Welcome to the MacNN Forums.

If this is your first visit, be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above. You may have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed. To start viewing messages, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.

You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Desktops > The missing prosumer Mac tower

The missing prosumer Mac tower (Page 8)
Thread Tools
P
Moderator
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 9, 2006, 10:09 AM
 
I think that nVidia sells those upgrade chips themselves. Yes, the firmware for supporting EFI is different, but nVidia made the firmware for the chips in the iMac today, so...

If those MXM rumors is true (have not seen it confirmed yet) it's awesome news - particularly since I have been harping on about upgradeable graphics in the iMac lately, and I love being right.
     
Mac Elite
Join Date: Apr 2001
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 9, 2006, 10:16 AM
 
I think Cube2 aka HEM aka xMac are closer to truth
     
Fresh-Faced Recruit
Join Date: Feb 2004
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 9, 2006, 08:16 PM
 
Originally Posted by P
If those MXM rumors is true (have not seen it confirmed yet) it's awesome news - particularly since I have been harping on about upgradeable graphics in the iMac lately, and I love being right.
Considering how limited 3rd party graphics cards have been for previous Power Mac's and how it currently is with the Mac Pro, it is probably a stretch to think there will actually be a retail market for user upgradeable MXM graphics. It is probably going to be a manufacturer only thing which allows build to order options as well as a replaceable/serviceable part.
     
Posting Junkie
Join Date: Dec 2000
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 9, 2006, 09:07 PM
 
Well of course the market is limited for third-party graphics cards for the Power Mac and Mac Pro. The Mac market is a tiny percentage, and the number of people who can actually afford a Mac Pro is a tiny percentage of that. Would you bother making a card for such a tiny market?

Now, if they'd release a headless Mac with upgradable PCI-E graphics, maybe that would improve a bit.

Ticking sound coming from a .pkg package? Don't let the .bom go off! Inspect it first with Pacifist. Macworld - five mice!
     
Dedicated MacNNer
Join Date: Aug 2006
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 9, 2006, 10:49 PM
 
Originally Posted by CharlesS
Well of course the market is limited for third-party graphics cards for the Power Mac and Mac Pro. The Mac market is a tiny percentage, and the number of people who can actually afford a Mac Pro is a tiny percentage of that. Would you bother making a card for such a tiny market?

Now, if they'd release a headless Mac with upgradable PCI-E graphics, maybe that would improve a bit.
yes, this is very true, the only hope is that its so easy for the vendors to support mac cards now, that they can do it for little or no cost.

I'm only slightly surprised that apple didn't make this part of the deal of switching to intel motherboards and intel procs. (of course you'd still need drivers to support the card..)
     
P
Moderator
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 10, 2006, 06:07 AM
 
Originally Posted by CharlesS
The fact that there's a huge market for previous-generation Mac towers on eBay caused by people looking for a less expensive tower shows that something is wrong with Apple's current "market research."
Corrollary: The fact that there is a huge market in used cars shows that there is something wrong with the market research of car manufacturers.

I think it's great that there is a market for used Macs. That means that you get some back from the purchase price, reducing the sting when getting that new Mac Pro. The deal for the used buyer is a little more debatable, but then they get a machine that's well-made (most Apple towers are, anyway) for a decent price.
     
P
Moderator
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 10, 2006, 06:14 AM
 
Originally Posted by Senbei
Considering how limited 3rd party graphics cards have been for previous Power Mac's and how it currently is with the Mac Pro, it is probably a stretch to think there will actually be a retail market for user upgradeable MXM graphics. It is probably going to be a manufacturer only thing which allows build to order options as well as a replaceable/serviceable part.
If there is a theoretical chance that an Apple machine can be updated, it will be. There were expansion boards for cache slot on the 7200. There were boards for the unofficial mezzanine slot in the iMac. I agree that Apple's motivation for putting it there is to allow easy factory upgrade of the GPU, but that doesn't mean that someone will sell an upgrade for it.
     
Posting Junkie
Join Date: Dec 2000
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 10, 2006, 01:33 PM
 
Originally Posted by P
Corrollary: The fact that there is a huge market in used cars shows that there is something wrong with the market research of car manufacturers.

I think it's great that there is a market for used Macs. That means that you get some back from the purchase price, reducing the sting when getting that new Mac Pro. The deal for the used buyer is a little more debatable, but then they get a machine that's well-made (most Apple towers are, anyway) for a decent price.
It's bad for Apple when it means that everyone is buying used Macs on eBay instead of buying new ones for Apple, which equals no sale for Apple.

It's also bad for the consumers, because it means they still get that huge, heavy, bulky case when all they needed was a hard drive bay and an open PCI-E slot.

Ticking sound coming from a .pkg package? Don't let the .bom go off! Inspect it first with Pacifist. Macworld - five mice!
     
Dedicated MacNNer
Join Date: Aug 2006
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 10, 2006, 02:25 PM
 
yeah i have no doubt that people will at the least figure out how to flash pc graphics cards for use in the mac. There was already one report of a guy using a 7600nvidia in a mac, but he couldn't boot from it.. he had to have another card in there for some reason.

the new towers make flashing a lot easier because you can easily put multiple graphics cards in there.
     
mduell  (op)
Posting Junkie
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Houston, TX
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 10, 2006, 06:24 PM
 
Even with MXM, there are still two big hurdles:

1) No one sells retail MXM cards

2) Macs still need special video card firmwares

One problem (soldered in) solved, two remain.
     
P
Moderator
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 11, 2006, 05:25 AM
 
Originally Posted by CharlesS
It's bad for Apple when it means that everyone is buying used Macs on eBay instead of buying new ones for Apple, which equals no sale for Apple.

It's also bad for the consumers, because it means they still get that huge, heavy, bulky case when all they needed was a hard drive bay and an open PCI-E slot.
The upside for Apple is that they sell more of their high-margin towers. I'm not saying that it is alltogether good for them, but it's not alltogether bad either.
     
P
Moderator
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 11, 2006, 05:28 AM
 
Originally Posted by mduell
Even with MXM, there are still two big hurdles:

1) No one sells retail MXM cards

2) Macs still need special video card firmwares

One problem (soldered in) solved, two remain.
I'm not saying that it's easy, but there are people out there who make a very good living upgrading non-upgradeable iMacs - by resoldering the CPU or replacing the entire motherboard, if need be. Don't you think they will offer upgrade kits eventually?
     
Mac Elite
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Seattle
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 12, 2006, 12:48 AM
 
Originally Posted by Simon
Gavin, I agree with you.
But exactly because we don't have deep inside knowledge here, I object to this attitude that there's some kind of "Steve conspiracy" that makes Apple only want to sell stuff nobody allegedly wants to buy and that Steve gets a kick out of not catering the gamer market, etc. That's nonsense. I believe there is no such conspiracy. I believe Apple is a business and does what it does for one sole reason: profit. I believe stock holders want Apple to behave that way and as a (small) stock holder I agree. I believe in order to guess future Apple products we need to ask ourselves what Apple expects will generate most profit rather than ask what we as geeks would like. That's all.
OK, fair enough.

But just because some cool aid drinkers support our Theoretical Niche Machine doesn't mean it's not a good idea.

Furthermore, just because it does not appear in the current apple products line up does not prove it unprofitable or a bad business decision.

Here's something funny: just today I saw a Dell commercial that basically ripped on lack of customization and premium pricing in other companies machines- clearly aimed at apple. And exploiting a hole that Fantasy Box would fill.
You can take the dude out of So Cal, but you can't take the dude outta the dude, dude!
     
Mac Elite
Join Date: Apr 2001
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 12, 2006, 07:41 AM
 
Originally Posted by P
The upside for Apple is that they sell more of their high-margin towers. I'm not saying that it is alltogether good for them, but it's not alltogether bad either.
When I am reading this.. I think isn't it why PC users think that Mac market sucks so much. When there is no competition, there is always excessive pricing. Its also a reason Macs could not become mainstay computer and it is exactly the ill logic which led to Mac share demise in 80-90s. Profit margins first, market base second - thats why Apple is left with 3% market share, thanks to "margin strategists" like P and Simon
     
Posting Junkie
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: in front of my Mac
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 12, 2006, 08:09 AM
 
Hash, why are you trying to make this issue personal?

