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Apple plans mystery "product transition" before September's end - Page 15

post #561 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

No, neither are mainstream. Certainly they're both less niche than the Air.

The Macbook/MBP is as mainstream as a Lexus. As in high end mainstream. If you hate car analogies replace with any high end mainstream product/brand you prefer.

Quote:
As time passes, the need for the xMac does diminish. The Mac Mini should never have been and instead Apple should have launched the xMac. But that was almost four years ago now.

They did in 2001. It was called the Cube. The mini removed the limited expandability of the cube at a much lower price point. The first mini was essentially "desktop" parts as far as the processor went (G4) and had a desktop GPU.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

And it would do that job better if it used proper desktop components instead of having all the compromises of a laptop with none of the advantages. Using desktop components Apple could produce a much more powerful machine with more storage for the same price and the same margins. The only reason they didn't do it was misplaced (IMHO) fear of cannibalising Mac Pro (or Power Mac as it was then) sales.

Stuffing a G5 into the mini back then would have seriously impacted PowerMac sales. If you could have done so without melting the thing anyway.

Today, tell me how many iMac and Mac Pro sales there would be if there were a $799 E8400 (3.0Ghz Wolfdale) Mini with a GeForce 9100MG equivalent (between a HD2400XT and a GeForce 8400GS)?

Damned few. As we've shown back in the xMac threads, you need to more than double your sales JUST to break even because while the margins might be the same, the revenue is half since your ASPs will have dropped from $1499 to $799.
post #562 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinea View Post

Today, tell me how many iMac and Mac Pro sales there would be if there were a $799 E8400 (3.0Ghz Wolfdale) Mini with a GeForce 9100MG equivalent (between a HD2400XT and a GeForce 8400GS)?

What the hell is someone doing buying an iMac if what they actually want is a mini-tower?

Similarly, what the hell is someone doing buying a pro-level workstation when what they actually want is a mini-tower?

The cannibalisation argument doesn't hold water because the iMac and Mac Pro are nothing like a mini-tower and therefore people who want a mini-tower don't buy either of those machines, and people who buy those machines don't want mini-towers (or, if they do, they're damn stupid for buying something that's not a mini-tower, wouldn't you say?).

xMac would attract new customers to the platform, not simply cannibalise sales of other Apple products.
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post #563 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinea View Post

Stuffing a G5 into the mini back then would have seriously impacted PowerMac sales. If you could have done so without melting the thing anyway.

When the mini was launched, Apple did indeed have limited choices when it came to processors and the G4 was indeed the best decision. It's the other laptop components it used - HDD and optical drive - that were dumb then.

What's dumb now is the processor, motherboard chipset, HDD, RAM and optical drive. All currently used components are laptop ones and desktop ones are faster/higher capacity for the same or lower price.
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post #564 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

What the hell is someone doing buying an iMac if what they actually want is a mini-tower?

Because there's no mini-tower in the line up. I assume this is a rhetorical question?

Quote:
Similarly, what the hell is someone doing buying a pro-level workstation when what they actually want is a mini-tower?

See above.

Quote:
The cannibalisation argument doesn't hold water because the iMac and Mac Pro are nothing like a mini-tower and therefore people who want a mini-tower don't buy either of those machines, and people who buy those machines don't want mini-towers (or, if they do, they're damn stupid for buying something that's not a mini-tower, wouldn't you say?).

You're calling a lot of folks on this forum stupid. Which xMac proponent doesn't own an iMac, Mac Pro or laptop instead because the xMac that they want because it doesn't exist?

Tell me that the mini I stipulated, built as people prefer (desktop parts with a half decent GPU integrated or dedicated) is inferior in any way to an iMac AND less expensive if you simply buy a Dell monitor vs a ACD.

This INCLUDES footprint since you can hide a mini underneath many 24" monitors. It disappears even below a 20" ACD.

Tell me that many Mac Pro users simply don't want better performance than available with a mini with their own choice of monitor?

Yes, a single PCIe x16 slot would be better than a integrated GeForce 9100MG but if the 9100MG can drive a dual link display (30" ACD) I think many folks would be satisfied with a 3Ghz wolfdale mini that can run CS3 brilliantly on a 30" ACD.

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xMac would attract new customers to the platform, not simply cannibalise sales of other Apple products.

Yes, but the point is NOT ENOUGH new customers to justify the massive Average Sale Price (ASP) drop.

Now we're just rehashing xMac issues...
post #565 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinea View Post

Because there's no mini-tower in the line up. I assume this is a rhetorical question?

See above.

I think we can agree on the following:

Someone who wants a mini-tower and sees no mini-tower offering from Apple will do one of the following:
  • Buy a new mini-tower from someone else
  • Buy a used tower (e.g. PM G5, PM G4)
  • Buy an iMac
  • Buy a Mac Mini
  • Buy a Mac Pro

We can also agree that in the first two cases, Apple loses a sale.

Clearly the points on which we disagree is the total number of people who want a mini-tower in the first place, and the number of people who subsequently choose one of the first two options from the list above.


Quote:
Originally Posted by vinea View Post

calling a lot of folks on this forum stupid. Which xMac proponent doesn't own an iMac, Mac Pro or laptop instead because the xMac that they want because it doesn't exist?

Many xMac proponents (myself included) don't want an xMac for themselves but believe it is a missed business opportunity on the part of Apple. Those that want Apple to produce an xMac because they want one for themselves are either struggling along on an old Power Mac G4 and getting increasingly pissed off that Apple offers them nothing new to replace it with, or have consigned themselves to forever buying second-hand Macs, or curse Apple and buy an iMac/mini/pro, or give up and buy a PC.


Quote:
Originally Posted by vinea View Post

Tell me that the mini I stipulated, built as people prefer (desktop parts with a half decent GPU integrated or dedicated) is inferior in any way to an iMac AND less expensive if you simply buy a Dell monitor vs a ACD.

This INCLUDES footprint since you can hide a mini underneath many 24" monitors. It disappears even below a 20" ACD.

No, it doesn't include footprint. The footprint and general sleekness of the iMac would still easily out-do a mini-tower + monitor. So for those people for whom that sleekness is important, they will continue to purchase iMacs.
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post #566 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

No, it doesn't include footprint. The footprint and general sleekness of the iMac would still easily out-do a mini-tower + monitor. So for those people for whom that sleekness is important, they will continue to purchase iMacs.

You keep saying mini-tower and I keep writing mini. To clarify, I mean a mini in a slightly larger case (a la aTV/Timecapsule). I have a time capsule next to me and if I stick it on the base of my ACD it takes zero additional footprint and isn't any more or less sleek than an iMac from the front if the colors were somewhat better integrated (I guess an alu case for the mini vice white).

From the back there are 2 additional cables vs a iMac: power to the mini and the single integrated cable from the ACD to the mini (DVI + USB + FW400).

I think you overestimate the desire for sleekness anyway given that folks tend to hang stuff off their iMacs anyway.
post #567 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinea View Post

I think you overestimate the desire for sleekness anyway given that folks tend to hang stuff off their iMacs anyway.

Nope. I don't think the desire for sleekness is that great, and that's why Apple sells a pitiful number of iMacs relative to the number of mini-towers sold by everyone else.

People who like sleekness, buy an iMac. People who like mini-towers, buy mini-towers.

