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Apple tablet seen nearing $3 billion business in first year - Page 4

post #121 of 135
When what you think you remember doesn't seem to square with the facts, it may be worth going back to check the facts and remember again. With the Cube, Apple was trying to sell a highly stylized product to people who wanted PowerMac performance (if not the highest end PowerMac performance) in a distinctive form factor. Two of the first, big problems Apple faced with the Cube was that a lot of owners reported that the case had cracks in it. Apple had to play a lot of defense on that one. Some of the early models also had touch switches that put the Mac to sleep randomly or would not start it up reliably.

If you're going to sell a product with a radical form factor, and on the basis of style, the details had better be worked out fully in advance. Apple got caught on two issues right off the bat. The Cube never recovered from its imperfect reputation, just as the Newton never recovered from handwriting recognition problems that were fixed fairly soon afterwards. No matter, it was too late.

The other question frequently raised about the Cube when it was introduced was its limited upgrade options. Although it could be purchased with the same video cards as the tower, the options beyond that were constrained by the size of the card bay. Other reviewers questioned whether one hard drive bay was enough, and wouldn't users spoil the aesthetics by adding external peripherals to make up for that.

Performance wasn't the issue. Even before the price was lowered, the entry level Cube was $200 more than a lower performance tower G4 and $700 less than the next bump up the tower price schedule. It was priced as an entry-level PowerMac, and it performed like an entry-level PowerMac.
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post #122 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

When what you think you remember doesn't seem to square with the facts, it may be worth going back to check the facts and remember again. With the Cube, Apple was trying to sell a highly stylized product to people who wanted PowerMac performance (if not the highest end PowerMac performance) in a distinctive form factor. Two of the first, big problems Apple faced with the Cube was that a lot of owners reported that the case had cracks in it. Apple had to play a lot of defense on that one. Some of the early models also had touch switches that put the Mac to sleep randomly or would not start it up reliably.

If you're going to sell a product with a radical form factor, and on the basis of style, the details had better be worked out fully in advance. Apple got caught on two issues right off the bat. The Cube never recovered from its imperfect reputation, just as the Newton never recovered from handwriting recognition problems that were fixed fairly soon afterwards. No matter, it was too late.

The other question frequently raised about the Cube when it was introduced was its limited upgrade options. Although it could be purchased with the same video cards as the tower, the options beyond that were constrained by the size of the card bay. Other reviewers questioned whether one hard drive bay was enough, and wouldn't users spoil the aesthetics by adding external peripherals to make up for that.

Performance wasn't the issue. Even before the price was lowered, the entry level Cube was $200 more than a lower performance tower G4 and $700 less than the next bump up the tower price schedule. It was priced as an entry-level PowerMac, and it performed like an entry-level PowerMac.


The fact is that the Cube was expensive relative to the CPU it came with when it first came to market. This is a fact. Judged strictly on specs, it was not a good deal, and at the time specs were a big deal, much more so than today. Now even the modest pieces found in something like a lower cost Mini are rather capable. Then, you wanted as much power as you could afford and the Cube charged a premium for its form factor.

What I can't figure out is where you got the idea that Apple wasn't charging a premium at the time for a distinctive form factor. They clearly were and made no secret of the fact. The idea was that people would be willing to pay that premium because the Cube was such a unique product but it didn't work out that way. They made adjustments later but the damage was already done.

Seriously, insisting as you strangely have chosen to, that Apple wasn't charging extra for a unique package, is rather odd. That is what they did. The Cube was overpriced based solely on the specs. This is how it was.
post #123 of 135
I don't understand why people are talking about Cubes and Powermacs here.

The tablet is a totally different kind of device. Except for the fact that it is a computer inside, most people won't be strictly using it for that function.

It's not likely that people will be working on extensive spreadsheets, databases, or lengthy technical books. Editors won't be using FCS on this. No one will be computing the mass of the Higgs Boson either.

The computing power it will contain will be sufficient to do what tasks it's designed to do. This is not intended as an open ended computing device where such heavy duty software will be used.

Maybe ten years from now it will be possible.

Few people do such heavy duty work on their computers, and this is not intended for those people. This for the 90% of the computer using public.

iPhone apps will work better than ever, and can be extended on this. iWork, should Apple make it available here, should work fine. Even iMovie would likely work ok, and iPhoto.

