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Justifying Higher Mac Prices

post #1 of 159
Thread Starter 
Apple CFO Fred Anderson and Corporate Controller Peter Oppenheimer recently spoke to investors and here is the last part of a news article reporting it.

Quote:
Some criticism has been laid at Apple's feet for not getting a value-priced Mac to market. Its least expensive system -- the CRT-based all in one eMac -- cost consumers about $800. It's trivial to find Windows-based PCs with significant higher clock speeds than the eMac for half that price. The iMac starts at almost $1,300.

"We're not focused on shipping four, five, six hundred dollar PCs. We don't think there's a good way to innovate there or differentiate, and we don't think people are making a lot of money," said Oppenheimer.

If Apple is not going to offer a low-end entry level Mac, maybe Apple should consider even more ways to justify a higher price tag -- ways that are more immediately obvious to buyers. Today's buyers typically do not see the benefits of a Mac until they get a cheap Windows PC. When they are dissatisfied enough, they will buy a better Windows PC, typically, not a Mac. If Apple is going to increase sales to consumers, the trick may be to make Mac's benefits more immediately obvious. A Mac may now avoid limitations of a cheap PC and offer iLife applications, but these features are not enough to really get people's attention it seems. What ideas can we come up with that will turn the heads of buyers?

I'll start with one idea, for music lovers. Say that Apple makes a music station for the home, something like a mother iPod with 80 or 120 GB of storage. It would have FireWire to download songs to all the iPods in the home. It would have good audio connections to a home sound system. It might have FireWireless to transmit music throughout the house. Many more ideas would surface I'm sure.

So, let's say Apple sells this home music station for a little higher price than the most expensive iPod. If such a product is appealing, it will sell well. In addition, it can be a tool to sell Macs. If new Macs provide this music station built in, the added value of owning a Mac becomes more obvious. The buyer gets two products in one, a computer and an Apple music station for the home. By selling the music station as a separate product too, it establishes a value that can be consider part of the Mac price tag. Maybe buyers can see this kind of value more easily.
post #2 of 159
the iApps(including things like mail.app, stickies, address book, preview and graphic converter) and the OS are worth at least $400 in my book, and they are free with a new computer.

Also, the whole seamlessness/efficiency of the system is worth more than $$
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post #3 of 159
You should read this article...

http://www.billpalmer.net/com000159.html

The net, net of it is that there are no $499 PCs, just hype, discounts and empty boxes with no frills.

The reality is that you get what you pay for and Apple is never going to sell a bare bones system without the proper ports and configuration.

BZ
post #4 of 159
Quote:
Originally posted by BZ
You should read this article...

http://www.billpalmer.net/com000159.html

The net, net of it is that there are no $499 PCs, just hype, discounts and empty boxes with no frills.

The reality is that you get what you pay for and Apple is never going to sell a bare bones system without the proper ports and configuration.

BZ

That was a great read, thank you.
post #5 of 159
12" iBook anybody? Just over $1100, $1200 with an Airport Extreme card. Real firewire (not one of those little useless non-powered thingys)... two USB 2.0 ports, combo drive, 32MB ATI GPU... all of this in a super slim and tiny package. The only thing like it on the PC side would be a Centrino Pentium M machine which typically costs twice as much right now. And most of the thinest Centrino machines don't have a built in CD drive.

Granted... the iBook isn't the most powerful. But, unless you're doing CAD or Photoshop type work... or want to play games on it... it's silly to spend more than twice the price for power you'll never use. I have a fairly large and bulky (and heavy) Sony Vaio notebook with a 2.4GHz P4 processor and all I do is basic office stuff... word processing, spread sheets... some IMing and wireless surfing. The iBook is fine for this type of use... plus it's an excellent size.

It was actually the very competetive price of the iBook that got me to buy my first Mac after 20 years with Windows boxes.
post #6 of 159
Thread Starter 
BZ and Wrong Robot:

Valid points, but I have no problem justifying a Mac for myself. I have a G5 in fact. It looks like I didn't get my point across. A typical computer buyer does not appreciate the value of owning a Mac. Because a Mac's starting price is higher, folks think Macs cost significantly more. This view seldom changes, even after they spend as much or more to buy a Window PC.

