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Next Mini - which Sandy Bridge CPU? - Page 2

post #41 of 154
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Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

I like the concept of a Cube:



Certainly more aesthetically pleasing than the current Mac Pro and offers more space for flexibility than the Mini as well as providing a suitable volume of airflow.



There are a few reasons. Let's assume that they use a built-in mobile GPU like the iMac, which I think is faster than the Mac Pro ones anyway and also assume that the PCI slots are no more and 4 Thunderbolt ports are used for expansion.

Could you fit two Xeon CPUs and a PSU powerful enough to handle them alongside 4 x 2.5" drives in a Cube chassis? You possibly could but it wouldn't be easy and it would place a lot of restrictions on current Mac Pro buyers.

In practical terms, I think people would quite easily adapt to the restrictions though and if the GPU was in an MXM slot, then it allows an upgrade path.

Thunderbolt isn't as fast as a PCI slot and people will have cards they currently own and need to use but I doubt it will have much of an impact if a suitable solution is in place.

Apple likes to separate buyers out into clear categories though and the Cube covers a broad range. A Cube would also have a lot of potential to ruin what they've done with the iMac as people will spec up the cheaper Cube and buy a cheap screen.

Plus, thinking a few years into the future, it would probably need to revert back to the Mini form factor.

I think the two form factors work ok separately but they could make better decisions in both. Keep updating the Mini as soon as new parts are available and maintain decent graphics performance. Keep the entry Mac Pro price under $2,000 and completely overhaul the design to be smaller and lighter.

A smaller, lighter Mac Pro checking in below $2,000 would make for an appealing bridge product to the Mini. As it stands, the difference in price between a fully-speced Mini and an entry Mac Pro is so great that I doubt many would seriously consider taking such a leap.

Now that Sandy Bridge desktop processors, like the ones found in the iMac, are so capable, it does mean that if Apple were to develop a tower based around that technology, the price of entry to the Mac Pro line would be substantially reduced. Also reduced would be the form factor. Bring in such a machine at let's say $1499, and quite a few consumers looking for something more than is offered by the Mini would take the plunge. The catch is that modest Mini sales would end up dipping below levels that would justify continuing to sell the machine.

Drop a little further from there, maybe around $1,199 for a base headless tower and you'd likely see most of your current Mini sales retained via that offering.

So the question is, can Apple build a $1,199 desktop tower with the flexibility to be given enough power to meet the needs of pro users for a price north of that mark. In other words, is the time right for a one-size-fits-all headless Mac. I think it is in that the performance offered by Intel chips that would not require a Mac Pro grade enclosure, is now such that pro users can get the job done. This situation can only improve since we all know that performance continues to be tweaked higher for a comparable amount of wattage. Ivy Bridge will raise the bar that much more and beyond that there will be further gains. If you're a Pro customer and you can get enough computing muscle for significantly less money, that's a positive.

I can't speak for other Mini customers (I'm on my third MIni) but myself I'd gladly drop a few extra dollars to acquire a much more powerful machine. My Mini didn't cost that much less than $1,000. Keep in mind that Apple has another product aimed at meeting the computing needs of less demanding customers that wasn't there when the Mini first came to market. It's the iPad. Right now the iPad is not a true computer replacement but it will not be long before it is.

The only reason Mini sales haven't fallen off to unsustainable levels is that the jump up to the Mac Pro is an excessive one. But I would hate to think that Apple refuses to bring to market a decent $1,200 headless desktop because it would cut into Mini sales. Yet I don't think there is any doubt that the majority of current Mini owners are like me in that they would opt for a $1,200 entry-level Mac Tower if such a device existed, in place of owning the Mini. Instead it's either settle for the Mini or pay $2,400 for a Mac Pro.

So much has changed since the time when Apple plotted the headless desktop strategy that has played out these past few years. A re-think is in order.
post #42 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

I personally don't mind the Mini form factor. I think it's a beautifully designed piece of hardware. The problem in making it bigger is that it's a solution for the present, not for the future. Computer components are shrinking and in a few years, the Mini will reach the performance of the Pro.

Current Macbook Pro entry level - 6440:
http://browse.geekbench.ca/geekbench2/view/408439
2008 quad 3GHz Mac Pro - 7268:
http://browse.geekbench.ca/geekbench2/view/348740

That's only 3 years for the entry-level consumer line to come close to the entry-level Pro line.

The next refresh to the i5 will double the performance of the Mini CPU to match the MBP. Next year, Ivy Bridge will be all quad-core. In another year, it will have reached double the performance it has at the next refresh, which brings it in line with the current top iMac and entry Pro.

If they built a machine in-between, they lose the low price buyers and have to build a large machine to accommodate the Pro components.

I do think they can make a slim Pro machine though and it can have a GPU like the iMac but it restricts people who want to upgrade the GPU for computing etc.

I'm sure Apple have thought much longer than anyone about what the best strategy to go with is and I think for the long term, their lineup works. In say 5 or 6 years, the Mini is going to be one powerful little computer. The iMac will have the selling point of touch interaction. The Mac Pro to me seems like the old room-sized mainframes. It's just a big box of parts.

They can certainly market it as the personal supercomputer if it gets 64 CPU cores or whatever but the buyers will get ever fewer and prices higher until it's not worth making them anymore. I don't believe a large tower form factor has longevity.

The Mini update could have already been done but the iMac takes priority for Apple. It would be nice to see an SSD option but it'll only work well if they can hit 256GB in the entry model, maybe 160GB at a stretch. I would expect just a minor refresh though: 2.3GHz i5, 2GB RAM, 320GB HDD, Intel graphics, Thunderbolt. I would love to see NVidia/ATI build an external GPU for it and the other lower-end machines.

Thunderbolt is limited for video pci-e x4 -over head slows down video cards and eats up all of TB bus.

Why not put the card on the unused 8-12 pci-e lanes and have 2 TB ports on the other x8 lanes.
post #43 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

I like the concept of a Cube:



Apple likes to separate buyers out into clear categories though and the Cube covers a broad range. A Cube would also have a lot of potential to ruin what they've done with the iMac as people will spec up the cheaper Cube and buy a cheap screen.

Doesn't matter one bit what they've done with the iMac. I'll never buy an all in one. The mini is below my needs and the Mac Pro is overkill. So with its current offerings Apple has separated this buyer into a clear category that Apple doesn't have.

I would gladly pay $1500 for a Mac the size pictured above.
post #44 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTac View Post

Doesn't matter one bit what they've done with the iMac. I'll never buy an all in one. The mini is below my needs and the Mac Pro is overkill. So with its current offerings Apple has separated this buyer into a clear category that Apple doesn't have.

I would gladly pay $1500 for a Mac the size pictured above.

What's most curious about the Mini is that no one really asked for an ultra-compact desktop. While there are situations in which compactness matters most of us simply don't need for our computers to be so small. It's as if being as Jobs values compactness, the rest of us must as well.
On the other hand many of us have long clamoured for a desktop that slots in below the Mac Pro and above the Mini. Odd that something so many want is simply not being made available.
post #45 of 154
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Originally Posted by Carmissimo View Post

My view on this is that both the Mini and the Mac Pro are overdue for a major overhaul. Personally I think what should happen is that Apple kill off both models and replace them with one device that can be ordered with as much power as the end user requires. The key piece to making this possible is that Thunderbolt now makes external expansion viable.

Actually I see just the opposite in regards to the Mini, the coming technology will turn the Mini into a tiny power house of performance. Everybody is all excited about Sandy Bridge, which is good but AMDs Llano will be here next month with far better GPU performance and it actually runs at a lower power point doing so. A year from now the IVY Bridge and Llano follow ons will be even more powerful. The point is little boxes these days will be delivering surprising performance.

As to the Mac Pro I tend to agree, the whole thing needs to be scraped. What I'd like to see Apple do here is to deliver to dramatically different configurations in the same basic chassis. One would run a main stream processor with a reasonable GPU on the motherboard. Performance and storage options beyond the Mini is the goal here.

The other would be a direct replacement for the current Pro. This model would come with additional rack mounting hardware and be built with ultimate performance and flexibility in mind. The idea behind using the same basic chassis is economics, let the high columella model pay for the chassis the high performance model is built upon. While these two machines will look dramatically different than today's Pro I think Apple can pull off a chassis that is flexible enough for the purpose and acceptable to users.

What it comes down to is this, there is a real advantage for many users in a desktop chassis that is affordable and has some expansion capability. Apple doesn't currently have this midrange solution. There will always beep some demand for all out performance in a Mac so Apple still needs a machine optimized for all out computational performance, a "Pro" if you will. The problem here is that volumes on the Pro suck. I believe they suck to the point where Apple is seriously considering cutting the machine from the lineup. So they need a configuration that drives volume.
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As a result, one doesn't need a large tower that can accommodate lots of storage.

Totally bogus. For professional usage I only see internal storage needs going up.
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Right now I have a 3TB drive running via Firewire 800 off my Mini and the performance is fine for what I need. With the speed of Thunderbolt, all manner of high-performance drive solutions could be employed outside the base device with the necessary throughput to do heavy lifting.

