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Apple sees Mac sales rise 28% amid latest notebook launch

post #1 of 64
Thread Starter 
A slowing global economy had little impact on Apple's computer business last month, as consumers willingly plunked down their cash for the company's new MacBook offerings, helping to drive Mac sales up more than 25 percent year-over-year.

According to data from market research firm NPD, which was relayed in a research note from Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, sales of Macs during the month of October were up 28 percent compared to the same month one year ago. They benefitted largely from the October 14th launch of the Unibody MacBook (review) and MacBook Pro (review), which began shipping immediately thereafter.

Munster, who analyzes each month of NPD data as it arrives, said he'll need to await statistics from the months of November and December before making a definitive prediction on Apple's total Mac shipments for the company's fiscal first quarter ending the final week of December.

In the meantime, the analyst is using his experience and a recent study of sales at the Mac maker's national retail chain to issue a preliminary prediction of quarterly Mac sales of between 2.5 million to 2.7 million units -- a range generally in line with Wall Street's consensus of 2.6 million units.

"Given the MacBook launch in October, growth rates for Mac will likely decline in the months of November and December," he told clients. "That said, our 25 hours counting Macs in US Apple stores from November 9th-16th suggest Mac demand remains healthy, and was up 90 percent year-over-year, and down 5 percent sequentially."

While Munster admits that overall Mac sales are unlikely to be tracking at the 90 percent rate suggested by his recent in-store surveys, he said the study clearly demonstrates that sales of the systems remain healthy. He's modeling conservatively for Macs to post 13 percent growth next month, but did not make a prediction for the current month.

Meanwhile, NPD data on iPod sales shows the players remain strong sellers despite the advent of the iPhone, which includes all of the functions of the iPod touch family.

Compared to last October, sales were down 20 percent. But with the holiday shopping season just ahead, newly updated models on store shelves, and strong international demand, Munster believes Apple will still manage to sell anywhere from 18.5 million to 19 million units during the three-month period ending December.

Considering Apple sold 22.1 million units last December quarter, that would represent only a 14 to 16 percent yearly sales decline. However, the Piper Jaffray analyst said earlier this week he expects the company to also sell 6.4 million iPhones during the quarter, compared to 2.31 million last December quarter, suggesting the Cupertino-based firm will ship approximately 1 million more handheld products this holiday season than it did last.

"Despite the expectation for an extended consumer slowdown hitting the consumer electronics space, we believe Apple is well-positioned to weather the storm," he said. "The company has recently leveraged its unit volumes in the iPod, Mac, and iPhone businesses to lower prices moderately while generally maintaining margins."
post #2 of 64
The beat goes on. Shame about the stock.
From Apple ][ - to new Mac Pro I've used them all.
Long on AAPL so biased
Google Motto "You're not the customer. You're the product."
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From Apple ][ - to new Mac Pro I've used them all.
Long on AAPL so biased
Google Motto "You're not the customer. You're the product."
Reply
post #3 of 64
"Strong international demand"? I think someone forgot to look at the exchange rates before making that statement. Prices for Apple products have gone up 20% throughout (most of) the rest of the world and purchasing power is decreasing. For Apple to have a soft landing, they will need to focus more energy on China and Japan where there are still market advantages for them.
post #4 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider

Munster, who analyzes each month of NPD data as it arrives, said he'll need to await statistics from the months of November and December before making a definitive prediction on Apple's total Mac shipments for the company's fiscal first quarter ending the final week of December.

He needs the exact final sales stats from every month until the end of the quarter to "predict" the shipments for the end of that quarter? That makes no sense. I will need to wait until it rains next to "predict" when it will rain that day. Not much of a prediction.
post #5 of 64
"hooray!" for apple attracting more and more common computer users now they have done with firewire and their support for the semi-pro users that have helped them to built this company.
now we know that before too long apple will be as big as they want to be, making even more money and have such a big client base that it is finally attractive for annoying computer nerds to come up with millions of mac-virusses..
great job, apple.
post #6 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwarf420 View Post

He needs the exact final sales stats from every month until the end of the quarter to "predict" the shipments for the end of that quarter? That makes no sense. I will need to wait until it rains next to "predict" when it will rain that day. Not much of a prediction.

