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New or updated iMac? MacPro? MacbookPro? Mini?

post #1 of 48
Thread Starter 
sooooooooooo many rumors about everything from patent lawsuits to data plans... does apple still make computers?
post #2 of 48
iMac: Fairly soon.
MacBook Family: Spectacularly soon.
Mac Pro: Not for about a year.
Mac Mini: Whenever Steve remembers its exists.

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
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Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
Reply
post #3 of 48
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

iMac: Fairly soon.
MacBook Family: Spectacularly soon.
Mac Pro: Not for about a year.
Mac Mini: Whenever Steve remembers its exists.

"spectaculary soon" sounds like a timeline "top analysts" would use.
post #4 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by desarc View Post

"spectaculary soon" sounds like a timeline "top analysts" would use.

It does, a bit.

But Yeah. Following the pattern, look for refreshed iMacs in the next month and a half, new MBPs in more or less the same time frame. Mac Pro will get a refresh approximately whenever Steve feels like it.

Crossing fingers for the 27" to keep the same design with a new Radeon 6800/6900 series GPU so I can drop the part into mine and replace the aging Mobility 4850.
PC Gamer, Musician, Mac Geek. | Jerion.us
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PC Gamer, Musician, Mac Geek. | Jerion.us
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post #5 of 48
I'm waiting for the new iMacs.

My current one is a G5 - ordered at 6:30 AM the day they were announced in Paris. I think it's about time to be replaced, and the new ones are too close for me to buy a current one.

It's just painful to have the cash ready and still need to wait.
Ken
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Ken
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post #6 of 48
Right now, Apple is quite limited by Intel's release cycle for new products. A common misconception is that the necessary Sandy Bridge mobile chips for the MacBooks are available. The truth is, they'll be released on February 20th. So no new MacBooks before that (unless Intel bumps up the date). The same goes for the desktop i3 processors, so Apple needs to wait for a direct upgrade path for the iMac.

Mac Pro will be 3/4Q of this year, using socket 2011. The roadmap shows up to 8 core processors on it, therefore the Mac Pro should become a 16 core, 32 thread monster. Mac Mini whenever Jobs remembers.

You can see all of the Sandy Bridge processors release dates, specs, and other stuff here
post #7 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arinoth View Post

A common misconception is that the necessary Sandy Bridge mobile chips for the MacBooks are available. The truth is, they'll be released on February 20th. So no new MacBooks before that (unless Intel bumps up the date). The same goes for the desktop i3 processors, so Apple needs to wait for a direct upgrade path for the iMac.

Hasn't Apple had early access to intel chips before? That is, before the competition?

I admit I'm overly hopeful. I've been itching for a new computer but can't pull the trigger when I'm so close to the upgrades. Sandy Bridge and SSD for me! I suspect the price for SSD will drop with the refresh. Graphics sound like they'll be a bummer though...

I'm beginning to think MBPs will update in April.
post #8 of 48
Yes, manufacturers do get early access to the chips to design and build their machines. I'm assuming that they just cannot release systems with the chips until that date. I'm saying February 28th, maybe March 1st.
post #9 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arinoth View Post

Yes, manufacturers do get early access to the chips to design and build their machines. I'm assuming that they just cannot release systems with the chips until that date. I'm saying February 28th, maybe March 1st.

I reckon February 22nd because they pretty much always launch on a Tuesday and this is already going to be the longest update gap the MBP has had so they need to get right on this.

I wonder if Intel have planned to have their chips ready for sale alongside their new SSDs so that people wouldn't looks to other manufacturers who have their 25nm parts out already.
post #10 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by desarc View Post

sooooooooooo many rumors about everything from patent lawsuits to data plans... does apple still make computers?

As I see it the number one problem will likely be suitable supply of the SB chips to meet industry demand. Sandy Bridge is likely to be a hit at the same time Intels factories go into mass production on a new node. That means there is a possibility of going on allocation.

You would think that would mean portables first but what if the allocation doesn't cover portables demand. We could see SB in a Mini first. That is an extreme but you get the idea.

In any event my guesses;

The iMac will likely take awhile, they most likely will wait for a desktop version of SB and might want to implement Light Peak. It could be mid year or latter.

As to the Mac Pro who cares anymore? It could update in a year or a couple of years.

The Mac Book Pro is interesting. I think this will be a go as soon as Apple can get enough chips. Still that would be around two months away.

I actually see the Mini as a prime machine for SB. The volume here is low enough that they can go anytime the chips are available. Further SB delivers all the performance required for many of the common Mini duties. Oh one other thing no body at Apple has forgotten about the Mini.

What you didn't allude to in your list is the XMac. I still think Apple needs to flesh out their desktop line up and something desktoppy at a more reasonable price than the Mac Pro is in order. This could come around the same time as the iMacs.


All of the statements above assume we are not thrown a curve ball or two. Things to worry about include no rumors good or bad about new Macs. This is a serious problem considering March isn't that far away. Then there is AMD, Apple could wait for AMDs Fusion product for any of the iMac, Mini, XMac or possibly the MBP. If Fusion doesn't cut the mustard we could see Bulldozer in the Mac Pro. Then Apple could be waiting on tech unrelated to the CPU such as LightPeak. In the end there are many possible curve balls.