And plug up your high performance I/O channel with disk traffic? This idea that Thunderbolt is some magic solution to the issue of disk storage just needs to die - the sooner the better. Professional users simply have to have internal storage options if for nothing else to keep tha I/O channel free for it's primary use.

If Apple where to come out with such a Pro I would suspect that pro users would drop it like the proverbial lead ballon. It is an exceedingly bad idea for the Pros intended market. Frankly external drives are not even a good idea for us more modest users.
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So you develop an enclosure not much larger than the original Cube (a behemoth placed alongside the current Mini) that offers desktop performance varying from decent to high-end professional grade with a starting price of about $800 and ranging up to around $2,000.

While I believe Apple needs to rethink it's approach to pro users the Cube would be another joke in my mind. The previous Cube was a bit of a disaster if you ask me. Apple needs to put as much thought into serviceability as they have their current Pro laptops.
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Such a device would, I think, meet the needs of most if not all of those already using headless Mac desktops. There would be a cost saving for Apple because development would be reduced down to one form factor.

one form factor would be a huge mistake.
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On the pro side, there would be a significant cost saving compared to buying the existing Mac Pro model and on the consumer side, for similar prices to the Mini, much better performance would be offered. I can't see the down side of this for anyone.

Oh come on with this "I can't see the down side of this for anyone.". Pro users can not get by on a Cube sized machine. This thought is so bogus that I suspect many Pro users will wake up totally enraged at the idea.
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If there is a reasonable explanation of why Apple isn't going in this direction, I'd love to hear it.

It is pretty clear you don't grasp the needs of Pro users or you would never had made some of the statements above. Pro users aren't like the rest of us, machine performance is dollars to them. Middle of the road users have never had an Apple solution, at least not in the last few years. The iMac is a middle of the road performer, but in the context of desktop boxes Apple has had nothing.
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By the way, if this is about the long term, certainly one has to ask, what's the value of having the Mac Pro if even the lesser models in the range can handle pro-calibre demands.

They can't. You really seem to misunderstand where most Mac Pros go. Some of these guys update with every Mac Pro release because they need that performance.

The new iMacs are certainly more powerful but that means little in this context. They certainly can handle more advanced work but they are machines for bleeding edge work where CPU time is money.
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Certainly if one is running a business, saving money has to be regarded as a good thing. If a mid-range model can be configured with enough variations to meet many needs, that's a win/win.

Exactly. I understood Apples needs many years ago to trim the Mac line up. The company was on hard times. This is no longer the case and frankly sales have been fantastic. They really need to round out the line to keep momentum moving forward. Many business won't even touch a Mac these days because there is nothing that fits their needs.
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Apple didn't have the technology to offer one form factor to meet multiple needs before but it is there now. As such, why not take advantage of it? After all, if the headless desktop has become more of a niche product, why fragment your offerings for that segment.

Fragmentation and proper pricing equals more sales. For example nothing we have talked about here would dramatically impact Mini sales. I actually see Mini sales getting stronger in the coming years. Like wise power users will always want a full blown PC that is bleeding edge. The only thing Apple doesn't have is a headless midrange Mac, something in the iMacs range of performance. So such a headless Mac will impact iMac sales some, but I believe at a far lower rate than many think. In actuality such a Mac would drive sales.
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Not the way that Apple usually does business. Seems to me that there has been so much focus on other products that Apple's usually rational approach hasn't been applied to its headless desktop range.

I don't know what all the problems are. It is pretty obvious to me that Mac Pro sales suck. IMac and the Mini on hpthe other hand seem yo do fine. It does look like a failure with respect to management taking advantage of the Macs growing popularity. There is also a slow but real interest growing where people are ditching laptops in favor of a desktop and a tablet combo. It does seem like Apple is asleep at the wheel here.

In any event the only machine right now that has a strong future is the Mini on the desktop. By the time Ivy Brdge gets plugged into that little box it will be a cool running power house. For people with modest GPU and storage needs it will be a bargain. Just imagine a machine with a twenty watt CPU that quadruples current performance, needs no extra hardware for Thunderbolt and finally has a sort of decent Intel GPU built in. The future looks really bright for the small form factor.
post #46 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carmissimo View Post

What's most curious about the Mini is that no one really asked for an ultra-compact desktop. While there are situations in which compactness matters most of us simply don't need for our computers to be so small. It's as if being as Jobs values compactness, the rest of us must as well.

This is clearly not the case. If anything Apple is following a trend here. For many Mini buyers the platform offers something that can't be had with traditional hardware. Of course that varies with the individual so there is no sense in enumerating all the potential reasons. However extremely low power usage is often a factor.
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On the other hand many of us have long clamoured for a desktop that slots in below the Mac Pro and above the Mini. Odd that something so many want is simply not being made available.

Extremely odd if you ask me. As stated before I can understand the compact line up years ago but not now. Especially in a context where they have the hearts and minds of many new customers.
post #47 of 154
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Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

This is clearly not the case. If anything Apple is following a trend here. For many Mini buyers the platform offers something that can't be had with traditional hardware. Of course that varies with the individual so there is no sense in enumerating all the potential reasons. However extremely low power usage is often a factor.

Extremely odd if you ask me. As stated before I can understand the compact line up years ago but not now. Especially in a context where they have the hearts and minds of many new customers.

It would be interesting to find out just how many Mini buyers purchased the product because of its small size. I can only speak for myself. I didn't buy the Mini because it is compact but rather because I couldn't justify spending close to $3,000 for a Mac Pro being as I'm not a professional. The iMac is not an option because I can't justify paying for a monitor that will have to be thrown out before its time when the computer attached to it dies.

If this is about the server market, there is a simple solution. Continue to offer the current Mini in server form with the occasional update as older technology is no longer available.

If we're talking about an incredibly small number of folks who really need an ultra-portable desktop tower, why should Apple cater to such a small group at the expense of a larger segment who just want a decent desktop unit to mate with a good monitor and assorted peripherals. Right now customers like me are paying a price in terms of bang for the buck to accommodate a few thousand others who want and/or need the smallest form factor possible. I'm an Apple customer and will continue to be one but I can't say that I like what's happening.
post #48 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

While I believe Apple needs to rethink it's approach to pro users the Cube would be another joke in my mind. The previous Cube was a bit of a disaster if you ask me. Apple needs to put as much thought into serviceability as they have their current Pro laptops.
<snip>
Fragmentation and proper pricing equals more sales. For example nothing we have talked about here would dramatically impact Mini sales. I actually see Mini sales getting stronger in the coming years. Like wise power users will always want a full blown PC that is bleeding edge. The only thing Apple doesn't have is a headless midrange Mac, something in the iMacs range of performance. So such a headless Mac will impact iMac sales some, but I believe at a far lower rate than many think. In actuality such a Mac would drive sales.

I think the Cube was before its time. Back then enough horsepower couldn't be squeezed into a package that small. But today the horsepower of the iMac could be put into a cube sized Mac. But I must agree with your statement that it needs to be designed for serviceability.
And a mid range Mac (the type of Mac I want) could lead to more overall sales. After this weekend messing with my mother in laws Windows PC I was thinking how either a mini or iMac might be a good replacement for her. But I won't be chunking out money on one for her when I'm still dealing with my old Mac. Give me my Mac and I'll start looking at Apple's other products.
post #49 of 154
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Originally Posted by MacTac View Post

Doesn't matter one bit what they've done with the iMac. I'll never buy an all in one.

What I mean is that with the AIO form factor, they've forced IPS displays onto the consumer without them having to appreciate why it's better. Kind of like a parent forcing their kids to eat vegetables.

By separating the two, people inevitably shop around for the lowest price and don't take care to choose a high quality display, which pretty much undoes their efforts.

I'm in the same boat though and would probably never buy an AIO machine. If it had easy access to storage maybe but I don't like glossy displays.
post #50 of 154
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Originally Posted by Carmissimo View Post

What's most curious about the Mini is that no one really asked for an ultra-compact desktop. While there are situations in which compactness matters most of us simply don't need for our computers to be so small. It's as if being as Jobs values compactness, the rest of us must as well.
On the other hand many of us have long clamoured for a desktop that slots in below the Mac Pro and above the Mini. Odd that something so many want is simply not being made available.

It's called an iMac.

I like the compact size of the mini as a desktop as it fits under my HDTV. A Cube, not so much.

The Mac Pro is a workstation and not a desktop. As in it is designed for more rigorous computational needs with more CPUs and ECC memory. They often aren't sporting the stock radeons they come with but Quadros. Odd though that it's no longer on the MP BTO list.

Mac Pro users are typically not constrained by budget as much as time.
post #51 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

What it comes down to is this, there is a real advantage for many users in a desktop chassis that is affordable and has some expansion capability. Apple doesn't currently have this midrange solution.

It doesn't want it or it would exist. It can't make more money with it or it would exist.

AIOs, SFF and workstation computers are the only desktop computers with healthy margins. These are the only desktop computers Apple builds. I wonder if there's a connection?
post #52 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTac View Post

After this weekend messing with my mother in laws Windows PC I was thinking how either a mini or iMac might be a good replacement for her. But I won't be chunking out money on one for her when I'm still dealing with my old Mac. Give me my Mac and I'll start looking at Apple's other products.