If Apple introduced a mini-tower, they'd sell probably 10 - 20% fewer iMacs+Mac Pros and Mac Mini sales would almost certainly be obliterated. After a year or so, they'd probably be selling five to ten times as many desktop machines as they currently do.
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post #568 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

Nope. I don't think the desire for sleekness is that great, and that's why Apple sells a pitiful number of iMacs relative to the number of mini-towers sold by everyone else.

People who like sleekness, buy an iMac. People who like mini-towers, buy mini-towers.

If Apple introduced a mini-tower, they'd sell probably 10 - 20% fewer iMacs+Mac Pros and Mac Mini sales would almost certainly be obliterated. After a year or so, they'd probably be selling five to ten times as many desktop machines as they currently do.

Perhaps it has escaped your attention that Apple has not been interested in a mini-tower. Are you easily distracted?
post #569 of 735
Mr. H, I think you missed my counter-argument to your xMac proposal on the previous page:

Quote:
Originally Posted by wobegon View Post

...where would be the consumer's drive to buy one of Apple's profitable computers? By doing as you say, the xMac would then become a much more capable, worthwhile computer, defeating the need to move to a full-fledged and far more profitable Mac. Using standard, full-sized, user-replaceable components would also make the job of PC cloners even easier.

Also, while Apple could sure as hell make a prettier mid-tower compared to the competition - essentially a slightly smaller Mac Pro - the Mac Mini provides a DRAMATIC, STARK contrast to what the competitors offer. Just envision an isle of a Best Buy computer department. Walking along, people would see a bunch of mid-towers, some silver, some shinny black, some white, some blue (god, so tasteless), and a brushed metal mid-tower Mac Pro-ish xMac. Now certainly they'd say "oooh." But then they'd say "but look at this little Dell. It's like $250 less and offers a lot of the same specs." And they buy the cheaper PC based on price or fear of the commitment a tower PC gives most people.

Then imagine the same average consumer shopping around and discovering Apple's current Mac Mini:

Consumer: "Mid-tower, mid-tower, mid-tower, mid...WAIT, WHAT THE [EXPLETIVE]!!?? Excuse me sir, is this an Apple hard drive or something?"

Clerk: "No, that's a compu.."

Consumer: "That's a computer? That little thing?"

Clerk: "And it works with your standard monitor, mouse, etc."

Consumer: "Hey honey, come look at this. [wispers] Hey, we could just hook our mouse, keyboard and monitor to this thing. It even comes with this little remote. Just look at it, it's tiny."

Consumer's Significant Other: But can it web browse fast? Can I write Word documents? Email? Can I play music on it?"

Clerk: [eavesdropping on their conversation] Yes, it does all those things fine.

SOLD

I question if it was merely a fear of Power Mac/Mac Pro cannibalization. Don't underestimate the real marketable value of compactness. It costs money to make things abnormally small. The small, portable nature of something is often seen by consumers as impressive. Like Euro-style cars for instance. Americans generally laugh at them when compared to their SUV's and mini vans they use to shuttle their kids and their kids' friends around in. At the same time, no matter how attached and pleased they are with their large automobile, most won't deny how their amazement at how small they can make a car that offers rather decent head and leg room. Miniaturization is a feat that captivates people.

When Snow Leopard ships next year, one of its promoted "features" is that it "dramatically reduces the footprint of Mac OS X, making it even more efficient for users, and giving them back valuable hard drive space for their music and photos."
http://www.apple.com/macosx/snowleopard/

You're making the xMac a little too compelling for Apple's comfort. Apple certainly doesn't want to cannibalize their profitable computers, but even more so, they don't want to potentially rejuvenate the stagnating beige-box desktop PC market that they're trying to migrate consumers away from.
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post #570 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by wobegon View Post

Mr. H, I think you missed my counter-argument to your xMac proposal on the previous page:

"When Snow Leopard ships next year, one of its promoted "features" is that it "dramatically reduces the footprint of Mac OS X, making it even more efficient for users, and giving them back valuable hard drive space for their music and photos."


As the size of the files increases for photos, I think that will offset any advantage from shrinking the footprint of the OS. IOW, just use a larger HD, or multiple HDs.
post #571 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by zinfella View Post

Perhaps it has escaped your attention that Apple has not been interested in a mini-tower. Are you easily distracted?

Yes, I know they've got no interest in making one. I'm just saying that I think they should.

It really was a side-comment I made a couple of pages ago, but people really do seem to enjoy arguing about the xMac.

I'm not saying I think the forthcoming transition product is going to be an xMac. I just said as an aside that it's one of the machines Apple should have in their line-up.

As I've said a few times, I believe the "transition" is going to involve either MacBooks or iPods (possibly both).
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post #572 of 735
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Originally Posted by wobegon View Post

Mr. H, I think you missed my counter-argument to your xMac proposal on the previous page:

No, I didn't, it's just that I didn't want to derail the thread and make it all about the xMac. Oh well, guess that's shot now.

I don't buy your scenario. I believe the number of people who buy the Mac Mini because it's small is very small. Most people who buy the mini buy it because it's the cheapest Mac, and buy it in spite of it being small. I think most people who buy the Mini would choose an xMac instead if an xMac existed, and I believe that there are vast numbers of folk who dismiss it out of hand because it's overpriced for the amount of computing power and storage space it gives you (if you want a SFF machine, the Mini isn't overpriced).

To put it another way, the Mac Mini has to make all the compromises of a laptop in order to achieve its SFF, but it gives you none of the advantages of a laptop. Most people aren't willing to make the sacrifice in speed, storage and price just to have a small footprint machine because it's a desktop and people aren't interested in a desktop being tiny. In fact, even its tininess in and of itself puts a lot of people off, they consider it a "toy" and refuse to take it seriously.

Interestingly, you also shoot your own argument in the foot a little bit by emphasising at the end that HDD storage is really important. The Mac Mini has woeful storage capacity relative to even low-end desktops. That's because it's too small for a desktop HDD and has to use a laptop HDD instead.
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post #573 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinea View Post

Let me clarify then:

The demand for OSX is insufficient to make Apple as much money selling low margin software commodity OS as it does selling high margin hardware.
.
<snip>
We agree. Where we disagree is that the pressure is sufficient to change business models to the extent that some folks desire. Even quadrupling OSX market share is unlikely to make Apple as profitable as it is today if the hardware sales are significantly impacted.

Ok cool - I think we got to the we-agree-to-disagree point.
You might well be correct, but I guess it all depends on the the actual numbers. I think a four fold market share improvement would be a highly significant shift. And the swing of the pendulum away from Microsoft and towards Apple would be hugely significant. And more than offset any sales of mere hardware.

Since the move to Intel, many people have wondered whether a land-grab on the OS business was pending. And Oppenheimer's rather opaque remarks seemed to fit.

At NeXT, Jobs made a switch from embedded-software-in-a-hardware product to a licensed OS for 486 PCs. But that move was made from a position of weakness. Whether he would do it again is not clear.

Here's my final argument on the matter...

It is based on Apple's choice of hardware lines. If Apple had simply intended to create a parallel market for OS X machines, protected by the USP of the OS. I would expect a "everyman" set of Apple computers which addressed all the most popular computer types. Call this Line Up A (note: Line-Up A would obviously contain a Mini Tower)

But, if Apple had been planning for a licensing option for OS X for many years, they would have anticipated the coming cannibalization problem. Instead of putting out an everyman collection of OS X enabled computers, they would have shifted to a set of unique hardware designs, which would have a hope of continued selling after liberation day. Line Up B

With the exception of the Macbook, Apple's line-up looks a lot more like Line Up B than Line Up A.