It is not the 'P and Simon strategy', it's Apple's. P and Simon (and others for that matter) were merely trying to explain why Apple might follow such a strategy.

Steve doesn't give you what you want. Learn to live with it. But don't think for one second you can take it out on others here. It's not our fault you can't deal with disappointment.

And just for the record, Mercedes would be glad to have 3% market share.
     
Mac Elite
Join Date: Apr 2001
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 12, 2006, 11:12 AM
 
Nothing personal, Simon, and I don't go bombastic over posts as some do (not you ). I just want Apple to think more of customers and less of profit margins, though deep inside I know I am too romantic. Its a way business is done and there is nothing we can do. Still, Apple is a great company and I want it to have more market share and have great and not so costly products everyone could afford. Mercedes is a fine allegory, but majority of people do not ride Mercedes and still they have job done. Apple could be a Mercedes of computer world and have affordable and nice machines like those which lured me first to Mac world: LC 630 and BW G3, two macs I owned (and still own). LC 630 was a cheap machine which I bought as a poor graduate student and I wrote my Master's thesis on it. When I had more money, I bought BW G3 later and I wrote my Ph.D thesis on it. Macs helped me in life and I love Macs, but now it seems that except mini, there is simply no Mac desktop which is not a workstation (excluding wasteful iMacs). I do not understand the logic behind Apple, though I tried hard; and no explanation is enough good for me to believe, I simply see no reasons.

Macs are way too personal for me. 10 years ago when I was a struggling graduate student trying to earn some money, I worked on Macs as a freelance illustrator and you will not believe me but on LC 630 I was drawing professional quality illustrations for CE manuals using Illustrator 7 and Photoshop 4 and Aldus Pagemaker. I mean, this 33 mhz no-FPU little desktop Mac with 15 inch CRT display and 12 mb of RAM with 350 mb of hard drive space let me work and earn money. It used a System 7.5.3 and I used Aaron shareware to make it Copland-like. I used this machine to play Marathon and play Bubble trouble.

G3 BW was a like speed monster for me after LC630. I am still great fan of Unreal Tournament and I still play it online because it was the game which power of G3 and Radeon made possible. And it wasn't the most powerful desktop - it had 6 gb of hard space and 64 mb of RAM to which I later added 128 stick to make it 192 (difference like day and night!) during OS 8.6; later I added more RAM to total 768; I added 3 hard drives; I exchanged the CD drive to combo drive; I added Radeon 7000 and USB2 card and IDE PCI card - and of course G4 CPU overclocked to 650 mhz from 550. My mac now has Tiger installed and still makes my life brighter and better off.

And I wish there were such a machine today. Simple, not so costly, affordable, easy to expand. Isn't it too much to ask? I have now 2 PC notebooks, 2 PC computers which are way more powerful than BW and still BW mac is a best machine I ever used.

This was designed and sold in 1999 - when many people thought Apple was oomed. Now Apple is in great shape, has billions in bank accounts, is a major media force, has dominant positions in mp3 business and so on. Apple is a so much profitable now.

Why not to release a simple desktop for simple needs for simple people. I do not need the sheer force of current Mac Pro. Give me my Mac, a modern LC 630, a modern BW G3 - and not only to me but to all current struggling graduate students Thats my dream
     
Dedicated MacNNer
Join Date: Aug 2006
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 12, 2006, 11:49 AM
 
hash, you are not alone

i think we all want this. I think apple will produce this. there is such a huge gap right now between mini and pro, it's just begging to be filled.

apple's marketshare has been going up like crazy this year and they'd be daft to not push it as hard as they can. I think we'll see them sacrifice their desktop profits for marketshare.

woot!! APPLE STORE IS DOWN!! Maybe we get our cube2 right now!! W00T!
     
Mac Elite
Join Date: Apr 2001
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 12, 2006, 12:59 PM
 
thanks for support. WE believe and WE THINK DIFFERENT!
     
P
Moderator
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 12, 2006, 04:06 PM
 
Cube2? No. Well, new iPods ain't so bad...

Hash:

First up, let me reiterate that I don't necessarily agree with Apple's strategy. I do understand it, but I'm kind of split on if it's a good thing or not. When Apple moved to the current strategy with the return of Jobs, I thought it was bad. A few years later, it was obvious that Jobs did the right thing, because Apple wasn't going broke anymore. On a scale from 1 to 10, 10 being good, Apple going broke is a 1. Apple having a 3% market share (or whatever it is) is maybe a 3 or a 4. Where it gets a little fuzzy is if Apple is strong enough today to take the chance of trying to gain market share. I think they might be, but since I was wrong back in '98, I'll trust Jobs to do the right thing this time. He's earned it.

Second: That LC 630 is an interesting example, so let's take a look at it. It's not a tower, it's a rather small desktop of the type that is hardly seen anymore. Apple could make one of those today, by taking the iMac motherboard and putting it in a white box. It would let you upgrade the HDs and optical drives. With the current motherboard, there are no PCIe slots, but with a rather small amount of engineering, Apple could fix that. Would that satisfy you? Say that it was a future iMac with a Conroe instead - better?

It will be a box on your desk - white and shiny, sure, but still... a box. And no convection cooling either, so a big fan in your face. It will actually look a lot like an Xbox 360, come to think of it. Even if you like it, consider who would buy it. You? Fine, but you'd buy a Mac anyhow. Maybe you'd grumble, but you're sold on it. Someone who knows about computer and want to try a Mac gets the cheapest possible - the Mac mini. Someone who knows nothing thinks the display comes with the computer anyway, so they think it's a good idea to integrate it - the iMac.

No, the people who buy that desktop are you, zaghahzag and people who would otherwise buy a tower. Those last are people would spend less on Apple now than they do today.

That G3 B&W is a different beast. It's a tower much like the Mac Pro, but at $1600. Apple has sold towers at that pricepoint before, several times, but the pricepoint of the cheapest tower has slowly crept upwards. Right now the floor of Mac Pro is higher than ever, the way Apple is overcharging for the low-end Woodcrests. However, if you're willing to tinker a bit, you can get the price down to $1600 or thereabouts:

* Buy a Mac Pro, default configuration (2.66 GHz CPUs).
* Crack it open and remove the two CPUs.
* Sell the CPUs on eBay. I don't know what the running price for a barely-used CPU is, but Newegg sells them new at $729.
* Buy one new 1.6 GHz Xeon 5110. Newegg has them at $269. 2500-(2*729)+269=1311.

The Mac Pro runs with one CPU, according to Anandtech, but if you want Quad-core you can buy another of those Xeons and still stay under the $1600 you bought your B&W G3 for. Satisfied?

Oh, and btw: you can reuse the display with an iMac. You plug it in into the back of the iMac and span. Believe me when I say that that is worth the cost of the extra display (in the iMac).
     
Mac Elite
Join Date: Apr 2001
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 13, 2006, 12:21 AM
 
P, any LC type (now they are more vertical rather than pizza like) with limited but possible expansion is welcome. Yes, it would look like Xbox360, so what, Apple can design something outstanding.

You see
Mini - not expandable
LC type - limited expansion
mac Pro - full expansion

And there are customers for each price point as witnessed by the fact that mini ATX (LC type or Shuffle type) computers actually are big hit among PC consumers due to their small sizes yet full (though limited) power and expansion possibilities. And we are not talking about 500-600$ desktops, Shuffles are quite expensive too.

Now about your way to reduce price of mac pro - This is not the solution to price reduction - its a joke. You can do it, surely, but thats not the solution.
     
P
Moderator
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 13, 2006, 06:41 AM
 
I'm sure you'd buy it, but the only other people who will are people who would otherwise buy another Mac, one with a higher margin for Apple. That's bad business.

