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What would you like to see in an Apple business workstation? (Page 3)
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Nov 27, 2008, 03:12 PM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
By the way, did you notice that if you slap $500 extra profit onto those $899 you came up with we have a $1399 xMac?
Remove the display and add $200 to the price, and you'd call that better value?

Originally Posted by Simon View Post
Do you have any idea how many people would love a 2.4 GHz headless xMac for $1399?
No, and neither do you. You've just heard of others on forums like this say that it would be nice. That does not translate into potential customers - people who discuss stuff on the Internet are not representative of the general computer-buying public. In fact, Apple already has two thirds of the market over $1000, so any significant market share gains there are unlikely.

Originally Posted by Simon View Post
The bottom line is that $2200 for a midrange home or office computer is outrageous by today's standards. Apple's answer to that has so far been a limited selection of mobile computers (some in non-portable cases).
A strategy that has grown their market cap by a factor of about 60, before the recent downturn, and still by a factor of about 30.

Originally Posted by Simon View Post
Like it or not, the product has to convince the competitor's customers if you want to expand.
Except that the competitors aren't selling minitowers over $1000. The third of the market that is non-Apple has a bunch of high-end laptops in it, and the rest is likely gaming rigs.

And I ask again: What about the single-CPU G5 PM disqualifies it from being an xMac? And please ignore the MP, I just want that old G5 PM. It can't be price, because you just suggested $1500 as a price range. It can't be performance, because it was almost exactly identical to the mid iMac at the time. You've alluded to the box - is that really all? Put that stuff in a Performa 6400 box and you're happy?
     
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Nov 28, 2008, 05:33 AM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
Remove the display and add $200 to the price, and you'd call that better value?
You see P, that's what this all boils down to. You don't think that's better value and I'm fine with that. But I know several people that would think that's better value. Not everybody thinks alike. They'd rather have an easily accessible case, two slots, and no built in screen. And if it has OS X on it, they'd actually even pay more for it. It's not about what you or I want most, it's about the amount of choice. We have not yet reached the point where all computers are sleek little netbooks with huge amounts of performance that do all we want. There are still many different form factors that are preferred by different people for different tasks. My argument is that Apple is deliberately leaving a bunch of people out that are actually willing to spend real money on computers. Now of course you could argue is Apple doing fine (and of course that is true) but I would answer that exactly because they're in a strong position now is the time to try new things. Opening up in the midrange desktop area would be one such move. Netbooks, tablets, etc. are other ideas.

No, and neither do you. You've just heard of others on forums like this say that it would be nice. That does not translate into potential customers - people who discuss stuff on the Internet are not representative of the general computer-buying public. In fact, Apple already has two thirds of the market over $1000, so any significant market share gains there are unlikely.
Fact is nobody knows unless Apple tries it. I think now would be a great time to do so. You think they should just take what they have and call it a day. I disagree.

Also, you are mixing market share with profit. I they expand their market share above $1k form 66% to "only" 70% but in the process their profits go up why would I as a stock holder not want that? If Apple can make more money I'm all for it. And I couldn't care less about Steve's personal issues with headless computers if the bottom line is more profit.

And I ask again: What about the single-CPU G5 PM disqualifies it from being an xMac? And please ignore the MP, I just want that old G5 PM. It can't be price, because you just suggested $1500 as a price range. It can't be performance, because it was almost exactly identical to the mid iMac at the time. You've alluded to the box - is that really all? Put that stuff in a Performa 6400 box and you're happy?
How can you honstly compare these situations? At the time Apple wasn't using Intel with its three distinctive lines. They were using IBM which meant the notebooks were a full generation behind, the iMac used the same CPU and chipset as the PM, component costs were pretty much fixed and Apple had just pushed a new CPU generation to the iMac. There were few compatible PCI cards available. The iMac was basically a slot-less and bay-less PM with a screen. That is an ENTIRELY different situation than what we have today. The iMac today is a MBP, not a non-expandable PM w/o a screen. The MP uses an entirely different CPU and chipset. A lot of PCI cards work in Macs. Intel has inexpensive components that are geared directly at the xMac and Apple can't use them because they have designed themselves into the anorexic corner.

So really, I don't know which purpose the PM G5 discussion serves. My guess is you want to point out that Apple had one, that it served as an xMac (which of course it didn't) and that they canned it, so end of story. My position on that hasn't changed: the hardware has changed to Intel, the components Apple uses in its various lines have shifted, the lines themselves have actually shifted, and Mac market penetration has improved. I cannot see how you want to draw any conclusions regarding an xMac today from the old PM G5.

But I'll take it from another angle to demonstrate how this won't work. If you suggest pulling off the same stunt now with the MP, we'd see an expensive chipset in an expensive and huge case. How should Apple sell that around $1500 and still make 30% margin? It's simply not possible. That's why such a box would never work as an xMac (apart form the fact that that's not really what xmac people are asking for). What would actually work has been detailed several posts ago by myself and others. That box has nothing to do with a PM G5 in a 6400 case, so I really don't know what you are trying to get at.

[BTW, are we just entertaining the two of us here, or is anybody else still reading? ]
     
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Nov 28, 2008, 07:44 AM
 
I'm still here. . . .

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Nov 28, 2008, 09:01 AM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
I'm still here. . . .


Thanks, I was worried for a while there.
     
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Nov 28, 2008, 11:49 AM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
Y My argument is that Apple is deliberately leaving a bunch of people out that are actually willing to spend real money on computers.
Certainly they are. You argue that there are lots of them - I argue that the number is small enough that they shouldn't bother. The equation comes down to if:

(number of people who'd buy an xMac)*(xMac margin)-(number of cannibalized MP buyers)*(MP margin)-(number of cannibalized iMac buyers)*(iMac margin)

is large enough that Apple should bother. The equation can also be written as (given xMac margin = MP margin):

(number of new Mac users due to an xMac)*(xMac margin)+(number of iMac to xMac upgrades)*(xMac margin -iMac margin)

However you write it, I think the number is small. People buy a Mac because they'd like a break with the confusing Wintel world. I could very well consider an xMac upgrade myself, but I'm the guy everyone in the office asks for buying advice on computers and home electronics.

Originally Posted by Simon View Post
<PM G5>
How can you honstly compare these situations?
It's an iMac performance Mac with an iMac level price.

Originally Posted by Simon View Post
At the time Apple wasn't using Intel with its three distinctive lines. They were using IBM which meant the notebooks were a full generation behind, the iMac used the same CPU and chipset as the PM, component costs were pretty much fixed and Apple had just pushed a new CPU generation to the iMac. There were few compatible PCI cards available. The iMac was basically a slot-less and bay-less PM with a screen. That is an ENTIRELY different situation than what we have today.
Of course it's an entirely different situation, but that old box filled the xMac space in the sense that you couldn't launch an xMac next to it. The only reason to do so would be to save on production costs by making an investment in a new case, and that would only serve to save Apple margin. But this would not increase the performance or lower the price of the box, so any such box would sell about the same as the single-CPU G5.