Some here will dismiss AMD/ATI but I honestly believe their plans are better aligned with Apples than many give them credit for. Especially AMDs long term plans for GPU integration. I could even see Apple working a deal where Samsung builds low power variants of AMDs Fusion tech while AMD produces the performance versions for Apple.



This
post #11 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

We could see SB in a Mini first. That is an extreme but you get the idea.

I actually see the Mini as a prime machine for SB. The volume here is low enough that they can go anytime the chips are available. Further SB delivers all the performance required for many of the common Mini duties. Oh one other thing no body at Apple has forgotten about the Mini.

Wow. And I thought you were the OCL champion...
You'd go for SB igpu over nvidia's 320M?

I can see SB in the Mac mini server (better cores, hyperthreading, turbo-boost, ECC support on the Core i5-2515E), but in the regular model...?

Anyway, many desktop and mobile SB cpus have been avaialble for about a month, another batch is planned for Feb. 20 (most dual-core mobile cpus, and some desktop too). I don't see Apple implementing LP this early. So iMacs and MBPs could be updated as soon as march with AMD/ATI 5000/6000 series gpus. For the MB and MM, I have no idea what Apple will do, maybe just another C2D bump... could happen any time after march. The second half of 2011 could see SB Mac Pro, and updated MBAs, just like the other C2D-based Macs, the MBA could just get a speed/RAM/storage bump.

If the next generation of Intel cpus (Ivy Bridge 2012) is as good as planned (igpu part and OCL drivers), then I can see Apple using Intel's igpus as a replacement for the remaining C2D/320M models.
post #12 of 48
I'm ready for a new Mini. Come on, Apple.
post #13 of 48
I'm not sure if I'm being silly but the thing that's put me off getting an iMac so far is the lack of an anti-glare option and being forced to buy a massive screen if I want a top-spec. i have no need of such a large screen but would like the extra power nonetheless.
post #14 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by womblingfree View Post

I'm not sure if I'm being silly but the thing that's put me off getting an iMac so far is the lack of an anti-glare option and being forced to buy a massive screen if I want a top-spec. i have no need of such a large screen but would like the extra power nonetheless.

I won't buy an iMac because of the screen. The glare is unacceptable to me.
post #15 of 48
You'd think Apple would be investing some money into acquiring anti-reflective glass at this point. Most people don't even notice the glare or care, but still...
You think Im an arrogant [expletive] who thinks hes above the law, and I think youre a slime bucket who gets most of his facts wrong. Steve Jobs
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You think Im an arrogant [expletive] who thinks hes above the law, and I think youre a slime bucket who gets most of his facts wrong. Steve Jobs
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post #16 of 48
I agree with people here that MBP and iMac refreshes are Apple's top priority when it comes to traditional computers and we'll see these first and soon. Combined I'm sure they represent the vast majority of Mac sales, so they're important.

The Mac Pro is still relevant and can sell to an important niche, it makes sense there would be an update around or after 10.7. The Mac Pro may never go away, as there will always be a need for "trucks" as the mothership would tell us.

I don't think the mac mini is a relevant machine anymore. If you look at it strictly in terms of what are consumers buying around that price point ($500-$800), it would seem they've come out in droves for the iPad (7mill+ per quarter) and alot less so for the mini (probably under 500k sold per quarter at this point, perhaps way under that). I don't think it makes a whole lot of sense for them to keep investing in a product that, relatively speaking, nobody will buy.

That said I think the mini's days are numbered. I could see Apple doing 1 more refresh, just to be nice and for old times sake, but that's it at most. 2 years from now iPads in various configurations will be selling in excess of 25mill per quarter, why keep selling a PC at the same price that sells less than 200k per quarter, especially when getting chip refreshes from intel are not coming in a way that Apple can control.
post #17 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by REC View Post

I don't think the mac mini is a relevant machine anymore. If you look at it strictly in terms of what are consumers buying around that price point ($500-$800), it would seem they've come out in droves for the iPad (7mill+ per quarter) and alot less so for the mini (probably under 500k sold per quarter at this point, perhaps way under that). I don't think it makes a whole lot of sense for them to keep investing in a product that, relatively speaking, nobody will buy.

That said I think the mini's days are numbered. I could see Apple doing 1 more refresh, just to be nice and for old times sake, but that's it at most. 2 years from now iPads in various configurations will be selling in excess of 25mill per quarter, why keep selling a PC at the same price that sells less than 200k per quarter, especially when getting chip refreshes from intel are not coming in a way that Apple can control.

I think all the machines' days are numbered in the long term but the Mini will last at least as long as the iMac because it can be used in more scenarios and is cheaper. Apple has also branched into the small server market and put on HDMI (the only machine that has it) so it can be used as a media centre. There is a Mac Mini colocation centre and they are perfect for servers - one of the guys said that jailbreakme.com runs from one of them and handles 5 million hits per month.