I did the "selling the CPUs" calculation for my own amusement, to see how low I could make it go, but it proves the point that a machine at the B&W G3 price point is very doable today, with the same margins that Apple is getting on the other Mac Pros. Don't really know why they won't do it - maybe so there aren't a lot of slow Mac Pros out there, to dilute a young brand.

Anyway: If what you're looking for is a $1600 tower, then that's a different discussion than the LC one. The LC one won't happen because it messes up the margins. The $1600 tower doesn't, so I'm not sure why it doesn't exist. Let me think on that one a bit...
     
Posting Junkie
Join Date: Dec 2000
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 13, 2006, 07:00 AM
 
Originally Posted by P
I'm sure you'd buy it, but the only other people who will are people who would otherwise buy another Mac, one with a higher margin for Apple. That's bad business.
The obvious flaw in that argument is assuming that the people who'd buy the proposed machine would otherwise want to buy a Mac at all. I propose that a few diehards with too much money for their own good would otherwise buy a Mac Pro, whereas the majority of the market for this machine, not being rich, would otherwise just go and buy a Dell. Hell, maybe they'll hack OS X to run on it.

Not delivering the machine that most of your desktop customers want, forcing them to go to the competitors - now that's bad business.

Ticking sound coming from a .pkg package? Don't let the .bom go off! Inspect it first with Pacifist. Macworld - five mice!
     
Dedicated MacNNer
Join Date: Aug 2006
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 13, 2006, 10:57 AM
 
apple makes a lot of money now selling software. marketshare should be their mantra..

the mac market has been such an unhealthy place for software vendors. a big uptick in their market share will get a lot of software written for the platform.
     
Mac Enthusiast
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Monterrey, Mexico
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 13, 2006, 01:10 PM
 
I thought Apple wasn't coming with a prosumer tower.. but since iMacs are using Meroms instead of Conroes there is definetly room for Apple to use the latter. My reasoning is that there is a marked performance difference between Merom, Conroe and Woodcrest. Merom's right now is underpeforming because of the bandwith constraints (will change next year). IMHO there has to be something from Apple using Conroe.
     
P
Moderator
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 13, 2006, 01:42 PM
 
Originally Posted by CharlesS
The obvious flaw in that argument is assuming that the people who'd buy the proposed machine would otherwise want to buy a Mac at all. I propose that a few diehards with too much money for their own good would otherwise buy a Mac Pro, whereas the majority of the market for this machine, not being rich, would otherwise just go and buy a Dell. Hell, maybe they'll hack OS X to run on it.

Not delivering the machine that most of your desktop customers want, forcing them to go to the competitors - now that's bad business.
I don't think that the majority of Apple's desktop customers want an xMac. I think they want an iMac, and that's what they've got. A large number of people in forums want one, but that's different.

So what do the people who'd rather want an xMac get? Usually an iMac. What you're arguing is that a significant portion of people who would rather buy a Mac are now buying a Dell or a whitebox or whatever because there is no tower at their pricepoint - that they rather get a Dell than an iMac? I'm sorry, I just can't belive that.

Let's do another little example here. Let's take the regular iMac 17" - not the cheapo one, but the regular one with the X1600. Let's say that you remove the LCD and the tiny speakers - that would be a price cut of maybe $150. Now you have a $1050 box - is that what you want? If so, is the LCD really a deal breaker? It's a gorgeous display, and you can span with another if you already have one.

Is it the PCIe expansion that you're reallly after? OK, so maybe Apple could add that slot in without increasing the cost beyond those $1050. Let's also say that one of the sides comes clean off - you can muck about as you wish in it. Is THAT your dream box? Now you've made a machine that is very similar to the Mac Pro at 40% of its price. Not expandable enough? Then it's more of a cheapo Mac Pro that you're after, like the $1600 tower I sketched out in anther post.

The more we argue here, the less I understand what this fabled xMac is really about. If it's the return of the $1600 tower, then maybe I can understand that. Apple could still make them, if they wanted to, but stopped for a reason. Apple makes computers for pricepoints, so they don't expect their customers to pay $2200 now if they paid $1600 last time. The only reason that I can see for Apple killing it off is increased competition from ever more capable iMacs. Hey, buy some Apple stock and go ask Jobs at the next shareholders conference - maybe he'll tell you.

If it's the other, the LC successor that's really just an iMac with a PCIe slot and no display, then Apple's margins simply can't support such a machine. Sorry. If you increase the price to protect the Mac Pro margins, none of the intended customers will buy it (because the iMac will be the same price, with a display built-in). Keep the margins at iMac level, and you'd cannibalize the Mac Pro.
     
Mac Elite
Join Date: Apr 2001
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 13, 2006, 01:48 PM
 
P, I am telling I have 2 LCD and 2 CRT monitors already, give me that 1000$ mac, period, I do not need bloody gorgeous monitor.. I would tell a very simple thing: it is headless middle tower, for god's sake, do not overcomplicate things, please. If Apple cannot deliver such thing, well, any even tiniest PC vendor can. Probably I can live with XP on it, I already use it in office and its bearable.
     
Posting Junkie
Join Date: Dec 2000
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 13, 2006, 02:01 PM
 
Originally Posted by P
So what do the people who'd rather want an xMac get? Usually an iMac. What you're arguing is that a significant portion of people who would rather buy a Mac are now buying a Dell or a whitebox or whatever because there is no tower at their pricepoint - that they rather get a Dell than an iMac? I'm sorry, I just can't belive that.
People who are used to the expansion you can get on the PC side will just keep on buying PCs if Apple won't provide them what they want. And they do. Part of why Apple lost the OS wars was because of their non-expandability - the original IBM PC may have been a piece of crap in many ways, but it was very expandable.

Let's do another little example here. Let's take the regular iMac 17" - not the cheapo one, but the regular one with the X1600. Let's say that you remove the LCD and the tiny speakers - that would be a price cut of maybe $150. Now you have a $1050 box - is that what you want? If so, is the LCD really a deal breaker? It's a gorgeous display, and you can span with another if you already have one.

Is it the PCIe expansion that you're reallly after? OK, so maybe Apple could add that slot in without increasing the cost beyond those $1050. Let's also say that one of the sides comes clean off - you can muck about as you wish in it. Is THAT your dream box? Now you've made a machine that is very similar to the Mac Pro at 40% of its price. Not expandable enough? Then it's more of a cheapo Mac Pro that you're after, like the $1600 tower I sketched out in anther post.
It's very close. What I'd like to see would be to have two PCI-E slots rather than one - one for the graphics card, and one for whatever else you may need that Apple didn't think of such as eSATA, a pro audio card (the reason that the uni lab I used to work at had to keep a few of their Power Mac G4s around when they replaced most of the lab with iMacs), or whatever. There should also be a second hard disk bay. Some people want a second optical bay as well - this would be nice, but I'll take what I can get at this point. So in summary:

Mini-Tower:

Single Conroe processor
Regular RAM, 2-4 RAM slots
2 PCI-E slots, one for graphics, one open
1 open hard disk bay
1 open optical bay (maybe)
Small, unobtrusive case

vs. Mac Pro:

Dual Woodcrest processor
Expensive FB-DIMMS, 8 slots
4 PCI-E slots, one double-wide
3 open hard disk bays
1 open optical bay
Huge, honking, power-sucking monster case

I think there's enough differentiation there.

Ticking sound coming from a .pkg package? Don't let the .bom go off! Inspect it first with Pacifist. Macworld - five mice!
     
Dedicated MacNNer
Join Date: Aug 2006
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 13, 2006, 02:49 PM
 
There is such a huge space for apple to sell another machine that it hurts. You guys who keep talking about margins, are just making crap up. The analysis of the situation is so complicated and open ended that you can argue for anything.

i can argue that the sales of an xmac would easily increase apple's margins due to higher add-ons with lower cost machines, more actual hardware sales and more software sales down the line.

Don't forget every new potential mac owner is another potential OSX sale a year from now. That's a high margin activity. I've bought 2 OSes for my cube since i've had it.

whenever I ask people about imacs, they say they'd rather have a monitor and an expandable box. Just give us the choice. And the macpro isn't a choice - its extortion, and complete overkill for normal prosumer usage.
     
