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At the risk of beating the dead horse yet again... - Page 3

post #81 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by hobBIT View Post

Apple clearly has some interesting design ideas in mind for pushing Light Peak.

Once SSDs become cheaper and more popular it is quite imaginable that soon 3.5" HDs are a thing of the past and 2.5" will be the new standard even for most desktops.

So imagine a 30" Apple Cinema Display with built in bays for 2.5" HDs and a Superdrive/Blu-Ray drive connected to your laptop via a single Light Peak cable.
This merges a display plus TimeMachine backups plus DVD drive into a single monitor.

And without the Superdrive laptops could finally have enough room for a user-upgradable GPU or even dual GPUs.
A laptop with upgradable GPU plus 'bay monitor' could be a much more appealing solution to most potential xMac buyers.

That sounds great, but PLEASE don't voice it, again. If SJ reads this and understands how much users would appreciate it, he's sure to withhold it. He doesn't want us to have what we want - ONLY what he wants us have.
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post #82 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ensign Pulver View Post

You geeks just don't get it, do you? Consumer desktops are dead, have been for years. Apple was way ahead of the curve on this and their quarterly earnings prove it.

Their earnings prove nothing because the only solution for people wanting a decent desktop machine is to go the hackintosh route. If Apple offered a decent desktop and it failed in the marketplace that would prove something but they haven't.
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It's not 1999 anymore. Buy a MacBook or an iMac. That's all you need for your consumer workflows.

How in he'll do you know what my workflows are? From the consummer side of the equation I have to think Apple is crazy because they don't offer hardware to support their media businesses. The number one reason we want a xMac isn't cost it is expandability and specifically expandability of disk storage. Oh please don't give me any crap about USB or Firewire drives, both of them suck for modern hardware. A close second to expandability is the ability to drive a decent monitor from a reasonably high performance graphics card. As nice as the Mini is it really isn't up to the task of doing graphics well.
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And how do I know all you mid range tower whiners are just consumers? Because if you were actually pros you'd be happily working on your $2500 Mac Pros rather than wasting your time complaining on AI.

You have no idea do you? Many professionals actually have a limited budget for hardware, especially when you consider the cost of software and support equipment. If money wasn't an issue I wouldn't see all the liquidations, and office auctions around town.

Now we both know of professionals that have paid for their entire office with one job. That does happen but you don't see these people going out and buying an entire office for every job. The reality is there is always competition for the work and sometimes you end up with work that barely pays for the can of Coke sitting on your desk. A wise businessman always judges the value of any purchase made.




Dave
post #83 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by FuturePastNow View Post

Anyone who says desktops are dead is an idiot.

Their are not idiots... but they are prone to over exaggerating.

The desktop market is not dead but it's shrinking.

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Yes, laptops outsell them now, and will continue to do so. But over 40% of the computers sold are still 'normal' desktop towers.

You guys need to quit with the 40% figure. It's way too high!

How many of your 40% figure are PC towers bought by Windows/Exchange dominated enterprise customers.

How many of the 40% are PCs similar to Apple's offerings. eg. AIOs, High end gaming rigs etc, mini desktops. (Yes I know.. that figure is probably pretty low... but it's still relevant)

With whatever is left from your original 40%... how many are low-end, low-priced, low-margin boxes?

I suspect that, in reality, that 40% is closer to 10% and could conceivably be less... and it's shrinking year by year. You then have to factor in how many of those buyers would switch to the Mac.

I know that some of you guys love to label Apple as elitist or stupid or both but the simplest reason why Apple doesn't build the computer you want could just come down to plain economics.
post #84 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by hobBIT View Post

You made some interesting points.

I would like to know more about why people really buy laptops. A machine's performance is not the only decision making factor.
From my own experience with friends and family, they switched to laptops mainly because they didn't want to dedicate a whole desk in their home to a stationary computer system. As simple as that. They wanted a system they can pack away, out of sight, when not in use. No midrange desktop will ever give them that. Even if they buy an iPhone/tablet at some point, they'd still prefer a companion system to be out of sight when not in use.

Well I don't have that problem, that is I have a room for the computers.

As to why I purchased a laptop, it was simple I got tired of dial up and affordable high speed Internet isn't happening around here. So now if I need a large file I have to go down to the library or other WiFi hot spot. Hopefully this is tolerable until they can get DSL out here.

It was like 6 months after that that I got an iPhone. I did not expect it to be the great web and E-Mail machine it is. I read all the hype but I've learned to discount that marketing crap, however this time a product exceeded my expectations. In any event it does drastically reduce the need for a laptop as it is my first choice for E-Mail and even modest web browsing. When the day comes that DSL is available I might not have a need for a laptop at all.
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You also pointed to the unfortunate trend of the widening gap in performance between desktops and laptops.

Yes this is huge but will be more important when SL optimized software hits. Right now my dual core MBP will crawl when modestly loaded. Once you actually try to do multiple things at once dual cores just aren't enough. Unfortunately OpenCL might not be of much help at all in these situations.
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16 vs 2 threads is certainly something to worry about.
But this gap will close soon I think once denser and lower power CPUs hit laptops. Once 24 threads are introduced in desktops, laptops should have at least 4 if not 8 threads. 24:4 or 24:8 is already a much better ratio than 16:2.

Well it is a somewhat better ratio. The problem is these mobile CPUs just don't perform as well as desk top CPUs with good cooling.
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Yet do consumers really need all that power?

Well they need more than what they have no to deliver the next generation of interactive software. As noted above I have my moments with my MBP wear the slugish performance just isn't tolerable. Granted some this may be in part due to one well known program that does not execute well on Mac platforms. Flash isn't the only software that leads to poor performance though.
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If a 600MHz iPhone/tablet (or a netbook) is sufficient for most tasks, the few remaining tasks should be fine with a dual-core at 3GHz, and even more so with 4 and 8 threads.

To this I have to say no! An iPhone or a tablet vs a desktop, represent two different use cases. One simply doesn't use a desktop in the same way a tablet is used.

One of the things that disturbs me about the "I want a tablet crowd" is that many seem to think it will actually work well as a document creation device. They won't and likely would only be used in an emergency for bulk creation.

The iPhone is a big win for me because it handles what I currently need while mobile. So the question is what do you do when it is time to buy another computer? Well I have to be honest and say a desktop would be high on the list. If you don't need a laptop, desktops are a much better value. It isn't just costs either as ergonomics plays a big role in preferences here.
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Unless you are a professional video editor. At which point you buy a high-end desktop and are not interested in an xMac either.

I like to think of the xMac as an expandable low end Mac. Disk expansion is what comes to mind here and frankly it is because of video. Not for bulk production of video but for storage and management of such. With a company like Apple so focused on digital music and video it just shocks me that they don't offer up a machine optimized for such usage. An xMac with a raidable set of expansion slots would be ideal in this situation. Of course such a PC could find lots of other uses too. The point is there is a market for such and Apple is a major software supplier, so why the disconnect?

Besides Mac Book AIR kinda proves that a PC doesn't have to be a run away success to stay in Apples catalog. Maybe xMac only moves 500,000 a year, that might not be great when compare to MBP but it isn't peanuts either. It does allow Apple to offer a complete product matrix covering the PC and the media (software). The fact is people are storing their libraries on non Apple hardware now due to the lack of a viable Apple solution.

Note all of the above is focused on just one usage of an xMac. Their are numerous other justifications and a well designed XMac could handle them all.
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To me it also seems that most laptop 'upgraders' just want a bigger screen. At which point an external second display is probably enough. Or an iMac.

Don't get me wrong an iMac is nice but you get exactly one screen to choose from. As to an external monitor on a laptop, that is OK if you can accept a laptops limited ability to drive large screens. XMac greatly reduces the compromises.
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There are statistics about what consumers actually upgrade in their mid-range desktops. Turns out that the vast majority never upgrades anything and makes no use of the internal expansion slots for HDs or PCI cards. So why offer them?

I'm nit sure where you hot that info because I don't believe it is accurate at all. Here is a list of things that I see on a regular basis:
1.
RAM upgrades
2.
Disk upgrades, both for repair and for the lack of storage. The external drive market for the Mac should highlight demand right there. The problem on the Mac is that most external drives are a terrible solution for the problem at hand.
3.
Graphics card upgrades. I actually thought this would slow up but it hasn't, the tech gets better at a rate fast enough to justify upgrading video cards for many users. What is notable on the Mac is how difficult this is to do.
Quote:

Of course there are users who will use them, there will also be Mac users who have good reasons for getting an xMac, but the question remains will these be enough for a niche computer maker to introduce a product for a niche user group?