This isn't competing with netbooks directly, though it will certainly steal their thunder if not priced too high. It's not competing with notebooks, unless its price is higher than a netbook by some margin, but even there, where most people don't use notebooks for much more than light tasks, this will compete well.

It most certainly isn't competing against towers and other full fledged computers, even though it might be more expensive than the cheaper models.

No one would be nuts enough to compare it against the professional models from Apple, or any other company such as Boxx and others.

The truth is that only nerds will care about what's inside. Everyone else will just want to know if it will do what they want, at a price they're willing to pay. Comparing tech specs is totally besides the point. This is a paradigm shift.

Few people know or care about what's in their smartphone either, as long as it works well.

This is a GOOD thing!

The only things worth discussing about the tablet is what it will do, how it will do it, and how much will it cost to do those things. Everything else is a waste of time. Apple won't be advertising the components inside, and people won't understand it if they did, and wouldn't care if they did understand it.

If it costs $1,000, it will be expensive, and wont sell as well as if it were exactly the same, but $700. That's pretty clear. But it's not because people will be saying that its not a powerful enough chip for the price. If it doesn't use the computer based OS X it won't be able to use more powerful processors anyway, and won't be able to use the programs unless rewritten for it.

This discussion has gotten way off track into irrelevancies.
post #124 of 135
This device will not be OK for iMovie, especially considering that many consumers are now moving into the HD era. It's also doubtful that it will be all that suited to using a significant photo manipulation program like Photoshop.

The idea that only rocket scientists run apps that require more horsepower than ARM processors offer at this time is not a valid one. Us plain old everyday folks use the power found in today's laptops and desktops to perform tasks that used to be tough going on your typical computer.

While many were hoping Apple would release a tablet running OS X, it's probably not going to happen on account of the tablet will not have the computing power to properly run anything more demanding than the software and content currently intended for iPhones and Touches.

This does not mean that the tablet will be a weak product. It turns out you can do quite a lot of useful stuff with a Touch/iPhone. A lot of that stuff would benefit from a larger screen, hence the market for a larger Touch, aka an Apple tablet, slate, whatever. My basic point is that Apple will likely be releasing a tablet suited not to the role of a laptop/desktop replacement but rather a laptop/desktop compliment. As such it needs to be priced accordingly. $1,000 is not that price.

By the way, you are correct that going on and on about the Cube turned into quite the tangent. I initially mentioned the Cube because I thought it was pretty much a consensus that the Cube was a pricey sales flop, Apple asking folks on introduction to pay a premium for an innovative form factor. Little did I realize that this point, of which the vast majority old enough to remember the Cube's introduction would have little trouble agreeing on, would be one that eluded the grasp of a particular poster. In any case, the Cube was a failure because the market wasn't willing to pay a premium for a cooler-looking desktop. Likewise, the market will not be willing to pay premium laptop prices for a handheld that simply cannot perform many tasks that we now take for granted, like editing video.

Quite simply, my quarrel is with the mistaken notion that many of us would be perfectly happy to have an ARM-powered tablet running the iPhone OS, rather than a complete version of OS X, serve as our only computing device. That won't happen. People will buy the tablet to go along with a laptop/desktop and probably a phone as well. Between $500 and $700 there is room for such a device in many folks' budgets. Move closer to $1,000 and watch as people stay clear of the tablet, probably killing off the category, certainly for the next couple of years. If Apple's tablet fails, others will be reluctant to take a stab at the category at this time.
post #125 of 135
My vote is for a simple limited and affordable device.
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post #126 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carmissimo View Post

The fact is that the Cube was expensive relative to the CPU it came with when it first came to market. This is a fact. Judged strictly on specs, it was not a good deal, and at the time specs were a big deal, much more so than today. Now even the modest pieces found in something like a lower cost Mini are rather capable. Then, you wanted as much power as you could afford and the Cube charged a premium for its form factor.

Having posted the actual specs and prices, your responses continue to be puzzling. Could you look at them again, please? Add to this the fact that the previous generation G4 450 tower sold for $2,499 and you will see (finally, I hope) that performance relative to cost was not the real or perceived problem with the Cube -- it was limited expandability and the initial flaws in construction which doomed it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

I don't understand why people are talking about Cubes and Powermacs here.