Or an iPad and seriously locking down her PC...
post #53 of 154
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Originally Posted by mjteix View Post

If Apple thinks that HD3000 graphics are good enough for a 13" MBP, they probably think the same for the MM (even if those are not in the same category). Historically, the MM has followed loosely the specs of the 13" MB/MBP. I don't think this will change for the next refresh.

I believe that the regular MM will mimic the 13" MBP configurations (except RAM):
$699 2.30 Core i5-2410M/HD3000, 2GB RAM, 320GB HDD, ODD, miniDP/TB port + HDMI
$999 2.70 Core i7-2620M/HD3000, 2GB RAM, 500GB HDD, ODD, miniDP/TB port + HDMI

I agree with mjteix. I'd like a better GPU but honestly the new 13" MBP isn't that bad for what it is.

http://www.techyalert.com/2011/02/25...book-pro-2011/

If the 3000HD can manage to play Diablo 3 reasonably I'll be happy. It shouldn't have any problems with 1080p since my old mini can manage that.

Honestly I do more gaming on the iPad these days.
post #54 of 154
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Originally Posted by nht View Post

It can't make more money with it or it would exist.

But without that mid range product Apple is losing sales whether it admits it or not. The numbers may be small but they are real. Every Hackintosh is a lost sale (at least the hardware part of it). Not every one of those would have bought a mid range Mac but some of them would have.

I've been using Macs for close to 20 years. But I find that my computer needs do not fit within Apple's current product line up. So what does Apple want me to do? Buy an all in one even though I don't like them? Buy a mini that does not offer everything I need in a computer? Buy the Mac Pro that is overkill for my needs plus is more than I can spend?

My choices are complain to Apple in writing and on forums to try to convince it to expand its product line so that I can continue to be a Mac user or give up and switch to Windows.

Personally I'd rather keep complaining but time marches on and the Mac I have won't last forever. I'll soon have to make a choice and I'm thinking that my chances of staying Mac are getting slim.
post #55 of 154
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Originally Posted by nht View Post

It's called an iMac.

I like the compact size of the mini as a desktop as it fits under my HDTV. A Cube, not so much.

The Mac Pro is a workstation and not a desktop. As in it is designed for more rigorous computational needs with more CPUs and ECC memory. They often aren't sporting the stock radeons they come with but Quadros. Odd though that it's no longer on the MP BTO list.

Mac Pro users are typically not constrained by budget as much as time.

The iMac? You mean that rather appealing device that is an environmental disaster. Take a monitor that has a likely lifespan of at least 12 years and combine it with components that you're lucky to get half that life out of, and not without replacing components along the way. Brilliant.

Instead, if you don't get all wound up over some minor desktop clutter, you can have a monitor that lasts as long as it lasts, outliving no doubt the computer equipment it's attached to. Besides, considering how much computer technology advances from year to year, do you really think anyone would be happy about running 2011 technology in 2023, because that's what advocating the purchase of an iMac comes down to, unless one thinks it acceptable to throw away a functioning electronic device.

Some folks are comfortable with the poor value proposition (considered long term) offered by the iMac but others not so much. Telling me and others looking for a mid-range tower to stop complaining and just buy an iMac misses the point entirely.
post #56 of 154
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Originally Posted by Carmissimo View Post

It would be interesting to find out just how many Mini buyers purchased the product because of its small size. I can only speak for myself. I didn't buy the Mini because it is compact but rather because I couldn't justify spending close to $3,000 for a Mac Pro being as I'm not a professional. The iMac is not an option because I can't justify paying for a monitor that will have to be thrown out before its time when the computer attached to it dies.

I'm sure that your perspective is true for many. In fact the high cost of a Pro would lead me to a Mini right now if I wanted to abandon my laptop. So we suffer the same problem, which is Apple not having a midrange desktop machine.

My point is that doesn't mean the Mini isn't important in the line up. It fill a significant niche and I don't think Apple having a midrange would significantly impact sales of the Mini.
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If this is about the server market, there is a simple solution. Continue to offer the current Mini in server form with the occasional update as older technology is no longer available.

where did server come into the discussion?
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If we're talking about an incredibly small number of folks who really need an ultra-portable desktop tower, why should Apple cater to such a small group at the expense of a larger segment who just want a decent desktop unit to mate with a good monitor and assorted peripherals.

Well this is the problem I don't think the market for the Mini is small at all. If you don't have a problem with the shortcomings it is a very capable machine. Here are some common uses for the Mini:
  1. A desktop PC. The obvious use.
  2. A media center PC.
  3. It is my understandign that one big automaker uses them as MMI PC's on their manufacturing floor (running windows).
  4. Since you borught it up they are used for various sorts of server needs.
  5. People who travel by RV or boat like them for being compact.
  6. Slightly related to the above Minis are appreciated by people living off grid
  7. The Mini is a great second computer for many people.
  8. Students not doing the laptop route gavitate to the Mini as it is agian compact. (honestly I think most students have given up on desktops).
  9. It is a low cost machine so if you are on a budget there is deamnd in that regard. In other words it is a low price entry point to the Apple world.
These are just off the top of my head.
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Right now customers like me are paying a price in terms of bang for the buck to accommodate a few thousand others who want and/or need the smallest form factor possible.

A few thousand? The Mini has been at times Apples hottest selling desktop machine.
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I'm an Apple customer and will continue to be one but I can't say that I like what's happening.

Honestly neither do I, the lack of a midrange hurts Apple . I just think that with the very positive things happening in the marketplace the need for a midrange (XMac) has never been stronger. Mind you I'm not saying Apple needs to build a massive box, in that regards even the Mac Pro needs a diet, what I'm after is a box that supports more than one internal drive, a real GPU (quickly becoming outdated), and more RAM. The box should have the capacity to run the CPU a bit hardware than is seen in the Mini, the idea begin performance about midrange or high end iMac like.
post #57 of 154
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Originally Posted by MacTac View Post

I think the Cube was before its time. Back then enough horsepower couldn't be squeezed into a package that small.

When I first got wind of the Mini I really thought that somebody at Apple dropped off the deep end. For me it represented Apple at its worst. That is high price hardware that treated design as the only important aspect of the platform and totally forgetting about performance, serviceability and user ergonomics. I was not surprised at all to see it fail in the marketplace.
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But today the horsepower of the iMac could be put into a cube sized Mac. But I must agree with your statement that it needs to be designed for serviceability.

Yes hardware is becoming very very dense. However dense hardware means less performance at this point in time. Mainly because of heat, an issue likely to change in the future.

I know many people on these forums don't like to hear about AMD but they have Llano coming out next month that really rocks if the online forums are to be believed. Due to an emphasis on GPU performance the this little high integration processor performs really well with respect to todays work loads. It actually runs cooler that Sandy Bridge while out performing it.

The point is these strides in integration means future machines like the Mini will be very powerful. At the same time they can enable midrange machines that run very cool.
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And a mid range Mac (the type of Mac I want) could lead to more overall sales.

Yes exactly! This is what I've been getting at, such a machine probably wouldn't impact the Mini sales that much at all. All I really want in this box is room for an additional disk drive, RAM and a GPU. Even the discrete GPU is likely to be optional in the near future as the on board devices are extremely powerful especially in the AMD line up.

Depending upon how aggressive Apple wants to be the new machine can be extremely compact. For example the use of a blade SSD for system/apps storage and two slots for big magnetic drives (bulk storage) would provide a lot of the capability I'm looking for. Oh and more RAM slots for RAM expansion beyond the Mini. Squeezing in a PCI-Express slot would be nice too. This does not have to be a massive machine, but I do see some commonality with a revised Mac Pro making both more feasible.

Now to back track a bit and cover AMD. I realize that AMD benchmarks the Llano in a way that show the best light upon the GPU hardware while ignoring the CPU. Obviously AMD has yet to migrate their latest CPU tech into the Fusion line up. The point is for many users this is exactly what they need, that is really good GPU performance and a bit of video decoding hardware.
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After this weekend messing with my mother in laws Windows PC I was thinking how either a mini or iMac might be a good replacement for her. But I won't be chunking out money on one for her when I'm still dealing with my old Mac. Give me my Mac and I'll start looking at Apple's other products.

The difference in support is massive, probably one of Apples best selling points. Before getting a MBP for use as my primary machine I used Linux, so I know the depths that one can sink to fiddling with things. Admittedly the fiddling on Linux was often of amore productive sort that trying to maintain a Windows machine.

In any event I'm waiting to see what Apple does with the Mini and any potential XMac like device. I just have this idea that the coming Mini will be a rather massive overall and much faster all around. It does make me wonder what they are waiting on, as Intel obviously has the hardware for the machine.
post #58 of 154
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Originally Posted by nht View Post

It doesn't want it or it would exist. It can't make more money with it or it would exist.

I don't really think you are even on the right track, Apple pretty much ignores the desktop line up. It doesn't really matter if we are talking Pro or Mini they simply don't get the attention the laptops do. Much of this, I believe, is a hold over form the dark days when they aggressively trimmed the hardware lineup to save the company.