C.
post #574 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by rogue68 View Post

Howabout a laptop/multitouch/keyboard tablet that wirelessly transmits to any tv/led screen, enabling the user to travel with a very small but potentially very powerful machine with no inbuilt screen of its own.

What television, in general use, allows for IR beaming? If you have been living in the US you'd know the average television is 8 - 10 years old. Many are even 20+ years old.
post #575 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

To put it another way, the Mac Mini has to make all the compromises of a laptop in order to achieve its SFF, but it gives you none of the advantages of a laptop. Most people aren't willing to make the sacrifice in speed, storage and price just to have a small footprint machine because it's a desktop and people aren't interested in a desktop being tiny. In fact, even its tininess in and of itself puts a lot of people off, they consider it a "toy" and refuse to take it seriously.

Two points of contention.

First, the mini's small size is an important element that it shares with laptops. That is an advantage. Size is valuable to people and if Apple is marketing the Mac Mini to get hesitant Windows users to jump on the Mac "train," they have to reduce the feeling of commitment. I suspect you're throwing out all the parts of my argument that you don't have a good counter-argument for, either intentionally or subconsciously. The points you can't dismiss, you simply won't address. There's a larger commitment to a physically larger purchase. A reasonably priced two story, 6-bedroom house, for instance, brings with it a feeling of commitment to "stick with it." A two bedroom apartment, even a rather pricey one, doesn't come with anywhere near the amount of commitment.

Second, I'm not sure who your "most people" are, but mine are the mainstream computer users, a.k.a. the ones who MAINLY use their computers for the following tasks: web surfing, writing text documents, emailing, maybe using an IM client, listening to music, and usually, viewing pictures taken by their average 3-5MP digital cameras. NONE of these tasks or media require 1) a super fast processor 2) a ton of RAM 3) an amazing or even above average video card 4) tons of storage space.

What of the above do you disagree with? Neither the tasks/media nor the hardware required to enjoy them are that debatable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

Interestingly, you also shoot your own argument in the foot a little bit by emphasising at the end that HDD storage is really important. The Mac Mini has woeful storage capacity relative to even low-end desktops. That's because it's too small for a desktop HDD and has to use a laptop HDD instead.

Considering Apple's best selling computers are their laptops, they get pretty favorable 2.5" HDD pricing, so the Mac mini more likely ships with 80GB due to laziness on Apple's part to refresh the stock HDD than it is a major price issue at this point. However, the 1.67GHz 80GB 15" PowerBook G4 I'm writing this on has a little over 14GB of free space after nearly three years of heavy use. I've got 23GB of music (which is a good bit more than what the average consumer has), 2GB of video, over 3GB of podcasts (most people don't even know what podcasts are) about 1.5GB of Word documents, nearly 8GB of applications (most average consumers aren't going to download and install hardly any apps that didn't come with their computer), and a ton of other random things I could probably delete.

Yet I have over 14GB of free space and before I purged my music collection recently, I still had 10GB. I certainly don't consider myself a "mainstream" casual computer user, but in between that and a true "power user." So even though Apple could increase the Mac mini's storage to a more roomy 160GB HDD, Jobs and Co. probably realize, as I do, that most people will end up moving to a full-fledged Mac after buying the mini...WHICH IS THE WHOLE POINT OF ITS EXISTENCE IN THE FIRST PLACE.

Finally, I brought up Snow Leopard to show that the compactness of something is worth real money and to show that Apple's going mobile in many areas because that's where the future lies. Not in desktop PCs, but portable computers and platforms like the iPod touch and iPhone. The fact that Apple is cutting the fat off Leopard in the next retail release of Mac OS X also supports what I've said about the mini's not-so-small 80GB HDD, which will be less cramped when Snow Leopard ships with all new Macs around this time next year.
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post #576 of 735
Doesn't anyone else think that Apple is going to get into the video game console market soon?
post #577 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by CYassaman View Post

Doesn't anyone else think that Apple is going to get into the video game console market soon?

No.

The last thing I would want, is a game system that's tied in with iTunes. Sony and Microsoft already do media sharing very well, as well as streaming vids and content, and Nintendo does well at innovation.

Apple would lose billions and billions at first in HW, and it would only make them money back on software sales, if they had good original IP.

And IIRC, Microsoft owns the rights to Halo.
post #578 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by guinness View Post

No.

The last thing I would want, is a game system that's tied in with iTunes. Sony and Microsoft already do media sharing very well, as well as streaming vids and content, and Nintendo does well at innovation.

Apple would lose billions and billions at first in HW, and it would only make them money back on software sales, if they had good original IP.

And IIRC, Microsoft owns the rights to Halo.

Agreed, the console market would be very risky for Apple. If they had a larger share of the computer game market they might be able to capitalize on that to help them since they development environment would be similar but they don't, and have not put a lot of resources into expanding it. Apple would need a seasoned internal game development team as well as partnerships with top level development houses just to get ready for launch and if they had either we would have heard more about it by now. Add to that the highly competitive nature for the consoles and 3 major players, at least one with a good amount of money to throw around, another a major media company, and the third capitalizing on industry leading innovation, then I don't see a place for Apple in the market at this time. That may change but it would probably take a buy out of Nintendo by Apple for any real chance of success.
post #579 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by @homenow View Post

Agreed, the console market would be very risky for Apple. If they had a larger share of the computer game market they might be able to capitalize on that to help them since they development environment would be similar but they don't, and have not put a lot of resources into expanding it.

They don't need a big computer market share, it's a completely different market. They have a pile of cash that is (IIRC) about three times bigger than what MS blew away on XBox the first five or six years. But I would agree that Apple getting into game consoles is probably not going to happen.
post #580 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by CYassaman View Post

Doesn't anyone else think that Apple is going to get into the video game console market soon?

They already have two very popular portable game consoles: the iPhone and iPod touch.

As for a home console, patents filed by Apple a few months ago depict a remote device pointing at a set-top-box (likely referencing the Apple TV) enabling Wii remote-like IR pointing functionality. If Apple saw enough demand for it, they could release an Apple TV SDK in a similar vain to the iPhone/iPod touch SDK, which would allow developers to distribute custom Apple TV apps, including games, that could be browse-able, buy-able and installable from the couch on an Apple TV App Store. Factoring in Apple's recent Remote application for the iPhone/iPod touch that allows wireless music control of computers, AirPort Expresses, and Apple TVs on the network, they could expand that functionality, allowing any iPhone or iPod touch to become an advanced, Multi-Touch, motion-sensitive gaming controller.

That would make the Apple TV into a fully digital distribution, casual game console (it's video card isn't capable of 360/PS3-quality graphics) and would cost Apple no real money to develop an Apple TV SDK that connects with and leverages their already successful iPhone/iPod touch mobile WiFi platform. It's all Cocoa, OpenGL, and tailored versions of OS X.
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post #581 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by CYassaman View Post

Doesn't anyone else think that Apple is going to get into the video game console market soon?

The AppleTV is more powerful, both in CPU and graphics, than the original XBox. If Apple wanted to open it up to stupid little arcade games, sold through iTunes, they easily could.
post #582 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

What television, in general use, allows for IR beaming? If you have been living in the US you'd know the average television is 8 - 10 years old. Many are even 20+ years old.

I don't know. I'm thinking outside the box
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post #583 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

They don't need a big computer market share, it's a completely different market. They have a pile of cash that is (IIRC) about three times bigger than what MS blew away on XBox the first five or six years. But I would agree that Apple getting into game consoles is probably not going to happen.