Apple needs to sell better in the consumer market. If Apple refuses to play the price game, by offering a lower cost model, then they need another way to hit consumers over the head to get their attention. Apple needs to justify the higher price in the eyes of the average buyer. Refinements, better features, iLife applications, these don't seem to be working. So what else can Apple do so buyers will really take notice? What would make the Mac's higher price seem more like a bargain?
post #7 of 159
Quote:
Originally posted by BZ
You should read this article...

http://www.billpalmer.net/com000159.html

The net, net of it is that there are no $499 PCs, just hype, discounts and empty boxes with no frills.

Great article! Thanks for posting the link.

That would be Apple's problem in a nutshell: Their prices really aren't that much higher - and they can be lower, too - they just don't play that kind of shell game with their prices and configurations. I'd say that they just have to get the word out that they do that, and people will notice - wow, a $1099 iBook is actually $1099.

I wonder how much of the perception that Apple is overpriced comes from people mentally adding $500-$600 onto the listed prices?
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post #8 of 159
my mother is finding out the same thing...keeps wanting to buy a dell for $699, but it always comes out to a little over a grand when she gets it the way she wants (she wants a flat screen)...i steered her gently to the eMac...not a flat screen lcd, but cheaper and is an AIO...she hasn't decided yet, but we shall see


g
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post #9 of 159
Quote:
Originally posted by snoopy
So, let's say Apple sells this home music station for a little higher price than the most expensive iPod. If such a product is appealing, it will sell well. In addition, it can be a tool to sell Macs. If new Macs provide this music station built in, the added value of owning a Mac becomes more obvious. The buyer gets two products in one, a computer and an Apple music station for the home. By selling the music station as a separate product too, it establishes a value that can be consider part of the Mac price tag. Maybe buyers can see this kind of value more easily.

There are plenty of such "music stations" out there already: Any Mac will do! Just add AirPort, and turn on "Share Music" in iTunes' preferences -- that's all! All the other Macs will see your music library and your playlist in their iTunes window. Apple makes sharing music around your house really very easy!
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post #10 of 159
My brother got an iBook recently, for ~3 years(since he sold his g4 tower) he's used a PC, He built a pretty buff gaming rig last year, and now that he has his iBook he BARELY uses his PC.

I mean, he still does use it to watch movies and play games, but the *vast* majority of his computing is on the couch or bed with his iBook.

When people look at what they 'want' and what they 'need' they often don't really know what they hell they are talking about
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post #11 of 159
Quote:
Originally posted by BZ
You should read this article...

http://www.billpalmer.net/com000159.html

The net, net of it is that there are no $499 PCs, just hype, discounts and empty boxes with no frills.

The reality is that you get what you pay for and Apple is never going to sell a bare bones system without the proper ports and configuration.

BZ

Bad article. Very misleading. There are, indeed $499 PCs. And his reconfigurations are off. Bad thing to do just to try to prove your point. Getting something a little more usable than Dell's $499 PC (adding DVD/CD-RW+optical mouse) brought me to $620.

But that's not the point at all. The point is that users might not need or care about firewire or an uber graphics card. Maybe grandma just wants to use AOL to see pics of her grandkids. And to grandma, being on a fixed income, the extra $200 means a lot. She doesn't know anything about computers and doesn't realize that she'll be turning the thing off and leaving it off within a year out of frustration (if not sooner because it's filled with viruses).

Grandma doesn't know any of this. But she should. The reason she doesn't is because Apple is and always has been terrible at marketing. In fact, Apple is pretty darn bad at all things business related. Maybe now that Steve has a few more grey hairs, things will get better. Don't count on it though.
post #12 of 159
Quote:
Originally posted by Faeylyn
Bad article. Very misleading. There are, indeed $499 PCs. And his reconfigurations are off. Bad thing to do just to try to prove your point. Getting something a little more usable than Dell's $499 PC (adding DVD/CD-RW+optical mouse) brought me to $620.

I just went to Dells site, choose the $449 Dell Dimension 2400. I then didn't change anything, and just clicked on continue, and the price jumpted to $849! So I went through and turned everything to the lowest priced settings, and got a machine for $488 (it was a pretty shitty machine...)

So I would say the article is pretty good in that when you go to these sites looking for a $449 computer, you don't get it with out some tinkering. Do you think Grandma would know to change settings (or even what settings to change) to get her machine for $449. She would just end up with the $849 priced system.

