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Better Value Macs - Page 2

post #41 of 110
Quote:
Originally posted by neilw
But it's equally silly to think that Apple must have a machine that's twice the performance at half the price of their current models. It'd be nice, of course, but it's not necessary. 2 GHz G5 in a $500 machine? Get real. One day they may get to that level of competitiveness, but they don't need to blow their profit model to smithereens in one shot.

No, Apple doesn't need to do this today. However after 2 years of slow speed boosts that (once a year since the introduction of the iMac FP right?) that do not match Apple's historic, let alone the industry standard for timing of speed bumps in a given market make Apple's consumer level computers lagging sorely behind. Apple could probably match the speed bump they gave the PM's when the G5's were released, ~600 mhz, and gain alot of that competativeness back. That would get them up to the performance value that Apple originally brought us with the iMac as long as the PM's only get a 200 mhz bump at the low end.

That bieng said, even Apple has admitted that the iMac needs to start out at below $1000. Every day that Apple lets go by without adjusting their products to reflect this is a potential lost sale.
post #42 of 110
Apple definitely has an uphill battle in regards to making greater value Macs, partly because different segments of their current market cant agree what a greater value Mac is. Some want G5s moved into every line as quickly as possible, while others want expandability improved in the lower tier products. And everyone wants to see lower prices across the board. I believe that Apple would love to meet all these different desires and/or needs, they have some things hindering theirs efforts. Some have been within their control to change, and some have not. Heres my take on what needs to happen for Apple to give us greater value for our dollar:

\t(1) Prioritize Reducing Fixed Costs. Since Apple is both a software and hardware company, it has costs that Dell, etc. dont have. Apples software division is not profitable (as they found out during the clone era), so they have to subsidize software development through hardware sales. That alone takes them out of being able to compete directly with PC makers, who usually only license any software they provide that doesnt come with Windows. They also have to pay for R&D for the CPUs, custom ASICs and other support chip sets that are platform specific.

\tI believe that Apple has already addressed this issue to a great extent. Their software division is much more focused than when I first started using Macs, with regular OS and app revisions. On the hardware side, I think that using IBM for their chip supplier is going to lower their fixed costs for chips, etc. The tech sites are buzzing about how successful Big Blue has been in its transfer to the 90nm process, and the yields are much improved in recent weeks. This can only help Apple, which has been hamstrung by Moto for years. My hope is that by Summer we bid au revoir to that sinking ship and look forward to better things ahead.

\t(2) Better Product Differentiation: Right now Apple has 3 desktop lines, and 2 notebook lines. I dont believe that there is enough differentiation between products within their respective segments, particularly the desktop line. I love the G5. the eMac is OK, but too costly for its competition. The iMac is simply a product with no place to go. Its too expensive for the entry level. Its underpowered and its expandability is too limited for anything else. On the notebook side, Apple has had to remove options like DVD burning from the iBook to keep the Powerbooks attractive. the trick is, how do you improve the attributes af the lower tier products without killing sales of the top tier? I think that Apple will go back to using 2 CPU families to do this.

\tThey did have just such a lineup when they used the 603 and 604 families. It allowed Apple offer Performa lines that with limited upgradability alongside the PMs. The PBs also used the 603s due to their more efficient energy consumption. With the 970fx seemingly so powerful and efficient , I think they have the horsepower for their Powermacs and Powerbooks. They just need something to replace the G4 in their lower tier lines. Ive heard endless speculation of a 750 variant w/ altivec and improved memory support and throughput. Could this be the SOC that was referred to last week? that could explain why the article was remove so quickly. Im just guessing on that subject, so I wont speculate further. However, having such a chip would allow them to make their middle lines more fully featured while still being sufficiently different from their top-of-the-line products.

\tMy wish would be that they would revise the iMac line to include at least some sort of video upgrade. My MDD is less than 2 years old, and the original video card is too slow for many games that are coming out. I think any mid-consumer level Mac needs to have a 24 month window where upgrades like this are possible. Im already paying more than the minimum, I think I should have more options than the minimum. Looks are nice, but for many its not the overriding factor. If all current hardware is going to be completely obsolete within 18-24 months, why pay more for a machine that cant be upgraded? My Performa 578 had more upgradability than the current iMac!

\tIm sure to add these features, the iMac would have to be completely redesigned. Maybe no monitor, more conventional styling. I for one like AIOs, but YMMV. Regardless, Apple needs to make their products more enticing to potential customers, however its done. I believe that the window of opportunity for Apple is quickly closing. Intel will work out the bugs with their 90nm process, and the successor to the P4 will be coming down the pipe. Then well be back to the same numbers game weve been playing(Ours really do more work per clock, no Really!) and the G5 will be yesterdays news. Thanks to IBM, more tech-savvy people are looking Apples way than in some time. What they think of Apple depends on what Apple shows them in the next months.
Schwein muß man haben, alles gute!
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Schwein muß man haben, alles gute!
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post #43 of 110
Quote:
Originally posted by Lemon Bon Bon
No kidding!

Big Mac, I enjoyed your post. Calling it as it is. Weird how the entry iBook is just a little more expensive than the entry eMac. What with the eMac supposedly being the edu' machine. No wonder Apple is selling more iBooks than iMacs, the iBook offers way more value. Not surprsingly Apple gets those large iBook edu' contracts... [SNIP]

Lemon Bon Bon

Thank you for the compliment, LBB. I enjoy your commentaries, too. It would be nice to think that someone at Apple is listening to us, but I suppose that is doubtful.
PPC4EVER
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PPC4EVER
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post #44 of 110
One thing some of you seem to be missing out on is some of the basic hardware and software that comes with the mac.

Gigabit Ethernet on most models
A wireless network card slot
Video Card that does not share Ram with the machine.
Not one but two Operating Systems that come with the machine.
Plus a small bundle of software.
Firewire in both flavors.
A great looking design. (OK the emac might be the most ugly mac made in recent years but it is still far more attractive than most PC's)

Ok the processing power on the entry level machines is not perfect, but to find these features which we take for granted on a cheap PC is not realistic.

A PC case which is sleek by design and well made will cost you $$$
A motherboard with these features will also set you back a fair bit.

Lots of people that end up buying a PC for home end up having to ask someone who knows a bit about computers to help them get it up and running.

Apple has standards which they set so that people can walk away with a new mac and be happy and up and running an hour after getting it home.

I work for a large company where we have over 500 macs and I have only ever had one DOA. Sure every few weeks one of them might break down but 9 out of 10 times it is the hard drive that fails and the machines that they fail on are usually well over a year old.

In the past I have worked for other large firms where the majority of computers were wintel based. The amount of time spent sending things back to Dell or Compaq and arguing with their support staff was frankly alarming. The return service was also bad enough. I once had a client phone the head of Dell Europe and threaten to replace all of the 20 new Pentium 2 machines they had just bought for Compaq's because Dell support kept messing us about when it came to sending us a pretty basic part.

As it is now I just have to call up my Apple dealer tell him the problem (I am an Apple Engineer) send him the machine or in some cases the part and within a week I have the machine back and fixed or the relevant part. I know that talking to Apple support directly can be a pain but atleast they do have dealerships and stores that you can walk into and explain your problem and in most cases be happy.

I don't see Dell having any such stores (in Europe atleast)

I don't see ACME cheap PC seller really doing anything else but offering to do a quick re-install or swapping the part that is broken, with something that is comparable but not what you paid for..

This apart from the ease of use is why lots of people buy Apple. They pay a higher price for a better service. That is something that Apple needs to protect. If doing that means they don't stretch themselves by selling a cheap and cheerful machine, which might compromise their higher standards then I am all for it..

I remember when I worked for ACER the amount of people that phoned and complained about their notebooks was amazing.
Things like using a harddrive which had pins made of one type of metal and having the IDE connector gold plated. 3 Weeks after that notebook went on sale we started getting calls from people not able to boot into an OS. Reason was the 2 metals reacted badly and in effect melted the connectors on the drive. Things like that are avoided by not cutting corners and costs.


sorry about the spelling I have a hangover
post #45 of 110
Quote:
Originally posted by SideShowBob
One thing some of you seem to be missing out on is some of the basic hardware and software that comes with the mac.