From a managerial standpoint that is a smart thing to do. It sin't too smart though to leave your hardware in a rut. Effectively the desktop line up is buried in the mud and it looks like Apple is putting in zero effort to pull itself out of this dark ditch. Lets be honest her how much have the iMac, Pro and Mini changed over the last few years? Not much at all, just a long series of bumps.
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AIOs, SFF and workstation computers are the only desktop computers with healthy margins.

BS Apple can build a machine to sell at any margin they want too.
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These are the only desktop computers Apple builds. I wonder if there's a connection?

The only connection is neglect. This is suppose to be the year of "back to the Mac", maybe the meant the Mac Book(s). A good company strive to fill the needs of its customers. At times that requires re-examining how they do business and evaluating how the markets have changed. We as customers have real needs that the Mini doesn't fill and where works stations aren't the answer.
post #59 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

I'm sure that your perspective is true for many. In fact the high cost of a Pro would lead me to a Mini right now if I wanted to abandon my laptop. So we suffer the same problem, which is Apple not having a midrange desktop machine.

My point is that doesn't mean the Mini isn't important in the line up. It fill a significant niche and I don't think Apple having a midrange would significantly impact sales of the Mini.

where did server come into the discussion?

Well this is the problem I don't think the market for the Mini is small at all. If you don't have a problem with the shortcomings it is a very capable machine. Here are some common uses for the Mini:
  1. A desktop PC. The obvious use.
  2. A media center PC.
  3. It is my understandign that one big automaker uses them as MMI PC's on their manufacturing floor (running windows).
  4. Since you borught it up they are used for various sorts of server needs.
  5. People who travel by RV or boat like them for being compact.
  6. Slightly related to the above Minis are appreciated by people living off grid
  7. The Mini is a great second computer for many people.
  8. Students not doing the laptop route gavitate to the Mini as it is agian compact. (honestly I think most students have given up on desktops).
  9. It is a low cost machine so if you are on a budget there is deamnd in that regard. In other words it is a low price entry point to the Apple world.
These are just off the top of my head.

A few thousand? The Mini has been at times Apples hottest selling desktop machine.


Honestly neither do I, the lack of a midrange hurts Apple . I just think that with the very positive things happening in the marketplace the need for a midrange (XMac) has never been stronger. Mind you I'm not saying Apple needs to build a massive box, in that regards even the Mac Pro needs a diet, what I'm after is a box that supports more than one internal drive, a real GPU (quickly becoming outdated), and more RAM. The box should have the capacity to run the CPU a bit hardware than is seen in the Mini, the idea begin performance about midrange or high end iMac like.

Many of the uses for the Mini that you list would be equally well served, perhaps better so, by a $900 machine in a somewhat larger enclosure. We're not talking a large enclosure anywhere close to the size of a Mac Pro. I don't think the device would have to be that much larger than the current Mini to accommodate the sort of desktop components found in the iMac. As such a desktop PC, obviously, would be what the proposed machine would be used for and if we're talking not a tower form factor but something more along the lines of let's say a PS3 in shape which would work fine as a media center PC. It would make a great second computer in base form, checking in at something less than $1,000. The Mini, as computers go these days, is by no means inexpensive. Here in Canada the entry model is $699 and that isn't, in of itself, a working unit. You need a keyboard, a mouse, and of course a monitor. If you consider 4GB of RAM to be a minimal amount of memory for today's uses and throw in a keyboard and mouse, the price in this country would climb to $897. The base iMac checks in at $1,199 so surely if Apple can deliver a $1,200 all-in-one it can bring in a $900 desktop minus the monitor. And keep in mind that the iMac comes in base form with a 500GB hard drive running at 7,200 RPM and a 2.5Ghz quadcore processor. If you were to boost the Mini up to 500GB and up the processor to 2.66 Ghz dual core and the Magic Mouse that comes standard with the iMac, the price would jump up to $1,132. That's not cheap and downright outrageous considering the similarly priced iMac offers dramatically more performance. If anything, considering the specs you'd be looking at, the larger desktop would be more cost-effective than the current MIni.

I don't agree that a mid-range desktop would fail to impact Mini sales. It would devastate them. Same money but far more performance. Do the math.

The key to all of this would be to offer up a versatile platform that could range from let's say $900 to around $2,000, meeting the needs of the vast majority of desktop customers. Trumping the Mini would be insanely easy for Apple to do. There is a huge price to pay for using laptop components in a desktop. The challenge comes at the other end of the spectrum. To make this work you've have to offer a form factor able to accommodate the components needed by pro customers. Not being an engineer, who am I to say that it can be done with something much smaller than the current Mac Pro yet somewhat larger than the Mini. In other words, just how much would the Mini have to be expanded to make pro pieces work and in so expanding that model, would it then cause problems at the bottom end of the market.
post #60 of 154
[QUOTE=Carmissimo;1869267
I don't agree that a mid-range desktop would fail to impact Mini sales. It would devastate them. Same money but far more performance. Do the math.

Trumping the Mini would be insanely easy for Apple to do. [/QUOTE]

Price point is the key. If Apple were to come out with a mid range Mac I doubt it would lower iMac sales more than 15%. Why? There are too many consumers, people who just buy computers or other products without doing much in the way of real thinking about the purchase. The iMac looks cool. It's all in one package, neat! Ding. That's a sale.
Customers think through the buying process a little more throughly. I'm not saying that iMac buyers don't think things through. I'm just saying that for any mass produced product from cars to computers there are more consumers than customers.

If Apple prices a mid range Mac strategically they can have a successful new product without destroying iMac sales. Give us most of what we are asking for, easy open case without needing putty knives or suction cups, room for two hard drives and the optical drive, easy to upgrade drives and RAM and perhaps one expansion slot and we will pay a small premium to have all of those things that aren't available in the iMac. I would gladly pay $1500 for that kind of mid range Mac. Any consumer looking at that price versus the price of an iMac with a built in screen would dismiss the mid range Mac as being a rip off. The consumer won't see the features we want as advantages. "It's bigger and doesn't come with a screen?" But for us it would be a drool worthy, gotta have computer.

As for trumping the mini? In one way Apple has painted itself into a corner. Having built something as small as the mini the know nothing media would rip into Apple for building something bigger. That is the biggest fear Apple has to contend with if it brings a mid range Mac to market. Apple would have to have a well thought out ad and marketing campaign to silence the clueless idiots.
post #61 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carmissimo View Post

The iMac? You mean that rather appealing device that is an environmental disaster. Take a monitor that has a likely lifespan of at least 12 years and combine it with components that you're lucky to get half that life out of, and not without replacing components along the way. Brilliant.

How many users still have a CRT from 1999? How many folks still using an ACD from 2005 on a current machine?

The iMac may or may not be brilliant but at least it is highly profitable and sells well.

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Instead, if you don't get all wound up over some minor desktop clutter, you can have a monitor that lasts as long as it lasts, outliving no doubt the computer equipment it's attached to.

I doubt most monitors really last much beyond 1 replacement cycle. And for Apple it more about the total user experience over clutter. An AIO is typically easier to setup and use.

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Besides, considering how much computer technology advances from year to year, do you really think anyone would be happy about running 2011 technology in 2023, because that's what advocating the purchase of an iMac comes down to, unless one thinks it acceptable to throw away a functioning electronic device.

I have a functioning Dell XPS P90 in my basement that will get tossed since I'm moving. I've already sent 4 CRTs cluttering the house to the recycling dump. So yes, it's okay to throw away a functioning electroinic device as we do it all the time.

I help refurb computers for a local school and those things are just useless.

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Some folks are comfortable with the poor value proposition (considered long term) offered by the iMac but others not so much. Telling me and others looking for a mid-range tower to stop complaining and just buy an iMac misses the point entirely.

You guys have been bitching about an xMac for a decade. The folks missing the point aren't the ones point out that you should move on. The iMac more than meets Apples need for a mid-tier computer between the mini and Mac Pro.
post #62 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

I don't really think you are even on the right track, Apple pretty much ignores the desktop line up.

Given it releases new iMacs like clockwork and refreshed the mini form factor not THAT long ago I wonder who is on the right track and who's ignoring reality when they say that Apple ignores the desktop. It's not the highest priority for sure given the overall decline of the desktop market as a whole but they hardly ignore it.

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It doesn't really matter if we are talking Pro or Mini they simply don't get the attention the laptops do. Much of this, I believe, is a hold over form the dark days when they aggressively trimmed the hardware lineup to save the company.

Or, more simply, desktop share has been on the decline overall for years. Gee, I wonder which is the more likely scenario: Apple is blind to the opportunity or Apple has the correct focus on what kind of machines folks want to buy.

Perhaps desktops will have a short comeback vs laptops as tablets get adopted. More likely is that the iPad will lose the need to sync to anything more than a aTV and fewer and fewer folks will buy trucks or either the desktop or laptop variety.

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From a managerial standpoint that is a smart thing to do. It sin't too smart though to leave your hardware in a rut. Effectively the desktop line up is buried in the mud and it looks like Apple is putting in zero effort to pull itself out of this dark ditch. Lets be honest her how much have the iMac, Pro and Mini changed over the last few years? Not much at all, just a long series of bumps.

