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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Desktops > No third party 2011 iMac drives?

No third party 2011 iMac drives?
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SierraDragon
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May 14, 2011, 02:12 PM
 
It looks like Apple has effectively killed the ability to replace 2011 iMac Apple drives except via Apple. This seems like a very bad deal to me, but I would love to hear what others here have to say.

OWC commentary at: Apple Further Restricts Upgrade Options on New iMacs | Other World Computing Blog

-Allen
     
Spheric Harlot
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May 14, 2011, 03:34 PM
 
OWC is understandably upset - selling upgrades is their business.

A rather more balanced take:

Hardmac.com : Le "Macbidouille" in English - It is currently impossible to replace the hard drive of the 2011 iMac

Here is also an explanation of the reasons that pushed Apple to introduce that system in the 2009 iMac. As we sais earlier, the iMac checks very often the temperature of the hard drive. If it was doing so with the SMART system, it would shrink the disk bandwidth and would freeze the disk for a very short time at every check.
Therefore Apple decided to do it with an Out of Bandwidth system, outside of the data channels of the disks. At first the company used connectors added to most hard drives and used for programming and testing the disk. That solution had one drawback as each manufacturer had its own connector. The 2011 model uses a new system. All the information now goes through pin 11 of the power supply connector, which is normally used to light-up a LED during disk activity. In prodder to change the use of that pin, a specific firmware was needed, which explains the reason that only disks sold by Apple in the iMac don't have any problem.
It was quite a radical choice; far from established standards, but in the end, it will not cause any big problem in the replacement of hard drives in these computers.
FWIW, I think Thunderbolt makes internal expansion much less of a concern.
     
SierraDragon  (op)
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May 14, 2011, 04:24 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
FWIW, I think Thunderbolt makes internal expansion much less of a concern.
Agreed. IMO Thunderbolt rocks. I am anxious to see what solutions get created for all that bandwidth.

The Hardmac article states "It was quite a radical choice; far from established standards, but in the end, it will not cause any big problem in the replacement of hard drives in these computers. " That seems to be a difference in reported facts from the OWC blog, because OWC says they are unable to replace new iMac drives, period. That sounds like a big problem to me, because I almost always replace Apple drives with faster/larger/cheaper third party drives, often immediately after purchase.

E.g. A friend is buying a new 21" iMac soon. I would have replaced the stock HD on the $1200 model with a $200 third-party SSD and put the HD in an external enclosure for her. However the new Apple-only drive forces her to buy a $2000 Apple box to get SSD, or go to last year's iMac and do without Thunderbolt. She is not comfortable with the idea of booting from a Thunderbolt external SSD, and this new in the technology I tend to agree.

Similarly, I bought the 128 GB SSD in my new MBP fully expecting to replace it with a larger faster third-party SSD as prices evolve. Forced into Apple's upgrade pricing would probably cost me double for lesser performance.

-Allen
     
Spheric Harlot
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May 14, 2011, 04:31 PM
 
Didn't you see the part about shorting pins 2 and 7? Take a look at the link.

There is nothing stopping you from doing exactly what you planned.

FWIW, OWC doesn't have access to Apple's custom hard drive firmware, and that pisses them off for understandable reasons - is hardly Apple's problem, though. It also doesn't apply to SSDs, as those don't generate any mentionable heat.
     
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May 14, 2011, 04:33 PM
 
There is a workaround to install 3rd party drives in the new iMacs. Just gotta short a couple of pins on the SATA connector. Apple does this for SSD only models.
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May 14, 2011, 04:38 PM
 
Beaten to the punch!
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
AKcrab
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May 14, 2011, 04:55 PM
 
What does this do to the HDD fan though? I'm not clear on this. That workaround is for the SSD drives which don't generate enough heat to need a fan, no?
     
SierraDragon  (op)
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May 14, 2011, 07:43 PM
 
It all sounds bad to me. I would think that computer fans are for the whole system, even when they happen to be focused on a single part like a drive (I am just guessing). Certainly SSD boxes get plenty hot when worked hard even if the SSD is not the heat source.

Just shorting a couple of pins sounds like a warranty-breaker to me. In any event the issue seems problematic enough at this point to advise my friend that she may be locked in to Apple-only hardware a bit more than expected.

