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Apple's HD future, the mini-mac, the big change - Page 2

post #41 of 163
Basically I just wanted to say Matsu - you hit the nail on the head. I think anyone who disagrees is an Apple apologist type/zealot who thinks Apple has no secret motive and can do no wrong because they are one of the "good" companies.

I honestly can't believe people are talking about the extra cost of shipping and weight. Shipping and packaging and what not is part of doing business - while it does matter it isn't going to decide the design of what a computers dimensions are going to be - I mean that's just an absolute joke. This thing weighs less than iBooks - yet they manage to ship those comparable to every other computer manufacturer in the US with regard to price/features.

I can't understand why anyone would think using slower/more expensive hard drives would have any benefit - yes they might have gotten a discout since it's the same drive in the laptops but guess what! They use those ide drives in their desktops which use quite a bit of those same drives they could be using with more space in them which would have let them STILL get a discount.

Seriously I can't believe you people sometimes.
post #42 of 163
Quote:
Originally posted by PeePeeSee
Basically I just wanted to say Matsu - you hit the nail on the head. I think anyone who disagrees is an Apple apologist type/zealot who thinks Apple has no secret motive and can do no wrong because they are one of the "good" companies.

I don't really understand this line of argument. Granting Matsu's line of speculation, and acknowledging the incredibly positive reception that the $499 price point has received, the cynical thing to believe would be that Apple would use the cheap parts, and so make more money per unit. We know that Apple engineered the thing to be profitable for them. It's no loss leader. That makes the question more interesting.

Clearly, there's more going on here than just component cost reduction.

I'm going to advance a hypothetical argument that inverts his. I'm not claiming that I'm "right," and he's "wrong," because we can't possibly know that—my intention is to show that there are other ways to see this.

The component "stacking" and the snap-on case assembly make the mini look for all the world like an iPod. What if Apple realized that the iPod design had been refined to a level of manufacturability that would really help the bottom line if applied to a Mac? Eyeballing it, it looks like the thing could be machine assembled all the way to the very end, which gives you significant cost reductions and excellent scalability and consistency of manufacture.

Say that "make this so we can build it like an iPod" was an early design goal. So, after-the-fact upgradability is the first thing to go out the window. Given that: There's no point in having two RAM slots, so that's gone, and if it's going to be small and unexpandable, you might as well take that as far as you can: Small means low-risk, non-threatening, no big commitment or imposition here. It also triggers geek fetishes in a bad way. If you look at the picture of the innards, there really is hardly any slack: The hard drive and optical drive stack up to about the height and width of the RAM chip, for instance. So, let's say that once the team had gotten the costs down, they were actually able to splurge on smaller parts to serve the additional goal of making the mini "sexy," or at least not risky, from a psychological and aesthetic point of view.

In brief, what if the design was driven by manufacturability as a major cost reduction (works for iPods: Compare the price of an iPod to the retail price of its drive!), and miniaturization (also an iPod characteristic)? User upgradability was not sacrificed to the latter, but to the former: If you build it so that a robot can just snap the case together, then good luck taking it back apart.

Quote:
I can't understand why anyone would think using slower/more expensive hard drives would have any benefit

Besides the fact that Apple can buy them in bulk, the slower hard drives have two other desirable characteristics: They run cool, and they run quiet. The drive in the mini has an 8MB cache, which means that most file accesses will be effectively RAM-to-RAM transactions, much faster than any transfer from a drive platter.

Quote:
They use those ide drives in their desktops which use quite a bit of those same drives they could be using with more space in them which would have let them STILL get a discount.

So you're saying that they're soaking the extra cost for no reason? Or that they'd have been able to offer the mini for $493.56 if only they'd shipped a bigger, hotter, cheaper drive?

Perhaps it's unbelievable to you, but it seems reasonable to me to assume that Apple had some reason to go with what appear to be pricier components in a low-end machine. What they did would only be cynical if the slower drives were cheaper. But they aren't.
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post #43 of 163
THIS IS WHY I LOVE THE MAC COMMUNITY!

OPENING YOUR MAC MINI - THE MOVIE <">

/http://www.smashsworld.com/2005/01/taking-apart-mac-mini-how-to.php
Get it before it's banned!
post #44 of 163
As per usual, my comments are misconstrued: given the calm unbiased tenor of my posts, I fail to see why. HAHA...

Ola Amorph, Sure there's other stuff going on in the design process. Apple has certainly gone for the digital appliance look because they feel it is the best way to make the mini appealing enough without threatening their AIO business. Apple still wants you to buy AIO's. I believe that.

I also think that the whole story of the mini is not told, and given the impending ubiquity of high quality and cheap displays, the performance of the mini in the market will cause Apple to rethink the ideal computing form-factor for consumers.

However, I do not think that the reaction to the mini would be any less favorable if the device were a cube, say 6.5"^3, and incorporated a higher spec for the same 499-599 prices. There are benefits to that tact, not the least of which are the use of more robust desktop components. It also allows the power supply to come inboard, eliminating desktop clutter, while keeping the same footprint and leaving potential for more powerful internals in future revisions.

I'm not too concerned about it, really, if the mini does well, I expect to see more and more varied "appliance" macs... a "powermac mini" perhaps?

I'm just pointing out that, as sold, the mini isn't really a very good iLife capable mac, you can make it one,, but you have o spend some extra dosh to get there.
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post #45 of 163
Quote:
Originally posted by Amorph
I don't really understand this line of argument. Granting Matsu's line of speculation, and acknowledging the incredibly positive reception that the $499 price point has received, the cynical thing to believe would be that Apple would use the cheap parts, and so make more money per unit. We know that Apple engineered the thing to be profitable for them. It's no loss leader. That makes the question more interesting.

