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23" iMac, when?

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
With large LCD prices falling fast, is it only a matter of time?

Look at Dell and others for a true indication of the component costs involved in large panels. Apple, often a price leader at introduction of a large panel, has again fallen well behind the Market. 20-24" panels of similar (and better) quality are substantially cheaper than those offered by Apple at the moment. Although, I know of no one offering a comparable 30" just yet...

Given not only that Apple still likes to force consumers to buy display and CPU as one, and that even though they offer a headless desktop, they offer no affordable display, but also that their AIO offerings have traditionally offered a comparative deal in relation to their own line-up of standalone CPU's and displays, could the next slight of hand, beacon of boutique computing, be an all new, fabulously HD ready, iMac 23", or perhaps badged, iMac HD ?

iMac HD (23") 1999 -- $999 retail worth of display at anywhere but Apple plus about 999 retail worth of computer... hmmm...
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post #2 of 33
Quote:
Originally posted by Matsu
With large LCD prices falling fast, is it only a matter of time?

I guess so. At least that's what I get from history with the G4 models. Furthermore, the new design removed any technical issues with proper weight balance. I believe the final goal for Apple of the new cinema-display-like-design of the G5 iMac, is to come one day with a bigger model. A 23" in particular. But something tells me this would not happen before 2006.
post #3 of 33
Thread Starter 
Tell you why I think sooner than later.

The 17" models all cost way too much. Unless Apple is stupid, they know this. For 1299, you don't even get a superdrive, and standard RAM and HDD are pathetic.

If they adjust the prices to more appropriate 2005 levels, then they have a reasonably good chance of selling a lot of iMacs to people who've come in looking for Minis.

This however leaves a gap. The goal is to have everyone come in and buy the next model up from what they'd originally planned. Ignore the eMac, it isn't the machine for people interested in a Mini.

So, people wander in for a mini, and leave with an iMac 17 (for 999) but to entice the iMac 17" buyer, you need to drop the 20" slightly. And the potential 20" buyer needs some incentive to consider spending more again, what better hook than an HD ready iMac?

something like this

Mini 499 - 599

iMac 17 combo 999
iMac 17 super 1199
iMac 20 super 1599
iMac 23 super 1999

Component costs allow at least that much, though since we are talking about Apple, I've been generous...

I don't think Apple wants any consumer (or prosumer) to even consider a Powermac. A BIG screen (and attendant surface area) iMac allows some interesting opportunities too: room for a second internal HDD, a TV tuner, some of the Pro spec I/O -- FW800 and s/pdif, yadda yadda... profession applications too, video and 2-d in mobile studios, on-location trucks etc etc...

As much as I dislike attaching a lot of expensive display (even with falling prices) to a computer, Apple is proving the reliability of their displays -- I would consider the biggest screen iMac
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post #4 of 33
I don't know. All you say certainly make perfectly sense. Furthermore, if the past can serve as indication, after the January 2002 introduction of the G4 15" iMac Flat-Panel, Apple introduced in July 2002 the 17" model. I am not sure though if this analogy holds now. And I don't forget this is Apple we talk about \ .
post #5 of 33
It would take some redoing to get a HD iMac at 23", the HD resolution(s) doesn't match the native resolution (or any of the other resolutions available to me) of a 23" flat-panel.

If you're already changing resolutions on iMacs/OS X then why not make the 17" iMac support the lower of the two HD resolutions - I suppose you could even see this in the supposed April rev of iMacs.
post #6 of 33
First, not all panels are created equal. Any vendor ordering panels will spec out exactly what tolerances they will be made to, which will affect the price. Higher tolerances mean higher prices, and the prices go up supralinearly. This is true of almost all manufactured parts, from guitar strings to plumbing fixtures.

And that's just the panel. Then there's the quality of the backlight, the quality of the cooling (which will affect the lifetime of the display), and the nature and quality of the electronics, which, if poor, can introduce noise even in a nominally digital system.

So the fact that Dell is severely undercutting Apple means nothing in and of itself. We'd need to know exactly what they're ordering, and exactly what Apple is ordering, to know conclusively, and somehow I don't think either vendor will be forthcoming. The model number is not enough. Consider that the 20" iMac uses the same panel as the 20" Cinema Display, but it's not as good as the Cinema Display.

Since Apple now has the cash to play in the lower end of the market, and since the iMac is obviously built for low cost (among other things), I think we'll see lower prices before we see bigger iMacs.

