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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Desktops > Dealbreaker for headless iMac?

Dealbreaker for headless iMac? (Page 3)
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Evan_11
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Jul 28, 2004, 02:38 PM
 
Originally posted by Zoom:
I think this is the wave of the future, but I don't know that it's here yet. Your "home directory" follows you. You plug in to any available computer and have access to all your prefs, settings, PIM data, files, etc. I'm surprised Apple hasn't done some form of this yet with the iPod.
They would have to invent some sort of short hand with the iPods scroll wheel. I see cell phones being exactly what you describe. Next thing would be to turn the iPod into a cell phone. However I would want it to be .Mac based. I don't want to pay Sprint, Verizon or whomever to talk. One bill through Apple. If they have to go through Sprint, fine. Worst thing about this idea is having to put a keypad on the iPod. Totally destroys it's simplicity of design.

Back to the headless iMac idea. Really no need to discuss it further. Just re-introduce the Cube but at a sub 1K price point. I don't think it will sell well but it would fill the niche which everyone here at least wants.
     
mitchell_pgh
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Jul 28, 2004, 03:06 PM
 
Originally posted by Evan_11:
They would have to invent some sort of short hand with the iPods scroll wheel. I see cell phones being exactly what you describe. Next thing would be to turn the iPod into a cell phone. However I would want it to be .Mac based. I don't want to pay Sprint, Verizon or whomever to talk. One bill through Apple. If they have to go through Sprint, fine. Worst thing about this idea is having to put a keypad on the iPod. Totally destroys it's simplicity of design.

Back to the headless iMac idea. Really no need to discuss it further. Just re-introduce the Cube but at a sub 1K price point. I don't think it will sell well but it would fill the niche which everyone here at least wants.
I don't think Zoom was talking about the iPod having a keyboard. More like a portable HD that plays music.

At work, save file... ---> Leave work listening to music ---> connect iPod to home computer... never skip a beat.

The real downside is you only have a shell of a computer when the iPod isn't connected.
     
Zoom
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Jul 28, 2004, 05:32 PM
 
Originally posted by mitchell_pgh:
I don't think Zoom was talking about the iPod having a keyboard. More like a portable HD that plays music.

At work, save file... ---> Leave work listening to music ---> connect iPod to home computer... never skip a beat.

The real downside is you only have a shell of a computer when the iPod isn't connected.
Right. The HD not only stores data, but a "personality". When hooked up, you have secure access to your keychain-type stuff, background image, bookmarks, address book, calendar, todo lists, key data, files, etc, etc. I suppose Apple's vision of that is .Mac, but that's only because they stand to gain from that model. What if I'm on a computer with restricted Internet access or no access at all?

I see the pen drive as the key to all of this. Eventually, the size will shrink and it will have wireless access. I envision people wearing a data ring, or bracelet, or pendant, or broach, keyring fob, whatever. It contains your essential data and prefs. You walk up to any computer that supports the interface, and it customizes itself to you based on what's on the drive.

True, this could be coupled with a PDA, a phone, or the iPod, giving you more capability when you have no computer at all, but personally I'd rather have something smaller, lighter, cheaper, and dedicated to the task: secure storage device with wireless (very short range) access, tucked away in something I can wear every day, 24/7/365. It would double as a secure ID, too, though it would only ID me with my express permission.

Smart card companies are looking at this concept, I know.

Anyway, that's a little futuristic. For now, the iPod could be something like this for Macs only, allowing you to take you home directory and personal data/prefs with you to any Mac.
     
mattyd
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Jul 28, 2004, 08:07 PM
 
this feature was called "Home on iPod"...

http://www.appleinsider.com/news.php?id=253

http://www.macrumors.com/downloads/applemobility.html

it was supposed to be part of 10.3, but was pulled. no one's sure why. some people claim that the HD in the iPod isn't up to the task.
     
Zoom
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Jul 28, 2004, 08:24 PM
 
Originally posted by mattyd:
this feature was called "Home on iPod"...
Ah, yes, I thought it sounded familiar.
     
turtle777
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Jul 29, 2004, 02:08 AM
 
Originally posted by mattyd:
this feature was called "Home on iPod"...

http://www.appleinsider.com/news.php?id=253

http://www.macrumors.com/downloads/applemobility.html

it was supposed to be part of 10.3, but was pulled. no one's sure why. some people claim that the HD in the iPod isn't up to the task.
Yeah, it's kind a weird that it didn't come with the G4 iPod.
Still hoping...

-t
     
neilw
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Jul 29, 2004, 09:14 AM
 
This is not far removed from the "personal server" concept that Intel seems to be working on:

http://news.com.com/1606-2-5208490.html?tag=st.rb

iPod doesn't yet have the wireless capability to do the exact things they're talking about, but it's not crazy to imagine that it'll get there...
     
plyxrbo
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Jul 30, 2004, 11:51 AM
 
i'd just like a plain vanilla g5 box with 512MB RAM, cd-rom drive, a couple of firewire and usb ports with a decent harddrive. let me pick my own monitor.

add in a few slots that i can upgrade myself and if they could do it for $800 they'd have 2 new sales in my household.
     
turtle777
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Jul 30, 2004, 12:24 PM
 
Originally posted by plyxrbo:
i'd just like a plain vanilla g5 box with 512MB RAM, cd-rom drive...
CD-ROM ?

You must be kiddin' !
You want a floppy, too ?

-t
     
plyxrbo
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Jul 30, 2004, 12:26 PM
 
well, you know what i mean. one of those dvd/cd rom drives dealies.
     
turtle777
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Jul 30, 2004, 12:28 PM
 
Originally posted by plyxrbo:
well, you know what i mean. one of those dvd/cd rom drives dealies.
So, you mean a CD-RW/DVD-ROM combo drive ?

Why don't you say that ?

-t
     
plyxrbo
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Jul 30, 2004, 12:29 PM
 
i honestly didn't know they had a REAL name. sorry ...
     