-Allen
     
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May 14, 2011, 09:34 PM
 
My guess is the SSD sensors are simply too different to be compatible with Apples new system. Or maybe they just don't want to write firmware for SSDs too. I think you'd have to short the pins on the HDD power connector on the logic board and then hook up your third party drive to the SSD connectors.
Or you'd need a custom SATA power cable which shorted those pins but still allowed you to use the power connection.

Either way the rest of the ambient temperature sensors should be capable of adjusting fan speed as needed.
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May 15, 2011, 05:04 AM
 
Seems like an obvious move to extend to the laptops next, since they're so thermally constrained.
     
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May 15, 2011, 08:35 AM
 
Originally Posted by SierraDragon View Post
E.g. A friend is buying a new 21" iMac soon. I would have replaced the stock HD on the $1200 model with a $200 third-party SSD and put the HD in an external enclosure for her. However the new Apple-only drive forces her to buy a $2000 Apple box to get SSD, or go to last year's iMac and do without Thunderbolt. She is not comfortable with the idea of booting from a Thunderbolt external SSD, and this new in the technology I tend to agree.
There's a better way: Remove the optical drive and install it there. The expensive but easy way is an Optibay. The cheaper but tricky way is to get a slim SATA to SATA converter and use the 3.5" adapter bracket to fix the SSD in place.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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May 15, 2011, 09:04 PM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
There's a better way: Remove the optical drive and install it there. The expensive but easy way is an Optibay. The cheaper but tricky way is to get a slim SATA to SATA converter and use the 3.5" adapter bracket to fix the SSD in place.
2.5" Thunderbolt slim case (when they're released) and double-stick tape.
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May 16, 2011, 06:08 PM
 
While I understand that you are not supposed to be opening up iMacs and doing this stuff, I find it really lame that Apple doesn't sell an affordable desktop computer with user upgradable hard drives.

I've swapped the hard drives out multiple times on every single computer I've ever owned. It's an important thing to be able to do. I will never buy a computer that makes that impossible... and because of that, I can't buy an iMac.

I'd love to buy a tower, but I really don't need a whole tower and I really don't want to spend $2,500 bucks.

Apple has a hole in it's desktop hardware lineup big enough to drive a truck through.

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May 16, 2011, 06:20 PM
 
The Hackintosh seems to be Apple's answer to a midrange tower with expansion options.
     
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May 16, 2011, 08:13 PM
 
Originally Posted by ort888 View Post
Apple has a hole in it's desktop hardware lineup big enough to drive a truck through.
They really don't. People say this sort of thing time and time again but the iMac is incredibly popular. The vast, VAST majority of computer owners don't want to upgrade their computers at all. They don't want to think about the fact that its even possible. They don't even want to be reminded that the thing they use so often to check Facebook, send email and write Word documents is actually a computer.
This is even more true of the market Apple is really aiming at. When you buy a new fridge, do you buy the cheapest fridge in the store that fits into the slot you have in your kitchen? Or do you buy one thats going to look cool? Maybe you pay up to double the amount for one made by a company you trust to make quality products? The latter are the people Apple wants as customers. The ones that range from "I can afford to spend a little more than the absolute minimum to get better quality" all the way up to "I've got more cash than I know what to do with and I just want the minimum hassle from everything I buy and use."
They have zero interest in the segment which wants to drag out the use of that Mac for 5 years plus. They want you to bin it when it goes out of fashion, not even wait for it to fail. These are the people who pay three times market rate for an Apple RAM upgrade so they don't have to get a screwdriver out.

Only geeks like us care about swapping out hard drives and we are not a market segment worth aiming at because firstly there isn't very many of us and secondly we don't generally pay over the odds for stuff. I haven't bought a new Mac in 15 years despite working for a reseller for 5 and as a consultant for 1. I can't bring myself to pay £1500 for a MacBook Pro because I know how to fix one up thats 6 months old for a fraction of that. I'd be an idiot not to. Or I'd be lazy and rich. But I'm not rich and I'm not an idiot so I really have no choice.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
Spheric Harlot
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May 17, 2011, 03:30 AM
 
There's an awesome thread over on the ars forums on the promise of an xMac.

What I find really funny is that there is no mythical "xMac" that people are clamoring for.

There's twenty.

Apple is wise not to build any of them, as those expecting one of the other 19 models simply won't shut up, just like they didn't shut up after the mini came out ("xMac = headless iMac").
     
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May 17, 2011, 05:01 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
What I find really funny is that there is no mythical "xMac" that people are clamoring for.