Originally Posted by Simon View Post
The iMac today is a MBP, not a non-expandable PM w/o a screen. The MP uses an entirely different CPU and chipset. A lot of PCI cards work in Macs. Intel has inexpensive components that are geared directly at the xMac and Apple can't use them because they have designed themselves into the anorexic corner.
And why should the price of those components bother you? A box with iMac performance and iMac price was the call, if it runs on fairy dust doesn't really matter. I'm saying there was such a box, and it didn't sell.

Originally Posted by Simon View Post
So really, I don't know which purpose the PM G5 discussion serves. My guess is you want to point out that Apple had one, that it served as an xMac (which of course it didn't) and that they canned it, so end of story. My position on that hasn't changed: the hardware has changed to Intel, the components Apple uses in its various lines have shifted, the lines themselves have actually shifted, and Mac market penetration has improved. I cannot see how you want to draw any conclusions regarding an xMac today from the old PM G5.
Because that's how Apple thinks: They find a market and try to design the best possible product for it. The best possible product they could design (within a reasonable budget) for the xMac market back in 2004 was the single CPU PM G5. It did not sell - hence, the market was too small. You're saying that Apple should give it a shot - I'm saying they did. The PM G5 was a trial balloon, and it failed.

Originally Posted by Simon View Post
But I'll take it from another angle to demonstrate how this won't work. If you suggest pulling off the same stunt now with the MP, we'd see an expensive chipset in an expensive and huge case. How should Apple sell that around $1500 and still make 30% margin? It's simply not possible.
Obviously. If Apple were to design the best possible machine for that market today, they'd have to do something else - my guess is to use the same box but a different motherboard. A new box is probably more of an investment than what they're likely to make for a market they don't really think is there.

Originally Posted by Simon View Post
[BTW, are we just entertaining the two of us here, or is anybody else still reading? ]
The number of views at the time of posting this is 1295. If it's 1296 when you post yours, then...yeah.
     
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Nov 28, 2008, 12:10 PM
 
OK, so I think we're converging. Slowly, but still...

Originally Posted by P View Post
Certainly they are. You argue that there are lots of them - I argue that the number is small enough that they shouldn't bother.
Good. So let's just agree to disagree on that one.

It's an iMac performance Mac with an iMac level price.
I agree with that part. Thing is, that's not what we'd see today if they did it again. We'd see better performance in a box that would cost Apple less to make. So either the box would be cheaper than the iMac or it would drive more margin for Apple. Actually, it might even do both.

And why should the price of those components bother you? A box with iMac performance and iMac price was the call, if it runs on fairy dust doesn't really matter. I'm saying there was such a box, and it didn't sell.
And that's what I asked you to back up several times already. I haven't ever seen sales numbers for those boxes and I doubt they're publicly available. What I'm saying is that w/o those numbers we don't know why Apple stopped selling the box. Even with the numbers we wouldn't know exactly. For all we know they could have canned it because to sold too well. That's actually my guess. It was an expensive box sold at a decent price. It was very likely driving low margins. If it cannibalized just one PM sale it was likely reducing Apple's earnings. But this all doesn't really matter. The boundary conditions have changed so much since then, we can't extrapolate. A Wolfdale/Bearlake xMac would be an entirely different machine flanked by two entirely different products than the situation you are comparing with.

Because that's how Apple thinks: They find a market and try to design the best possible product for it. The best possible product they could design (within a reasonable budget) for the xMac market back in 2004 was the single CPU PM G5. It did not sell - hence, the market was too small. You're saying that Apple should give it a shot - I'm saying they did. The PM G5 was a trial balloon, and it failed.
As I just wrote above, the situation has changed entirely. To me that's like saying Icarus was a test case for flying and since he failed the Wright Brothers should just have played poker instead. Back in the day Apple demonstrated that bulding an expensive product and selling it low is a bad idea. Now they have the chance to build an inexpensive product and sell it high. In addition the iMac to MP performance ratio is by far poorer than it was back in the day. The present situation is much more xMac friendly than it was.

The number of views at the time of posting this is 1295. If it's 1296 when you post yours, then...yeah.
Umm yeah, 1299 now. Looks like there aren't a whole lot of people left. Oh well, as long as we have fun.
     
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Nov 28, 2008, 01:47 PM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
BTW, are we just entertaining the two of us here, or is anybody else still reading?
Yup, still lurking. I simply have not changed my already-stated opinion that

• Once graphics are in the mix "light" needs are no longer light, and the existing MP tower design is excellent. Hopefully Apple will just keep down the price points, no xMac needed.

• It is about sound business analysis, not one person's (Steve's) whim.

• IMO an xMac would (a) cheapen the brand and (b) cannibalize sales of more profitable Macs just to play into a very low-margin market segment (very low-margin potential market segment if you prefer).


Originally Posted by Simon View Post
The boundary conditions have changed so much since then, we can't extrapolate.
Agreed, we have a new mix. Where we disagree is on the consequences of that new mix.

Originally Posted by Simon View Post
Now they have the chance to build an inexpensive product and sell it high. In addition the iMac to MP performance ratio is by far poorer than it was back in the day. The present situation is much more xMac friendly than it was.
The "iMac to MP performance ratio may be poorer" today, but that is a meaningless point. The point is what can a box do for users, and all of today's base CPUs are so strong that product mixing changes. iMacs and Macbook Pros can do almost anything a MP can do - - until one gets to needing multiple internal hard drives, graphics-pro-type displays, highest end graphics cards and the benefits of 8 GB RAM and above.

An xMac that allowed users to meet needs of multiple internal hard drives, graphics-pro-type displays, highest end graphics cards and the benefits of added RAM would unequivocally cannibalize profitable MP sales. For Apple to divert dollar and engineering resources to developing such a box would be a mistake. A much smarter approach is to keep the iMac line strong and offer a lower end MP within the existing case.

Note too that used 2006 MPs like mine fill the market point that an xMac would fit into quite well, and that overall the market space an xMac would address is shrinking relative to growth in the market shares of laptops and iMacs. IMO it makes more sense for Apple to direct scarce development resources at laptops, new products and iMacs rather than at a new mini-tower.

Of course chip efficiency improvement might at some point make a smaller tower size logical; that is an opportunity for MP case redesign when the time comes, not an xMac.

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Nov 30, 2008, 01:52 PM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post

<PM G5 didn't sell>

And that's what I asked you to back up several times already. I haven't ever seen sales numbers for those boxes and I doubt they're publicly available.
What's available is the total PM G5 sales numbers, and they did not go up.

Originally Posted by Simon View Post
What I'm saying is that w/o those numbers we don't know why Apple stopped selling the box. Even with the numbers we wouldn't know exactly. For all we know they could have canned it because to sold too well. That's actually my guess.
Fair enough - except I've never met anyone that has one, nor spoken to them on a forum like this one (that I know of). iMac G5 owners, on the other hand, are all around the place.

Besides, that would prove that the market was there. If they can make such a box today, at lower cost, why wouldn't they?