Clearly, there's more going on here than just component cost reduction.

If you read over Matsu's postings he clearly states what Apples intent is - get people to buy iMacs after they buy a MiniMac - and if they don't buy an iMac - at least they bought a MiniMac. It's expensive/hard to find parts for such a machine like one gigabyte stick of ram and larger faster hard drives. So basically what they do is get a bigger discount on their laptop hard drives that they already buy and make it hard/expensive for the user to upgrade their MiniMac and basically you just go buy another mac and maybe you get another MiniMac or maybe you get one of those spiffy new iMacs where Apple probably makes more money.

Quote:
Originally posted by Amorph
I'm going to advance a hypothetical argument that inverts his. I'm not claiming that I'm "right," and he's "wrong," because we can't possibly know that&mdash;my intention is to show that there are other ways to see this.

The component "stacking" and the snap-on case assembly make the mini look for all the world like an iPod. What if Apple realized that the iPod design had been refined to a level of manufacturability that would really help the bottom line if applied to a Mac? Eyeballing it, it looks like the thing could be machine assembled all the way to the very end, which gives you significant cost reductions and excellent scalability and consistency of manufacture.

Say that "make this so we can build it like an iPod" was an early design goal. So, after-the-fact upgradability is the first thing to go out the window. Given that: There's no point in having two RAM slots, so that's gone, and if it's going to be small and unexpandable, you might as well take that as far as you can: Small means low-risk, non-threatening, no big commitment or imposition here. It also triggers geek fetishes in a bad way. If you look at the picture of the innards, there really is hardly any slack: The hard drive and optical drive stack up to about the height and width of the RAM chip, for instance. So, let's say that once the team had gotten the costs down, they were actually able to splurge on smaller parts to serve the additional goal of making the mini "sexy," or at least not risky, from a psychological and aesthetic point of view.

In brief, what if the design was driven by manufacturability as a major cost reduction (works for iPods: Compare the price of an iPod to the retail price of its drive!), and miniaturization (also an iPod characteristic)? User upgradability was not sacrificed to the latter, but to the former: If you build it so that a robot can just snap the case together, then good luck taking it back apart.

I don't understand at all why you seem to think making it use a laptop hard drive or using only one ram slot make it easier for a robot to do it's job - I mean if this thing had four ram slots and a 3.5" hard drive with a slightly larger case configuring the machines to do such a thing seems very very trivial. Sexy? I mean - we all loved the cube and this thing is smaller than that - we are talking at best a few inches people - INCHES AT BEST - I am talking like AN INCH - ONE INCH. I just don't see them thinking yeah lets see how small we can make this thing so screw another ram slot - because that just saves SOOOOO much money and users love not being able to upgrade their machines especially the pc crowd we are trying to rope into buying a mac.



Quote:
Originally posted by Amorph
Besides the fact that Apple can buy them in bulk, the slower hard drives have two other desirable characteristics: They run cool, and they run quiet. The drive in the mini has an 8MB cache, which means that most file accesses will be effectively RAM-to-RAM transactions, much faster than any transfer from a drive platter.



So you're saying that they're soaking the extra cost for no reason? Or that they'd have been able to offer the mini for $493.56 if only they'd shipped a bigger, hotter, cheaper drive?

Apple buys every hard drive they buy in bulk so it doesn't matter. So what are we left with? Runs quiet? Newer hard drives are always coming up with ways to reduce sound - heat? They do that too - I saw a thread here or somewhere about a guy who swapped out his older slower drive with a newer one and it was cooler and sounded about just the same. Areial density is going up up up. What else are we left with - 8MB cache? That's nothing special - many hard drives have that. So what do we have left - they run slower and cost more money to the end user - but Apple can make it harder for the end user to upgrade and they get to have a discount on their laptop hard drives and use them in desktop machines.

Quote:
Originally posted by Amorph
Perhaps it's unbelievable to you, but it seems reasonable to me to assume that Apple had some reason to go with what appear to be pricier components in a low-end machine. What they did would only be cynical if the slower drives were cheaper. But they aren't.

Again - Matsu clearly stated why they went with such configurations. Good for them - bad for the user.
post #46 of 163
Quote:
Originally posted by PeePeeSee

I don't understand at all why you seem to think making it use a laptop hard drive or using only one ram slot make it easier for a robot to do it's job

You have my reasoning exactly backward: The case assembly (borrowed from the iPod) makes it easier for the robot to do its job, and given that the case assembly is not easy to pry open, there's no point engineering the insides to be user upgradable.

That was my line of speculation: What if they started with "can we build a Mac the way we build an iPod?" From there, the very first step is to realize that the Mac wouldn't be any more internally upgradable than the iPod is. The design would proceed from there.

Quote:
I just don't see them thinking yeah lets see how small we can make this thing so screw another ram slot

Again, you have my reasoning backwards: As a direct consequence of the first design decision, the case isn't easy to open, so there's no point providing two RAM slots, so there's no point making the case bigger.


Quote:
Runs quiet? Newer hard drives are always coming up with ways to reduce sound - heat? They do that too

True. With the notebook drives more than with the desktop drives, because the notebook drives are under much more pressure to be cool and quiet.

Quote:
What else are we left with - 8MB cache? That's nothing special - many hard drives have that.

I never said it was. I did, however, say that it makes the spindle speed of the drive irrelevant in most cases.

Quote:
So what do we have left - they run slower and cost more money to the end user - but Apple can make it harder for the end user to upgrade and they get to have a discount on their laptop hard drives and use them in desktop machines.

To what end? Can you explain the iMac in these terms?

It seems much more obvious to me that they started with the realization that building the Mac mini like an iPod would be the major savings, and everything else followed from that.