Gigabit Ethernet on most models
A wireless network card slot
Video Card that does not share Ram with the machine.
Not one but two Operating Systems that come with the machine.
Plus a small bundle of software.
Firewire in both flavors.
A great looking design. (OK the emac might be the most ugly mac made in recent years but it is still far more attractive than most PC's)


All of these things are available in a low cost machine also.
Quote:

Ok the processing power on the entry level machines is not perfect, but to find these features which we take for granted on a cheap PC is not realistic.

Why not. Besides for certain applications processing power is everything. On an entry level machine it can be more important than expandability and a plethora of ports. What Apple doesn't need happening is to have their hardware be catagorized by entry level people as slow and unresponsive. It is a perception in the market place that is hard to over come once it has established itself.

At the retail level it is very possible to come up with a PC that has a motherboard that is more than a match for the "low cost" Mac line. In fact it could be easily argued that such a machine is feature rich.
Quote:

A PC case which is sleek by design and well made will cost you $$$
A motherboard with these features will also set you back a fair bit.

Not even at the retail level is this the case. But Apple isn't buying its hardware at the retail level so this is not a meaningful discussion.
Quote:
Lots of people that end up buying a PC for home end up having to ask someone who knows a bit about computers to help them get it up and running.

Well Mac users aren't above doing that either. Also if you do have trouble with your PC, you have many options for getting support especially local to your hardware.
Quote:
Apple has standards which they set so that people can walk away with a new mac and be happy and up and running an hour after getting it home.

Many PC's set up just as fast.
Quote:
I work for a large company where we have over 500 macs and I have only ever had one DOA. Sure every few weeks one of them might break down but 9 out of 10 times it is the hard drive that fails and the machines that they fail on are usually well over a year old.

This pretty much proves the point. There is very little differrence between Apple hardware and PC hardware these days. Sure some of the logic board is unique to Apple but for the most part these have always been rather cheap parts for Apple with repsect to the PC market. There is little justification in the hardware for Apples high prices. On the low cost line it is really the opposite case as the parts in these machines are rather old.

Look at it this way Years ago Apple came out with the current rev iMac. The day it was introduced it had third generation hardware in it. A year or so later there has been no change whatsoever. In effect Apple married an expensive case, to what is now three year old technology, and expected to be able to sell this stuff at a unreasonable price. Is it any wonder that the iMac didn't take off???
Quote:
In the past I have worked for other large firms where the majority of computers were wintel based. The amount of time spent sending things back to Dell or Compaq and arguing with their support staff was frankly alarming. The return service was also bad enough. I once had a client phone the head of Dell Europe and threaten to replace all of the 20 new Pentium 2 machines they had just bought for Compaq's because Dell support kept messing us about when it came to sending us a pretty basic part.

If this is an issue with Dell why on earth would you deal with them?
Quote:

As it is now I just have to call up my Apple dealer tell him the problem (I am an Apple Engineer) send him the machine or in some cases the part and within a week I have the machine back and fixed or the relevant part. I know that talking to Apple support directly can be a pain but atleast they do have dealerships and stores that you can walk into and explain your problem and in most cases be happy.

I don't see Dell having any such stores (in Europe atleast)

I don't see ACME cheap PC seller really doing anything else but offering to do a quick re-install or swapping the part that is broken, with something that is comparable but not what you paid for..

Technology changes quickly what do you expect? Would you rahter hear that the machine is not repairable du to the part not being available. I look at this as a company being responsive to a customers needs.

In contrast on the Apple side of the fence some of those parts become unavailable at which point you have no repair options at all.
Quote:

This apart from the ease of use is why lots of people buy Apple. They pay a higher price for a better service. That is something that Apple needs to protect. If doing that means they don't stretch themselves by selling a cheap and cheerful machine, which might compromise their higher standards then I am all for it..

There is no need for Apple to compromize their standards. To keep hearing this refrain is rather sickening. A low cost machine is an issue of design, not an issue of compromise or stretching themselves.
Quote:

I remember when I worked for ACER the amount of people that phoned and complained about their notebooks was amazing.
Things like using a harddrive which had pins made of one type of metal and having the IDE connector gold plated. 3 Weeks after that notebook went on sale we started getting calls from people not able to boot into an OS. Reason was the 2 metals reacted badly and in effect melted the connectors on the drive. Things like that are avoided by not cutting corners and costs.

Things like that are avoided by hiring engineers that have a clue. In the end product there is little differrence in cost between doing it right and screwing up.
Quote:

sorry about the spelling I have a hangover

I don't wish to come off as a supporter of the PC world, that simply isn't the case. All I'm saying is that a great deal of misinformation about hardware costs are thrown about that simple do not reflect the PC world accurately. Apple hardware costs simply are not that high, if you look at the parts on the PC boards. Trim the PC board a bit, throw it into a low cost box and Apple has the makings of a true lowcost entry into the market. Pull off another iMac and Apples will be wondering where the slaes have gone to.

It is obvious that even with a quality machine like the G5 Tower Apple is havign trouble regaining market share. Part of that is due to pricing and part is due to alienation of its customer base. Apple has to work hard to recover from these issues. Since one of the market place perceptions is that Apple's hardware cost to much they HAVE TO ADDRESS the issue.

Thanks
Dave
post #46 of 110
Have a look at Dell's cheapest no frills computer and look at the features it is missing. OK it is a faster machine in terms of MHZ but it is missing things which come as standard with even the basic emac (firewire $50 more, Dell Optical Mouse $30 extra, shared ram for the graphics card & no complete out of the box software package). To compare a G4 with a P4 in terms of clock speed is not realistic, although I admit that consumers are tempted by the higher numbers rather than real world performance.

This is changing with the G5 processor as they do easily match and in most cases out perform their Intel and AMD equivalents.

I only mention Dell as they are the largest PC maker I don't have any real gripes with what they do. (I am even the happy owner of self made P4 and don't have an issue with mac's or pc's being superior)
I just think Apple as a company puts that little cherry on top of what it sells.

So lets say Apple does makes a headless imac sub $500 -$700 range with a reasonable sized hard drive, G5 1.4 or higher, 512MB, Firewire, Ethernet, Airport Slot, AGP graphics card & CD burner or DVD Rom. No fancy case like the cube just something that is easy and cheap to produce for them.
What would happen?

They would sell by the bucket load.

All of the big apple customers would have no reason to purchase a G5 tower. Why pay upto 4 or 5 x more for a tower when you could buy this nice little machine which would happily run most of the power hungry apps. There might be a few exceptions with people needing expansion slots. So where as before they might have sold 50 G5 towers to a company, they would now be selling say 1-5 towers and the rest would be these nice little headless imacs which they barely break even on. Apple can't afford to make an xbox sized loss like Microsoft.

If it has an AGP slot you could swap the graphics card with what you want and still be saving a fortune.
If it has a tiny harddisk you could go grab a nice new 250gb one for $150+ from your local store and swap it.

Maybe Apple could bring back the Apple clones and really kick their sales and brand status where it hurts.

The imac and emac worked for Apple because you could not make a serious graphics or video editing station out of it. It was an all in one machine with a few upgradeable parts and was perfect for the average home / office user. The cube was a nice enough machine because of it's form factor and unique style. Apple thought they could still sell it for a reasonable amount and look how that went. So sure they might be able to sell lots of mini macs but they would be hurting the sales of the towers beyond belief.

I see Apple as an innovative company. Someone that brings new technology to the table and lets it loyal subjects rejoyce for a few months or years before licensing some of that technology to the PC world. Then they go back to their drawing boards and think up something else innovative. I don't see Dell or Compaq stunning the world with anything.

They were the first company to offer DVD burners with their machines for a then highly reasonable price.

First with Gigabit Ethernet on their workstation machines as standard.
First with Firewire.
First with an Optical mouse as standard.

It's these little features which make Apple what they are. If you force them to rely on other companies to come up with exciting things for them to use we will be living in a pretty dull early / mid 90's mac world. Where nothing made them stand out and where they lost a large chunk of their user base.