The tablet is a totally different kind of device. Except for the fact that it is a computer inside, most people won't be strictly using it for that function.

I totally agree, and this was my original point. Sorry for the long digression, but the analogy was so inappropriate, I felt it needed to be refuted. Price is important, but not of paramount importance. Only geeks buy boxes of parts. Everybody else buys the experience of ownership.
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post #127 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carmissimo View Post

This device will not be OK for iMovie, especially considering that many consumers are now moving into the HD era. It's also doubtful that it will be all that suited to using a significant photo manipulation program like Photoshop.

The idea that only rocket scientists run apps that require more horsepower than ARM processors offer at this time is not a valid one. Us plain old everyday folks use the power found in today's laptops and desktops to perform tasks that used to be tough going on your typical computer.

While many were hoping Apple would release a tablet running OS X, it's probably not going to happen on account of the tablet will not have the computing power to properly run anything more demanding than the software and content currently intended for iPhones and Touches.

This does not mean that the tablet will be a weak product. It turns out you can do quite a lot of useful stuff with a Touch/iPhone. A lot of that stuff would benefit from a larger screen, hence the market for a larger Touch, aka an Apple tablet, slate, whatever. My basic point is that Apple will likely be releasing a tablet suited not to the role of a laptop/desktop replacement but rather a laptop/desktop compliment. As such it needs to be priced accordingly. $1,000 is not that price.

By the way, you are correct that going on and on about the Cube turned into quite the tangent. I initially mentioned the Cube because I thought it was pretty much a consensus that the Cube was a pricey sales flop, Apple asking folks on introduction to pay a premium for an innovative form factor. Little did I realize that this point, of which the vast majority old enough to remember the Cube's introduction would have little trouble agreeing on, would be one that eluded the grasp of a particular poster. In any case, the Cube was a failure because the market wasn't willing to pay a premium for a cooler-looking desktop. Likewise, the market will not be willing to pay premium laptop prices for a handheld that simply cannot perform many tasks that we now take for granted, like editing video.

Quite simply, my quarrel is with the mistaken notion that many of us would be perfectly happy to have an ARM-powered tablet running the iPhone OS, rather than a complete version of OS X, serve as our only computing device. That won't happen. People will buy the tablet to go along with a laptop/desktop and probably a phone as well. Between $500 and $700 there is room for such a device in many folks' budgets. Move closer to $1,000 and watch as people stay clear of the tablet, probably killing off the category, certainly for the next couple of years. If Apple's tablet fails, others will be reluctant to take a stab at the category at this time.

You've missed the entire point to all this. You're overthinking this device. Not very many people are editing HD yet, believe it or not.. And most home editing consists of cutting and splicing segments which uses almost no computer power at all. Even adding transitions isn't too bad. People accepted iMovie when it took forever to work when it first came out, and I'm willing to bet that a simpler version, which is what I would expect to see it it's present would work better.

Besides, that idea comes from one of Apple's tablet patents.

I only think geeks care about the OS. Most people will be perfectly happy with the iPhone OS, as shown by the fact that Apple already sells considerably more iPhones and Touches a year than it does computers, and that those numbers will continue to grow more disparate over time. Far more programs are gotten from itunes for them than are bought for the Apple computer line.

People DON'T CARE. That's a fact that may seem hard for you to believe.

I have a MacPro Nehalem 8 core machine, but I'm getting one.

I'm not the only person in that category that I know.

You have to think about why people are buying cheaper notebooks and netbooks in such large numbers. Those prices average $500, with plenty under, and plenty over, up to about $750, as being mainstream.

Very few of these machines can play difficult games, or run difficult software. But people aren't buying them for that. They're buying them for what the Tablet will be much better for, entertainment, e-mail, I'M, Skype, browsing, reading books and magazines, and other lower level pursuits.