Which is not to say that I wouldn't like to see the 30" iMac HD, saying Boo-yaa to the PC world. But I'm not holding my breath.
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post #7 of 33
Quote:
Originally posted by Amorph
Consider that the 20" iMac uses the same panel as the 20" Cinema Display, but it's not as good as the Cinema Display.

Really? I've wondered about this myself. What differences can you notice? Thanks for the help.
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post #8 of 33
Thread Starter 
Amorph, I don't disagree with your post, however, having used DELL's panels, I can say that they're very good, and I have not noticed any quality issues, nor read any wide spread reports of such. If anything, most DELL LCD users, many of them mac users, are delighted with the displays. Thus, I really don't care where they get their components so long as they work well. You cannot compare panels using a spec sheet, you have to use your eyes. Dell's panels are very good.

That said, to ape some of your comment, if Apple is already using different iMac panels than ACD panels, they too will have access to the the substantially more affordable glass used in competitors' displays. They may not want that for the ACD, but for the iMac, why not?

I think a 23" iMac will be sufficient to flip the bird to the PC world!

Qchem

HDTV runs at 1920x1080 (16:9)

Computer displays have standardized around a slightly taller 16:10 ratio.

14", 15.4" 17", 20", 22", 23", 24" and 30" computer displays are available at exactly that ratio (16:10) Therefore, the current 23 ACD-HD can display the full HDTV screen with a very slight (120 vertical pixel) band left over for things like menubars. Recall that the first 23" ACD was billed by Apple as the HD Cinema Display!
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post #9 of 33
23" is a lot of display for a computer that will become obsolete in a few years. This has always been my problem with the iMac; the life-spans of a display and a computer are often vastly different, and so an AIO sacrifices the continued use of one component when the other breaks or gets too slow to work on.

I'd rather see a few additions to Apple's display lineup, along with the addiction of a G5 mini with the iMac internals (+better video chipset). The AIO is still nice for cheap display/computer combos, but if I'm going to invest in 23" LCD, I want to be able to use it with any computer I may own in the future.

Of course the problem for Apple is if they sold a G5 mini, nobody would buy the iMac, or even Apple LCDs. They'd take the mini and then go buy a Sony LCD or a cheap brand, depriving Apple of vital revenue. So I can understand Apple's conundrum regarding the AIO design.
post #10 of 33
ibook911: I'm relying on reports from more sensitive eyes than mine. I should have made that clear.

Quote:
Originally posted by Matsu
Amorph, I don't disagree with your post, however, having used DELL's panels, I can say that they're very good, and I have not noticed any quality issues, nor read any wide spread reports of such. If anything, most DELL LCD users, many of them mac users, are delighted with the displays. Thus, I really don't care where they get their components so long as they work well. You cannot compare panels using a spec sheet, you have to use your eyes. Dell's panels are very good.

As I said myself: The 17" Dell I work with looks just fine.

I'm not saying that Dell's monitors are junk, I'm just saying that maybe they're an 80% or 90% solution. Not quite as good as Apple's stuff, but good enough for general use.

When I see a review of a Dell panel that drools over it the way the reviewers drool over Cinema Displays, I'll concede that they're just as good for less money. For now, I think they're probably almost as good for less money. Which is fine. Not everyone needs a calibrated, color-accurate display, so if they don't have to pay for one, all the better.

Quote:
That said, to ape some of your comment, if Apple is already using different iMac panels than ACD panels, they too will have access to the the substantially more affordable glass used in competitors' displays. They may not want that for the ACD, but for the iMac, why not?

That was my point, yes.
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post #11 of 33
Quote:
Originally posted by Matsu
That said, to ape some of your comment, if Apple is already using different iMac panels than ACD panels, they too will have access to the the substantially more affordable glass used in competitors' displays. They may not want that for the ACD, but for the iMac, why not?

I don't know if that's true. Last week we had some people over for dinner and one of them just bought himself a Dell dual Xeon with a 20" tft.
After he saw the screen quality of my 20"iMacG5, he was more than a little disappointed with the quality of his 20" Dell display.
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post #12 of 33
I think it's more of a placebo effect that makes people think Apple's LCD Panels (and other Apple internal hardware) are inherently better than others is due to the shell that they come in and the Apple brand (think of Sony and how their average products are usually highly regarded due to marketing and branding - just because it's a Sony). I am sure some are, just like some are better than Apple's.