Quote:
Again - Matsu clearly stated why they went with such configurations. Good for them - bad for the user.

Right, because Apple is part of a massive conspiracy against its users, because that's good for them. That's why the iMac isn't upgradable at all&mdash;oh, wait....

That kind of cynicism is cheap generally, and doesn't make any sense to me in this instance.
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post #47 of 163
Quote:
Originally posted by Matsu
There is no evidence to support that. 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)

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! 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.

http://db.tidbits.com/getbits.acgi?tbart=07952

"Interestingly, although using a 2.5-inch laptop drive might have seemed unnecessarily expensive, the word is that by the time Apple calculated the total cost of the less-expensive but larger 3.5-inch drives, the diminutive laptop drives turned out to be an overall cheaper approach. Apple also reportedly chose, when picking components, to avoid the least expensive ones because the cost of component failure ends up being greater than the extra component cost (not to mention that customers end up happier)."

Adam knows.
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post #48 of 163
Quote:
Originally posted by Amorph
You have my reasoning exactly backward: The case assembly (borrowed from the iPod) makes it easier for the robot to do its job, and given that the case assembly is not easy to pry open, there's no point engineering the insides to be user upgradable.

That was my line of speculation: What if they started with "can we build a Mac the way we build an iPod?" From there, the very first step is to realize that the Mac wouldn't be any more internally upgradable than the iPod is. The design would proceed from there.

I understand that are saying that making it possible for a machine to do it easy reduces cost/whatever - but what you are suggesting doesn't make it any "easier" for a machine to do it's job. Engineering a machine to not be easy to open doesn't equal easy for a robot to make - but if you check out that video that was just posted on the forums the machine actually is easy to open with a putty knife. I really don't know why you bring up the iPod - this machine has the ability to upgrade the ram and add blue tooth and airport extreme - all internally, by the user or technician it is still made to be upgradeable in some aspects - obviously not all.



Quote:
Originally posted by Amorph
Again, you have my reasoning backwards: As a direct consequence of the first design decision, the case isn't easy to open, so there's no point providing two RAM slots, so there's no point making the case bigger.

Well like I said earlier it actually is easy to open so once again - they only made it hard/expensive to upgrade for the end user because it was good for them.

http://www.smashsworld.com/uploads/macminidl.php

There is the movie to open it.

Quote:
Originally posted by Amorph
True. With the notebook drives more than with the desktop drives, because the notebook drives are under much more pressure to be cool and quiet.

I never said it was. I did, however, say that it makes the spindle speed of the drive irrelevant in most cases.

Yes notebook hard drives are under more pressure but - the difference isn't that much IMO when you sacrafice that much performance/ability to upgrade/price.

Spindle speed can make a difference in some things - I certainly would want more instead of less - especially at that speed.


Quote:
Originally posted by Amorph
It seems much more obvious to me that they started with the realization that building the Mac mini like an iPod would be the major savings, and everything else followed from that.

Right, because Apple is part of a massive conspiracy against its users, because that's good for them. That's why the iMac isn't upgradable at all&mdash;oh, wait....

That kind of cynicism is cheap generally, and doesn't make any sense to me in this instance.

I still don't get what "building an minimac like an iPod" means really? I mean - do you honestly think they sit in a board room and shoot philosophies back and forth over how they think building a new product would work out? You say major savings but - there are none - a fraction of a fraction smaller case - absolute minimal savings along with one ram slot while yes technically less money - I honestly think we are talking cents on the cost of an over all machine. They use laptop hard drives which cost more money and are slower - they could use new hard drives that are just as quiet and just as cool but are faster and are cheaper - but they dont? Why? I am not saying Apple has some secret agenda to have it out for their users but lets be honest - Apple is a company that is in this to make money - They do what is in their interest - not yours, if it happens to benefit you - all the better for you.

BTW - The iMac uses 7200 SATA drives... the kind you can get at best buy for a decent price and has two ram slots.
post #49 of 163
Quote:
Originally posted by PeePeeSee

BTW - The iMac uses 7200 SATA drives... the kind you can get at best buy for a decent price and has two ram slots.

Okay, dude, he was being completely sarcastic about the user upgradeable iMac thing.


That's his point, you just seem to miss it everytime.

Apple clearly knows that it is a good thing to have user upgradeable products, particularly in their mainstream products.

They built the mini the way they did for a reason. And a reason that they've told us publically.

It's the cheapest f-ing mac ever made. That's its purpose. Anyone can have one.

It's purpose was not to be an ultimately upgradeable be-all-end-all-mac-of-doom!(tm)

And if they cut manufacturing costs so that a machine could just pop a lid on the top (CHEAPER AND FASTER THAN SCREWS!! WHICH IS WHAT AMORPH MEANS BY IPOD-LIKE CONSTRUCTION).

Snap-together, ultra fast construction. They can fly off the machine line.

That makes sense to me.

I certainly don't feel screwed.
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post #50 of 163
Quote:
Originally posted by johnsonwax
http://db.tidbits.com/getbits.acgi?tbart=07952

"Interestingly, although using a 2.5-inch laptop drive might have seemed unnecessarily expensive, the word is that by the time Apple calculated the total cost of the less-expensive but larger 3.5-inch drives, the diminutive laptop drives turned out to be an overall cheaper approach. Apple also reportedly chose, when picking components, to avoid the least expensive ones because the cost of component failure ends up being greater than the extra component cost (not to mention that customers end up happier)."

Adam knows.

Adam can be just as wrong as you can, read your quote again. 2.5" drives turned out to be the overall cheaper approach, but somehow they avoided choosing the cheapest components? If the 2.5" drives are the cheapest, Apple certainly didn't avoid them. They did avoid 3.5" OTOH... But more crucially, no where does it compare like components. 40GB 2.5" drives as compared to what? 40GB 3.5", 80GB ??? Sorry, but here he's just repeating the PR line -- which can be tweaked in innumerable ways.