None of these people care about the low level cpu's and gpu's (if any) in their devices.
post #128 of 135
Your analysis brings up another point. Apple's strategy is cleverly designed to make more people hardware and operating system agnostics. It seems to be working. For many years, people would openly wonder why anyone would buy a computer product that wasn't compatible with Windows. How many people still think that way? Not many.
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post #129 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

Your analysis brings up another point. Apple's strategy is cleverly designed to make more people hardware and operating system agnostics. It seems to be working. For many years, people would openly wonder why anyone would buy a computer product that wasn't compatible with Windows. How many people still think that way? Not many.

Exactly!!!

People are becoming less concerned about the device, much less what's inside.

The geeks amongst us (er, well, I'm one too) are constantly insisting that what's inside is far more important that what the device is going to be used for. Not so!

If Apple can succeed in getting people to ignore what's inside, including which OS is inside, they have a major victory.

If they can get people to concentrate on the form factor that's most suitable for a purpose, the usability of the software, and the FUN in using it, then they will have won.

The truth is that even an ARM chip is getting powerful enough to run an OS tailored for it very well. When you add apps that are also tailored, then you've got something that pretty powerful, without actually being so.

Computers have actually gotten more powerful than needed for what, 90% of the apps out there?

If you're not a heavy gamer, and few people are, as a percentage, or someone doing some sort of difficult professional work, what is all that power needed for?

I'm typing this on a machine with 6 TB of HDD's, 16 virtual cores, 16 GB RAM, the best GPU I can get, about $15,000 of printers connected etc.

How much of that power am I using to follow this forum?

Isn't it possible that a 10" tablet would be even better for the purpose. Surely, I would be using far less wattage from the socket, and that's including the WiFi boxes.
post #130 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

Having posted the actual specs and prices, your responses continue to be puzzling. Could you look at them again, please? Add to this the fact that the previous generation G4 450 tower sold for $2,499 and you will see (finally, I hope) that performance relative to cost was not the real or perceived problem with the Cube -- it was limited expandability and the initial flaws in construction which doomed it.

Completely wrong. The 450 tower was DP.
post #131 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

You've missed the entire point to all this. You're overthinking this device. Not very many people are editing HD yet, believe it or not.. And most home editing consists of cutting and splicing segments which uses almost no computer power at all. Even adding transitions isn't too bad. People accepted iMovie when it took forever to work when it first came out, and I'm willing to bet that a simpler version, which is what I would expect to see it it's present would work better.

Actually, what commonly takes the most compute cycles these days is the transcoding from AVCHD which is probably one of the most popular formats for the cheaper HD camcorders. Something reasonable on a C2D. Maybe not so much on an ARM based tablet. You're right that editing isn't done that much but that doesn't mean that computing power make no difference.

Quote:
You have to think about why people are buying cheaper notebooks and netbooks in such large numbers. Those prices average $500, with plenty under, and plenty over, up to about $750, as being mainstream.

Very few of these machines can play difficult games, or run difficult software. But people aren't buying them for that. They're buying them for what the Tablet will be much better for, entertainment, e-mail, I'M, Skype, browsing, reading books and magazines, and other lower level pursuits.

None of these people care about the low level cpu's and gpu's (if any) in their devices.

Sure, except those cheap notebooks CAN do those things. Something that the tablet is unlikely to. For $1000 what it can do as a replacement for another computing device is relevant. The $525 Notebook is a 2.2Ghz Dual Core Pentium with a 250GB HDD. The 4500HD isn't great but more than capable of playing flash games which is the most common form.

This is very different from lower cost iPods and other personal devices that are less than $200. At $700 it's pushing it. At $1000? It better be really compelling and much more than just what an oversized iPod Touch can do. Or it'll become a "hobby" just like the aTV waiting for that upgrade to make it really take off.
post #132 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Magazines, newspapers and books are usually considerably larger than the 3.5 Touch allows. Its more natural for use to read with for extended periods, especially if there are images. For a device in the classroom, in the home, or portable while stationary a larger device is more ideal.

Sure...for magazine, newspapers and books the form factor is superior. However even single purpose kindles aren't that easily shared unless you read at different times. Yes, books and magazines are single user except that you can have more than one at a time since each instance is cheaper. I can be reading Angels and Demons while my wife reads the Smithsonian Magazine while the kids are reading Harry Potter together.