And don't even get me started with mail-in rebates. I just sent in 2 rebates for $50 (one for 20 the other for 30). I got the $20 rebate, but no word on the $30, and it has been over 5 months now. Both had the exact same paper work and everything. It seems like a scam to me...
post #13 of 159
Now, why would grandma be on a computer looking to buy a Dell anyway? Seems like a decently tech savvy elderly woman, haha.
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post #14 of 159
Quote:
Originally posted by Faeylyn
Bad article. Very misleading. There are, indeed $499 PCs. And his reconfigurations are off. Bad thing to do just to try to prove your point. Getting something a little more usable than Dell's $499 PC (adding DVD/CD-RW+optical mouse) brought me to $620.

But that's not the point at all. The point is that users might not need or care about firewire or an uber graphics card. Maybe grandma just wants to use AOL to see pics of her grandkids. And to grandma, being on a fixed income, the extra $200 means a lot. She doesn't know anything about computers and doesn't realize that she'll be turning the thing off and leaving it off within a year out of frustration (if not sooner because it's filled with viruses).

Grandma doesn't know any of this. But she should. The reason she doesn't is because Apple is and always has been terrible at marketing. In fact, Apple is pretty darn bad at all things business related. Maybe now that Steve has a few more grey hairs, things will get better. Don't count on it though.

Wha Wha Wha What!!! Apple "Bad" at advertising? I would think that if someone were to make a Top Ten list of things that Apple is great at... advertising would be pretty close to the top of the list... ever hear of the iPod?
post #15 of 159
Quote:
Originally posted by kupan787
I just went to Dells site, choose the $449 Dell Dimension 2400. I then didn't change anything, and just clicked on continue, and the price jumpted to $849! So I went through and turned everything to the lowest priced settings, and got a machine for $488 (it was a pretty shitty machine...)

So I would say the article is pretty good in that when you go to these sites looking for a $449 computer, you don't get it with out some tinkering. Do you think Grandma would know to change settings (or even what settings to change) to get her machine for $449. She would just end up with the $849 priced system.

And don't even get me started with mail-in rebates. I just sent in 2 rebates for $50 (one for 20 the other for 30). I got the $20 rebate, but no word on the $30, and it has been over 5 months now. Both had the exact same paper work and everything. It seems like a scam to me...

Another tedious debate. Sigh....

The article's main theme is about a $500 computer not being a reality. That's simply not true. And, BTW, I did just go to Dell (AGAIN) and was able to get their $499 computer by using all the defaults. Maybe you're going through a different route. In either case, that to has nothing to do with the FACT that you CAN get a PC for $499 from Dell.

Now neither you nor I may like what you get for $500, but that's a completely different story.

I've received every rebate I've ever sent for - including ones from both Dell and HP. I realize that they count on people not bothering or waiting until it's too late, but that doesn't change the FACT that you CAN get a $500 PC.

People really need to stop worshipping at the doorsteps of Apple. You can argue that what you get for $500 is garbage. You can argue that it would take another $500 to get it up to the same thing as the $800 eMac, but you CANNOT argue about it not being available.
post #16 of 159
Quote:
Originally posted by Joey
Wha Wha Wha What!!! Apple "Bad" at advertising? I would think that if someone were to make a Top Ten list of things that Apple is great at... advertising would be pretty close to the top of the list... ever hear of the iPod?

I said Apple was bad at marketing. They are. If it's significant news when Apple comes out with a new ad that it gets people on these boards all hyped-up, that's a perfect indication that they're marketing is in need of a major overhaul.
post #17 of 159
Quote:
Originally posted by kupan787
I just went to Dells site, choose the $449 Dell Dimension 2400. I then didn't change anything, and just clicked on continue, and the price jumpted to $849! etc etc

I did the same thing and clicked on the N series (no OS) then clicked though to the end... same price ! I think it was 549 or something.. Dell probably figures that people who specifically want a computer with no OS will take the time to configure their system.

The other auto-upgrading probably manages to squeeze a few extra dollars out of people who are attracted by the low price to begin with by "suggesting" upgrades they might not have thought of.

I doubt people who are looking to spend $500 on anything just click through to the end and pay (or not), I know I always look and Im sure most other people do too.

For example... I might go to Dell's web site to purchase their new $500 computer, then they ask me to customize it, so I go through the list not realising how all the little things add up (faster proc, bigger hdd, more ram etc) then when I get to the checkout Im surprised to find it now costs $900 ! but Ive already invested time in time so its not difficult to go back and make a few corrections, get it down to something a little more reasonable. So I half the RAM I wanted, but I want a large hard drive (bigger is better right) and well I dont really know about processors anyway but I do know 2.0GHZ is faster than my last computer so that should be good enough. So now Ive convinced myself to spend a little more money than I would have originally and Im quite happy to do so (now my computer is customized the way I want it).

