB-500GB).
rolling musubi gathers no nori.... (only dirt)
     
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Sep 6, 2006, 08:51 AM
 
I do not understand why Apple cannot use same Intel chips as other PC makers use and why would Mac HEM spanked by a presumable much cheaper Windows PC if they use SAME chip? And I doubt that Windows PC using same cheap can be significantly cheaper.
     
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Sep 6, 2006, 09:45 AM
 
Originally Posted by Hash
I do not understand why Apple cannot use same Intel chips as other PC makers use and why would Mac HEM spanked by a presumable much cheaper Windows PC if they use SAME chip? And I doubt that Windows PC using same cheap can be significantly cheaper.
A few reasons:
  • QA; Apple stuff "just works", which means they must be spending a lot of time and money testing their products.
  • OS X; we're talking about an OS that competes directly with Windows, but sells to a market an order of magnitude smaller, meaning the cost is less spread out.
  • Custom designed motherboard, case, PSU - and because they sell smaller runs of these, R&D cost is again less spread out.

Now; if Apple did something like licensing the Intel Core Duo design Shuttle use, adding the extra bits to make OS X run, paint it white and sell it as a Mac, that could come close to matching PC costs, but as it is, one-time costs are a major issue for them...
     
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Sep 6, 2006, 10:20 AM
 
Originally Posted by Rolling Musubi
Actually, there is a balance that must be maintained. Corporate executives of any public traded company have a fiduciary responsibility to shareholders of the company and must therefore make decisions that are in the best interest of their business. That doesn't mean that it is at the complete expense of customers either since the company must still create compelling products (with sufficient margins) that consumers want to buy not only to maintain profitability but to also grow the business.
This was the best answer (all of it) that I've heard so far, and quite possibly the most intelligent post in this thread. Thanks.

Ultimately, I'd be quite happy if Apple would just offer an option of leaving out one of those dual-core Xeon beasts. That would probably drop 3 to 400 bucks off the price right there. I do hope, however, that you're right about the possibility that they might just be waiting a little while before actually filling this gap with a machine specifically tailored for it.
     
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Sep 6, 2006, 10:43 AM
 
Thats would be great step for Apple and fits well its customer differentiation strategy. That means HEM for january 2007 release
     
 
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