What I was getting at is that if they had a larger gaming community and the developers feeding it with games for OS X then the port to a new game platform would probably be easier so there would be less time and money developing for the platform. Most console developers are already developing for 4 platforms (including PCs) and would be unlikely to support a 5th unless it quickly gained a healthy market share.
post #584 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by wobegon View Post

First, the mini's small size is an important element that it shares with laptops. That is an advantage. Size is valuable to people and if Apple is marketing the Mac Mini to get hesitant Windows users to jump on the Mac "train," they have to reduce the feeling of commitment. I suspect you're throwing out all the parts of my argument that you don't have a good counter-argument for, either intentionally or subconsciously. The points you can't dismiss, you simply won't address.

I didn't "not address" the size issue. You say it's important, I say it isn't.

It's obvious I'm right, because the vast majority of desktop PCs that are sold are not SFF desktops. If compactness was as important as you say it is for the average consumer, the market would have responded to that demand and everyone and his dog would be selling SFF desktops.

The reality is that SFF desktops are a niche product, because most people don't care about their desktop machine being as compact as possible.

Most people who want a compact computer, buy a laptop.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wobegon View Post

Second, I'm not sure who your "most people" are, but mine are the mainstream computer users, a.k.a. the ones who MAINLY use their computers for the following tasks: web surfing, writing text documents, emailing, maybe using an IM client, listening to music, and usually, viewing pictures taken by their average 3-5MP digital cameras. NONE of these tasks or media require 1) a super fast processor 2) a ton of RAM 3) an amazing or even above average video card 4) tons of storage space.

Many web technologies are surprisingly CPU intensive, I still think there's a driver for higher CPU speed. Oh yeah, and there's Vista itself which is a real resource hog.

Whether someone needs loads of HDD space, CPU speed, RAM etc. can be beside the point. If Average Joe is faced with machine "A" and machine "B"; if machine "A" is more powerful, has more storage, and is the same price or cheaper than machine "B", Joe is going to choose machine "A", even if it's overkill for his needs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wobegon View Post

So even though Apple could increase the Mac mini's storage to a more roomy 160GB HDD, Jobs and Co. probably realize, as I do, that most people will end up moving to a full-fledged Mac after buying the mini...WHICH IS THE WHOLE POINT OF ITS EXISTENCE IN THE FIRST PLACE.

Deliberately crippling your bottom-end machine is ok if you exist in a vacuum, but Apple has many, many competitors. Vast numbers of potential switchers won't even begin to seriously consider switching when Apple doesn't offer a machine that fits their needs/desires. People simply do not choose product "B" that they feel gives them less for their money than product "A".


Quote:
Originally Posted by wobegon View Post

Finally, I brought up Snow Leopard to show that the compactness of something is worth real money

comparing compactness of software footprint to compactness of a physical object and saying if one is attractive, so must the other be, is one of the daftest things I've ever read.

Compactness of software footprint is only attractive because it gives you more HDD space.

Compactness of a computer (to the extreme that the Mini takes it) gives you less HDD space.
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post #585 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by @homenow View Post

What I was getting at is that if they had a larger gaming community and the developers feeding it with games for OS X then the port to a new game platform would probably be easier so there would be less time and money developing for the platform. Most console developers are already developing for 4 platforms (including PCs) and would be unlikely to support a 5th unless it quickly gained a healthy market share.

Well SEGA shares are down and there is a rumored MS buyout...kinda a big buy for Apple though given it's in the red and 2.8B market cap.

But if you wanted to jumpstart a games division Apple could instantly do it if it could get Sega and an updated pippin/aTV. Then just sell games over iTunes/AppStore for less than they would at GameStop by dumping all the middlemen and (physical) distro costs.

Sega could operate as is but also port their own titles to the aTV. Which likely would get a rename to Apple Home or something.
post #586 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

Many web technologies are surprisingly CPU intensive, I still think there's a driver for higher CPU speed. Oh yeah, and there's Vista itself which is a real resource hog.

Fortunately Macs run OSX and not vista. Of course a faster processor is useful on that as well. However, it is clear that many users don't need a super fast machine or they wouldn't STILL be using PIII/P4 machines on XP.

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Deliberately crippling your bottom-end machine is ok if you exist in a vaccuum, but Apple has many, many competitors. Vast numbers of potential switchers won't even begin to seriously consider switching when Apple doesn't offer a machine that fits their needs.

Prove it. All such assertions have been devoid of any data beyond ancedotal.

Apple may not live in a vaccuum but certainly it does live in a sheltered environment because only it sells OSX computers.

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Compactness of software footprint is only attractive because it gives you more HDD space.

Compactness of a computer (to the extreme that the mini takes it) gives you less HDD space.

Which matters very little given you can just buy a time capsule with a TB of space. I've been storing all my home movies on the TC and I used to hook up a physical cable. Now I don't bother and just go wireless.

For most home users the speed delta isn't that big a killer between GigE and eSATA. Or even 802.11g.
post #587 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinea View Post

Fortunately Macs run OSX and not vista. Of course a faster processor is useful on that as well. However, it is clear that many users don't need a super fast machine or they wouldn't STILL be using PIII/P4 machines on XP.

Indeed. But if a user is looking at a PC and a Mac, and they say, "hey look, the Mac is the same price as the PC, but it's slower and has less storage", if the sales person, friend, whatever, says "that doesn't matter, because Leopard is faster than Vista", a lot of people won't buy that argument. They're going to feel that the Mac is giving them less for their money and they'll stick to the PC.


Quote:
Originally Posted by vinea View Post

Prove it. All such assertions have been devoid of any data beyond ancedotal.

This has been discussed before. The only way to prove it is to build the xMac and see how many people buy it.

At the very least, I don't have to prove that people don't want SFF desktops, because that much is obvious. If there was massive demand for that form-factor, it would have taken over the Windows space. It hasn't. People don't want SFF desktops.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vinea View Post

Apple may not live in a vaccuum but certainly it does live in a sheltered environment because only it sells OSX computers.

That's only useful once Apple's got a customer hooked on the Apple way. So far, they've only got 4% of the word wide market hooked.

There is massive growth potential there for Apple to bring in more customers.


Quote:
Originally Posted by vinea View Post

Which matters very little given you can just buy a time capsule with a TB of space.

Oops, you just made the price differential between the two machines even bigger.

"don't worry sir, this computer does have much less storage than that PC you were looking at, but you can buy this extra product and then you'll have the same"

Who the hell's going to buy that argument?

Nope, they're going to go buy the PC which gives them much more for their money.
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post #588 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

Indeed. But if a user is looking at a PC and a Mac, and they say, "hey look, the Mac is the same price as the PC, but it's slower and has less storage", if the sales person, friend, whatever, says "that doesn't matter, because Leopard is faster than Vista", a lot of people won't buy that argument. They're going to feel that the Mac is giving them less for their money and they'll stick to the PC.

No, because Apple has been very smart in not offering an xMac. The mini and iMac avoid direct comparison simply because they are NOT mini-towers.

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This has been discussed before. The only way to prove it is to build the xMac and see how many people buy it.

Yes, so you think Apple should risk their entire desktop product line on a hope and a prayer.

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At the very least, I don't have to prove that people don't want SFF desktops, because that much is obvious. If there was massive demand for that form-factor, it would have taken over the Windows space. It hasn't. People don't want SFF desktops.