They've changed as much as the Macbook and MacBook Pro. These are all very mature products. The two products seeing the most form factor evolution are the mini and MBA.

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BS Apple can build a machine to sell at any margin they want too.

So your contention is that Apple is simply being petulant in denying your xMac desires?

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The only connection is neglect. This is suppose to be the year of "back to the Mac", maybe the meant the Mac Book(s). A good company strive to fill the needs of its customers. At times that requires re-examining how they do business and evaluating how the markets have changed. We as customers have real needs that the Mini doesn't fill and where works stations aren't the answer.

So, because there is no xMac your opinion is that Apple isn't a good company that strives to fill the needs of their customers and that Apple needs to re-examine how they do business?

Thank you...that is simply hilarious.
post #63 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by nht View Post

How many users still have a CRT from 1999? How many folks still using an ACD from 2005 on a current machine?

The iMac may or may not be brilliant but at least it is highly profitable and sells well.



I doubt most monitors really last much beyond 1 replacement cycle. And for Apple it more about the total user experience over clutter. An AIO is typically easier to setup and use.



I have a functioning Dell XPS P90 in my basement that will get tossed since I'm moving. I've already sent 4 CRTs cluttering the house to the recycling dump. So yes, it's okay to throw away a functioning electroinic device as we do it all the time.

I help refurb computers for a local school and those things are just useless.



You guys have been bitching about an xMac for a decade. The folks missing the point aren't the ones point out that you should move on. The iMac more than meets Apples need for a mid-tier computer between the mini and Mac Pro.

I had a Sony CRT that was my monitor for use with several computers. Got a decade out of it and sold it still functioning after all of that. I now have a recent vintage Cinema display that I expect will be around for quite some time. On the other hand, I have zero faith in the idea that I would get 10 years out of a computer because they just don't last that long, certainly with zero maintenance. At the very least the hard drive will need replacing.

Besides, if Apple sees fit to offer a headless Mac in around the price range of an iMac, surely it makes sense for that device to offer at worst comparable performance. There is little difference in cost, factoring in everything you need to have a working system between a Mini and an iMac, and yet the iMac is significantly more powerful. This is a strange situation and there is no need for it to be this way.

By the way, why would you throw out something working well instead of donating it or finding someone who could use it. Over the years I've made a point of not simply throwing away anything that I could put into the hands of friends or relatives who could benefit from it. I always seem to find someone willing to take my old gear off my hands. You would do well to not be so blatantly inconsiderate of the environment or proudly selfish.
post #64 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carmissimo View Post

I had a Sony CRT that was my monitor for use with several computers. Got a decade out of it and sold it still functioning after all of that. I now have a recent vintage Cinema display that I expect will be around for quite some time. On the other hand, I have zero faith in the idea that I would get 10 years out of a computer because they just don't last that long, certainly with zero maintenance. At the very least the hard drive will need replacing.

Depends on what you mean. Many computers will last 10 years. They just aren't all that useful after 5-6 years. Likewise, my old 12-14" CRTs were still functional but useless at the resolutions they supported.

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Besides, if Apple sees fit to offer a headless Mac in around the price range of an iMac, surely it makes sense for that device to offer at worst comparable performance. There is little difference in cost, factoring in everything you need to have a working system between a Mini and an iMac, and yet the iMac is significantly more powerful. This is a strange situation and there is no need for it to be this way.

It is structured this way for profitability and higher average sale prices while maintaining good value. If Apple did offer an xMac with iMac margins the Apple tax would be even more derided. As an AIO Apple can offer good value for an AIO but maintain the margins and higher ASPs.

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By the way, why would you throw out something working well instead of donating it or finding someone who could use it. Over the years I've made a point of not simply throwing away anything that I could put into the hands of friends or relatives who could benefit from it. I always seem to find someone willing to take my old gear off my hands. You would do well to not be so blatantly inconsiderate of the environment or proudly selfish.

You would do well to get off your high horse.

They were offered on our local freecycling e-group with no takers so they went off to recycling. The useful gear had already all been given away. Given I occasionally volunteer to help out to make old computers useful again I have a reasonable idea what is and isn't worthwhile even in a give-away scenario. These were not high end large CRTs but the tiny little 12"-14" VGA/SVGA no-name cheapo CRTs of the day and got recycled by the county as the local Goodwill doesn't even take computers anymore.

I hate throwing away old gear that worked so that's why I still had them but they had zero value outside some oddball uses (retro computer builds, fish tanks, etc). Likewise I'm going to pull the drives from the P90 and have it recycled too.

The 15" 1024x768 XGA CRT in the 1998 G3 iMac might have been still be useful to someone as a standalone CRT but I doubt it would be a common. It probably isn't that much more useful than the AIO as a whole. What is certain is that Apple gear tends to get used longer than PC gear so the difference is probably a wash in terms of ewaste generated.

You can find old 14" and 15" CRTs on eBay but as near as I can tell they don't get bids. Old 14" SVGAs sure as heck don't.
post #65 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by nht View Post

You guys have been bitching about an xMac for a decade. The folks missing the point aren't the ones point out that you should move on. The iMac more than meets Apples need for a mid-tier computer between the mini and Mac Pro.

We are starting to get the point and we are starting to move on. Only we are moving to Hackintoshes or Windows machines since Apple doesn't have the type of product we want.
post #66 of 154
Quote:
How many users still have a CRT from 1999? How many folks still using an ACD from 2005 on a current machine?

I have an ACD 22" from 2003. It is possible to use it with a 2010 iMac? What would I need to do it.
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post #67 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by sequitur View Post

I have an ACD 22" from 2003. It is possible to use it with a 2010 iMac? What would I need to do it.

A dongle or two. Thunderbolt (or mDP) to DVI and then from DVI to ADC.

http://www.amazon.com/Apple-M8661LL-.../dp/B00011KHT2

Jeez...that thing is $114.99 used. Hopefully you have a ACD that is DVI vs ADC. Otherwise I'd just get a new monitor.

That's enough acronyms to qualify for a OMGWTFBBQ comment.
post #68 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTac View Post

We are starting to get the point and we are starting to move on. Only we are moving to Hackintoshes or Windows machines since Apple doesn't have the type of product we want.

Notice how Apple doesn't care enough about the Hackintosh subculture to make any effort to quash it as long as no one is trying to sell hackintoshes? As long as you pay for a legit copy of the OS no one around here cares much either. Hackintosh away. There are some nice builds out there.

Not only that, Windows 7 is a perfectly fine OS. Only a few whackos around here mind if you switch back. The rest of us run Parallels or Bootcamp.
post #69 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by nht View Post

Depends on what you mean. Many computers will last 10 years. They just aren't all that useful after 5-6 years. Likewise, my old 12-14" CRTs were still functional but useless at the resolutions they supported.



It is structured this way for profitability and higher average sale prices while maintaining good value. If Apple did offer an xMac with iMac margins the Apple tax would be even more derided. As an AIO Apple can offer good value for an AIO but maintain the margins and higher ASPs.



You would do well to get off your high horse.

They were offered on our local freecycling e-group with no takers so they went off to recycling. The useful gear had already all been given away. Given I occasionally volunteer to help out to make old computers useful again I have a reasonable idea what is and isn't worthwhile even in a give-away scenario. These were not high end large CRTs but the tiny little 12"-14" VGA/SVGA no-name cheapo CRTs of the day and got recycled by the county as the local Goodwill doesn't even take computers anymore.

I hate throwing away old gear that worked so that's why I still had them but they had zero value outside some oddball uses (retro computer builds, fish tanks, etc). Likewise I'm going to pull the drives from the P90 and have it recycled too.

The 15" 1024x768 XGA CRT in the 1998 G3 iMac might have been still be useful to someone as a standalone CRT but I doubt it would be a common. It probably isn't that much more useful than the AIO as a whole. What is certain is that Apple gear tends to get used longer than PC gear so the difference is probably a wash in terms of ewaste generated.

You can find old 14" and 15" CRTs on eBay but as near as I can tell they don't get bids. Old 14" SVGAs sure as heck don't.

You're muddying the waters and in the process missing the point entirely. For better or worse I have committed to going with a separate monitor at least for the next decade. I'm pleased with how it went with my previous monitor, a good-quality Sony 17" that served me well for a decade and was coupled with a succession of Mac computers. Now I have a 24" Cinema display that I'm happy with and my set-ups calls for me to combine that device with a separate computer. Period.

I don't want an all-in-one, I don't need an all-in-one, I'm simply not in the market for an all-in-one. You insisting I buy one as a solution is just plain dumb.

Like it or not, some of us prefer to not go the all-in-one route. That it's the way you would rather someone like me go is meaningless. It would be like telling someone that they shouldn't be thinking of buying a particular car company's family sedan because the way you see it, what one should buy is that same company's SUV. If you're in the market for an SUV you shop SUVs but if you're in the market for a family sedan, you shop family sedans and you don't care what the SUVs on the market can do.

The iMac is not a headless computer therefore if like me you are looking at headless computers, who cares about the iMac. Put another way, if I've decided to buy a sedan, what do I care that Honda makes a great minivan.