Think about the amount of data people have and what higher machines offer. The Mac Pro only offers faster performance and more storage. With fast ports this year or next, bus-powered drives will suffice and next year, we will have quad-cores in everything with double the GPU speed we have now. Between the Mac Pro and Mini, the Mini wins once performance isn't an issue any more. What does the iMac offer? Just an included screen but you're stuck with the one you get. You get a 21.5" IPS for $280 so the Mini + screen + keyboard/mouse ($50) still comes in over $150 cheaper than the entry iMac. A refurb iMac is a better deal though.

I think the whole lineup we see now will continue to be refreshed over the next 5 or 6 years but when iOS devices hit quad-core, phones and iPods will be faster than the desktops we have now. Sony's NGP renders comparable graphics to a PS3. The iOS devices will go dual-core this year but in 2 years, they can go quad-core, 64-bit etc and then the whole consumer x86 lineup will be questionable including the laptops.
post #18 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

I think all the machines' days are numbered in the long term but the Mini will last at least as long as the iMac because it can be used in more scenarios and is cheaper. Apple has also branched into the small server market and put on HDMI (the only machine that has it) so it can be used as a media centre. There is a Mac Mini colocation centre and they are perfect for servers - one of the guys said that jailbreakme.com runs from one of them and handles 5 million hits per month.

Think about the amount of data people have and what higher machines offer. The Mac Pro only offers faster performance and more storage. With fast ports this year or next, bus-powered drives will suffice and next year, we will have quad-cores in everything with double the GPU speed we have now. Between the Mac Pro and Mini, the Mini wins once performance isn't an issue any more. What does the iMac offer? Just an included screen but you're stuck with the one you get. You get a 21.5" IPS for $280 so the Mini + screen + keyboard/mouse ($50) still comes in over $150 cheaper than the entry iMac. A refurb iMac is a better deal though.

I think the whole lineup we see now will continue to be refreshed over the next 5 or 6 years but when iOS devices hit quad-core, phones and iPods will be faster than the desktops we have now. Sony's NGP renders comparable graphics to a PS3. The iOS devices will go dual-core this year but in 2 years, they can go quad-core, 64-bit etc and then the whole consumer x86 lineup will be questionable including the laptops.

iMacs sell, minis don't. I think its as simple as the bottom line.

You are talking about what you believe "in theory". You believe the mini to be better than an iMac cause you don't think integrated displays are a good idea. You say its better because its more flexible, cheaper, does X Y and Z, but all that ignores reality. Reality is, people buy iMacs, they don't buy minis.

Apple will evaluate the longevity of any product based on that. And based on that, the iMac probably has some years left in it, maybe a very long time. Mac mini, no.
post #19 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by REC View Post

iMacs sell, minis don't.

Where are you getting that statistic?
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You think Im an arrogant [expletive] who thinks hes above the law, and I think youre a slime bucket who gets most of his facts wrong. Steve Jobs
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post #20 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by REC View Post

iMacs sell, minis don't. I think its as simple as the bottom line.

You are talking about what you believe "in theory". You believe the mini to be better than an iMac cause you don't think integrated displays are a good idea. You say its better because its more flexible, cheaper, does X Y and Z, but all that ignores reality. Reality is, people buy iMacs, they don't buy minis.

Apple will evaluate the longevity of any product based on that. And based on that, the iMac probably has some years left in it, maybe a very long time. Mac mini, no.

actually a lot of the apple fans i know of prefer mac mini over imacs, simply because imacs aren't all that worth it. those who do buy imacs are moms and dads or kids.
post #21 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by blueeddie View Post

those who do buy imacs are moms and dads or kids.

Again, source of this information?
You think Im an arrogant [expletive] who thinks hes above the law, and I think youre a slime bucket who gets most of his facts wrong. Steve Jobs
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You think Im an arrogant [expletive] who thinks hes above the law, and I think youre a slime bucket who gets most of his facts wrong. Steve Jobs
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post #22 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by blueeddie View Post

actually a lot of the apple fans i know of prefer mac mini over imacs, simply because imacs aren't all that worth it.

*snort* Source?

Quote:
those who do buy imacs are moms and dads or kids.

I second this motion. That is, the motion of the guy who posted before me asking for a SOURCE.

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
Reply

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
Reply
post #23 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by REC View Post

You say its better because its more flexible, cheaper, does X Y and Z, but all that ignores reality. Reality is, people buy iMacs, they don't buy minis.

The reality is over 300 million computers were sold in 2010 and Apple's iMac accounted for about 4 million of them. 70% were laptops so guess what makes up the other 80+ million machines.

Mac desktop buyers are certainly buying iMacs in greater numbers than Minis but what do you expect when you don't update a product line for 2.5 years?

Apple can't treat the Mini like a $500 piece of junk, jack up the price and then turn round and say 'see told you no one would want it' because they are just fulfilling their own expectations.

People who are in the Apple Store will look at the deals in that store. They probably won't even think to look around for other deals. In the stores, Apple hook up Minis to $1000 27" Cinema screens. To casual observers, that's a $1700 desktop system + keyboard and mouse that's as fast as the lowest-end Macbook. It's no wonder the 21.5" iMac is the best selling model because for the full package to the casual observer, it's actually the cheapest full package Apple offers in store or on the website.

On Amazon where you can buy a cheap screen, the Mini is the best-selling model with the 21.5" iMac in 2nd place. For a lot of people, price is the bottom-line.