BenRoethig
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Jul 30, 2004, 04:11 PM
 
Originally posted by plyxrbo:
i'd just like a plain vanilla g5 box with 512MB RAM, cd-rom drive, a couple of firewire and usb ports with a decent harddrive. let me pick my own monitor.

add in a few slots that i can upgrade myself and if they could do it for $800 they'd have 2 new sales in my household.
They'd have a sale here too and I suspect quite a few more as well.
     
plyxrbo
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Jul 30, 2004, 04:13 PM
 
i really want to buy MORE apple, but i cannot. i find myself upgrading my stuff because i cannot afford new stuff but once every 3 - 4 years.
     
Zoom
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Jul 30, 2004, 08:06 PM
 
Originally posted by plyxrbo:
i really want to buy MORE apple, but i cannot. i find myself upgrading my stuff because i cannot afford new stuff but once every 3 - 4 years.
Me, too. I've been nursing this G4/400 along for 4.5 years now. Hard to justify dropping $2000 when the machine you have works okay. But I'm ready now and I'm hoping this new iMac is something that fits my needs.
     
Minch_Yoda
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Jul 30, 2004, 10:47 PM
 
same ive been using i imac dv special graphite edition and i got it when it first came out and all i have done is uped the ram a little i cant do much else but i would like to
i just don't like the idea of wasting so much on something soon outdated when there are other essentials that i have to buy
im also canadian so $3000 for the minimal g5 + a monitor just to have upgradeability and stuff isnt in the cards
     
TheDoctor
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Aug 1, 2004, 12:41 PM
 
Originally posted by hmurchison2001:
What this really boils down to is "me me me". Headless Macs are appealing to those who want to compute for the lowest amount of dollars thus they are concerned strictly with their own finances. Apple is the same..they have their finances to think about. That's business, the goal is to have a deal that is mutally beneficial. Headless Macs really aren't beneficial to Apple. Don't give me BS about increased Marketshare. That's your poor hypothesis made to support your weak arguement.

One gentleman even said "Apple is on the verge of pricing themselve out of business"

WTF?

Did someone just piss on my leg and tell me it's raining? Apple "just" announced a Q3 profit of 61 million dollars and excellenct powerbook sales. But you must remember when dealing with these "Headless Zealots" that logic flies out the window.
I hardly consider myself a "headless zealot," but I stand by my statement about Apple pricing themselves out of the bussiness. Just this past week it was announced that Apple is the No. 2 choice among PC buyers at 8% of likely buyers. Dell is leading the pack, though, at 50%!. Dell doesn't make the best computers, but they do have MANY models priced below $1000 and even a $499 model. If Apple is going to grow their marketshare, they need to introduce a low cost Mac that will entice more users to OS X. I'm not proposing that Apple kill the eMac or iMac as both of those AIOs serve their purpose quite well. What I am proposing is that Apple take their own advice and "think different" about the needs of their users and potential users.

I don't really care how many Macs you've sold to people, sir, because it doesn't take much common sense to see that their are people out there who would like to make the switch to Apple who just can't afford to. I've talked to several college students who would really like to take a Mac to school with them, but can't afford to pay $1000+ for a new computer. I've also talked to some people who have used Windows for years but would consider trying OS X if new hardware wasn't so expensive. There are also small private and parochial schools that would benefit greatly from OS X but have a large investment in Windows-based hardware and can't convice their boards to dispose of all of it (especially monitors). An inexpensive, headless Mac will bring many new users to Apple. And these new users will most likely continue to buy Apple products in the future.

The G4 Cube was, in all truth, the perfect embodiment of what I am proposing. The only problem was that Apple set the pricepoints far too high initially. Remember, though, how popular the Cube was (and still is). Remember the awards and praise Apple won for the design. Remember how much attention Apple received for making a computer into a piece of art. Apple can do all this again (and more) if they can keep the price down on the final product.

I don't see anything wrong with criticizing Apple's pricing structure. Sure, I would be insane if I was demanding a dual 2.5GHz G5 for $500, but that's not what I'm suggesting. I'm merely suggesting that Apple learn from their past mistakes and make their wonderful procducts affordable for more potential users.
     
babywriter2  (op)
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Aug 1, 2004, 05:00 PM
 
Originally posted by hmurchison2001:
What this really boils down to is "me me me". Headless Macs are appealing to those who want to compute for the lowest amount of dollars thus they are concerned strictly with their own finances.

Don't give me BS about increased Marketshare. That's your poor hypothesis made to support your weak arguement.
Um....yeah. Duh. That's what free market economics is all about. The company pursues its own self-interest (making money), the consumer pursues his or her own self interest (usually, getting the most value for the least cost), and the companies who find the best middle ground succeed.

Apple has very clearly abdicated the low-cost space - and marketshare - in favor of quality (hardware and software) and profit margins. As a result, most consumers select other brands. I believe the entry cost for a computer will continue to drop - and Apple's price discrepancy will become more and more of an issue.

This isn't new; Apple has periodically, throughout their history, lowered their own price floor with a superior combination of price and functionality. The original iMac fit this niche perfectly; the most recent iBooks and eMac models perform well here, too, to a certain degree - although not quite at the same "sweet spot" as the original iMac.

Where Apple does not compete at all is in the low-cost ($500-700 US) "headless" CPU market. As a consumer, I see this as a significant weakness - and a hindrance to adoption of the platform. Obviously Apple disagrees.

Apple is free to design and sell whatever they want. As a consumer, I am free to buy (or not buy) anything I want, assuming I can afford it. Saying I would be more likely to buy a lower-cost headless Mac is not a "weak argument"; it's simply a fact.

While I don't think Apple is in any danger of tanking anytime soon, the strategy they are pursuing has some risk. Remember SyQuest? They had the market on removable storage cornered, and kept prices artificially high...until Iomega came along with a cheaper, better solution. Then SyQuest was out of business - and quickly.

A low-cost headless Mac could be a hedge against that risk by bringing entry-level people into the platform, and creating an answer to the $500 Windows box before they are forced into it by the market. It's always better to be proactive than reactive.