It's more like what I've been saying. Apple did NOT try to build the cheapest computer, but rather the cheapest computer that would define itself differently than the e/iMac. They're willing to take a hit on overall profitability per unit in order to protect that distinction because (for now) they think there's more money to be made in doing so. I contend that such a manouver was unneccessary, that the mini would be just as appealing (without any negligible effect on costs, and perhaps likely a favorable one) if it were made slightly more robust (RAM/airport/HDD). That would however, basically annihilate the eMac, and Apple isn't ready for that... yet.
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post #51 of 163
Quote:
Originally posted by iRobot
Okay, dude, he was being completely sarcastic about the user upgradeable iMac thing.


That's his point, you just seem to miss it everytime.

Apple clearly knows that it is a good thing to have user upgradeable products, particularly in their mainstream products.

They built the mini the way they did for a reason. And a reason that they've told us publically.

It's the cheapest f-ing mac ever made. That's its purpose. Anyone can have one.

It's purpose was not to be an ultimately upgradeable be-all-end-all-mac-of-doom!(tm)

And if they cut manufacturing costs so that a machine could just pop a lid on the top (CHEAPER AND FASTER THAN SCREWS!! WHICH IS WHAT AMORPH MEANS BY IPOD-LIKE CONSTRUCTION).

Snap-together, ultra fast construction. They can fly off the machine line.

That makes sense to me.

I certainly don't feel screwed.

Ok fine - it's supposed to be cheap - then why use laptop hard drives that cost more money and are slower AND are smaller. It's cheaper to use tabs instead of screws and easier to open - cool... why not use a standard desktop hard drive then? You act like upgrading the hard drive turns this thing into an xserve or something - It's just a hard drive - people often do it.
post #52 of 163
Quote:
Originally posted by PeePeeSee
Ok fine - it's supposed to be cheap - then why use laptop hard drives that cost more money and are slower AND are smaller. It's cheaper to use tabs instead of screws and easier to open - cool... why not use a standard desktop hard drive then? You act like upgrading the hard drive turns this thing into an xserve or something - It's just a hard drive - people often do it.


I thought we've already determined that the notebook drives were in fact, cheaper?


And that alone is enough reason.

My point is, on a product like this there's no real reason to give it massive expandability. Apple has no. motivation. at. all. to. do. so.

Just buy an external why don't you?

Anyone else who cares this much will either do that or just buy a different model.

Oi.
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post #53 of 163
Quote:
Originally posted by PeePeeSee
I still don't get what "building an minimac like an iPod" means really? I mean - do you honestly think they sit in a board room and shoot philosophies back and forth over how they think building a new product would work out?

I'll give you the engineering perspective.

You design a product that is to be user serviceable in a totally different way than one that is non-user serviceable. Products like iPod and many of Apple's accessories are designed with minimal human involvement in manufacturing to keep costs down. They're designed with specific manufacturing equipment in mind. They're designed with specific components in mind - down to the screws. They're designed with specific service needs in mind (how long does it take a trained support guy to swap a hard drive?) This is especially true for low-cost items because the margins tend to be a little lower, and the net profit tends to be much smaller in dollars. Keep in mind that the 1 year warranty on the mini is the same as the 1 year warranty on the Powermac. If Apple profits $100 on the mini and $750 on the dual 2.5 (yeah, sorry, that's about what it is) the $100 has to cover the expected costs of doing HD replacements for a year that Apple affords $750 to do in the Powermac.

They factor *all* of this stuff in. By cutting the number of screws down in the mini, they save a minute or 5 minutes or whatever, which gets multiplied out by the replacement probability which gets factored across the whole profit margin. (I suspect the Applecare guys have a neato jig that they can stuff the mini on which pops the top in one move - maybe faster than opening the Powermac case.)

My guess is that after production and operations, Apple will get less than $50 per unit profit. That $50 exists because they saved $7 on the assembly line by eliminating screws and the equipment to install them, $5 by cutting out one person, $4 by reducing shipping costs, $1 with the easy to remove (for them) case, and on and on. And quite possibly by simplifying production, Apple gets the ability to expand manufacturing substantially should demand exceed projections (let's all hope).

From of production standpoint, this is the iPod of the mac world.
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post #54 of 163
Quote:
Originally posted by johnsonwax
I'll give you the engineering perspective.

You design a product that is to be user serviceable in a totally different way than one that is non-user serviceable. Products like iPod and many of Apple's accessories are designed with minimal human involvement in manufacturing to keep costs down. They're designed with specific manufacturing equipment in mind. They're designed with specific components in mind - down to the screws. They're designed with specific service needs in mind (how long does it take a trained support guy to swap a hard drive?) This is especially true for low-cost items because the margins tend to be a little lower, and the net profit tends to be much smaller in dollars. Keep in mind that the 1 year warranty on the mini is the same as the 1 year warranty on the Powermac. If Apple profits $100 on the mini and $750 on the dual 2.5 (yeah, sorry, that's about what it is) the $100 has to cover the expected costs of doing HD replacements for a year that Apple affords $750 to do in the Powermac.

They factor *all* of this stuff in. By cutting the number of screws down in the mini, they save a minute or 5 minutes or whatever, which gets multiplied out by the replacement probability which gets factored across the whole profit margin. (I suspect the Applecare guys have a neato jig that they can stuff the mini on which pops the top in one move - maybe faster than opening the Powermac case.)

