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Apple plans mystery "product transition" before September's end - Page 13

post #481 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oliver J. Taylor View Post

Carniphage:

After the recent press releases of Sony's new laptop lineup, it shows that Sony's hardware in terms of laptops are far superior. I myself am definitely thinking of porting from my current MacBook Pro to the new Sony Z Series laptop. It packs better specs into a footprint similar to the MacBook that is competetive to current MacBook Pro's and goes beyond them in certain cases.

You are probably right.
I was thinking if Apple stopped making OS X overnight - and the hardware had to standup on its own - which lines would survive.

MacPro - yep
Mini - Yep
Air - Probably
iMac - Yep
Macbook - err... not sure. It seems a bit pricey to me for what it does.

C
post #482 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hudson1 View Post

By the way, Carniphage, have you thought about my question on why Apple is not already selling software for Windows-based computers?

Well iTunes and Safari and Airport Utility are a start.
But Apple making software for Windows does cause it to snow in hell.

C.
post #483 of 735
Whats up with that new Atom chip intels making for apple ?
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post #484 of 735
disregard my last post, theres a seperate thread about the atom chip ,
but is there any definite news about what will be updated by september ?
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post #485 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xxplosive View Post

Olternaut clearly isnt happy with him either. Carniphage is indeed calling people idiots and is being rude and saucy in the comments he makes. Other people have their opinions too. Its not just "his case" that is supported here, everyone has their own opinion on the future of apple. He needs to start respecting the opinions of others.

I have the deepest respect for the views of others. And I would never directly abuse anyone on this forum. (Apart from Bavlondon)

But if I think they are wrong, I try and argue my point. I think that is a lot of fun. It's like playing Call of Duty, but with words.

I try to make my points by arguing my corner, pointing to web links, using some facts, and occasional witty metaphors. Ok witty in my own mind.

I did not call anyone here an idiot and I never would.

I was provocative when I said "some idiots even want tablets" to illustrate that Apple does not make every form factor under the sun. And I used that word to indicate that I think it is the last form factor Apple will ever make.

It was not directed at any individual at all. And if you check my posts, I have never used personal attacks or direct abuse to anyone.

In return I have been directly abused. But I won't be responding in kind.

C.
post #486 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by wobegon View Post

Carniphage and I certainly haven't agreed in this thread about licensing out the Mac OS, but his argument on this subject is very reasoned and I didn't catch any major sneering.

Wobegon, we may disagree on the issues. But you are a true gentleman!

C.
post #487 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by wobegon View Post

The fatal flaw in your reasoning is your assumption that Apple can just do the same thing: bundle their operating system with new PCs.

I'm not sure I understand. How is this not what Apple is currently doing?
post #488 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carniphage View Post

Well iTunes and Safari and Airport Utility are a start.
But Apple making software for Windows does cause it to snow in hell.

C.

Yeah, but Apple's Windows software sucks.

With iTunes, it bundles QT, which is one of the worse video players out there, it runs slowly and supports nothing. However, with the latest version of iTunes, it comes with QT, as well as iPhone helpers, and a MobileMe option in the Control Panel, even if you don't use them. And many people have download Safari for Windows, as Apple slipped it in there with the updater. And I'm not a big fan of Safari on Mac or Windows anymore, ever since Opera 9.5 or FF3.

I'm glad Apple doesn't release iLife or iWork for Windows, as they would be buggy and slow, much like Microsoft's Office 2008, and people would see how lame iWork is for the most part, and go back to Office 2003/2007 or OOo, especially if they need Excel.
post #489 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by guinness View Post

Yeah, but Apple's Windows software sucks.

I'm glad Apple doesn't release iLife or iWork for Windows, as they would be buggy and slow, much like Microsoft's Office 2008, and people would see how lame iWork is for the most part, and go back to Office 2003/2007 or OOo, especially if they need Excel.

I agree. The only way Apple can easily make a port of a OS X program run under Windows, is to have a cut-down Mac OS running within Windows. This is *really* resource expensive. The resulting applications are slow and bloated and don't comply with Windows UI.

Personally, I like iWork, but it is sluggish, even on my Mac Pro.

C.
post #490 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by wobegon View Post

Man, if there was ever a need for an American COMPUTER History class, it's now.

There WERE alternatives besides the beleaguered Apple of the past. You do realize the Microsoft of today is now eerily mimicking the floundering Apple of the '90s, right?

Read the following to watch history repeat itself:
http://www.roughlydrafted.com/2008/0...ered-apple-96/


Now read the following to get up to speed on...history:
http://www.roughlydrafted.com/RD/Hom...EF7FAFD3A.html

At the bottom of that ^ article, it links to the next article: 1980-1985: 8-bit Platforms

At the bottom of that article on 8-bit systems will be one on 16-bit systems. Read that too. Keep following the links 'til you reach the end.

The articles are all part of a logical, well written, and easy to understand series: The Rise and Fall of Platforms.

After your done reading all that, please tell Carniphage about it and make sure to say pass it on.

Then rejoin the discussion if you wish.

Here's another article from that series. It's should be quite relevant to you: 1990-1995: Why the World Went Windows

But seriously, make sure to read the rest.



Thanks for giving me the opportunity to rejoin the discussion, most kind of you.

And thanks for the history lesson, although you have not said a thing that I never already knew already and more to the point have not said a thing that changes anything I have said, if you could be bothered reading my posts you would know that.

I was going to reply to all your points but to be honest I cannot be bothered, I have made my point quite clear already. if I was some 14 year old child you could probably get away with talking to me like that once, But seen as I am the Managing Director and sole owner of an software company that turned over $68 Million dollars last FY then maybe you do not need to be talking to me like that, or to be honest not sure you should be patronising anybody like that!

I am fairly confident I know what I am talking about, but if you know better then fair enough.
post #491 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by jouster View Post

I'm not sure I understand. How is this not what Apple is currently doing?

Thanks for reminding me about that statement, which has baffled sooo many people. \

This is how I should have phrased it:

The fatal flaw in your reasoning [Carniphage] is your assumption that Apple can just do the same thing [that Microsoft has been illegally doing]: bundle their operating system with new PCs PRODUCED BY THIRD PARTY HARDWARE VENDORS.

It's NOT illegal for Apple to sell their operating system with their computers. That's called an embedded system. That's what cell phones, video game consoles, and Macs are. People have the CHOICE to use them, or not. In addition, Apple is not preventing anyone from using alternative operating systems on their Macs; Windows and Linux can be run both natively using Boot Camp and virtually using third party programs like Parallels.

Meanwhile, it IS illegal to bundle an operating system from one independent company (Microsoft) with the hardware from a separate independent company (Dell, HP, etc.) through exclusive, anti-competitive OEM licensing contracts because it stifles competition from alternative operating systems (like Linux, FreeBSD, or if Apple threw their hat into the ring - which again, Apple has no interest in doing - Mac OS X).


EDIT

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carniphage View Post

Wobegon, we may disagree on the issues. But you are a true gentleman!

Thanks, especially coming from a British guy. Make sure to read my statement above.
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post #492 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by murphyweb View Post

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to rejoin the discussion, most kind of you.

And thanks for the history lesson, although you have not said a thing that I never already knew already and more to the point have not said a thing that changes anything I have said, if you could be bothered reading my posts you would know that.

I was going to reply to all your points but to be honest I cannot be bothered, I have made my point quite clear already. if I was some 14 year old child you could probably get away with talking to me like that once, But seen as I am the Managing Director and sole owner of an software company that turned over $68 Million dollars last FY then maybe you do not need to be talking to me like that, or to be honest not sure you should be patronising anybody like that!

I am fairly confident I know what I am talking about, but if you know better then fair enough.