- b
     
teknopimp
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Aug 1, 2004, 05:21 PM
 
Originally posted by babywriter2:
A low-cost headless Mac could be a hedge against that risk by bringing entry-level people into the platform, and creating an answer to the $500 Windows box before they are forced into it by the market. It's always better to be proactive than reactive.
perhaps you should accept the current iMac as Apple's "answer" to that marget segment. they failed miserably in the esoteric Cube and i don't see them ever breaking away from the AIO configuation as their base model. remember: the $500 Win-box has been around forever, yet the iMac/eMac has remains priced well above that, so what does the tell you about their position on the subject?
     
babywriter2  (op)
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Aug 1, 2004, 09:26 PM
 
Originally posted by teknopimp:
perhaps you should accept the current iMac as Apple's "answer" to that marget segment. they failed miserably in the esoteric Cube and i don't see them ever breaking away from the AIO configuation as their base model. remember: the $500 Win-box has been around forever, yet the iMac/eMac has remains priced well above that, so what does the tell you about their position on the subject?
I concur with you about Apple's current position: they've decided not to compete at the $500 Winbox level - and that's their choice. I don't have to agree that it's the right one, though.

if the iMac (or even the eMac) is indeed Apple's "answer" to this market segment, then someone at 1 Infinite Loop needs a brain transplant. I prefer to think that they don't consider that segment worth their effort.

I can say this, though: a reasonably-configured $599 headless Mac, if it were released today, would be in my home tomorrow.

- b
     
BenRoethig
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Aug 1, 2004, 10:26 PM
 
Originally posted by babywriter2:
I concur with you about Apple's current position: they've decided not to compete at the $500 Winbox level - and that's their choice. I don't have to agree that it's the right one, though.

if the iMac (or even the eMac) is indeed Apple's "answer" to this market segment, then someone at 1 Infinite Loop needs a brain transplant. I prefer to think that they don't consider that segment worth their effort.

I can say this, though: a reasonably-configured $599 headless Mac, if it were released today, would be in my home tomorrow.

- b
I my opinion, Apple should release two new Machines.

1. A headless eMac. Nothing special, no upgrades. $650-700.

2. A mid-range tower based upon the G5 iMac with expandability.
     
plyxrbo
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Aug 2, 2004, 05:13 AM
 
Originally posted by babywriter2:
I concur with you about Apple's current position: they've decided not to compete at the $500 Winbox level - and that's their choice. I don't have to agree that it's the right one, though.

if the iMac (or even the eMac) is indeed Apple's "answer" to this market segment, then someone at 1 Infinite Loop needs a brain transplant. I prefer to think that they don't consider that segment worth their effort.

I can say this, though: a reasonably-configured $599 headless Mac, if it were released today, would be in my home tomorrow.

- b
there would be 2 in mine as well.
     
babywriter2  (op)
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Aug 2, 2004, 10:23 AM
 
Originally posted by babywriter2:
I concur with you about Apple's current position: they've decided not to compete at the $500 Winbox level - and that's their choice. I don't have to agree that it's the right one, though.

if the iMac (or even the eMac) is indeed Apple's "answer" to this market segment, then someone at 1 Infinite Loop needs a brain transplant. I prefer to think that they don't consider that segment worth their effort.

I can say this, though: a reasonably-configured $599 headless Mac, if it were released today, would be in my home tomorrow.

- b

Eventually, someone's going to ask what I mean by a "reasonably configured" headless Mac. So let me add my list of specs to those already posted here:

- 1.25 gHz single G4 or equivalent (this isn't the place for a G5, yet)
- integrated, shared-memory graphics chip, similar to what Wintel boxes do at the same price point, with SVGA and DVI outputs
- 256 MB RAM
- at least 1 industry standard PCI slot (3 would be ideal, but I don't know how you would fit those into a "pizza-box" style, which I prefer)
- integrated 100-base-T Ethernet, sound and 56K modem
- Modest software package - iLife and AppleWorks is probably enough
- something "whizbang" that only Apple can come up with - home media server management software, in conjunction with AirPort Express, perhaps?
- Price (without monitor): $599. If they can get a bottom-level option below $500, so much the better - but I don't think that's possible, given Apple's established profit margins.

If this is also meant to be a home media server, it really needs to have at least 3 PCI slots to have decent expandability. That means a minitower form factor. If this is a student/entry level/second home desktop, then one PCI slot is probably fine.

It's possible that, if Apple were to integrate Motorola/Freescale's
e600 system on a chip, this just might be doable at a really attractive price point. But I'm not a chip designer, so take that with a grain of salt.

- b
     
BenRoethig
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Aug 2, 2004, 02:00 PM
 
Anyone else find the mention of "Fully compatible with G4" interesting. I have a feeling we'll see the e600 in the eMacs and iBooks in the not too distant future.
     
hmurchison2001
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Aug 2, 2004, 02:59 PM
 
I don't really care how many Macs you've sold to people, sir, because it doesn't take much common sense to see that their are people out there who would like to make the switch to Apple who just can't afford to.
You don't have to care. But until you've been on the front lines and sold Macs and talked to plenty of people everything you write is supposition with no real world backing. Consumers always complain about price and most salespeople can easily see through that "I can't afford Macs" BS. Everyone has "has their something" and their attempts to get you to lower the price are natural. If you truly can't afford more than a $499 computer then Apple is not the company for you. One tech support call destroys any small profit you may have made on a $499 computer.


The G4 Cube was, in all truth, the perfect embodiment of what I am proposing.
Yes, I liked the Cube and tried it promote it but people got caught up on expandability and passed it. Even at $1299 you couldn't sell them. Apple sold a paltry 10k units before cancelling the Cube. The same issues apply today. Apple cannot ship a headless Mac with little expandability and expect good sales. Sure 10k geeks will buy it but Apple needs 100k sales per qtr to be viable. That's unlikely to happen.

Um....yeah. Duh. That's what free market economics is all about. The company pursues its own self-interest (making money), the consumer pursues his or her own self interest (usually, getting the most value for the least cost), and the companies who find the best middle ground succeed.
Geez thanks Einstein for repeating to me what I just said. I see you're putting that econ 101 class to good use. Any more blatantly obvious tidbits to add?