There's twenty.
YES, EXACTLY! This is one of the points I keep trying to make. One of the arguments is that they want a cheaper Mac:

"Dell/HP/Taiwanese whitebox manufacturer can make decent boxes for $350. Apple could make the same box for $500 and keep its margins!"

The difference is that that $350 box is way cheaper parts than in the iMac - it's usually a Core 2-era dualcore Pentium with G45 Intel graphics - and that it doesn't include anywhere near the same amount of software. If you upgrade it back to the quality of parts that are in the iMac, add a display and add in software to replace iLife, the cost difference is gone. This means that you might as well make a cheaper iMac. You don't really want an xMac - you want a cheapMac.

"I want to upgrade it after a few years!"

What, exactly, do you want to upgrade? The CPU is socketed. You won't be able to upgrade it, but that's because any new CPU 3 years from now will use a different socket or different chipset or different VRM or whatever. You can upgrade the RAM and, except for the current craziness with the heatsensor, the HD. In the end, it all falls back to the GPU. All the MP users out there - how do you like your GPU upgrade options? Worth the money? At the prices Apple charges for the replacement GPUs for the iMacs, you might as well buy one of those.

"I want a cheaper tower!"

Yeah, me too. Thing is, Apple used to make them and they didn't sell. Probably they could be made to work if you could buy standard GPU upgrades, but you can't.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
CharlesS
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May 17, 2011, 05:26 AM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
What, exactly, do you want to upgrade? The CPU is socketed. You won't be able to upgrade it, but that's because any new CPU 3 years from now will use a different socket or different chipset or different VRM or whatever. You can upgrade the RAM and, except for the current craziness with the heatsensor, the HD. In the end, it all falls back to the GPU.
And USB3. And eSATA. 10 gigabit Ethernet. And FireWire 3200 if it ever does materialize. Maybe even some form of SCSI. Audio interfaces. Video cards. Cards specific to the needs of some particular business or niche. PCI Express is simply the most versatile interface on the planet, and no matter how much you try to spin it, it's a major weakness of the Mac platform that most of its lineup is so completely non-expandable. Expecting the completely closed Mac mini to somehow "shut up" people asking for a reasonable expandable Mac is, frankly, somewhat delusional.

Fortunately, Thunderbolt may finally fix all this, if of course people start actually making devices that utilize it (or, at the least, some sort of Thunderbolt->PCIe enclosure).

Yeah, me too. Thing is, Apple used to make them and they didn't sell. Probably they could be made to work if you could buy standard GPU upgrades, but you can't.
When was this exactly?

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May 17, 2011, 05:45 AM
 
Originally Posted by CharlesS View Post
it's a major weakness of the Mac platform that most of its lineup is so completely non-expandable. Expecting the completely closed Mac mini to somehow "shut up" people asking for a reasonable expandable Mac is, frankly, somewhat delusional.
Yes, but that's because you're projecting YOUR wishful thinking.

MY wishful thinking for a miniMac would look completely different.

And the 18 other fundamentally useful and absolutely obvious concepts would look different and be irreconcilable with ours, again.
This is the thread on ars I was referring to: (Sorry, link is ****ed up due to the broken code on this forum. It's called "xMac CONFIRMED !! (Actually just a skinny rackmount Mac Pro rumor)".)

I remember CLEARLY that before the Mac mini came out, "concensus" was that what Apple *really* needed was a headless iMac.

Which is exactly what the mini is/was (except for being two generations behind lately).

Has it shut up people?

No, because ever since then, it's been "expandable minitower!"

And if they do make one (just to spite the dying market for such boxes), it will be "more internal storage", or "more slots!", or "more expandable graphics!", or "dual-CPU dammit or no sale!" - depending upon which compromises they make to build it, and above all, depending upon whether you're listening to gamers, home server users, small business owners, home media guys, studios, developers, or just some drooling nerd on the interweb who's building his wet dream but will never, ever be able to justify/afford buying it, because he will *always* find some deal-breaker.

This latter group appears to be the noisiest.

The rest of the world just chooses the set of compromises best suited to their needs and wallet, and gets to work.
     
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May 17, 2011, 07:29 AM
 
Apple will undoubtedly assess all these different concepts periodically but a minitower will hurt sales of the other desktop Macs. The only way they would hurt those sales on purpose is with something more profitable which is the exact opposite of what people seem to be begging for.