Shuttle makes a decent living. Likewise AIOs have been added to many lineups.

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That's only useful once Apple's got a customer hooked on the Apple way. So far, they've only got 4% of the word wide market hooked.

The most profitable 4%. Dell wishes it was so lucky.

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There is massive growth potential there for Apple to bring in more customers.

More customers is not the same as more profit. The potential is largely illusory. The real gains are likely to be Apple's anyway using their current business model. It does not need, nor want, the same customers of Dell, HP, etc. EXCEPT at the high end.

Those they will happily continue to steal.

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Oops, you just made the price differential between the two machines even bigger.

So what? The mac demographic has proven time and time again that it is willing to pay.

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"don't worry sir, this computer does have much less storage than that PC you were looking at, but you can buy this extra product and then you'll have the same"

Who the hell's going to buy that argument?

Nope, they're going to go buy the PC which gives them much more for their money.

Again, so what? That's why there's Dell, HP, Acer, etc. Just like there's a mercedes as well as toyota, honda, and nissan.

Vinea
post #589 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinea View Post

No, because Apple has been very smart in not offering an xMac. The mini and iMac avoid direct comparison simply because they are NOT mini-towers.

Sorry, but that's just total cobblers. If a potential switcher is considering buying a desktop computer, they are going to compare the Mac Mini to a mini-tower, whether you like it or not. And they will see that it costs the same or more whilst simultaneously giving them less computing power and less storage. To them, it's a no-brainer and they stick with the PC.


Quote:
Originally Posted by vinea View Post

Yes, so you think Apple should risk their entire desktop product line on a hope and a prayer.

It's not quite as "fingers-crossed" as that. Like I said, it's clear from the wider market that people don't want SFFs, so I don't see the risk in offering the most popular form-factor along side it and seeing which does better.

The R&D required for a mini-tower is a drop in the ocean for Apple.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vinea View Post

Shuttle makes a decent living. Likewise AIOs have been added to many lineups.

What share of the market does Shuttle have? Shuttle is a niche player and you know it. SFF desktops are a niche form-factor and you know it.

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Originally Posted by vinea View Post

The most profitable 4%. Dell wishes it was so lucky.

Jeez. So what's so bad with keeping that most profitable 4% and selling less profitable (but not loss-making, I'm not suggesting anything like that) machines to another 26%?

There's massive revenue and profit growth potential there.

Once you've got to 20 - 30% share, then there is very little profit growth potential because you start having to drop prices across the board in order to make any share gains.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vinea View Post

More customers is not the same as more profit. The potential is largely illusory.

I disagree when the starting point is 4% share.

Globally, OS X is still a seriously marginalised platform and there are real benefits to expanding market share in order to reduce said marginalisation. There's a nice upward-spiral possibility here as increasing share leads to decreasing marginalisation leads to your platform being more attractive leads to increasing market share leads to decreasing marginalisation etc. etc.


Quote:
Originally Posted by vinea View Post

So what? The mac demographic has proven time and time again that it is willing to pay.

The hard-core Mac fans, yes. I'm talking about switchers and Mac users who are less die-hard OS X fans.
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post #590 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by the_steve View Post

For most applications conventional touch-screen technology is completely adequate, including restaurants, kiosks, museums, etc.

If that were true, conventional touch-screen computers would be widespread, rather than rare. The Surface computer, and similar multi-touch computers, have additional capabilities that should make them much more attractive to use, and hence more widespread. If you Google for surface computer and click on the two YouTube demos, you’ll see how vastly superior a multitouch interface is to a mere touch-screen. Popular Mechanics wrote:

Surface computing uses a blend of wireless protocols, special machine-readable tags and shape recognition to seamlessly merge the real and the virtual world — an idea the Milan team refers to as "blended reality." The table can be built with a variety of wireless transceivers, including Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and (eventually) radio frequency identification (RFID) and is designed to sync instantly with any device that touches its surface.

One of the key components of surface computing is a "multitouch" screen. It is an idea that has been floating around the research community since the 1980s and is swiftly becoming a hip new product interface — Apple's new iPhone has multitouch scrolling and picture manipulation. Multitouch devices accept input from multiple fingers and multiple users simultaneously, allowing for complex gestures, including grabbing, stretching, swiveling and sliding virtual objects across the table. And the Surface has the added advantage of a horizontal screen, so several people can gather around and use it together. Its interface is the exact opposite of the personal computer: cooperative, hands-on, and designed for public spaces.

After you see the Surface in action, it doesn't take long to figure out just how attractive such a machine must be to the retail and service industries. … The Surface machine is networked and infinitely flexible. You could use it to order food in a restaurant. While you wait, you could play games or surf the Internet, and then eat off its surface. And every table in the joint could be a jukebox, a television or a billboard for advertising. (You didn't think advertisers would miss out on this, did you?)

Computer scientists see technologies such as surface computing and multitouch as the key to a new era of ubiquitous computing, where processing power is embedded in almost every object and everything is interactive. Last year, New York University professor Jeff Han launched a company called Perceptive Pixel, which builds six-figure-plus custom multitouch drafting tables and enormous interactive wall displays for large corporations and military situation rooms. "I firmly believe that in the near future, we will have wallpaper displays in every hallway, in every desk. Every surface will be a point of interaction with a computer," Han says, "and for that to happen, we really need interfaces like this."


In his NY Times review, David Pogue wrote:

This new “surface computer,” as Microsoft calls it, has a multi-touch screen. You can use two fingers or even more — for example, you can drag two corners of a photograph outward to zoom in on it.

Microsoft’s press materials and Web site coyly ignore the existence of … earlier pioneers; when pressed, it insists that its surface computer was developed well before Jeff Han *or* Apple came along. Microsoft says that 120 people have been secretly working on its version, tucked away in an off-campus building, for five years.

Behind the scenes … five video cameras observe your hand movements and relay information to the computer. Microsoft offers some tasty demo modules to show the possibilities:

Restaurant. You pull up on-screen, virtual menus on all four edges of the table at once — because four of you are eating out together — and order your meal by tapping what you want. While you wait for the food, you can each play your own video game, or open up four different Web browsers. And then, after dinner, you can call up your bill, split it four ways, and pay, all electronically.

Virtual Concierge. You walk into a hotel. You see a virtual model of, say, New York City; look up a restaurant; see what it looks like; and drag the restaurant’s address and phone number into your phone, where it shows up as a text message.

Paint Canvas. Finger-painting for the new millennium. That’s gotta be worth $10,000 right there.

Video Puzzle. In this game demo, clear glass tiles (real ones) are placed onto a video that’s playing on the surface. Now you can scatter and scramble them on the glass, even turning them upside-down; the challenge is to reassemble the video by moving and flipping the tiles, as though it’s a new-age jigsaw puzzle.

T-Mobile Stores. In this phone-store demonstration, you can take a phone model off the shelf — or several — and put them onto the tabletop to get the details, like features, calling plans, and so on. You can build a side-by-side comparison, sample some ringtones, or assign a ringtone to someone in your contacts list just by sliding it onto the appropriate name.


Quote:
Originally Posted by the_steve View Post

Let's get real here -- Microsoft's Surface announcements were nothing but a weak attempt to grab media attention away from the iPhone.

They may have been an attempt to divert attention, but, given the large investment MS has made and the potential large market, they were not “nothing but” that. There was substance as well as hype. And, judged by the positive reviews it's received, MS's attempt was not weak but powerful.