Oh come on now Apple introduced AIR and keeps it in the product catalog. That is a niche machine for those with more money than brains. Here we are talking about filling the needs of a large user segment with a small form factor expandable machine. Well much smaller than the Mac Pro, it is not exactly a niche product at all.
Quote:

Two other trends working against a midrange desktop machine:

Cloud computing
Yes the term has been abused and ridiculed ad nauseam, but I know people who actually started using this to get more performance on demand. Their decision was to stay with a laptop and use the cloud for 2D/3D render performance. Whenever they need some heavy number crunching they rent a cloud service that does this for them. That way they get 256 or more cores if they need them.

That is a great move if you need a render farm. However Intel's processors allow for a significant boost in performance at little to no increase in cost. That is if Apple where to add a properly configured desktop to the line up. A cloud server nay be ideal for abulk rendering job but there is much that can and should be done locally before the work is shipped off to the farm.

In any event I really have to wonder about this organization as laptops just don't seem to fit the demand. I would also have to wonder how often and for which projects the use the farm. The ability to do the work locally improves every few months, there has to be a productivity and cost issue with shipping every project out to the farm.
Quote:

So instead of your future scenario of tablet plus desktop I see a tablet which can plug into a desktop monitor for more screen real estate and tap into the cloud for more heavy lifting on demand. Mobile Me could easily offer this service for iMovie and iDVD.

Frankly I don't foresee cloud services ever being cost effective for a single user. For businesses that is a case by case situation. As much as I like Mobile Me, I can't ever see it as serving my computational needs. The number one issue being current connection speeds, which are a huge bottle neck which becomes even larger when faster mobile processors are used.

Put GCD on a tablet and you have a parallel processing machine that works somewhat like Libraries on that computational farm you talked about. In effect we should have in a year or two a parallel processing (GCD) and OpenCL compatible iPhone along with a similar but faster tablet. The hardware power will be there.

What won't be there is bandwidth. Let's face it the RF spectrum for data transfer is extremely limited and always will be. Conversely wired connections are far less limited if you can get the wire to your house. The cloud sounds nice in a pure digital world but real world is a very rough and tumble analog reality.
Quote:

Light Peak
Apple clearly has some interesting design ideas in mind for pushing Light Peak.

Once SSDs become cheaper and more popular it is quite imaginable that soon 3.5" HDs are a thing of the past and 2.5" will be the new standard even for most desktops.

2.5" drives are the standard for many servers these days so the old 3.5" drives are on the way out. What I don't get is why Flash solid state storage is stuck housed in these old mechanical formats. All you really need for SSD is a PC card and a slot to plug it into. Why can the industry move forward here.
Quote:

So imagine a 30" Apple Cinema Display with built in bays for 2.5" HDs and a Superdrive/Blu-Ray drive connected to your laptop via a single Light Peak cable.
This merges a display plus TimeMachine backups plus DVD drive into a single monitor.

As long as those drives in the monitor are for time machine backup we are OK with this. Light Peak actually inspires several ideas in my mind so I would suspect that there are hundreds of ideas floating around Apple.
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And without the Superdrive laptops could finally have enough room for a user-upgradable GPU or even dual GPUs.

Well I suppose some would like that but I'm looking for more internal secondary storage. Ideally SSD on PC cards optimized for thin laptops. Invariable the first limitation I run nto on any machine I've owned has been the lack of disk space. It was an issue on my heathkit, Mac Plus, every Linux machine I've built and now my MBP. The problem with the MBP is that I hit that limit faster than any machine I've owned. Much of that due to iTunes and a couple of SDKs. Which brings up Apples lack of attention to this detail that frustrates their users. The only Mac with sound high quality secondary storage expansion is the Mac Pro which is far to expensive.
Quote:
A laptop with upgradable GPU plus 'bay monitor' could be a much more appealing solution to most potential xMac buyers.

I really doubt that, after having this MBP and experiences with laptops at work the inescapable conclusion is that there are to many compromises with these machines. Disk drives fail at an alarming rate, hinges break, cases crack and the units are hard to service. Interestingly the iMac and to a lesser extent the Mini are also hard to service and the recent MBP is a much nicer machine to service.

With one crack Apple could have an xMac that is as easy yo service and upgrade as the current MBP is. They could move forward with the adoption of 2.5" drive modules and at the same time setup the machine to accept a new standard SSD card format. This doesn't have to be a huge box and I might even accept a mobile processor in the box if it has at least four cores or threads. In anyevent I want to see at least three bays of storage and you can skip the internal CD drive which does little for me. Frankly this doesn't have to be much bigger than todays Mini. With the drives on edge the cabinet needs to be a bit more than 2.5" high and a little deeper. It is otherwise a small machine that can serve multiple purposes but should have a HDMI port for multimedia use.


Dave
post #85 of 225
Again, really good points.

I totally agree that it would be good if there is an xMac and you're a good example for a user who would benefit from such a machine.

But to be honest I'd be really surprised if Jobs would OK such a product.


I don't think that the MacBook Air can serve as an example that Apple is prepared to introduce models for niche customers. If anything it is turning more into an example against niche products.

Firstly I don't think it actually sells that well. Without actual numbers most analysts seem to agree that it is not selling very well. Some say it is an outright failure.
So why is it still sold? Simply so Apple doesn't lose face. If they'd kill it so soon after introduction they'd admit failure. Apple doesn't want another 'Cube' stigmata. Better let the product slowly fizzle out...

Secondly Apple is selling more and more laptops (compared to desktops) so they might have hoped the MBA would pick up in sales along with the trend - which didn't happen due to the poor economy. Yet this hope of sales picking up some day might be another reason for it still being sold.


But to me the biggest stumbling block against an xMac are laptop product margins.
If Apple wanted to maintain their laptop margins (or not destroy them) with an xMac, they'd likely have to offer it at ridiculously high prices akin to the Mac Pro.
All we'd get is another Cube disaster where people actually wanted to buy the product - yet the product failed as it was priced way too high for what it offered.
Unlike with the Mac Pro where users have no alternative and must pay the high prices, an overpriced xMac would just divert users to iMacs or laptops and xMac sales numbers would be disappointing. As they did with the Cube.


But there might be hope for an xMac if:

a) Apple gains so much market share that the xMac's product segment would still be viable.

b) Companies like Psystar keep popping up to fill the xMac niche to the oint where Apple introduces such a product - as product segment protection.

Yet in either case I'd still be worried about Apple's high laptop margins, which they'd want to protect at all cost.
So an xMac will only happen if they find a way around this. Currently I don't see one.
post #86 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by hobBIT View Post

Again, really good points.

I totally agree that it would be good if there is an xMac and you're a good example for a user who would benefit from such a machine.

More importantly Apple benefits as there is one less reason for their product to be dismissed out of hand.
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But to be honest I'd be really surprised if Jobs would OK such a product.

That would be sad because he has approved many a senseless design. What we are asking for is a more functional design.
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I don't think that the MacBook Air can serve as an example that Apple is prepared to introduce models for niche customers. If anything it is turning more into an example against niche products.

Well I wouldn't exactly call an XMac a niche product. Especially if the XMac was passable as media center PC/Server, a decent graphics machine or a more potent computational platform.
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Firstly I don't think it actually sells that well. Without actual numbers most analysts seem to agree that it is not selling very well. Some say it is an outright failure.

I thought it was a failure the day it was delivered. It was priced to high considering all the compromises. The thing is you can target the wealthy if you want, but the wealthy have standards of acceptability too. If the wealthy think it is a joke and it is to expensive for a good portion of the public then you become extremely limited with respect to who you can sell to.
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So why is it still sold? Simply so Apple doesn't lose face. If they'd kill it so soon after introduction they'd admit failure. Apple doesn't want another 'Cube' stigmata. Better let the product slowly fizzle out...

I'm not sure I buy this though. In business it is far better to admit you mistakes early. People will respect you for that.