Apple is free to design and sell whatever they want. As a consumer, I am free to buy (or not buy) anything I want, assuming I can afford it. Saying I would be more likely to buy a lower-cost headless Mac is not a "weak argument"; it's simply a fact.
That was never my point. The point was/is that Apple will not sell a low cost headless computer until they can be relatively assured that sales will increase enough to offset the potential loss of revenue. The thing about HP and Dell low cost units is that neither company makes money on these. They make money on their high end server sales. If Apple could turn their Xserve business into a 3-4 Billion a year division they could then subsidize profitless headless Macs. It's far easier to provide both the client computers(low margin) and offset the bloodshed with Servers(high margin). Apple doesn't have this one-two punch but it may be coming.
http://hmurchison.blogspot.com/ highly opinionated ramblings free of charge :)
     
Minch_Yoda
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Aug 2, 2004, 04:28 PM
 
i would be fine if the imac had a monitor i just hope for slight expandability
     
TheDoctor
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Aug 2, 2004, 04:38 PM
 
Originally posted by hmurchison2001:
You don't have to care. But until you've been on the front lines and sold Macs and talked to plenty of people everything you write is supposition with no real world backing. Consumers always complain about price and most salespeople can easily see through that "I can't afford Macs" BS. Everyone has "has their something" and their attempts to get you to lower the price are natural. If you truly can't afford more than a $499 computer then Apple is not the company for you. One tech support call destroys any small profit you may have made on a $499 computer.
Great. So Apple should just throw away one of the largest segments of the PC market? You never addressed my points about schools, either.
     
babywriter2  (op)
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Aug 3, 2004, 04:25 PM
 
Originally posted by hmurchison2001:
Geez thanks Einstein for repeating to me what I just said. I see you're putting that econ 101 class to good use. Any more blatantly obvious tidbits to add?
I wasn't trying to add anything new. I was reacting to the obvious tone of your post, in which you seemed to indicate that buying decisions made from self-interest are bad. (Remember the "me me me" quote in your earlier post? To most people, that would say "Bad consumer! How dare you look out for yourself!")

I don't owe Apple anything other than my future business - if they earn it. To indicate that being careful with one's own purchases is some kind of moral failing doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

If that's not what you meant, and I misunderstood, then I offer my apologies.

- b
     
notaclone
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Aug 3, 2004, 04:59 PM
 
Originally posted by Chris Paveglio:
La Cube! The Cube was *almost* the perfect little Mac ... My company bought about 100 of them to save a lot of desk space, and none of our artists needed expansion, they all worked on a straight forward Quark/Illustrator/Photoshop basis. We'd buy way more of them if they were available at a reasonable price even today!
Duh-uh! Apple you listening? I think only about 1 PowerMac in 100 gets enhanced internally in a standard print studio. What a waste of space in a corporate environment, and the cost of unused PCI slots & bays.
I'm ready for a single processor G5 Cube to go with my cubicle.
External peripherals are so much easier to deal with come repair time anyway.
     
hmurchison2001
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Aug 3, 2004, 06:19 PM
 
TheDoctor, babywriter2

You guys are both right. I want a low cost headless Mac too. I realize though that Apple is at a disadvantage in that the top 2 PC vendors are Dell and HP right? They both can sell low margin computers because they are hitting corporate and edu markets with full packages from the client computers to routers/switches to the Servers.

It's time for Apple to start working on offering the "whole widget" as well. I get excited when I see large Xserve sales but right now they're in clustering environments. I should be able to create a small business using %80 Apple tools. From hardware to groupware and Office Suites Apple should have a presence. Apple's current situation is so craptastic it's really freakin' unbelievable and I'm a "dreamer". I'm crossing my fingers for the next 2 years that we see some serious gains in reclaiming the edu/k-12 and establishing Macintosh as a Tier1 vendor for business applications. Then the thought of Apple actually shipping a headless Mac under $999 won't cause Steve Jobs nightmares.
http://hmurchison.blogspot.com/ highly opinionated ramblings free of charge :)
     
BenRoethig
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Aug 3, 2004, 09:38 PM
 
Originally posted by notaclone:
Duh-uh! Apple you listening? I think only about 1 PowerMac in 100 gets enhanced internally in a standard print studio. What a waste of space in a corporate environment, and the cost of unused PCI slots & bays.
I'm ready for a single processor G5 Cube to go with my cubicle.
External peripherals are so much easier to deal with come repair time anyway.
External devices are also more expensive and offer limited access to new technologies. Such a computer would be nice in a business environment, but what about home users?
     
DasDaSein+
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Aug 4, 2004, 02:40 AM
 
Here is another one.
     
Zoom
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Aug 4, 2004, 11:58 AM
 
Originally posted by DasDaSein+:
Here is another one.
Very nice. Gotta admit that I kinda dig it. It has the form factor of the Cube, but with a standard tray drive in front (which I like better than the toaster slot) and it's aluminum which (I would assume) is easier to make than that clear acrylic. Not bad.

However, I still think I like a pizza box better - something I can set the LCD display on or even mount it to. Still, not bad.
     
mitchell_pgh
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Aug 4, 2004, 04:28 PM
 


That's not bad at all... A little big, but if they can keep the cost down, they should go with it.

The main issue I have is that the headless iMac/eMac shouldn't compete with the G5. That's why the original cube died.

They simply need something to complement the eMac/iMac while giving options with regards to the monitor.
     
Zoom
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Aug 4, 2004, 07:47 PM
 
The wait is killing me.

T-minus 26 days, 8 hours, 13 minutes and 38 seconds and counting.... slooooowwwwly.

So, Jobs said he'd be back to work "in September". Surely he'll be doing the MW Paris keynote?
     
kokkao
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Aug 5, 2004, 04:09 AM
 
Originally posted by DasDaSein+:
Here is another one.
It's nice but it isn't an iMac. If it turns out similar they've lost at least one sale - I'd rather get a late model 20" FP G4.
     
mitchell_pgh
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Aug 5, 2004, 09:51 AM
 
Originally posted by kokkao:
It's nice but it isn't an iMac. If it turns out similar they've lost at least one sale - I'd rather get a late model 20" FP G4.
The thing I HATE about the 20" iMac is the fact that:
- the computer only should last 3-5 years before put out to the pasture, but the screen should last longer (if not used intensively or in a non-color critical environment).
- you can't add any internal HDs
- you can't add monitors
- you can't use the monitor for a dual computer system (Windows/Mac configuration)
- if the screen is damaged, you send the whole thing back
- if the computer is damaged, you send the whole thing back
- it doesn't sit on a good hand-full of desks very well

I think I would be more "in love" with it if they were a bit more creative with the monitor, perhaps permitting it to be taken off of the base and placed on an arm or something.