Using the device sequentially does not make for a shared family activity. If there is a 6" or 7" device for $500 with the same computing (read gaming) prowess I'll buy two over a $1000 10" device any day of the week.
post #133 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

You've missed the entire point to all this. You're overthinking this device. Not very many people are editing HD yet, believe it or not.. And most home editing consists of cutting and splicing segments which uses almost no computer power at all. Even adding transitions isn't too bad. People accepted iMovie when it took forever to work when it first came out, and I'm willing to bet that a simpler version, which is what I would expect to see it it's present would work better.

Besides, that idea comes from one of Apple's tablet patents.

I only think geeks care about the OS. Most people will be perfectly happy with the iPhone OS, as shown by the fact that Apple already sells considerably more iPhones and Touches a year than it does computers, and that those numbers will continue to grow more disparate over time. Far more programs are gotten from itunes for them than are bought for the Apple computer line.

People DON'T CARE. That's a fact that may seem hard for you to believe.

I have a MacPro Nehalem 8 core machine, but I'm getting one.

I'm not the only person in that category that I know.

You have to think about why people are buying cheaper notebooks and netbooks in such large numbers. Those prices average $500, with plenty under, and plenty over, up to about $750, as being mainstream.

Very few of these machines can play difficult games, or run difficult software. But people aren't buying them for that. They're buying them for what the Tablet will be much better for, entertainment, e-mail, I'M, Skype, browsing, reading books and magazines, and other lower level pursuits.

None of these people care about the low level cpu's and gpu's (if any) in their devices.

Come on now. This is getting rather silly. People are not going to be replacing their iMacs, Minis, MacBooks, etc. with the tablet.

I know from my experience with a netbook that I would rather be lowered into a vat of boliing oil than throw out my Mini and do all my work on the netbook. I really don't imagine myself to be an excessively demanding computer user. I edit video strictly for personal use, do some photography, browse, word process and so on.

The netbook has been a handy device and it has done the job which I purchased it to do (store video footage while on vacation). But make no mistake. This device is not even close to being an acceptable substitute for my desktop system. I never thought it would be.

The same will hold true for the tablet. It will be a very fine device for certain functions and if you aren't dumb enough to purchase the product under the delusion that this device means you no longer need to own a typical laptop or desktop,I'm sure you'll be pleased with the thing. Keep in mind, also, that the device will likely operate much like the Touch does, namely you attach the unit to your computer to access a larger library of files that the device will be too short on memory to handle. Video files in particular use up a huge amount of space. Simply put, the tablet not used alongside a regular computer will be a much more restricted product, one that many consumers would come to despise.

Apple isn't thinking in terms of selling folks the tablet instead of a regular computer. Apple is looking to sell us all a tablet and a regular computer. The device will be designed to work with a computer much as the Touch does. Without that complimentary setup, this thing simply will not meet most folks' needs.

It's because the tablet will compliment one's regular computer, not replace it, that I doubt we'll see a $1,000 device unveiled on Wednesday. It could happen, sure, but I'm predicting that instead the device will be somewhat less ambitious but also less expensive than some are anticipating.
post #134 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carmissimo View Post

Apple isn't thinking in terms of selling folks the tablet instead of a regular computer. Apple is looking to sell us all a tablet and a regular computer. The device will be designed to work with a computer much as the Touch does. Without that complimentary setup, this thing simply will not meet most folks' needs.

This much we agree on, more or less. I would never argue that the tablet will be intended as a desktop PC replacement, which is why I don't think it needs to have identical functionality or equivalent horsepower. However, it could certainly be a laptop replacement, in the same way a netbook is for some. Only it will (I suspect, and hope) do the mobile subset of tasks that many people have need for when they are away from their desks in a much more elegant fashion than a netbook. But I don't agree that it will necessarily be dependent on the desktop PC. The iPhone and touch aren't really as desktop dependent as you suggest.
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post #135 of 135
The reason netbook ergonomics sucks is that they're simply laptop ergonomics made smaller. That's it, no rethinking of the anything, no designing to a particular configuration, just..... smaller.

If we know anything, it's that Apple has thought, a lot, about exactly what's involved with using a touch based 10" device and endeavored to make that as pleasant, functional and productive as possible. Whatever else it may be, it's going to be a hell of a lot nicer to use than a netbook.
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