Their predictions are just that. "Definitive predictions" are not "exact final sales," they are guesstimates. They are not actual numbers, which only Apple knows and releases during their quarterly conference calls. Any other numbers are in fact predictions usually based on watching sales/shipments that go out the door.
Disclaimer: The things I say are merely my own personal opinion and may or may not be based on facts. At certain points in any discussion, sarcasm may ensue.
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Disclaimer: The things I say are merely my own personal opinion and may or may not be based on facts. At certain points in any discussion, sarcasm may ensue.
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post #7 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by pooped View Post

"yeah!" for apple attracting more and more common computer users now they have done with firewire and their support for the semi-pro users that have helped them to built this company.
now we know that before too long apple will be as big as they want to be, making even more money and have such a big client base that it is finally attractive for annoying computer nerds to come up with millions of mac-virusses..
great job, apple.

Yeah, global economy break-down. So people need EXTRA GLOSSY shiny products to compensate for it.

Working people with their matte attitudes aren't tolerated any more. Congratulations, Apple!
post #8 of 64
Apple should make a special version of the Stocks widget.

Shake-to-Analyze - it just randomizes the stock prices.

Many of the most important software concepts were invented in the 70s and forgotten in the 80s.

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Many of the most important software concepts were invented in the 70s and forgotten in the 80s.

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post #9 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by PXT View Post

Apple should make a special version of the Stocks widget.

Shake-to-Analyze - it just randomizes the stock prices.

That would be the best

_______________
iPhone, iPod
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iPhone, iPod
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post #10 of 64
The good news: Apple is finally attracting users from the windows side. All that brand capitol from the iPod and iPhone is paying off.
The bad news: Apple is alienating their base to do so.

I can unfortunately see a switch in the not too distant future where Apple is the computer of choice for less demanding consumers and all those in the traditional creatives fields that the Mac once dominated have been forced to switch to windows.
post #11 of 64
If AAPL sustains its 28% growth rate for the entire quarter, it would sell 2,968,320 macs up from the 2,319,000 macs it sold in Q1 2008. I agree with Munster, that the overall growth rate could drop off for the months of Novemer and December, but I disagree with the extent to which it will drop off.

First, that 28% growth rate for the month of October is deceivingly low. One must consider that demand dropped off for the beginning of October in anticipation of the refresh. The media all out paraded that Apple would release new Macs in mid-October and even Apple conceded that it saw a drop off in demand for the second half of September and in the weeks preceeding the launch as a result of the anticipated refreash. In the Q4 conference call, Tim Cook harped on this point when noting, "As you know, there were rampant rumors and lots of press reports about a potential portable transition and we saw some slowing towards particularly the final weeks of September and the initial weeks of October. However, once announcing last week, we saw a considerable rebound in sales and we are very, very optimistic about those results."

Thus, one can only surmise that the 28% growth rate, as stunning as it is, is not that reflective of the actual growth rate for October. Had Apple released the new Macs on October 1, one has to imagine that the growth rate would be much higher for October. Moreover, what this tells us for November and December is that even if the growth rate, whatever it was in the second half of October, drops off, Apple will probably still sell closer to 2.8 million macs. This is further supported by the in-store tracking that Munster provided which suggested that retail sales could be up some 90%. While that number is probably way off of the actual growth rate, its evidence of the fact that the actual growth rate is higher than suggested in his estimates. I think Munster is somewhat underestimating how well Mac sales must have done for the second half of October to get the growth rate up to 28%. I wouldn't be surprised if sales contracted for the first half of the month as users anticipated the imminent release of new Macs. That means that the 17 days of October where the new Macs went on sale must have yielded closer to a 40-50% growth rate. Thus, based on this reading of NPD data, I stand by my original estiamte of 2.8 million macs on the quarter, which contemplates a mere 20.7% overall growth rate on the quarter (which is lower than the 28% growth rate in October).

http://bullcross.blogspot.com/2008/1...estimates.html
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post #12 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by BenRoethig View Post

The good news: Apple is finally attracting users from the windows side. All that brand capitol from the iPod and iPhone is paying off.
The bad news: Apple is alienating their base to do so.

I can unfortunately see a switch in the not too distant future where Apple is the computer of choice for less demanding consumers and all those in the traditional creatives fields that the Mac once dominated have been forced to switch to windows.

Right...because the lack of FW400 means Apple hates pros and folks that REALLY need good color aren't using Eizos anyway. In any case, the 30" ACD isn't glossy and neither is a Cintiq. BOTH of which can be used with a MacBook (not at the same time obviously...).

But hey, lets say you are right. Let's say I had a company that made widgets. I can serve the larger demographic that is less demanding with deep pockets or I can serve the smaller demographic that is whiney and wants cheaper mid-grade products to save a buck rather than buy my higher end widgets.

Wow, tough choice there.

In any case, Apple will never be the dominant OS/computer maker. They don't want to be.
post #13 of 64
Quote:
Apple is alienating their base to do so.

Apple has always alienated their fanbase.