So telling someone that product mix among headless Macs doesn't matter because there's the iMac, simply doesn't make sense. What the iMac does do, though, is accentuate just how much of a cost is paid to provide the Mini with such a compact form factor. Slower, previous-gen CPU, laptop integrated graphics, slower hard drive. Who signed up for this stuff? I mean, really, if it wasn't for the software, who would give Apple the time of day considering it's $700 desktop can barely keep up with the competition's laptops checking in at hundreds less.

A desktop computer using components designed for desktop use. What a concept. Call it the xMac call whatever you like. All I know is, it makes sense. The Cube was an abject failure because at the time there was choice. Consumers chose performance over compactness. The only way that Apple could sell compactness was by eliminating that choice. That's where we are today. Jobs has a thing for compact desktops. Most of the rest of us don't. His company, his rules. Yet that doesn't mean we have to like it.
post #70 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by nht View Post

A dongle or two. Thunderbolt (or mDP) to DVI and then from DVI to ADC.

http://www.amazon.com/Apple-M8661LL-.../dp/B00011KHT2

Jeez...that thing is $114.99 used. Hopefully you have a ACD that is DVI vs ADC. Otherwise I'd just get a new monitor.

That's enough acronyms to qualify for a OMGWTFBBQ comment.

Unfortunately, it's ADC. $115 will almost buy a cheapy new 22" monitor.

However, I appreciate the info and the effort you made to find it.
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post #71 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carmissimo View Post

You're muddying the waters and in the process missing the point entirely.

I'm not the one pontificating from atop a green horse calling the iMac an environmental disaster.

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For better or worse I have committed to going with a separate monitor at least for the next decade. I'm pleased with how it went with my previous monitor, a good-quality Sony 17" that served me well for a decade and was coupled with a succession of Mac computers. Now I have a 24" Cinema display that I'm happy with and my set-ups calls for me to combine that device with a separate computer. Period.

Great. Enjoy.

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I don't want an all-in-one, I don't need an all-in-one, I'm simply not in the market for an all-in-one. You insisting I buy one as a solution is just plain dumb.

I never insisted you buy an all-in-one. I am pointing out that insisting that Apple make an xMac is just plain dumb. They haven't in a long long while. They aren't likely to in a long long while. All the whining in the world isn't going to change that.

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Like it or not, some of us prefer to not go the all-in-one route. That it's the way you would rather someone like me go is meaningless. It would be like telling someone that they shouldn't be thinking of buying a particular car company's family sedan because the way you see it, what one should buy is that same company's SUV. If you're in the market for an SUV you shop SUVs but if you're in the market for a family sedan, you shop family sedans and you don't care what the SUVs on the market can do.

Apple doesn't make a SUV anymore. Pretty much hasn't since the inexpensive single CPU G4 powermacs. That's a long time ago.

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So telling someone that product mix among headless Macs doesn't matter because there's the iMac, simply doesn't make sense.

No, you were whining that Apple doesn't have a mid-tier desktop.

Here's your quote again:

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On the other hand many of us have long clamoured for a desktop that slots in below the Mac Pro and above the Mini.

They make a mid-tier desktop that is highly successful.

What they don't do is make a mid-tier desktop YOU like. Your position is that you would like Apple kill both the mini and the mac pro for a desktop YOU want.

Which would screw over professionals that need the computing power of the current Mac Pro and folks that use the Mini has a nice little media machine next to their HTPC. Your suggested Cube II fills neither role.

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What the iMac does do, though, is accentuate just how much of a cost is paid to provide the Mini with such a compact form factor. Slower, previous-gen CPU, laptop integrated graphics, slower hard drive. Who signed up for this stuff? I mean, really, if it wasn't for the software, who would give Apple the time of day considering it's $700 desktop can barely keep up with the competition's laptops checking in at hundreds less.

So don't buy it. Make a hackintosh. Apple doesn't appear to care.

But don't presume to speak for those of us who own a mini and like the form factor and very low power consumption and noise.

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A desktop computer using components designed for desktop use. What a concept. Call it the xMac call whatever you like. All I know is, it makes sense.

If it made sense for Apple they'd make one. Evidently it doesn't appear to make a whole lot of business sense or they'd have one.

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The Cube was an abject failure because at the time there was choice. Consumers chose performance over compactness. The only way that Apple could sell compactness was by eliminating that choice. That's where we are today. Jobs has a thing for compact desktops. Most of the rest of us don't. His company, his rules. Yet that doesn't mean we have to like it.

The cube failed because it was bleeding expensive. A trait the mini doesn't share but a modern cube costing the same as an iMac would.
post #72 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by nht View Post

I'm not the one pontificating from atop a green horse calling the iMac an environmental disaster.



Great. Enjoy.



I never insisted you buy an all-in-one. I am pointing out that insisting that Apple make an xMac is just plain dumb. They haven't in a long long while. They aren't likely to in a long long while. All the whining in the world isn't going to change that.



Apple doesn't make a SUV anymore. Pretty much hasn't since the inexpensive single CPU G4 powermacs. That's a long time ago.



No, you were whining that Apple doesn't have a mid-tier desktop.

Here's your quote again:



They make a mid-tier desktop that is highly successful.

What they don't do is make a mid-tier desktop YOU like. Your position is that you would like Apple kill both the mini and the mac pro for a desktop YOU want.

Which would screw over professionals that need the computing power of the current Mac Pro and folks that use the Mini has a nice little media machine next to their HTPC. Your suggested Cube II fills neither role.



So don't buy it. Make a hackintosh. Apple doesn't appear to care.

But don't presume to speak for those of us who own a mini and like the form factor and very low power consumption and noise.



If it made sense for Apple they'd make one. Evidently it doesn't appear to make a whole lot of business sense or they'd have one.



The cube failed because it was bleeding expensive. A trait the mini doesn't share but a modern cube costing the same as an iMac would.

It isn't a trait the Mini shares because Apple doesn't give consumers an option. The only reason the Cube was deemed expensive is that it was in terms of performance when compared to other desktop offerings from Apple at the time. Now, being as the Mini is the lone headless Mac offered by Apple at anywhere close to its price point, it isn't expensive in the sense that there is nothing to compare it to exactly. It's either buy the Mini or spend a lot more for a Mac Pro.

Yet we can clearly see what the penalty is for using laptop components in every measurable respect because the iMac uses desktop components, includes a monitor, a keyboard and a magic mouse yet checks in at not much more money yet with substantially more computing power. If you try to spec out the Mini to match the iMac, it gets pretty embarrassing. An iMac with 4GB of RAM, and a 500GB hard drive is $1,199. The Mini with 4GB, a 2.66Ghz processor, a 500 GB hard drive, a keyboard and a magic mouse checks in at $1,132. That's a difference of $67 yet we still haven't accounted for a monitor and the hardware is dramatically inferior. Previous gen dual core, weaker GPU, a 5,400 RPM drive. The cost for using laptop components is incredibly high.

I think it rather odd, by the way, that you seem to be of the view that Apple will never change its product mix. Clearly Apple has done that on numerous occasions and there is nothing stopping Apple from going a different route at some point, if not now then within a couple of years. I think that it is absurd to argue, as you seem to be doing, that there is something wrong with customers like me expressing their preference. Feedback matters. Apple would never change anything because of what I or any one customer might state but I don't doubt that Apple does regularly explore its options and values feedback from the general public.

Just because Apple hasn't gone a different route in recent years, are we to believe that it never will. Technology changes. Market forces change. What might have made sense two years ago, doesn't necessarily make sense today. Apple didn't make a tablet in 2006 or 2008 or 2009. It makes a tablet today. Prior to 2005, there was no Mini and it could be that two years from now there will not be one. In fact, the Mini's demise has long been rumoured but the little beast has soldiered on. Apple hasn't promised to make the Mini for all eternity. They could stop building them tomorrow.

Apple innovates on a regular basis and if it fails to follow the right path can easily lose its way. I don't know what an entry-level headless Mac based on desktop components would look like but I'm willing to bet that Apple has looked into it, perhaps even played around with a prototype or two. I realize that portables are taking over but that doesn't mean that Apple is going to simply hit cruise and never reconsider its desktop offerings. It would certainly be interesting to have them shake things up a little as only Apple can. And it sure strikes me that it has been rather quiet on the desktop front for a while now.

By the way, one has to wonder if a move to a larger enclosure isn't the direction Apple is going. It did, after all, introduce a larger Mini about a year ago with an integrated power supply and user upgradable memory. How much of a leap would it be to go larger still to accommodate desktop components. Probably would not take much of an increase considering such components are incorporated into the rather compact confines of the iMac. Cooling is the biggest hurdle but what might not be technically possible one model cycle can become so in the next.

I really want to know what it is that makes you think the Mini is going to be the only possible form that Apple's consumer-grade headless desktops can possess for a very long time. There is no reason for Apple to simply maintain a form factor indefinitely. Apple's history of innovation suggests otherwise.
post #73 of 154
Something's are obvious in life, not seeing is a problem for many.
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Originally Posted by nht View Post

Given it releases new iMacs like clockwork and refreshed the mini form factor not THAT long ago I wonder who is on the right track and who's ignoring reality when they say that Apple ignores the desktop. It's not the highest priority for sure given the overall decline of the desktop market as a whole but they hardly ignore it.