P
Moderator
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 13, 2006, 05:22 PM
 
So OK, an iMac with one extra PCIe slot and an open HD bay. Put the optical bay on the side with a slotlaoder in there, like the iMac, and you could have a second HD in the case (you can in the 20" iMac as well, btw...). Sure, a nice machine. And it would totally kill Mac Pro sales. Maybe there'd be one top-of-the-line model left, but that's it. What sort of price were you expecting?

XPS 210 Product Details

Dell has something very similar - I speced it to $1034, but with a rather anemic X1300 GPU. My madeup $1050 sounds pretty decent.

zaghahzag: We're not completely making stuff up about the margins. If you read some economist articles about Apple, you can see some margin reasoning there. Possibly THEY are making it up, but no more than they usually do.

Apple has to pay for the OS X development with something. A large part of that something is Mac Pro sales. Along with healthy margins on eveything else, but... Have you seen what a basic Core Duo laptop costs? I looked around, and the Macbook was the cheapest one around at the time. Apple prices each new product according to the machines it will compete with, so the LC-successor above will probably be $1050 or thereabouts. There is really no margin on that - no money to pay for the OS X development - which is why they aren't doing it.
     
Dedicated MacNNer
Join Date: Aug 2006
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 13, 2006, 06:49 PM
 
i just don't get the margin arguments.. you sell a mini with lower margins and a lower price, but won't just put it into a slightly bigger box, because it kills your margins? I just don't understand.

this thread has really two discussions going on:
1. whether apple will ever release an xmac.
2. what that xmac would be and how much people want it.

I think that at least in this community there is a very vocal group supporting #2 and #1 is just a matter of the economics of the situation, and as has been pointed out before, nobody knows what those would be exactly (including apple).

As a guy who was involved in mac software dev back in teh day, i can only say that the software dev community was crushed by the mid and late 90s and it has a chance for a real resurgence if apple manages to get its market share up to 10-15%.

It's kind of a momentum thing. If apple can convince people that macs are going to be really a major market segment, then they'll invest money in software for the platform. otherwise, they won't (which is the situation we've had for the last 10 years).
     
Forum Regular
Join Date: Aug 2004
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 13, 2006, 07:25 PM
 
Originally Posted by zaghahzag
i just don't get the margin arguments.. you sell a mini with lower margins and a lower price, but won't just put it into a slightly bigger box, because it kills your margins? I just don't understand.
I think the argument is about margins *and* cannibalization of sales.

The mini probably didn't take sales away from any other product. Anecdotal evidence supports this for me. My gf purchased a mini. It was the mini or continuing to use an aging laptop. At work we buy minis for people who want macs. Previously we told them they had to use windows unless they could really justify the mac. Now we give people a choice of platform.

A "Mac" would seem to take away sales from Mac pros. Again anecdotally, if I had the option between a mac pro and a "mac" that was identical to the iMac except a) PCIe graphics and b) no monitor I would not have purchased a Mac pro. As it is, I bought a more expensive machine and even caved on a high margin ram upgrade from apple instead of going third party.

The graphics card (and to some extent the ability to drive multiple screens) is currently the most critical upgrade in a mac. Apple knows it drives Pro machine sales. It is a major point of differentiation. People buy pros for aperture and final cut so they can get the *best* core image performance. A "mac" could very possibly hurt those sales. And what would they gain? People who want a graphics card for gaming? As much as it sucks to say it, most of those people are going to stick with the PC because windows is a much more appealing platform for that.

-Xy
MacPro (2.66, 4GB, 4x250GB, X1900+7300, 2x Dell 2005fpw, Samsung LNT4061)
MacBook Pro (2.2, 2GB, 120GB)
     
Dedicated MacNNer
Join Date: Aug 2006
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 13, 2006, 08:10 PM
 
Originally Posted by Xyrrus
most of those people are going to stick with the PC because windows is a much more appealing platform for that.

-Xy
boot camp

xy, you make some very good points. Again, i think we can go back and forth about margins and such. There are a lot different ways to look at it. In your case, you could afford the extra payout, but that's not always and option. And I think we can all agree that for low-level computer use, minis are great.
     
Posting Junkie
Join Date: Dec 2000
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 13, 2006, 09:02 PM
 
Originally Posted by P
So OK, an iMac with one extra PCIe slot and an open HD bay. Put the optical bay on the side with a slotlaoder in there, like the iMac, and you could have a second HD in the case (you can in the 20" iMac as well, btw...). Sure, a nice machine. And it would totally kill Mac Pro sales. Maybe there'd be one top-of-the-line model left, but that's it. What sort of price were you expecting?
Oh, FFS.

1. For years and years and years and years, Apple had towers priced less than $2200. Hell, as recently as 2004, they had a Power Mac G4 for $1299, and that thing was a lot closer to the Power Mac G5 in expandability (being a former high-end tower) than the proposed mini-tower would be to the Mac Pro. Did it "totally kill" the Power Mac G5? Apparently not.

2. Only one top-of-the-line model left? You mean pretty much like it is right now? I dunno when was the last time you checked the Apple Store, but right now there's only one Mac Pro model right now - any other configurations only result from BTO tweaking - and that model is top-of-the-line pretty much by definition, considering both its price and its placement in the desktop lineup.

3. Might some people who would have bought Mac Pros buy this instead? Maybe. But those are sales that the Mac Pro didn't deserve anyway. Faced with the current situation, I say that for every person who caves and buys a Mac Pro when what he really wants is the proposed mini-tower, there are going to be 10 who either a) get a Dell instead, b) get a used tower on eBay instead, or c) stick it out with their current machine a while longer. You seem to think that PCI slots and expansion are super high-end top-of-the-line features. They're not. You can find them in the cheapest $350 piece of crap Dells. The reason to buy a Mac Pro over a mini-tower is because you need more performance. Those who need quad-core will get the Mac Pro, not those who just want a desktop with basic desktop functionality. It's like requiring car buyers to get the most expensive Mercedes on the market just to get locks or power windows. The current situation is an absolute joke, and everyone knows it.

XPS 210 Product Details

Dell has something very similar - I speced it to $1034, but with a rather anemic X1300 GPU. My madeup $1050 sounds pretty decent.
So it does. Either would be fine. Anemic GPU? Who cares? As long as there's a PCI-E slot to upgrade it, they can use whatever GPU they please. Hell, they could leave the slot empty and use integrated graphics by default, as long as users can stick a good GPU in there.

Apple has to pay for the OS X development with something. A large part of that something is Mac Pro sales. Along with healthy margins on eveything else, but... Have you seen what a basic Core Duo laptop costs? I looked around, and the Macbook was the cheapest one around at the time. Apple prices each new product according to the machines it will compete with, so the LC-successor above will probably be $1050 or thereabouts. There is really no margin on that - no money to pay for the OS X development - which is why they aren't doing it.
So sell the LC-successor for $1150 instead of $1050. Maybe even $1250 if you please. There's $100 or $200 extra of pure profit, and people will still buy it because it'll be one hell of a lot cheaper (as well as smaller, lighter, less obtrusive, and less power-hungry) than the ridiculous Mac Pro.

Ticking sound coming from a .pkg package? Don't let the .bom go off! Inspect it first with Pacifist. Macworld - five mice!
     
Posting Junkie
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: in front of my Mac
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 14, 2006, 03:00 AM
 
A $1050 Mac sounds great to buyers, but would a $4.95 Mac. Irrelevant.

If you want to understand Apple's line-up you have to consider that they're now selling $2124 MPs and $1199/$1499 iMacs to people who would otherwise buy the $1050 HEM. So what is Apple's incentive to sell a cheaper Mac? Some say market share. But nobody here is able to prove that every lost dollar due to reduced margin will be made up by increased sales. And obviously if that would actually be the case Apple would have probably already started selling one now.

IOW, although a vocal group here believes increased sales will make up for lost margins, Steve obviously doesn't. If you want a HEM, you should start convincing him.
     