I was not responding to all of your posts, just your assertion that no alternatives to Microsoft's Windows existed, which is inaccurate. I did follow your and Mac-sochist's discussion over the likelihood of Apple licensing out their OS to third party hardware vendors, which is why I posted relevant articles that demonstrate there WERE alternatives and WHY Microsoft is REALLY where it is today.

I did not mean to patronize you, but to break some of the tension. Sheesh! I find it rather hypocritical of someone to be calling me out for prodding them a little in an attempt to lighten them up, and then have them condescend to me and others in the same breath.

I have no interest in fighting with people I don't know behind the veil of anonymity the internet provides. Regardless of what status you claim to hold in some business doesn't make your arguments any more right, nor does it invalidate mine in this situation.
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post #493 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carniphage View Post

I have the deepest respect for the views of others. And I would never directly abuse anyone on this forum. (Apart from Bavlondon)

But if I think they are wrong, I try and argue my point. I think that is a lot of fun. It's like playing Call of Duty, but with words.

I try to make my points by arguing my corner, pointing to web links, using some facts, and occasional witty metaphors. Ok witty in my own mind.

I did not call anyone here an idiot and I never would.

I was provocative when I said "some idiots even want tablets" to illustrate that Apple does not make every form factor under the sun. And I used that word to indicate that I think it is the last form factor Apple will ever make.

It was not directed at any individual at all. And if you check my posts, I have never used personal attacks or direct abuse to anyone.

In return I have been directly abused. But I won't be responding in kind.

C.

I apologize if you feel that i have personally attacked you. Now that this is settled lets get on with the apple talk shall we?!

Carniphage, you seem to do your research an awful lot after reading posts from other threads and i respect you now as i see your points that you were only presenting an arguement. I was wondering what you think specifically what this product transition will be because this thread seems to be getting off topic in some ways and i was wondering your "list" so to speak of speculated products.
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post #494 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xxplosive View Post

I apologize if you feel that i have personally attacked you. Now that this is settled lets get on with the apple talk shall we?!

Carniphage, you seem to do your research an awful lot after reading posts from other threads and i respect you now as i see your points that you were only presenting an arguement. I was wondering what you think specifically what this product transition will be because this thread seems to be getting off topic in some ways and i was wondering your "list" so to speak of speculated products.

Apology accepted. :-)

I like it when we can argue the crap out of a topic and still remain friendly!

Apple has tended to use the word transition to mean a fairly large change in the way it does things.

Motorola -> PowerPC
OS9 -> OS-X
PowerPC -> Intel

These were all *huge* changes. But I could be wrong and it could be a much smaller transition.

The language we are all trying to pick-apart is :

There is a secret "product transition" that will affect Apple's product margins and drop them to about 30 percent, but which CFO Peter Oppenheimer can't talk about today.

Apple doesn't want to leave a margin so high that it creates an "umbrella" for competitors to rest under in terms of price; These state-of-the-art products will have technologies and features that others "can't match,"


My interpretation was this is about OS X. Apple is going to do a territory grab to take advantage of the Vista debacle. It fits with the language; the relatively high margin of Mac computers locks OS X into a high-end ghetto. OS X will never escape into wider usage. And Windows can shelter safe under this price Umberella.

If we go back to Next, Jobs eventually sold NextStep as a stand alone OS to try and pick up market share. (Unsucessfully)

Such a move *would* initially affect Apple's bottom line, because Apple would probably have to cut the least competitive hardware prices to prevent a degree of Cannibalization.

But of course there could be a simpler explanation of Oppenheimer's words.

The most compelling alternative argument in this thread would be a radical overhaul of the notebook line up.


C.
post #495 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carniphage View Post

Apology accepted. :-)

I like it when we can argue the crap out of a topic and still remain friendly!

Apple has tended to use the word transition to mean a fairly large change in the way it does things.

Motorola -> PowerPC
OS9 -> OS-X
PowerPC -> Intel

These were all *huge* changes. But I could be wrong and it could be a much smaller transition.

The language we are all trying to pick-apart is :

There is a secret "product transition" that will affect Apple's product margins and drop them to about 30 percent, but which CFO Peter Oppenheimer can't talk about today.

Apple doesn't want to leave a margin so high that it creates an "umbrella" for competitors to rest under in terms of price; These state-of-the-art products will have technologies and features that others "can't match,"


My interpretation was this is about OS X. Apple is going to do a territory grab to take advantage of the Vista debacle. It fits with the language; the relatively high margin of Mac computers locks OS X into a high-end ghetto. OS X will never escape into wider usage. And Windows can shelter safe under this price Umberella.

If we go back to Next, Jobs eventually sold NextStep as a stand alone OS to try and pick up market share. (Unsucessfully)

Such a move *would* initially affect Apple's bottom line, because Apple would probably have to cut the least competitive hardware prices to prevent a degree of Cannibalization.

But of course there could be a simpler explanation of Oppenheimer's words.

The most compelling alternative argument in this thread would be a radical overhaul of the notebook line up.


C.

It's going to be a MacBook Touch.
post #496 of 735
Thanks for bringing us out of the wilderness and back into the supposed point of this thread, Zin. Apparently other "idiots" think it's going to be a touch tablet. One of them is a pro with some inside info. http://blogs.zdnet.com/Apple/

In making a case for why a TT might be worth a marketing effort, he espouses a movie player and Kindle killer. I really have been thinking about getting a Kindle (next model out soon) and it costs around 400. Jobs reportedly thinks that's a dumb idea, but Amazon has sold several hundred thousand so far and ran out of them for a while. If Apple can find a similar link to a very large reasonably priced library to add to itunes, there's a market just for that. But what if it was on the order $500 with a form factor smaller than the Kindle and had all the extra goodies (including a plug in keyboard for back home) that an Atom makes possible? Funny, the air left off the internal op drive - this would leave out the internal keyboard, but you have it if you want it. Not the biggest market, but maybe enough to make it worthwhile. At $1000, fugetabowdit.
post #497 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jbach67 View Post

Thanks for bringing us out of the wilderness and back into the supposed point of this thread, Zin. Apparently other "idiots" think it's going to be a touch tablet. One of them is a pro with some inside info. http://blogs.zdnet.com/Apple/

In making a case for why a TT might be worth a marketing effort, he espouses a movie player and Kindle killer. I really have been thinking about getting a Kindle (next model out soon) and it costs around 400. Jobs reportedly thinks that's a dumb idea, but Amazon has sold several hundred thousand so far and ran out of them for a while. If Apple can find a similar link to a very large reasonably priced library to add to itunes, there's a market just for that. But what if it was on the order $500 with a form factor smaller than the Kindle and had all the extra goodies (including a plug in keyboard for back home) that an Atom makes possible? Funny, the air left off the internal op drive - this would leave out the internal keyboard, but you have it if you want it. Not the biggest market, but maybe enough to make it worthwhile. At $1000, fugetabowdit.

Two things.

First, you do realize ZDNet is basically a Microsoft mouthpiece and major propagator of Mac FUD right?

Second, pricing a Mac tablet at $500 would make it only a stone's throw from Apple's iPod touch mobile WiFi device and anything that cheap would have to be lower-powered than the MacBook Air, Apple's slowest computer. On that note, why would Apple launch the MacBook Air, a sleek laptop with a large Multi-Touch trackpad in January (and subsequently, update their MacBook Pro line with the same touch functionality) only to basically obsolete those computers with a full-on touch-based tablet that could cannibalize Mac sales and/or be cannibalized by the iPod touch or iPhone?
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post #498 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jbach67 View Post

Apparently other "idiots" think it's going to be a touch tablet. One of them is a pro with some inside info. http://blogs.zdnet.com/Apple/

If anyone can make a successful tablet, it would be Apple. But there are massive design and technological hurdles to overcome. If Apple have done that, then that would be awesome. But I'm not holding my breath.