But regardless, the Mini form factor has shown its worth as an affordable desktop, especially for PC switchers, for server owners (Mac Mini Colo) and for media centres so it's not going away without taking away all those things from people. The desktops will all die out but the Mini will last as long as the rest.
post #24 of 48
I am waiting to buy a Mac Mini 2010 to use as a music server. If a new generation of Mini's is released soon, would you expect the 2010 models to be discounted? If so, what discount can be reasonably expected. I know the 2010 model works well as a high end music server so I am just trying to decide if it is worth waiting. Thanks.
post #25 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by setamp View Post

I am waiting to buy a Mac Mini 2010 to use as a music server. If a new generation of Mini's is released soon, would you expect the 2010 models to be discounted? If so, what discount can be reasonably expected.

Unopened stock of old models becomes "Clearance" when new models come out. The discount cannot possibly be determined. There's no point waiting. We won't have a new Mac Mini for years.

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
Reply

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
Reply
post #26 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Unopened stock of old models becomes "Clearance" when new models come out. The discount cannot possibly be determined. There's no point waiting. We won't have a new Mac Mini for years.

I can say with near certainty that the Mac Mini will have a Core i3 or better this year. If for no other reason than Intel renaming all their remaining Core2Duo production as Core i3 chips.
post #27 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Unopened stock of old models becomes "Clearance" when new models come out. The discount cannot possibly be determined. There's no point waiting. We won't have a new Mac Mini for years.

Both AMD and Intel appear to be positioning their respective high integration products at very reasonable prices. This could make an upgrade to the Mini a good deal for both Apple and the consummer. I use the word compelling because high integration chips at reasonable prices have a follow on effect of lowering other costs. For example reduced power supply requirements or reduced PC board expense. In the end economics may put a high integration chip in the Mini sooner than you may think.

On the other hand Apple does treat the Mini like a poor stepchild which frankly is a crying shame. It is a good idea and a good implementation that is exactly what many people need. Unfortunately it really doesn't fill the needs of many desktop users, so many simply walk out of Apples stores due to the lack of an affordable desktop solution.

For all the hot air recently released about "Back To The Mac" I've yet to see anything that indicates Apple is about to break out of the mold. Frankly now is exactly the right time to bring totally new Macs to the marketplace. The only thing that gives me hope is the total silence in the rumor mill about about all things Mac. Maybe it is wishful thinking but I'm hoping that silence is due to super secret projects at Apple. Frankly the entire Mac line is beyond stale. Stale is bread left out for a few days to long, the Mac line up has been out for years now with little in the way of positive change and very little innovation.
post #28 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

*snort* Source?



I second this motion. That is, the motion of the guy who posted before me asking for a SOURCE.

im not actually stating that the market for each as a fact. more of showing a case from the people I know who buys macs that "people prefer imacs over mac minis" isn't true.
post #29 of 48
Honestly, I think its simple: The Mini had its day, but it is not (largely speaking) what customers want anymore. It was great when it was introduced. I know that was just a short time ago. That's how much and how quickly things change in the PC market today.

Some people do like minis. I certainly like the 'idea' of the mini, but I'm not a mini customer. Could they make it really compelling? I don't know. I think they've struggled with that. The prices on minis went up as they added power and features, not such an attractive deal. Could they ever get it back to the $499 base price, given that the current base price is $699? Doubtful.

Just because some people have some uses for a product doesn't make it a good idea. You have to balance that against it's value for the company and what the bottom line is. Apple is playing a much bigger game now, and the mini is small potatoes. Remember I would love to believe in this product, but to say it's flailing at the moment would be generous.

I think to be fair about the mini's prospects at Apple you have to compare it to other PC's apple sells in that price class. In this case it's the iPad. The mini's average price is probably (and very unfortunately) about $100 higher, but they're close to each other on price.

So it's real simple. If I'm an average customer walking into the Apple store, with a budget of about $500-$800 to get some kind of Apple PC that's going to do the typical things customers want (itunes, pictures, do email, web, run other common apps and so on), what am I going to spend my money on? In that price range I have 2 choices if my fixation is on Apple: A Mini or an iPad.

Now don't tell me people aren't making this kind of very strict, budgetary choice cause they are. You might care about the theoretical flexibility and utility of a device, but they don't. They want something that works and does common tasks, that's why they went to Apple. They also want something that is probably a complete solution. The OS doesn't matter as long as it makes sense to them.

If you look at these 2 products based on price and compare their feature sets objectively, most people would probably say the iPad has it beat. Sure it may not be a real full PC, but that's an extremely subjective definition when people see everything that an iPad can do. Obviously portability is important, sales numbers reflect this. The iPad even has a screen, the mini you'd have to go figure that out. In many ways that matter to average people, the iPad may in fact be viewed as more robust simply because it does the things that matter to them, not the things that matter to computer nerds.