Posting Junkie
Join Date: Dec 2000
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 14, 2006, 03:08 AM
 
Originally Posted by Simon
If you want to understand Apple's line-up you have to consider that they're now selling $2124 MPs and $1199/$1499 iMacs to people who would otherwise buy the $1050 HEM. So what is Apple's incentive to sell a cheaper Mac? Some say market share. But nobody here is able to prove that every lost dollar due to reduced margin will be made up by increased sales. And obviously if that would actually be the case Apple would have probably already started selling one now.
Well, that reasoning is the reason that Bill Gates is the richest man in the world instead of Steve Jobs.

Plus, if you think it's possible to "prove" how well anything's going to sell, you're an idiot. By your "prove it" mindset, Apple should never have started as a company in the first place. How could Jobs and Wozniak "prove" that the profits made from Apple Computer, Inc. would be greater than the time and money they put into starting the business? Everything involves risk. The payoff in this case is the Mac's continued viability as a platform. Don't you think that's worth risking a little bit of your margin for?

BTW, I just said they can have a larger margin on the mid-tower as well.

Ticking sound coming from a .pkg package? Don't let the .bom go off! Inspect it first with Pacifist. Macworld - five mice!
     
Posting Junkie
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: in front of my Mac
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 14, 2006, 03:44 AM
 
How about you drop the name calling and adjust the tone. There's no need to be snotty here. Let's just have a peaceful discussion.

You can replace 'prove' with 'convince'. Obviously Apple isn't convinced that the lost revenue can be made up by potentially increased sales. You believe otherwise. But unless Apple is convinced, your belief will not make a HEM happen. Just as it's true you can't 'prove' future sales numbers, belief is for church, not business.

And regarding larger margin: Again, even if it's a $1250 HEM, why would Apple rather sell that than a $1499 iMac or $2124 MP? The point is, Apple likely knows that at the price they would have to sell a HEM to prevent considerable downsell, it would no longer be attractive. Not attractive compared to the iMac and certainly not compared to Dell.
     
Posting Junkie
Join Date: Dec 2000
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 14, 2006, 05:04 AM
 
Originally Posted by Simon
How about you drop the name calling and adjust the tone. There's no need to be snotty here. Let's just have a peaceful discussion.
Well, that "prove it" BS was just obnoxious, and I'm pretty sure I'd already called you on it once or twice in this thread.

And regarding larger margin: Again, even if it's a $1250 HEM, why would Apple rather sell that than a $1499 iMac or $2124 MP?
Well, I'm sure that Apple would rather sell a $10,000 machine if they could get away with it. The thing is, most people don't want to buy a $10,000 machine. Guess what, most people don't want to buy a $2200 machine either. That used to be a normal price for a machine back in the day, but nowadays people will just go buy a Dell, and Apple gains no market share. If Apple wants to get serious about market share, they have to pull themselves out of the 1980s mentality that they seem to be stuck in with regards to their desktop lineup. Times change - you have to change with them, or be left behind.

Regarding the iMac price, you based that $1050 one of the price of the iMac, remember? I jacked the price up $200 and downgraded the video card. Now factor in that the ultra-thin case design of the iMac and all the laptop components it uses are more expensive than the equivalent components in the mini-tower, and this baby should have way higher margins than the iMac.

And of course there's the fact that there's a whole legion of desktop users out there that don't want a built-in monitor. You'd pick up a bunch of these guys, who wouldn't have bought iMacs anyway, by introducing a mini-tower...

Ticking sound coming from a .pkg package? Don't let the .bom go off! Inspect it first with Pacifist. Macworld - five mice!
     
P
Moderator
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 14, 2006, 11:57 AM
 
Originally Posted by CharlesS
Oh, FFS.

1. For years and years and years and years, Apple had towers priced less than $2200. Hell, as recently as 2004, they had a Power Mac G4 for $1299, and that thing was a lot closer to the Power Mac G5 in expandability (being a former high-end tower) than the proposed mini-tower would be to the Mac Pro. Did it "totally kill" the Power Mac G5? Apparently not.
No, it didn't. But a Powermac G4 was WAY slower than a G5 - a Conroe xMac would be slightly slower than the Mac Pro, but not significantly. Why Apple stopped making the $1600 tower? Don't know. I guessed at it above (competition from the iMac) but there must have been some reason. A $1600 Tower is not the LC successor, though - I tried to separate them.

(I don't understand what FFS means, btw)

Originally Posted by CharlesS
2. Only one top-of-the-line model left? You mean pretty much like it is right now? I dunno when was the last time you checked the Apple Store, but right now there's only one Mac Pro model right now - any other configurations only result from BTO tweaking - and that model is top-of-the-line pretty much by definition, considering both its price and its placement in the desktop lineup.
Yeah OK, there is only one predesigned model left. Let me rephrase that - the Mac Pro would be shoved even further into the high-end/low volume segment and might even disappear. A quite significant amount of design time goes into developing each model - that money also has to be recuperated from the ever shrinking number of Mac Pro sales.


Originally Posted by CharlesS
3. Might some people who would have bought Mac Pros buy this instead? Maybe. But those are sales that the Mac Pro didn't deserve anyway.
Of course they are! BUT THOSE SALES ARE KEEPING APPLE IN THE BLACK!

Originally Posted by CharlesS
Faced with the current situation, I say that for every person who caves and buys a Mac Pro when what he really wants is the proposed mini-tower, there are going to be 10 who either a) get a Dell instead, b) get a used tower on eBay instead, or c) stick it out with their current machine a while longer.
I seriously doubt a and we discussed b above (there is some advantage to Apple in that). c is a fact - Mac users upgrade less often - but then Apple gest to sell some high margin OS X udpates instead.

Originally Posted by CharlesS
You seem to think that PCI slots and expansion are super high-end top-of-the-line features. They're not. You can find them in the cheapest $350 piece of crap Dells. The reason to buy a Mac Pro over a mini-tower is because you need more performance. Those who need quad-core will get the Mac Pro, not those who just want a desktop with basic desktop functionality. It's like requiring car buyers to get the most expensive Mercedes on the market just to get locks or power windows. The current situation is an absolute joke, and everyone knows it.
I'm explaining Apple's reasoning. I am not defending it.

I don't think we're getting anywhere here. Apple is increasing its sales of the expensive Mac Pros by holding back certain features that are common on the PC side to those models - fact. This risks alienating some customers, who now don't have their favourite model. By doing this, Apple's gain is (extra number of Mac Pro sales)*(increased margin from Mac Pro over proposed minitower)-(minitower margin)*(number of lost sales). Apple is betting that that number is positive. You don't have to like it, but that's the way it is in monopolies and dictatorships. Call it the cost of being a Mac user. The benefits of it pretty much amount to pretty computers and Mac OS X. You decide if it's worth it to you. It's worth it to me - I can game on other machines as required and external HDs aren't that big of a hassle.

Originally Posted by CharlesS

(The Dell example)

So it does. Either would be fine. Anemic GPU? Who cares? As long as there's a PCI-E slot to upgrade it, they can use whatever GPU they please. Hell, they could leave the slot empty and use integrated graphics by default, as long as users can stick a good GPU in there.
Anemic because it wasn't a fair comparison to the X1600 in the iMac.

Originally Posted by CharlesS
So sell the LC-successor for $1150 instead of $1050. Maybe even $1250 if you please. There's $100 or $200 extra of pure profit, and people will still buy it because it'll be one hell of a lot cheaper (as well as smaller, lighter, less obtrusive, and less power-hungry) than the ridiculous Mac Pro.
Yes, sell it at $1250. You'd buy it, everyone else in this forum who has been complaining about it will buy it and I might even buy it myself - it woudl look nice next to the TV. Everyone else will save $50 and get a gorgeous screen in the deal. Except of course the Mac Pro owners, who now buy this new LC tower instead. Now pray that those $200 you added make the margin on the LC tower the same as the Mac Pro margin. I doubt they do.

I just don't think that there is a pricepoint where the machine is competetive compared to the iMac and still doesn't cut into Apple's Mac Pro margins. If you think there is, please tell me this: Why did Apple stop making $1600 towers?
     