I dislike Dell and preach the joy of mac whenever given the opportunity, but I agree with the other guy who said the article is misleading because it is. Not everyone needs firewire or a kick ass graphics card and if I dont want it I wont pay for it. I onlyu own one firewire device, an external hard drive that also supports USB 2.0. So firewire isn't exactly a deal breaker for me... I would never buy Intel integrated graphics personally but plenty of people dont even know the difference, even "computer people".

If Apple knocked $50 off the Emac and sold it headless I for one would happily buy one (because of OS X)... it's the CRT (and form factor) that keeps me at bay and we all know how much PC we could get for the price of an FP Imac (also dont like the form factor).
post #18 of 159
Thread Starter 
All the talk about grandma buying on the internet. Someone would just take her to a store like CompUSA where she can get a $459.97 Compaq mini-tower with 40 GB hard drive and CD-RW. Then she may add a $114.98 17 inch monitor for grand total of $574.95. No rebates needed for these prices from what I saw, and these are not the lowest prices in town. The 17 inch CRT monitors often sell for under $100.
post #19 of 159
duplicate post...

sorry.
post #20 of 159
faeylyn I checked out the site multiple ways all of them are with combonation combo mail in and instant rebates really. Also I doubt your argument about bad advertising... not only does it illicit a huge response per cost per point ratio it really does develop a buzz... when local news reports about those switch ads I mean c'mon... dell and hp get some of the lowest cost per point direct ratios I've heard, and they are always up for recommission as well. As well as not having a real unifying message. Also compare campaigns between microsoft and apple... see who follows lead after apple... usually microsoft... One thing apple isn't allowed to do is show any movie of the OS I hear on television in a paid advertisement.. and though part of their agreements are over I think steve and bill like the way things are, and are not really ready for a change. Oh and as long as it illicits a response its considered good, and thats how the ad industry really works. Look at how the howard stern show worked... the people who listened to it the most were the people who hated it. Also apple as a brand is strong! you don't want people thinking imac, nor ipod... you want them to think apple, and when they go and find out their apple ipod they check out their other offerings usually too if made available. People really take notice too. One thing wrong with a lot of you people is apple is meeting all its goals... yet nothing is good enough for us heh.
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post #21 of 159
Faelyn, take a screenshot and post it, will you? I just spent 10 minutes configuring at Dell, and I got down to $637. i honestly can't figure out what else I was supposed to strip out to get the price lower.
post #22 of 159
15" iMac LCD
2x1.0 GHz 7447 G4
64 MB video
40 GB drive
256 MB memory
combo optical
$1099

17" iMac LCD
2x1.25 GHz 7447 G4
128 MB video
40 GB drive
256 MB memory
combo optical
$1399

20" iMac LCD
2x1.25 GHz 7447 G4
128 MB video
80 GB drive
512 MB memory
combo drive
$1799

The configurations could be replaced by 1.6, 1.8 and 2.0 GHz 970fx CPUs and it'll be about the same performance. It'll justify the price tag, maybe even $100 more, and assuming Apple could get a 1 GHz 7447 for $75 or a 1.6 GHz 970fx for $150.

Still the big problem is that they cost $1100 to $1800 even if it is competitive. That is an expensive range for "consumers". Apple needs to offer a competitive, read "attractive", product in a $900-to-$1300 range to really hit the sweet spot for consumers. So as of right now, they need to offer about 2.8 GHz P4 performance with an LCD monitor in the range of $900 to $1300.

Sort of depressing that Apple is totally ceding the sub-$1000 computer market with the exception of the eMac, which has a rather poor reputation, deserved or not.
post #23 of 159
Quote:
Originally posted by mrmister
Faelyn, take a screenshot and post it, will you? I just spent 10 minutes configuring at Dell, and I got down to $637. i honestly can't figure out what else I was supposed to strip out to get the price lower.

The mix-up usually occurs after one clicks on "customize it" for the Dimension 2400 system. After that is the "Select Base Components" page. Don't customize from there. There is a "Featured Systems" box on the right of the page for a "Value Priced" system. Clicking on "customize and price" from there will get you the $449 system.
post #24 of 159
I think all of you give way to much credit to most computer users. Most people will buy a computer of whatever price. Than when they run into problems they will say "my computer is so slow", "my computer is messed up", "my computer is old", "I need a new one". They don't understand that something is wrong, they think that is just how computers are. I don't think it's necessarily Apple's fault that people don't know that isn't how it has to be, but that is how people think.