Lemon Bon Bon.

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

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You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

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post #14 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinea View Post

Right...because the lack of FW400 means Apple hates pros...

No, it means the only people Apple listens to are their own design team. Besides, Apple since when has Apple been the system for the least demanding user? For a computer company who was on the forefront of new technologies, they seem to be all too willing to give up those technologies if its in conflict with their design philosophy. The iBook/Macbook used to be unique, an affordable full featured notebook that was easy to carry. Now compared to affordable 13" notebooks from Dell, HP, and Toshiba, they seem all too ordinary. The PC makes are learning Apple's lessons while they're forgetting them.

Quote:
...folks that REALLY need good color aren't using Eizos anyway. In any case, the 30" ACD isn't glossy and neither is a Cintiq. BOTH of which can be used with a MacBook (not at the same time obviously...)[/qutoe]

Its really hard to get them to fit in the notebook case. As for the 30" ACD, I wouldn't expect it to be around much longer seeing that the 23" got discontinued.

[qutoe]But hey, lets say you are right. Let's say I had a company that made widgets. I can serve the larger demographic that is less demanding with deep pockets or I can serve the smaller demographic that is whiney and wants cheaper mid-grade products to save a buck rather than buy my higher end widgets.

Wow, tough choice there.

I seem to remember you arguing that Apple is like Porsche and shouldn't bother with the normal people. Funny how your position seems to change depending which way the wind is blowing.

Quote:
In any case, Apple will never be the dominant OS/computer maker. They don't want to be.

You might want to tell them that. The full on retail assault and the get a Mac ads say otherwise. Besides, didn't this contradict your last point?
post #15 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemon Bon Bon. View Post

Apple has always alienated their fanbase.

Lemon Bon Bon.

I seem to remember a day before the heads of Jobs and Ive grew four or five sizes when they catered to the case with great computers in useful and innovative machines witch new technologies. Now its glossy and thin, anything else is of secondary importance.
post #16 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by BenRoethig View Post

No, it means the only people Apple listens to are their own design team.

Besides, since when has Apple been the system for the least demanding user?


True dat.


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post #17 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by BenRoethig View Post

Now its glossy and thin, anything else is of secondary importance.


Yup. 'Thin uber alles' seems to be Apple's credo nowadays. Form over function.

Of course, the second you note that, you get accused of wanting Apple to make ugly thick bricks, in both phones and notebooks. Not that there could ever be anything like a middle ground... 'sexay' yet practical.

IIRC, Walt Mossberg, normally very pro-Apple, was complaining about how the battery life on the new MacBook Pros wasn't very good. Maybe using lower-capacity batteries (to save space, presumably) wasn't such a great plan.

Does anyone re-he-healllly give that much of a crap about a millimeter or two of added thickness?

I mean, besides Steve and Jony?

If the MB Pro were, say, 1.0 inches thick instead of 0.95 inches, would that suddenly be a 'no sale' for anyone?


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post #18 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemon Bon Bon

Apple has always alienated their fanbase.

Lemon Bon Bon.

I wouldn't say that Apple has alienated their fan base, if you're a true fan of Apple, you expect moves like this and like Apple because of it - Apple is more willing than any other computer maker to add (remove) technologies from new systems regardless of what the rest of the industry is doing or what current users believe is status quo. Apple is a dynamic company, always moving and evolving, and yes, that may mean alienating some users, but it is how Apple has always run its business; this same thing happened ten years ago when Apple dropped ADB in its consumer computer, the iMac, in favor of using USB. The "pro" model kept the ADB while also adding support for USB.


Quote:
Originally Posted by TBaggins

Does anyone re-he-healllly give that much of a crap about a millimeter or two of added thickness?

Well yes, they should. The smaller/thinner you can manufacturer something while at the same time keeping its rigidity and strength means you'll eventually be able to design new types of products. The purpose of the new unibody process wasn't solely to make it thinner, but also to design a way to make thinner devices more solid. Imagine being able to build a device as thin as an iPhone, but having a ten inch screen. The enclosure would have to made in a way to keep from warping or bending and destroying the screen or circuit boards. This is the end goal.
Disclaimer: The things I say are merely my own personal opinion and may or may not be based on facts. At certain points in any discussion, sarcasm may ensue.
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post #19 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjtomlin View Post

Well yes, they should. The smaller/thinner you can manufacturer something while at the same time keeping its rigidity and strength means you'll eventually be able to design new types of products. The purpose of the new unibody process wasn't solely to make it thinner, but also to design a way to make thinner devices more solid. Imagine being able to build a device as thin as an iPhone, but having a ten inch screen. The enclosure would have to made in a way to keep from warping or bending and destroying the screen or circuit boards. This is the end goal.