When was the last time either of these machines had a major overhaul that dramatically improved platform capability? The only thing recently is Thunderbolt on the iMac an interface that by the way is largely overblown. Instead all we get is processor bumps to whatever Intel currently has available.

Now don't get me wrong Intels Sandy Bridge is an excellent CPU. However if implemented in the Mini without a discrete GPU it will be a step backwards as the GApU in Sandy Bridge sucks. Like it or not there has been zero innovation with respect to Apples desktop line, they are simply machines built to shift Intel hardware.
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Or, more simply, desktop share has been on the decline overall for years. Gee, I wonder which is the more likely scenario: Apple is blind to the opportunity or Apple has the correct focus on what kind of machines folks want to buy.

You mis the third consideration which is that people have given up on Apple desktop line up.
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Perhaps desktops will have a short comeback vs laptops as tablets get adopted. More likely is that the iPad will lose the need to sync to anything more than a aTV and fewer and fewer folks will buy trucks or either the desktop or laptop variety.

I'm not sure why their is so much handwringing in the Mac community over iPad or iOS device syncing. Syncing is what makes these devices so damn useful. Like it or not they dramatically impact the use of my laptop as a portable device.

Mind you it was Apple that came up with the idea of a digital hub in the first place. Neither the Mini nor the iMac really offer up the capabilities one would expect from a hub.
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They've changed as much as the Macbook and MacBook Pro. These are all very mature products. The two products seeing the most form factor evolution are the mini and MBA.

Your statement is insane. When last was the iMac a platform upon which new technology was introduced? As to form factor evolution and the Mini do you call a new box innovation? Seriously this is asinine. We are talking about a mid range device that would offer up substantially more capability than the current Mini.
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So your contention is that Apple is simply being petulant in denying your xMac desires?

No silly I'm saying times change and that Apple needs to change with them. They have effectively ignored the desk top and now have a very stale product lineup. People have different needs that Apple could easily cover with an expanded desktop line up. Beyond that the Mac line up is a roaring success sales wise so they need to consider climbing out of the trenches because they saved the company a few years ago.
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So, because there is no xMac your opinion is that Apple isn't a good company that strives to fill the needs of their customers and that Apple needs to re-examine how they do business?

Thank you...that is simply hilarious.

Not much of a businessman are we? An important part of running a business is keeping your customers happy. Apple seems to pull out most of the stops to do so in the laptop line. What I'm saying is that their lack of effort is extremely noticeable in the desktop line up. They have instituted some half hearted efforts such as a single processor Mac Pro that nObody wanted but have not looked closely at what modern users need.

Laugh if you must but I see desktop sales at Apple going the way of the XServe. This will certainly be an issue if they don't make the current machinery more appealing.
post #74 of 154
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Originally Posted by Carmissimo View Post

It isn't a trait the Mini shares because Apple doesn't give consumers an option. The only reason the Cube was deemed expensive is that it was in terms of performance when compared to other desktop offerings from Apple at the time. Now, being as the Mini is the lone headless Mac offered by Apple at anywhere close to its price point, it isn't expensive in the sense that there is nothing to compare it to exactly. It's either buy the Mini or spend a lot more for a Mac Pro.

The cube was grossly expensive relative to Apple and every other PC maker in the world. It wasn't all that serviceable either which is a key element in the desire to see an XMac. The Cube like the original Mac Book Air was an example of design winning over human factors. The difference as I see it is that Apple had the financial capability to stick it out when it came to the AIR. The effects of strong consumer feedback can be seen in the new AIRs. Due to Apples considering the consumers needs the new AIR is a run away success.
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Yet we can clearly see what the penalty is for using laptop components in every measurable respect because the iMac uses desktop components, includes a monitor, a keyboard and a magic mouse yet checks in at not much more money yet with substantially more computing power. If you try to spec out the Mini to match the iMac, it gets pretty embarrassing. An iMac with 4GB of RAM, and a 500GB hard drive is $1,199. The Mini with 4GB, a 2.66Ghz processor, a 500 GB hard drive, a keyboard and a magic mouse checks in at $1,132. That's a difference of $67 yet we still haven't accounted for a monitor and the hardware is dramatically inferior. Previous gen dual core, weaker GPU, a 5,400 RPM drive. The cost for using laptop components is incredibly high.

Intel gets a good penny for it's laptop chips which has a very negative impact upon the price positioning of the Mini. That is unless you understand the advantages of it's low power nature. The power capability of the little box is a problem or apparently isas I've yet to see the Mini with 45 watt class CPUs. I still lust for a Llano based Mini but that is probably farther off than the XMac. .
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I think it rather odd, by the way, that you seem to be of the view that Apple will never change its product mix. Clearly Apple has done that on numerous occasions and there is nothing stopping Apple from going a different route at some point, if not now then within a couple of years. I think that it is absurd to argue, as you seem to be doing, that there is something wrong with customers like me expressing their preference. Feedback matters. Apple would never change anything because of what I or any one customer might state but I don't doubt that Apple does regularly explore its options and values feedback from the general public.

no manufacture can last long with a static product line up. I'm not sure why people think that Apples desktop lineup will never change.
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Just because Apple hasn't gone a different route in recent years, are we to believe that it never will. Technology changes. Market forces change. What might have made sense two years ago, doesn't necessarily make sense today. Apple didn't make a tablet in 2006 or 2008 or 2009. It makes a tablet today. Prior to 2005, there was no Mini and it could be that two years from now there will not be one. In fact, the Mini's demise has long been rumoured but the little beast has soldiered on. Apple hasn't promised to make the Mini for all eternity. They could stop building them tomorrow.

One aspect about technology change is that it shoves capability down into smaller devices. Because we are at the beginning of an new generation of technology the Mini has the potential to become extremely powerful over the next couple if years. High integration low power SoCs will have a dramatic impact on what can be stuffed in a small box.

Now just because the future looks bright for the Mini doesn't mean that the desire for an XMac goes away. People will still want the RAM slots, storage slots and the occasional PCI Express slot. Even my desire for a discrete GPU will likely be dismissed by the rapid advancement of the integrated on chip GPUs.

In any event I think many people dismiss the XMac because they never personally had a use for them. Either that or they think nothing of upgrading by throwing out what is in a slot.
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Apple innovates on a regular basis and if it fails to follow the right path can easily lose its way. I don't know what an entry-level headless Mac based on desktop components would look like but I'm willing to bet that Apple has looked into it, perhaps even played around with a prototype or two.

Dozens most likely
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I realize that portables are taking over but that doesn't mean that Apple is going to simply hit cruise and never reconsider its desktop offerings.

They shouldn't do this but it does look that way
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It would certainly be interesting to have them shake things up a little as only Apple can. And it sure strikes me that it has been rather quiet on the desktop front for a while now.

Thus my comments about the line up being stagnet or stale. Maybe Apple is just waiting for the next round of chips from Intel or hopefully AMD. While no new model will be perfect they should be able to easily address the concerns seen in these threads. Further the thing (xMac) needs to be serviceable. It is really sad that today's laptops are easier to work than Apples desktop machines.
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By the way, one has to wonder if a move to a larger enclosure isn't the direction Apple is going. It did, after all, introduce a larger Mini about a year ago with an integrated power supply and user upgradable memory. How much of a leap would it be to go larger still to accommodate desktop components.

This is not likely as then you wouldn't gave a Mini.
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Probably would not take much of an increase considering such components are incorporated into the rather compact confines of the iMac. Cooling is the biggest hurdle but what might not be technically possible one model cycle can become so in the next.

Every slot you add requires an increase in the size of the power supply. This is actually one argument used against machines with slots. RAM requires slower budget foreach slot, a disk drive a corresponding amount of a power budget and PCI Express slots have their own expectations. So your power supply is bigger even if you don't need it. On the otherhand future PC boards will gave few chips on them and will run cool.
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I really want to know what it is that makes you think the Mini is going to be the only possible form that Apple's consumer-grade headless desktops can possess for a very long time. There is no reason for Apple to simply maintain a form factor indefinitely. Apple's history of innovation suggests otherwise.

This is the part I consider to be silly. I don't especially see the Mini going away but I can't see Apples position holding forever. There are just to many opportunities to explore here. Guessing at the exact size and configuration of that XMac isn't so easy though. It would be nice if Apple had something out in the next couple of months though.
post #75 of 154
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Originally Posted by Carmissimo View Post

I think it rather odd, by the way, that you seem to be of the view that Apple will never change its product mix.

Of course not. I just don't believe that they are going to bother to offer an xMac in an environment where desktop sales and ASPs are declining EXCEPT for the iMac/AIOs.

"The average selling price of desktop Macs was $1,403 at U.S. retail in March-- or nearly three times Windows PCs' $515 ASP, according to NPD. Windows desktop PC ASPs are down from $527 a year earlier, while desktop Mac ASPs are up from $1,366."

http://www.betanews.com/joewilcox/ar...acs/1304437069

Desktops have been in decline since 2009. The market...aka the consumer...has spoken. Traditional desktops are less and less desirable.

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Just because Apple hasn't gone a different route in recent years, are we to believe that it never will.