You know what you've learned, so if you never learned that is how computers are than you will accept that and just buy another computer when yours gets really bad. And probably since you know your computer will get messed up and you'll need another one in 3-7 years you'll get a cheap one. PC companies advertise cheap even if they don't pull through. Well cheap draws you in, once your in you buy, simple as that.

It hurts Apple, but I don't have a problem with them being honest about their prices.
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post #25 of 159
And all the above confusion further reiterates how simple it really is now to buy a Mac!! (just thinking of the days less than 8 years ago when you could hardly find anything Apple in a retail circuit that wasn't 6 months out-of-date.....'ve come a long way!)
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post #26 of 159
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by THT


. . . Sort of depressing that Apple is totally ceding the sub-$1000 computer market with the exception of the eMac, which has a rather poor reputation, deserved or not.


How true. It's my real hope that Apple will change their tune about really low cost Macs, meaning something under $500 without monitor. Such a model has several marketing strengths:

1) It establishes an attractive price starting point. If a sign on an Apple store said "The Macintosh, starting at $499," it would surely get more attention and more folks in the store looking at Macs. My neighbor only had one question when he was in the market, "What's the lowest priced Mac I can get?" Anything I said after $799 didn't register, I am sure. He never took the time to even look at a new Mac, but ended up paying almost that much for a Dell. Many folks who start off wanting the low priced model end up get something better. If Apple had a low priced model, it would be no different. Many folks who consider the low price Mac would end up buying a better Mac.

2) It is competitive for institutional purchases, for schools and businesses. Many require nothing more than a simple client for many of their stations. No need for FireWire, a modem or even an optical drive in some cases. Just Ethernet and couple USB ports. Graphics good enough for the internet and an office suite are sufficient, and could be on the motherboard. Such chips are available now for $10 from what I understand. For this market, a 1.0 GHz IBM 750GX would be good enough and really cheap.

3) A low priced Mac without a display lets buyers get by cheaper, when they already have a monitor. It also needs a low cost way to offer options for items like a modem, FireWire and better optical drive. An entry level Mac like this would get more people to switch, and get current Mac users to replace some of their old Macs now in service. I have three Macs. The G5 is in another room for the serious work, like playing Halo! The other two are Beige G3 desktops. I'm in the office on a 300 MHz G3, which we use just for email, internet and word processing. The other Beige G3 is dedicated to a music keyboard. Files get transfered to the G5 for burning a CD. The work these Beige G3s do is not demanding, and I would be tempted to replace them with a small, inexpensive Mac, if Apple had one for sale. I don't believe many current Mac users would buy a low end Mac as their only Mac.
post #27 of 159
Back to the original point about what can be done to differentiate the Mac from el cheapo PCs. What is the Mac that took off because it was different? The iMac of course. It was different in two big ways: it was an all in one design and it had color, then colors.

My opinion is that Apple's biggest mistake with the current iMac (besides being overpriced) is that there is no choice of color. If you read people's opinion of the new iPod mini they always mention the colors as being something that makes it cool. All white is just as boring as all beige. If people didn't like frivolous things like color we would all be dressed in Mao jackets. I think the problem is that if you look at the top at Apple it is all MEN! It may sound sexist, but women really do look at things they buy in a different way. When the original iMac came out I was finally able to talk my sister into buying a Mac and a big big reason was because she could choose her favorite color. Of course Apple needs to update the iMac to a G5 and lower the price, but they also need to bring it back in colors.

As far as marketing goes I also feel Apple needs a new shtick. The ads they run never give people an impression of just how easy Macs are to use compared to Windows. Look at the current iMac. As far as I know they only had one commercial for it...that guy looking in the window. I know Apple likes to be cool, but just show a family sitting around looking at iPhoto while they adjust the screen for each one to get a better view. Then people will understand why the iMac comes with a screen on an arm. Or show someone using all the iApps to make a polished DVD.

Many people I know used Macs years ago and still have in their mind that the OS still works like system 7! Show them all what OSX has to offer. Hype the lack of viruses, spyware, adware, etc.