P
Moderator
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 14, 2006, 12:01 PM
 
Originally Posted by CharlesS
Regarding the iMac price, you based that $1050 one of the price of the iMac, remember? I jacked the price up $200 and downgraded the video card. Now factor in that the ultra-thin case design of the iMac and all the laptop components it uses are more expensive than the equivalent components in the mini-tower, and this baby should have way higher margins than the iMac.
I priced the LC Tower, not Simon - and yes, you get to have a higher margin than the iMac, but that doesn't matter. To avoid losing money on the deal, you have to have a margin similar to the Mac Pro. Hence the price of the Cube, hence the $1600 tower.
     
Professional Poster
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Los Angeles of the East
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 14, 2006, 12:23 PM
 
the second apple releases this 'prosumer' mac...all i see are the same people who asked for it, bashing it because its not perfectly tailored to them (what a pos, only two usb ports" or "it costs too much, im going to make a pc box for $200 instead" or "cant support so n so graphic cards").

like ive stated before, it'd be great if apple released such a machine...but im 99% sure theyre not gonna. i mean why would they only want to sell you the internals when they could sell you a monitor along with it and make more cash to boot...just doesnt make sense unless they were to price this xMac at a cool $1600+ to make up for sales theyd lose on either the imac or mac pro.
NOW YOU SEE ME! 2.4 MBP and 2.0 MBP (running ubuntu)
     
Posting Junkie
Join Date: Dec 2000
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 14, 2006, 01:34 PM
 
Originally Posted by P
No, it didn't. But a Powermac G4 was WAY slower than a G5 - a Conroe xMac would be slightly slower than the Mac Pro, but not significantly. Why Apple stopped making the $1600 tower? Don't know. I guessed at it above (competition from the iMac) but there must have been some reason. A $1600 Tower is not the LC successor, though - I tried to separate them.
A Conroe tower would be only dual core, vs. quad-core for the Mac Pro. It wouldn't have the faster RAM, it wouldn't have four HD bays, it wouldn't have four PCI-E slots. The people who actually need those things would buy the Mac Pro. Also, the people that simply must have the best even if they don't actually need it will buy the Mac Pro. On the PC side, these things seem to sell a bunch even though PC manufacturers don't cripple all non-insanely powerful machines. You can get expandability in a $350 box from Dell, but people still buy Alienware and the like.

Yeah OK, there is only one predesigned model left. Let me rephrase that - the Mac Pro would be shoved even further into the high-end/low volume segment and might even disappear. A quite significant amount of design time goes into developing each model - that money also has to be recuperated from the ever shrinking number of Mac Pro sales.


The Mac Pro won't disappear. You act as though Apple's never done this before. Look, through most of Apple's history, they've had some sort of consumer machine. You keep referring to the LC - look at the LC and Performa lines. They were affordable (for their time), and they always included some sort of PDS or PCI slot. Did Apple manage to keep on selling Mac IIfxs, Quadras, and Power Macs? Yup.

Hell, during the clone era, there were some sub-$1000 expandable machines out there. The high-end was still profitable - remember why Apple killed the clones? Not because they were making cheap low-end machines, but because they didn't stick to the low-end like they were supposed to, and instead started competing with Apple in the high-end market.

Of course they are! BUT THOSE SALES ARE KEEPING APPLE IN THE BLACK!
x 2

Sure, the iPod, the iMac, and the notebook line have nothing to do with it. Look, Apple's been doing pretty well since around 1998, and it's not been due to the pro towers. The Power Mac G4 was a pretty poor seller except for very early on in its lifetime, because frankly, it was a poor performer. It was basically the proposed mini-tower, at pro tower prices. Later on the G5 came out, and it was a better performer, but it became so damn expensive no one could afford them. Yet Apple not only got itself out of debt during that time, but amassed billions of dollars in savings. Again, the G4 went for $1299 in 2004, yes I knew people who got those because they couldn't afford the G5s, and no Apple was not hurting for cash at that time. Today, also, the Mac Pro is not a huge seller for that same reason - most people can't afford them. Look at Apple's current desktop sales - they're not good. Where Apple's doing well with the Mac lineup is in notebooks.

With a cheaper tower out, the Mac Pro would still get plenty of sales. It would get them in the market it's actually aimed at. People who actually need a workstation-class machine would buy a Mac Pro without hesitation. But forcing users who just want a desktop machine to buy a full-blown workstation is nothing less than extortion. And as the fantastically wealthy do not comprise a large segment of the population, I would contend that the percentage of users who would buy a Mac Pro when they just needed a mini-tower (and thus the sales that you're so concerned about "losing") would be vanishingly small. Most of those customers would just avoid Apple due to their ridiculous pricing scheme. You could get those guys back just by introducing a reasonable tower.

Originally Posted by P
Originally Posted by CharlesS
Faced with the current situation, I say that for every person who caves and buys a Mac Pro when what he really wants is the proposed mini-tower, there are going to be 10 who either a) get a Dell instead, b) get a used tower on eBay instead, or c) stick it out with their current machine a while longer.
I seriously doubt a and we discussed b above (there is some advantage to Apple in that). c is a fact - Mac users upgrade less often - but then Apple gest to sell some high margin OS X udpates instead.
You seriously doubt a? That one is an undeniable fact. I see a all the freaking time, in users who switch to Dell because a Mac is too expensive, in PC users who claim they're waiting for Apple to release a decently-priced tower so they can switch, in common wisdom that I always hear from people on the street and from idiot sales reps in stores which says Apple is three times more expensive than an equivalent PC (it's sort of true, if you're talking about expandable desktops). Charging $2200 for what are standard features in the rest of the industry, even in $350 crapboxes, has made Apple a laughingstock in the desktop market, and if they would wake up and fix this, they would get a lot more sales.

Hell, how many people on these very boards have a PC around? I'll bet a fair number of them. And this is a Mac board.

And I fail to see any advantage to Apple in b. You think it's the end of the world if a small number of users buy a machine with slightly lower margins instead of the Mac Pro, but you think it's just peachy if at least that many buy a used Mac on eBay and Apple makes $0?

I'm explaining Apple's reasoning. I am not defending it.
You most certainly are defending it.

Yes, sell it at $1250. You'd buy it,
Actually, I'd buy a notebook. I'm arguing this because I want my favorite platform to do well. I already pointed that out back when people were saying "you're just whining because Apple doesn't make the machine YOU want" - it's not true.

everyone else in this forum who has been complaining about it will buy it and I might even buy it myself - it woudl look nice next to the TV. Everyone else will save $50 and get a gorgeous screen in the deal. Except of course the Mac Pro owners, who now buy this new LC tower instead. Now pray that those $200 you added make the margin on the LC tower the same as the Mac Pro margin. I doubt they do.
1. Pro users will still buy the Mac Pro

2. The margins don't have to be the same as the Mac Pro - this thing will sell way more units than the Mac Pro ever dreamed of

3. Don't worry, there's still plenty of opportunity to rape the customer on price with a mini-tower. Look at those Apple Cinema Displays - $700 for a 20-inch widescreen when 20" widescreen from ViewSonic is $330, an NEC is $380, and Dell is $375. Plus, now you can sell the mini-tower customers things like extra hard disks, graphics cards, various other PCI cards, and whatnot, and they can do their usual mark-it-up-to-2x-or-3x-the-price on them and have really huge margins on that stuff.

I just don't think that there is a pricepoint where the machine is competetive compared to the iMac and still doesn't cut into Apple's Mac Pro margins. If you think there is, please tell me this: Why did Apple stop making $1600 towers?
To paraphrase Steve Jobs, well, they're getting a little greedy.
( Last edited by CharlesS; Sep 14, 2006 at 03:43 PM. )

Ticking sound coming from a .pkg package? Don't let the .bom go off! Inspect it first with Pacifist. Macworld - five mice!
     
Posting Junkie
Join Date: Dec 2000
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 14, 2006, 01:34 PM
 
Originally Posted by P
I priced the LC Tower, not Simon - and yes, you get to have a higher margin than the iMac, but that doesn't matter. To avoid losing money on the deal, you have to have a margin similar to the Mac Pro. Hence the price of the Cube, hence the $1600 tower.
Whoops, my mistake. Sorry about that.