The life span of a computer at a company in Germany where I now work is 4 years. So lots of companies are still using OS9 because they have not bought new machines yet or upgraded software licenses. Newspapers and magazines here are still running Quark 3.3 because there is no need to change at the moment and Quark 6 might mean new hardware and software for them to produce a few layouts which they have been happily doing for the past few years on beige G3's with OS9.

So for Apple to bring out something which they don't make real money on, which comes with a free OS and which companies like these and the one I work for would snap up in an instant because they know they will happily work for a good few years would be a disaster for Apple. Apple has it's user base which is growing bit by bit and they know they have loyal customers who will purchase a new mac every few years. For all of us as home consumers I agree it would be fantastic.

Dell & Compaq don't need to spend as much on R&D as they can easily snap up a large shipment of OEM boards from a company like ASUS, slap them in a generic case put a few easily available bells & whistles on it and they have their next money spinner. It is only that simple because of the OEM licensing that exists in the PC world. For Apple it is a different story. If in 1984 they had licensed their technology out the world would be a diferent place. They didn't do it and now all they can do is gradually chip away at the wintel user base by being innovative. To do this they need to make the mac more common in offices. People will then consider buying one for home but it is a gradual process and not something they can solve overnight by bringing out a headless imac this year powered by a G5.

In a year or so we might see them bringing out a cheap mini G5 but I can't see this happening until the processors and the features in the towers and powerbooks far exceed the specs of the mini G5 if it even comes to pass. Something like a Fiat Panda with a BMW engine might sell lots becase it's fast and cheaper than a BMW but it would still rust as fast as a Fiat Panda with a Fiat Engine which I think is something Apple also wants to avoid.

Sorry about the long post.




Still nursing the hangover
post #47 of 110
Hi SideShow;


See my comments below.


Quote:
Originally posted by SideShowBob
Have a look at Dell's cheapest no frills computer and look at the features it is missing. OK it is a faster machine in terms of MHZ but it is missing things which come as standard with even the basic emac (firewire $50 more, Dell Optical Mouse $30 extra, shared ram for the graphics card & no complete out of the box software package). To compare a G4 with a P4 in terms of clock speed is not realistic, although I admit that consumers are tempted by the higher numbers rather than real world performance.


On the other hand consider the features that the Dell has compared to the iMac line. The fact is that such a machine meets the requirement for many seats in a business environment. You do not see Towers being installed in most locations in a large business situation.

Tell me though, what is the difference between shared graphics on a PC and an iMac with an outdated graphics chip and a slow I/O bus? Yes I know that integrated graphics is not the high peformance solution in the PC world but neither is the "solution" that Apple delivers in its low cost product.
Quote:

This is changing with the G5 processor as they do easily match and in most cases out perform their Intel and AMD equivalents.

I only mention Dell as they are the largest PC maker I don't have any real gripes with what they do. (I am even the happy owner of self made P4 and don't have an issue with mac's or pc's being superior)
I just think Apple as a company puts that little cherry on top of what it sells.

True Apple does put a shine on things. I don't have an issue per say with repsect to Apple and PC performance. Except one has to admit that the low cost line, that is the EMac and the iMac, are rather pathetically slow with repsect to PC hardware in the same price range.

A minor speed differrence has never meaned much to me. What is an issue though is drastic differences in speed.
Quote:

So lets say Apple does makes a headless imac sub $500 -$700 range with a reasonable sized hard drive, G5 1.4 or higher, 512MB, Firewire, Ethernet, Airport Slot, AGP graphics card & CD burner or DVD Rom. No fancy case like the cube just something that is easy and cheap to produce for them.
What would happen?

They would sell by the bucket load.

They would sell a bucket load into markets they can't even penetrate with the G5 Towers. Do delete the airport slot as that would be a deal killer for some locations.
Quote:

All of the big apple customers would have no reason to purchase a G5 tower. Why pay upto 4 or 5 x more for a tower when you could buy this nice little machine which would happily run most of the power hungry apps. There might be a few exceptions with people needing expansion slots. So where as before they might have sold 50 G5 towers to a company, they would now be selling say 1-5 towers and the rest would be these nice little headless imacs which they barely break even on. Apple can't afford to make an xbox sized loss like Microsoft.

This is where you fall of the cliff in my opinion. Towers are targetted to a completely different market. It is not likely that Apple would loose any tower sales. We are talking about sales where the Tower won't be sold mostly due to its price.

This would be a machine targeted at companies and individuals who have no desire for a tower. It is not a case of selling 50 low cost machines in place of a similar number of G5 towers. It is a case of selling machines where they can't market the current G5's. It is pretty tough to get a IT manager to approve putting a $3000 computer on the average desk in a corporation.

You are also making an assumption about profitability with the machine. If Apple goes the SOC route they could have significant pricing advantages over the equivalant Intel product. The economics of a sub $700 machine come not from the old way of doing things but instead looking at how a machine should be produced in the future.

The 90nm 970 is amazingly small chip, a huge amount of inteligence could be added to the 970 and it would still be smaller than the nearest Intel competitor. The potential is there if Apple want to pursue it.
Quote:

If it has an AGP slot you could swap the graphics card with what you want and still be saving a fortune.
If it has a tiny harddisk you could go grab a nice new 250gb one for $150+ from your local store and swap it.

Maybe Apple could bring back the Apple clones and really kick their sales and brand status where it hurts.

The imac and emac worked for Apple because you could not make a serious graphics or video editing station out of it. It was an all in one machine with a few upgradeable parts and was perfect for the average home / office user. The cube was a nice enough machine because of it's form factor and unique style. Apple thought they could still sell it for a reasonable amount and look how that went. So sure they might be able to sell lots of mini macs but they would be hurting the sales of the towers beyond belief.

The imac worked at one time because it sold at a reasonable price for a given performance point. This is no longer the case.

Where do you get the idea that the cube ever sold at a reasonable price point?????????????????????? The cube was a good idea that was very poorly marketed. No body in their right mind would have purchased that machine for the easking price. It is a classic example of trying to market a product that has no base to stand on. People saw quickly that the cube was another Apple machine that cost to much and delivered far to little.

You are rambling on abotu the towers agian. So I will ask how is it tht you expect a low cost make would eat into the sales of the towers so badly?? By the time this low cost machine comes out the G5 Towers will probally be running at 3GHz and have a load of features that the low cost machine could never support.

I'll repeat it is tow differrent markets one of which Apple does not even compete in at the moment!!
Quote:

I see Apple as an innovative company. Someone that brings new technology to the table and lets it loyal subjects rejoyce for a few months or years before licensing some of that technology to the PC world. Then they go back to their drawing boards and think up something else innovative. I don't see Dell or Compaq stunning the world with anything.

They were the first company to offer DVD burners with their machines for a then highly reasonable price.

First with Gigabit Ethernet on their workstation machines as standard.
First with Firewire.
First with an Optical mouse as standard.

They could just as weel be the first with a high performance SOC implementation. Remember we are talking about new hardware here.
Quote:

It's these little features which make Apple what they are. If you force them to rely on other companies to come up with exciting things for them to use we will be living in a pretty dull early / mid 90's mac world. Where nothing made them stand out and where they lost a large chunk of their user base.

Who is forcing them to do rely on others?? To the contrary I want them to innovate. I want them to build and sell a low cost machine that they can make a profit on.
Quote:
The life span of a computer at a company in Germany where I now work is 4 years. So lots of companies are still using OS9 because they have not bought new machines yet or upgraded software licenses. Newspapers and magazines here are still running Quark 3.3 because there is no need to change at the moment and Quark 6 might mean new hardware and software for them to produce a few layouts which they have been happily doing for the past few years on beige G3's with OS9.

So for Apple to bring out something which they don't make real money on, which comes with a free OS and which companies like these and the one I work for would snap up in an instant because they know they will happily work for a good few years would be a disaster for Apple. Apple has it's user base which is growing bit by bit and they know they have loyal customers who will purchase a new mac every few years. For all of us as home consumers I agree it would be fantastic.