We don't know what the exact mini sales were last quarter but we can make some educated guesses. I believe the sales breakdown for Mac desktops was about 1.2mill sold, vs about 3mill sold for Mac laptops and 7-some-odd mill for iPads. We know that desktop sales include minis, iMacs, Mac Pros and Xserves. We know that the vast majority of desktop sales aren't inexpensive minis, because the average selling price for desktop macs is $1400. iMacs are very likely the lion share of desktop sales, although we don't know this for sure, but it seems likely. So lets just say iMacs are 50% of 1.2mill or 600,000. Lets also assume that minis, Mac Pros and Xserves sell equal amounts of the rest, or about 200k each. I'm sure all these numbers are off by 100k here or there, but at least its some numbers to work with.

So if you're Apple, you are currently selling 200k minis per quarter and 7 million iPads per quarter. On a per unit basis they yield about the same profit. So advantage iPad.

The point of the mini was to bring in switchers and budget mac users, is that still working? Well at 200k sold per quarter, I'd say no, relative to the iPad. The iPad may not be a mac, but it is definitely part of the Apple halo, and certainly does this job much better than a mini. Advantage iPad.

What about the mini as a budget server? Interesting usage to be sure, but is this something that Apple really wants to pursue? Budget servers? Are they really selling alot of minis for this purpose? No, they aren't. Not at 200k per quarter they're not.

Honestly if I were looking at Apple's resources, and as they say, wanting to put the A-team on every product, I'd get really objective about the mini and measure should it really exist anymore. It is not a popular product, it is not bringing in tons of switchers, and Apple has better products in their folio at this price point. Take the people off the mini and put them on the iPad, or somewhere else, where they can really help that team (maybe Xserves or Mac Pro, since the mini is often used as a cheap one of these).

I don't know what else to say! This is a product that needs serious reinvention or to be put out of its misery. I think the latter is more likely for all the facts outlined above: the price probably can't be fixed, it serves less purpose compared to the other 3 desktop Macs, and it's not a popular machine. I don't think any of this can be disputed, these are facts. I think the very likely outcome is Apple will put an end to the mini sometime in the next year, and focus more on products that either have relevance or are popular.
post #30 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by REC View Post

Honestly, I think its simple: The Mini had its day, but it is not (largely speaking) what customers want anymore. It was great when it was introduced. I know that was just a short time ago. That's how much and how quickly things change in the PC market today.

PC time is like dog years, by that measure the Mini has been around a very long time.

As to what custoners want, I really think it is a question of implementation not the concept. The big problem with the Mini is that it was always at the rear of the pack performance wise and worst the differential between the low end and the high end model was nill.
Quote:
Some people do like minis. I certainly like the 'idea' of the mini, but I'm not a mini customer. Could they make it really compelling? I don't know.

Anything is possible, more so the overall trend in the industry is to smaller and smaller devices. The question in my mind is just how aggressive Apple wants to be in making Mini compelling. For example would they look at AMD?

Minis biggest problem is simply the high cost of Intel Mobile chips which raise the price on the machine excessively. Address pricing along with capability and I think you will see greater sales. Also provide real performance differential between the base model and the high end.
Quote:
I think they've struggled with that. The prices on minis went up as they added power and features, not such an attractive deal.

This is due almost directly to Intels high price structure on mobile parts. The Mini doesn't actually have a lot of features. In fact it would be real smart to rethink Minis feature set. For example, many more users would benefit from an extra Ethernet port rather than a fire wire port. All in all Mini strikes a nice balance between features and size.
Quote:
Could they ever get it back to the $499 base price, given that the current base price is $699? Doubtful.

Actually it might be easier than you think. SoC tech and falling prices on other stuff could provide an avenue for lower prices. Build a cheap low end Mini and then spring for a new motherboard for the high end Mini. I still maintain that Minis biggest problem is that there is little difference in the current models, certainly not enough to justify the price differential.
Quote:
Just because some people have some uses for a product doesn't make it a good idea. You have to balance that against it's value for the company and what the bottom line is.

The same discussion is often targetted at the XMac. The problem is Apple needs something to target the desktop market that is not an overpriced Mac Pro. By the way the iMac isn't it here.
Quote:
Apple is playing a much bigger game now, and the mini is small potatoes. Remember I would love to believe in this product, but to say it's flailing at the moment would be generous.

That could be said about the entire non laptop line up at Apple. The fact that Mac sales are strong (mostly laptops) should indicate that there is a desktop problem. The Mini is part of that problem, not all of it though.
Quote:
I think to be fair about the mini's prospects at Apple you have to compare it to other PC's apple sells in that price class. In this case it's the iPad. The mini's average price is probably (and very unfortunately) about $100 higher, but they're close to each other on price.

What is fair about that? In fact that is a very strange comparison to make.
Quote:
So it's real simple. If I'm an average customer walking into the Apple store, with a budget of about $500-$800 to get some kind of Apple PC that's going to do the typical things customers want (itunes, pictures, do email, web, run other common apps and so on), what am I going to spend my money on? In that price range I have 2 choices if my fixation is on Apple: A Mini or an iPad.

Now don't tell me people aren't making this kind of very strict, budgetary choice cause they are. You might care about the theoretical flexibility and utility of a device, but they don't. They want something that works and does common tasks, that's why they went to Apple. They also want something that is probably a complete solution. The OS doesn't matter as long as it makes sense to them.