If it's a hardware transition. My money would be on a big overhaul of the notebooks. Interpreting Oppenheimer's remarks with regard to portables, would suggest something astonishingly inexpensive.

Perhaps a netbook, targetted at school use with a very low price and a very high specification. But such a device would hurt the Air.

C.
post #499 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carniphage View Post

I don't agree with it, but that's a valid argument.
You are saying that if Sony offered OS X, Apple customers would migrate to (better/cheaper) Sony hardware.

I don't agree. because...
1) I think Apple hardware is superior to Sony design-wise and is competitive price/performance-wise.
2) If it isn't, it really ought to be.

No...Sony doesn't make cheaper hardware. They made hardware with about as much margins as Apple does. They would migrate to HP and Dell machines...which are better/cheaper.

I am saying that Apple would be as successful in moving desktops as Sony was: not very.

Quote:
But a lot of people seem very eager to move away from Windows too. There is a groundswell of Windows anger out there. A sizable minority of the 92% are unhappy with Windows and would happily switch to Leopard.

I'm thinking that the number is smaller than we think and that most aren't angry enough to pay the Apple tax. Or they'd own Macs.

Quote:
The justaposition of Apples best OS, at the same moment as Windows most bungled OS introduction creates a historic opportunity. Persuade just 10% of Windows users to switch, and the OS X market share would double rapidly.

Which would be financial disaster for Apple if 50% of it's high margin hardware sales (desktop) went away.

Quote:
Doubling the OS X market share would be very significant for Apple. The visibility of the brand would increase, the acceptance of it standards would increase. And you might get some momentum. It might also drive forward hardware sales. In a halo effect.

Apple's branding is QUITE healthy thanks. Likewise momentum.

Quote:
Currently potential switchers are road-blocked because the only way to get Mac OS, is by buying a high-end boutique system. Which according to you, is poor value.

High margin items often are poor values unless they have some compelling advantage. For apple this is a combination of branding, design and OSX. Sony had branding and even design...if you care for Sony design anyway. Even if you didn't at least they were not the same old boxes that Dell/HP/Gateway/etc pushed out.

Steve has a specific ideal of computing. This ideal happens to be also the same market segments with high margins (SFF, AIO and laptops). So he gets his cake and eat it too with a highly profitable and successful Apple.
post #500 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by murphyweb View Post

Why is that do you think? If your company developed an business class software app which OS would you write it for? the 99% of business machines that run windows or the 1% that run OSX? It is not even worth writing for both.

Now, what would you do if suddenly the bar to business running OSX had been lifted and a good proportion (20-30% ?) of your customer base were telling you they wanted to switch to OSX. You would immediately get to work rewriting code.

Your issue does not exist.

I would write for Windows because MS has put significant effort in tailoring their OS infrastructure for business just as Apple has put significant effort in tailoring their OS infrastructure for the home and creative desktop market. Apple has iLife which IMHO is unmatched by anything on the windows side. Microsoft has Active Directory, Exchange, SQL Server, etc which is unmatched by anything on the mac side.

The issue certainly exists. Apple has not had a business focus in some time and won't have a 20-30% share in business anytime soon. Probably ever.

This isn't a theoretical issue for me. I'm a .NET developer that usually uses Keynote for presentations and lives with OSX integration in a MS Server world. Would I try to move from C# to Java to service OSX? Not bloody likely given the piss poor Java support on OSX. At least Java 6 is finally in Leopard...sorta. Only for 64-bit Intel. So I'd be stuck using Java 5.

Would I recode everything in ObjC + IB? Not bloodly likely even though I used to be a NeXT developer.

Multiplatform to OSX is a royal pain in the arse. I'd do a web app front end first before doing anything native.

A full blown port to OSX? Really unlikely unless my market touched on the Apple strength areas (content producers for example...maybe academic and medical users).

I'd do an iPhone native app perhaps since it has a chance of significant share.
post #501 of 735
I think that the rebirth of Pippin is far more likely than either a multi-touch tablet or opening up OSX.

I think the rebirth of Pippin is a very low probability of occurance. On the other hand, I could see the aTV gaining as much gaming capability as an iPod touch with some kind of BT based controller with accelerometers...

The mini might be a viable platform if you stuck some kind of half decent GPU in there. At least up to Wii standards. This would have a negative effect on iMac sales and move ASPs downwards so a beefed up aTV running a cut down OSX seems more likely.
post #502 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by wobegon View Post

Two things.

First, you do realize ZDNet is basically a Microsoft mouthpiece and major propagator of Mac FUD right?

Second, pricing a Mac tablet at $500 would make it only a stone's throw from Apple's iPod touch mobile WiFi device and anything that cheap would have to be lower-powered than the MacBook Air, Apple's slowest computer. On that note, why would Apple launch the MacBook Air, a sleek laptop with a large Multi-Touch trackpad in January (and subsequently, update their MacBook Pro line with the same touch functionality) only to basically obsolete those computers with a full-on touch-based tablet that could cannibalize Mac sales and/or be cannibalized by the iPod touch or iPhone?

I admit my ignorance of the biases of all ZD Net bloggers, though I don't see how this particular article serves MS, as he basically bashes their execution of touch technology.

Parenthetically, I can't tell you why they launched the over priced and underfunctioned MacBook Air at all - other than to show they could make a beautiful piece of technology. Does it undercut the MacBook and MBPro? If it is selling well, more power to them.

I appreciate the argument in your second paragraph, but I don't envision a touchscreen tablet that would in any way obsolete the MB/pro lines. I agree it that to be successful, it would have to be lower cost and therefore lower power than the flagships (I think I mentioned the Atom chip) but have a form factor (thinner than Kindle) that would make it more portable than the MB's (may excluding the Air), have GPS and DVD, and I would advocate a dual stylus (for taking hand written notes and drawing) and multi-touch mode.

If it launched with a new MacBook store a la Amazon, and they made deals with major college textbook companies, you could carry around all of your texts in one hand, or if not a student, a bunch of whatever you want to read. A lot of people have tried to get people to switch from paper books to electrons without success. Kindle suggests that at the right price, ease of use, and size, there is a potential market. If you think of it as a souped up book reader/gps with lots of extra benefits, I think it might go. You'd still need a 'real' computer, laptop or desk top.

I bought an ipod touch as a music player, and it also does videos, contacts, photos, and with the new apps, a lot more. If I thought of it as a PDA, it might be a disappointment, but it's a hell of a product. But I still need a computer and while I listen to audiobooks on the Touch, I sure don't want to read a whole book or watch a movie on it. At the right price, I'd buy a larger screen touch instead of a Kindle and then decide (as I finally make the shift from Windows) whether I want a MBPro or an iMac. The tablet might shift me towards the desktop, so you may be right about such a device competing with the laptop line, but a lot of folks are buying laptops instead of - not in addition to - a desktop.

In any event, I see that people have been bringing this apple chimera up for some years now and so far nothing has materialized. The question is when some killer app and/or technology app would make the idea attractive. Is that time soon or years away - I don't know. I just don't think it's a complete non-starter. There is a sweet spot for book reading between the too small Touch/iphone and the too pricy MB/Air/Pro.
post #503 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by wobegon View Post

I was not responding to all of your posts, just your assertion that no alternatives to Microsoft's Windows existed, which is inaccurate. I did follow your and Mac-sochist's discussion over the likelihood of Apple licensing out their OS to third party hardware vendors, which is why I posted relevant articles that demonstrate there WERE alternatives and WHY Microsoft is REALLY where it is today.

