Originally Posted by REC
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I don't know what else to say!
Actually you have said enough.
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.