You seem to mis the whole point here, it is possilbe for Apple to make a profit. It is an engineering question, nothing more.
Quote:

Dell & Compaq don't need to spend as much on R&D as they can easily snap up a large shipment of OEM boards from a company like ASUS, slap them in a generic case put a few easily available bells & whistles on it and they have their next money spinner. It is only that simple because of the OEM licensing that exists in the PC world. For Apple it is a different story. If in 1984 they had licensed their technology out the world would be a diferent place. They didn't do it and now all they can do is gradually chip away at the wintel user base by being innovative. To do this they need to make the mac more common in offices. People will then consider buying one for home but it is a gradual process and not something they can solve overnight by bringing out a headless imac this year powered by a G5.

In a year or so we might see them bringing out a cheap mini G5 but I can't see this happening until the processors and the features in the towers and powerbooks far exceed the specs of the mini G5 if it even comes to pass. Something like a Fiat Panda with a BMW engine might sell lots becase it's fast and cheaper than a BMW but it would still rust as fast as a Fiat Panda with a Fiat Engine which I think is something Apple also wants to avoid.

Sorry about the long post.

Me too. I was out late tonight, I wanted to respond in more detail to some of your perspectives but my mental capacity is shrinking fast.

Lots of luck
DAVe

Quote:

Still nursing the hangover

post #48 of 110
Hi Dave.. here goes with some more rambling. .

The shared graphics card point was just an example of where Dell are cutting corners.

True a cheap Dell meets lots of the requirements of a business machine. As I am afraid an imac or emac does in a company already using macs.

We have over 500 machines. 90% are macs of various flavors.
So we have lots of users that only need to check their mails, work with a calender program and make documents in Office. The Emac does this fine and will continue to do this in Office2004.

Then we have our users who need to work on the road and do presentations. They have ibooks or powerbooks depending where they are on the food chain. These are fine for presenting or working on the go. Notebooks don't last that long in this kind of enviroment so they have a shorter lifespan but this is mostly down to the user and not the machine.
Spilling coffee or coke on a notebook is not a good idea. Chicken soup is something else

Then we have the creatives that work with Quark, Adobe Apps and Final Cut. They all have G4 Towers 350Mhz upwards. 20+ inch screens or multiple displays. Some of these machines are underpowered for serious work in Creative Suite, which we have just bought in preperation to change to OSX.


At the moment we would purchase G5 towers to replace them with, which we are gradually doing. If Apple did bring out a cheap sub $700 G5 we would replace them in an instant with these machines. We would purchase no more towers except for our video editting dept but thats only 2 machines. We would have no reason to justify the cost of a tower which is something we can easily do now. We will still be using Creative Suite for atleast 2 more years and these machines would get the job done.


I don't agree with you that if Apple does make this machine they will instantly penetrate markets which they don't have a foothold in. Would you instantly think great I am just going to order 500 cheap Macs, replace all of my PC's, purchase new licenses for all the software I own and organise training for all my users???????? You would have to check that you can get all of the software you use for the mac and make it a gradual process in switching platforms. Even then it is a bold and brave move for any IT manager.



As for the cube I didn't mean to imply that I thought it was a reasonable price I meant that Apple did. They thought that the novelty factor would sell it, it didnt and that was the end of that. It didnt take anything away from the towers because it was really in the same price range but underpowered.



Last thing delteing the airport slot from a cheap mac would mean they couldn't persuade people to buy Apple made airport cards and base stations!



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post #49 of 110
One very last thing.

Apple could make a cheap home entertainment machine which could be powered by a G3 / G4 (or even modify the base of the 3rd gen imac) with a blue tooth control device. Reasonable sized drive and monitor and Tv output. Put a DVD burner in it and bundle it with ilife and OSX.

As DVD recorders of the stand alone kind are still expensive Apple could break that market pretty easily.
The average cheap barebones small formfactor PC with similar features comes in at more than $400. Lots of them are run by

Via Chips which are not that hot on performance. here is an example of one of these machines.
http://www.techcase.de/product_info....roducts_id=411



That is something which might win them lots of new fans quickly.


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post #50 of 110
One very last thing.

Apple could make a cheap home entertainment machine which could be powered by a G3 / G4 (or even modify the base of the 3rd gen imac) with a blue tooth control device. Reasonable sized drive and monitor and Tv output. Put a DVD burner in it and bundle it with ilife and OSX.

As DVD recorders of the stand alone kind are still expensive Apple could break that market pretty easily.
The average cheap barebones small formfactor PC with similar features comes in at more than $400. Lots of them are run by

Via Chips which are not that hot on performance. here is an example of one of these machines.
http://www.techcase.de/product_info....roducts_id=411

IBM could also produce a cheaper cut down G5 processor (something like the IBM version of the Celeron) and then Apple could produce a cheap headless no frills computer. This might also work for Apple. They would still have their superior range of macines and could produce something which propels them into more homes and offices.

These are things which might win them lots of new fans quickly and add sales instead of moving them from one range to another.


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post #51 of 110
I wholeheartedly reject the notion that Apple can't sell any form of low-end tower because it will cannibalize sales of the PowerMacs.

1) PowerMacs are high end machines. If someone would buy a low end mini-tower instead, it means that they didn't need a PowerMac in the first place. By refusing to sell them the product they actually wanted, you are trying to bamboozle them into buying a much more expensive machine to pad profit margins. That may work with a limited set of business customers who are locked into a Mac purchasing cycle, but it will never wash with consumers, and will never help market share.

2) Many people don't want an all-in-one. It's as simple as that. Apple ignores this basic fact at its peril. To say the eMac and iMac satisfy a lot of users' needs is to miss the basic point. It's not what they want. To force people to consider the PowerMac just to avoid an AIO machine is outrageous.

There are a lot of potential customers (many or most of them switchers) for whom Apple's current product line offers nothing. I'll never understand how this can be considered unavoidable, or how Apple's current product line is the only possible successful approach.

Finally, my standard caveat: I think that for some people, the AIO is a great thing. Apple should continue to produce them, though they need to be either more aggressively priced or on the leading edge of the performance curve, because that's the best way to justify being locked into buying the integrated monitor. The purpose of the consumer headless machine is to address huge portions of the market that Apple is currently thumbing its nose at.
post #52 of 110
One more thing: As of now, with the 970FX, there is plenty of room for differentiation within the G5 product line. A dual 2.5 GHz machine does not compete with a single 1.6 or 1.8 or even 2.0 GHz machine. In fact, this would seem a nice opportunity to make the PowerMacs all dual (which many have been clamoring for anyway) and make the consumer/prosumer machines single. At the lower end, they can ratchet down the memory bus, go with regular ATA drives instead of SATA (though I'm not sure how much that'd save), or whatever. It'd still be way better than the current G4-based machines, but would leave no doubt which machines the professionals would want.
post #53 of 110
Quote:
Originally posted by neilw
I wholeheartedly reject the notion that Apple can't sell any form of low-end tower because it will cannibalize sales of the PowerMacs.

1) ...

2) ...


Finally, my standard caveat: I think that for some people, the AIO is a great thing.... The purpose of the consumer headless machine is to address huge portions of the market that Apple is currently thumbing its nose at.

Pretty simple isn't it, once you cut through the bs and look at the problem, "increasing market share". Past history aside, I think the time for Apple to address this is now or very shortly. We shall see.
just waiting to be included in one of Apple's target markets.
Don't get me wrong, I like the flat panel iMac, actually own an iMac, and I like the Mac mini, but...........
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just waiting to be included in one of Apple's target markets.
Don't get me wrong, I like the flat panel iMac, actually own an iMac, and I like the Mac mini, but...........
Reply
post #54 of 110
Quote:
Originally posted by SideShowBob
Hi Dave.. here goes with some more rambling. .

The shared graphics card point was just an example of where Dell are cutting corners.


Yes that is one way to look at it, but nobody ever accused Apple of cutting corners on the original Macs that did frame buffering out of main memory! A graphics processor with shared memory is just one way to deliver a machine with reasonable performance at a low cost. My point is that many of these shared memory systems perform better, graphics wise, than the iMac line from Apple.
Quote:

True a cheap Dell meets lots of the requirements of a business machine. As I am afraid an imac or emac does in a company already using macs.