I agree though, whoever is first to build a Thunderbolt to PCI-E enclosure is going to make a killing. In theory you could still use a full size external GPU with the internal display on an iMac which would also be very nice. If they made it work with PC cards too, goldmine.
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May 17, 2011, 04:02 PM
 
Originally Posted by CharlesS View Post
And USB3. And eSATA. 10 gigabit Ethernet. And FireWire 3200 if it ever does materialize. Maybe even some form of SCSI. Audio interfaces. Video cards. Cards specific to the needs of some particular business or niche. PCI Express is simply the most versatile interface on the planet, and no matter how much you try to spin it, it's a major weakness of the Mac platform that most of its lineup is so completely non-expandable. Expecting the completely closed Mac mini to somehow "shut up" people asking for a reasonable expandable Mac is, frankly, somewhat delusional.
When I said "upgrade", I meant replacing existing parts with better parts down the line. The expandable case is a different one (that IS being addressed now, with Thunderbolt, as you comment below). I should note that several of the cases you mentioned above, like audio interfaces and and specialized equipment, is mostly USB these days. Many of those were ISA for so long that they had to do the PCI and PCIe transitions basically at the same time, and many decided that USB was easier.

Originally Posted by CharlesS View Post
Fortunately, Thunderbolt may finally fix all this, if of course people start actually making devices that utilize it (or, at the least, some sort of Thunderbolt->PCIe enclosure).
God, that sounds ugly.

Originally Posted by CharlesS View Post
When was this exactly?
The $1600 single processor Powermac G5 was the most recent, but there were more before it. This is a general trend, where Apple is abandoning the low-end towers (after Jobs basically reintroduced them) and replacing them with higher-end iMacs.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
Spheric Harlot
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May 17, 2011, 06:03 PM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
I should note that several of the cases you mentioned above, like audio interfaces and and specialized equipment, is mostly USB these days.
Audio interfaces are invariably FireWire or PCIe—unless you're talking about simple stereo boxes. And even on those, clocking is notoriously difficult via USB, so above a certain quality threshold, USB interfaces get rare.

Originally Posted by P View Post
God, that sounds ugly.
magma has been building PCI and PCIe expansion chassis for years now - they've been the only solution for running MADI interfaces or UAD expansion on portable setups (via PCcard or EC34, natch).
     
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May 26, 2011, 05:30 PM
 
When I say an xMac, I think what most people would want is just a box with easily accessible HD and RAM. An upgradable graphics card might be nice too.

Think a Mac Mini, but instead of worrying about being tiny, worry about being cheap and upgradable.

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May 26, 2011, 06:24 PM
 
Originally Posted by ort888 View Post
When I say an xMac, I think what most people would want is just a box with easily accessible HD and RAM. An upgradable graphics card might be nice too.

Think a Mac Mini, but instead of worrying about being tiny, worry about being cheap and upgradable.
Never. Going. To. Happen.

People have been bleating on about this sort of thing for years. Apple are not interested. Its the complete opposite of their MO: Expensive and disposable. If they make it cheap, they will jack their margins so it won't be cheap any more. If they make it upgradable, you won't need/want a new one every two or three years.
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May 27, 2011, 02:48 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
I remember CLEARLY that before the Mac mini came out, "concensus" was that what Apple *really* needed was a headless iMac.
I don't remember anyone asking for that except for a smattering of Apple nerds who were already sold on the iMac concept. I certainly never asked for such a thing. And the mini isn't a headless iMac — it's a headless laptop. The "headless iMac" was the Cube, and that flopped.

I do remember outlandish rumors floating around at the time that the Cube was going to have some weird sort of external slot with which a PCI chassis could be attached to make it expandable, though. Oddly enough, that prediction is now likely to finally come true, about ten years late.
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
If they make it upgradable, you won't need/want a new one every two or three years.
And this is the clincher. It has nothing to do with consumer demand and everything to do with getting the machine to become useless junk earlier than it otherwise would.

Which is fine, but if this is going to be your market strategy, then you need to stop talking about TCO and how much longer your machines last than the competition. If they cost more to begin with and then don't last as long before needing to be replaced, the TCO is crazy high.
( Last edited by CharlesS; May 27, 2011 at 03:39 AM. )

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May 27, 2011, 03:47 AM
 
Originally Posted by CharlesS View Post
I don't remember anyone asking for that except for a smattering of nerds on Mac forums.
IOW, same as today.
Originally Posted by CharlesS View Post
The "headless iMac" was the Cube, and that flopped.
No. The G4 Cube came over ten years ago, when there was still a "low-end" affordable tower.