Of course it has gone different routes. Just substantially different routes in markets that will actually see rapid growth. Not old mature markets on the decline. Asking for an xMac in 2011 is almost like asking Apple to produce a mainframe.

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By the way, one has to wonder if a move to a larger enclosure isn't the direction Apple is going. It did, after all, introduce a larger Mini about a year ago with an integrated power supply and user upgradable memory. How much of a leap would it be to go larger still to accommodate desktop components.

Larger but shorter. Apple says they are essentially the same volume.

"Apple tells us the new and old minis are essentially the same size by volume; you might think of the new mini as being a flattened-out version of the old."

http://www.engadget.com/2010/06/18/m...d-2010-review/

The only thing the Mini is going to evolve into is a home media server via external thunderbolt drives. It might even lose optical in the next iteration.

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I really want to know what it is that makes you think the Mini is going to be the only possible form that Apple's consumer-grade headless desktops can possess for a very long time. There is no reason for Apple to simply maintain a form factor indefinitely. Apple's history of innovation suggests otherwise.

Because headless desktops are yesterdays technology and fewer and fewer folks are going to want to buy trucks vs cars? And they aren't going to waste their creative energy on new trucks vs new cars?

No, couldn't be that simple.
post #76 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Something's are obvious in life, not seeing is a problem for many.

When was the last time either of these machines had a major overhaul that dramatically improved platform capability?

When was the last time for the MacBook or MacBook Pro? How much as the MBP really changed since 2006? About the same amount as the iMac. Some minor styling changes, processor and GPU upgrades, ect.

That is my point. Both are mature markets and Apple will milk them and spend most of its efforts on the iOS market and a little bit extra on the MBA.

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However if implemented in the Mini without a discrete GPU it will be a step backwards as the GApU in Sandy Bridge sucks. Like it or not there has been zero innovation with respect to Apples desktop line, they are simply machines built to shift Intel hardware.

Same issue for the MBP 13" right?

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You mis the third consideration which is that people have given up on Apple desktop line up.

Apple is selling a million per qtr. That will decline but slower than the overall desktop market.

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Your statement is insane. When last was the iMac a platform upon which new technology was introduced? As to form factor evolution and the Mini do you call a new box innovation? Seriously this is asinine. We are talking about a mid range device that would offer up substantially more capability than the current Mini.

When has the MacBook Pro been the platform upon which new technology was introduced? Seems like just processor bumps there too. The action is in tablets and phones.

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Not much of a businessman are we? An important part of running a business is keeping your customers happy.

It is unimportant to keep the most demanding 10% that generates 90% of the headaches but little of the profit. Better to let them move on to your competitors.

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Apple seems to pull out most of the stops to do so in the laptop line. What I'm saying is that their lack of effort is extremely noticeable in the desktop line up.

They aren't spending any more effort on the MBP than they are on the iMac. On the laptop side the majority of the changes have been with the MBA.

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Laugh if you must but I see desktop sales at Apple going the way of the XServe. This will certainly be an issue if they don't make the current machinery more appealing.

Sure. But not in the next few years. By then it may not matter.
post #77 of 154
Desktops are going to enjoy a resurgence of sorts because of the rise of the tablet. What makes the tablet such an ideal device is that it doesn't try to be a desktop replacement. If one is looking to perform more demanding tasks, that's where the desktop comes in.

The advantage of not trying to have a portable with desktop muscle is that for a good price you can have tons of battery life and a lighter form factor. Yet the flipside of that is then having a solid desktop serving as a companion becomes that much more important.

Not everyone will go the route of combining a tablet with a desktop but it's a combination that I think will appeal to a lot of people who might otherwise have opted for a single device compromising battery life and portability for the horsepower to do some heavy lifting.

So you use a tablet for lighter work while puttering around the house, cottage, whatever, and then you have a powerful desktop for doing more demanding work. Both devices suffer from fewer compromises because they are not trying to reconcile conflicting goals.

What I see as possible now that wasn't so much before is that both the Mini and the Mac Pro can be replaced effectively by one form factor that can be configured to meet various needs. This is possible because the consumer-grade desktop components found in the iMac are now powerful enough to perform demanding tasks. As well, Thunderbolt is now in the mix and is very much a game changer whose true value is yet to be fully understood.

For Apple, it seems to me that having one form factor for its headless line of desktops simplifies the process of evolving that product.

By using less expensive desktop components in an entry version of the desktop line, Apple could easily deliver a machine costing near the price of the Mini at one end and significantly less than the Mac Pro at the other.

With Apple it has always been about timing. You bring a product to market when the technology is there to do it right. Up to this point, a one-size-fits-all headless Mac hasn't been viable but I'm not convinced that's the case any longer.

It's not so much a question of adding an xMac to the line-up but rather having such an xMac replace both the Mini and the Pro. I would guess that's not in the cards for 2011 but Ivy Bridge might be the point at which it could happen.
post #78 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by nht View Post

Because headless desktops are yesterdays technology and fewer and fewer folks are going to want to buy trucks vs cars? And they aren't going to waste their creative energy on new trucks vs new cars?

No, couldn't be that simple.

Pickups and SUV's are still 50% of the vehicle market. While Nissan is struggling to get anyone to buy its all electric Leaf. Nissan has sold maybe 1000 in the US and the year is almost half over. That's not an impressive showing for new technology.
Desktop sales have slowed because there are fewer people that no longer have one. But computers still age. There will always be a market because people will always need to buy new ones.
And as stated elsewhere, as more people jump on the bandwagon of portable devices there will be a jump in home computer sales too. People have to have something somewhere to store and sync.

iMacs are popular in part to modern societies throw away attitude and mass consumerism. Fix or repair? Just chunk the whole thing and buy a new one. But some of us take care of what we buy and make it last as long as possible and as long as it is useful.
I typically keep a car for over 12 years. My push mower is 21 years old. At home I'm using a PowerMac G4. Which really has outlasted its usefulness but Apple still has that gap between the mini and the Pro so I keep hanging on and hoping.
post #79 of 154
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Originally Posted by MacTac View Post

Pickups and SUV's are still 50% of the vehicle market. While Nissan is struggling to get anyone to buy its all electric Leaf. Nissan has sold maybe 1000 in the US and the year is almost half over. That's not an impressive showing for new technology.
Desktop sales have slowed because there are fewer people that no longer have one. But computers still age. There will always be a market because people will always need to buy new ones.
And as stated elsewhere, as more people jump on the bandwagon of portable devices there will be a jump in home computer sales too. People have to have something somewhere to store and sync.

iMacs are popular in part to modern societies throw away attitude and mass consumerism. Fix or repair? Just chunk the whole thing and buy a new one. But some of us take care of what we buy and make it last as long as possible and as long as it is useful.
I typically keep a car for over 12 years. My push mower is 21 years old. At home I'm using a PowerMac G4. Which really has outlasted its usefulness but Apple still has that gap between the mini and the Pro so I keep hanging on and hoping.

Exactly. While some people will not be interested in a desktop system, there will be a place for such systems for quite some time. No good can come of Apple ignoring this segment of its business. Frankly if Apple's view is that developing desktops isn't worth the bother then stop selling them. It is destructive for Apple to be perceived to be only going through the motions with its desktop systems because the company spent a lot of time building up a reputation for being a premium brand. Premium brands don't neglect products just because they're serving a niche market. They continue to work on their development. If Apple can't be bothered to do that, pull the plug.

There is less urgency to Apple's work in the desktop space. It's now just one of the things Apple does as opposed to being the core of what it does. Yet it still needs to be devoting thought and resources to maintaining a high standard. It still needs to be perceived to be at least making an effort to produce the best devices possible.
post #80 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by nht View Post

Mac Pro users are typically not constrained by budget as much as time.

It's a chicken/egg situation though when it comes to defining the users. People who are not budget-limited are few and far between. The price point certainly limits the audience to people who have more money but that is not an exclusive group of people who have little time.

Also, the Mac Pro isn't all that fast until you get to the 8-core+ models. The current $1699 i7 21.5" iMac is faster than the $2499 Mac Pro and comes with a free screen. So even a time-constrained buyer would be throwing money away buying an entry Mac Pro especially now that Thunderbolt offers as much storage as needed.

So what does a headless machine offer that an iMac doesn't? Well, if you are into doing very heavy rendering or encoding, you don't need multiple screens so you can get multiple $1000-1200 Cubes with the 2.8GHz quad i7 and the time-limited users save time and money in style with low power usage as they use 65W chips.

The server guys and the high-end visual effects crowd would go nuts over a shelf of little quad i7 Cubes and it would make a neat alternative to the iMac.

Apple always say the consumer will tell them what the right route is by buying or not buying a product. Well, they have to give them the option in the first place and no the original Cube wasn't the option that failed, for obvious reasons.

But, the Mini will reach the desired performance-level eventually so it doesn't matter. Just one update to quad-core Ivy Bridge and that's almost enough. Give it 2-3 years and it will reach today's mid-level Mac Pro performance, which should be plenty for almost any task.

It would be nice of them to stop holding the Mini back though. There is a chance that this delay might have something to do with SSD but if it just ends up being an update that could have come months earlier, it's clear they are holding it back for some unknown reason.
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