Originally Posted by Simon View Post
But this all doesn't really matter. The boundary conditions have changed so much since then, we can't extrapolate. A Wolfdale/Bearlake xMac would be an entirely different machine flanked by two entirely different products than the situation you are comparing with.
Yes, I can agree with that. And another trial balloon might be let off one of those days, but for it to pass, it would have to cost a bit less than the comparable iMac, and at that price, it's eating margins.

Originally Posted by Simon View Post
As I just wrote above, the situation has changed entirely. To me that's like saying Icarus was a test case for flying and since he failed the Wright Brothers should just have played poker instead. Back in the day Apple demonstrated that bulding an expensive product and selling it low is a bad idea. Now they have the chance to build an inexpensive product and sell it high. In addition the iMac to MP performance ratio is by far poorer than it was back in the day. The present situation is much more xMac friendly than it was.
It might be. It's no no-brainer that it will work this time.

My position in this debate was only ever to explain why the xMac isn't here today. I'm going to quote myself a bit here:

That last line sums up this entire debate: There isn't a business reasoning why they CAN'T. They don't WANT to do it, and there is no solid business reasoning why they SHOULD.
Your reasoning is that while it failed last time, it might work this time. Sure - it might. It also might not. There were a lot of people killed trying to fly between Icarus and the Wright brothers. When you don't really like the idea in the first place, why bet on it?

I think that for the xMac to fly, it will need to look a lot like that Dell Studio example I priced up, and cost more or less the same. It might cost $999, but beyond that, I think the market is too small to justify the development. At a price as low as that, it probably eats too much MP margin to be worth it. I think a moderately accessible iMac is more likely.

Originally Posted by Simon View Post
Umm yeah, 1299 now. Looks like there aren't a whole lot of people left. Oh well, as long as we have fun.
Hey, 1360 now. We're not quite alone.
     
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Nov 30, 2008, 07:37 PM
 
Originally Posted by SierraDragon View Post
An xMac that allowed users to meet needs of multiple internal hard drives, graphics-pro-type displays, highest end graphics cards and the benefits of added RAM would unequivocally cannibalize profitable MP sales. For Apple to divert dollar and engineering resources to developing such a box would be a mistake. A much smarter approach is to keep the iMac line strong and offer a lower end MP within the existing case.
Yes, an xMac would take some sales away from the Mac Pro, but how do you know for a fact that it also wouldn't compensate for that by bringing in a ton of people who want to buy a desktop Mac but can't afford a Mac Pro and would never buy an iMac or mini? Bona fide professionals would still buy the Mac Pro for the much higher performance. Apple used to cater to those people, most recently with the entry level G4, so why not try again now that the product matrix has changed so considerably?

Right now Apple is forcing those in the midrange who are still willing to buy from Apple to spend $700-$1500 more than they'd prefer or easily be able to afford to spend by making them buy workstations when they only need midrange towers. That may make some limited sense to Apple's bottom line, but it also means that Apple is losing out on a lot of sales because it is no longer serving a major segment of the marketplace. And now, when the Mac is more attractive as a brand than ever before, and Apple has an opportunity to make even more major market share inroads, is it really sensible to continue to deny that the midrange tower market exists?

As Simon pointed out, Apple's major success in recent times means that it has some flexibility now to try new things. Apple hasn't tried a true midrange desktop since the G4 era. Why not try now? What's Apple afraid of? It's not like the MP line is really a sales king, so to cannibalize a bit off the bottom of its potential share of the Apple pie isn't much of an issue if xMac proponents are right when we say the xMac could substantially increase Mac market share. The margins would be similar, if not better, for the xMac, I think we can all agree. Certainly the margins would be better than the iMac margins, given the LCD, laptop component and extra engineering costs. And the xMac would not harm the laptop lines at all, which would likely be Apple's most important consideration. There's really no good reason not to at least try the xMac for a couple of years, to test out the waters. Apple can price it where Apple desires and see if there's demand. If things don't work out like we think it could, then the product can be shelved and things can return to the way they were. But if things do work out and the xMac is a huge success, then the midrange will benefit, the Mac upgrade market will benefit, the platform will benefit from increased share and Apple will benefit from increased revenue. I just don't see a compelling reason to reject the concept given what is known right now.
( Last edited by Big Mac; Nov 30, 2008 at 07:45 PM. )

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Dec 1, 2008, 06:17 AM
 
Originally Posted by SierraDragon View Post
Once graphics are in the mix "light" needs are no longer light, and the existing MP tower design is excellent. Hopefully Apple will just keep down the price points, no xMac needed.
Graphics is just one area Macs are used. There are many others. And having one size fit all is fine when you're under pressure to survive, but Apple isn't. Now's the time to try out new stuff. For instance why should the cheapest Mac w/ PCIe be $2199?

It is about sound business analysis, not one person's (Steve's) whim.
This thread demonstrates that's not the case. Lots of business considerations can be made. None spell out UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES DO AN xMac. The most convincing reason for not doing one this thread has so far managed to come up with is "they don't want to do it". So much for business reasoning.

• IMO an xMac would (a) cheapen the brand and (b) cannibalize sales of more profitable Macs just to play into a very low-margin market segment (very low-margin potential market segment if you prefer).
IMHO that's a smokescreen. If the Mac mini and MB don't cheapen the brand a sexy quad-core desktop at roughly $1500 won't either.

Margins are entirely up to Apple. As has been pointed out already several times, at the low prices such components cost Apple, they could easily make a huge profit (compared to let's say an iMac) off every xMac sold. Sell two for every MP cannibalized and Apple's already making more profit than before. Now that's business reasoning.

The "iMac to MP performance ratio may be poorer" today, but that is a meaningless point. The point is what can a box do for users, and all of today's base CPUs are so strong that product mixing changes. iMacs and Macbook Pros can do almost anything a MP can do - - until one gets to needing multiple internal hard drives, graphics-pro-type displays, highest end graphics cards and the benefits of 8 GB RAM and above.
Of course that's not true. As soon as you want an eSATA port on your iMac you're screwed. And that's completely regardless of your VPU or GPU demands. Or what about a second Ethernet port for your iMac? What you're saying is that people who might want that eSATA or Ethernet card also need 2.8 GHz quad-core Xeons. And I'm sorry, but that's just baloney.

Even if what you say were the case the iMac would be the most expensive way of doing it. It's expensive for what? For being thin! News flash, not everybody thinks thin is worth that much. Actually, most desktop buyers care much more about other things. The point is not that the iMac is wrong, but that it's supposed to cover a huge market segment between mini am MP which it simply cannot do satisfactorily by itself. And especially in those areas where it's not doing a good job the very fact that it's so expensive to manufacture compared to something that would accomplish the job well is outrageous.