The xMac/headless iMac discussion didn't start until after it died, and really got going in 2004.

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May 27, 2011, 10:15 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
IOW, same as today.
No. Back then, desktops still made up the majority of the market, and 95% of them were sold with some sort of expansion. If there weren't demand for it, then every single PC manufacturer on the planet other than Apple wouldn't have been including it. The Mac market was a tiny percentage of the overall market, and the people who were talking about "headless iMacs" in between going on about debug code and claiming that there were two 4K78s was a tiny fraction of that.

The reason Steve decided to kill off the low-end towers had nothing to do with market research, and everything to do with the fact that anti-expandability has been his personal religion ever since the 1970s. The original Mac in 1984 didn't even have RAM slots, for crying out loud. I bet the "low-end" (which was really anything but at >$1000) desktops that they used to have in the G4 era constituted a greater proportion of the PC market than the Mac Pro does today.
No. The G4 Cube came over ten years ago, when there was still a "low-end" affordable tower.

The xMac/headless iMac discussion didn't start until after it died, and really got going in 2004.
You don't remember this stuff?



The Cube eventually became pretty much exactly this after it got its price cut, and it still flopped.

The Mac mini isn't a headless iMac, and never was. The Mac mini had a G4 when the iMac had a G5. The Mac mini had a laptop Core Solo when the iMac had a laptop Core Duo. Now the Mac mini has a laptop Core 2 Duo, and the iMac has desktop Core i3/i5/i7s. The Mac mini lives in a much lower price range than the iMac ever did, uses laptop parts almost exclusively, and has very little in common with it. Its purpose is not "headless iMac" but rather "cheap Mac". An actual headless iMac remains a completely pointless idea, and I think the only reason you used to hear about it back in the day was because the iMac used to be a popular "buzzword" of sorts, due to all the media attention it used to get prior to the rise of the iP[oa]d.
( Last edited by CharlesS; May 27, 2011 at 10:40 AM. )

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May 27, 2011, 11:25 AM
 
The Cube cost more then a low end tower at the time.

Another way to solve this "problem" is to sell a tower for less then $2,500 bucks.

Apple seems to be the only tech company whose PC prices have steadily gone up over the last decade.

You used to be able to get a tower for $1,599. Now a low end tower is $2,499.
You used to be able to get an iMac for $799. Now an iMac is $1,199.
You used to be able to get a Mac Mini for $499. Now a Mac Mini is $699.

It's ridiculous. They have record quarter after record quarter... they are swimming in cash... and they keep raising prices? I mean, I can't say I blame them, but as a long-time Apple customer, I find it very frustrating. It makes me buy less of their products, not more. I feel like my needs are not being met. I feel like I have to pick between compromises just to get the computer I want.

Do I want an underpowered hard to upgrade mini computer, a really hard to upgrade computer with an attached screen, or a super expensive giant metal beast that is way more then I need? None really fits my needs.

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May 27, 2011, 12:35 PM
 
Originally Posted by ort888 View Post
It's ridiculous. They have record quarter after record quarter... they are swimming in cash... and they keep raising prices?
Seems like a pretty obvious connection when you sell something desired.
     
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May 27, 2011, 01:14 PM
 
The only desktop markets that aren't dying are luxury commodities and workhorses.

The rest of the world is buying laptops.

That's all you need to know to explain Apple's desktop pricing targets.
     
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May 27, 2011, 02:00 PM
 
Originally Posted by ort888 View Post
Do I want an underpowered hard to upgrade mini computer, a really hard to upgrade computer with an attached screen, or a super expensive giant metal beast that is way more then I need? None really fits my needs.

You are confusing what you need with what you want, in a manner of speaking. An iMac will probably do what you need, just not for as long as you need it to. Which essentially means it does what you need but isn't what you want.

This is a problem with capitalism in general and it surprises me that more companies haven't figured it out sooner. Car makers worked it out a long time ago. Make something thats very good, but very difficult or expensive to repair or upgrade. If you make your product too reliable or easy to fix, no-one will ever need to buy more than one of them.
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May 27, 2011, 03:00 PM
 
I also love how you can't even upgrade the HD on the low-end iMac on the Apple Store. You have to step up the $1,499 model just to get the option.

