I have heard zip about a US made Mini or a replacement for the Mini.
Originally Posted by Marvin
Would it have to be a different production line from the Mac Pro?
Most likely yes. The exception would be if the new Mini borrows much of the Mac Pros new design. Look at it this way, a new iPhone requires complete reworking of the production line.
Once the Mac Pro orders slow down, they can push the Minis through the same line. It's all hand assembly so they just have a different bucket of parts.
No buckets in an Apple factory!😜. Seriously though parts handling is a big factor in the success of modern production lines. Often the mechanical systems are custom tailored to the parts in question.
The only problem there is the base price. A 500GB hard drive can easily start at $50 but a 128GB entry SSD would be over $100.
True there is a price differential but it isn't as large as retail prices seem to imply. Beyond that the design of Apples blade SSDs is about as cheap as you can get. So with the continual slide in the price of flash devices I don't think it is an impossibility. Further an SSD gives them several advantages especially in thermal needs and power budget. Not to mention space.
If (it is a big if) Apple continues its trend of ever smaller machines I can see them dropping the bulky mechanical drives. They would have to be able to do that with a 256GB device though. To keep margins I wouldn't be shocked at all to see Apple bump the price a bit.
If the net margin on a $599 Mini is 25%, that's just $150 profit. It doesn't give a lot of room to adjust component prices. I think the SSD + HDD setup like the iMac is the way to go for now if they want to keep the entry price.
The iMac has always taken the bulk of the sales. They were selling about 1.2m desktops per quarter. When the iMac was not for sale for 2 months (November, December), the sales dropped 700,000 units. They were slowed in January too so it's perhaps not 1m units but it's the vast majority of the desktops.
While the following is just a survey and for gamers, it shows the right distribution for desktops at around 29% - Apple reported it to be 25%:
The Mini has 50% more units there but that's pretty close. If you work that distribution out of the 1.2m, it becomes 960k iMac, 147k Mini, 95k Mac Pro per quarter. I doubt the peak demand goes up very high for the Mini as they rarely have long delays but clearly they do with the Mac Pro. It might be about 200k each peak.
As far as Mac Pro sales go this year I'm taking no bets at all. I simply don't know if delays are are the result of pent up demand, slow ramp up or something else. Further it is almost impossible to judge overall acceptance of the machine. It is a radical design after all, thus it may take people time to adjust or feel comfortable with a purchase.
The Mini is one of those problem computer models because it's the largest potential audience due to the price but the price is so low that it's almost not worth bothering unless they get huge sales and because their accessories are so expensive, that's not going to happen and the iMac ends up being the better option for a lot of people.
I still see significantly reduced demand for Apples low end desktops because of the iPad effect. Thus the idea that Apple might see fit to offer only one low end device and instead fill out the rest of the line up with a more robust platform. The iMac is only a good option if an all in one works for you.
If you work out the revenue from the Mac Pro and Mini at those volumes and say the Mini averages $700 and the Mac Pro $4000, you get the Mini at $103m revenue and the Mac Pro at $380m and the margins will be much better on the Pro. Net profit is probably $20m and $114m respectively. Pretty laughable relative to their $9b quarterly net income.
Yes it is a significant problem. However for whatever reason sales aren't that bad for Mac hardware. This is a surprise actually though most of that volume appears to be laptops.
Maybe it's time to scrap the entry model. Apple will know customer buying history to tell if the Minis are first buys but I'm skeptical that the Mini convinces a lot of Windows users to switch.
The idea that the Mini is a switchers machine has always been a joke in my mind. All it is is a machine that Apple can market at a reasonable price point. Because of the importance of having a play at the lower price points I don't think the "Mini" will go away completely, Apple will have a low cost option. It might be something different though. If you buy that the market for low end hardware is shrinking fast and that the majority of desktop sales are now balanced to more powerful machines I can see Apple having a lot of success with a machine that is half the cost of the entry level Mac Pro. Call it the XMac, Mac Pro Lite or whatever you want but they are missing significant opportunity here in my opinion. The Mac Pro is excellent for the markets it serves but not every professional needs such a machine.
If they reduced it to 1 model, they'd save on inventory and having a higher entry price pushes up the revenue. They'd always use the same CPU as the entry 15" MBP.
I suspect that a single model is the short term goal simply to have a play in the low end market. However the chips due this year from Intel and frankly the possibility of an A8 SoC have me thinking about whole new approaches to an entry level machine.
For example, build the computer into a keyboard. If the chip power is kept low enough this can be done. Apple already has a monitor that functions as a dock so you wouldn't need a lot of I/O cables. An SSD in the keyboard would promote reliability and control size. This deals effectively with the unbundled nature of the current iMac and the associated extra costs. A keyboard big enough to support Apples trackpad would have plenty of space right on the keyboard PCB for the CPU/GPU SoC. People may laugh at such a suggestion but Apple has history here with the Apple 2 and the IPad demonstrates how easily one can put a powerful PC into a keyboard type device.
There are a bunch of other form factor options that could lead to a smaller machine. Or the could go more radical to a cube like the new networking hardware or even to a scaled down cylinder ala the Mac Pro.
This single model could then be:
2GHz quad i7-4750HQ, Iris Pro
8GB soldered RAM (this makes 16GB $200)
500GB HDD (PCI SSD optional, 256GB for $200)
Nice machine but a single model would need to come in at a much lower price point.
Get rid of the i5 altogether and this means never waiting on Intel making dual-core chips.
This year will be very interesting just to see how Intels mobile plans unfold. I just see the potential for a radical Mini make over.
This can still attract switchers because the assumption is that they have their own peripherals anyway and they get a faster machine. Because of the reduced inventory and higher average selling price, they can price the parts better. It might be pushing it with 8GB RAM but this drops the HDD size from 1TB. If they want a preconfigured server model, they can either bundle the SSD or 16GB soldered RAM for $999.
In my estimation the Mini is a terrible server machine. It just looks like they didn't have a good option but needed a platform to offer a server on.Edited by wizard69 - 2/9/14 at 8:36am