Originally Posted by Marvin
The same point has been expressed for close to a decade now, including by me years ago - it hasn't been missed. The point not being gotten is that it clearly doesn't make much difference for Apple.
It is pretty clear Apple doesn't care. I actually think the Mac line, the entire product line, was about to be jettison a few years ago. The problem is Apple has ignored the desktop product line for so long that it is no surprise at all that most of their sales go to laptops. Maybe the Mac Pro is an indictor that Apple has taken a renewed interest in desktops and has a major rework of its desktop product line in the works.
With iTunes, AppleTV and all the other media related stuff they are involved inI have a hard time understanding why they don't have a Mac that is better suited to act as a media server. Today of course it doesn't have to be a Mac per say, it could be an ARM based device for all I care.
In any event there are many missing products in Apples line up. I know they like to focus but I also know that markets and consumer needs change. A desktop lineup with no major changes in years is not a good thing.
IDC thinks that 135 million desktops and 180 million laptops were sold in 2013, total 315m. HP and Lenovo are the two biggest around 16%. This gives them around 50 million per year each. Apple sells roughly 20 million Macs (about 6% share), 25% are desktops and dropping.
Dropping desktop sales are a reality, just walk into any store selling computers and this becomes obvious. That is not however justification for keeping a product line static.
That means in order to be the biggest PC manufacturer on the merit of their desktops and laptops, Apple just has to grow less than 3x in unit shipments. But, the way they do that is at the low-end. Because they use the same components as other manufacturers, that means cutting the margins. PC manufacturers are falling over themselves trying to boost volumes and making very little profit:
Many of those manufactures will go the way of Kodak and other companies that failed to see where markets are going. The problem with Apple is that their hardware line up literally locks them out of many business because of their desktop line up. I've only recently seen compact form factor acceptance in business at all. Beyond that business still has huge need for machines with lots of ports and other features. Apple has no play here.
More importantly is what are they selling in these machines. Many of these slow cost machines have very very low end processors that a Mini was never intended to compete against. This is one reason why I believe Apple could have significant success with an ARM based low end desktop. With the right chip they will effectively be able to compete on price with the i86 based machines and frankly give the customer better performance.
I know people like to dismiss ARM based chips here but the age of low performance is long gone. AMDs new A1100 clearly demonstrates what is possible with ARM technology, if Apples advancements aren't convincing enough. The thing here is that ARM gives Apple a way to attack its high price image while keeping relatively good margins. As PC prices fall it will become harder and harder to convince the entry level crowd that an Apple computer, that costs many times the cost of a PC is worth buying.
I could see Apple attacking this segment with an ARM based computer that is basically a keyboard with the computer integrated into it. Such a platform would have to be limited to about 10 to 15 watts total.
"by the third quarter of 2013, the weighted average profit had fallen to $14.87"
Apple makes around 25% net margins, 10x the PC counterparts so they could be making at least $150 on a Mini. So the idea that all Apple needs to revamp interest in the desktops is a decent Mini is unfounded. What they do by selling more Minis instead of iMacs is lose margins on display sales and peripherals and lower their average selling price.
This argument has never flown with me.
They have very little reason to invest in it. Adding a good GPU isn't going to affect volume because it comes in at a higher price. They could drop the whole Mini lineup and it would make negligible difference to their income. It might even be a positive thing because it would push whatever remaining Mac server owners there are to buy Mac Pros and Mini owners to iMacs or laptops at a higher price.
If you honestly believe that a Mini server owner would switch to a Mac Pro if Apple tired to force them to do so you are sadly mistaken. Just like with Xserve these customers will simply switch to another platform. Frankly the same thing applies to consumer owners of the Mini, forcing people to spend thousands when they know a few hundred will do the job is a sure way to loose customers. Apple doesn't need to loose customers they need to gain customers.
I don't want to see them do that, I'd rather that they stuck with having a decent value desktop but it's negligible to their income and marketshare.
That is pretty much the case with the majority of PC manufactures these days. The desktop market is well hurting. However you don't abandon customers just because you don't give a damn about their needs.
It doesn't really make a lot of sense to update the Mini now either because Haswell refresh is coming in April. If they can launch updated Macbook Airs and Macbook Pros in 2-4 months, why not bring the Mini along too? Haswell refresh isn't a significant CPU upgrade but there's a chance it can come with a GPU improvement.
We don't really know what Haswell redress will bring. intel has actually been a bit confused about what they are doing here. The impression I'm left with is that has well refresh is desktop focused.
The Mini will never be a model that they push because they'd rather sell you an iMac or Macbook Pro. Complaining about it isn't going to change that and hasn't changed it for 10 years. If you want to avoid having a reason to complain about lack of updates, buy a Macbook Pro because they are the biggest selling lineup and Apple will always cater to it. It doesn't matter if you are paying for more than you need (extra screen, battery etc), you are getting more than you need too and will end up using those benefits and it maintains a higher resale value.
Some applications simply don't need a MBP. Beyond that I thought the theme of the thread was more or less: where is the new Mini? it is a reasonable question at this point.
I think if every Mac Mini owner switched to a MBP of some kind and used it for 3 years, getting the same quad-i7 CPU and dedicated GPU with regular upgrade options, they'd forget why they even bothered about the Mac Mini.
As a MBP owner I'm pretty certain that is garbage. A MBP is a very nice laptop no doubt about that, but it is not a desktop machine and can not be slotted into some uses like a Mini can.