Well that depends on what the company is looking for. If they are looking for a low cost machine that meets a specific price point for a certain amount of computing power than no the iMac or eMac are not acceptable. The high price of the iMac keeps it out of certain organizations, because it has nothing to offer for that high price.

There are certainly businesses that don't care about the pricing structure of there computing hardware. But many do especially when we start to talk about larger organizations.
Quote:

We have over 500 machines. 90% are macs of various flavors.
So we have lots of users that only need to check their mails, work with a calender program and make documents in Office. The Emac does this fine and will continue to do this in Office2004.

Your organization does not strike me a the norm. Many places would require a special approval for a PC that deviates from the company norm. Buying a Mac would require an even more involved approval process.

I'm not saying this is right. In fact in many cases I consider the base machine spec'ed out by these companies to be a little weak. But there is the reality of ecconomics, some places can not justify putting any more computing resources on a desk than is absolutely required. The price point is really the only consideration.

Quote:

Then we have our users who need to work on the road and do presentations. They have ibooks or powerbooks depending where they are on the food chain. These are fine for presenting or working on the go. Notebooks don't last that long in this kind of enviroment so they have a shorter lifespan but this is mostly down to the user and not the machine.

I can make an argurment that part of the reason Apple has had good success with the portable line is related to the much better pricing structure. Apples portables are price competitive. Well they where up until the time that the Centrino arrived, now it is much more of a toss up.
Quote:
Spilling coffee or coke on a notebook is not a good idea. Chicken soup is something else

Then we have the creatives that work with Quark, Adobe Apps and Final Cut. They all have G4 Towers 350Mhz upwards. 20+ inch screens or multiple displays. Some of these machines are underpowered for serious work in Creative Suite, which we have just bought in preperation to change to OSX.


At the moment we would purchase G5 towers to replace them with, which we are gradually doing. If Apple did bring out a cheap sub $700 G5 we would replace them in an instant with these machines. We would purchase no more towers except for our video editting dept but thats only 2 machines. We would have no reason to justify the cost of a tower which is something we can easily do now. We will still be using Creative Suite for atleast 2 more years and these machines would get the job done.


I don't agree with you that if Apple does make this machine they will instantly penetrate markets which they don't have a foothold in. Would you instantly think great I am just going to order 500 cheap Macs, replace all of my PC's, purchase new licenses for all the software I own and organise training for all my users???????? You would have to check that you can get all of the software you use for the mac and make it a gradual process in switching platforms. Even then it is a bold and brave move for any IT manager.



As for the cube I didn't mean to imply that I thought it was a reasonable price I meant that Apple did. They thought that the novelty factor would sell it, it didnt and that was the end of that. It didnt take anything away from the towers because it was really in the same price range but underpowered.

I see your still hung up on this thought of one product taking sales from another. Its time to get over that, Apple is loosing sales simply becaue they don't play in the low cost market. Apple is actually loosing sales of G5 Tower due to the lack of balance in there line.

Everyone realizes that Apple needs to grow its market share. The problem is that the market for high end systems is rather small to begin with. So you have a much smaller market to grow share from. The market at the low end is huge, one only has to look at the PC market place to confirm this.

Apple needs to take advantage of its technological position with respect to 90nm processes and introduce a low cost machine. Done right this low cost machine could be very profitable for them.

Quote:

Last thing delteing the airport slot from a cheap mac would mean they couldn't persuade people to buy Apple made airport cards and base stations!

As cute as airport is, just having the port in a PC/Mac will be considered a security risk at some corporations. So oabviously this is one of those things that depends on a point of view. Some places don't even want CD writers in their machines do to a number of issues. Yes I know this sounds a bit to much for some, but the corporate world is often motivated by fear. The fear of lost data or the fear of being tapped by an advisary.
Quote:



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post #55 of 110
Yep a very large number of things could be done to produce a low cost machine. On the other hand I don't see a need to ratchet down performance to much. There will be a huge gap in performance once the 3 GHz machine hit the market. So if Apple releases a 1.8 or 2 GHz low cost machine it really won't be competeing with the Towers.

One must realize right off the bat that most of the tower slaes have been duals. Just to get feasable sales numbers, the low cost machine would have to provide an awfully good bang for the buck. Unfortunately the G4 towers do not offer this, nor does the single G5 tower, thus the rather poor sales of both. At this moment in time the only way I could see Apple being successful selling a single processor 970 box is if it cost well less than $1000.

Some here do not think that this is possible, with the objection that it would not be profitable. My position is this: if Apple wants to expand market share they have to make it profitable. That is they must produce a machine that consumers want at a price point they are will to pay.

I'm not sure what the perfect mix of featues for this machine is, that is for Apples marketing department to determine. I do know what I need for a desk top machine. One of the key elements here is very good CPU/GPU performance with a minimal of ports.

Quote:
Originally posted by neilw
One more thing: As of now, with the 970FX, there is plenty of room for differentiation within the G5 product line. A dual 2.5 GHz machine does not compete with a single 1.6 or 1.8 or even 2.0 GHz machine. In fact, this would seem a nice opportunity to make the PowerMacs all dual (which many have been clamoring for anyway) and make the consumer/prosumer machines single. At the lower end, they can ratchet down the memory bus, go with regular ATA drives instead of SATA (though I'm not sure how much that'd save), or whatever. It'd still be way better than the current G4-based machines, but would leave no doubt which machines the professionals would want.
post #56 of 110
I agree that lots of people don't want an all in one machine and that the Towers price them out of the mac market. The one thing Apple doesn't want to do though is to lose the customers they already have willing to buy a high end machine to a cheaper smaller sibling.

If on the other hand they really strengthened their product line by introducing a really basic machine, a medium sized machine and a full blown monster machine with 3 varities of each. I would agree that it would help them pull in more switchers, first time users and companies that otherwise would have thought twice about buying a mac. If it was also easier to upgrade macs it would also do Apple the world of good. (readily available processor upgrades, mac graphics cards which match their PC counterparts etc)

To increase market share they also have to have a big bag of readily available software for people to consider it though. The best thing in my oppinion that Apple could do would be to persuade more developers to convert programs that are not available on the mac to OSX and to then bring out this broad range of machines that appeals to all computer users (including Gamers one big area that is keeping market share down). As it is though it is a catch 22 situation and if it fails, what do they do then?

I am not agreeing with the way Apple plays the game. I see them as having been boxed into a corner once, almost being wiped out and/or taken over by their biggest enemy to staging a mini comeback and winning all the users they lost back. They got a few converts too. I just want them to really have the far superior hardware and apps before they do anything. Bringing out an office killer would be something as well. Office on the mac is even more flakey than the PC version.



Sideshow
post #57 of 110
Quote:
Thus spake Wizard69:
At this moment in time the only way I could see Apple being successful selling a single processor 970 box is if it cost well less than $1000.

Not sure exactly why you think this. At $1000, a single 2 GHz machine (say) would be $600 cheaper than the current cheapest PowerMac (a huge difference!), and by far the best value in the Apple lineup. You could add a monitor and still cost the same or less than the equivalent iMac. If it had a proper AGP slot, which I'd certainly hope for at that price, it'd be that much more desirable.

I, as a consumer, would certainly buy such a thing in a heartbeat over any alternative in the current product line.

Mind you, I would still like to see the headless line extend into much lower territory as well (like down to $700), but I think you could still sell a lot of machines a little higher up the line.
post #58 of 110
Quote:
Wrote SideShowBob:
I agree that lots of people don't want an all in one machine and that the Towers price them out of the mac market. The one thing Apple doesn't want to do though is to lose the customers they already have willing to buy a high end machine to a cheaper smaller sibling.

I understand what you're trying to say, but it still sounds like you want to weasel people into buying more than they need or want, which is what the PowerMac is for a lot of people. Those customers who want the power (and there are plenty) will pony up for the big machines; those that don't need any more than a cheaper, lower-end machine should have the option of buying one. That makes for more happy customers in the long run.