I guess I just like the idea of swinging my monitor away and having a perfectly clean desk and the older iMac really doesn't improve the footprint over the older CRT iMacs
     
BenRoethig
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Aug 5, 2004, 10:25 AM
 
Originally posted by mitchell_pgh:


That's not bad at all... A little big, but if they can keep the cost down, they should go with it.

The main issue I have is that the headless iMac/eMac shouldn't compete with the G5. That's why the original cube died.

They simply need something to complement the eMac/iMac while giving options with regards to the monitor.
I like it. Add a pair of 3.5" bays, an 8X AGP slot and pci slot like similar PC cubes and Apple has a sale.
     
BenRoethig
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Aug 5, 2004, 10:26 AM
 
Originally posted by kokkao:
It's nice but it isn't an iMac. If it turns out similar they've lost at least one sale - I'd rather get a late model 20" FP G4.
But they'll probably gain 50,000 more. I think that's a fair tradeoff
( Last edited by BenRoethig; Aug 5, 2004 at 11:09 AM. )
     
mitchell_pgh
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Aug 5, 2004, 11:18 AM
 
Originally posted by BenRoethig:
I like it. Add a pair of 3.5" bays, an 8X AGP slot and pci slot like similar PC cubes and Apple has a sale.
Ummm, I don' think that's necessary.

PCI is overkill and antiquated for a consumer machine. 95% of the people would never use it, and the ones that do probably should be looking at a PowerMac.

8X AGP slot... no way. They should simply have a solid video card built in (to save money).

The whole idea of a headless iMac is that you basically get an iMac, but get to choose your own monitor configuration.

If the headless iMac is anywhere in the ballpark of the G5 tower, it will fail just like the cube did.
     
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Aug 5, 2004, 12:20 PM
 
Originally posted by mitchell_pgh:
Ummm, I don' think that's necessary.

PCI is overkill and antiquated for a consumer machine. 95% of the people would never use it, and the ones that do probably should be looking at a PowerMac.

8X AGP slot... no way. They should simply have a solid video card built in (to save money).

The whole idea of a headless iMac is that you basically get an iMac, but get to choose your own monitor configuration.

If the headless iMac is anywhere in the ballpark of the G5 tower, it will fail just like the cube did.
I disagree completely. The PowerMac has, what, 3 PCI slots (some have PCI-X or whatever). Honestly, it should have 5-6 slots given that it's an extremely large pro machine. While PCI slots are often used on PCs for things that Macs already have built in (FW, Ethernet, modem, etc), my personal feeling is that Apple needs at least one PCI slot on a machine as expensive as the iMac. Even if most people don't use it, a lot of people will want to know that they have the options for minimal expansion. And people who want a PCI slot may look at a PowerMac until they see the price, and then they'll just sigh and buy a PC for 1/3 the cost with more PCI slots.

And the GPU really should be replacable. The effective lifetime of the GPU is probably shorter than any other part of a modern computer - that is, the technology of the GPU is obsolete well before any other part of the system.

Personally, I'm all for the eMac as an entry level, dirt cheap (for Apple), all-in-one Mac with no real expansion capability (other than RAM and disk drive). But the iMac, unless they cut the prices in half, needs a basic upgrade story. The display needs to be separate, as people have stated, because it is (a) very expensive and (b) will almost surely outlast all the other components. CRTs are cheap, so the AIO eMac can still be so cheap that bundling the display with everything else is fine.

I think Apple needs to acknowledge and embrace three levels of Apple desktop systems: entry level (consumer), mid level (prosumer?), and top level (pro). This, to me, corresponds to eMac, iMac and PowerMac. Let the eMac continue the original AIO iMac tradition - single G4, no expansion slots, no frills, cheap. The iMac will become headless, have some basic expansion/upgrade capability, single G5, have options to add frills (BTO). The PowerMac has everything you'd ever want (which is more than what it has now) and will cost a lot.
     
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Aug 5, 2004, 12:42 PM
 
Originally posted by Zoom:
I disagree completely. The PowerMac has, what, 3 PCI slots (some have PCI-X or whatever). Honestly, it should have 5-6 slots given that it's an extremely large pro machine. While PCI slots are often used on PCs for things that Macs already have built in (FW, Ethernet, modem, etc), my personal feeling is that Apple needs at least one PCI slot on a machine as expensive as the iMac. Even if most people don't use it, a lot of people will want to know that they have the options for minimal expansion. And people who want a PCI slot may look at a PowerMac until they see the price, and then they'll just sigh and buy a PC for 1/3 the cost with more PCI slots.

And the GPU really should be replacable. The effective lifetime of the GPU is probably shorter than any other part of a modern computer - that is, the technology of the GPU is obsolete well before any other part of the system.

Personally, I'm all for the eMac as an entry level, dirt cheap (for Apple), all-in-one Mac with no real expansion capability (other than RAM and disk drive). But the iMac, unless they cut the prices in half, needs a basic upgrade story. The display needs to be separate, as people have stated, because it is (a) very expensive and (b) will almost surely outlast all the other components. CRTs are cheap, so the AIO eMac can still be so cheap that bundling the display with everything else is fine.

I think Apple needs to acknowledge and embrace three levels of Apple desktop systems: entry level (consumer), mid level (prosumer?), and top level (pro). This, to me, corresponds to eMac, iMac and PowerMac. Let the eMac continue the original AIO iMac tradition - single G4, no expansion slots, no frills, cheap. The iMac will become headless, have some basic expansion/upgrade capability, single G5, have options to add frills (BTO). The PowerMac has everything you'd ever want (which is more than what it has now) and will cost a lot.
I just don't see people accepting three levels. One product line would always do poorly in that scenario. Also, like when the G4 came out, every complained that Apple was still pushing the G3 in other systems. Everyone wants the G5 (even if it doesn't really make their system any faster)
     
babywriter2  (op)
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Aug 5, 2004, 01:16 PM
 
As I've taken part in this discussion over the past couple of weeks, I've come to see the potential of the "headless mac" as neither an iMac nor an eMac - but as a modern "Quadra 605" - cheap, with decent power and limited expandability, designed not as a profit center but a market-share expander.

