Originally posted by Matsu
There is no evidence to support that.
Unfortunately you're right, Im not privvy to wholesale pricing, and can only speculate.
Even the furthest possible deviation from my analysis still puts desktop drives at the same cost (while offering a minimum of twice the storage, and superior speed)
Actually, I think it puts 2.5" at a lower cost. Which is the point I was making. It is not relevant to Apple that you can get a bigger, faster drive for a few dollars more. That doesnt fit with what the Mini as a whole is.
If there were any economies of scale to be exploited in the use of 2.5" drives, other, far more cost conscious, manufacturers than Apple would have been using them in
desktops for months!
Mainstream manufacturers have different scenarios to what Apple faces with the Mini. However, it is only recently that laptops have reached 50% market share ( last couple of months ). I think we will see 2.5" drives penetrate the low end market fairly quickly. It is important to note that Apple will be paying more for the 80 gb drive, so it may not fit other companies plans to have various modes within a lineup using different drives.
I worked for a white box shop in '97 that used 2.5" drives as standard even then. Even with the additional cost of the IDE adapter and the drive bay adapter ( 2.5" drives dont really play well in the ATX world ) they were price and capacity competitive with other shops in the area.
Likewise, if there were any real money to be saved in making a computer extra compact, those same manufacturers would already be doing so. They aren't, because there isn't. It's that simple.
Because they arent in the market that Apple is in. I cant speak to the cost of abandoning standard ATX components, but it is huge. Apple have massive capital investment to allow them to operate their custom everything model. Even today they are still designing their own custom ASICs. There just arent any other mass market manufacturers who do that. Smaller companies just dont have the margins ( in the PC market ) to support that effort.
The reality is that what is cost effective for Apple ( because of how they already operate ) may well be wrong for another company.
You CAN save shipping costs by getting more machines on a palette, but it's the size of the container, not the device, that counts. Look at the mini packaging, you could easily put a machine of twice the volume into the same box, ergo, NO ADDITIONAL SHIPPING COSTS.
But Apple air ship their products direct from Taiwan and China. How many other manufacturers do that? Weight is vital in air shipping. Even in sea shipping everything is standard container sizes. Every extra one costs more. Even ignoring weight, Im sure that Apple have the minimum packaging required to protect the machine in transit. They will know how many DOAs they get with a certain volume of packaging, and those numbers will be optimised to minimise cost to Apple from having to perform tech support/replacements.
Trust me, the desire to make it small, has more to do with the Mini's intended role as a bait for consumers. Apple wants those people to buy other more expensive macs, and hampers your ability to upgrade the mini in order to accomplish that.
Apple will have very carefully optimised the profit margin on this machine to make it practical for them. Sure, it has to meet a certain marketing position ( which I think it does ), but Apple have demonstrated a streak of ruthlessness when it comes to axing projects that arent going to hit the spot in more ways than one. The cube demonstrates what happens when everything isnt carefully considered. The PDA project is another example. Apple are stepping very, very carefully. Their uphill battle is slippery.
I just think it is short sighted to look at the retail cost of drives and then complain that Apple could have given the Mini a 3.5" drive and kept it at the same price point. It is vastly more complicated than that.
All stuff about AIO
I see two things at play here. Apple is still stuck under the boot of their CPU manufacturers. IBM still isnt manufacturing enough/cheaply enough, Moto still hasnt ramped up the G4 clock speed. It is improving, but slowly. It makes no sense for Apple to sacrifice their high end high margin to sell the same number of cheap low margin machines.
Apple are looking to a future of information appliances. The Mac has always strived for this. But I think the Mini is the first true realisation of it.