The question wasn't so much, "Is the unibody construction wonderful- yes? no? Discuss", or "Isn't progress grand?"; but rather, "Would a notebook or an iPhone being a millimeter or two thicker seriously impact your buying decision?"

As in, "Well, I woulda bought the MacBook Pro at 0.95 inches of thickness, but at 1.00" thick? Oh heck no. No sale!".

Does anyone really think like that?


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post #20 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBaggins View Post

The question wasn't so much, "Is the unibody construction wonderful- yes? no? Discuss", or "Isn't progress grand?"; but rather, "Would a notebook or an iPhone being a millimeter or two thicker seriously impact your buying decision?"

As in, "Well, I woulda bought the MacBook Pro at 0.95 inches of thickness, but at 1.00" thick? Oh heck no. No sale!".

Does anyone really think like that?


...

I would hope note, but I have to wonder sometimes.
post #21 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBaggins View Post

The question wasn't so much, "Is the unibody construction wonderful- yes? no? Discuss", or "Isn't progress grand?", but rather, "Would a notebook or an iPhone being a millimeter or two thicker seriously impact your buying decision?"

As in, "Well, I woulda bought the MacBook Pro at 0.95 inches of thickness, but at 1.00" thick? Oh heck no. No sale!".

Does anyone really think like that?
...

I'm sure there are people out there who consider dimensions to be important, just as there seems to be people who wonder if there are people who think like that. Touting their ability to squeeze more into smaller boxes is really just a demonstration of progression. In the end, I don't really think it does matter, dimensions are just one aspect of overall design and "feel".
Disclaimer: The things I say are merely my own personal opinion and may or may not be based on facts. At certain points in any discussion, sarcasm may ensue.
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post #22 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by BenRoethig View Post

I would hope not, but I have to wonder sometimes.


I dunno... I think it was a much bigger deal maybe 5 years ago, when it was hard to find a mainstream cellphone that was much thinner than an inch or nine-tenths of an inch.

Then the RAZR comes along, at around a half-inch thick, and everyone goes ga-ga.

THAT made sense, but the RAZR was DRAMATICALLY thinner than your typical cellphone of the time, by almost a factor of two.

But if it's just a millimeter or two we're talking, that's hard to even register visually.

Perhaps 'uber thinness' is chasing a trend that's past its prime? Diminishing returns and all that?


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post #23 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by BenRoethig View Post

I seem to remember you arguing that Apple is like Porsche and shouldn't bother with the normal people. Funny how your position seems to change depending which way the wind is blowing.

Ever notice Porsche drivers are typically older, take their car to the dealer and don't sweat spending a ton of money for routine maintainence?

This is in comparison to say, folks that soup up their cars, change their own oil and are demanding as hell on a car that costs half as much for the about same level of performance but is less refined?

Nope, sorry...same opinion as before. Folks with money are demanding in different ways but easier to keep happy if you have a good user experience throught the life of the product. This is why Apple stores are the way they are vs the way Best Buy is.

Porsches break down too. But hey as long as they get a nice cup of designer coffee while waiting for their very nice loaner it doesn't matter so much.

Quote:
You might want to tell them that. The full on retail assault and the get a Mac ads say otherwise. Besides, didn't this contradict your last point?

Porsche wants to sell more cars to folks with money. Not to folks without money. Same with Apple. They want to sell more Macs, on THEIR terms. There's still market share to be had in that demographic.
post #24 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBaggins View Post

The question wasn't so much, "Is the unibody construction wonderful- yes? no? Discuss", or "Isn't progress grand?"; but rather, "Would a notebook or an iPhone being a millimeter or two thicker seriously impact your buying decision?"

As in, "Well, I woulda bought the MacBook Pro at 0.95 inches of thickness, but at 1.00" thick? Oh heck no. No sale!".

Does anyone really think like that?

...

You're framing the question wrong. Does the average BMW driver REALLY use the extra performance of their car over a Toyota? No. Does the fact that the 0-60 time for BMW 528i is 6.5 seconds vs 6.8 seconds in a Camry XLE V6 REALLY matter? No.

But does the BMW 528i command a higher price ($44K) and a performance moniker over the Camry ($28K) because a few performance points here and there and branding? Yes.

So that .05" thickness matters just like that 0.3 second 0-60 time difference matters.

Yes, I could have picked the Pontiac G8 that GM pits against the 5 series and it's 0-60 times are better than the 528i. But that's more of an example where better numbers/more features doesn't mean better product when the delivery is sooo...sooo...Pontiac/Dell.