Ticking sound coming from a .pkg package? Don't let the .bom go off! Inspect it first with Pacifist. Macworld - five mice!
     
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: San Diego, CA, USA
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 14, 2006, 03:02 PM
 
Originally Posted by CharlesS
If Apple wants to get serious about market share
Does anything indicate to you that they do?
Chuck
___
"Instead of either 'multi-talented' or 'multitalented' use 'bisexual'."
     
Posting Junkie
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: in front of my Mac
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 14, 2006, 03:25 PM
 
Originally Posted by CharlesS
Whoops, my mistake. Sorry about that.
That wasn't your only mistake. You wrongly quoted me instead of P above.

CharlesS, instead of being snotty and condescending to others who happen to disagree with you, you would rather carefully read what is posted and think before you hit the reply button and start your next attack.

You yourself are BTW the best example why Apple is right on with their strategy. You write pages and pages about how the HEM is necessary, how the iMac is insufficient for so many and yet you yourself bought an iMac. Why didn't you get a Dell? Apple got more profit from you than they would have with a HEM. Apple played you. And they won. I'd say that's a fine example of why they know what they're doing.
     
Posting Junkie
Join Date: Dec 2000
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 14, 2006, 03:49 PM
 
Originally Posted by Chuckit
Does anything indicate to you that they do?
The fact that they keep bringing up market share to their stockholders?

Originally Posted by Simon
That wasn't your only mistake. You wrongly quoted me instead of P above.
Whoops, sorry. Fixed.

CharlesS, instead of being snotty and condescending to others who happen to disagree with you, you would rather carefully read what is posted and think before you hit the reply button and start your next attack.
Okay, irony coming up...

You yourself are BTW the best example why Apple is right on with their strategy. You write pages and pages about how the HEM is necessary, how the iMac is insufficient for so many and yet you yourself bought an iMac. Why didn't you get a Dell? Apple got more profit from you than they would have with a HEM. Apple played you. And they won. I'd say that's a fine example of why they know what they're doing.
I got an iMac because the iBook and PowerBook both had a G4 at the time and the G4 sucked. If the laptops had been anywhere near as close in performance to the iMac then as they are now, there's no way I would have bought an iMac - portability is a good thing.

Since I just said that I wouldn't be in the market for a mini-tower and that my next machine will be a laptop, you should have been able to figure that out. But I guess you would rather just hit the reply button and start an attack...

Ticking sound coming from a .pkg package? Don't let the .bom go off! Inspect it first with Pacifist. Macworld - five mice!
     
P
Moderator
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 14, 2006, 04:19 PM
 
Originally Posted by CharlesS
A Conroe tower would be only dual core, vs. quad-core for the Mac Pro. It wouldn't have the faster RAM, it wouldn't have four HD bays, it wouldn't have four PCI-E slots. The people who actually need those things would buy the Mac Pro. Also, the people that simply must have the best even if they don't actually need it will buy the Mac Pro. On the PC side, these things seem to sell a bunch even though PC manufacturers don't cripple all non-insanely powerful machines. You can get expandability in a $350 box from Dell, but people still buy Alienware and the like.
Conroe is only two cores, true, but the ROI on more cores is rather bad. Many apps aren't that well threaded. A Conroe with a 1066 MHZ FSB and 800 MHZ DDR II would usually not be starved for memory bandwidth, and it would have BETTER memory latency by about 45%. A Conroe minitowe is good enough for most Mac Pro users, so they'd buy it. A $350 POS is not good enough, but then that's not what you're proposing.

Alienware sells decently to a very specific group: gamers. The Mac gamer market isn't exactly large. If you want to see what sort of sales figure the Mac Pro would get without this artificial lockdown, look at the sales figures for Dell's highend workstations with Xeons + the people who the best, because there are always those.


Originally Posted by CharlesS


The Mac Pro won't disappear. You act as though Apple's never done this before. Look, through most of Apple's history, they've had some sort of consumer machine. You keep referring to the LC - look at the LC and Performa lines. They were affordable (for their time), and they always included some sort of PDS or PCI slot. Did Apple manage to keep on selling Mac IIfxs, Quadras, and Power Macs? Yup.

Hell, during the clone era, there were some sub-$1000 expandable machines out there. The high-end was still profitable - remember why Apple killed the clones? Not because they were making cheap low-end machines, but because they didn't stick to the low-end like they were supposed to, and instead started competing with Apple in the high-end market.
Yeah, those weren't crippled... The LC was a 16 MHz 68020 (still 16 bit external bus) with one non-standard LC PDS expansion slot, compared to the IIfx with a 40 MHz 68030, 6 standard Nubus slots. The LC PDS may have had some graphics boards, but they were very few - network boards were plenty, but that was it. Some of the later models had multiple special slots - one LC PDS, one Communications Slot, one video in, etc - to avoid the standard slots. In general Apple kept the standard slots - Nubus and PCI - out of the LC/Performa models until the 6400s. Yes, there were exceptions - the 6100, the original 600, maybe some more - but Apple kept expansion in its consumer models very limited. The HDs were replaceable - if you knew how to use a screwdriver - but then they are today as well. Extra bays were very uncommon (exceptions are the same as above, more or less).

Only with the 6400 did Apple include industry standard PCI slots - to face the clones - but by then Apple was leaking money. Those machines DID steal business from the Powermacs, and Apple lost even more money. Apple did exactly what you are proposing they do now, and that caused exactly the cannibalization and deterioration of margins we talked about above!

Originally Posted by CharlesS
x 2

Sure, the iPod, the iMac, and the notebook line have nothing to do with it. Look, Apple's been doing pretty well since around 1998, and it's not been due to the pro towers. The Power Mac G4 was a pretty poor seller except for very early on in its lifetime, because frankly, it was a poor performer. It was basically the proposed mini-tower, at pro tower prices. Later on the G5 came out, and it was a better performer, but it became so damn expensive no one could afford them. Yet Apple not only got itself out of debt during that time, but amassed billions of dollars in savings. Again, the G4 went for $1299 in 2004, yes I knew people who got those because they couldn't afford the G5s, and no Apple was not hurting for cash at that time. Today, also, the Mac Pro is not a huge seller for that same reason - most people can't afford them. Look at Apple's current desktop sales - they're not good. Where Apple's doing well with the Mac lineup is in notebooks.
Look at what a Macbooks costs. Look at what a comparable Wintel laptop costs - almost exactly the same. Apple getting discoutns from Intel? Maybe, but so is Dell. Apple's margins on those laptops are no higher than PC makers get on their laptops, and they don't have a complete OS development to support. iMac margins are probably decent, but not more than that.

If Apple could make a low-end tower and find some way to protect its high-end Mac Pro business from it, then it could make money on them. The G4s weren't really a threat to G5s, so Apple didn't lose sales of G5s for making them. They were sold to a different market - Apple had successfully segmented the market, in marketing speech. Dropping to two cores, removing two slots and an extra bay is not enough to do that segmentation again. If Apple should decide to do that, they will either have to keep the margins on those Conroes as high as the Mac Pros - not impossible, considering the price difference between Woodcrest and Conroe - or grow marketshare enough to compensate. The analysis in Cupertino is apparently that a minitower isn't enough to grow marketshare by itself. It's probably right.

Originally Posted by CharlesS
With a cheaper tower out, the Mac Pro would still get plenty of sales. It would get them in the market it's actually aimed at. People who actually need a workstation-class machine would buy a Mac Pro without hesitation. But forcing users who just want a desktop machine to buy a full-blown workstation is nothing less than extortion. And as the fantastically wealthy do not comprise a large segment of the population, I would contend that the percentage of users who would buy a Mac Pro when they just needed a mini-tower (and thus the sales that you're so concerned about "losing") would be vanishingly small. Most of those customers would just avoid Apple due to their ridiculous pricing scheme. You could get those guys back just by introducing a reasonable tower.
Oh, Apple isn't selling very many Mac Pros to consumers who'd rather like a minitower. They're selling them to businesses (in areas where the Mac is a major platform, like print media and webdesign and whatnot) who are buyying the minimum need to get the job done. Those are the sales that Apple would otherwise lose to the minitower. The iMac is sufficently different (usually) that they don't consider it, although that is changing.