Of course people make budgetary decisions, but that doesn't make your reasoning sound. When it comes to the iPad people go to the Apple store to buy an iPad, they aren't there to look at desktop PCs of anytype. Likewise a person inthe market for a desktop PC is not going to buy a iPad.
Quote:
If you look at these 2 products based on price and compare their feature sets objectively, most people would probably say the iPad has it beat. Sure it may not be a real full PC, but that's an extremely subjective definition when people see everything that an iPad can do. Obviously portability is important, sales numbers reflect this. The iPad even has a screen, the mini you'd have to go figure that out. In many ways that matter to average people, the iPad may in fact be viewed as more robust simply because it does the things that matter to them, not the things that matter to computer nerds.

Here we go again with this nerd nonsense. Desktop computers and the iPad appeal to users in dramatically different ways, you can't rationally compare the two. Maybe a laptop but even there user needs are dramatically different.
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We don't know what the exact mini sales were last quarter but we can make some educated guesses. I believe the sales breakdown for Mac desktops was about 1.2mill sold, vs about 3mill sold for Mac laptops and 7-some-odd mill for iPads. We know that desktop sales include minis, iMacs, Mac Pros and Xserves. We know that the vast majority of desktop sales aren't inexpensive minis, because the average selling price for desktop macs is $1400.

I would discount any attempts to derive intelligence from the average selling price. Why? Simply because Apple moves enough high machines to skew the average significantly.
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iMacs are very likely the lion share of desktop sales, although we don't know this for sure, but it seems likely. So lets just say iMacs are 50% of 1.2mill or 600,000. Lets also assume that minis, Mac Pros and Xserves sell equal amounts of the rest, or about 200k each.

Apple has already indicated that the XServes where selling very poorly. We are talking less than 10,000 a quarter or month I forget which. Either way 30,000 is a long way from 200,000. I kinda doubt the Mac Pro hits 200,000 a quarter either. The iMac is still the bulk of sales but I suspect the Mini is not trailing far behind. Mainly because one can go on line and see sales stats. Mini sales aren't as bad as you make them out to be.
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I'm sure all these numbers are off by 100k here or there, but at least its some numbers to work with.

If you really want to work with numbers get oine. Mini still sells well.
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So if you're Apple, you are currently selling 200k minis per quarter and 7 million iPads per quarter. On a per unit basis they yield about the same profit. So advantage iPad.

The point of the mini was to bring in switchers and budget mac users, is that still working?

YES
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Well at 200k sold per quarter, I'd say no, relative to the iPad.

Your comparison is not rational and makes no more sense than comparing the Mini to the Touch or IPhone. Completely different devices and use cases.
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The iPad may not be a mac, but it is definitely part of the Apple halo, and certainly does this job much better than a mini. Advantage iPad.

What about the mini as a budget server?

I always thought that this was a stupid idea that got even worst with the recent Mini redesign.
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Interesting usage to be sure, but is this something that Apple really wants to pursue? Budget servers? Are they really selling alot of minis for this purpose? No, they aren't. Not at 200k per quarter they're not.

of course they aren't as the platform is less than ideal for use as a server. Are U surprised? However that does not mean that a desktop class machine could be added to Apples line up and be servicable as a server.

In some ways the old Mini wasn't to bad for a low end server. With the external power supply the number one failure component was easy to change out. Today's Mini is a different story altogether. In any event, even for the big boys servers have never been high volume sales. So again a phony arguement.
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Honestly if I were looking at Apple's resources, and as they say, wanting to put the A-team on every product, I'd get really objective about the mini and measure should it really exist anymore. It is not a popular product,

You keep saying that yet many sites indicate that it is a very strong seller.
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it is not bringing in tons of switchers, and Apple has better products in their folio at this price point. Take the people off the mini and put them on the iPad,

You lost a lot of credibility right here. As much as I like the iPad it is not a Mini replacement.
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or somewhere else, where they can really help that team (maybe Xserves or Mac Pro, since the mini is often used as a cheap one of these).

Nope, focusing on XServe and the Mac Pro is a waste of time as these will always be low volume machines. Instead they need to round out the product line up. This is where XMac comes into play.
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I don't know what else to say!

Actually you have said enough.
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This is a product that needs serious reinvention or to be put out of its misery. I think the latter is more likely for all the facts outlined above: the price probably can't be fixed, it serves less purpose compared to the other 3 desktop Macs, and it's not a popular machine. I don't think any of this can be disputed, these are facts. I think the very likely outcome is Apple will put an end to the mini sometime in the next year, and focus more on products that either have relevance or are popular.

You need to work on your facts.
post #31 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

You need to work on your facts.

Yet another lengthy dissection from Wizard69, I will try to summarize my retort in animated iconography.

post #32 of 48
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Originally Posted by REC View Post

Lets also assume that minis, Mac Pros and Xserves sell equal amounts of the rest, or about 200k each. I'm sure all these numbers are off by 100k here or there, but at least its some numbers to work with.

There's no way in hell they were moving 200K xserves a qtr or they'd still be making them. Given the rest of your stuff is based on this bogus 200K mini sales number it doesn't need a lot of rebuttal. Pick crappy numbers and you can show anything.

Killing the mini made more sense before they released the mid-2010 mini. If mini sales were a mere 200k/qtr Apple likely would have killed it rather than spend the money to respin the form factor. It has at least a couple product cycles before it gets axed now.