An xMac that allowed users to meet needs of multiple internal hard drives, graphics-pro-type displays, highest end graphics cards and the benefits of added RAM would unequivocally [b]cannibalize profitable MP sales.
We're still talking two disks, one GPU, four DIMM slots. Nothing fancy. And if that leads to a cannibalized MP sale that's absolutely intentional. There are people who need dual Xeons. There are people who need expansion. Disjunct groups that are forced by Apple to buy against their needs. If Apple serves these people better (IOW by meeting their needs rather than telling them what they need), they will sell more. If Apple sells more boxes that drive good profits (we've seen how they could), bottom line is they win. The fact that some MP sales end up being xMac sales does not contradict that. Because at the same time people who put their needs before Steve's and now stay away from Apple will finally be able to get an OS X box.

For Apple to divert dollar and engineering resources to developing such a box would be a mistake.
In 1997 surely. Now it is absolutely the right thing. Apple's war chest is filled to the top, and with the state of the economy the one thing they need to do is innovate. Now is the time for them to try out new Macs. It's actually the perfect time.
     
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Dec 1, 2008, 06:22 AM
 
We should all be sending this thread and similar discussions/articles Apple's way every single week.

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Dec 1, 2008, 06:40 AM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
If they can make such a box today, at lower cost, why wouldn't they?
That has been my question almost since this thread has started. So far the best anybody could come up with is "Steve doesn't like it".

Yes, I can agree with that. And another trial balloon might be let off one of those days, but for it to pass, it would have to cost a bit less than the comparable iMac, and at that price, it's eating margins.
Think about your $899 box with my added on $500 profit. We're looking at a $1399 box driving $600 of profit per sale. At that price I have no doubts it would sell. Price-wise it's in the iMac range; it has no screen, but offers better performance and more expansion. And at $600 profit you need less than two sales per cannibalized MP sale to make more money. Also, at $600 a pop this is a profit monster compared to the iMac.

Of course we can't tell if it would sell that well and actually make Apple more money. That's where the balloon comes in. And I think now is a great time to try it out. How much could Apple lose? Now compare that figure to the 20 billion war chest.

It might be. It's no no-brainer that it will work this time.
I agree with you. That's also why I'd like to see them try it out. It would be very interesting to see what happens. And look at the AppleTV. It tanked twice already and that balloon's still being flown. Is it only me or is it being kept alive just because Steve likes it?

I think that for the xMac to fly, it will need to look a lot like that Dell Studio example I priced up, and cost more or less the same. It might cost $999, but beyond that, I think the market is too small to justify the development. At a price as low as that, it probably eats too much MP margin to be worth it.
I agree with you on the first part. A $999 xMac will not make Apple money. I'd consider that a very bad idea.

But I definitely think average Mac buyers and also OS X wannabes are ready to pay more. I'd actually bet many people would pay the same as for the comparable iMac and consider the performance and expansion options to make up for the missing screen. If you end up around $1400 or so you can drive an awesome profit and you're still in the iMac price area. Don't overrate how much people value the iMac's screen. A 20" Dell costs nothing (heck even the 24" are getting really cheap) and with the iMac's screen firmly attached to the computer many people will value it even less.

Apple doesn't need to compete with Dell on price. It doesn't matter if the xMac costs $400 more than a cheap Dell tower. The point is Apple will be offering something where they have nothing today. Mac users do pay more. Mac users and wannabe converts value OS X. Apple just needs to cash in on that across the board.
( Last edited by Simon; Dec 1, 2008 at 06:51 AM. )
     
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Dec 1, 2008, 06:54 AM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
We should all be sending this thread and similar discussions/articles Apple's way every single week.
The thing is, I'm certain Apple's board has had these discussions already. I'd just like to know where they took a different turn.
     
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Dec 1, 2008, 07:14 AM
 
How can you be so sure? Perhaps it is just one of those "Steve Says and It Is So" deals with little thought or discussion. It wouldn't surprise me.

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Dec 1, 2008, 11:44 AM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
Right now Apple is forcing those in the midrange who are still willing to buy from Apple to spend $700-$1500 more than they'd prefer or easily be able to afford to spend by making them buy workstations when they only need midrange towers.
No, it's forcing them to buy either a massive workstation or an AIO. Wanna bet that most of them buy an iMac?
     
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Dec 1, 2008, 11:49 AM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
How can you be so sure? Perhaps it is just one of those "Steve Says and It Is So" deals with little thought or discussion. It wouldn't surprise me.
If you check back through the thread, I provided a couple of examples where Steve has backed down in the face of overwhelming evidence that there is a business case there. My point through all of this is that the business case is no slam dunk, and unless it is, Steve won't let it go through. He might let a trial balloon go eventually, though.
     
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Dec 1, 2008, 12:28 PM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
That has been my question almost since this thread has started. So far the best anybody could come up with is "Steve doesn't like it".
Unless given a business case. If Steve will veto an xMac no matter what, there's no point to this discussion. The evidence suggests that he isn't as categorical as he was in his youth.

Originally Posted by Simon View Post
Think about your $899 box with my added on $500 profit. We're looking at a $1399 box driving $600 of profit per sale. At that price I have no doubts it would sell. Price-wise it's in the iMac range; it has no screen, but offers better performance and more expansion.
The one I priced has lower performance than the comparable iMac - it's roughly equivalent to the low-end iMac. Basically you'd expect someone to pay $400 for a the ability to put in an expansion card and an extra internal HD. I doubt that very many people want to do that. I think the only spot you can gain a significant amount of market share is where an xMac + a display = equivalent iMac, and you get to choose between expansion and design/noise. A small premium may be possible, but not as large as that.

Originally Posted by Simon View Post
I agree with you. That's also why I'd like to see them try it out. It would be very interesting to see what happens. And look at the AppleTV. It tanked twice already and that balloon's still being flown. Is it only me or is it being kept alive just because Steve likes it?
It's being kept alive because it has potential, I think.

Originally Posted by Simon View Post
I agree with you on the first part. A $999 xMac will not make Apple money. I'd consider that a very bad idea.

But I definitely think average Mac buyers and also OS X wannabes are ready to pay more. I'd actually bet many people would pay the same as for the comparable iMac and consider the performance and expansion options to make up for the missing screen.
That is exactly what they did with that old PM G5. What's different this time? There aren't more expansion cards out there - possibly less. The iMac GPU is (compared to other cards of the day) more powerful, and configurable to be a quite decent model. The only advantage now is that you might dualboot the box to Windows this time and might be willing to stuff it with cards that don't have Mac drivers.

Originally Posted by Simon View Post
If you end up around $1400 or so you can drive an awesome profit and you're still in the iMac price area. Don't overrate how much people value the iMac's screen. A 20" Dell costs nothing (heck even the 24" are getting really cheap)
In my pricing example, the 19" was $199, the 20" was $289 or something like that and the 24" was $349 - if I remember correctly.

Originally Posted by Simon View Post
and with the iMac's screen firmly attached to the computer many people will value it even less.
Why? If you're the type or person who wants expansion to begin with, sure, but not otherwise.

Originally Posted by Simon View Post
Apple doesn't need to compete with Dell on price. It doesn't matter if the xMac costs $400 more than a cheap Dell tower. The point is Apple will be offering something where they have nothing today. Mac users do pay more. Mac users and wannabe converts value OS X. Apple just needs to cash in on that across the board.
But I don't think they will pay more than they do for the iMac, or even the same as the price of the iMac with the display, because they didn't last time. The iMac isn't the margin monster it's sometimes accused of being, and the price difference in parts isn't really all that huge once the HD is taken out of the picture (since the iMac uses a 3.5" HD already). You can't find MP-margins at an iMac-minus-display pricepoint.