My guess is that after production and operations, Apple will get less than $50 per unit profit. That $50 exists because they saved $7 on the assembly line by eliminating screws and the equipment to install them, $5 by cutting out one person, $4 by reducing shipping costs, $1 with the easy to remove (for them) case, and on and on. And quite possibly by simplifying production, Apple gets the ability to expand manufacturing substantially should demand exceed projections (let's all hope).

From of production standpoint, this is the iPod of the mac world.

I never doubted that they sat down and pinched pennies and figured out exactly how to squeeze money out of this machine down to a T. What I do doubt is that this was some how "modeled" after the iPod - I just really don't see the connection.
post #55 of 163
Quote:
Originally posted by iRobot
I thought we've already determined that the notebook drives were in fact, cheaper?


And that alone is enough reason.

My point is, on a product like this there's no real reason to give it massive expandability. Apple has no. motivation. at. all. to. do. so.

Just buy an external why don't you?

Anyone else who cares this much will either do that or just buy a different model.

Oi.

No - all you did was give a link to a person saying that is what they heard - That doesn't prove anything except you have a link. And fine - lets just pretend that it was cheaper to use laptop hard drives right - How hard would it be to make the case an inch thicker so you could put your own 3.5" drive that you can grab from any best buy and upgrade it if you want? Not hard - at all... at all.
post #56 of 163
Quote:
Originally posted by PeePeeSee
No - all you did was give a link to a person saying that is what they heard - That doesn't prove anything except you have a link. And fine - lets just pretend that it was cheaper to use laptop hard drives right - How hard would it be to make the case an inch thicker so you could put your own 3.5" drive that you can grab from any best buy and upgrade it if you want? Not hard - at all... at all.


Why would they do that?

Really, why? What's the point?

They'll lose, it looks like, your sale and maybe one or two others.


And those are sales that are outside their expected market anyway...

It doesn't make sense within the scope of this product release to bother.

They could have. I would have appreciated it.

But they didn't. I couldn't care less. It hardly matters for a machine like this. It's a cheap box for switchers and lite users.


Like the iPod, they didn't try to make something to be everything for everybody.



P.S: I'm amused that when ridiculing my emphasis on "at all" you do so by asking (again!) the question I addressed with that very point... Thanks so much for reading it.
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post #57 of 163
Quote:
Originally posted by PeePeeSee
I never doubted that they sat down and pinched pennies and figured out exactly how to squeeze money out of this machine down to a T. What I do doubt is that this was some how "modeled" after the iPod - I just really don't see the connection.

I think the connection is that Apple learned a lot about how to build and sell a low-cost product while preserving margins. Surely Apple mgmt looked at people buying $499 iPods in large numbers, overlooking the replaceable battery and other limitations (such as built-in this and that) over competing products. They watched a massive 3rd party market develop around the product by opening the hooks into the system. They learned how to service and support a small closed-box solution.

The mini really looks to me to be a product that is the result of setting out to build a new iPod, but with Mac guts. There are compromises in the components to achieve not only low cost, but also to create a unique product. There are PCs with similar form factor, but lack the expansion and performance of the mini. There are PCs that match the performance and expansion, but don't have the form factor, etc. The 3rd party market is assured by limiting what's built into the product but offering sufficient access to the system - DVI, Firewire are unique options in this space but you wouldn't see HTPC options without them. Not only will the 3rd party market develop, but it'll develop around the mini form factor - little square hard drive cases, little square breakout boxes, etc. The mini, being an essentially closed system means that it'll be a buy-and-forget product. People will buy 2, replace them often, etc. It'll be an impulse buy, a toy for many buyers.

There are a ton of parallels between the mini and iPod that don't exist between the mini and any other product except maybe the original iMac.
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post #58 of 163
The Mac mini may not be everything people want
in an affordable machine but it blows away the 300MHz G3 tower
I purchased 6 years ago for $2,600.
post #59 of 163
Quote:
Originally posted by PeePeeSee
I never doubted that they sat down and pinched pennies and figured out exactly how to squeeze money out of this machine down to a T. What I do doubt is that this was some how "modeled" after the iPod - I just really don't see the connection.

Don't make that out to be more than it is.

The iPod is a buy-it-and-use-it item that works with whatever computer you have (well, Windows & Mac at least -- which covers almost all of them). The iPod is not designed to be user modifiable, or user serviceable (e.g. battery replacement). It is designed to be cheap to manufacture for Apple, have an appealing and user friendly design, and to make it to the end of its warranty period without issue as often as possible. It is designed for the under-$500 price point, with enough accessories to bait you into spending more.

The iMac mini is a buy-it-and-use-it item that works with whatever computer peripherals you have (display, keyboard, mouse, printer, cameras, networks). The iMac mini is not designed to be user modifiable, or user serviceable (e.g. RAM upgrades). It is designed to be cheap to manufacture for Apple, have an appealing and user friendly design, and to make it to the end of its warranty period without issue as often as possible. It is designed for the $500 price point, with enough options and accessories to bait you into spending more.



Now not designing it to be user serviceable is not the same as designing it to not be user serviceable. Apple hasn't gone out of their way to make it impossible (or even difficult) for the user to open -- not even as much as the original Mac which required special screw bits on long drivers. They just didn't pay it any mind when they were designing it to be optimal for machine assembly.

The hard disk issue (and all other engineering aspects) are more involved than many people seem to give credit for. This is true of most engineering, I find -- and generally its not worth wasting breath trying to explain all the details... especially since only the guys at Apple have all the details. I'm quite sure, however, that they carefully weighed all the factors of part costs, reliability, heat, power, rotational speed, seek rate, bandwidth, cache size, durability, ergonomic factors, etc before deciding to put a 2.5" drive into the mini. When they balanced all these factors against their goals, the answer was a 2.5" drive.

