Feel free to disregard my laborious figures but try and answer one last question.
Why does Apple refuse to make this elusive XMac?
Is it because Apple are jerks and they are high on pot?
Or is it because they just don't see enough money in it?
Ok that was three questions.
I'll give it a try. The iMac has always been an all-in-one computer aimed at students, home users, professionnals and small companies. When the iMac morphed into the current LCD monitor form factor, Apple placed the logic board behind the screen and adopted a slower, cooler, portable CPU for 2 reasons:
a) to save money by placing one large order for portable CPUs used in both MacBooks and iMacs;
b) to reduce the heat produced by the CPU and allow for thinner, quieter iMacs with reduced or no added ventilation.
The iMac could be thicker behind the screen to provide enough space for a better ventilation which would allow Apple to use cheaper, faster, hotter desktop components not only for the CPU, but also the graphic card and the RAM.
Decision making at Apple has always been a problem with Steve Jobs second guessing everything and everyone, insisting that he is the inventor of everything made by Apple. Under such a tyrany, most companies go from being competitive and innovative to being out of touch with reality and slow to respond to new competitive challenges.
With the illness of Steve Jobs which meant continuous exams, surgeries, secrecy and, finally, a 6 month leave of absence, Apple has just become more irrelevant as its competitors created better and better computers at an ever cheaper price. Netbooks are just one example. Blu-Ray and quad-core CPUs are another example.
What is wrong with higher prices and higher profit margins? Most people prefer a good deal when they can find one. Windows computers are 40% cheaper than Macs. If you are a school board, are you going to pay 40% more for classroom computers? If you are a company, are you going to pay 40% more for 200 or 2,000 computers? The answer is a resounding NO!
When you compare features like Blu-Ray drives, quad-core desktop CPUs, user repleacable desktop graphic cards, iMacs just don't cut it.
And what is wrong with buyers choosing a brand new desktop tower with a Blu-Ray drive, a quad-core desktop CPU, a larger hard drive, 4 GB of RAM standard, a faster desktop graphic card, Windows 7 and a 40% lower price than a slower, dual core mobile CPU iMac?
A 4% world market share would be half of the problem it is for Apple if Macs used a standard operating system (Windows) with applications written in a standard computer language, i.e. C++, instead of a specific Objective C language which is not used by most programmers.
An ever smaller world market share, persistent higher prices, higher profit margins, poor features reflecting last year's technology all conspire towards one inevitable conclusion: Apple is fast becoming irrelevant for most people, a boutique company with niche products which are overpriced and underwhelming. The problem has taken years to mature, but accelerated with the health problems of Steve Jobs.
Squeezing the lemon for every last drop just doesn't make sense anymore. Ignoring competitors and belittling Windows won't bring buyers back to Apple.
Why not a desktop XMac or iMac?
Steve Jobs is the problem. Some people say that he is delusional, others believe that he is just a tyrant. Could he be just wrong? Stubborn and slowing down Apple?
For background info on Steve Jobs, see the Fortune Magazine editorial:
The trouble with Steve Jobs @ http://money.cnn.com/2008/03/02/news...tune/index.htm
P.S.: Sorry for the long answer which shows only one thing: it doesn't make any business sense for Apple to sell no desktop computer, no desktop tower.