The bigger problem with AIR is that Apple doesn't learn from it's mistakes. Form & function go together. It is like having a beautiful girl friend, one with brains is great, one with mash potatoes between the ears is constant trouble. AIR is a mashed potatoes design that is to limited to serve a useful number of customers.

Properly designed an XMac would be like a hot chick on a motor cycle working on her PHD. Such a Mac could fill several roles that Apple currently has unfilled.
Quote:
Secondly Apple is selling more and more laptops (compared to desktops) so they might have hoped the MBA would pick up in sales along with the trend - which didn't happen due to the poor economy. Yet this hope of sales picking up some day might be another reason for it still being sold.

The problem is you will have a hard time convincing me that AIRs problems are related to the economy. In my mind AIR is a great concept that got smothered by an obsession with form over any sort of function.
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But to me the biggest stumbling block against an xMac are laptop product margins.
If Apple wanted to maintain their laptop margins (or not destroy them) with an xMac, they'd likely have to offer it at ridiculously high prices akin to the Mac Pro.

This I have to disagree with on several fronts. First; these are entirely different products, the people that need an XMac need it beyound and exclusive of any need for a laptop. Second; I'm positive such a machine can be built at high quality levels and keep the price under $1100 for a well equiped base model. It actually might be possible to maintain margins on an even lower cost model.
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All we'd get is another Cube disaster where people actually wanted to buy the product - yet the product failed as it was priced way too high for what it offered.

Cube was an interesting machine and even though the price was outrageous I still think it failed more due to the lack of function.
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Unlike with the Mac Pro where users have no alternative and must pay the high prices, an overpriced xMac would just divert users to iMacs or laptops and xMac sales numbers would be disappointing. As they did with the Cube.

Again I tend to disagree. First the whole point of XMac is to offer up a reasonable priced machine that offers feature not found on other machines in the line up. As to Cube itin nany ways was the prototype for failure of AIR. It had a poor feature set, poor cooling and questionable design trade offs. They don't need to make these mistakes on XMac.
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But there might be hope for an xMac if:

a) Apple gains so much market share that the xMac's product segment would still be viable.

Market share is huge as it gives Apple more money to invest in the Mac lineup and a justification to do so. The problem is Cash hasn't been an issue for Apple for a couple of years now, it is past time to pay attention to the Mac lineup.

For example the iMac could use refactoring. It needs to be easy to service and frankly could use more drive bays. Adding drive bays to the iMac could reduce demand for the XMac. With the combo of the new 2.5" high capacity drives and the higher integration intel chips this ought to be a snap.
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b) Companies like Psystar keep popping up to fill the xMac niche to the oint where Apple introduces such a product - as product segment protection.

The AutoCad people just lost a law suit that may not help Apple. This couple with other first sale doctrine wins recently means that Apple is going to have a hard time wining. They are thus in a position of having to compete with other platforms running their software. Platforms that come in towers with lots of Room for disk drives.

Not to mention companies like HP that have media servers and disk arrays on the market.
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Yet in either case I'd still be worried about Apple's high laptop margins, which they'd want to protect at all cost.
So an xMac will only happen if they find a way around this. Currently I don't see one.

Again laptops and desktops are two different animals. People that really need laptops will still buy them. You however seem to assume that an XMac would have no margin at all. This isn't the case at all, it is just a matter pricing. If Apple can get an XMac out the factory door for $600 or less the they can keep their margin without issue. A mother board with processor is likely to be less than $300 at the volumes Apple does, so the rest of the machine can easily go together for 300.




Dave
post #87 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

The number one reason we want a xMac isn't cost it is expandability and specifically expandability of disk storage.

But that's not exactly true, is it? You can get 4 TB of disc storage in a Mac Pro. It's the price of the Pro that you don't like.


Quote:
Many professionals actually have a limited budget for hardware, especially when you consider the cost of software and support equipment. If money wasn't an issue I wouldn't see all the liquidations, and office auctions around town.

The reality is there is always competition for the work and sometimes you end up with work that barely pays for the can of Coke sitting on your desk. A wise businessman always judges the value of any purchase made.

That argument seems a little convoluted too. If pros have a budget of thousands for software and additional equipment... that doesn't mean that, conversely, they need to save money on their computing hardware. Spending the extra $1000 or maybe even $ 1500 only amounts to a few dollars a week, over the life of the machine. (Tax breaks+resale value)

If a business is facing liquidation... I suspect it has had much larger problems than spending too much money on a computer. How many of those "office auctions" were PC users?

There are professionals and professionals. Sure there are some pros who's business doesn't generate as much turnover and they could benefit from lower capital costs... but once again you are splitting the market.

Apple has started (tentatively) to lower the ASP of their Macs. (Let's see what the next update brings). There is a possibility that, in a year or 18 months, there might be a $2000 Mac Pro. It might not be as cheap as you want but it makes the purchasing decision easier for some of the pros out there.
post #88 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Besides Mac Book AIR kinda proves that a PC doesn't have to be a run away success to stay in Apples catalog.

The MacBook Air is certainly a good example of Apple taking a punt at a niche market. However it's not comparable to Apple introducing an xMac.

The Air was priced higher than the majority of all the notebooks that Apple sold. Cannibalising sales of the other notebooks would probably result in more dollars for Apple.

The people on this forum want an xMac to be priced cheaper than a Mac Pro (fair enough!)... but also cheaper than most iMacs. Any lost sales of Pros or iMacs is going to result in less income for Apple. The xMac only becomes viable if it attracts new customers... and those customers need to be 'switchers'.


Quote:
Maybe xMac only moves 500,000 a year,

What price would you put on your xMac?
post #89 of 225
I see really @ least 2 arguments here:

What are the advantages of either AIO or desktop tower and what is best for Apple.

AIO
advantages
-easier initial setup
-footprint

disadvantages
-only user friendly updrade is ram (kind of)
-any upgrades for hard/optical drives = cable clutter
-uses expensive laptop parts
-monitor choice is limited to what comes on the computer
-if any part fails the option of adding card to take up this function not an option


xMac
advantages
-uses less expensive desktop parts
-choice of monitor from inexpensive to outragously expensive
-upgrades available for internal hard/optical drives
both for swapping drives or adding drives internally
-upgrades to video cards
-instant ability for Apple to provide upgrade path for models sold @ the time of the sale
-footprint (kind of) if computer is under desk or inside cabinet of desk
-cable clutter (kind of) if upgrades are internal
-if something fails there is chance card can be added to take up functionality
-as standards change (wifi, communication:USB/Firewire/SATA, etc) add a card

disadvantages
-a couple more cables to plug in during initial set up


Maybe it is time to ask, what is best for the consumer?

To those who argue, who needs slots, I ask who cares. The cost for having slots is negligable and for those consumers that don't use them, they don't care nor may even know they are inside the computer. Ask yourself, has anyone in the history of computing refused to buy a computer because it contained the dreaded slots, but there are consumers that refuse to buy AIO without them.

As for what is best for Apple, most consumers don't care, stockholders yes. Apple now, or was, the 3rd largest computer seller in the US and still refuses to sell a consumer desktop tower computer which is the most popular configuration.

Yes Apple dominates the consumer market in the >$1000 computer desktop market. To bad that is no longer the mid - high end consumer desktop market range. While the % of laptops sold increases, that does not nullify the fact that the consumer desktop market is still huge and will continue to be huge.

Didn't I read somewhere that most Mac users have multiple compters in their home, many of the them desktops and shudder many of those are Windows machines (re: I wonder why? I don't know and there are probably a plethora of reasons - but makes you thnk)
just waiting to be included in one of Apple's target markets.
Don't get me wrong, I like the flat panel iMac, actually own an iMac, and I like the Mac mini, but...........
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just waiting to be included in one of Apple's target markets.
Don't get me wrong, I like the flat panel iMac, actually own an iMac, and I like the Mac mini, but...........
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post #90 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

If Apple can get an XMac out the factory door for $600.

They won't sell an xMac in the price range you imagine.

Apple doesn't build cheap machines. And they don't want to. Apple's use of aluminum, their components, their milling process, these are all expensive.
A base system for $600 is unrealistic - unless it has a Mac mini motherboard with integrated graphics and 3.5" HD bays... Which I doubt is a product worth buying.