Why? Because **** you, that's why. They are just doing it to be pricks.

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Spheric Harlot
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May 27, 2011, 03:10 PM
 
Originally Posted by ort888 View Post
I also love how you can't even upgrade the HD on the low-end iMac on the Apple Store. You have to step up the $1,499 model just to get the option.

Why? Because **** you, that's why. They are just doing it to be pricks.
You seem to think Apple owes you something.

They don't. They owe something to the people that pay them money. If not enough people do, they change what they offer until enough people do.

Why should they care if some deluded guy from Your Anus thinks they're pricks?
     
Waragainstsleep
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May 27, 2011, 03:34 PM
 
Its always struck me as odd that Apple is so slow and/or restrictive with its HDD upgrades. If you are going to charge that much for a disk, why not offer an even bigger one and make even more?
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May 27, 2011, 03:48 PM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
You are confusing what you need with what you want, in a manner of speaking. An iMac will probably do what you need, just not for as long as you need it to. Which essentially means it does what you need but isn't what you want.
I love the way people on here always go around telling people what they need and want. How do you know what his needs are?

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Waragainstsleep
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May 27, 2011, 04:43 PM
 
I said in a manner of speaking. And its really just semantics.

No-one NEEDS a machine to be upgradable unless it is insufficient to start with. We might prefer it to be upgradable, but its a tool for a job so you only NEED it to be capable of doing the job at hand.

I may have been a bit pedantic, but I spent 5 years working in a shop with people telling me they absolutely NEEDed a 17" MacBook Pro with 8GB RAM and an SSD in order to check their email so there is an element of habit there too.
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May 29, 2011, 03:47 AM
 
Originally Posted by ort888 View Post
The Cube cost more then a low end tower at the time.

Another way to solve this "problem" is to sell a tower for less then $2,500 bucks.

Apple seems to be the only tech company whose PC prices have steadily gone up over the last decade.

You used to be able to get a tower for $1,599. Now a low end tower is $2,499.
You used to be able to get an iMac for $799. Now an iMac is $1,199.
You used to be able to get a Mac Mini for $499. Now a Mac Mini is $699.

It's ridiculous. They have record quarter after record quarter... they are swimming in cash... and they keep raising prices? I mean, I can't say I blame them, but as a long-time Apple customer, I find it very frustrating. It makes me buy less of their products, not more. I feel like my needs are not being met. I feel like I have to pick between compromises just to get the computer I want.

Do I want an underpowered hard to upgrade mini computer, a really hard to upgrade computer with an attached screen, or a super expensive giant metal beast that is way more then I need? None really fits my needs.
QFT. Although I can see it from Apple's POV. Back when you used to be able to get a G4 tower for $1,599, Apple wasn't nearly as popular as it is today. People didn't clamor after its hardware like they do today. Back then, consequently, they had to be more aggressive with their pricing. But with the rise of the iDevices and the Apple Retail Stores, Apple not only had tremendous new revenue/profit streams, its brand also gained considerable strength. Now if you go to an Apple Store, even in this sluggish economic recovery, it's almost always a packed house. It's hard to force employees to take your money because there is so much demand much of the time. With demand like that Apple has little market incentive to be aggressive with its pricing or reduce its industry leading margins.

It's interesting to note, though, that you've left out laptop price comparisons. It seems to me like the last two revisions of the MBP line have been priced more aggressively than previous generations of MBPs or PowerBooks. It may be more accurate to say that Apple's best selling computer line is priced more aggressively today than in the past, whereas Apple's lower-selling computer lines are priced less aggressively.
( Last edited by Big Mac; May 29, 2011 at 04:00 AM. )

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anthology123
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May 29, 2011, 10:21 AM
 
Clearly Apple does not want to make a cheap Mac, not because of the geeks who want to swap out everything once they buy it (which is probably why they won't do it. Why make a cheap machine if you are going to buy other companies parts to replace theirs?) It's that mainstream market they are worried about, the people that don't upgrade. If they made a cheap Mac for the purposes of swapping out parts, that's what everyone would buy. The few geeks would love it, but the millions of mainstream users would balk at such a cheaply made machine, thinking this is how all Macs are made, why would I want to buy a Mac? The gut reaction of the average consumer is that a $200 computer should work as well as a $1000 computer, so they design things to make it more expensive on purpose to reduce the upgrade need for their target market.
Also, if they made a Mac that is more swap friendly, it would have to be thicker and bulkier to accommodate slide out parts, probably something less in line with their new style, the Mac Pro notwithstanding.
     