Apple and Dell (for example) order the same LCD Panels from the same ODMs (like Samsung, etc.) As long as each meet the require spec that they are selling (brightness, contrast, viewing angles, etc.) they can use any panel ODM (and often do so at random - which is why your neighbors LCD panel may look better than yours even though it's the same model).

Are there crappy LCD makers out there? Yes, but Dell doesn't use them for their UltraSharp line neither does Apple for their ACDs. However, quality will vary from one reputable ODM to the next, so your mileage may very.

The bottom line is, Apple has fat profit margins and chooses to charge way more than the competition. While they do need to charge more than say Dell because they don't have that kind of volume sales and they put more R&D and quality into their bezel designs, their prices are still unjustly inflated.

Look at Dells new 24" Widescreen LCD for an amazing price of $1199 (though you can get it for much less with their on-going coupons). Love or hate the bezel (made by BenQ) the LCD Panel they use for this model is a Samsung and it is drop dead gorgeous (saw it in person). Extremely bright, deep rich colors, and great viewing angles and HUGE!. It also has built in unobtrusive USB 2.0 ports (very convenient) and an 8-in-1 high-speed memory card reader (more convenient).

How much is Apple's 23" Display? $1799 - and it's not $600 more than the Dell's because it has a better LCD panel inside, it's because it's over-priced to meet Apple profit margins (since we know the aluminum bezel itself doesn't cost $600 alone!). The price for Apple's 23" LCD should be in the $1499 area at the most.

As far as the other Dell LCD models, the 20.1" panel is made by Philips (bezel by BenQ), and the 19" panel is Samsung or Hitachi (all this taken from years of reading Dell forums with those who use KoppiX boot CDs to get panel info).

The bottom line is, Apple's Cinema Displays are drop dead gorgeous in terms of design and they will continue to sell them at their inflated priced because of it (unless they start to feel the heat from the competition). This doesn't however mean that their prices are justified. Charge a premium yes, just not that much.
post #13 of 33
Doh! Got so caught up in LCD Panels that I forgot to add that I've been hoping for a 23" iMac G5 since the G5 iMac was introduced, so I would grab one in a second! It could be like a 'Pro' model with a nice 128MB+ GPU and hopefully 4 RAM slots.
post #14 of 33
Quote:
Originally posted by Patchouli
Doh! Got so caught up in LCD Panels that I forgot to add that I've been hoping for a 23" iMac G5 since the G5 iMac was introduced, so I would grab one in a second! It could be like a 'Pro' model with a nice 128MB+ GPU and hopefully 4 RAM slots.



Re: Panels, you've conflated two things: First, I don't doubt that Apple's panels actually are better than most. Nor do I doubt that there are as good or better. There are plenty of reviews from people, and from sites, that have no reason to put on rainbow-colored glasses when considering Apple's offerings, and they've generally reported excellent quality from Apple. (There have been a few noteworthy and well-publicized exceptions, of course.) Given the available evidence, I'm willing to believe that Apple does pay more for the parts used in their displays than most vendors do.

As you point out, they charge a pretty fat premium on top of that, too. Higher parts cost and higher profit margins are not mutually exclusive. In fact, if you look at most "luxury" models, they're often true simultaneously.

Anyway, that said, I'd love to see 23" and 30" iMacs as well.
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post #15 of 33
The iMac was released last August, so I'd guess that a 23" might be released aorund then. This would set Apple up for good holiday sales. I'd expect any summer releases to bump the internal specs on existing iMacs.
post #16 of 33
I like the idea of a 23" Imac. But what I would really like to see on the Imac is support for an external display. Right now, they do just video mirroring. We should be able to have an additional screen hook up to the Imac to be able to have dual monitor support.
My guess is Apple will not do that because they will be afraid this will cannibalize lower end Powermac sales. too bad!
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post #17 of 33
Rather than an external display (like spanning) option, I'd rather see an input to the display so I could use another machine with the iMac's display. That would also help futureproof it a bit. This would also make me feel more comfortable with buying the larger more expensive version with the larger display.
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post #18 of 33
Quote:
Originally posted by Bancho
Rather than an external display (like spanning) option, I'd rather see an input to the display so I could use another machine with the iMac's display. That would also help futureproof it a bit. This would also make me feel more comfortable with buying the larger more expensive version with the larger display.

interesting idea. I think the problem is that Apple will always keep from going an extra step to offer dual monitor support and monitor connection to an external computer. It would be great for us consumers, but it would prevent Apple from selling new machines and cannibalizing the lower end Powermacs.
Unfortunately, I don't see them doing that. even thought it would be a great additions to a nice machine.
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post #19 of 33
Quote:
Originally posted by Matsu

Qchem

HDTV runs at 1920x1080 (16:9)

Computer displays have standardized around a slightly taller 16:10 ratio.