I spend a lot of time on the Mac forum at dpreview.com (digital photo site) and I have been really amazed at how many switchers keep showing up there. Also a lot of potential switchers who are asking about Macs and almost everyone I can think of lately has ended up ordering a new Mac. So Apple is making an impression with people who take the time to find out what sort of computer works best for them. The people they are loosing are the ones who keep hearing about this internet thing and wander into compusa or bestbuy having no idea that Macs are any different than a PC. They just buy what some know nothing salesman tells them to buy.
post #28 of 159
Quote:
Originally posted by Wrong Robot
the iApps(including things like mail.app, stickies, address book, preview and graphic converter) and the OS are worth at least $400 in my book, and they are free with a new computer.

Also, the whole seamlessness/efficiency of the system is worth more than $$

NoT free, INCLUDED in the price.
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post #29 of 159
I am sorry, but Apple does not care about Grandma.

The point is that Apple is not going after the cheap, PC market for a number of reasons. One, it is very low margin business (hard to make money) and two it is already ruled by some big players. Lastly, it shows no amount of creativity or ingenuity, just pumping out machine after machine.

So, Grandma can go to CompUSA and buy her $500 PC and in a year when it breaks or can't do the next thing she wants to do, she will have to buy another.

I think what people forget about first time users buying PCs is that they don't really know what they can do, so the buy a computer based on what they think they will want to do like "surf the web" and "send email" and "write documents'. These users usually come back within 6 months saying, "I heard that I can do X on my computer... is that true?" or "Sally down the street has these, photos, on her computer, can I do that?". The great thing about selling someone a Mac (or helping them buy one) is that when they come back to ask you that question, you can say, "Yes, you have iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, etc.."

The sub $500 market is saturated and boring. Apple will never dominate the computer industry, they will always be under 10%, but at roughly a 100,000,000 users that is not bad (figures based on 25,000,000 for 3%).

BZ
post #30 of 159
Quote:
Originally posted by a_greer
NoT free, INCLUDED in the price.

sort of, but not entirely, if you buy a powerbook and it comes with jaguar it'll cost you $2500, then let's say panther is released 2 months later, and you're friend buys a powerbook, it will cost him $2500 and will include panther. You will have to spend $129 to get panther.

ya know?

They are included free if you ask me, I'm sure that the MSRP is affected by including all the software, but either way, you get a major discount.
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post #31 of 159
Quote:
Originally posted by Joey
Wha Wha Wha What!!! Apple "Bad" at advertising? I would think that if someone were to make a Top Ten list of things that Apple is great at... advertising would be pretty close to the top of the list... ever hear of the iPod?

i........pod? never heard of it, i also heard something last summer about 'the worlds fastest personl computer' i think it was a...um...dell? NO WAIT, it was the dell dude being launched through a house and into a tree because of the sheer speed of the....um...power...OH yea, power mac G5
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post #32 of 159
the iPod is the only time apple has actually stepped it up with advertising and REALLY tried hard to saturate the message.

All their other ads, while clever, or cute, or well produced, don't do anything.

Not only that, but I friggin see Dell computer ads all the time, I rarely see apple ads(except on MTV and that's for iTunes)

Apple needs a good ad campaign, that basically says "if you want a toy, get a PC, if you want a REAL computer, get an apple...here's why: X,Y,Z"

and they need to actually get Ad time and play these ads so that people actually SEE them, what good is an ad no one sees?

[/pscates]
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orange you just glad?
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post #33 of 159
Several post have commented on how well Apple has done marketing iPod, iTunes, and let's not forget about Quicktime.

Here's a thought... why not include a promotional
DVD with every iPod that showcases the cool features
of Panther?

Apple could produce some slick 1 minute, 5 minute, 10 minute promo showing people what they could do with a Mac.

Because most iPod buyers are Windows users they may not realize what they could do with a new Mac.

Sure not everybody would watch these, but even if 20% of the people who bought an iPod put it in there
DVD player and watched it they might get some more switchers.

Apple owners who don't need the DVD could give them to
their Windows using friends and open up their eyes to what they're missing.
post #34 of 159
Quote:
Originally posted by snoopy
How true. It's my real hope that Apple will change their tune about really low cost Macs, meaning something under $500 without monitor. Such a model has several marketing strengths:

1) It establishes an attractive price starting point. If a sign on an Apple store said "The Macintosh, starting at $499," it would surely get more attention and more folks in the store looking at Macs. My neighbor only had one question when he was in the market, "What's the lowest priced Mac I can get?" Anything I said after $799 didn't register, I am sure. He never took the time to even look at a new Mac, but ended up paying almost that much for a Dell. Many folks who start off wanting the low priced model end up get something better. If Apple had a low priced model, it would be no different. Many folks who consider the low price Mac would end up buying a better Mac.