Quote:
Originally Posted by the_steve View Post

The idea that Surface will generate $10 billion in business is ludicrous.

In light of its capabilities, I believe $5 billion in worldwide sales is achievable for multitouch computers within ten years. Hence, $10 billion would not be ludicrous. It could be achieved in 15 years.
post #591 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

Sorry, but that's just total cobblers. If a potential switcher is considering buying a desktop computer, they are going to compare the Mac Mini to a mini-tower, whether you like it or not. And they will see that it costs the same or more whilst simultaneously giving them less computing power and less storage. To them, it's a no-brainer and they stick with the PC.

Yes they will. But reviewers tend to make the distinction and say that it's difficult to make an "apple to apple" comparison. It is always apples to oranges and it is a deliberate strategy on the part of Apple to be able to continue to sell desktops with very large margins.

The "potential switcher" is only important to Apple if cost is not the driving factor in their computer purchase. It's a "no brainer" for Apple as well not to cater to the lowest market segment that values bang for the buck above total system experience.

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It's not quite as "fingers-crossed" as that. Like I said, it's clear from the wider market that people don't want SFFs, so I don't see the risk in offering the most popular form-factor along side it and seeing which does better.

Because the "wider market" is a low cost, low margin market. If you think that a mini or imac compares unfavorably now wait and see a mac minitower that costs $300 more than the dell or hp equivalent.

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The R&D required for a mini-tower is a drop in the ocean for Apple.

The cost isn't with developing a mini-tower. The cost is all the profit lost if the desktop lineup is cannibalized from $1500 machines for $700 machines.

Perhaps they are looking to transition to a more aggressive cost stance due to the US economy but not THAT aggressive.

ASPs are declining across the board as it is. Laptops and SFF computers are becoming commoditized and netbooks becoming more popular. Apple's next move is likely into convertible tablets and away from traditional laptops to maintain ASPs in the face of netbooks.

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What share of the market does Shuttle have? Shuttle is a niche player and you know it. SFF desktops are a niche form-factor and you know it.

A profitable niche form-factor. One that is outpacing desktop growth. Acer has added a $450 SFF X1200 computer. There is the eeeBox. Lenovo has the $500 ThinkCenter A55 SFF desktop.

Spec wise the A55 is better than the mini but not by a whole lot. Still, in comparison to a mini tower it's rather pricey for what you get. Yet manufactures continue to add SFF offerings to their lineups.

Perhaps because they are becoming more mainstream and less niche?

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Jeez. So what's so bad with keeping that most profitable 4% and selling less profitable (but not loss-making, I'm not suggesting anything like that) machines to another 26%?

Because that 4% isn't stupid. If there is a $700 Mini (or xMac tower) that is better bang for the buck than the iMac then that's what we'll buy.

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There's massive revenue and profit growth potential there.

I can equally easily assert that there will be massive cannibiliazation of profit loss. Apple seems to agree thus far.

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Once you've got to 20 - 30% share, then there is very little profit growth potential because you start having to drop prices across the board in order to make any share gains.

Apple's US market share is what? 8.5% 20% share at $700 ASP vs 8.5% at $1500 ASP is a lot more work for not a whole lot more money. Apple's growth is 31-38% yoy already.

Heck, Apple couldn't handle more growth anyway and given some of the issues with recent machines it's running a little hot as it is.

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I disagree when the starting point is 4% share.

Globally, OS X is still a seriously marginalised platform and there are real benefits to expanding market share in order to reduce said marginalisation.

LOL. Yes, OSX is seriously marginallized with 38% yoy growth (Gartner).

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There's a nice upward-spiral possibility here as increasing share leads to decreasing marginalisation leads to your platform being more attractive leads to increasing market share leads to decreasing marginalisation etc. etc.

Yes, because Apple's mindshare is obviously in decline and the platform is marginalized.

Which is why Apple marketshare in the US and Europe is expected to double by 2011.

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The hard-core Mac fans, yes. I'm talking about switchers and Mac users who are less die-hard OS X fans.

Most mac fans are not hard-core anymore. The platform is very mainstream.

There's little need for a midTower xMac offering by Apple from a business perspective.

Perhaps a new Cube. Certainly the mini needs a refresh.
post #592 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

I didn't "not address" the size issue. You say it's important, I say it isn't.

It's obvious I'm right, because the vast majority of desktop PCs that are sold are not SFF desktops. If compactness was as important as you say it is for the average consumer, the market would have responded to that demand and everyone and his dog would be selling SFF desktops.

The reality is that SFF desktops are a niche product, because most people don't care about their desktop machine being as compact as possible.

Most people who want a compact computer, buy a laptop.

See, no offense but you did it again and apparently you don't know you're doing it. We've talked about SFF vs. mini-tower, that's obviously not what I was talking about. You even quoted a part of the argument and didn't say a thing about it. The COMMITMENT factor. You ignored my 2-story, 6-bedroom home vs. 2-bedroom apartment. With a physically larger purchase comes a mentally larger commitment. Another example: Euro car vs. RV. Yes, there is a similar size differential there to a Mac mini vs. Dell, HP, etc. mini-tower. The Euro-sized car, even if it's a bit more expensive due to say, it being a hybrid is still a smaller psychological investment compared to a reasonably priced RV.

Now as for why SFF desktops aren't in every home...uh....maybe because Apple is the only one offering a consumer-oriented SFF desktop computer. Does Dell or HP or any of the major PC vendors offer anything close to the size of a Mac mini. No. More importantly though, you seem to forget that...THE DESKTOP PC MARKET IS STAGNATING. It's been flat-lining for a while now. Many people ALREADY HAVE a mini-tower under the desk, running Windows XP. That's why Vista has been such a flop: Microsoft's operating systems only do well when people buy new PCs bundled with Windows. The standalone retail version has made them next to nothing. Now the market's completely over-saturated by these beige-box ewaste mini-towers that many people don't see any reason to replace with...yet another ewaste mini-tower.

If Apple put out an xMac, the consumer would just see "same, old same old." Sure, it'd be a prettier "same old," but it wouldn't provide anywhere near the STARK, DRAMATIC contrast the SFF Mac mini does. The mini is marketed towards the interested, yet hesitant Windows user. A standard mini-tower xMac would make them feel like they have to completely replace their Windows mini-tower, while a Mac mini can be an addition. They can place it on the desk at home and still keep their trusty (trusty in their minds, anyway) Dell.

Surprise me by addressing all parts of my argument, rather than oversimplifying it down to "SFF vs. mini-tower."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

Many web technologies are surprisingly CPU intensive, I still think there's a driver for higher CPU speed. Oh yeah, and there's Vista itself which is a real resource hog.

Like what? You're talking to the owner of a near 4 year old 1.67Ghz 80GB 15" PowerBook G4 who has visited a great many websites that employ a great many "web technologies." I've surfed the web on current Intel Macs at our university bookstore's tech shop and there's no noticeable boost in web browsing. Examples?

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Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

Whether someone needs loads of HDD space, CPU speed, RAM etc. can be beside the point. If Average Joe is faced with machine "A" and machine "B"; if machine "A" is more powerful, has more storage, and is the same price or cheaper than machine "B", Joe is going to choose machine "A", even if it's overkill for his needs.