14", 15.4" 17", 20", 22", 23", 24" and 30" computer displays are available at exactly that ratio (16:10) Therefore, the current 23 ACD-HD can display the full HDTV screen with a very slight (120 vertical pixel) band left over for things like menubars. Recall that the first 23" ACD was billed by Apple as the HD Cinema Display!

HDTV also has the lower spec of 1280 x 720 (also 16:9), what I was trying to get at was that the 17" iMac is capable of resolutions greater than this. I guess it could also have a band down the side and still be considered a HD iMac??

I wasn't aware that the cinema displays would be ok leaving a stripe for menubars (though it does seem obvious now you've mentioned it), thanks for filling me in.
post #20 of 33
Quote:
Originally posted by Bancho
Rather than an external display (like spanning) option, I'd rather see an input to the display so I could use another machine with the iMac's display. That would also help futureproof it a bit. This would also make me feel more comfortable with buying the larger more expensive version with the larger display.

Yea, I would have bought an iMac long ago if it meant I could plug a PC deskop into it and have only on monitor on my desk.
post #21 of 33
Heh, after the IBM bomb with the 970MP, what about a 23" dual-core iMac ?
post #22 of 33
Quote:
Originally posted by PB
Heh, after the IBM bomb with the 970MP, what about a 23" dual-core iMac ?

In that case, bring it on!
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post #23 of 33
I'm using a 23" display at the office (with a PB) and have a 20" G5 iMac at home. Basically the two computing experiences are very close - especially since they are not side by side.

I think that the cost of a 23" display would put the price of a 23" iMac too high. Apple is going to continue to get good margins on iMacs as they fund part of the half a billion dollars spent each year on R&D. I'm willing to pay that R&D tax when I buy Apple products as I believe it will help me in the future. (I also own a few shares in AAPL and the stock price increase has been greater than the R&D tax. )

I think that future revs of the iMac will be focused on the inside, largely based on IBM's efforts.
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post #24 of 33
Quote:
Originally posted by Bancho
Rather than an external display (like spanning) option, I'd rather see an input to the display so I could use another machine with the iMac's display. That would also help futureproof it a bit. This would also make me feel more comfortable with buying the larger more expensive version with the larger display.

With that option - I would buy the 20" in a heartbeat. I agree with the other poster that displays obsclete at a different rate than CPU's, this would indeed attract the multi-computer family like mine.
post #25 of 33
If they offer a 23" iMac, I hope they can cut off that big white block at the bottom of the current iMacs.
post #26 of 33
Quote:
Originally posted by Bancho
Rather than an external display (like spanning) option, I'd rather see an input to the display so I could use another machine with the iMac's display. That would also help futureproof it a bit. This would also make me feel more comfortable with buying the larger more expensive version with the larger display.

I'd rather see that too. It takes some of the sting away from the un-upgradeability of the iMac. Is it feasible? Is there some sort of hack, like the spanning hack, that would make it possible? Or would it require low level hardware support that only Apple could implement?
post #27 of 33
I would forget HD on an iMac unless Apple reviews its policy of including old video cards in iMacs.
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post #28 of 33
Quote:
Originally posted by Addison
I would forget HD on an iMac unless Apple reviews its policy of including old video cards in iMacs.

I think is very possible for the Imac (maybe the 20") to have HD resolution in the next upgrade. Apple seems to be incorporating HD support on the consumer software.(Imovie) so it would make sense to have the same support on the consumer hardware (Imac).
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post #29 of 33
I don't think Apple will have a 23" iMac, at least not in the immediate future.

Space is a concern, mainly in that it's generally unfeasible to have a display that simultaneously handles 1080 HD, hits 100 dpi, and doesn't swallow up the average home user's desk.