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May 29, 2011, 10:43 AM
 
Apart from the inevitable sales cannibalisation that would happen with such a budget box, a dearth of users would also start immediately cramming them with cheap and nasty unbranded crap purchased on the cheap on eBay from China with atrociously written drivers. These Macs would therefore be buggy and unstable and that would hurt Apple's reputation.
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May 29, 2011, 09:53 PM
 
I don't think that's necessarily true at all, War. People wouldn't immediately feel an overpowering urge to fill expandable Macs with cheap components, any more so than people put cheap hard drives or cheap RAM into their iMacs or MacBooks.

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May 29, 2011, 11:05 PM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
I don't think that's necessarily true at all, War. People wouldn't immediately feel an overpowering urge to fill expandable Macs with cheap components, any more so than people put cheap hard drives or cheap RAM into their iMacs or MacBooks.
Agree. The geeks who want expandability aren't the kind of people who are going to want to cram their Mac full of crap.
     
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May 29, 2011, 11:59 PM
 
I think you misunderstood him — he said that a dearth of users would cram crap into their Mac, and since "dearth" means a lack of something, he's actually saying that people wouldn't do that.

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Big Mac
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May 30, 2011, 12:53 AM
 
You're right, he did use the term dearth, but the overall context of his reply suggested to me that he meant the opposite - that many users would be filling their boxes with cheap components as described.
( Last edited by Big Mac; May 30, 2011 at 01:03 AM. )

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May 30, 2011, 05:41 PM
 
People don't put cheap components into their expensive Macs.
Most of the people who will buy cheap Macs are people who currently refuse to buy Macs at all because they are too expensive. How many times have heard an argument along the lines of "but I can get a PC with ...... for $xxx(less than any Mac)"? These people will buy crap time after time if it is cheaper.
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May 31, 2011, 01:36 AM
 
A number of those people are opting for iPads, now.

Also, many people have got burned by buying cheap computers.
     
Waragainstsleep
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May 31, 2011, 04:36 AM
 
You are completing misjudging the budget idiot crowd. Yes there are Mac geeks who want to be able to fiddle more easily and cheaply but if you create this budget Mac box then the biggest customers for it will be the ones who have always wanted a Mac but have always held out because they can save $$ by buying a PC. These people will not pay hundreds of dollars extra but they will pay a few dollars extra for a Mac which this mythical budget beast would surely be.
People will try to install extra PCI cards and USB devices for which they will revert to their old habits of buying the cheapest POS they can find.

Apologies for misuse of the word dearth.
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May 31, 2011, 08:29 AM
 
The market you describe has been continually dying over the past ten years.

I used to know a lot of those people.

Those that didn't turn into Linux geeks all bought budget laptops eventually, or MacBooks.
     
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May 31, 2011, 03:38 PM
 
I'm not even talking about cheap computers. I mean, you could take the $1,199 iMac, cut off the screen and make it easy to get to the hard drive and I would be happy paying $999 for it. Or simply make a tower that is close to $1,600 again. Neither one of those is what I would call cheap.

I don't even want to fiddle. I just want to be able to change the hard drive without needing suction cups and a clean room.

Again, like I said. A mini isn't quite enough, I don't particularly want a screen, and a tower is too much.

There is still a big market for professionals who want desktop Macs. My office has moved to iMacs... which isn't a big deal, but the truth is that we would be better served with towers, but we just can't justify the price. The value isn't there.

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Spheric Harlot
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May 31, 2011, 03:44 PM
 
Yeah, but you bought the iMacs, didn't you?

The market for that kind of tower that isn't served by iMacs is pretty small.
     
ort888
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May 31, 2011, 03:45 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
You seem to think Apple owes you something.

They don't. They owe something to the people that pay them money. If not enough people do, they change what they offer until enough people do.

Why should they care if some deluded guy from Your Anus thinks they're pricks?
I do pay them money. Lots of money. I own a ton of Apple products and have been buying them for a long time.

And they are pricks. I love 90% of what Apple does and hate the other 10%.

Not letting you BTO your hard drive on the low end iMac is nothing more then a shameless cash grab. It was like when they charged you an extra $200 bucks for the privilege of owning a black MacBook.

It's like a car manufacturer only letting you have remote entry if you upgrade to the Sports Package. It's poo-poo.

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