Their base system would more likely be around $800-1000.
Add to that the 30-35% margin Apple wants on each machine then we're talking a $1,300 price tag for the base system with a quad-core CPU. At a minimum (using higher-end components).


Yet at that price Apple has another problem: this will kill sales of the single CPU Mac Pro.
There will still be buyers, but likely a lot less.
As a result the single CPU Mac Pro will no longer be a viable product. And with that the dual CPU Mac Pro sales on their own might no longer be viable either. Not good.
A $1,300 xMac will have a ripple effect seriously affecting the whole Mac Pro line.
Apple will try to avoid that.


Apple's whole product range is built on 'upselling'. They want you to dish out more than you initially intended by making you go one price range up.

A $1,300 xMac is just too far from a $2,500 Mac Pro starting price for Apple to ever be able to 'upsell' these customers to a Mac Pro, like they do with the MacBook and MacBook Pro.
So the xMac price will have to be higher. More in the $1,800-$2,000 range.

I bet this is where Apple will price an entry level xMac.
And at that price it would still have less features than the single CPU Mac Pro!


But with that price tag potential xMac buyers will simply say, nah' I'll get a laptop instead. Or an iMac.
And very few will buy an xMac.
It will just not be a viable product at that price.

But I do not see an xMac priced in a way that will kill the single CPU Mac Pro sales either.
Nor do I currently see Apple lowering their Mac Pro prices.


It's a conundrum.
post #91 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by VirtualRain View Post

I'm starting to think that the only people here that could want an xMac are those who want a gaming machine but just aren't happy about paying the price for a Mac Pro.

Exactly. I have a four year old iMac Core Duo that runs everything I need, along with a nice, new 13" unibody MacBook. At this stage of my life (late 40s) I thought about wanting a more powerful rig for my occasional gaming needs, but gave up and simply bought a PS3 instead. Powerful, beautiful stunning games on the later, my real work on the former. Perfect.

I think the poster would be happy with a maxed out mini and a console.
"I tried to get a tattoo once but passed out. It wasn't wetting my arm that bothered me, I just couldn't press firmly for 30 seconds."
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"I tried to get a tattoo once but passed out. It wasn't wetting my arm that bothered me, I just couldn't press firmly for 30 seconds."
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post #92 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by hobBIT View Post

I don't think that the MacBook Air can serve as an example that Apple is prepared to introduce models for niche customers. If anything it is turning more into an example against niche products.

No it's the perfect example. There was already a market for a "thin and light" notebook. Sony, Panasonic etc. Despite the Air's lack of features, it competed well with the market. It actually had better specs, bigger screen and was cheaper than some of it's competitors.

Niche market or not, the Air was Apple's grab for their small slice of that pie.

Quote:
Firstly I don't think it actually sells that well. Without actual numbers most analysts seem to agree that it is not selling very well. Some say it is an outright failure.

Agreed. We just don't know the figures. The problem with the analysts is that some of them pronounced the Air "a failure" the day it was released.

The reality is that even if the Air was a runaway sales hit, it was never going to sell more than the Macbook Pros... or the Macbooks. It was always meant to be a niche product. Niche sales figures (especially at $1700 a pop) doesn't necessarily equate to a failure.

Quote:
So why is it still sold? Simply so Apple doesn't lose face. If they'd kill it so soon after introduction they'd admit failure. Apple doesn't want another 'Cube' stigmata. Better let the product slowly fizzle out...

Or it could be that it's still making money? We can only guess... but how many MacBook Airs does Apple sell? In a few days time Apple will announce that they have sold 10 million Macs. Around 6 million of those will be notebooks. If The Air accounts for just 10% of those... that's a One Billion dollar business.

I will agree that the economy hasn't helped the Air! The product was released about 8 months prior to the shit hitting the fan in the banking sector. (Even worse timing was Dell's $2000 Adamo!) These thin and lights had a ready made market in highly paid, high expenses executive bods. Just a few months later these guys were losing their jobs.

Quote:
But there might be hope for an xMac if:

a) Apple gains so much market share that the xMac's product segment would still be viable.

b) Companies like Psystar keep popping up to fill the xMac niche to the oint where Apple introduces such a product - as product segment protection.

I really don't think Psystar, or anyone else like them is going to force the issue. Particularly if Apple wins their case against Psystar.

There are a couple of other scenarios where an xMac could be a possibility.

1. If Apple ever made a serious push into the enterprise market.
2. Similarly, if they targeted the BRIC nations.

Don't think either of those is going to happen any time soon.
post #93 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by hobBIT View Post

Firstly I don't think it actually sells that well. Without actual numbers most analysts seem to agree that it is not selling very well. Some say it is an outright failure.
So why is it still sold? Simply so Apple doesn't lose face. If they'd kill it so soon after introduction they'd admit failure. Apple doesn't want another 'Cube' stigmata. Better let the product slowly fizzle out...

Think again, all signs point to the Air selling much better than anticipated. I have one and I know two people with one. This is far from another cube. The difference here is having your laptop be ultraportable is a good thing (lighter, thinner etc.), having a desktop shaped like a cube is of no use to anyone.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #94 of 225
Quote:
But to me the biggest stumbling block against an xMac are laptop product margins.
If Apple wanted to maintain their laptop margins (or not destroy them) with an xMac, they'd likely have to offer it at ridiculously high prices akin to the Mac Pro.
All we'd get is another Cube disaster where people actually wanted to buy the product - yet the product failed as it was priced way too high for what it offered.
Unlike with the Mac Pro where users have no alternative and must pay the high prices, an overpriced xMac would just divert users to iMacs or laptops and xMac sales numbers would be disappointing. As they did with the Cube.


But there might be hope for an xMac if:

a) Apple gains so much market share that the xMac's product segment would still be viable.

b) Companies like Psystar keep popping up to fill the xMac niche to the oint where Apple introduces such a product - as product segment protection.

Yet in either case I'd still be worried about Apple's high laptop margins, which they'd want to protect at all cost.
So an xMac will only happen if they find a way around this. Currently I don't see one.

I'm enjoying the combative posts from Dave and Rick. Very strong points amongst very thorough points.

And I noted this post above also. Apple did intro the Cube back when their marketshare was much lower.

It will be interesting to see, with sales approaching 3 million a quarter no less(!) if Apple will introduce another desktop model to serve the gap between the Mac Pro (stupidly overpriced) and the iMac (again, stupidly overpriced since the UK price jack...)

It's interesting also...that Dell offers regular towers alongside their all in ones. And I'm sure they sell plenty of towers and laptops, eh?

I think the Cube (other than the G5 introduction and the classy engineered chassis...) was the last time that Apple's desktop saw any real innovation.

I can see the point of the mini. But it's way overpriced by £200-300.
I can see the point of the iMac. But the entry model is stupidly overpriced by £300.
I can see the point of the Mac Pro. But the entry model is stupidly over priced by £1000.
(ie no way a quad core tower with a crap GPU should cost more than £800.)

There's room for another product.

The problem, historically, is that Apple reintroduced the 'Cube' as the mini. And placed it under the iMac.

And I'm afraid...the product just isn't as good as the first one. Sure, it's cheaper...but it's the other extreme of limited specs...in a laptop biscuit tin. £500 and what do you get? It aint quad core. It doesn't have a decent discrete gpu.

Meanwhile, the iMac is the 'catch all' consumer desktop with laptop parts. Limited by thermal constraints...yet occupying a prosumer price point.

Sure they're all nice machines in their own way. But they don't offer good value. The specs are way out of date. The gpus suck in the mini, iMac and Pro. You can't get quad core in anything short of £1800. And Apple's 'cheap' display is £600. Pushing prices for the Mini and Pro ludicrously higher.

Keep the mini under neath but push the price much, much lower. £195-£295. Tops.
I think Apple should push the iMac to its former 'low end' emphasis...and really cut the price on it. £695-£995.
Intro the Cube tower/mid-tower. £795-£1395.
Mac Pro. Deep price cut. £1495-£2495.

And given the price points, I can't see how Apple couldn't still be profitable. But it would make a real difference to consumers, prosumers and second chasers alike.