On Amazon the mini is the #2 seller in the computer category. For a computer that doesn't sell that's pretty impressive. It also indicates it sells better than the 27" imac.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers...ef=pd_ts_e_nav
post #33 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Anything is possible, more so the overall trend in the industry is to smaller and smaller devices. The question in my mind is just how aggressive Apple wants to be in making Mini compelling. For example would they look at AMD?

Minis biggest problem is simply the high cost of Intel Mobile chips which raise the price on the machine excessively. Address pricing along with capability and I think you will see greater sales. Also provide real performance differential between the base model and the high end. .

AMD is second rate, it's not Apples style. AMD hasn't been doing so well with efficient (re: low heat output) mobile CPUs which are key to the form factor of the Mini, iMac and laptops. They have a track record of having manufacturing problems, when you're Apple, designing a system around a chip, you need to reliably guarantee certain levels of quantity.

And what would AMD have to offer besides possibly slightly lower prices? You are basing that assumption on retail pricing; no telling what pricing Apple can negotiate for the volume it requires, and with it's ongoing relationship with Intel.


Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

This is due almost directly to Intels high price structure on mobile parts. The Mini doesn't actually have a lot of features. In fact it would be real smart to rethink Minis feature set. For example, many more users would benefit from an extra Ethernet port rather than a fire wire port. All in all Mini strikes a nice balance between features and size.

A second Ethernet port is more important than Firewire on a desktop system that is limited to one 2.5" drive (I'm sure the vast majority of Minis sold are not server version)? For what? Using it as a router or a situation that requires link aggregation has got to be far more of a niche need than adding an external hard drive at usable speeds.


Quote:
Originally Posted by nht View Post

On Amazon the mini is the #2 seller in the computer category. For a computer that doesn't sell that's pretty impressive. It also indicates it sells better than the 27" imac.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers...ef=pd_ts_e_nav

It's showing #1 in the desktop category now (via the link you referenced) and look whats #1 in the server category:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers...ef=pd_ts_e_nav

Of course Amazons public sales rankings aren't a very good indicator of true marketshare, they are showing Apples have 3 out of the top 4 slots in Desktop sales, when true desktop marketshare is somewhere around 10% for Apple. And it's got to be under 1% for server marketshare.

Rob
post #34 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by nht View Post

I can say with near certainty that the Mac Mini will have a Core i3 or better this year. If for no other reason than Intel renaming all their remaining Core2Duo production as Core i3 chips.

It certainly would be interesting if the Mac Mini and/or Server were to be equipped with a Core i5 (Sandy Bridge), SSD, and eSATA ports (or even light peak). The existing USB (especially not having USB 3) and Firewire ports are so limiting. Oh, and one more thing, Steve. Have you ever heard of the combination USB/SATA ports? They work. They're good. Get 'em.

As computers go, I believe there is still a significant market for the Mini. It is compact, doesn't use a lot of electricity (and so is not terribly hot) and fills a great many needs. The banks of Minis configured as servers are rather interesting and are probably the real reason the X-Serve died off.
post #35 of 48
I like the idea of the MacMini, but it's a raw deal compared to an entry-level iMac.


Spec the base-model (2.4GHz C2D) up to 4GB RAM and 500GB HDD and it's $899

Add a (non-wireless) keyboard and mouse and it's $997

the base-model iMac (3.06 GHz i3-4GB-500GB) is $1199, and that includes wireless keyboard, magic mouse and a state-of-the-art 21.5" LED display.


So how is the MacMini a good deal? If I were to get a couple for the typing pool, I'd just as soon get them iMacs. Those make you look good as well.
post #36 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by zeph View Post

I like the idea of the MacMini, but it's a raw deal compared to an entry-level iMac.


Spec the base-model (2.4GHz C2D) up to 4GB RAM and 500GB HDD and it's $899

Add a (non-wireless) keyboard and mouse and it's $997

the base-model iMac (3.06 GHz i3-4GB-500GB) is $1199, and that includes wireless keyboard, magic mouse and a state-of-the-art 21.5" LED display.


So how is the MacMini a good deal? If I were to get a couple for the typing pool, I'd just as soon get them iMacs. Those make you look good as well.

The iMac is definitely a better deal, but for those that don't like the screen, like me, the Mini is all we have. I love the little thing but Apple needs to get the power up for the price
post #37 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by REC View Post

So if you're Apple, you are currently selling 200k minis per quarter and 7 million iPads per quarter. On a per unit basis they yield about the same profit. So advantage iPad.

I think that's a fair point but the iPad can't run Call of Duty Black Ops, it can't run 3DS Max, Final Cut Pro, you can't manage your files, you can't control the content on your iPhone, you can't develop apps with XCode and many more things.

I would add 'yet' at the end as one day it probably will do these things but for now, the Mac Mini is an extremely versatile machine and is the cheapest in the Mac lineup.

The Mini unfortunately doesn't break away from the standard computing habits we are all used to and offers people very little over their current PC except for a foreign OS, incompatibility with apps and files and a high price. The small size is also often seen as a negative as people assume it's underpowered.