I did not mean to patronize you, but to break some of the tension. Sheesh! I find it rather hypocritical of someone to be calling me out for prodding them a little in an attempt to lighten them up, and then have them condescend to me and others in the same breath.

I have no interest in fighting with people I don't know behind the veil of anonymity the internet provides. Regardless of what status you claim to hold in some business doesn't make your arguments any more right, nor does it invalidate mine in this situation.

Fair enough, I might actually work in Starbucks anyway, I might not even work. But I am not actually the owner of a $68m company (it's actually $69m - not, not really, joking).

I was trying to make a point but probably never did a very good job of it, I just felt your post was assuming I know nothing and my point was that you probably should assume that somebody who is engaged in a conversation has at least some knowledge of the topic at hand whether you agree with them or not. You never know who you are talking to.

But yes, my point was badly put and did not really work as expected.

Never mind, carry on!
post #504 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oliver J. Taylor View Post

Carniphage:

After the recent press releases of Sony's new laptop lineup, it shows that Sony's hardware in terms of laptops are far superior. I myself am definitely thinking of porting from my current MacBook Pro to the new Sony Z Series laptop. It packs better specs into a footprint similar to the MacBook that is competetive to current MacBook Pro's and goes beyond them in certain cases.

Apple will need to update their laptop line soon to compete against such laptop releases before they slip too far behind. This is an important product update needed but probably not a products transition unless large overhauls have beeen made.

I definitely prefer OSX, it makes life easy whereas Vista can make computing hard work at times, but I am prepared to port over to much better hardware if I still have a desktop Mac.

SJ...please update the laptop line !!!

i'm going to get Sony Z series as well. i was waiting for Macbook Air refresh, but seems like it won't happen for a while, plus there's no way apple can offer a new macbook air that can match what sony Z series does.







post #505 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jbach67 View Post

I admit my ignorance of the biases of all ZD Net bloggers, though I don't see how this particular article serves MS, as he basically bashes their execution of touch technology.

Well don't worry, having been a Windows user myself until around three years ago, my tech sources have changed vastly. A good portion of the internet tech media is more misinformed or simply hungry for the web traffic (which translates into ad revenue) sensationalist, and generally shallow tech articles get them than it is simply anti-Apple.

Apple is the golden child of the tech industry right now, so places like CNET (and the rest of the ZDNET sites), Joystiq, Gizmodo, Endgadget, ExtremeTech, etc. know they can make a lot of money by slandering them. If you're familiar with Greenpeace, which is one of the numerous groups masquerading as the Eco Police, they have consistently put Apple at the bottom of their list of eco-friendly computer companies while putting Dell and HP (the top two vendors that sell a ton of ewaste PCs) at the top. They recently started ranking game consoles and who did they put at the bottom there? Why, Nintendo's outstandingly popular Wii, of course. Do they have any real data to back up their claims? No, these are profiteers. Why am I telling you this? Because, if you plan on moving to a Mac, prepare to hear all the myths and scare tactics. ZDNet is probably the worst of all of them. Here, they are arguing for Apple to put out a touch tablet BECAUSE they know they would fail in the market like all the other tablets PCs and UMPCs Bill Gates has put out on the market.

They've pushed similarly illogical notions, like the idea that Apple should license out their OS to third party hardware vendors. This would result in cannibalization if it were actually possible and legal to bundle Apple's OS with third party vendors as Microsoft has done with Windows through anti-competitive, anti-consumer exclusive OEM deals. Many sites just recycle each other's similar requests of Apple because they don't know any better. ZDNet, though, knows exactly what it's doing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jbach67 View Post

Parenthetically, I can't tell you why they launched the over priced and underfunctioned MacBook Air at all - other than to show they could make a beautiful piece of technology. Does it undercut the MacBook and MBPro? If it is selling well, more power to them.

A lot of people were baffled by the MacBook Air. Most of the tech media will have you believe it is as you described: a crazy, overpriced, underpowered, disc-drive and ethernet-port lacking toy from Apple. They've compared it to sub-notebooks, like the EeePC and Sony's micro 10" laptops.

In reality, the MacBook Air is not a $600 tiny sub-notebook, but a very competitive ultra-light laptop. Click HERE to see a chart comparing competitors in this market to the Air. It's small size is a feature - that's why it comes at a premium. It uses much smaller components that don't benefit from the economies of scale of average-sized laptops.

It sports a 13" display, a full-size keyboard, and a unique Multi-Touch trackpad that extends the intuitive gestures found in their immensely popular iPod touch/iPhone WiFi mobile devices. It uses 802.11n, which can rival 10/100 ethernet, believe it or not. It drops an internal disc drive because CDs have been dying for years thanks to P2P, mp3 players like the iPod, and online music stores like iTunes, which became the #1 music seller in the U.S. (if not the world) ahead of Wal-mart and Best Buy brick-and-mortar stores. DVDs are still widely used, but few people actually watch them on their computer - most people have dedicated DVD players and/or game consoles that play DVDs. There are very few programs that require install discs - many are downloadable online - and those that do can use Remote Disc, which allows the MacBook Air to wirelessly access any nearby computer's disc drive and install them wirelessly. There's no removable battery because...few people ever actually replace their laptop batteries, let alone the people Apple is marketing the Air to.

See, the MacBook Air is not only appealing to business execs on the road and journalists, but the average computer user in terms of power and features. Remember, the average computer user mainly listens to music, emails, uses an IM client, and browses the internet. None of those tasks require a super-fast computer, nor do they really benefit from the power of say, a top of the line Mac Pro. Sure, applications will start faster on them, but thanks to Mac OS X's aggressive caching of data, after initial start up, applications only take a few seconds to re-launch if the user quits them.

AppleInsider did a side-by-side video comparison of the hard drive sporting Air vs. the solid state model, which demonstrates this caching ability very well. Go HERE, then scroll down and watch the second of the three videos on the page, which shows them starting like 30 applications simultaneously. You'll notice the SSD model wins pretty handily in that video. But then scroll down to the third video and watch how fast the apps starts up after having already been opened once before.

So, the Air is really a premium notebook for the average consumer who values weight and size over unnecessary horsepower. It's priced out of the budget-conscious consumers that don't mind more bulk if it saves them money - the MacBook buyers. At the same time, it's a few hundred less than the much larger and more powerful MacBook Pro line, which is geared towards professional photographers, music mixers, or serious gamers who need power more than portability. It's been pretty popular. Have to see how it did against the rest of Apple's laptop lineup after their yearly Back To School sale - buy a Mac, get a free iPod.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jbach67 View Post

I appreciate the argument in your second paragraph, but I don't envision a touchscreen tablet that would in any way obsolete the MB/pro lines. I agree it that to be successful, it would have to be lower cost and therefore lower power than the flagships (I think I mentioned the Atom chip) but have a form factor (thinner than Kindle) that would make it more portable than the MB's (may excluding the Air), have GPS and DVD, and I would advocate a dual stylus (for taking hand written notes and drawing) and multi-touch mode.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Jbach67 View Post

If it launched with a new MacBook store a la Amazon, and they made deals with major college textbook companies, you could carry around all of your texts in one hand, or if not a student, a bunch of whatever you want to read. A lot of people have tried to get people to switch from paper books to electrons without success. Kindle suggests that at the right price, ease of use, and size, there is a potential market. If you think of it as a souped up book reader/gps with lots of extra benefits, I think it might go. You'd still need a 'real' computer, laptop or desk top.


In any event, I see that people have been bringing this apple chimera up for some years now and so far nothing has materialized. The question is when some killer app and/or technology app would make the idea attractive. Is that time soon or years away - I don't know. I just don't think it's a complete non-starter. There is a sweet spot for book reading between the too small Touch/iphone and the too pricy MB/Air/Pro.