The case can be made for an xMac with good desktop-grade graphics to be sold at MP-level margins (I'm thinking a 4830/4850 or thereabouts - just over the high-end of laptop graphics), thereby filling a completely new niche, but that box sounds all too much like a gamer box to me. Without a serious gaming focus from Apple, that box seems unlikely.
     
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Dec 1, 2008, 08:02 PM
 
I just recently stumbled across this video and thought it was quite interesting in light of the discussions this thread has generated.
10.7.1 on Mac Pro 8x2.8
     
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Dec 2, 2008, 04:11 AM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
No, it's forcing them to buy either a massive workstation or an AIO. Wanna bet that most of them buy an iMac?
Which in terms of business is really bad. They are making less profit with the iMac sale. Would there be a machine priced and spec'ed in between all they'd need to ensure is that it drives more profit that the iMac and they'd already be doing better.
     
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Dec 2, 2008, 04:35 AM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
But I don't think they will pay more than they do for the iMac, or even the same as the price of the iMac with the display, because they didn't last time. The iMac isn't the margin monster it's sometimes accused of being, and the price difference in parts isn't really all that huge once the HD is taken out of the picture (since the iMac uses a 3.5" HD already).
That's not true. Bearlake cots significantly less than Cantiga, Yorksfield costs half of Penryn, and Wolfdale means even more savings. At ~2.6 GHz you're looking at savings on the order of $300 per unit just because you went with Intels' regular desktop parts instead of their mobile parts. And that includes assuming Apple gets an extra big discount beyond the 1k prices.

The point is that if Apple pockets these savings they are making a huge profit compared to the iMac. At the same time buyers end up with better performance and more flexibility. For one because they can add stuff like PCIe cards or disks later on, but also because Apple can sell several different configurations and offer lots of CTO options to cover a very wide range of demands. It's a lot of flexibility at a comparably low price (both compared to the iMac and the MP) and at the same time it drives a huge amount of revenue. The only price people end up paying is that the box is bigger, perhaps noisier, and more expensive than a Dell. The iMac already takes care of those most worried about points one and two. Point three is already a given today. And even so, Apple has been doing very well compared to Dell. I don't think Apple needs to hide. In fact with the current downturn it's the other guys that are going to come under a lot of pressure. Now's the perfect time for Apple to be aggressive.

You can't find MP-margins at an iMac-minus-display pricepoint.
In absolute numbers, no. Relative for sure though. And that's what I've been pointing out all along. If the xMac does nothing but cannibalize the MP, Apple will lose money. But if Apple can sell two xMacs for every cannibalized MP sale, they'll have expanded their market share, established presence in new territory, and best of all, made even more money.
     
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Dec 2, 2008, 10:17 AM
 
Let me try it this way instead. I think it's safe to say a large portion of potential desktop Mac customers aren't going to look at the mini because it's so pathetically underpowered in comparison to everything else and has so little expandibility. That just leaves the less under powered iMac (with the undesirable traits of an AIO) or a highly overpowered and highly priced workstation. There's no longer a middle ground, and I think it's wrong to underestimate how many sales Apple loses out on because of the gaping hole in the product line. If an xMac had margins similar to that of the Mac Pro but was a much higher seller, who could argue with it skimming a bit off the bottom end of Mac Pro sales? Despite P's impressive arguments on behalf of his position, I don't see it, I really don't. And until Apple addresses the xMac issue, many knowledgeable consumers will continue to go the hackintosh route.
( Last edited by Big Mac; Dec 2, 2008 at 10:57 AM. )

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Dec 2, 2008, 12:03 PM
 
Originally Posted by Ted L. Nancy View Post
I just recently stumbled across this video and thought it was quite interesting in light of the discussions this thread has generated.
That is indeed an interesting video.

I find it quite amazing that although the analysis was sound at the time they were still far from foreseeing what actually happened. Unix came to Macs and PCs. The networking capabilities in turn improved on those platforms. As a consequence the "professional group" Steve talked about in that video eventually moved to Macs and PCs, not workstations. The terminal emulation users even more so. Today workstations and PCs have merged to the point where you can't draw a clear line between the two anymore.
     
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Dec 2, 2008, 12:41 PM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
That's not true. Bearlake cots significantly less than Cantiga, Yorksfield costs half of Penryn, and Wolfdale means even more savings. At ~2.6 GHz you're looking at savings on the order of $300 per unit just because you went with Intels' regular desktop parts instead of their mobile parts. And that includes assuming Apple gets an extra big discount beyond the 1k prices.
But Apple likely doesn't get larger discounts than Dell does. My priced out Dell xMac came out at $899. An equivalent iMac minus the display comes to $999, so the iMac has $100 to spend on a more a more complex case and partial mobile parts. Yet we keep getting told that Apple has such a huge margin - why?

The answer to the discrepancy partially lies in the software bundles. To get a roughly equivalent bundle, I included the cut-down versions of Photoshop and Premiere that Dell offers. To Apple, that price is margin (because they produce iPhoto and iMovie themselves) while to Dell it is mostly not (they pay Adobe per copy). I think that the cost of the software in Apple's bundle is underestimated.

Sidenote: Intel's current price list looks crazy - all Wolfdales but the top one have the same price at the moment. I wonder what Apple and Dell pay?

Originally Posted by Simon View Post
The point is that if Apple pockets these savings they are making a huge profit compared to the iMac.
Sure, but last time they did they didn't sell any.

Originally Posted by Simon View Post
At the same time buyers end up with better performance and more flexibility. For one because they can add stuff like PCIe cards or disks later on, but also because Apple can sell several different configurations and offer lots of CTO options to cover a very wide range of demands.
They can offer CTO options to day. They DO offer CTO options today - you can pick your own RAM, HD and (for the 24") GPU for a given CPU. They can easily add more without moving to a tower - they used to offer Bluetooth and WiFi as CTO options, before they were made standard. My guess is that there would be more CTO options if there were attractive features that cost Apple a lot to implement. As such, they will never offer eSATA or analog 7.1 audio out as CTO options - they'll implement them as standard (because they're cheap enough), or they'll skip them.

Originally Posted by Simon View Post
It's a lot of flexibility at a comparably low price (both compared to the iMac and the MP) and at the same time it drives a huge amount of revenue. The only price people end up paying is that the box is bigger, perhaps noisier, and more expensive than a Dell. The iMac already takes care of those most worried about points one and two. Point three is already a given today. And even so, Apple has been doing very well compared to Dell. I don't think Apple needs to hide. In fact with the current downturn it's the other guys that are going to come under a lot of pressure. Now's the perfect time for Apple to be aggressive.
The box you're proposing would be well over $1000. For Apple to gain share, they'd have to expand the share of the market that exists over $1000. You're saying that a recession is the right time to do this?