You overestimate Average Joe. He knows he needs a new computer, but HE HAS NO CLUE WHAT ALL THESE TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS MEAN! He doesn't know about processor speeds, how much RAM he needs, what amount of gigabytes is sufficient for his casual computer tasks. He's not gonna simply look at computers at Best Buy and say "well that Dell must be faster than that HP because that HP is about 4" shorter." What ever will he do? Hmm...oh yeah, he'll TRY IT OUT!! Yes, he'll actually put his hand on that familiar feeling mouse and click on Internet Explorer (because that's what they always do), open Word (to see how the keyboard feels) and if he's feeling like some kinda crazy computer animal, he might open up iTunes or Windows Media Player. Then he'll go to the other mini-tower and try the same darned tasks, to find they're near identical. Then he might stumble upon a very different looking computer (Mac mini) and...try the same things. He'll notice no real performance difference (other than its Safari, which is faster than IE). Then it's up to him whether he wants to completely replace his trusty old PC at home with something running Vista, which he may have heard sucks, or go with a little Mac mini that he can buy without having to toss out the old beige-box under the desk. Shoot, if he's in an Apple Store or Apple reseller, a clerk might even tell him he can run XP on it, if he really had to.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

Deliberately crippling your bottom-end machine is ok if you exist in a vacuum, but Apple has many, many competitors. Vast numbers of potential switchers won't even begin to seriously consider switching when Apple doesn't offer a machine that fits their needs/desires. People simply do not choose product "B" that they feel gives them less for their money than product "A".

Let's use another size vs. price comparison here: mini van vs. sports car. Hmm, which one gives them more. Sort of a toss up. Now bring their prices down so that the mini van is $400 and the sports car is $600 (talking about a four-seater, not a two-seater). Which gets better gas milage? Which is cooler. Neither option is that expensive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

comparing compactness of software footprint to compactness of a physical object and saying if one is attractive, so must the other be, is one of the daftest things I've ever read.

Compactness of software footprint is only attractive because it gives you more HDD space.

Compactness of a computer (to the extreme that the Mini takes it) gives you less HDD space.

Right, because the Mac mini's compact case means it must inherently have less data storage? In reality, Apple could easily double or triple the Mac mini's stock HDD and the likely will. You keep perpetuating the notion that Apple will just leave the Mac mini as is for the indefinite future, which isn't realistic. The mini is due for an update. But then again, Apple doesn't want to make the mini too capable, too worthwhile. That's the whole point of it being in their computer lineup: to provide a stepping-stone to a full-fledged Mac desktop like the iMac, or one of their MacBooks.

In general, you're compact = less logic in terms of storage space doesn't go very far. How about floppy disk vs. USB flash drive? Shoot, different sized hard drives can have the same amount of data storage, just as two identical HDD enclosures can have very different capacities. Look at the Time Capsule: 500GB vs.1TB, yet AMAZINGLY, they're the same size. How do they do it?
False comparisons do not a valid argument make.
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post #593 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by wobegon View Post

You overestimate Average Joe. He knows he needs a new computer, but HE HAS NO CLUE WHAT ALL THESE TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS MEAN! He doesn't know about processor speeds, how much RAM he needs, what amount of gigabytes is sufficient for his casual computer tasks.

He knows that more is better. And that's all he needs to know, really.
post #594 of 735
any hope that the new product or laptops will be available for students to buy before august's end? I was hoping to see some new ones out today. (also why do they always release on tuesdays).
post #595 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinea View Post

B...
Now we're just rehashing xMac issues...

The topic that won't die.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

Nope. I don't think the desire for sleekness is that great, and that's why Apple sells a pitiful number of iMacs relative to the number of mini-towers sold by everyone else.

People who like sleekness, buy an iMac. People who like mini-towers, buy mini-towers.

If Apple introduced a mini-tower, they'd sell probably 10 - 20% fewer iMacs+Mac Pros and Mac Mini sales would almost certainly be obliterated. After a year or so, they'd probably be selling five to ten times as many desktop machines as they currently do.

I'm not saying the 10 - 20% numbers are wrong, but they are somewhat meaningless. If no iMac+Mac Pro sales are lost, great. On the other hand if 80 - 90% iMac+Mac Pro sales are lost, doesn't that prove something? Like maybe not that many people really place that high a value on AIO.

Either way, Apple wins, because I seriously doubt total sales would drop.

What really concerns me at the moment are Peter's comments in the Quarterly conference call. Apple is projecting lower margins, yet the projected computer sales is not showing a corresponding increase in total units sold.

If the lower margins were due to just lower pricing, then supply and demand should result in a larger increase in sales of total units.

If the lower gross margins are due to inclusion of some super duper technology, that means Apple will continue to focus on only the extreme upper end of the consumer market and really doesn't care about computer market share in the slightest. In other words, in order to retain their current sales to only the upper end of the buying public, they are sacrificing gross margins, huh, this doesn't make sense. I thought the whole point of targeting just the upper end of the consumer market was to maintain high gross margins. Kind of ironic, no?

And I believe the comment was made by Peter that the lower margins will continue into 2009.

Apple isn't considering an xMac, nor do I ever expect them to, it is unfortunate, as I believe they could offer an xMac without sacrificing their gross margins.
just waiting to be included in one of Apple's target markets.
Don't get me wrong, I like the flat panel iMac, actually own an iMac, and I like the Mac mini, but...........
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just waiting to be included in one of Apple's target markets.
Don't get me wrong, I like the flat panel iMac, actually own an iMac, and I like the Mac mini, but...........
Reply
post #596 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by rickag View Post

The topic that won't die.

Yep.

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Apple isn't considering an xMac, nor do I ever expect them to, it is unfortunate, as I believe they could offer an xMac without sacrificing their gross margins.

They may be able to keep their gross margins but the xMac would crater their ASP.

I am not as certain that they can keep the gross margins and increase sales as dramatically as folks think if there is an easy mid-tower to mid-tower comparison.

I think the iMac compares very favorably vs the Sony and Dell AIOs.

I think the mini does well vs similar sized SFF computers but not the cubes and slim towers at the upper end of the SFF market.

Arguably the eeeBox will compare better than the mini but computewise, the aTV is more comparable both price and performance wise. It's just that the aTV is locked down.
post #597 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinea View Post

I think the iMac compares very favorably vs the Sony and Dell AIOs.

It does, but nobody buys those anyway.
post #598 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinea View Post

Because the "wider market" is a low cost, low margin market. If you think that a mini or imac compares unfavorably now wait and see a mac minitower that costs $300 more than the dell or hp equivalent.

The xMac wouldn't cost $300 more. More like $100 more. A $100 premium for OS X seems reasonable enough.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vinea View Post

The cost isn't with developing a mini-tower. The cost is all the profit lost if the desktop lineup is cannibalized from $1500 machines for $700 machines.

I find it deeply ironic that you think that an xMac would be so appealling that it would destroy Mac Mini, iMac and Mac Pro sales, yet don't think it would attract any new customers to the platform. How does that work?

I think you're trying to have your cake and eat it too. You're saying: "xMac not good enough to attract new customers but still a much better option than all other Apple desktops". That doesn't make sense.


Quote:
Originally Posted by vinea View Post

LOL. Yes, OSX is seriously marginallized with 38% yoy growth (Gartner).

The platform is seriously marginalised, especially outside the U.S. Do you live in the U.S.? Look at Apple's sales figures, only about 42% of their sales are outside the U.S. despite the U.S. being the third largest computer market (EMEA and ASIA are both larger markets).

There's a variety of web services (e.g. 4OD, BBC iPlayer downloads), software (e.g. UK taxes) and hardware (TV tuners, graphics cards) that are Windows-only. Please spare me my head exploding by picking on the things I've put in brackets, they are mearly examples out of a plethora of possibilities.