In my opinion, Apple would do well to consider this approach, for the same reason that GM and Ford sell low-margin, entry level cars: people who start there will often buy up when their needs and pocketbook allow.

Maybe Apple should bring back a 15" LCD display to match. If the box were priced at $599 and the flat panel monitor at $299 - with a $100 rebate for a combined purchase - you would have a compelling one-two punch that would compete VERY well with existing Wintel offerings.

But I'm a dreamer.

- b
     
MrForgetable
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Aug 5, 2004, 01:50 PM
 
It would be horrendous to kill the All-In-One iMac. If they killed off the iMac they would be killing off the thing that got them back on the right track.
iamwhor3hay
     
mitchell_pgh
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Aug 5, 2004, 02:08 PM
 
Originally posted by MrForgetable:
It would be horrendous to kill the All-In-One iMac. If they killed off the iMac they would be killing off the thing that got them back on the right track.
I totally agree. The all in one is great, and shouldn't go anywhere.
     
Zoom
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Aug 5, 2004, 02:16 PM
 
Originally posted by mitchell_pgh:
I just don't see people accepting three levels. One product line would always do poorly in that scenario. Also, like when the G4 came out, every complained that Apple was still pushing the G3 in other systems. Everyone wants the G5 (even if it doesn't really make their system any faster)
People here might complain because that's what we do, but when you're at the entry level machine, you can expect to have older/inferior technology. It's the tradeoff you make for the price. Entry level PCs have the Intel Celery processors, for instance - hardly a powerhouse, but necessary to keep the costs low and hit the right market segment. Once G4s get old, sure, slap in a G5 at a low clock rate - probably about the time the G6 debuts in the PowerMacs.

Apple has stratified its computers more explicitly than any other consumer computer company, but they do it, too. Look at Dell. They have their Dimension, OptiPlex and Precision desktop lines. I think there's room for all three.
     
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Aug 5, 2004, 02:32 PM
 
Originally posted by MrForgetable:
It would be horrendous to kill the All-In-One iMac. If they killed off the iMac they would be killing off the thing that got them back on the right track.
Again, I disagree. Without repeating everything I wrote in this other post, basically the AIO design no longer makes sense when the display is an expensive, thin LCD. That's why I think the iMac AIO design can live on in the eMac (a CRT-based, super-cheap system). That's fine and there's definitely a market for that. Hell, drop the eMac name altogether and call them iMacs for all I care (I think many people are hung up on iMac==AIO), and let them be the entry-level model. But that doesn't mean that Apple doesn't need a mid-level, headless xMac with the basic qualities I described above.
     
babywriter2  (op)
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Aug 6, 2004, 02:08 AM
 
Interesting note from Apple's recent SEC filing (as reported by MacNN today)

"Sales of flat panel iMac systems, which have a suggested retail price starting at $1,299, have been negatively affected by a shift in consumer preference to portable systems and competitor desktop models with price points below $1,000... "

Maybe Apple is getting the message: they can't ignore their lower-priced competition forever.

- b
     
kokkao
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Aug 6, 2004, 05:04 AM
 
Originally posted by babywriter2:
Interesting note from Apple's recent SEC filing (as reported by MacNN today)

"Sales of flat panel iMac systems, which have a suggested retail price starting at $1,299, have been negatively affected by a shift in consumer preference to portable systems and competitor desktop models with price points below $1,000... "

Maybe Apple is getting the message: they can't ignore their lower-priced competition forever.

- b
You beat me to it! So I wonder what the implication of this could be .... a starting price somewhat below the $1000 point perhaps for an AIO 15" screen as baby writer2 raised earlier?
     
IVIIVI4ck3y27
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Aug 6, 2004, 09:00 AM
 
Originally posted by hmurchison2001:
You don't have to care. But until you've been on the front lines and sold Macs and talked to plenty of people everything you write is supposition with no real world backing. Consumers always complain about price and most salespeople can easily see through that "I can't afford Macs" BS. Everyone has "has their something" and their attempts to get you to lower the price are natural. If you truly can't afford more than a $499 computer then Apple is not the company for you. One tech support call destroys any small profit you may have made on a $499 computer.
I don't entirely agree but I don't entirely disagree either. The problem with the Windows PC competition has been that they've made these machines loss-leaders (Wal-Mart mentality) and have always tried to undercut the competition because to many PC buyers, it's a box full of parts. Not all Dell's are reliable, not all Gateway's are. It's a fact of life. Most vendors that have dropped into that sub-$500 category have faced abysmal profits for the costs expounded and crippled themselves in doing so. Gateway did it, Compaq did it, Gateway is just now recuperating, and Compaq was bought by HP as a result of it. Go even further back, Packard Bell was in the low cost PC market, Acer was, and neither one is much more than a footnote in this country. Only eMachines has been able to do reasonably well, and their fortee has been their ability to use Korean labor, being a Korean company, to cut costs while providing slightly better hardware than the other loss-leader machines. I'd still not fork over the $ for one, but for some people... they'd do it in a heartbeat.

Apple has always gone for healthy margins. It's my safe assumption that Apple can make a machine that's headless for a hundred to hundred and fifty dollars or so less than an eMac, and make serious headway and still have strong margins. That's why if you'll scroll back to my previous postings, you'll see that I made it clear that any lower cost G4 Mac, which I entitled as the "LC" range in lieu of one of Apple's strongest selling model ranges in their history, wouldn't be trying to go bargain basement but would be priced just above it on the PC side. Apple machines do come at a premium, but nothing out there is to say that it must come at such an exorbitant premium by being tied to a monitor that the consumer isn't asking for.

So I can see a $599 low cost LC G4, and a few padded versions with more RAM, more Hard Drive Space, and your choice of Combo or available Super Drive all the way up to $799. Go a step further, when Apple releases the iMac, if it sells in a certain range, undercut each model by a range per LCD cost, and you'll have the LC G5 model. If a 17" Apple monitor costs $600-700, Apple could take $500-600 off the sticker of an iMac and still reap $100 for severing the monitor sale from the equation. It'd cut costs, more people could afford it, and they'd still have a good body of margin with that $100 per machine. In fact, I'd venture to say that since Apple went to LCD's on the iMac, I'm going to wager that the margins on these machines hasn't been as strong as it has on non-LCD eMac and G5 models just because of the premium costs the monitors warrant and the lower costs that Apple has tried to cut the machines to after the failure that was the Cube experiment of overengineering and overpricing.