2) It is competitive for institutional purchases, for schools and businesses. Many require nothing more than a simple client for many of their stations. No need for FireWire, a modem or even an optical drive in some cases. Just Ethernet and couple USB ports. Graphics good enough for the internet and an office suite are sufficient, and could be on the motherboard. Such chips are available now for $10 from what I understand. For this market, a 1.0 GHz IBM 750GX would be good enough and really cheap.

3) A low priced Mac without a display lets buyers get by cheaper, when they already have a monitor. It also needs a low cost way to offer options for items like a modem, FireWire and better optical drive. An entry level Mac like this would get more people to switch, and get current Mac users to replace some of their old Macs now in service. I have three Macs. The G5 is in another room for the serious work, like playing Halo! The other two are Beige G3 desktops. I'm in the office on a 300 MHz G3, which we use just for email, internet and word processing. The other Beige G3 is dedicated to a music keyboard. Files get transfered to the G5 for burning a CD. The work these Beige G3s do is not demanding, and I would be tempted to replace them with a small, inexpensive Mac, if Apple had one for sale. I don't believe many current Mac users would buy a low end Mac as their only Mac.

sorry snoop, but you might want to take some business classes. you seem to understand that other manufacturers don't really offer sub-$500 computers, just a bait-and-switch. what you fail to recognize in suggesting that apple follow suit is that the "Apple Experience" on a sub-$500 Mac would suck. the iApps really require a G4 or powerful G3 to be at all effective. the OS also has pretty high requirements in order to feel powerful. you've really gotta have quartz extreme, which means no low-end integrated GFX or anything (like all of the cheap PC's). basically, you'd end up with the kind of Mac that we'd all be ashamed of, and new users would find at least as unimpressive as the cheap PC's.

the big difference is that Apple survives on the experience it provides to users. Apple's "brand image" would be destroyed. you think PC zealots give us a hard time know? can you imagine what they would say if Apple offered a cheap (sh!tty) Mac that couldn't really provide the "Macintosh Experience" cuz some of the iApps wouldn't run on it, and it's audio and video performance were sub-par? Apple has already had it's once glorious reputation of being "way ahead in all things audio and video" fade away. Remember how Mac zealots always hated when PC guys would say "yeah, Macs are good for graphics and audio stuff, but not real work"? Well, those days are gone, and aside from the iPod, and the less pervasive understanding that Macs offer the best DV editing, PC people don't have anything left to "give us" credit for.

that said, the reality of the Mac platform today is much better. Almost any task can be done better, and more efficiently on a Mac. Sure a TOTL P4 w/HT might compress divx faster, but that's not a real-world task for more than 1% of people, 1% of the time.

what Apple really needs to do is find a way to show people that specs are one thing, but accomplishing tasks in an easy and efficient way is what computing is (should be) really about. They haven't done that at all.
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"The Matrix is here, and it's vegan-friendly." (TM) 2004, Trinity Life Systems
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post #35 of 159
Just wanted to share an experience. I belong to a parenting board, and a lady on the board asked about new laptops, so I did the usual and gave her links to the iBook and PowerBook. She never made comments about the Mac one way or another.

The reason she wants to get a second machine is that the burner in her tower doesn't work right. They reinstalled widows? and it got worse. So the tower would be for kids games and internet for her mother. She would have the laptop with a wireless network all to herself.

She came back and asked me what I thought of a Dell and gave me the specs she was looking at. I didn't like the specs, so I told her so. She asked me if I would take a look at their site and see what I would think was a good configuration for the $$$. Every time I did this it was at least $2100.

I could not get a good $$$ to feature ratio. I tried like hell and it just didn't work.

Everytime I got to the end there was always something additional they had thown in that I missed unchecking. The two biggest ones where a totebag and a surge suppressor. $60.00 in extra crap that I didn't want in the equation.

I have never liked Dell's web site. But I have had good experiences with calling them on the phone. The people I have talked to have always been very good at helping with putting a system together for my clients.
post #36 of 159
$500 PCs? I saw one at walmart today.

It was an emachine with a 2.6 Celeron, CD-RW drive, 256 RAM, 17" flat CRT monitor and 40gb hardrinve, all in one box. It was advertised as internet ready and included about 5 USB ports. There is also a Compaq with similar pricing and specs.

here is a link:

$500 pcs

compaq equivalent

For $700 you can get an HP with a 2.6 Pentium 4, 40gb hard drive, combo drive and a 15" LCD screen. The $799 emac doesn't look like such a great deal anymore.