So what you're really suggesting is more of an eBook reader that can play DVDs, allow digital note-taking/annotation of text/doodling, and (for whatever reason) GPS. It wouldn't even need to be a full-fledged computer. That's fairly different from what ZDNet is proposing, which is a complete computer inside a large enclosure, with a touch screen on top. That should sound familiar. Heard or seen Microsoft's Surface computer? It's the same thing, only they want Apple to make it more portable than Microsoft's tub computer that uses mirrors and projectors to create a faux touchscreen kiosk....that costs $10k.

You're idea of a "Kindle killer"/digital art/ is more realistic, but it's quite a niche market mainly because of the reasons you state: price (both in terms of eBook - a la carte vs subscription perhaps - and especially, the cost of the device itself), ease-of-use, and of course, form factor. The last two could easily be handled by Apple. It's all about price of eBooks and namely, the tablet itself. Even if eBooks were half the price of real books, you still have to get people to take the initial plunge of spending $400 or more for...a book. Would I buy one if the eBook selection and eBook price were good? Hell yeah! It's very similar to the Apple TV, which hasn't taken off because while it offers quite a bit more than what a cable box can, the initial cost is not hidden in some subscription fee. People have to be willing to pay that darn upfront cost!

Then Apple's gotta worry about what eBook format to go with. I don't doubt we'll be reading and writing on touch-screen tablets in the future, but right now, it just doesn't seem feasible. It'd be an entirely new product, even if Apple labeled it MacBook touch. Also, they just released some WiFi mobile devices last year that they completely want to avoid cannibalizing: the iPod touch and iPhone. If people saw a Mac touch tablet, which would really need to be priced in the $400-$600 range to get any major sales, they could (and would) buy it instead of an iPod touch or iPhone. Until Apple can get iPod touch prices down to $100-$200, which ain't happening any time soon as they continue to ramp up flash capacities for them, such a product doesn't seem viable.

But in 4-7 years, a TouchBook seems quite possible. That may not sound like a lot of time to many here, but I don't doubt the speed at which the tech industry is moving and Apple is already years ahead of the competition in many areas, and with their recent acquisition of PA Semi and the announcement of an Intel-optimized version of Mac OS X coming in about a year - Snow Leopard, that gap is going to widen in ridiculous ways no other company can match in either hardware or software, let alone both.
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post #506 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by eddieaus View Post

i'm going to get Sony Z series as well. i was waiting for Macbook Air refresh, but seems like it won't happen for a while, plus there's no way apple can offer a new macbook air that can match what sony Z series does.

Eddieaus,

One question:
If you could buy a Sony Z - with OS X instead of Windows. Would you?

C.
post #507 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinea View Post

No...Sony doesn't make cheaper hardware. They made hardware with about as much margins as Apple does. They would migrate to HP and Dell machines...which are better/cheaper.

Vinea, your arguments are well thought-out, but your underlying argument is this:

Apple's hardware is vulnerable without the unique-selling-point of OS X. And Apple relies on hardware sales for its profitability.

AND

The demand for OS X is not that great.

These seem a little contradictory.

I'd say this:

The demand for a better-than-Windows-OS *is* great. Not 90%-of-the-market great ... but more than the 8% high-end ghetto it finds itself in. Particularly now, demand for OS-X is larger than demand for Mac computers. The mis-match creates a sort of pressure.

Apple can either use this pressure to drive OS X customers to buy hardware they don't really want. Or they can use the pressure to profit from OS-X directly and make a transition to a more software-centric company.

Which is the better business strategy depends on the actual numbers.
How many sales of OS X and software are being lost because the hardware lock-in?
How many sales of Macintosh computers would be lost by migration to Sony OS X laptops?

Only Apple would know the actual numbers.

C.
post #508 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carniphage View Post

Apple can either use this pressure to drive OS X customers to buy hardware they don't really want. Or they can use the pressure to profit from OS-X directly and make a transition to a more software-centric company.

You forgot the other option:

Increase their hardware offerings.

Apple have made it quite clear that they have no interest in licensing the OS to other manufacturers. Whether it is true or not, they clearly believe that doing so would be likely to "dilute" their brand.

IMHO It's possible that at some point in the future, licensing of OS X would be a good idea, but I don't think that that time is yet. I strongly believe that if Apple were to expand their hardware offerings slightly, they could realistically target 30% U.S. market share within 5 years. If they managed to achieve that, then it might be good to license the OS.

If you look at the reasons that Vista has been poorly received, you find that it's due to backwards compatibility with older software, poor performance in games, and poor hardware driver support. OS X would solve none of those problems, in fact, it suffers from those problems to an even greater extent (There's plenty of Windows software that doesn't have a OS X equivalent, there's less support from third-party hardware makers, gaming on the Mac is rubbish).

To really take on Windows, first the marginalisation of OS X has to be tackled, so that anyone who writes Windows software feels they must offer a version on OS X, and anyone who makes peripheral hardware feels they must offer a driver for OS X. As it stands, we are very far from this situation. As OS X's market-share grows, the platform will become less and less marginalised, the demand for OS X increases, and Apple sells more Macs.

Once they reach about 30% market share, the only way for them to increase beyond that would be to have a price war with the rest of the market, and it wouldn't be worth it. The danger would be that to increase the market share, the ASP has to go down so much that you make less profit even though you're selling more machines, so what's the point? You can instead get other people to make low-margin hardware and you sell them the OS.
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post #509 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by wobegon View Post

Well don't worry, having been a Windows user myself until around three years ago, my tech sources have changed vastly. A good portion of the internet tech media is more misinformed or simply hungry for the web traffic (which translates into ad revenue) sensationalist, and generally shallow tech articles get them than it is simply anti-Apple.

Apple is the golden child of the tech industry right now, so places like CNET (and the rest of the ZDNET sites), Joystiq, Gizmodo, Endgadget, ExtremeTech, etc. know they can make a lot of money by slandering them. If you're familiar with Greenpeace, which is one of the numerous groups masquerading as the Eco Police, they have consistently put Apple at the bottom of their list of eco-friendly computer companies while putting Dell and HP (the top two vendors that sell a ton of ewaste PCs) at the top. They recently started ranking game consoles and who did they put at the bottom there? Why, Nintendo's outstandingly popular Wii, of course. Do they have any real data to back up their claims? No, these are profiteers. Why am I telling you this? Because, if you plan on moving to a Mac, prepare to hear all the myths and scare tactics. ZDNet is probably the worst of all of them. Here, they are arguing for Apple to put out a touch tablet BECAUSE they know they would fail in the market like all the other tablets PCs and UMPCs Bill Gates has put out on the market.

They've pushed similarly illogical notions, like the idea that Apple should license out their OS to third party hardware vendors. This would result in cannibalization if it were actually possible and legal to bundle Apple's OS with third party vendors as Microsoft has done with Windows through anti-competitive, anti-consumer exclusive OEM deals. Many sites just recycle each other's similar requests of Apple because they don't know any better. ZDNet, though, knows exactly what it's doing.



A lot of people were baffled by the MacBook Air. Most of the tech media will have you believe it is as you described: a crazy, overpriced, underpowered, disc-drive and ethernet-port lacking toy from Apple. They've compared it to sub-notebooks, like the EeePC and Sony's micro 10" laptops.

In reality, the MacBook Air is not a $600 tiny sub-notebook, but a very competitive ultra-light laptop. Click HERE to see a chart comparing competitors in this market to the Air. It's small size is a feature - that's why it comes at a premium. It uses much smaller components that don't benefit from the economies of scale of average-sized laptops.