Yeah. It's a dead horse. But it keeps cropping up. I sometimes wonder if we could put all these whine threads together and carpet bomb apple's feedback page. ...other PC companies can do it ie make a mid-tower. Even a crap company like Pystar can make one. Sure it's 'another desktop'. But the laptop range has 3 models. The desktop has a bigger range of Cpus and gpus to serve more markets. It's not a million new models. Just one to plug the gap between the mini and Pro. Because the iMac sure aint it. It's alot of nice things. But it's not a mid-tower replacement.

It's not difficult. It's 'only Apple'.

Lemon Bon Bon.

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

Reply

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

Reply
post #95 of 225
Quote:
It's a conundrum.

It sure is. Or so it seems. But only Apple is making it difficult..?

Lemon Bon Bon.

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

Reply

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

Reply
post #96 of 225
Quote:
As for what is best for Apple, most consumers don't care, stockholders yes. Apple now, or was, the 3rd largest computer seller in the US and still refuses to sell a consumer desktop tower computer which is the most popular configuration.

Yes Apple dominates the consumer market in the >$1000 computer desktop market. To bad that is no longer the mid - high end consumer desktop market range. While the % of laptops sold increases, that does not nullify the fact that the consumer desktop market is still huge and will continue to be huge.

Lemon Bon Bon.

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

Reply

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

Reply
post #97 of 225
Quote:
What are the advantages of either AIO or desktop tower and what is best for Apple.

AIO
advantages
-easier initial setup
-footprint

disadvantages
-only user friendly updrade is ram (kind of)
-any upgrades for hard/optical drives = cable clutter
-uses expensive laptop parts
-monitor choice is limited to what comes on the computer
-if any part fails the option of adding card to take up this function not an option


xMac
advantages
-uses less expensive desktop parts
-choice of monitor from inexpensive to outragously expensive
-upgrades available for internal hard/optical drives
both for swapping drives or adding drives internally
-upgrades to video cards
-instant ability for Apple to provide upgrade path for models sold @ the time of the sale
-footprint (kind of) if computer is under desk or inside cabinet of desk
-cable clutter (kind of) if upgrades are internal
-if something fails there is chance card can be added to take up functionality
-as standards change (wifi, communication:USB/Firewire/SATA, etc) add a card

disadvantages
-a couple more cables to plug in during initial set up

Lemon Bon Bon.

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

Reply

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

Reply
post #98 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

Think again, all signs point to the Air selling much better than anticipated.

You and that magic 8-ball.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

I have one and I know two people with one.

That's all of 'em.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

This is far from another cube. The difference here is having your laptop be ultraportable is a good thing (lighter, thinner etc.), having a desktop shaped like a cube is of no use to anyone.

I agree that lighter and thinner laptops are much more desirable but having a cube desktop is very useful. You get your own choice of display, you can send it away easily for repairs, you can upgrade it while keeping your screen or vice versa, you can access the internals more easily and it's more affordable as it's not welded to an Apple IPS screen. You can possibly get a quad-core i7 in it and get great performance at a reasonable price and it will cost less to repair.

It's not just for gamers remember, games don't benefit hugely from the CPU upgrade. We're talking about people getting into high end computation or who are in fields that need it but don't make a lot of money. Students doing medical research or GPU development - the CUDA developments came from a graduate student y'know and one day we will all benefit hugely from this.
post #99 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

agree that lighter and thinner laptops are much more desirable but having a cube desktop is very useful. You get your own choice of display, you can send it away easily for repairs...

Oh, so that's why it's shaped like a cube.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
post #100 of 225
I asked you how much your xMac would cost.

I missed this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

If Apple can get an XMac out the factory door for $600 or less the they can keep their margin without issue.

But it's not without issue.

You stated Apple could sell half a million xMacs...... (now) at $600 apiece.
At, say, 30% profit that's.... 90 Million dollars.

How many Mini's and iMacs (and the odd Mac Pro) sales would be lost? Apple might sell 500K xMacs but if they lost 200K sales of their other desktops then that 90 million profit just disappears.

Side Note: You call the Macbook Air a failure, yet it only needs to sell around 200K units a year to be more profitable than your xMac strategy.
post #101 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by rickag View Post

As for what is best for Apple, most consumers don't care, stockholders yes. Apple now, or was, the 3rd largest computer seller in the US and still refuses to sell a consumer desktop tower computer which is the most popular configuration.

It's a shame that profits and shareholders have to come into the equation... but that is the argument that you xMaccers keep making! You keep saying that Apple is missing out on a large and lucrative market yet you consistently fail to offer any evidence that either is true.

Offering a "consumer desktop tower"... or not is NOT A MEASURE of a company's success. Neither is position in a league table. Dell is currently the number one computer manufacturer in the US. They have dozens of towers for sale... and their sales have DROPPED by 20%. What does that prove?


Quote:
Yes Apple dominates the consumer market in the >$1000 computer desktop market.

You are repeating yourself. And you are being inaccurate. The figures you are quoting came from NPD and were not for desktops ONLY.

Quote:
While the % of laptops sold increases, that does not nullify the fact that the consumer desktop market is still huge and will continue to be huge.

But the increase in laptop sales has been rapid. You have no idea when that is going to slowdown or stop. The fastest growing sector at the moment is those bloody netbooks! The least powerful, least capable, least upgradeable systems out there.

The PC tower market may still be a reasonable size, but it swamped by machines costing $400 or even $300. The biggest single reason that people buy these machines is not because they are expandable... or easily upgradable... it's because they only cost $400 or $300!

It may not be in your interest but unfortunately Apple wants to make a bit more profit on the machines they sell. They have chosen not to join the race to the bottom. Why is that so hard to understand?

Quote:
Didn't I read somewhere that most Mac users have multiple compters in their home, many of the them desktops and shudder many of those are Windows machines (re: I wonder why? I don't know and there are probably a plethora of reasons - but makes you thnk)

Yes it makes you think... but you don't have to think very hard. If windows is on 90% of all computers sold than, of course there are going to be more PCs than Macs in peoples homes. Those figures also came from NPD. Why don't you ask them how many homes, with multiple computers didn't own a Mac at all five years ago.

It's an interesting statistic but the number, and type, of computers used in peoples homes... that were bought in the past... doesn't really shed a lot of light on what people are going to buy... tomorrow.
post #102 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by piot View Post

I asked you how much your xMac would cost.

I missed this.



But it's not without issue.

You stated Apple could sell half a million xMacs...... (now) at $600 apiece.
At, say, 30% profit that's.... 90 Million dollars.

How many Mini's and iMacs (and the odd Mac Pro) sales would be lost? Apple might sell 500K xMacs but if they lost 200K sales of their other desktops then that 90 million profit just disappears.

Side Note: You call the Macbook Air a failure, yet it only needs to sell around 200K units a year to be more profitable than your xMac strategy.

Apple is not competing with itself. Why wouldn't they manufacture less iMacs and get rid of the mini?
post #103 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by piot View Post

How many Mini's and iMacs (and the odd Mac Pro) sales would be lost? Apple might sell 500K xMacs but if they lost 200K sales of their other desktops then that 90 million profit just disappears.

That is exactly the point.

We all want a cheap $600-$800 xMac which can be upgraded beyond the power level of a Mac Pro.
But it is not going to happen.
Apple will not ruin its (ridiculous but somehow they still get away with it) high profit margins on the Mac mini, iMac and Mac Pros.

With the current product mix and price structure the only opening for an xMac is the $1,600-$2,000 price range.
And yet it would still have less features than the bottom Mac Pro model.

But would anyone be happy with such an xMac price?

I think instead of an xMac it is more likely the next Mac Pro upgrade will drop the current single CPU config to $1,999 and offer a third config in-between at today's price point as e.g.:
single quad-core $1,999
single hexa-core $2,499
dual hexa-core $3,299
post #104 of 225
Quote:
You are repeating yourself.

That's the whole point of this thread.

Lemon Bon Bon.

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

Reply

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

Reply
post #105 of 225
Quote:
But it is not going to happen.

Like teh Intel.
Like teh dropping of OS 9.
Like a gaming Mac portable see iPod touch.
Like the music player.
Like the phone.
Like the X-Serve.
Like the sub £1000 Mac.
Like Windows on Mac.
Like a Tablet Mac. Oh. Wait. That's not out yet.
Jus like the 'Mid-Tower...'



Lemon Bon Bon.

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

Reply

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

Reply
post #106 of 225


Yes we are talking in circles.
A sure sign it's a question with no real answer.