In any case, I would certainly expect there to be a performance and feature gap between the consumer and professional machines. My personal favorite approach would be to have the PowerMacs go all dual, and have the consumer machines be singles, up to the speed of the low-end PowerMac (i.e.: PowerMacs dual 2 Ghz and up, consumer machines up to single 2 Ghz). That also frees up the consumer machines to be quite a bit smaller than the PowerMacs (it's really pretty ridiculous having the single-processor PowerMac in the same gigantic case as the duals.)

It's very possible to have a coherently conceived product line that offers a continuum of options for most customers' needs. Right now, Apple is so far in the other direction it's ridiculous (as I think we agree.)
post #59 of 110
No weasling going on here..

Like I said if Apple did bring out these super cheap computers which had an AGP slot we would replace all of our ageing G4 350 - 550 machines in a flash.
These new machines would still be a vast improvement on the ones people have been using.

At the moment we are moving to OSX and in the next few months we will be buying more and more Dual 1.8 G5 towers. We see the dual machines as better value than the single processor in the long run. However if the single cpu machine was more than half the cost and had the features which we needed. We would go for the cheaper option.

Sideshow
post #60 of 110
Quote:
Originally posted by neilw
...At $1000, a single 2 GHz machine (say) would be $600 cheaper than the current cheapest PowerMac (a huge difference!), and by far the best value in the Apple lineup.

The difference is actually $800. For Apple to justify doing this, they'd have to cripple the machine to the point where it can be produced for at least $700 less.

I hate to beat a dead horse, but high-end Power Mac sales would tank, immediately, because 90% of those buying them would no longer have the need. Where do you suggest Apple would make up the loss? Not with a $250 profit on a $1000 machine, that's for sure.
post #61 of 110
Quote:
The difference is actually $800. For Apple to justify doing this, they'd have to cripple the machine to the point where it can be produced for at least $700 less.

Price of admission for a PowerMac right now is $1599 if you omit the SuperDrive.

I don't really know exactly what it'd cost Apple to build the machine I'm proposing. I do know it's possible to build something quite a bit cheaper than the current single-processor PowerMac monstrosity. Don't forget that the 970FX and system controller promise to be somewhat cheaper than their 130 nm predecessors. I'd also expect that at some point Apple will have, if not an SOC-based processor designed for lower-cost single processor systems, then at least a reduced system controller. They'll likely want that for PowerBooks if nothing else. Don't know when they'll have either one of these, but they might already for all we know.

If the idea is that Apple can't sell a G5-based system for a lot less than the current $1599, I say that's absurd.

By the way, I was arguing against the idea that it needed to be a whole lot less than $1000. But anyway.

Quote:
I hate to beat a dead horse, but high-end Power Mac sales would tank, immediately, because 90% of those buying them would no longer have the need. Where do you suggest Apple would make up the loss? Not with a $250 profit on a $1000 machine, that's for sure.

Again, I argue that those who really need PowerMacs would still buy them. Those who never really needed them in the first place are no longer forced into buying more machine than they need (which I feel is bad for the long term). And lots of people for whom no machine addressed their needs would have something to entice them.

I hate to beat a dead horse as well, but the point is that right now is that Apple exploits its "us or nothing" position in the Mac market to extort some of its customers into buying much more than they need, while others just say no thanks and move on. I fail to see how that is a healthy strategy to pursue.
post #62 of 110
i'm actually surprised how similar this conversation is to the discussion about the powermac line exactly one year ago. "too expensive, too underpowered, crappy bus speeds, too loud." and what happened? as soon as apple got its hands on the G5 it solved (or tried to solve) all of these problems at once. did it drop the powermac price by $500 ? no, but it added value by maximizing the included technologies.

i think the same thing can happen here by the end of the summer, where we'll be able to see a dual 3 Ghz powermac and a single 2 Ghz ... something. hopefully an xMac of some sort, or a modular iMac. maybe it won't happen fast enough for us macheads, but there's the downside to announcing the 3 Ghz timeframe so far in advance.

as far as pricing goes, apple has never sold really low-priced hardware. but its consumer lines have tried to make up for that by including lots of things as standard equipment. maybe the next line will have superdrives across the board (along with 512mb ram).

right now the consumer lines don't look like much of a value, because they aren't. but we're in the trough between waves. and hopefully there's a big one on the horizon ....

- matt
post #63 of 110
Apple could try and recoup the profit margin they lose by not bundling any software with the low end machines and charging more for it as an option.

If Apple had programs which everyone wanted to buy this idea of reducing prices might work really well for them. Not everyone wants Final Cut Pro or DVD Studio Pro, ilife comes free with each new mac and is only $49 anyway. If Apple had something that appealed to the masses like a real office killing app they might get lots of money in that way.

The 970fx is cheaper to produce but we don't have any 970fx based machines yet so we can only guess what they will start selling for. My guess is they will stay at the current prices for a while. If there was a cheaper cut down G5 processor (like the celeron or duron) which didn't detract from whats in the high end machines they would sell pretty well.

To appeal to the home market though it has to be fast enough, cheap enough and have all the features like ethernet (for broadband), modem (just incase), AGP slot, firewire 400 & USB2. If it can run normal day to day apps and still put up a fight when it comes to running a power app then they would do well.

They could also put this kind of CPU in the ibook and have a more powerful one in the powerbooks. I think they are partially in this situation because they relied too much on MOTO to deliver the goods in the first place. Atleast IBM do seem to be pulling out the stops when it comes to producing the 970 so after the FX comes out I think speed bumps will increase..

I won't beat a deadhorse as it is begining to smell.
It would probably be a cool thing to start an "IF I WAS STEVE JOBS FORUM" and write how you would steer Apple if you were at the wheel. I am sure lots of users here could think of great ways to put Apple on a level pegging with the wintel world.

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post #64 of 110
I really think they really just need to chop the monitor off the eMac and charge about $500 for it. Make it an enclosed system without expansion, keep it at a G4 or slow G5. A case that can be vertical or horizontal and you are set.

Add television onto it as a $100 option and you have a set-top box for media serving and Tivo-capability and I would buy two in a second.
post #65 of 110
Again this reasoning makes no sense in the face of Current PowerMac sales. The majority of the sales are at the higher end because these machies appeal to certain segments of the pro market. No one is looking a the single processor model.

In effect Apple does not ahve a low cost machine and the PowerMac itself is only useful to people who are going to buy high end anyways. A low cost Mac can't tank high end PowerMac sales because of the marekt they are being sold to. The minute Apple comes out with a 2.6GHz+ PowerMac, current sales of the Power Mac line will drop to zip. There simply isn't a market, at the price they currently sell at, for the machines if they aren't leading edge performance machines.

A machine designed for the market the low cost G5 would be targeted at, simply would not result in a Mac that appeals to current G5 tower users. This is rather obvious folks, it is like saying the iMac appeals to the same market as the Towers. That would be a stretch for anybody to make, same goes for th low cost machine.

Quote:
Originally posted by iDave
The difference is actually $800. For Apple to justify doing this, they'd have to cripple the machine to the point where it can be produced for at least $700 less.

I hate to beat a dead horse, but high-end Power Mac sales would tank, immediately, because 90% of those buying them would no longer have the need. Where do you suggest Apple would make up the loss? Not with a $250 profit on a $1000 machine, that's for sure.
post #66 of 110
Quote:
Originally posted by TKN
I really think they really just need to chop the monitor off the eMac and charge about $500 for it. Make it an enclosed system without expansion, keep it at a G4 or slow G5. A case that can be vertical or horizontal and you are set.

When the new IBM G3 with Altivec is available (which will probably be called a G4) it might be a good time to stick one of those in a mini-tower and sell it for something less than the cost of an eMac. Being a G4, it wouldn't compete too much with the G5 towers and would give potential switchers who already have monitors the all important option of buying a Mac. I seriously doubt the G5 will make it into such a machine until the Power Macs move on to something better and faster.
post #67 of 110
The BMW analogy is tired and old. If Apple is BMW then developers are the fuel for this vehicle and the Applications are the open road. Without market share there is risk of fuel shortages and washed out roads.