By contrast, the iPad is immediately compelling because as soon as you start using it, you can see new technology and it does its job quickly. A new way of interacting with computers, a very high quality screen and product at an affordable price. Whenever they get round to allowing people to use them on their own and control content, it will start to have a drastic effect on other products but for now, that's not the case.

Next year, the entry level chips can go quad-core and the graphics will double the 320M. A Mini with a quad i5 + 2x 320M with a 128-256GB SSD blade, 4GB RAM, no optical built-in, USB3/Light Peak, 25% shorter than it is now at $599 would be a great machine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeph

So how is the MacMini a good deal? If I were to get a couple for the typing pool, I'd just as soon get them iMacs.

If you don't try to match the spec, the Mini is a better deal. The typing pool doesn't need 4GB RAM and a 500GB HDD, nor do they need IPS displays or wireless keyboards or touch-mice. Take the base Mini, add $150 of peripherals and you undercut the iMac by $350.
post #38 of 48
I'm sure the Mac Mini is selling extremely well. It's the one Apple product that gets bought in volume by large hosting companies leasing Dedicated Mac Servers to customers who want them. I'm surprised there's a viable business selling OS X Server solutions to be honest, but there's undoubtedly demand. Even Go Daddy got in on the game.
post #39 of 48
You have some interesting comments below but seem to equate the Mini with some sort of bleeding edge computer. It isn't thus some of your points don't matter.
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Originally Posted by robzr View Post

AMD is second rate, it's not Apples style.

First off I have to call BS on this one. AMD has hardware that could easily compete with what is in the Mini. Mainly because the Mini is Apples slowest computer going. Since the Mini isn't marketed as a performance machine all we really need is an AMD implementation that offers up better performance.
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AMD hasn't been doing so well with efficient (re: low heat output) mobile CPUs which are key to the form factor of the Mini, iMac and laptops.

True but this year should turn that around significantly.
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They have a track record of having manufacturing problems,

Tell me who just recalled all of their chipsets for Sandy Bridge? Come on spit it out!

Of all the arguements used to dismiss AMD this is possible the most bogus if them all. Considering all the issues with Sandy Bridge this has to be an attempt at a bad joke on your part, either that or plain stupidity.
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when you're Apple, designing a system around a chip, you need to reliably guarantee certain levels of quantity.

And you honestly believe Intel is that much better? Honestly? Sandy Bridge can't even run OpenCL on the GPU and you think that is a good fit for Apples low end machines? Besides that AMD can easily manage the production numbers need for Apples Mini.
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And what would AMD have to offer besides possibly slightly lower prices? You are basing that assumption on retail pricing; no telling what pricing Apple can negotiate for the volume it requires, and with it's ongoing relationship with Intel.

It is well know that AMD undersells Intel. On top of that Apples chip demands aren't so great as you might think.

As to what AMD gas to offer, that is simple, it's Fusion road map. This new initiative from AMD would provide Apple with a low cost high performance platform that would allow for innovation on the Mini chassis. It would allow for an OpenCL supporting SoC to power the mini this year instead of a year and a half down the road. Apple also gets to send Intel a message with respect to their crap GPUs.
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A second Ethernet port is more important than Firewire on a desktop system that is limited to one 2.5" drive (I'm sure the vast majority of Minis sold are not server version)?

Yes! Why; because Ethernet is the best way to connect to an external storage device!
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For what? Using it as a router or a situation that requires link aggregation has got to be far more of a niche need than adding an external hard drive at usable speeds.

There are actually a couple of sound reasons.
1. Ethernet can provide for a dedicated link to an external storage device and do so in a way that is far better than FireWire or USB. At least for the current implementations of those interfaces.
2. A second Ethernet port is very very usable in automation systems. Be it a vision system or PLC interface a dedicated Ethernet connection is often the prefered interfacing method. One port goes to the device the other to the network.
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It's showing #1 in the desktop category now (via the link you referenced) and look whats #1 in the server category:

This is pretty consistent with what I've seen over the last couple of years. Like all products sales vary but the Mini does consistently well. Obviously only Apple knows for sure what the numbers are but I see no justification for the point of view that sales are terrible.
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Of course Amazons public sales rankings aren't a very good indicator of true marketshare, they are showing Apples have 3 out of the top 4 slots in Desktop sales, when true desktop marketshare is somewhere around 10% for Apple. And it's got to be under 1% for server marketshare.

Rob

The Mini isn't a bad machine at all! I'm bothered a bit about the relatively low CPU performance and a few other things but beyond that. As to value that is up to the buyer. That is; does a low wattage modest performance machine do it for you? If so buy a Mini.
post #40 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by eksodos View Post

I'm sure the Mac Mini is selling extremely well. It's the one Apple product that gets bought in volume by large hosting companies leasing Dedicated Mac Servers to customers who want them. I'm surprised there's a viable business selling OS X Server solutions to be honest, but there's undoubtedly demand. Even Go Daddy got in on the game.

The older version was very popular with the RV, Boating and Automobile crowds. It's compact size and at the time external power supply made it very usable for those conditions. The especially so after the addition of an solid state disk.

The new Mini of course has the internal power supply, so I don't know how it is doing currently for these.markets. Ideally somebody would step up with a DC input internal solution.
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