Most your examples are really good too because we would likely need a similar paradigm shift for an xMac to happen.
Not saying it's never going to happen.

For example if Apple were to slash $1,000 off all Mac Pro prices to now start at $1,499 - suddenly there would be room for a $1,099 xMac.

Or if Apple were to slash its Mac product margins from 30-35% down to 10-15% we'd also have room for a $1,300 xMac.

Might happen...
post #107 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemon Bon Bon. View Post


I can see the point of the mini. But it's way overpriced by £200-300.
I can see the point of the iMac. But the entry model is stupidly overpriced by £300.
I can see the point of the Mac Pro. But the entry model is stupidly over priced by £1000.

For the benefit of readers outside of the UK here is a translation of Lemon's figures.

Mini : Overpriced by 40% - 60%
iMac : Overpriced by 32%
Pro : Overpriced by 53%

Here is lemon's foolproof plan to save Apple from the deep mire that their consumer desktop strategy is leading them to.

Quote:
Keep the mini ... but push the price much, much lower. £195-£295.
push the iMac to its former 'low end' emphasis...and really cut the price on it. £695-£995.
Intro the Cube tower/mid-tower. £795-£1395.

Basically, give me the product I want.... cut all prices by at least 30% .... sell a bunch more computers..... slash profits down to single figures ... or better yet make no profit at all.

Don't worry Steve, Apple will be in safe hands.

Quote:
Lemon Bon Bon.

Too many lemons. Not enough Bon Bons.
post #108 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by Outsider View Post

Apple is not competing with itself. Why wouldn't they manufacture less iMacs and get rid of the mini?

Why don't they just discontinue the iMac too? Then they would have to produce an xMac

Best plan yet!
post #109 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by hobBIT View Post

That is exactly the point.

We all want a cheap $600-$800 xMac which can be upgraded beyond the power level of a Mac Pro.
But it is not going to happen.
Apple will not ruin its (ridiculous but somehow they still get away with it) high profit margins on the Mac mini, iMac and Mac Pros.

With the current product mix and price structure the only opening for an xMac is the $1,600-$2,000 price range.
And yet it would still have less features than the bottom Mac Pro model.

But would anyone be happy with such an xMac price?

I think instead of an xMac it is more likely the next Mac Pro upgrade will drop the current single CPU config to $1,999 and offer a third config in-between at today's price point as e.g.:
single quad-core $1,999
single hexa-core $2,499
dual hexa-core $3,299

Pretty much agree with all of the above.

I suspect that Apple is seriously looking at the ASP of the whole Mac line. Not solely because of the economy, or our irate forum friends. But there will come a time when the only way to maintain growth will be to spread the customer net a little wider. It won't take much. A slightly lower entry price for each different model and economies of scale will help.

It won't occur in one fell swoop. Little nips and tucks... here and there. They already started with the last notebook bump.
post #110 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by piot View Post

Basically, give me the product I want.... cut all prices by at least 30% .... sell a bunch more computers..... slash profits down to single figures ... or better yet make no profit at all.

Yeah. Instead of focusing on the profit margin - focus on 'Volume, Volume, Volume' with products that can be upgraded instead of dreaming up products that can only be replaced. [How about an SDHC slot for an iPod or iPhone?] It's not like an sales of a FAIRLY PRICED xMac (or Mac Pro Mini) would take business away from Apple. Profits perhaps, but I think Apple can stand to increase the market share of Mac products to be more than a fraction of the market saturation of the iPod and iPhone.

I'm afraid if Apple plans to use sub-desktop components in the new iMac it's not going to make my decision much easier. [I know I could build a killer Windows 7 machine for the price of the upcoming iMac. Of course, I'd still be using Windows 7 without Grand Central Dispatch and OpenCL.]

It would be nice if Apple cared to focus more on price effective components instead of design. The next few days may sadly force the decision.

I eagerly await what the redesigned iMac announcement promises.
post #111 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by piot View Post

It's a shame that profits and shareholders have to come into the equation... but that is the argument that you xMaccers keep making! You keep saying that Apple is missing out on a large and lucrative market yet you consistently fail to offer any evidence that either is true.

Offering a "consumer desktop tower"... or not is NOT A MEASURE of a company's success. Neither is position in a league table. Dell is currently the number one computer manufacturer in the US. They have dozens of towers for sale... and their sales have DROPPED by 20%. What does that prove?




You are repeating yourself. And you are being inaccurate. The figures you are quoting came from NPD and were not for desktops ONLY.



But the increase in laptop sales has been rapid. You have no idea when that is going to slowdown or stop. The fastest growing sector at the moment is those bloody netbooks! The least powerful, least capable, least upgradeable systems out there.

The PC tower market may still be a reasonable size, but it swamped by machines costing $400 or even $300. The biggest single reason that people buy these machines is not because they are expandable... or easily upgradable... it's because they only cost $400 or $300!

It may not be in your interest but unfortunately Apple wants to make a bit more profit on the machines they sell. They have chosen not to join the race to the bottom. Why is that so hard to understand?



Yes it makes you think... but you don't have to think very hard. If windows is on 90% of all computers sold than, of course there are going to be more PCs than Macs in peoples homes. Those figures also came from NPD. Why don't you ask them how many homes, with multiple computers didn't own a Mac at all five years ago.

It's an interesting statistic but the number, and type, of computers used in peoples homes... that were bought in the past... doesn't really shed a lot of light on what people are going to buy... tomorrow.

You did not address any of the advantages / disadvanntages for AIO & consumer tower desktop, why?

Next you continue to bring up the increase in laptop sales relative to desktop sales which does not negate the fact that desktop sales are still a huge multi-billion $ market.

The lowend of Apple's market is the Mac mini @ $599. It uses more expensive laptop CPUs and hard drives. Replace these with more powerful less expensive desktop CPUs and hard drives a larger case with an extra hard / optical drive bay @ a couple of slots. Charge the same price. Exactly how does this reduce Apple's profit margin?

Cannabilize iMac sales you say, OK. Then Apple offers another consumer desktop tower in the $899 - $1999 range with higher end more powerful less expensive desktop CPUs with hard / optical drive bays and a couple of slots.

The savings in using desktop parts would make up the difference so Apple maintains margins still dominate the >$1000 consumer computer market. This combined with the computer I described above at the $599 range, then Apple potentially increases market share in the <$1000 desktop consumer market. And they should be able to sell more monitors.

And do you know anyone personally that would refuse to buy a computer that wasn't an AIO, I personally know dozens that do refuse to buy AIOs.
just waiting to be included in one of Apple's target markets.
Don't get me wrong, I like the flat panel iMac, actually own an iMac, and I like the Mac mini, but...........
Reply
just waiting to be included in one of Apple's target markets.
Don't get me wrong, I like the flat panel iMac, actually own an iMac, and I like the Mac mini, but...........
Reply
post #112 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by rickag View Post

The lowend of Apple's market is the Mac mini @ $599. It uses more expensive laptop CPUs and hard drives. Replace these with more powerful less expensive desktop CPUs and hard drives a larger case with an extra hard / optical drive bay @ a couple of slots. Charge the same price. Exactly how does this reduce Apple's profit margin?

Cannabilize iMac sales you say, OK. Then Apple offers another consumer desktop tower in the $899 - $1999 range with higher end more powerful less expensive desktop CPUs with hard / optical drive bays and a couple of slots.

Apple's current Mac margins are around 30%.
So an iMac sold for $1,499 earns Apple about $450.

Now imagine the same person purchases instead your new proposed $599 desktop plus third-party monitor.
Even at 30% margin, Apple would only earn $180 as the total price is much lower.
So for every lost iMac sale (at $1,499) Apple would have to sell 2.5 (!) of your new desktops - just to break even. 3 to make any actual gain.

It's even worse on higher priced iMacs and Mac Pros. At $2,499 for the cheapest Mac Pro Apple earns $750. For every low end Mac Pro sale lost, they'd need to sell at least 4.5 of your new desktops to make any gain.


For the sake of simplicity let's further assume that Apple's iMac and Mac Pro line make up about 1/3 of all Macs sold.

In the extreme case that all these customers now buy your proposed new Mac instead Apple would need to sell about 3.5-4x as many of your new desktops to make the same total profit.