It sports a 13" display, a full-size keyboard, and a unique Multi-Touch trackpad that extends the intuitive gestures found in their immensely popular iPod touch/iPhone WiFi mobile devices. It uses 802.11n, which can rival 10/100 ethernet, believe it or not. It drops an internal disc drive because CDs have been dying for years thanks to P2P, mp3 players like the iPod, and online music stores like iTunes, which became the #1 music seller in the U.S. (if not the world) ahead of Wal-mart and Best Buy brick-and-mortar stores. DVDs are still widely used, but few people actually watch them on their computer - most people have dedicated DVD players and/or game consoles that play DVDs. There are very few programs that require install discs - many are downloadable online - and those that do can use Remote Disc, which allows the MacBook Air to wirelessly access any nearby computer's disc drive and install them wirelessly. There's no removable battery because...few people ever actually replace their laptop batteries, let alone the people Apple is marketing the Air to.

See, the MacBook Air is not only appealing to business execs on the road and journalists, but the average computer user in terms of power and features. Remember, the average computer user mainly listens to music, emails, uses an IM client, and browses the internet. None of those tasks require a super-fast computer, nor do they really benefit from the power of say, a top of the line Mac Pro. Sure, applications will start faster on them, but thanks to Mac OS X's aggressive caching of data, after initial start up, applications only take a few seconds to re-launch if the user quits them.

AppleInsider did a side-by-side video comparison of the hard drive sporting Air vs. the solid state model, which demonstrates this caching ability very well. Go HERE, then scroll down and watch the second of the three videos on the page, which shows them starting like 30 applications simultaneously. You'll notice the SSD model wins pretty handily in that video. But then scroll down to the third video and watch how fast the apps starts up after having already been opened once before.

So, the Air is really a premium notebook for the average consumer who values weight and size over unnecessary horsepower. It's priced out of the budget-conscious consumers that don't mind more bulk if it saves them money - the MacBook buyers. At the same time, it's a few hundred less than the much larger and more powerful MacBook Pro line, which is geared towards professional photographers, music mixers, or serious gamers who need power more than portability. It's been pretty popular. Have to see how it did against the rest of Apple's laptop lineup after their yearly Back To School sale - buy a Mac, get a free iPod.








So what you're really suggesting is more of an eBook reader that can play DVDs, allow digital note-taking/annotation of text/doodling, and (for whatever reason) GPS. It wouldn't even need to be a full-fledged computer. That's fairly different from what ZDNet is proposing, which is a complete computer inside a large enclosure, with a touch screen on top. That should sound familiar. Heard or seen Microsoft's Surface computer? It's the same thing, only they want Apple to make it more portable than Microsoft's tub computer that uses mirrors and projectors to create a faux touchscreen kiosk....that costs $10k.

You're idea of a "Kindle killer"/digital art/ is more realistic, but it's quite a niche market mainly because of the reasons you state: price (both in terms of eBook - a la carte vs subscription perhaps - and especially, the cost of the device itself), ease-of-use, and of course, form factor. The last two could easily be handled by Apple. It's all about price of eBooks and namely, the tablet itself. Even if eBooks were half the price of real books, you still have to get people to take the initial plunge of spending $400 or more for...a book. Would I buy one if the eBook selection and eBook price were good? Hell yeah! It's very similar to the Apple TV, which hasn't taken off because while it offers quite a bit more than what a cable box can, the initial cost is not hidden in some subscription fee. People have to be willing to pay that darn upfront cost!

Then Apple's gotta worry about what eBook format to go with. I don't doubt we'll be reading and writing on touch-screen tablets in the future, but right now, it just doesn't seem feasible. It'd be an entirely new product, even if Apple labeled it MacBook touch. Also, they just released some WiFi mobile devices last year that they completely want to avoid cannibalizing: the iPod touch and iPhone. If people saw a Mac touch tablet, which would really need to be priced in the $400-$600 range to get any major sales, they could (and would) buy it instead of an iPod touch or iPhone. Until Apple can get iPod touch prices down to $100-$200, which ain't happening any time soon as they continue to ramp up flash capacities for them, such a product doesn't seem viable.

But in 4-7 years, a TouchBook seems quite possible. That may not sound like a lot of time to many here, but I don't doubt the speed at which the tech industry is moving and Apple is already years ahead of the competition in many areas, and with their recent acquisition of PA Semi and the announcement of an Intel-optimized version of Mac OS X coming in about a year - Snow Leopard, that gap is going to widen in ridiculous ways no other company can match in either hardware or software, let alone both.

Wobegon, thanks for your considered reply and assessment, all of which makes sense. And the proof of the pudding on the Air is sales, about which I have no data. I guess we'll see what develops in the next few months in terms of a really new product. Personally, I'm waiting to see the refresh of the macbook pro and imac. I went by the local Apple store, passing a long line out the door and around the corner of people waiting to by a new iphone. I have to say the imac looks pretty cool. It may not be refreshed as soon as the laptops, but when it is, I'm hoping for a touch pad on the keyboard and reduced energy consumption, the latter of which is imporant to me and one reason to consider the laptops as desktop - I like that Apple uses mobile chips - right now, my study gets uncomfortably hot compared to the rest of the house because of an overpowered graphics windows hog.

I care a lot about the environment, indeed, I spent my career working for the real "eco-police" in the US. But I agree that people need to look at all of the relevant facts when evaluating products - interestingly, I read an article about game consoles a while back suggesting that at 75W or so Wii was 3 to 5 more energy efficient than the PS3 and Xbox. It's hard to image any materials in the Wii short of a radioactive core that would make it less "green" than the other two over the lifetime use of the product. And I'm glad Apple is responding to the criticisms in such a positive way, instead of just issuing press releases saying the rankings were wrong. They were already on the right track, and the current line is already at the "silver" Estar rating. The next refreshes will be pure gold.
post #510 of 735
apples fanbase is growing. people are switching to mac every day and there obviously are reaons, very appealing reasons. but one thing i hear a lot is "i want a mac but they are too expensive" or "why would you pay so much for a mac" some people who arent that into computers still would like a mac but dont see the reason to pay so much extra for it becasue they dont see the benefits of osx so they just stick to windows. other people just think macs are too pricey. a price cut would bring a lot more windows users into the mac world. im not saying other ideas arent great on this thread because a lot are good too, but this seems like an obvious answer. it is an answer that benefits mac users and windows users who want to buy a mac but didnt have enough money to spend before.
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post #511 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xxplosive View Post

apples fanbase is growing. people are switching to mac every day and there obviously are reaons, very appealing reasons. but one thing i hear a lot is "i want a mac but they are too expensive" or "why would you pay so much for a mac" some people who arent that into computers still would like a mac but dont see the reason to pay so much extra for it becasue they dont see the benefits of osx so they just stick to windows. other people just think macs are too pricey. a price cut would bring a lot more windows users into the mac world. im not saying other ideas arent great on this thread because a lot are good too, but this seems like an obvious answer. it is an answer that benefits mac users and windows users who want to buy a mac but didnt have enough money to spend before.

There are actually few Apple machines that are overpriced. The problem is not the prices (for the most part), it's the rigidity of the lineup and a high cost-of-entry to the platform.

The only machines that are over-priced are the entry-level MacBook and the entry-level MacBook Pro.

The real problems are:

In the laptop lineup:
  • Apple start with a 2.1 GHz CPU, and a slim and light form-factor (relative to low- and mid- end PCs) and they're both expensive items.
  • Apple tie screen-size to overall computing power. If you want a 15" widescreen, you've also got to have a powerful CPU, GPU, aluminium chasis etc. etc., if you want a 17" widescreen, you have to fork out for the most powerful CPU, largest HDD, etc.

In the desktop lineup, Apple have only niche offerings and no mainstream mini-tower with regular desktop components.

