Originally Posted by dhuff
Argue all you want about how much better the OS X experience is. Heck, I'll probably agree with you. But Apple has a consumer perception problem when comparing the Mini to the typical $399 Dell machine, and the iMac to what you can get for $800-ish. With that in mind, what's wrong with the idea of an upgradable, Apple mid-tower for around $800 ? (i.e. sort of a head-less iMac).
I really don't give a damn about Psystar one way or the other - I just want Apple to take better care of their (current & potential) consumers.
The problem from Apple view is that they can't pass the buck when an upgrade goes wrong. On a PC, it's easy for Dell to say it's Microsoft problem, Microsoft to say it's the upgrade part maker driver problem and the upgrade part maker to say it's a conflict on the MB. So the upgrader is stuck trying to resolve the problem himself.
But Apple controls everything on a Mac and thus can't say it's some one else's problem when an upgrade part don't work. Apple owns the hardware, software and specifies how the "drivers" should work. And specially when they sell an upgradable Mac for the average consumer. So Apple ends up spending time on trying to help fix a problem some one is having with some third party $30 upgrade. Apple don't want to have to deal with making their OS run bug free with every upgrade part that can be installed. Apple also don't want to rewrite their OS to run on a new processor for those few Mac owners that want to upgrade their CPU. And Apple don't make any money on the sale of third party upgrade parts. Except maybe a license fee.
The only capable upgrade worth having is the graphics card. But really, the graphics card that comes with a Mac (mini or iMac) will more than suffice for most users. Only gamers need to install the lastest and greatest graphic card every time one comes out. And nearly all serious gamers uses a PC anyways. (Because that's where the games are.) Other than that, nearly everything else can be upgraded externally using USB or Firewire. Most CPU upgrades (for the sake of of an incremental increase in GHz) aren't usually worth it. The only CPU upgrade worth doing are for the improvemant due to achitectural changes and this usually requires a new MB.
At least with the upgradable PowerMac or MacPro there is very little need to upgrade for several years. Except for adding HD, memory, drives or graphic cards. Which are all easy to do. And with the high resale of Macs, it's more practical for owners to sell their Macs used and buy a new one when they need more processing power several years down the line.
Take a look around. In the late eighties and nineties there were dozens of computer stores that specialize in selling upgrade computer parts. Back then, every six months they came out with faster CPU, faster modem, faster CD drives, graphic cards with more memory, better sound cards, bigger HD, cheaper RAM, etc.. And every six months the price of upgrading got cheaper. And back then, even a six month upgrade made a noticable improvement.
Now all those stores are gone. Except for Fry's. And even Fry's, now of days, spend more time advertising TV's, home theater, refridgerators and washing machines that they do computers stuff. Right now you won't even notice any improvement to your computer with any upgrade you do within 6 month of purchase. (Except maybe ram).
Steve Jobs made the right discission back in 2000 to discontinue their upgradable consumer desk top computers (PowerMac are geared toward professionals) and concentrate of computers for the average users and laptops. Laptops now makes up more than 60% (and increasing) of computer purchases. The fact that they not upgradable isn't stopping anyone from buying a laptop. And for many, the laptop is the most powerful computer they own and replaces their desktop.