That would be equivalent to 4/3 or roughly 133% extra Macs instead of the 33%. That's 66% + 133% = 199%.

Or in other words Apple needs to double their total market share in order to just maintain the same profit level!
That's a lot of extra work and extra sales - to basically just stand still profit wise!

In real terms they'd probably need to triple their market share to see any real increase in profits with that strategy.
How likely is this?

And if they fail and only manage a 50% market share increase then the whole strategy was a big failure.
And Apple would end up earning much less!
And that's probably likely because most Windows PCs are sold to enterprises, and companies won't switch to Macs in massive numbers that easily.


The whole gamble is just too huge.
Even if not all potential iMac and Mac Pro buyers would switch to the new Mac, the amount of extra Mac sales required will still be massive.

No company the size of Apple will take that bet. Companies are much too conservative.

But I'm sure change will come, eventually.
Very slowly. A bit here, a bit there, like we've seen with the MacBooks.
Yet nothing the likes of a $599 xMac. Not like that.
post #113 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by piot View Post

Basically, give me the product I want.... cut all prices by at least 30% .... sell a bunch more computers..... slash profits down to single figures ... or better yet make no profit at all.

It's not about having the same components cheaper but cheaper components so they make the same profit margins. I worked out in another thread that by switching the Mac Pro from expensive Xeon chips, they could make a Mac Pro for $1500 and the money would be saved on component cost alone, no drop to margins yet you reach a wider audience as it's a more accessible price.

If they go out of their way to build a smaller product like a cube, it has a unique identity and has a more desirable form factor, while at the same time delivering a much better price/performance ratio than the iMac.

They'd make really nice servers too being cube shaped if the handles were internal to the cube design.
post #114 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by piot View Post

I asked you how much your xMac would cost.

I missed this.



But it's not without issue.

You stated Apple could sell half a million xMacs...... (now) at $600 apiece.
At, say, 30% profit that's.... 90 Million dollars.

Actually you missed what I said which was to get them out the factory door for $600. In ther words the cost to Apple for each unit would be around the 600 mark. After Apple tacks on profit and other costs we are talking about a price to you and me of something like $900 to $1100.

This is for a state of the art product with a fast i7 processor and a respectable GPU. The unit would have space for at least three drives and I'm flexible as to how that storage is implemented. As to expansion slots it will need at least one and ideally two. If for nothing else it would provide for USB 3 updates if it ever takes off.
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How many Mini's and iMacs (and the odd Mac Pro) sales would be lost?

None seriously
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Apple might sell 500K xMacs but if they lost 200K sales of their other desktops then that 90 million profit just disappears.

This is Apple they are likely to earn the same profit. Further if they had a decent display line up they would actually rake in more money on average.
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Side Note: You call the Macbook Air a failure, yet it only needs to sell around 200K units a year to be more profitable than your xMac strategy.

I'm not sure where you are pulling those numbers from but I suspect they are tainted. In any event I totally reject the idea that their is no potential for profit in an XMac. It is simply a matter of a salable configuration that doesn't cause rational customers to bend over in laughter.


Dave
post #115 of 225
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Originally Posted by piot View Post

Pretty much agree with all of the above.

I suspect that Apple is seriously looking at the ASP of the whole Mac line. Not solely because of the economy, or our irate forum friends. But there will come a time when the only way to maintain growth will be to spread the customer net a little wider.

Yes!! To do that Apple needs additional models because there is more to customer demand than can be serviced with two models. Basically that is all Apple has for the consumer. Even within models the configuration spread sucks. For example there should be a 500MHz spread in chip speed between the high end and low end Mini.
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It won't take much. A slightly lower entry price for each different model and economies of scale will help.

As will Intels new chips. For a given performance level, systems based on Intels new i5 & i7s, will be much cheaper and more compact.
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It won't occur in one fell swoop. Little nips and tucks... here and there. They already started with the last notebook bump.

Actually what I like about the new notebooks is the attention to serviceability. In many ways an iMac is a joke for maintenance and expandability. It is not impossible for Apple to address this though. A cleaner design with bays for disk drives is a snap.

Frankly if they put a little effort into the iMac I don't think the demand for XMac would be as great. Even on the iMac there needs to be real differences in performance and configurability between the models. There is nothing wrong with a low end iMac with limited features but a 26" iMac needs room for internal storage bays.


Dave
post #116 of 225
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Originally Posted by nonimus View Post

Yeah. Instead of focusing on the profit margin - focus on 'Volume, Volume, Volume' with products that can be upgraded instead of dreaming up products that can only be replaced. [How about an SDHC slot for an iPod or iPhone?]

Look I'm all for Apple reducing their Mac prices. And if squeezing their margins a little helps to do that... then so be it. But coming up with a plan that reduces Mac margins to way below those of Dell and HP would be suicide for their computer business.



It's not like an sales of a FAIRLY PRICED xMac (or Mac Pro Mini) would take business away from Apple. Profits perhaps, but I think Apple can stand to increase the market share of Mac products to be more than a fraction of the market saturation of the iPod and iPhone.
[/QUOTE]

There is little point in gaining market share if you end up loosing money.
post #117 of 225
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Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

It's not about having the same components cheaper but cheaper components so they make the same profit margins. I worked out in another thread that by switching the Mac Pro from expensive Xeon chips, they could make a Mac Pro for $1500 and the money would be saved on component cost alone, no drop to margins yet you reach a wider audience as it's a more accessible price.

If they go out of their way to build a smaller product like a cube, it has a unique identity and has a more desirable form factor, while at the same time delivering a much better price/performance ratio than the iMac.

They'd make really nice servers too being cube shaped if the handles were internal to the cube design.

Thing is, the only difference in component costs between a i7 machine and Xeon 3500 machine would be the ECC memory and Apple is using the less expensive non-ECC variety. Everything else is the same. Its the same chip, same chipset, same prices only with support for more expensive ECC support and much more expensive buffered memory. So, based on component costs alone, the current Mac Pro should be much cheaper than the last one, yet it got (like the previous five updates before it) a price increase. Here's a possible reason.

24" iMac with Radeon HD 4850
$2249.
Base 2.66ghz Mac Pro:
$2499

Quad core Mac Pro with 2.93ghz CPU and Radeon Radeon 4870 (no Quadro or FirePro option) $3199
Base 8-core Mac Pro
$3299

No overlap except for memory and hard drives. Seems to me that Mac Pro margins have to be much higher than the rest of Apple's wares due to protecting the iMac and a little bit of corporate OCD. The rest of the computer world was using higher margins on the professional machines (Apple hasn't made a distinction between consumer and pro with the towers since the PowerMacs were numbered) and its not like anyone can go anywhere else for Mac OS X computers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by piot View Post

Look I'm all for Apple reducing their Mac prices. And if squeezing their margins a little helps to do that... then so be it. But coming up with a plan that reduces Mac margins to way below those of Dell and HP would be suicide for their computer business.



It's not like an sales of a FAIRLY PRICED xMac (or Mac Pro Mini) would take business away from Apple. Profits perhaps, but I think Apple can stand to increase the market share of Mac products to be more than a fraction of the market saturation of the iPod and iPhone.

There is little point in gaining market share if you end up loosing money.[/QUOTE]

If that (extremely loyal) little point market share would have known we would would be treated like this now, we would have let the company fail a decade ago. For many, many years we were the only thing keeping Apple afloat. All we ask is the same loyalty we showed be returned. But the great god Apple is considered to be above such things.
post #118 of 225
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Originally Posted by hobBIT View Post

Apple's current Mac margins are around 30%.
So an iMac sold for $1,499 earns Apple about $450.
...

Apple's overall margin is ~30%. No one knows margins for individual products, I contend iMac margins are lower. Even the Mac mini on introduction was probably lower, but now since it is behind to curve it may be approaching 30%.

Preumably iPhone margins are considerably higher than 30%, so what products do you contend bring down margins overall?
just waiting to be included in one of Apple's target markets.
Don't get me wrong, I like the flat panel iMac, actually own an iMac, and I like the Mac mini, but...........
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just waiting to be included in one of Apple's target markets.
Don't get me wrong, I like the flat panel iMac, actually own an iMac, and I like the Mac mini, but...........
Reply
post #119 of 225
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Originally Posted by rickag View Post

You did not address any of the advantages / disadvanntages for AIO & consumer tower desktop, why?