For me, what watching the video of opening the mini's case really drove was not anything about the opening of the case -- it was the size of this machine. This is nothing short of stunning. What a feat of engineering! And what would an extra half inch per side mean, besides more weight and more materials? Well, for one thing that extra size would hugely impact what it feels like when you hold this thing in your hand. When has that ever mattered before for a desktop computer? Why does it matter now? I can't answer that, but I bet the design guys at Apple have a bunch of ideas about it. Perhaps it is simply so that it can sit on top of any PC case, or sit between your keyboard and display. The point is that they developed a vision for the product that defines the product, and they produced a design that meets that vision. That alone makes it worth more than most hunk'o'junk PCs on the market.

I have to wonder what else those Apple design guys are up to over at the Infinte Loop.
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post #60 of 163
Quote:
Originally posted by Programmer
When has that ever mattered before for a desktop computer? Why does it matter now? I can't answer that, but I bet the design guys at Apple have a bunch of ideas about it. Perhaps it is simply so that it can sit on top of any PC case, or sit between your keyboard and display. The point is that they developed a vision for the product that defines the product, and they produced a design that meets that vision. That alone makes it worth more than most hunk'o'junk PCs on the market.

I wonder who will be the first to stuff the mini into a full-height drive bay in their tower. I think it's a bit too big, but it's close...
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post #61 of 163
Quote:
Originally posted by johnsonwax
I wonder who will be the first to stuff the mini into a full-height drive bay in their tower. I think it's a bit too big, but it's close...


It'd only require a pretty basic casemod... and if you mounted a KVM inside?


Oooh... sexy.
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post #62 of 163
"Now not designing it to be user serviceable is not the same as designing it to not be user serviceable"

whoa.. my brain just melted.

".. it was the size of this machine. This is nothing short of stunning. What a feat of engineering!"

therein lies the genius. it is so small because that clearly distinguishes it from the usual PC beige box rubbish. it becomes a piece-de-resistance in your setup, just like that cool iPod that stands well out from your PC.

If you are a Mac user everything is designed to blend together and give you Mac heaven.

If you are a PC user the iPod and Mac mini is designed to give you a glimpse of heaven, like a supermodel in a crowded fishmarket.
post #63 of 163
Quote:
Originally posted by iRobot
Why would they do that?

Really, why? What's the point?

They'll lose, it looks like, your sale and maybe one or two others.

And those are sales that are outside their expected market anyway...

It doesn't make sense within the scope of this product release to bother.

They could have. I would have appreciated it.

But they didn't. I couldn't care less. It hardly matters for a machine like this. It's a cheap box for switchers and lite users.


Like the iPod, they didn't try to make something to be everything for everybody.



P.S: I'm amused that when ridiculing my emphasis on "at all" you do so by asking (again!) the question I addressed with that very point... Thanks so much for reading it.

This is the kind of stuff I am talking about "the scope of this product" "omg they will lose just your sale - like they care about you!" Could you stop smoking your apple branded crack cocaine for a moment?

They made it this small to make it limited - We are talking an inch - so instead of four cd's jewel cases stacked on top of each other you stack on six on top of each other and now you have the size of the machine.

It's pretty obvious you are a mac zealot who can't be reasonsed with and that you use your machine in "whatever apple had in mind" when they made the machine.

Yes they will lose my sale and quite a few of the geeks who they are trying to get over to the mac side - yes just those people who they really want using their computers but I mean yeah it probably is just me and two other people - certainly not all those people that bought PC's instead of macs for the last 15 years - which was just me and two other people.

Fact is - this could have the ability to use standard desktop drives and another ram slot and still be smaller than the cube - which is tiny.
post #64 of 163
Quote:
Originally posted by PeePeeSee
This is the kind of stuff I am talking about "the scope of this product" "omg they will lose just your sale - like they care about you!" Could you stop smoking your apple branded crack cocaine for a moment?

They made it this small to make it limited - We are talking an inch - so instead of four cd's jewel cases stacked on top of each other you stack on six on top of each other and now you have the size of the machine.

It's pretty obvious you are a mac zealot who can't be reasonsed with and that you use your machine in "whatever apple had in mind" when they made the machine.

Yes they will lose my sale and quite a few of the geeks who they are trying to get over to the mac side - yes just those people who they really want using their computers but I mean yeah it probably is just me and two other people - certainly not all those people that bought PC's instead of macs for the last 15 years - which was just me and two other people.

Fact is - this could have the ability to use standard desktop drives and another ram slot and still be smaller than the cube - which is tiny.


I'm hardly a mac zealot.

I don't even own a mac.


Why don't I own a mac? Because the powerbook is unnacceptably out of date. I would agree with you whole heartedly if you said it was totally gimped


But the mac mini? It does everything its supposed to do.


Point is, you can't expect a company to make a product that does everything that everyone wants.

They made this for a specific and good purpose, and it'll function for that well.

Are you the type of person that thinks the iPod should also play video, have a user replaceable battery, an fm transmitter, and cook f-ing waffles?

The product is not gimped just because it doesn't do everything you want it to do.
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post #65 of 163
Quote:
Originally posted by PeePeeSee
This is the kind of stuff I am talking about "the scope of this product" "omg they will lose just your sale - like they care about you!" Could you stop smoking your apple branded crack cocaine for a moment?

They made it this small to make it limited - We are talking an inch - so instead of four cd's jewel cases stacked on top of each other you stack on six on top of each other and now you have the size of the machine.

It's pretty obvious you are a mac zealot who can't be reasonsed with and that you use your machine in "whatever apple had in mind" when they made the machine.