Originally Posted by Simon View Post
In absolute numbers, no. Relative for sure though. And that's what I've been pointing out all along. If the xMac does nothing but cannibalize the MP, Apple will lose money. But if Apple can sell two xMacs for every cannibalized MP sale, they'll have expanded their market share, established presence in new territory, and best of all, made even more money.
And all of this is predicated on growing the market for PCs over $1000. I'm sorry, I just can't see that happening in a recession.
     
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Dec 2, 2008, 01:02 PM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
Let me try it this way instead. I think it's safe to say a large portion of potential desktop Mac customers aren't going to look at the mini because it's so pathetically underpowered in comparison to everything else and has so little expandibility. That just leaves the less under powered iMac (with the undesirable traits of an AIO) or a highly overpowered and highly priced workstation. There's no longer a middle ground, and I think it's wrong to underestimate how many sales Apple loses out on because of the gaping hole in the product line.
No longer? Since when? If 1997, then Apple's sales are slightly larger now. If any later date, then yes, the iMac has crept upwards in the segment ever since the iMac G3, eventually killing the old low-end Powermac. This was done slowly but surely, as more potential expansion features were made standard. Why would Apple do that if they didn't see that those old Powermac customers were now buying iMacs? They could stop the slide at any point, no pride lost, yet they didn't. This suggests that they saw the old Powermac customers happily buying iMacs.

Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
If an xMac had margins similar to that of the Mac Pro but was a much higher seller, who could argue with it skimming a bit off the bottom end of Mac Pro sales? Despite P's impressive arguments on behalf of his position, I don't see it, I really don't. And until Apple addresses the xMac issue, many knowledgeable consumers will continue to go the hackintosh route.
Yes, the hackintosh route. Do you know anyone who made a hackintosh for $1599, or whatever the pricepoint we talked about was? In my experience, hackintoshes cost about half that. If Apple makes a $1599 xMac, people will keep making hackintoshes that cost half that in parts.

To me, a large part of the xMac dreaming is wishing to have a Mac on the cheap and the rest is mostly wanting a more powerful GPU. The first hardly benefits Apple. The last is essentially "please make a gamer Mac". Apple has with a few small exceptions ignored Mac gaming, and as long as they do, they won't make an xMac. This discussion has been more interesting, bringing up expansion concerns, but the only price point where such a box makes sense to the strategy (around $1500) is one where the market is shrinking, and most of what's left is already owned by Apple.
     
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Dec 3, 2008, 04:27 AM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
Sure, but last time they did they didn't sell any.
There was no last time. And no, the single-CPU PM G5 doesn't count. And we've already discussed about a half dozen times why.

They don't have any meaningful experience to build on in this field simply because they abandoned it in the late 90s. Unless Apple has some super secret rock solid market research that a ~$1400 xMac wouldn't earn them money, they should try to get back in the game. Right now they're strong and their competitors are under pressure.

They can offer CTO options to day. They DO offer CTO options today - you can pick your own RAM, HD and (for the 24") GPU for a given CPU.
Actually hardly any informed buyer does that. Everybody knows they overcharge for RAM and HDDs. The xMac changes nothing about that.

Fact is also one single iMac model gives you a choice between just two GPUs. Why? Because it's damned expensive for Apple to do since they can't just rely on PCIe cards. The MP OTOH already offers four GPUs to chose from (three through Apple plus ATI's selling the 3870 Mac Edition). And if there were more slotted Macs chances are we'd see even more from third-parties. Advantage xMac again.

They can easily add more without moving to a tower - they used to offer Bluetooth and WiFi as CTO options, before they were made standard. My guess is that there would be more CTO options if there were attractive features that cost Apple a lot to implement. As such, they will never offer eSATA or analog 7.1 audio out as CTO options - they'll implement them as standard (because they're cheap enough), or they'll skip them.
Right. And with the iMac that means people are screwed if they want something Apple hasn't "approved" of it yet. With the xMac people can get all that stuff from a thrid-party later on. There are a lot of PCIe cards that work in the MP. For example I just removed an eSATA card form a Linux PC I have here, stuck it into one of our MPs and was amazed to see it do its thing with not a single driver required. Heck, the box didn't even mention OS X. The xMac would let people have that. The iMac prevents it.

The box you're proposing would be well over $1000. For Apple to gain share, they'd have to expand the share of the market that exists over $1000. You're saying that a recession is the right time to do this?
Absolutely. PC manufacturers are under a huge amount of pressure right now. Apple has a $25 billion war chest and lots of R&D staff and know-how. It's the perfect time to be aggressive, try out new stuff, and go up against competition. The last time we saw a recession Apple promptly innovated out of it. That worked beautifully back in the day. All I'm saying is they should do the same today. And to a certain extent they are. The unibody MB(P)s have been received extremely well while competitors like Dell have seen sales slump. The iPhone 3G was the only reason the smartphone market saw any growth at all since the start of the recession in the US. I suggest Apple keep that up.

But actually, don't take it from me, take it from Steve. This is from the 4Q08 conference call:

Steven P. Jobs
...
And five, we have almost $25 billion safely in the bank and zero debt. This provides us tremendous stability and the ability to invest our way through this downturn. This is what we did during the last downturn -- we increased R&D investments and created some of our best new products and businesses, like the Apple retail stores, for one. This downturn may also present some extraordinary opportunities for companies that have the cash to take advantage of them, like Apple does.

In summary, we have the strongest product lineup in Apple's history, the most talented employees, and the best customers and $25 billion in the bank. We may get buffeted around by the waves a little bit but we will be fine and stronger than ever when the water is calm in the future.
( Last edited by Simon; Dec 3, 2008 at 04:55 AM. )
     
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Dec 3, 2008, 04:42 AM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
To me, a large part of the xMac dreaming is wishing to have a Mac on the cheap and the rest is mostly wanting a more powerful GPU.
Perhaps to you. And yet others here have talked a lot about what else the xMac is. And unless you didn't read the thread you should by now know better.

The xMac ideas in this thread had nothing to do with being cheap or being a Mac geared exclusively towards games. It's about flexibility, it's about not making anorexic case compromises, it's about getting better performance for the same money as you spend on an iMac, it's about catering to markets competition sells to and Apple abandoned long ago.

In the end you think it's wise of Apple to force certain decisions onto people. You believe they can live with the lost sales. I OTOH think they shouldn't give up on those sales so easily. Especially not when the only thing their competitor know how to do is cheap. I think offering a selection is a good thing. Especially when you can easily afford to do so. Maybe we can just agree to disagree on this because somehow I get the impression we've just been repeating ourselves for the last couple of posts.
( Last edited by Simon; Dec 3, 2008 at 04:53 AM. )
     
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Dec 3, 2008, 04:44 PM
 
Yeah, we have, but it's been an interesting ride. Basically, there are two potential xMacs:

1) A cheaper box with approximately iMac performance or even less - basically a mini with expansion.
2) A box similar in price to the iMacs, but with expansion in place of the display

1) would probably sell, but would be a low-margin product that would hurt Apple's bottom line - we seem to agree on that.