However, I'd think the main reason is that it's simply not as important to deal with 1080 HD on a non-pro desktop yet. Let's say a home user buys a $3700 Sony HD camera. It can record 1080i, but most people buying iMacs aren't going to max out the hard drive option or get an external Firewire drive for the purpose. They probably won't also need to watch the video at a 1:1 scale on the computer, either.

And most important of all: if they can afford a $3700 HD camera, what the heck are they doing buying a computer that costs half as much to edit it on? They should be buying a PowerMac with a 23" display.
post #30 of 33
Thread Starter 
Large panel prices continue to freefall. Using competitors retail prices it would be possible to marry about 23" worth of display, and about 999 worth of iMac internals, and still spit out a machine in the 1999 range, the first 20" iMac cost $2199, and it sold well enough (compared to the other models).

By the end of this calendar year (x-mas '05) prices will be such that 23" panels are retailing for 999, and not cheapies either, but good quality units, from vendors like Dell.

Can you say MWSF '06 ?


PS. The size of tha machine is a non-issue. The current iMac 20" has a healthy bezel, and a leno-esque chin, all of which can absorb a 23" panel without adversely effecting the footprint of the machine.

Also, there is no "should" in Mac buying circles. A G5 with up to 2GB of RAM is more power than even the most advanced Final Cut jockeys were working with 2 years ago, a 970MP is imminent as well... You can't say what pros should be buying, I know of more than a few graphic designers that worked with original gumdrop iMacs, many for years afetr better equipment came out. The guy who puts together our web spots works with a 9600 beight tower (I think that's what it is) that he salvaged from a lab full of leftover equipment. I don't know, I think he'd be thrilled to get a 23" iMac and some big external drives... And even that assumes that people who bought the original 20" iMac wouldn't be lured by a much more powerful (now G5) 23" model. Of course they would.

It is debatable whether Apple really wants anyone to buy their towers for desktop use in lieu of another option. If they could take most 'pros' and get them to buy iMacs, I think they would.
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post #31 of 33
Quote:
Originally posted by Matsu
It is debatable whether Apple really wants anyone to buy their towers for desktop use in lieu of another option. If they could take most 'pros' and get them to buy iMacs, I think they would.

I really don't see why they would insist on that.

The displays are little more than panels bought from someone else. They are turning into commodity, and you can't get good margins for a commodity. And computers age many times faster than displays, so in the timeframe of buying many AIO's you could buy one display and several, correspondingly more expensive, headless boxes.
Now, shouldn't Apple rather push the computers, which they get their profits from, than unproductive "extra" panels in AIOs?
Not to mention this would give better value for the customer and allow Apple to tighten the margin screws a little more.

edit: I just now noticed you were talking about towers, but there's nothing that prevents them from releasing a G5 mini.
post #32 of 33
Thread Starter 
The mini might change things, and I'm not even saying this is right, only that Apple prefers it, so let's look at the history.

Pros will either need flexibility, and/or display choice.

Apple, however, puts a high premium on flexibility, and there has been all sorts of overlap between the high-end iMac/Cube and low-end towers. The advantage of the iMac being that you get a display for your money, the advantage of the towers being that you get more options.

The built-in display is also a disadvantage from a pro point of view, but that's only when you can't get an adaquate screen size. 20"+ negates much of the need for more display options.

Next comes flexibility for things like drives, RAM, cards... Apple made a big deal about the user friendly internals of the new G5 Mac. As far as drives and I/O are concerned, a FW800 link would probably give the iMac all the I/O options that a pro is ever going to need. I say this because pros usually buy a machine with a specific use in mind, and rarely change to some other use along the way. New uses are typically not "upgrades" for these buyers, but rather downgrades to some other use as they move on to newer equipment -- that workstation becomes a file server, for instance, or dad's machine goes to the kids room, etc etc... Cards, well, you can't do that, but again, if the video card works well with the display, and they are sufficient for the current use at the time of purchase, then the parameters bewteen those two won't chnage, and so neither will there be too much need to ever change the card.

Remember, the original 20" G4 iMac cost 2199 at a time when G4 towers could be had for 1499. Top end G3 iBooks have sported faster CPU's than the G3 powerbooks... It's not about clear divisions between "consumer" and "pro" these categories are largely marketting illusions, it's about offering options to different target audiences.

A 23" iMac at 2199 initially, an 1899 after a few months... I wonder, I think a lot pros would bite...
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post #33 of 33
I would!

If a 23" iMac is released, I'll be picking one up for myself.
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