Also, Apple does not make money because people choose to pay a premium for Apple hardware. What is selling is the hardware that has been price competitive, i.e. laptops. The G5's and servers hardware are also priced aggressively. Computers not priced competitively are trickling out.

Both Fred Anderson and Steve Jobs have stated 10% market share as a goal. No one is happy with low market share no matter what color they paint it, period.

With the iPod Apple has the opportunity to introduce a loss leader computer to get people to use the OS and iApps and become Mac users.

This is what will gain market share. These people will invest in more Apple hardware and Mac software if they have a good experience with their initial computer purchase.

The iPod has opened a door to all the PC iPod users. Now if we have a stepping stone loss leader computer for these folks they'll come on over.

It will have to be a Apple PC for chump change and not a scary economic and psychological investment that will put up a barrier to an initial purchase and a new Apple user.

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All my life, I always wanted to be somebody. Now I see that I should have been more specific.
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post #68 of 110
http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2004/jan/14results.html

have a look at the "data summary" PDF and look at the break down of sales. I know it could be improved on but atleast it is up from this time a year ago.

Apple could release OSX for Intel / Amd based machines and bring out their own PC as well. They would gain lots of converts that way but only if there was software to go with it. Most developers might not want to risk upsetting Microsoft so that would be one big hurdle. The G5 Apple machines would still be superior. Then they could start bringing people over from Wintel based machines including their own. If Apple left the ability to install Windows more people would be willing to give it a shot as they would still end up with a nice machine even if they didn't like the new OS (still what is there not to like about it).


If you look at what happend when Safari came out, the majority of Apple users stopped using Internet Explorer in an instant. If Apple released there office killing app and had OSX for PC's they could really make a dent in all the available computer markets.

Then again Apple is not able to meet the demand for the ipod, so I don't know how succesful any of this would be at the moment. Maybe a few new plants and more reliable sources for components are needed before they make that step.

If it was a huge success and ever came about, 2 years from now when there are 1000 x as many users on this site we could begin to discuss why we ever doubted them in the first place.

Sideshow
post #69 of 110
Quote:
Originally posted by wizard69
Again this reasoning makes no sense in the face of Current PowerMac sales. The majority of the sales are at the higher end because these machies appeal to certain segments of the pro market. No one is looking a the single processor model.

Are you sure? How do you know this?
post #70 of 110
Quote:
Originally posted by TKN
I really think they really just need to chop the monitor off the eMac and charge about $500 for it.

The CRT in the eMac might cost Apple $50 apiece. Where does the extra $150 in savings come from? Not the slightly reduced amount of Lexan for the case.

And I think it's pretty safe to say that Apple isn't netting $200 per eMac. Their margins aren't that good, especially not at the low end.

Apple can't tap into the immense commodity market that allows PC makers to offer super-cheap machines, and it would be unwise for them to offer something called a Mac that couldn't function as a full Mac because of missing ports or features sacrificed to cut costs. Integrated graphics, a staple of the low-end PC market, are a non-starter given Quartz.

I trust that the eMac is just about the cheapest Mac Apple can offer. They could cut a few corners, and omit a few things, but not much more than $100 worth.

Whence my belief that if Apple targets this martket, it'll be with an accessory/appliance that's not a Mac.
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post #71 of 110
Quote:
Originally posted by Amorph
The CRT in the eMac might cost Apple $50 apiece. Where does the extra $150 in savings come from? Not the slightly reduced amount of Lexan for the case.

And I think it's pretty safe to say that Apple isn't netting $200 per eMac. Their margins aren't that good, especially not at the low end.

Apple can't tap into the immense commodity market that allows PC makers to offer super-cheap machines, and it would be unwise for them to offer something called a Mac that couldn't function as a full Mac because of missing ports or features sacrificed to cut costs. Integrated graphics, a staple of the low-end PC market, are a non-starter given Quartz.

I trust that the eMac is just about the cheapest Mac Apple can offer. They could cut a few corners, and omit a few things, but not much more than $100 worth.

Whence my belief that if Apple targets this martket, it'll be with an accessory/appliance that's not a Mac.


....well, one thing you need to remember is that the 90nm 970fx is almost half the size of the 7457 G4, I think the G4 was around 100mm^2, the G5 around 60mm^2. Motorola also isn't using 300mm, but 200mm wafers. IBM also also stated that they have had "suprisingly few" problems with yields. That is something you never heard from Motorola.

So, the cost of the CPU should be drastically lower. I would guess that a G5 would cost half what a G4 cost, if not less. So, there is much money to be saved in using a G5 over a G4.

Apple could easily build and sell an entry level G5 mini tower for $699 and keep the same margins they have on the eMac, if not actually increase them slightly.

And the reason they need to address this is, some of us actually NEED office computers. I cant write payroll checks on a cell phone or iPod. There is and always will be a need for a desk computer.

Unfortunately, Apple chooses to ignore this market. So, I have three PCs instead of 3 Macs I would have purchased. And, to get my business, all Apple has to do is build a minitower SOHO/Corporate Mac.

I really don't understand what Apple has to lose.
post #72 of 110
Thread Starter 
The original iMac did not provide what people expected in a Mac. It did not have SCSI, serial ports, ADB connector or a floppy disk drive, and did not include FireWire until much later. For the times, these were low cost, no frills, entry level computers that sold well and likely took sales away from higher price Macs. Apple not only survived, but the early iMac was a key product in Apple's recovery. So why does suggesting a low end Mac, stripped of some features, meet with such resistance now? No doubt, such a Mac would take some sales from higher price models, but like the early iMac, it would sell to people who otherwise would not consider a Mac today.

I'll make a specific suggestion so you can have some target practice. The processor may be on the horizon, something like a low cost 2 GHz G4 from IBM called Mojave. There would be no PCI or graphics cards, so costs can be kept low, but there would be a way to build two versions. For illustration, I'll suggest a card that is wired into the high end model, but it could be done by adding extra parts to a common "raw" motherboard. A blank plate covers part of the back panel on the low end model. Also, this Mac would have a provision for attaching a special flat panel monitor on top of it, but it is not an all-in-one. A special, very short cord connects the "optional" monitor to the Mac.

All models have a hard drive, optical drive, two USB ports and Ethernet, but no modem. The lowest price model is aimed at any enterprise or individual that needs nothing more than these features. There would be few or no applications. Price should and can be pretty low, but there needs to be reasonable profit.

The better model provides a modem, two FireWire ports and two or three additional USB ports. The consumer version of this model would have iLife and other consumer type applications. The business version could have productivity applications. The optional flat display could be available in a special package deal, or purchased separately.

Such a product allows people to get a Mac at very low cost if they have a monitor, or know how to get one cheaply. Yet, it doesn't require a different product to give people an AIO like Mac. The very lowest price model would attract many who would end up buying the better model when they see the added value.
post #73 of 110
Quote:
Originally posted by snoopy
The original iMac did not provide what people expected in a Mac. It did not have SCSI, serial ports, ADB connector or a floppy disk drive, and did not include FireWire until much later. For the times, these were low cost, no frills, entry level computers that sold well and likely took sales away from higher price Macs. Apple not only survived, but the early iMac was a key product in Apple's recovery. So why does suggesting a low end Mac, stripped of some features, meet with such resistance now? No doubt, such a Mac would take some sales from higher price models, but like the early iMac, it would sell to people who otherwise would not consider a Mac today.

The original iMac was revolutionary in that it forced folks to give up what needed to become obsolete anyway, i.e. floppies, SCSI, serial ports and ADB. Firewire was on the horizon but still too expensive, so only USB was included, and it could replace most of what was left out. None of the technology on current Macs is facing obsolescence, that I know of, so it's hard to pick something to leave out.
Quote:

I'll make a specific suggestion so you can have some target practice. The processor may be on the horizon, something like a low cost 2 GHz G4 from IBM called Mojave. There would be no PCI or graphics cards, so costs can be kept low, but there would be a way to build two versions. For illustration, I'll suggest a card that is wired into the high end model, but it could be done by adding extra parts to a common "raw" motherboard. A blank plate covers part of the back panel on the low end model. Also, this Mac would have a provision for attaching a special flat panel monitor on top of it, but it is not an all-in-one. A special, very short cord connects the "optional" monitor to the Mac.