And check out the laptop side of things!

For $1000 at my local Walmart I can get an HP notebook with an all-in-one printer Celeron/Combo drive/15" screen/256/40gb


This is why apple's seem extremely expensive.

For the cost of an entry level emac you can buy a PC with a photo printer and 2mega pixel digital camera. Shopping wisely and not includng mail-in rebates.

emachine/compaq in a box $500
HP 7200 photosmart $100
Printer cable $20
Samsung 240 digital camera $140
Photoshop Album $50 (to aproximate iphoto)

For my $800 I got a printer, computer, camera, and photo orginaizing software. Or I could have one emac. It is a tough call for consumers to make.
post #37 of 159
Quote:
For $700 you can get an HP with a 2.6 Pentium 4, 40gb hard drive, combo drive and a 15" LCD screen. The $799 emac doesn't look like such a great deal anymore.

Neither does this deal. Sure I'm supposed to be enticed by the 2.6Ghz P4 but crappy LCDs are worse that decent CRTs. That's not all that hot when you consider the eMac is already long in the tooth and ready for an update whilst this machine is fairly new.

Quote:
This is why apple's seem extremely expensive.

Apples seem expensive because consumers still don't know the salient features of a computer hence they can only compare Megahertz, Megabytes etc and try and make sense of it all.

Quote:
For my $800 I got a printer, computer, camera, and photo orginaizing software. Or I could have one emac. It is a tough call for consumers to make.

Indeed it is but from Apples perspective they must be thinking along the lines of "If a consumer is on the fence over a couple of hundred dollars then odds are they're not a profitable consumer"

In a perfect world $500 computers would generate ample profits but the reality is that person that purchased the $500 loss leader is just as much a Tech support drag as the person that purchased the $1500 profitable computer. Apple is smart to avoid this.
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post #38 of 159
Unless the cost of manufacturing goes way down I don't think we will see a $500 Mac anytime soon. And I really don't think that the lack of a $500 Mac is hurting Apple's sales right now. The problem is their current low end offerings.

Right now Apples low end computer is the $799 eMac, and it is pretty much a bad joke of a machine. It comes with 128 megs of RAM (that's the joke part), and 1 GHz G4 on a slow bus. Top it off with a slow video card, and what you get is kind of pathetic by todays standards. The current eMac is at the end of it's life cycle folks, we all know it, and it is really starting to show.

Shortly we will see the next version of the eMac/iMac line, and if Apple aggressively ups the specs, the market share will follow. Would any of us really be complaining about Apple's pricing if the $799 eMac came with a 2GHz G5 on a fast bus, and a Radeon 8600XT?
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post #39 of 159
Quote:
Originally posted by Res
Unless the cost of manufacturing goes way down I don't think we will see a $500 Mac anytime soon. And I really don't think that the lack of a $500 Mac is hurting Apple's sales right now. The problem is their current low end offerings.

I'm wondering why Apple doesn't offer a "Switcher Mac": Switchers already do have a monitor, so an all-in-one Mac is not really cost effective for them. Currently, barebone PCs in cube format are very popular. If Apple could offer a Cube II (a bit bigger than the old one to make cooling etc. more easy and the keep production costs down) that costs less than an iMac, this might be a machine that could be attracive to potential switchers.
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post #40 of 159
Quote:
Originally posted by GSpotter
I'm wondering why Apple doesn't offer a "Switcher Mac": Switchers already do have a monitor, so an all-in-one Mac is not really cost effective for them. Currently, barebone PCs in cube format are very popular. If Apple could offer a Cube II (a bit bigger than the old one to make cooling etc. more easy and the keep production costs down) that costs less than an iMac, this might be a machine that could be attracive to potential switchers.

The concept of the Cube was surely cool, and developing an "iCube" as its cheaper successor seems possible. But still, there is quite a small market waiting for such a machine. Forget switchers, they are used to installing PCI cards, adding RAM, DVD-RWs, fans, etc. They want a real size tower that is expandable. Beginners want an easy machine -- and might be better off with an all-in-one eMac or iMac. Pro users want a full-size PowerMac anyway. So who is buying such an "iCube" anyway? Maybe it just has to be Apple's answer to all those crappy sub-500$ PCs...
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