To solve these problems Apple could:
  • Have an all-new aluminium-based MacBook Pro chassis in 3 different basic form-factors: 13", 15" and 17", and allow full customisability with choice of CPU speed (starting at 2.1 GHz), GPU (all dedicated) speed, HDD size and RAM. You want a 17" screen but the slowest CPU and GPU, and a middling HDD? You got it.
  • Have an all-new plastic MacBook chassis in 13", 15" and 17" configurations, with choice of CPU speed (down to single-core Celerons), HDD size and CPU (all with integrated graphics). The chassis might have to be bigger and heavier than the current MacBook chassis, but the trade-off would be much lower price. The new 13" MacBook Pro would essentially take the place of the current MacBook, and the new MacBook range would come in underneath that price point.
  • Introduce the xMac already!
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post #512 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jbach67 View Post

Wobegon, thanks for your considered reply and assessment, all of which makes sense. And the proof of the pudding on the Air is sales, about which I have no data. I guess we'll see what develops in the next few months in terms of a really new product. Personally, I'm waiting to see the refresh of the macbook pro and imac. I went by the local Apple store, passing a long line out the door and around the corner of people waiting to by a new iphone. I have to say the imac looks pretty cool. It may not be refreshed as soon as the laptops, but when it is, I'm hoping for a touch pad on the keyboard and reduced energy consumption, the latter of which is imporant to me and one reason to consider the laptops as desktop - I like that Apple uses mobile chips - right now, my study gets uncomfortably hot compared to the rest of the house because of an overpowered graphics windows hog.

I like the idea of a Multi-Touch pad for their desktop line. Not sure if Apple would go for it, considering they are very much moving towards the future, which is mobile electronics like laptops and iPhones, but it wouldn't cause any cannibalization and if it doubled as a nice art pad, that'd be pretty cool. They could use the MacBook Air's large trackpad.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jbach67 View Post

I care a lot about the environment, indeed, I spent my career working for the real "eco-police" in the US. But I agree that people need to look at all of the relevant facts when evaluating products - interestingly, I read an article about game consoles a while back suggesting that at 75W or so Wii was 3 to 5 more energy efficient than the PS3 and Xbox. It's hard to image any materials in the Wii short of a radioactive core that would make it less "green" than the other two over the lifetime use of the product. And I'm glad Apple is responding to the criticisms in such a positive way, instead of just issuing press releases saying the rankings were wrong. They were already on the right track, and the current line is already at the "silver" Estar rating. The next refreshes will be pure gold.

Yeah, I'm all for the environment and believe in global warming. It's too bad when fakers like Greenpeace mar the cause. It's like their research entirely consists of searching each company's website for eco grandstanding, which Apple simply doesn't do. Meanwhile, they don't actually compare the products and say "well, while Nintendo doesn't have a Wii recycling policy, they don't have any major failure rate [like Microsoft's 360 with its +40% failure rate] and they're rather energy efficient."

A gold Estar rating would be awesome. I think the Air is very close and the rest of the notebook line is likely to transition to match its sleek style, low heat output, LED backlit display, and optional SSD storage. Some in this thread have suggested the merging of Apple's entry-level MacBook with the Pros and Airs. I'm not sure if Apple can do that yet. Obviously it'd involve killing the MacBook and replacing it with the Air, which they'll likely increase the specs on so it's at least as powerful as the Mac Mini, and has enough internal storage (come on 128GB SSD ) to be competitive.
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post #513 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by wobegon View Post

Some in this thread have suggested the merging of Apple's entry-level MacBook with the Pros and Airs. I'm not sure if Apple can do that yet. Obviously it'd involve killing the MacBook and replacing it with the Air

Er... what?

The Air is a separate product. There's no way it would replace the MacBook, and there's no need for it to do so. It can happily remain by itself as a high-end ultra-light machine.

I strongly suspect that the MacBook and MacBook Pro lines are merging, or at the very least the next MacBook non-pro will be aluminium. I also suspect that when that happens, the cost of entry will remain the same (the cheapest Mac laptop will still be $1099, but it'll be made of aluminium) at that will be a shame. Apple should keep a plastic casework laptop as the entry-level, and reduce its specification, performance and price in order to lower the cost of entry for Mac laptops.
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post #514 of 735
Looking at possible options wouldn't a hardware transition have to be passed through something accessible to us such as the FCC...?

I really am excited at the prospect of laptop hardware transitions but following recent spec bumps I can't help but think that unless a long running project has been undergoing that this transition will be rather lackluster. We have been promised a casing redesign through hints - it certainly is necessary - but can Apple and SJ pull off the one two punch of redesign and significant spec bump...

We live in hope...that or an Apple and Sony computing merger. We better start thinking of a name!

Regards Oliver
post #515 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

Er... what?

The Air is a separate product. There's no way it would replace the MacBook, and there's no need for it to do so. It can happily remain by itself as a high-end ultra-light machine.

I strongly suspect that the MacBook and MacBook Pro lines are merging, or at the very least the next MacBook non-pro will be aluminium. I also suspect that when that happens, the cost of entry will remain the same (the cheapest Mac laptop will still be $1099, but it'll be made of aluminium) at that will be a shame. Apple should keep a plastic casework laptop as the entry-level, and reduce its specification, performance and price in order to lower the cost of entry for Mac laptops.

Yeah, the idea of Apple making the entry-level MacBook aluminum is what I don't buy. It'll no doubt keep its 13" screen, which would result in a laptop that looks rather similar to the premium, ultra-light MacBook Air. While one would cost $700 more, both are really geared towards the casual computer user who mainly listens to music, writes text documents, emails, uses an IM client and browses the web. Mobile business execs and journalists are indeed, casual computer users because of their situation. They need and value a lightweight enclosure more than the horsepower the MacBook Pro's provide, yet likely won't settle for the entry-MacBook because even though it's physically smaller than the Pros, it's only 0.4 lbs lighter than the sleeker Pro, which disperses its weight over its larger enclosure. I'm sure you've picked up both in a store. While the Pro is larger, it feels a good bit lighter than the smaller, yet more dense MacBook.

The MB and MB Air would be overly similar and appeal to many of the same people. The plastic casing, weight and price of the MacBook are what's keeping them from cannibalizing the Air. Dropping one of its key differentiators from the fancier Pro and Air lines - its plastic casing - casual computer users will mainly care about...difference in price between it and the Air. Then you have to imagine the likelihood of Apple also not being satisfied with the MacBook's current weight and thick dimensions. Drop those parameters a bit and you've got a slightly fatter, affordable, aluminum MacBook Air.

So, in my opinion, Apple will either...

#1) Keep the current MacBook line-up largely the same - MacBook stays pretty much where it is, Air may get a larger HDD (and maybe a 128GB optional SSD, though they'd keep the recently reduced-in-price $600 64GB option as well), and the Pro line will get a slimmed-down facelift (not sure if they'll drop the disc drive and/or removable battery, but I don't know what else they could really shave off).

OR

#2) Retire the entry-MacBook, replace it with the Air, and of course, the Pro's would still get their redesign. They'd sell the Air around $1200-$1300 to replace the old MacBook, making much lower profits on the Air than they are now, which would play into Apple's reduced revenue forecast.

Which do I believe is more likely in the next few months? Option #1. While I want to believe option #2, I just don't think the Air can be reduced in price by that much yet. #2 is the inevitable future at the very least. Most of the Air's components haven't reached the economies of scale Apple's "normal" laptops benefit from. The fact that it lacks a disc drive might also hold it back from mass appeal. Of course, Apple probably can't just drop the price of the Air as is. 80GB is a tad cramped these days, even for casual users and it could use a boost on the processor side, maybe using the recently launched Centrino 2s (if those chips turn out to be dependable and up to Apple's standards.