All models have a hard drive, optical drive, two USB ports and Ethernet, but no modem. The lowest price model is aimed at any enterprise or individual that needs nothing more than these features. There would be few or no applications. Price should and can be pretty low, but there needs to be reasonable profit.

How much could Apple really save by leaving out a modem? Five bucks? They would save nothing by leaving out software. An argument could be made that this might generate more profit when folks buy the software. If Firewire ports were left out, which would save some money, it would be difficult to use iMovie without being able to hook up your DV camera, limiting the appeal of iLife software. I can buy the idea of leaving out Firewire on a business Mac that would be networked.
Quote:

The better model provides a modem, two FireWire ports and two or three additional USB ports. The consumer version of this model would have iLife and other consumer type applications. The business version could have productivity applications. The optional flat display could be available in a special package deal, or purchased separately.

Such a product allows people to get a Mac at very low cost if they have a monitor, or know how to get one cheaply. Yet, it doesn't require a different product to give people an AIO like Mac. The very lowest price model would attract many who would end up buying the better model when they see the added value.

You have some interesting ideas here but with Apple emphasizing the "digital hub," I think it unlikely that they would consider making a consumer machine without Firewire ports, a modem and iLife.

I think a Mac that's quite a bit slower than the G5 towers and completely non-expandable except for memory is the only way we'll ever see a new headless Mac. But I agree with those who say one is needed.
post #74 of 110
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by iDave


. . . How much could Apple really save by leaving out a modem? Five bucks? They would save nothing by leaving out software. An argument could be made that this might generate more profit when folks buy the software. If Firewire ports were left out, which would save some money, it would be difficult to use iMovie without being able to hook up your DV camera, limiting the appeal of iLife software. I can buy the idea of leaving out Firewire on a business Mac that would be networked.

You have some interesting ideas here but with Apple emphasizing the "digital hub," I think it unlikely that they would consider making a consumer machine without Firewire ports, a modem and iLife. . .



The idea is to provide a very low cost Mac for business or classroom where a modem, FireWire and iLife may not be needed. Yet, it would cost $49 (OWC price) to add a USB modem, and another $49 for iLife. So the consumer can see a benefit of the better model, which has both of these plus FireWire for another $100, or even a little more, but only when these features are needed.

The idealistic view that digital life style should be a part of every Mac, regardless of end use, doesn't get very far with purchasing agents or potential customers who don't need these features. No one likes having to pay for something they do not want and will not use. There are plenty of other computer choices.
post #75 of 110
The idea of a headless mac that is going to appeal to a broad range of users, is not going to work if you alienate half of the them by having no upgrade path or making Apple only connectors. Even the cheapest Dell has an upgrade path.


How are you going to have this special Apple cable hanging out of the back for video output? Is it going to be hard wired or removable. In either case people will not like it. If you lose the cable what do you do, walk down to your local shop and buy another one? If it is hardwired and it breaks you would have to send it off for repair. Really it is going to have to have ADC and DVI ports on the back and a VGA adaptor.

I agree with Amorph that it will be something else that makes PC users switch. Apple hardware always makes the news and still excites people when they bring out something radically different. I am sure they grab a handful of first time buyers or coverts that way.

Sideshow
post #76 of 110
Quote:
Originally posted by SideShowBob
The idea of a headless mac that is going to appeal to a broad range of users, is not going to work if you alienate half of the them by having no upgrade path or making Apple only connectors. Even the cheapest Dell has an upgrade path.


How are you going to have this special Apple cable hanging out of the back for video output? Is it going to be hard wired or removable. In either case people will not like it. If you lose the cable what do you do, walk down to your local shop and buy another one? If it is hardwired and it breaks you would have to send it off for repair. Really it is going to have to have ADC and DVI ports on the back and a VGA adaptor.

I agree with Amorph that it will be something else that makes PC users switch. Apple hardware always makes the news and still excites people when they bring out something radically different. I am sure they grab a handful of first time buyers or coverts that way.

Sideshow


...price sensitivity is why people don't switch.

AIOs don't do well as a market on the whole. Neither an eMac nor an iMac is not a competitor to an HP, Dell, or Sony mini-tower. The mini-tower is the bread and butter of the PC market.

Why do I have to spend $1800 to buy a Mac with even one PCI or AGP slot? You only gotta spend $500 on the PC side.

That is a huge gulf. Almost the entire market exists in that gulf. Apple is living on the very fringe. Were it not for the iPod, Apple wouldn'teven be turning a profit.

Fred Anderson stated that Apple has nothing in that void and they know its a problem. By those words, even Apple is aware they have missed the mark with the iMac. Expect it to be rectified. I just hope Applle doesn't try to be too cute and leave things like PCI slots and AGP slots out of the thing.
post #77 of 110
Everybody wants everything, for $500. Here's an intelligent thought for you: Expandability, schmandability; who cares. (Oh, except for gamers who think they have to have a new graphics card every six months.)

post #78 of 110
Maybe the problem is that people just have different values, and ideas about what value actually means. I think by definition, being a Mac user means I get the highest quality products, but with that comes a price premium. Sure, how cool would it be to not have to pay a premium for a Mac, but I realize why things are priced the way they are and I bite the bullet.
People that are passionate about what they do, truly believe in their good cause, have a clear vision and understanding of what they want, those people are heroes.
Reply
People that are passionate about what they do, truly believe in their good cause, have a clear vision and understanding of what they want, those people are heroes.
Reply
post #79 of 110
It's not just price that stops people switching. If Apple matched the price of the cheapest PC with something that is comparable sure they would sell.. They would win some people over and sell lots to people that already have a mac. But still people that have a large PC software library and are stuck on using Windows would think twice. You could try and tempt them with virtual PC. If Apple could make there own emulation software that might work better in the long run than relying on Microsoft to do it.

idave is right about gamers but the other thing they want is games and when I say games I mean current ones not just snood or shufflepuck cafe
Companies like EA don't make games for the mac anymore because it is not worth their time. They sell the licenses off cheaply and let someone else do it. I know it sounds silly but the other problem with games on the mac is that only the good big sellers come over. People still want to be able to buy the crap ones with the big name when they come out.

Mooseman is right about the gulf in the market but the problem is how they fill in that gap without harming their higher end machines. I dont think anyone would argue that the amount of time taken in designing and building a mac is a hell of a lot longer than a dell so they dont want to upset the customers who already own a tower with something that is not significantly diferent in features and performance.

Sideshow
post #80 of 110
Quote:
Originally posted by SideShowBob

Mooseman is right about the gulf in the market but the problem is how they fill in that gap without harming their higher end machines. I dont think anyone would argue that the amount of time taken in designing and building a mac is a hell of a lot longer than a dell so they dont want to upset the customers who already own a tower with something that is not significantly diferent in features and performance.

Sideshow

...I think the way the can fill without damaging the Pro line is to do what they should have long ago, make all the Pro line dual processor. The mobo costs the same whether they make a Dual or Single.

And, I'm almost sure that 2 90nm G5s will cost about the same as 1 G4. So, there is no reason the whole Pro line shouldn't go dual. With the high end moving to Quad (maybe when the dual core comes out).


I love my dual G4, and I only paid $1699 for it new. And I'm sure a current single 1.6GHz G5 isn't much faster than my nearly 2 year old machine. Saaaad.

The biggest G5 seller was the Dual 2GHz G5. The worst seller was the single 1.6. Obviously the pro types are more interested in how much time it takes to render a wipe/dissolve, compress, clean, and convert than they are how much the computer costs. So a $699 single CPU Mac isn't gonna exactly steal sales away from the top end.

Apple could easily afford to sell a PC at $699-$749. We already know they can build a PC WITH a 17" monitor, a decent graphics chip and a CD-RW for $799. They should just repackage into a simple mini-tower with 3 PCI, 1 AGP, lower bus clock, lower single CPU speed, and blammo! Instant big seller.

I'll take 2, thanks.
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