Originally Posted by CharlesS
You seriously doubt a? That one is an undeniable fact.
Some, yes. 10 times the number of Mac Pro sales Apple would lose to a minitower, no.

Originally Posted by CharlesS
I see a all the freaking time, in users who switch to Dell because a Mac is too expensive, in PC users who claim they're waiting for Apple to release a decently-priced tower so they can switch, in common wisdom that I always hear from people on the street and from idiot sales reps in stores which says Apple is three times more expensive than an equivalent PC (it's sort of true, if you're talking about expandable desktops). Charging $2200 for what are standard features in the rest of the industry, even in $350 crapboxes, has made Apple a laughingstock in the desktop market, and if they would wake up and fix this, they would get a lot more sales. Look at Apple's marketshare - less than 5%. That means 95% are going somewhere else.
If you're sold on a Mac, you'll get a Mac even if you can't get a tower. If you want to try one out, you get a Mac mini. The reasons for getting a tower are getting less and less every year. It wasn't long ago that external HDs were expensive. Now, with USB 2.0, they're barely more expensive than internal ones, and a lot more convenient at times. eSATA will only accelerate that. Any PC includes almost everything on the motherboard - the days when everyone had to get network, sound etc on a seperate add-on board are long gone. Of course there are always new things coming - eSATA above - that you might want to add in the future, but that's a inconvenience (to have to use USB 2.0) not a dealbreaker (like having no sound).

Apple isn't selling a traditional desktop because thery belive that there is no way that they will make money on it.

Originally Posted by CharlesS
Hell, how many people on these very boards have a PC around? I'll bet a fair number of them. And this is a Mac board.
I do. It was free, and I barely use it, but so what? You hardly get a PC because your Mac can't hold another HD.

Originally Posted by CharlesS
And I fail to see any advantage to Apple in b. You think it's the end of the world if a small number of users buy a machine with slightly lower margins instead of the Mac Pro, but you think it's just peachy if at least that many buy a used Mac on eBay and Apple makes $0?
It's not the end of the world if a small number buys them, it's the end of the world if a lot of them buy them. The used Mac sales also aren't all bad for Apple.

Would you buy a new car for $30'000 if you were going to total it in four years? No, because no way would your economy permit that every four years. But you calculate that you won't total it, but rather sell it at a good price in four years and get a new one. Your cost is (old price) - (new price). The second guy in turn does the same, and so on. Now, the car manufacturer could instead sell 6 cars at $5'000 and make the same amount of money, but he'd have a lower margin in that price. Thus, the used car market is good for the car manufacturer.

Originally Posted by CharlesS
You most certainly are defending it.
I'm explaining the reasoning behind it. Hey, I'd love for Apple to have 20% market share and be able to support such a low-margin product. I also think that to get to those 20%, a product similar to what you are producing is probably inevitable at some point. The problem is the chicken-and-egg thing - how to get to those 20%. You can't support the product without it, and you probably can't get to 20% without the product. The mid-nineties Apple took the chance and some losses, and almost died doing it. The Steve Apple is playing it safe. Nothing would make me more pleased than to see Jobs put Ballmer in his crosshairs on stage (like that Michael Dell picture) and say that it was 20% or bust, and that they could take losses for a whil to get there, but I don't think he will because the chance is too small that he will succeed. To succeed, he needs some bigger magnet to the Mac market than just that minitower.

Originally Posted by CharlesS
Actually, I'd buy a notebook. I'm arguing this because I want my favorite platform to do well. I already pointed that out back when people were saying "you're just whining because Apple doesn't make the machine YOU want" - it's not true.

1. Pro users will still buy the Mac Pro
Some of them. Not all.

Originally Posted by CharlesS
2. The margins don't have to be the same as the Mac Pro - this thing will sell way more units than the Mac Pro ever dreamed of
You hope. You don't KNOW that. It's a risk, and one Apple isn't taking - for now.

Originally Posted by CharlesS
3. Don't worry, there's still plenty of opportunity to rape the customer on price with a mini-tower. Look at those Apple Cinema Displays - $700 for a 20-inch widescreen when 20" widescreen from ViewSonic is $330, an NEC is $380, and Dell is $375. Plus, now you can sell the mini-tower customers things like extra hard disks, graphics cards, various other PCI cards, and whatnot, and they can do their usual mark-it-up-to-2x-or-3x-the-price on them and have really huge margins on that stuff.
Do you really buy a minitower instead of an iMac to upgrade it with APPLE stuff? Sure, the displays are a joke, but one a lot of people are making - look at Sony's flatscreen TVs. I doubt Apple would sell very many HDs if you could get the same thing from the guy next door at half the price. Customers aren't that stupid. Most of the Cinema displays are sold together with new Macs, because it's convenient.

Originally Posted by CharlesS
(on the lack of a $1600 tower)
To paraphrase Steve Jobs, well, they're getting a little greedy.
You think that the $1600 tower was that much lower margin than the mid-range Powermac? Look at the price curve on those Woodcrests - the parts cost more at the top-of-the-line. No, I think the iMac cannibalized it, because not everyone is thinking like you.
     
Professional Poster
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Los Angeles of the East
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 14, 2006, 04:31 PM
 
ultimate irony...apple sells a prosumer mac with a mandatory acd purchase along side it starting at $2300 (20" lcd) all the way up to $4000 (30" lcd). then id really have a good laugh for the "huge" amount of people who absolutely positively need an upgradeable pci slot.
NOW YOU SEE ME! 2.4 MBP and 2.0 MBP (running ubuntu)
     
Posting Junkie
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: in front of my Mac
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 14, 2006, 04:36 PM
 
Originally Posted by CharlesS
But I guess you would rather just hit the reply button and start an attack...
Nice try - once again, personal stabs instead of reasoning. Actually P and I are not attacking at all. We're trying to explain why Apple has done what they are doing. And instead of taking it for what it is some people decide to attack us for this "moronic strategy" - you included. Understanding a strategy and agreeing with it are two different things.

If you think Steve's strategy sucks, convince him of your plan. As I said, I'd love to buy a HEM. Problem is, Apple is doing better than ever so you're probably on rather thin ice.
     
Posting Junkie
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: in front of my Mac
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 14, 2006, 04:38 PM
 
Originally Posted by iREZ
ultimate irony...apple sells a prosumer mac with a mandatory acd purchase along side it starting at $2300 (20" lcd) all the way up to $4000 (30" lcd). then id really have a good laugh for the "huge" amount of people who absolutely positively need an upgradeable pci slot.
That is indeed another consideration Apple has to make. When they sell a HEM they're likely losing a screen sale. More money lost to competition. The iMac solves that problem rather nicely.
     
Posting Junkie
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: in front of my Mac
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 14, 2006, 04:42 PM
 
Originally Posted by P
Only with the 6400 did Apple include industry standard PCI slots - to face the clones - but by then Apple was leaking money. Those machines DID steal business from the Powermacs, and Apple lost even more money. Apple did exactly what you are proposing they do now, and that caused exactly the cannibalization and deterioration of margins we talked about above!
It's good you mention this again.

The only time Apple followed the "CharlesS plan" is with the 6400/6500 models. They sold them under the pressure of the clone manufacturers. It's a well known fact that in that era, not only did Apple lose market share and money, they almost went out of business.

Now Apple is selling inexpensive minis, sexy iMacs and big iron Mac Pros and they're raking in boatloads of cash. CharlesS, what was it that they're doing so wrong again?
     
 
Thread Tools
Forum Links
Forum Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts
BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On
Top
Privacy Policy
All times are GMT -4. The time now is 10:38 AM.
All contents of these forums © 1995-2015 MacNN. All rights reserved.
Branding + Design: www.gesamtbild.com
vBulletin v.3.8.8 © 2000-2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd., Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO 3.3.2