Why? Because, as I have said all along, I believe the reasons Apple doesn't sell an xMac are purely economic... and not technical. And because most of the advantages / disadvantages that you listed were related to upgradability. There is just no getting away from the fact that most consumers don't buy systems based on that criteria.


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Next you continue to bring up the increase in laptop sales relative to desktop sales which does not negate the fact that desktop sales are still a huge multi-billion $ market.

Because you cannot ignore the fact that every time a consumer goes out and buys a laptop they are not buying a desktop. Hell, Microsoft based a whole advertising campaign on that fact.

And you keep ignoring the fact that out of the "huge" desktop market a large amount are being sold to business and public sector orgs. These are customers who are not going to instantly jump on a 'non Windows' xMac.

I cannot find any good data on what the mix is between consumer vs enterprise etc. Here's one snippet, though, from Dell. Less than 50% of their revenue, from computers comes from the consumer and small biz sectors. Less than 25% comes from their 'consumer' customers alone.

Your 'huge' consumer desktop market just got a bit smaller. Add in just HP's figures and it gets smaller still.

And you also keep ignoring the fact that a large amount of desktops are priced at only 300 or 400 or 500 dollars.

The 'huge' desktop market has been shrinking due to the rise of the laptop market.
It gets smaller still if you narrow it down to consumers (and maybe small businesses).
And smaller still if you cut out the real low end.

The 'huge' consumer desktop market is not so huge.


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The lowend of Apple's market is the Mac mini @ $599. It uses more expensive laptop CPUs and hard drives. Replace these with more powerful less expensive desktop CPUs and hard drives a larger case with an extra hard / optical drive bay @ a couple of slots. Charge the same price. Exactly how does this reduce Apple's profit margin?

You have just built a computer that is more capable and more expandable and around $1000 dollars cheaper (not including a decent screen) than the average iMac. Now that's not going to cannibalise sales of iMacs is it? You've probably also sent the Mac Mini down the toilet.


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Cannabilize iMac sales you say, OK. Then Apple offers another consumer desktop tower in the $899 - $1999 range with higher end more powerful less expensive desktop CPUs with hard / optical drive bays and a couple of slots.

Not content with ending the Mac Mini, you now want to offer an even more powerful system than the iMacs. Still around $600 cheaper (not including a decent screen). Further, the $1999, hi-end version is cleverly priced to attract a few Mac Pro buyers. Nice job.

It's irrelevant that your two new tower systems have the same 'Apple' profit margins. You have described systems that would cut into sales of ALL of the current desktop Macs. And at a cheaper price. You haven't cut the margins... just the ASP.

The only way that this makes good business sense is if your new desktops can attract new switchers. And, with your pricing strategy, it would have to be a lot of switchers. Which takes us back to the beginning. How many consumers want upgradable desktop towers... and how many of them want to run the Mac OS?


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And do you know anyone personally that would refuse to buy a computer that wasn't an AIO, I personally know dozens that do refuse to buy AIOs.

I have got dozens of friends who already use Macs. "Friends" is a poor metric. Apple is not going to base their strategy on either of our sets of friends.
post #120 of 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by piot View Post

Why? Because, as I have said all along, I believe the reasons Apple doesn't sell an xMac are purely economic... and not technical. And because most of the advantages / disadvantages that you listed were related to upgradability. There is just no getting away from the fact that most consumers don't buy systems based on that criteria.

So what, there are plenty that do appreciate upgradability and the fact a computer is upgradable does not deter any one from buying a computer, but it does inhibit others.

Quote:
Originally Posted by piot

Because you cannot ignore the fact that every time a consumer goes out and buys a laptop they are not buying a desktop. Hell, Microsoft based a whole advertising campaign on that fact.

Irrelevant, the desktop market is still huge - in the multi billions of dollars. Are you suggesting that as people buy laptops they get rid of their desktops, evidence shows this to be wrong. When their desktops become outdated, will they then abandon them, or will they buy new? I suggest they will buy new, especially if they bought a Netbook.

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Originally Posted by piot

And you keep ignoring the fact that out of the "huge" desktop market a large amount are being sold to business and public sector orgs. These are customers who are not going to instantly jump on a 'non Windows' xMac.

I never said they would, but there is the chance of increasing their numbers. Also, at price points mentioned Apple keeps selling to the same people they are currently selling, only with a better value and the same gross margins.

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Originally Posted by piot

I cannot find any good data on what the mix is between consumer vs enterprise etc. Here's one snippet, though, from Dell. Less than 50% of their revenue, from computers comes from the consumer and small biz sectors. Less than 25% comes from their 'consumer' customers alone.

Who cares. I am not asking Apple to adopt Dell's strategy of selling the lowest common denominator and to businesses.

Quote:
Originally Posted by piot

Your 'huge' consumer desktop market just got a bit smaller. Add in just HP's figures and it gets smaller still.

And you also keep ignoring the fact that a large amount of desktops are priced at only 300 or 400 or 500 dollars.

The 'huge' desktop market has been shrinking due to the rise of the laptop market.
It gets smaller still if you narrow it down to consumers (and maybe small businesses).
And smaller still if you cut out the real low end.

The 'huge' consumer desktop market is not so huge.

Yes is is unless you consider multi billions in sales as insignificant.

Quote:
Originally Posted by piot

You have just built a computer that is more capable and more expandable and around $1000 dollars cheaper (not including a decent screen) than the average iMac. Now that's not going to cannibalise sales of iMacs is it? You've probably also sent the Mac Mini down the toilet.

No, I didn't. I said Apple could build a computer using desktop parts that would be more powerful than the Mac mini provide better value to the consumer @ the same starting price point($599) and provide the same gross margins. How does this affect Apple's profits?

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Originally Posted by piot

Not content with ending the Mac Mini, you now want to offer an even more powerful system than the iMacs. Still around $600 cheaper (not including a decent screen). Further, the $1999, hi-end version is cleverly priced to attract a few Mac Pro buyers. Nice job.

No, I didn't. Granted the starting price point ($899) is $300 less than the least expensive iMac(not the $600 you mention) the range encompasses the entire range of the current iMac, and provides for the same gross margins.

Yes Apple may lose some current Mac Pro purchasers, but as you and posters following your reasoning keeps saying - Professional Computer users should be more than willing to buy the high end workstation as it will more than justify the $$ over time and on top of that you and similar posters keep saying that Apple doesn't have much of a chance of gaining sales in businesses anyway.

Quote:
Originally Posted by piot

It's irrelevant that your two new tower systems have the same 'Apple' profit margins. You have described systems that would cut into sales of ALL of the current desktop Macs. And at a cheaper price. You haven't cut the margins... just the ASP.

The only way that this makes good business sense is if your new desktops can attract new switchers. And, with your pricing strategy, it would have to be a lot of switchers. Which takes us back to the beginning. How many consumers want upgradable desktop towers... and how many of them want to run the Mac OS?

No, I haven't. What I've said continually is that Apple could offer better value in the same markets they are currently in and still maintain current gross margins, whatever they may be, for the current line-up.

By the way, you didn't address the discrepancy in your stated 30% margins for desktops. Assuming most people are correct in that the iPhone has much higher gross margins, then since the company as a whole has 30% gross margins, then what does Apple sell that has less than 30% margins? iPods? software? In numerous cost comparisons in the past(note: especially upon initial introduction), when Apple computers are compared based on somewhat equivalent parts to other manufacturers they are fairly close in price. And those manufacturers have gross margins in the 16 - 20% range.

Quote:
Originally Posted by piot

I have got dozens of friends who already use Macs. "Friends" is a poor metric. Apple is not going to base their strategy on either of our sets of friends.

Please name one friend or any post anywhere in any of these discussions, or anywhere for that matter, in which a poster claimed they would not buy a computer because it was not AIO. That makes no sense at all and you know it. But yet, there are consumers that will not buy an AIO for any number of reasons.
just waiting to be included in one of Apple's target markets.
Don't get me wrong, I like the flat panel iMac, actually own an iMac, and I like the Mac mini, but...........
Reply
just waiting to be included in one of Apple's target markets.
Don't get me wrong, I like the flat panel iMac, actually own an iMac, and I like the Mac mini, but...........
Reply
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