The reason the Cube failed miserably in sales was that it was overengineered for what the market demanded, where everyone wanted a machine that had reasonable expandability in terms of swapping standard drives and upgrading memory/processors at the time, Apple provided a computer the size of a box of tissue for the costs of a high end G4 with less expandability. For the sacrifice in expandability, you want to cut the costs... not keep them the same, otherwise it's a novelty item in the Bang and Oluffsen realm, but that doesn't work with a machine that loses usability as it ages, vs. a CD player which lasts for as long as the CD player standard and the availability of CD's and consumer desire for CD's vs. other formats is there. Yes the cube was stylish, had amazing award-winning packaging, but it wasn't practical nor logical for *MOST* people and it failed as a result. Computers don't make good fetish items. Pure and simple.

For a scant amount more you were getting a machine that was based around air cooling with miniscule packaging that was overkill. All of that engineering and R&D cost a premium and made the machine too expensive for it's potential market. Think back to the old beige Mac LC of the mid 1980's. It was compact and efficient, but it didn't cost a fortune for Apple to tool up to produce, it wasn't necessarily revolutionary compared to the iMac or Cube, but for it's time it was pretty novel, compact, and slimline and it was cheap enough to get people into the Mac that were balking at the original All-In-One form factor Macs that weren't selling well enough to make the Mac eclipse the PC competition; that didn't come 'til the LC, and the Mac II (LCII was a part of I believe), both of which had headless configurations available in many varying ranges. Yet processors weren't exactly hot enough to fry an egg either. Times have changed but the needs/demands have not, but if a G5 can slot into a tight space in an iMac casing, I'm sure a pizza box or minitower or enlarged cube can fit around it without a problem.

If there was no demand, no market, I'd have bought one of the other machines Apple has been building years ago. I've sought refuge in what deals I could muster on older hardware because I can't rationalize the expenses that you consider to be something we'll all just up and deal with. I'm sorry, but while I'm not against paying a premium, I'll only do so when the machine suits my needs. If that means I hold out for a year and hurt Apple's fiscal sales in the near term, well... I'm sorry. I just have to do what's best for me first, and Apple wherever they fit into my grand scheme. I'll admit that $1599 isn't too unreasonable for a last gen 1.6 Ghz. G5 single processor desktop with 3 PCI-X slots, AGP 8x, and all of the bells and whistles... but by the time I get that $, more than likely they'll be gone. I've decided I want to buy *NEW* this time around, so I can get APP which is another added cost. If I have to wait for a $1,999 machine + $250-300+ of APP, it'll be even longer for Apple to get my $. I don't need 3 PCI-X slots, I'm not even sure I need "1" when Firewire 400/800 and USB 2 are at my disposal. The only reason I upgraded to a Radeon 7000 in my 9600 was in an attempt to get OS X to run reasonably on it via XPostFacto. I did so, but I'm looking to OS X when I get a new machine and for the $, a G4 vs. a G5 for me when I've got a 700 Mhz. G4 in my 9600 just makes little sense to continue on with the G4.

Y'see how this isn't helping them right now?

I can hold out 'til I can get what I want, and that's a desktop or tower form factor (I have to admit to liking that colored cube idea alot too, although pizza box LC-style still allures me a little more as an iMac G5 motherboard is likely to be an odd fit in a cube IMHO and might be excessive on space) Mac with no monitor built-in, reasonable upgradability internally or externally, and at a reasonable pricepoint for what I'm getting. It's no sweat off my back. If Apple meets my demands, I'll have a machine sooner. If that's with 3 fewer PCI slots, no upgradable video... fine. I just don't want an All-In-One. I have a 17" CRT, I want a 19-20" LCD when I can afford it, and that is not today. If I'm going to spring up the cash for a 19-20" LCD iMac, I'll just save and get the G5. Yet if Apple produces a pizza box or cube based G5, prices it at $999-$1,599 and undercuts the current G5 lineup... I'll be in one within 6-8 months tops. I'm already 3/4 to 1/2 way there depending on what the pricetag ships for and what config I want, factoring in that I want the peace of mind of Applecare for the $ I'm plunking down too.

Yes, I liked the Cube and tried it promote it but people got caught up on expandability and passed it. Even at $1299 you couldn't sell them. Apple sold a paltry 10k units before cancelling the Cube. The same issues apply today. Apple cannot ship a headless Mac with little expandability and expect good sales. Sure 10k geeks will buy it but Apple needs 100k sales per qtr to be viable. That's unlikely to happen.
Only if they overengineer to the task again. Once again, if they can deal with the heat of an iMac G5 enough, here's the simple solution for my needs. Take the motherboard from the iMac G5, remove it from any semblance of LCD. Offer it with the same processors, the same video, the same drive configurations. Put it in a larger casing with more heat dissipation, maybe even a fan (noisy or not, I can care less, my 9600 is hardly a whisper quiet machine).

I'm not looking for the world's smallest computer, or the most chic/fashionable, I'm wanting a usable computer, decent external upgradability, and a reasonable pricepoint. I'd pay $999-1,599 depending on hard disk, processor (G5 at that cost), ports (Firewire 400/800/USB2), Combo or Super Drive, for basically just a case with an iMac G5 board inside it. That's why I called this "LC". LC stood for "Low Cost" and not only is the likelihood of G4 and G5 versions of this capable via modularity via using iMac and eMac parts, but it'd be very cheap to tool up and sell in greater volumes to people with pre-existing monitors (switchers, non-bleeding edge types, those that don't like AIO's for whatever reason); so it's low cost for them, and low cost for me. I once again *DO NOT* want to see Apple kill off the iMac and eMac. If they can make the iMac an invaluable platform again with an LCD, great!