Yes they will lose my sale and quite a few of the geeks who they are trying to get over to the mac side - yes just those people who they really want using their computers but I mean yeah it probably is just me and two other people - certainly not all those people that bought PC's instead of macs for the last 15 years - which was just me and two other people.

Fact is - this could have the ability to use standard desktop drives and another ram slot and still be smaller than the cube - which is tiny.

Read Programmer's excellent post and try and get a clue...otherwise shut up and go away.
post #66 of 163
Apple could build the fastest, Swiss Army Knife of all computers with every possible option available, sweetest, most secure OS and GUI on the planet, for $1,500 and some jealous self deficating virus and malware ridden Windows user is going to find fault with it.!

Most of us here are attempting very kindly
to enlighten other users about a very pleasant alternative
to Microsoft based computing.

We are just as eager to see Apple products improve as any one,
but what they've done so far is remarkable.

The Mac mini allows any user to easily switch CPUs between Mac OSX and Windows using the same keyboard, mouse and monitor via a KVM switch.
They've made this possibility very affordable and attractive to those
who may wish to run both platforms.

No it's not perfect, but it's very cool.
post #67 of 163
Quote:
Originally posted by iRobot
I'm hardly a mac zealot.

I don't even own a mac.


Why don't I own a mac? Because the powerbook is unnacceptably out of date. I would agree with you whole heartedly if you said it was totally gimped


But the mac mini? It does everything its supposed to do.


Point is, you can't expect a company to make a product that does everything that everyone wants.

They made this for a specific and good purpose, and it'll function for that well.

Are you the type of person that thinks the iPod should also play video, have a user replaceable battery, an fm transmitter, and cook f-ing waffles?

The product is not gimped just because it doesn't do everything you want it to do.

No I am not that kind of person - but it's a desktop computer - it should use desktop parts and it easily could do so.
post #68 of 163
Quote:
Originally posted by vinney57
Read Programmer's excellent post and try and get a clue...otherwise shut up and go away.

Whatever you say zealot.
post #69 of 163
Quote:
Originally posted by PeePeeSee
Whatever you say zealot.


That was real mature.
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post #70 of 163
Quote:
Originally posted by PeePeeSee
No I am not that kind of person - but it's a desktop computer - it should use desktop parts and it easily could do so.

I don't know how old you are, but I'm old enough to have heard all manner of similar comments WRT moving from 5.25" to 3.5" hard drives, 8" to 5.25" floppies, command lines to GUIs and on and on even YEARS of vitriol over those lazy programmers that insist on using C or Pascal over assembly (ever meet a programmer that could read a stream of hex?). Even in the Mac world - ADB to USB, OS 9 to OS X, NuBus to PCI, and on and on and on.

Every time somebody steps out of the bounds of what some folk consider 'standard' there's this same "But you should have!" tossed out there. (No wireless. Less storage than a Nomad. Lame.) Sometimes they're right - sometimes that step was the wrong one - but you have to wait and see.

I think there will be something incredibly compelling to a PC user going into an Apple Store to buy an iPod when the see the mini at the same price and in a smaller box than the iPod. They can't possibly avoid the comparison between this small $500 box that everybody raves about and this *other* $500 box sitting next to it. How can they not wonder "What if that box there is every bit as fun and easy as this box here"?
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post #71 of 163
Quote:
Originally posted by PeePeeSee
No I am not that kind of person - but it's a desktop computer - it should use desktop parts and it easily could do so.

i don't think you can think of the Mac mini as a "desktop computer" as such... that's apple's plan, it's a bit of an experiment, to challenge traditional boundaries.

like johnsonwaxed (was that painful? ) said, the small form factor is to draw as strong a connection to the iPod as possible, since they've seen the iPod coexist happily with PCs. now... can the Mac mini coexist happily with PeeSee users? Maybe, possibly. As long as you have HL2 and Doom3 annd UT2004 on your PC to continue enjoying that, maybe for everything else, you would really enjoy using a Mac. KVM switch is awesome to not have to get a separate keyboard monitor and mouse
post #72 of 163
I think we're barking at the wrong tree. For years people have been saying that Apple needs a cheap headless. Well, Apple has delivered. It's a little weak, has a limited disk, and only one memory slot, so some people want it to have higher specs. They want a bigger, replaceable disk, two memory slots, etc.

I think this is the wrong approach. It's better to realize that Apple's desktop lineup of headless Macs has changed. Now there's the Mac Mini in addition to all those towers. I think the future common complaint should not be that the Mini is too weak - it's fine for its price. The future complaint should be that Apple has a huge gap in its headless lineup:

- high-end Mini: $600 1.4GHz G4
- bottom-end PM: $1500 1.8 GHz G5 with fast FSB, better GPU, etc.

There should be some middle-ground in there. Perhaps something somewhat larger (8"x8"x2.5") with a single 1.6 GHz G5, two RAM slots and FX 5200. Only the hard disk and memory would be officially upgradeable, but of course there would be the options of BT and Wifi. This is basically an iMac without the screen. I think Apple can make them for $900-$1000.
post #73 of 163
I think many of us would like to see a clearance sale
on 1.8 single processor G5 towers.

If they could bring the far more upgradable G5 phat cube
to a starting point of $999.00

They would sell like hotcakes!
post #74 of 163
Quote:
Originally posted by synp
The future complaint should be that Apple has a huge gap in its headless lineup:

- high-end Mini: $600 1.4GHz G4
- bottom-end PM: $1500 1.8 GHz G5 with fast FSB, better GPU, etc.

So true. This was exactly my thought.

Quote:
Originally posted by synp
Perhaps something somewhat larger (8"x8"x2.5") with a single 1.6 GHz G5, two RAM slots and FX 5200.