2) is what we've been discussing here. It makes more sense margin-wise, but I don't think it will sell, based on the shrinking market at this price point, Apple's huge share of it already, and past experiences with towers that trade the display for expansion at the same price and performance. You think it will sell anyway, and I'll leave you to summarize why.

That something we can agree to disagree on?
     
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Dec 4, 2008, 01:02 AM
 
The xMac I'm talking about would have higher performance than the top end iMac.

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Dec 4, 2008, 04:47 AM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
Yeah, we have, but it's been an interesting ride.
Agreed.

What I appreciate about this thread is although we have had opposing views for four pages now, I don't recall a single xMac thread that has stayed civil for so long ever before.

2) A box similar in price to the iMacs, but with expansion in place of the display
...
2) is what we've been discussing here. It makes more sense margin-wise, but I don't think it will sell, based on the shrinking market at this price point, Apple's huge share of it already, and past experiences with towers that trade the display for expansion at the same price and performance. You think it will sell anyway, and I'll leave you to summarize why.

That something we can agree to disagree on?
I think so. I believe 2) could sell and I also believe it would sell more units than the number of MP sales cannibalized. So I think that the bottom line would be more profit. You OTOH don't agree. (how's that for a two-line summary of four pages?)
     
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Dec 4, 2008, 05:00 AM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
The xMac I'm talking about would have higher performance than the top end iMac.
I would tend to agree with that. Keep in mind that at the same frequency Yorksfield/Bearlake already perform better than Penryn/Cantiga.

But again I think an xMac intro should mainly be about giving people more choices. So I could see Apple offering two base configurations.

One roughly like the iMac with something like a ~2.4 GHz dual-core. Apple should be able to get that Yorkfield CPU and Bearlake chipset for at least $200 less than the 2.4 GHz Penryn in the iMac and its Crestline chipset. The slotted GPU will be cheaper than the iMac's too. Together with the money saved on the screen that should make it easy for Apple to drive significant revenue on the low-end. Obviously they'd be making more than the <$400 they're making on the iMac.

The other model could then be a bit beefier. Maybe a 2.83 or 3 GHz quad-core. That CPU would cost Apple no more than an extra $150. Add $250 to the price. That way the price is comparable to a high-end iMac, but people get more performance plus the additional flexibility. The price is still significantly below the $2199 of the quad-core MP so the lines remain distinct not only in features, but also in price. And Apple makes even more profit on this sale.
( Last edited by Simon; Dec 4, 2008 at 05:09 AM. )
     
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Dec 16, 2008, 01:37 PM
 
And this just in

Originally Posted by Reuters
Apple Inc witnessed flat year-over-year overall sales in the United States for its Macs in November, while sales of rival Microsoft Corp's Windows PCs were up 7 percent, according to research firm NPD Group Inc, which tracks retail sales.

Sales of desktops were down 20 percent overall, with Windows desktops sales falling 15 percent and Macs down 38 percent.

Apple's notebook sales, however, were up 22 percent in November, while Windows sales rose 15 percent.
Originally Posted by WSJ
Sales of Macs in U.S. stores last month declined 1% from a year ago, while industry-wide PC sales rose 2%, according to research firm NPD Group Inc., which tracks retail sales.
So basically Apple's desktops have been selling bad enough lately that not even their growth in the portable area can make up for it. IOW maybe Apple's desktops do need some more attention now.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Apple-...-13839769.html
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122938758242108907.html
http://www.macrumors.com/2008/12/16/...t-in-november/
http://www.macnn.com/articles/08/12/...its.mac.sales/
     
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Dec 16, 2008, 03:41 PM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
So basically Apple's desktops have been selling bad enough lately that not even their growth in the portable area can make up for it. IOW maybe Apple's desktops do need some more attention now.
Well of course November's Mac desktop sales are down. Any potential tower buyer one with the brains to do some homework should be aware of new Intel chips and that Mac Pros are due for a substantial update H1 2009. Apple's towers will get some more attention.

The question is whether updating the Mini along with aggressive pricing and solid engineering of a range of new Mac Pros is best, or if investing in creating a new xMac desktop line is appropriate. IMO building a new xMac is just not worth the dollar/engineering resource cost when so many more exciting opportunities exist.

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Dec 17, 2008, 05:12 AM
 
To me that comes across as more of this "let's just keep doing everything the way we always did it" mentality. No offense, but I am willing to bet right here and now, that if all Apple does is update the existing lines and keep prices where they are now, this trend will not only continue, it will actually become stronger. To people outside of the Mac community hearing that headless and expandable desktops starts at $2200 plus tax is laughable.
     
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Dec 17, 2008, 11:32 AM
 
All three desktop lines are due for an update, the iMac GPU has not changed in 16 months, the 'net is abuzz with rumors of updates, and Macworld is around the corner. On top of this, the economy is crashing. I'm not too surprised that the sales are bad. If this trend continues after the next iMac refresh, then there might be cause for concern, but I still think that price is the concern rather than the lack of an expandable tower. Both WSJ and the analysts quoted by Yahoo seem to agree with those assessments.
     
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Dec 17, 2008, 12:46 PM
 
So are you expecting Apple to drop the price of the MP when they update it?
     
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Dec 18, 2008, 06:05 AM
 
I expect them to drop the price of the mini and the iMacs slightly when they are updated. As for the MP, probably not - or at least not significantly. Apple often charges more after a major update and drops prices later, and if the MPs go Core i7, that's major. The iMacs and minis are longer in the tooth and could possibly drop slightly in price. Considering what you can get a big flat display for these days, they could at least shave $100 off the low-end, and possibly even more higher up.
     
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Dec 18, 2008, 08:56 AM
 
IOW you're expecting they'll open up the price/feature gap between the iMac and MP even further?
     
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Dec 18, 2008, 01:51 PM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
I expect them to drop the price of the mini and the iMacs slightly when they are updated. As for the MP, probably not - or at least not significantly. Apple often charges more after a major update and drops prices later, and if the MPs go Core i7, that's major. The iMacs and minis are longer in the tooth and could possibly drop slightly in price. Considering what you can get a big flat display for these days, they could at least shave $100 off the low-end, and possibly even more higher up.
Makes sense to me.

Originally Posted by Simon View Post
IOW you're expecting they'll open up the price/feature gap between the iMac and MP even further?
Not necessarily. If Apple does what what I would like to see happen they will broaden the range of MPs within the existing case design. Easiest IMO might simply be to keep one of the existing MPs in the line at greatly reduced price, perhaps incorporating any cheaper new components as feasible. Apple did that with the white Macbook.

Another approach would be to just offer a low end low price MP by limiting the CPU, GPU, ports and maximum available RAM. The trouble with that approach, however, is that unless firmware constraints exist consumers may buy such a box just to build it out with third party components in lieu of buying a higher end MP, much like all of us do now with RAM, GPUs and mass storage.