Quote:
Originally Posted by vinea View Post

Apple's mindshare is obviously in decline and the platform is marginalized.

Where did I say anything about their mindshare being in decline? I did say it was an upward spiral. Apple is already on said upward sprial, I just think they could have traversed it more rapidly by releasing the xMac four years ago.
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post #599 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

...
I think you're trying to have your cake and eat it too. You're saying: "xMac not good enough to attract new customers but still a much better option than all other Apple desktops". That doesn't make sense.
...

I've never understood these arguments either.

In defense of these arguments, there always seems to be a couple few responses.

1. One being, the gross profit of an xMac or the actual dollar profit won't match the iMacs, so a proportionately higher number of xMacs must be sold.
Can't be proved unless Apple actually tried it, which won't happen.

2. Even offering an xMac wouldn't increase Apple's market share significantly due to built in software barriers.
Again, can't be proved unless Apple actually tried it, which won't happen. But as sales show, there is an increasing interest in Mac OS X at least in the U.S. How much greater would sales be? The iPhone interest alone would suggest there might be enough interest.

In the end, you're right. I hear," looky see, I told you all along that that consumers really want AIO because -fill in blank here- and Apple's recent market share gains prove me so. Oh no, can't sell an xMac because it will cannibalize iMac, Mac mini and Mac Pro sales lowering gross margins and APPL stock.".
just waiting to be included in one of Apple's target markets.
Don't get me wrong, I like the flat panel iMac, actually own an iMac, and I like the Mac mini, but...........
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just waiting to be included in one of Apple's target markets.
Don't get me wrong, I like the flat panel iMac, actually own an iMac, and I like the Mac mini, but...........
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post #600 of 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by wobegon View Post

See, no offense but you did it again and apparently you don't know you're doing it. You even quoted a part of the argument and didn't say a thing about it. The COMMITMENT factor.

It's an interesting theory and probably true for those where price isn't a factor. In the specific case of a dekstop computer, for most people, the level of commitment is related to price not size.


Quote:
Originally Posted by wobegon View Post

Does Dell or HP or any of the major PC vendors offer anything close to the size of a Mac mini. No.

They don't offer them because there's no demand. If there was a demand as great as you say, they'd have an SFF is their lineup, and it would outsell their other offerings.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wobegon View Post

More importantly though, you seem to forget that...THE DESKTOP PC MARKET IS STAGNATING. It's been flat-lining for a while now.

You seem to forget that I already said that as time passes, the need for the xMac diminishes. If Apple haven't brought one out within 3 years, there'll be no point any more and we can all stop talking about it.

Another thing is that the desktop market hasn't been flat lining for long. In fact, I'm not sure it is even flat-lining right now. What has been happening is that the laptop market has been growing at a much faster rate than the desktop market. But that doesn't stop the desktop market being huge.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wobegon View Post

If Apple put out an xMac, the consumer would just see "same, old same old."

And be relieved that it's a machine that gives them the same amount of computing power, storage and expandability as the PC they've been looking at. Then they'd start to think about whether OS X is worth the $100 premium.

As it stands with the mini, Joe sees it and thinks "it costs the same/more than the tower I was looking at, but gives me less power, less storage and less expandability. I don't care that it's tiny. In fact, it's so tiny that it can't be a real computer. It must be a toy. I will cease to take it seriously." They go buy the PC and don't even get to a point where they think about the pros and cons of OS X Vs. Vista.

If instead there was an xMac, Joe would look at it and think "that gives me the same computing power, storage and expandability of the PC I was looking at, but it's got OS X and costs $100 more. Is OS X worth that $100 premium?"

Something very similar to this happened on the latpop line when Apple switched from PPC to Intel.

With PPC, people thought the hardware was underpowered and didn't even get to the point of considering OS X's pros and cons over Windows. With the Intel switch, they saw equal hardware specs for a small premium and many people decided OS X was/is worth the premium.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wobegon View Post

A standard mini-tower xMac would make them feel like they have to completely replace their Windows mini-tower, while a Mac mini can be an addition. They can place it on the desk at home and still keep their trusty (trusty in their minds, anyway) Dell.

This isn't an issue. They're out shopping because they want to replace what they've currently got. An xMac is lower-risk to them than a mini because it gives them the hardware they want; if it turns out that OS X isn't as great as everyone says it is, they can always put Windows on the xMac.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wobegon View Post

Surprise me by addressing all parts of my argument, rather than oversimplifying it down to "SFF vs. mini-tower."

Done.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wobegon View Post

Like what?

Flash videos, and Windows Media Player running in Windows XP (for playing 4OD and BBC iPlayer DRMed WMV) both max out my 1.83 Core Duo and make the fans blow like crazy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wobegon View Post

You overestimate Average Joe. He knows he needs a new computer, but HE HAS NO CLUE WHAT ALL THESE TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS MEAN!

He may not appreciate the detail of how an HDD works, or really understand the difference between it and RAM, he may not appreciate the details of pipelining, execution units, branch prediction, instruction issuers and completers, cache, latency etc. etc. and how all these things can affect performance just as much as CPU clock rate, but he does understand one thing:

"bigger numbers = better"

If machine "A" gives him bigger numbers for the same or less money, he chooses machine "A"

Quote:
Originally Posted by wobegon View Post

Let's use another size vs. price comparison here: mini van vs. sports car. Hmm, which one gives them more. Sort of a toss up. Now bring their prices down so that the mini van is $400 and the sports car is $600 (talking about a four-seater, not a two-seater). Which gets better gas milage? Which is cooler. Neither option is that expensive.

Let's not go there. I refuse to discuss computer/car analogies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wobegon View Post

Right, because the Mac mini's compact case means it must inherently have less data storage?

I'm not sure why you're laughing. You do know the Mini uses a laptop HDD? And that desktop HDDs tend to provide twice the GB/$ of laptop HDDs?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wobegon View Post

You keep perpetuating the notion that Apple will just leave the Mac mini as is for the indefinite future, which isn't realistic.

I've done nothing of the sort. Yes, the Mini could have more computing power and storage than it currently does whilst maintaining laptop components, because at the moment it's using out-dated laptop components. But it could have even more power, storage and expandability on top of that if it used desktop components instead.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wobegon View Post

That's the whole point of it being in their computer lineup: to provide a stepping-stone to a full-fledged Mac desktop like the iMac, or one of their MacBooks.

As I said already, that's only a good plan if you exist in a vacuum or already have the vast majority of the market. As it is, Apple have crippled their first stepping stone so badly that many people don't take the first step.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wobegon View Post

In general, you're compact = less logic in terms of storage space doesn't go very far.

I'm not generalising. I'm being very specific. Laptop HDDs offer less GB/$ than desktop HDDs, this is a fact. The Mini is so compact that it must use laptop HDDs. Therefore its compactness limits the maximum HDD storage it can offer, and results in poorer GB/$ compared to similarly priced or even cheaper PC towers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wobegon View Post

Shoot, different sized hard drives can have the same amount of data storage, just as two identical HDD enclosures can have very different capacities. Look at the Time Capsule: 500GB vs.1TB, yet AMAZINGLY, they're the same size. How do they do it?

Is this a trick question? Time Capsule uses dekstop HDDs and clearly the 1 TB HDD has twice the number of platters as the 500 GB HDD. What's that got to do with laptop HDD Vs. Desktop HDD?
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