Three thoughts:

- this would basically mean the end of the iMac,
- please do not increase the footprint as I hope peripheral companies will be making accessoirs (HDDs, networking gear, USB/FW hubs, TV tuners etc.) in stackable cases matching the Mac mini's.
- people (especially on these boards) would be complaining about the specs (the GPU in particular), and they are right: Apple should be moving to PCIe across the board.
post #75 of 163
Quote:
Originally posted by PeePeeSee
... Yes they will lose my sale and quite a few of the geeks who they are trying to get over to the mac side - ...

I can't believe how long this thread is, harping on this 2.5 vs 3.5 inch hard drive. Haven't you guys got anything better to do? And if some of you would actually refuse to buy the computer because of the hard drive size, for crying out loud, go start your own computer company and make your own computer. 999 people out of a thousand couldn't give a damn.
post #76 of 163
Quote:
Originally posted by cubist
I can't believe how long this thread is, harping on this 2.5 vs 3.5 inch hard drive. Haven't you guys got anything better to do? And if some of you would actually refuse to buy the computer because of the hard drive size, for crying out loud, go start your own computer company and make your own computer. 999 people out of a thousand couldn't give a damn.

You are on a mac rumor message board website posting about how we haven't got anything better to do - when you are posting right along side us - Do you not see the irony in that?

And actually - YOU ARE WRONG - most people WANT to upgrade their stuff - they don't want to spend lots of money on another machine.

I swear this place is full of mac nazi's who march in lock step.
post #77 of 163
Quote:
Originally posted by johnsonwax
I don't know how old you are, but I'm old enough to have heard all manner of similar comments WRT moving from 5.25" to 3.5" hard drives, 8" to 5.25" floppies, command lines to GUIs and on and on even YEARS of vitriol over those lazy programmers that insist on using C or Pascal over assembly (ever meet a programmer that could read a stream of hex?). Even in the Mac world - ADB to USB, OS 9 to OS X, NuBus to PCI, and on and on and on.

Every time somebody steps out of the bounds of what some folk consider 'standard' there's this same "But you should have!" tossed out there. (No wireless. Less storage than a Nomad. Lame.) Sometimes they're right - sometimes that step was the wrong one - but you have to wait and see.

I think there will be something incredibly compelling to a PC user going into an Apple Store to buy an iPod when the see the mini at the same price and in a smaller box than the iPod. They can't possibly avoid the comparison between this small $500 box that everybody raves about and this *other* $500 box sitting next to it. How can they not wonder "What if that box there is every bit as fun and easy as this box here"?

Well let me just say that I was for adb -> usb for nubus -> pci for OS 9 -> OS X for Floppy -> CDRW and for quite a few other things I really actually like it when Apple does things like that - I am not one of the people who think JUST because something is standard it should stay that way - but in this case we aren't talking about those kinds of things - I mean it just doesn't make sense - It's one inch - that's not for design purposes - that's for a reason.

Currently you can get 3.5" drives in far far larger sizes for about the same prices as 2.5" drives - The size is so different that we can now start doing all kind of other things that we couldn't before - like recording HDTV or putting your entire collection of music on your computer in lossless formats - scan all your photos at the highest resolutions.

It's just a bad move for the user.
post #78 of 163
Quote:
Originally posted by sunilraman
i don't think you can think of the Mac mini as a "desktop computer" as such... that's apple's plan, it's a bit of an experiment, to challenge traditional boundaries.

like johnsonwaxed (was that painful? ) said, the small form factor is to draw as strong a connection to the iPod as possible, since they've seen the iPod coexist happily with PCs. now... can the Mac mini coexist happily with PeeSee users? Maybe, possibly. As long as you have HL2 and Doom3 annd UT2004 on your PC to continue enjoying that, maybe for everything else, you would really enjoy using a Mac. KVM switch is awesome to not have to get a separate keyboard monitor and mouse

Well I don't know what to tell you but it is a desktop computer.

I still don't get this iPod like stuff - just seems like some poectic waxing type stuff but whatever - ok fine apple had this mantra/philosophy about the iPod and this computer whatever ok - All I am asking for is an extra inch to use a standard hard drive in the thing if I want to - you don't have to do a damn thing - I mean is that really THAT much to ask for?

Instead of four cd's - stack six on top of each other - OH MY GOD look at the size of it now - this is just too much! The price will have to increase ten fold - the shipping will rise through the roof - oh man now it looks just akward for being SO tall.

I know I am being silly but - this IS silly.
post #79 of 163
Quote:
Originally posted by PeePeeSee
Well I don't know what to tell you but it is a desktop computer.

I still don't get this iPod like stuff - just seems like some poectic waxing type stuff but whatever - ok fine apple had this mantra/philosophy about the iPod and this computer whatever ok - All I am asking for is an extra inch to use a standard hard drive in the thing if I want to - you don't have to do a damn thing - I mean is that really THAT much to ask for?

Instead of four cd's - stack six on top of each other - OH MY GOD look at the size of it now - this is just too much! The price will have to increase ten fold - the shipping will rise through the roof - oh man now it looks just akward for being SO tall.

I know I am being silly but - this IS silly.

peepeesee i am not saying that your point about 3.5" drive is invalid. i think that you may have a point. Apple is not perfect, and perhaps they could have used a 3.5" drive instead of 2.5" and still met the objectives they have...
post #80 of 163
Mac mini misconceptions:

1. The thing can be stacked.

Read Apple's tech support document on that topic here.

2. The Mac Mini was designed as a home theater solution.

Wrong again. It was a way to get people clammoring for cheaper macs exactly what they wanted.

3. The 2.5" HD is too slow for digital video.

You can get a Superdrive in one and use iMovie/iDVD. All of Apple's PowerBooks come with 4200rpm drives, unless upgraded. Come on people!
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