If they could accomplish #2 now, it would, as Apple teased, shut out the competition in the ultra-light laptop market and could even put pressure on the less-than-exploding sub-notebook category, which features contenders like the EeePC and Sony's micro 10" computers. The chance of this, I believe, hangs a lot on the lack of a disc drive in the Air, oddly enough. It was a good idea - I strongly believe Apple won't go back on that decision and release an Air with a built-in SuperDrive - and personally, I have hardly any need for my current 15" PowerBook G4's SuperDrive, except for occasional DVD ripping and burning a CD here or there when I ride with friends who don't have one of those cassette adapters in their car that I use for playing music off my iPod through their sound system.

The rest of the populous, though? I'm not sure. iPods, music stores like iTunes, and P2P are hugely popular, but there's also a sizable segment of people who still buy and rip CDs and many still burn CDs often. To a lesser extent, some watch DVDs on their laptops during plane flights as well. The Air reminds me of the Apple TV. They're both very..."future-forward," to coin a phrase. Consumers are buying up laptops now much more than desktops, but many still only have a Windows PC. These beige-box Windows users are generally not very forward looking. They might freak about about the lack of a disc drive, regardless of whether they really need one always available. The fact that many DO have a dedicated PC at home could also be a reason the Air might do well in the entry-MacBook's place: if they already have a PC with a disc drive, they can use that for CD/DVD ripping and burning, while the Air lets them do the essential, yet simple tasks of web browsing, listening to music, and typing documents/email.

But at the same time, I agree, something...feels like it needs to be done to rejuvenate the entry-level MacBook since my option #2 doesn't seem feasible. Ugh, but what!?
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post #516 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by wobegon View Post

But at the same time, I agree, something...feels like it needs to be done to the entry-level MacBook. Ugh, but what!?

Most of your argument hinges on the assumption that giving the MacBook an aluminium chassis will bring it too close size and weight-wise to the MacBook Air. This is a flawed assumption and therefore Apple can safely make the MacBook aluminium without cannibalising Air sales.

There are a few highly significant factors beyond chassis material that contribute to the Air's thinness and light weight:
  • low-powered CPU and HDD (either a 1.8" like they use in iPods, or an SSD) enables
    the use of a smaller, lighter battery without compromising battery life.
  • no built-in optical drive.
  • limited peripheral ports - fewer connectors and chips required on motherboard, reducing size and power consumption.

The first items on that list add significantly to the Air's cost.

There's no way Apple could have the Air as an entry-level machine as it lacks too many features. It's for people who need something ultra-light and can sacrifice those features. It is not a mainstream laptop, the MacBook is a mainstream laptop.
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post #517 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

Most of your argument hinges on the assumption that giving the MacBook an aluminium chassis will bring it too close size and weight-wise to the MacBook Air. This is a flawed assumption and therefore Apple can safely make the MacBook aluminium without cannibalising Air sales.

There are a few highly significant factors beyond chassis material that contribute to the Air's thinness and light weight:
  • low-powered CPU and HDD (either a 1.8" like they use in iPods, or an SSD) enables
    the use of a smaller, lighter battery without compromising battery life.
  • no built-in optical drive.
  • limited peripheral ports - fewer connectors and chips required on motherboard, reducing size and power consumption.

The first items on that list add significantly to the Air's cost.

There's no way Apple could have the Air as an entry-level machine as it lacks too many features. It's for people who need something ultra-light and can sacrifice those features. It is not a mainstream laptop, the MacBook is a mainstream laptop.

I see what you're saying. The problem I find in your reasoning is your assumption that simply changing the MacBook's plastic case to a near identical aluminum case will drive major new sales. Yes, I'm factoring in under-the-hood improvements, like the likely move to Centrino 2, or at the very least, faster Core 2 duo chips; these processor upgrades are likely across the board for all their laptops, with the only possible exception being the Air (which they'd just keep the same, though I think they'll upgrade its processors too).

That is all you're suggesting, right? Pretty much an exact replica of the current MacBooks, just aluminum. A simple case material change is really not a substantial enough change to push major units. Other than slightly increased sales (if any) due to such a change, what other reason(s) does Apple have for changing the MacBook on such a subtle, cosmetic level? I don't buy the argument that they would do this to "simplify the line-up so that all laptops are aluminum." Not saying you're promoting that argument, but are you? I mean, I agree that in the future, all of Apple's computers will likely sport aluminum cases, but when that time comes, I don't think it's going to be accomplished via a simple cosmetic change for uniformity's sake. It'll happen organically when the Air becomes affordable enough for everyone and Apple simply retires the entry MacBook altogether. The new aluminum iMacs Apple introduced last year were launched with more than just a cometic case-material change from plastic to aluminum and slightly improved horsepower upgrades (GPU, CPU, HDD, etc.). They also came in physically much sleeker, contoured cases that really set them apart from the old white plastic iMacs; their new, sleek, totally redesigned keyboards were also an obvious, marketable, and visible addition.

In the coming years, CDs and DVDs are going to continue to dwindle in popularity, at least for most computer users, thanks to digital distribution stores like iTunes, falling CD sales (which are due to the success of iTunes and P2P) and in terms of DVDs, very few people have any interest in watching them on computers (b/c they have a dedicated DVD player hooked up to a TV for that purpose). Price will then be the only thing keeping the Air from being considered "mainstream." Everything else about it facilitates the needs of the mainstream user - web browsing, music listening/buying/downloading, writing docs/email. Once the Air's price drops, and its internal storage and speeds naturally increase with time, the entry MacBook will cease to be necessary and will be naturally replaced by the Air.

It's like how the iPod classic will be organically replaced by the iPod touch as its flash storage increases thanks to economies of scale, rather than Apple making a hard drive-based iPod touch.
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False comparisons do not a valid argument make.
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post #518 of 735
Wobegon:

I fully understand your reasoning with regards to the current MacBook being replaced with the Air and relating this to iPod changes but the simple fact is that Apple don't have the ability to sit and wait for technologies to be developed whilst they just simply tag along. This theory would easily fit in with the iPod's future because it is a market almost entirely secured by Apple, so they can wait for technologies to improve to change their products. But...Apple are far from securing the market in laptops! They cannot afford to just wait for technologies to enhance, Apple must provide a sufficent amount of laptops to suit all needs. If they wish to improve the way they sell hardware they must keep up to date with all hardware used in the products. Unlike software, hardware isnt exactly an innovation - unless an Air-like product is thought up. They must channel their efforts in the hardware sector to provide THE BEST in laptop offerings. As they rise in popularity they are continually compared to massive hardware companies such as Sony and Dell and other large scale companies who provide plentiful laptop offerings. All I am saying is to offer more models and merge MacBook and MacBook Pro, keep the MacBook Air as a specialist product and maybe offer a netbook to sit underneath the MacBook in both price and spec. Apple can't sell the hardware amounts I'm sure they wish to just by offering a 'neat' OS!
post #519 of 735
Reading these last few posts, I just had another thought. We're all agreed that an update of the MB and MBP is imminent, right? What if the new MBP looked like a fatter, heavier MacBook Air, the new MB looked like the old MBP, aluminum, but still basically rectangular, and they continued selling the current plastic MacBook, but at a much lower price, since the R&D was paid off on it long ago? The MacBook Junior? No, they'd think up a less insulting name than that.
post #520 of 735
I can't really see that working out to be honest. It seems to overlap a little too much whilst still leaving the gaping hole of a netbook. Also this is just using old designs and doesn't reinvigorate the laptop line...which wouldn't exactly entice consumers to buy macs! Not what we want!
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