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Dec 18, 2008, 05:57 PM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
IOW you're expecting they'll open up the price/feature gap between the iMac and MP even further?
Maybe, but I mainly think that they will drop the floor of the iMac range, such as adding a 2.13 GHz model with integrated graphics at a lower price. I also wouldn't put a quad completely out of the question for the top iMac.

What the MP turns out to be is hard to guess at this point. If Apple keeps using the current plan, ie FB-DIMM and expensive chipsets, then it will cost what it costs now. There is however a chance that they think that a Gainestown + X58 setup with 6 DDR3 slots is enough RAM. That's a 24 gig ceiling, a step down from the current 32 gigs, but the better latency and lower price might make it happen. If that DOES happen, the MP price should come down a bit, low enough that it will overlap with the top of the iMac range.
     
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Dec 19, 2008, 04:04 AM
 
Gainestown/DDR3 as well as the end of FB-DIMMs is pretty much a given. Tylersburg will still be by far more expensive for Apple to buy than Bearlake. And Gainestown itself is a very pricey CPU. I see no reason to believe Apple's manufacturing costs for the new MP are going to be any lower than they are now. Actually, if they add in a decent GPU and install 4 GB of RAM minimum across the line, cost is actually going to be higher.

The cheapest MP is just $100 more expensive than the high-end iMac already today. I doubt that's the problem. Nobody looking for an expandable Mac that can't pay $2299 for a MP will consider the iMac. Conversely, nobody willing to pay $2199 or a non-portable laptop is going to upgrade to a MP. That said, if people had an actual choice, who in his right mind would buy a $2199 non-portable laptop anyway?

Apple needs to either bring the MP down to start out at ~$1799 or introduce a new line. The way I see it they can either be proactive about it and stay in control or they can let the worsening state of the economy gradually force them into it. Steve's call.
     
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Dec 19, 2008, 01:08 PM
 
I hadn't realised that Beckton is still some ways off - yes, FB-DIMM seems to be on the way out.

My point is that FB-DIMMs themselves are still quite expensive, and dropping to regular DDR3 will drop price (at least over time) as well as cooling requirements. X58/Tylersburg will also let Apple use regular Core i7 CPUs for a single-socket model, thereby easily locking out the possibility of an aftermarket addition of a second CPU (Core i7s do not support dual sockets) even if the motherboard was not modified. A 920 at 2.66 GHz would be a nice new level at a price far below that of Apple's current 2.8 GHz CPU.

It seems Intel will keep using lots of different sockets for different markets, but they shifted them around a bit, and the shift gives Apple some new options, possibly letting them return the Pro range to something looking a little bit more like the old Powermac G4 line. I doubt it has anything to do with the economy if they chose to do so, however.
     
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Dec 19, 2008, 01:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
...if people had an actual choice, who in his right mind would buy a $2199 non-portable laptop anyway?
Exactly. I have been making that statement for years, but still find quite a few folks on various graphics forums that fail to see the lack of utility of iMacs as compared to MPs for non-portable heavy graphics work. IMO such folks are probably captured by the "cute" factor of iMacs rather than usage hardware analysis. <sigh>

Originally Posted by Simon View Post
Apple needs to either bring the MP down to start out at ~$1799 or introduce a new line. The way I see it they can either be proactive about it and stay in control or they can let the worsening state of the economy gradually force them into it. Steve's call.
Agreed.

-Allen Wicks
     
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Dec 20, 2008, 10:59 AM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
And this just in





So basically Apple's desktops have been selling bad enough lately that not even their growth in the portable area can make up for it. IOW maybe Apple's desktops do need some more attention now.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Apple-...-13839769.html
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122938758242108907.html
http://www.macrumors.com/2008/12/16/...t-in-november/
http://www.macnn.com/articles/08/12/...its.mac.sales/
That likely has more to do with the glossy screens than anything. Think it through: we're on the Mac Pro forum which means that the primary audience of this forum likely uses their Macs for business and that means all of use stare are LCDs screens all day. With that as the background, who here wants to stare at a glossy screen that picks up every hint of glare all day?

IMO Apple is shooting themselves in the foot with the glossy screen thing.
     
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Dec 28, 2008, 12:40 AM
 
Did everyone forget what this tread started with. The idea about a biz computer. I think that one thing that might be forgoten; What about biz software?? Lots of business out there need number crunchers and people who write reports to upper management. There are people who use specialized software that is for certain business and until this software is able to run on the Mac with out windoz then this whole tread is a waste of time. We need more Business Software.

This kind of computer needs to be very inexpensive, about the price of a Mini and able to be opened very easily to add HDs or RAM.
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Dec 28, 2008, 05:06 AM
 
What you are forgetting is that Apple really isn't interested in doing "very inexpensive". The Mac mini is about as cheap as they are willing to go and you see what kind of compromises that called for. Adding features and/or performance in addition to lowering the price (outside of 'regular updates' of course)? Not going to happen.
( Last edited by Simon; Dec 28, 2008 at 05:39 AM. )
     
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Dec 28, 2008, 01:31 PM
 
Simon

What I was more referring to is that there needs to be more software for business.

Also a different point is that there is always someone who mentions the low price of Dells; (for the secretary staff and middle managers). But I guess that this part of the market will never be served by Apple as most of the products are on bare-bones machines for that part of the segment.
( Last edited by Westfoto; Dec 28, 2008 at 01:32 PM. Reason: added)
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Jan 2, 2009, 10:39 PM
 
I'm plodding along with my G4 because Apple does not make the product I really want to buy. The xMac all of you are talking about is the Mac I want to buy. I guess you could call me an oddball. I want the things that others don't. If I ever felt I needed the occasional ability to be portable I would want a Netbook which is also something Apple doesn't make. A laptop would be bigger than I would want to carry but my eyesight and fumble fingers make trying to use a cell phone for email and internet feel like this
Apple hopes my needs change. I hope that Apple changes to meet my needs.
     
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Jan 3, 2009, 05:28 AM
 
Unfortunately this Apple notion that people need to change their habits and preferences to be better in line with what Steve's are has become stronger in the past few years. Fortunately the economy is on the way down and Steve is on the way out. Both should help Apple remember that in the end the best way to make money is deliver what people ask for rather than invest into loads of PR telling people that Steve knows better what it is they really want.
     
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Jan 13, 2009, 10:19 PM
 
We have LOTS of Macs around the office and here's what I think most of our light users would want if a Mini doesn't cut it:
  • Single Quad-core CPU (maybe you could swap for a dual core if necessary, but quad should be available)
  • Dual MiniDisplay Port (this is essential)
  • Upgradable to 8GB RAM (so you'd ship it with 2 in the minimal config)
  • Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth and WiFi
  • Standard Optical Drive (not mini)
  • 3.5" Hard Drive
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Jan 13, 2009, 10:22 PM
 
Originally Posted by Westfoto View Post
What I was more referring to is that there needs to be more software for business.
Mac Excel needs to equal Excel for Windows. It once did, but if you have a spreadsheet of decent size, it crashes Excel for Mac and Excel can't use multiple cores. Running the same workbook on Windows (boot camp) is night and day, seriously.
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