My gut tells me though that the LCD iMac's days are numbered simply because sales haven't worked; as many people have balked on the novelty of the LCD iMac in favor of a more practical laptop in the same way the novel and innovative Cube failed in comparison to a practical desktop for similar pricetags that was bigger and easier to upgrade. It's like a cube with an LCD, it's a novelty, it's a slight bit more practical than the Cube for the $ spent, but it's still going to need some methodology to continue on. Irony of ironies, an iMac-based G5 LC computer could provide enough sales so that Apple can sell a more niche oriented volume of iMac's and still turn total profitability (and marketshare) ever higher via having a slimline desktop that shares it's componentry. The CRT-based eMac will continue on simply because it's cheaper to build CRT machines, and let's face it... for education, the heft of a CRT is harder to steal from a dorm, and there's no moving parts to break from students playing with them like the iMac's LCD.

You might work in sales, but I've worked in Product Design. I understand modularity, parts-bin sharing, and sharing architectures and platforms. Apple's R&D costs by the SEC filing have increased, and what I've suggested basically cuts the R&D development to provide a utilitarian design and/or shares R&D costs between 2 complete sets of AIO and Headless products thereby minimizing loss on investment and maximizing potential of return.

Granted it'd be great if Apple could justify tossing in a PCI-X slot for those that want it, and upgradable video, but the costs aren't there unless Apple devises it to be done in both the iMac G5 and LC G5; and likewise with the eMac G4 and LC G4. Let us not forget... that consumer desktops are not gamer's machines and shouldn't be classified as such, nor are really Prosumer machines for gamers either. Alienware as a PC mfg. has carved a niche out of creating gaming hardware and very few of their machines are in a lower pricepoint because of that, but they've even attempted to slot into that magical $1,299 area. In fact, the PowerMac G5 desktops are "VERY" favorable to the Alienware Gamer PC offerings, and they provide equal upgradability and expandability along with the same levels of bleeding edge technology straight down to water cooling and 64-bit computing. Apple even trumps them by offering dual processors in all models!

The consumer/prosumer models are utilitarian but were never conceived to be bleeding edge. What so many want is bleeding edge for bargain basement pricing; which is irrational. I know you'll agree with me that this isn't justifiable or feasible... but what I've conceived or stated is not only feasible, but imminently logical for Apple's success. There's no lose/lose to the situation, they can retain healthy margins, not try to undercut their competitors which Apple has never been about, but build products to people's needs based off of modularity and therefore innovation to meet demand without necessarily trying to go over the top and wow everyone with everything they produce; but still taking that step forward in the product design department to build the best designed consumer casing designs in the industry for what they do. True, the casings can be works of art, and for an Apple that's expected, but it doesn't require that the guts that make the machine work have to be at this range. If it works to our needs, serves us for a decent range of time (couple of years 'til next upgrade)... it's good enough for most of us. Apple just has to keep a machine in their lineup for us. This isn't to say "Go build a whole new Performa disaster of a line", but to be modular and provide machines that suit a range of people at reasonable pricings. As you noted... People would love to have 7 PCI-X slots, AGP 8X, a Super Drive, and Dual Quad G5's at 3.5 Ghz. for $300 if they could get it... but get close enough to their needs and people will make concessions. Apple isn't within my reach without having to wait 'til I can afford the closest thing, which is perhaps more bleeding edge than I really need. That's not my loss though, that's their loss. I can make due, but I'd like to buy soon. The sooner Apple builds something close to my needs, the sooner they'll have my $.

That was never my point. The point was/is that Apple will not sell a low cost headless computer until they can be relatively assured that sales will increase enough to offset the potential loss of revenue. The thing about HP and Dell low cost units is that neither company makes money on these. They make money on their high end server sales. If Apple could turn their Xserve business into a 3-4 Billion a year division they could then subsidize profitless headless Macs. It's far easier to provide both the client computers(low margin) and offset the bloodshed with Servers(high margin). Apple doesn't have this one-two punch but it may be coming.
I agree, and I don't expect them to. Yet it's like General Motors found out recently. They realize they can't please everyone with one solution. AIO isn't working, and the lower costs of Apple's iBook laptops with similar performance to the iMac productline has hurt the iMac's sales. Not that the iMac was selling well when iBook's came with G3's. That portability and ability to carry them around made the iBook and even Powerbooks outsell the iMac which, like the Cube, didn't have the market to sell to like it's CRT-based ancestors. It became a novelty, a niche, and while there will be people that love the iMac and want another one, there are many who aren't in the market for an iMac but are in the market for the guts inside that machine.

GM is building a whole plan off of the Kappa platform, a platform geared towards multiple niche products, but much of the componentry is off the shelf of their global small car platform as well as components from their FWD midsize platform. Utilizing modularity, they're able to provide a niche product using parts that came off the shelf to make it a reality. The R&D costs were minimized as the components were adapted to other uses thereby making products like the Pontiac Solstice feasible; which is a new philosophy for a company that's notorious bean-counter based and staunch in philosophy of building products that sell in appliance-like mass volumes vs. niche like small markets. Kappa as a whole is devised to spawn a complete gamut of cars worldwide so they're selling fewer cars per nameplate but more cars overall from the platform by spawning countless variations, much like Honda has done with the Civic (Civic Coupe, Civic Sedan, Civic Hatch, CRV, Element, Acura RSX) and Accord (Accord Coupe, Accord Sedan, Acura TL, Acura's and Honda's mid-sized SUV's, et al.) platforms as well.

With limited mechanics involved in a PC, it's even easier, and Apple could build an external case around an iMac or eMac motherboard, continue to sell the iMac and eMac, and offer a lower cost non-AIO alternative to those offerings thereby retaining the AIO end-user's $ while serving another market and getting even more money. The built in video would suit many of us fine (connect a cable to the iMac's and eMac's onboard LCD connector to adapt to a female connector that pokes out of the case for DVI and VGA connectivity), and those that need substantial internal upgradability would likely invest in a G5 desktop. This isn't a substantially upgradable machine, but it's a lower cost alternative for those that don't necessarily need a G5, don't want to wait an extra year to upgrade on their modest means, but don't want an AIO Mac either. It's a healthy middle ground and I doubt it'll cannibalize iMac sales, nor will it hurt the platform. It'll merely make it "whole".
     
 
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