That's where machined aluminum case and refinement trumps price/performance.
post #25 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinea View Post

You're framing the question wrong. Does the average BMW driver REALLY use the extra performance of their car over a Toyota? No. Does the fact that the 0-60 time for BMW 528i is 6.5 seconds vs 6.8 seconds in a Camry XLE V6 REALLY matter? No.

But does the BMW 528i command a higher price ($44K) and a performance moniker over the Camry ($28K) because a few performance points here and there and branding? Yes.

So that .05" thickness matters just like that 0.3 second 0-60 time difference matters.

Yes, I could have picked the Pontiac G8 that GM pits against the 5 series and it's 0-60 times are better than the 528i. But that's more of an example where better numbers/more features doesn't mean better product when the delivery is sooo...sooo...Pontiac/Dell.

That's where machined aluminum case and refinement trumps price/performance.

FYI, the original GTO's were able to lap Ferraris, on any road course in this country, and did so quite often. The reason? Ferraris were too large to compete with GTOs on road tracks in this country, at that time. The GTO's really cleaned house on the Ferraris at Riverside, and at an astronomically lower price.

Those sales figures do not take into account how many Macbooks would have sold if they still offered a Firewire port. Plus, the new Macbook was so long overdue, and the students who have to have the very latest model or they would just perish, that they just bought blindly, like lemmings.
post #26 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by BenRoethig View Post

The good news: Apple is finally attracting users from the windows side. All that brand capitol from the iPod and iPhone is paying off.
The bad news: Apple is alienating their base to do so.

I can unfortunately see a switch in the not too distant future where Apple is the computer of choice for less demanding consumers and all those in the traditional creatives fields that the Mac once dominated have been forced to switch to windows.

my company, one major network company, is adding mac as a new lease option for engineer starting this quarter starting in US first. there is a very big mac community inside of the company. and lately internal report is saying that those who had mac are helping themselves very well and amazingly IT cost is very much less, if not zero. further ppl who is using mac is far far likely to use our internal collaboration tools, thus save more on traveling.

our laptop is refreshed every 2-3 years. with this new mac option, i am sure people will at least try mac, simply because company pays for it. the base price difference btw a thinkpad t60s and a macbook pro is almost $800!

if the cost difference of this $800 is much much less than that spent on IT support on a window laptop and extra saving from collaboration, it might be worthy trying it.
post #27 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinea View Post

You're framing the question wrong. Does the average BMW driver REALLY use the extra performance of their car over a Toyota?


Sorry Vin, I stopped reading once you launched into the flawed car analogy.

Being a couple of tenths of a second faster in 0-60 times could get you a couple more car lengths in a 1/4 mile race, which at least is SOME real-world benefit, though not a terribly practical one.

But being one-twentieth of an inch thinner in a consumer electronics product really buys you nothing. Not even bragging rights, really.

I mean, what sad fop says to his friends, "Haha, my comp is 0.05" thinner than yours?" Who CARES?

Guys like that are very rare, and the few that do exist, must get beaten up quite a lot. Darwinism at work?


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post #28 of 64
Btw, HOLY CRAP alert:

The 1st gen Macbook Air is available at Amazon... for $1149.

I wouldn't want one (small screen, small hard drive, no Firewire), but one of you thinness-obsessed folks might, and that's a heckuva deal. At least the Air is enough thinner that you can really see the diff.

Why'd they drop the price so much though? I know a new rev's coming, but they have that many left over?


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post #29 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBaggins View Post


But being one-twentieth of an inch thinner in a consumer electronics product really buys you nothing. Not even bragging rights, really.

I mean, what sad fop says to his friends, "Haha, my comp is 0.05" thinner than yours?" Who CARES?

It does make a difference when you hold it in your hands and carry it around all day.
post #30 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

It does make a difference when you hold it in your hands and carry it around all day.


I'm sure if we did an A-B test you'd never be able to tell the diff.


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post #31 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBaggins View Post

I'm sure if we did an A-B test you'd never be able to tell the diff.
...

In fact this just happened. A friend of mine with the black MacBook was holding the new unibody MacBook and noted how light it was and how much better if felt in the hand.
post #32 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBaggins View Post

But being one-twentieth of an inch thinner in a consumer electronics product really buys you nothing. Not even bragging rights, really.

It does when you can claim you're less than an inch thick.

"Less than 1" thin!" But heck, not even Apple is saying that although they DO say it is thinner than before.

They are touting the "Precision aluminum unibody enclosure" which even if you hate car analogies sounds a lot like a car ad. Tell me that precision unibody does not invoke German auto engineering?

"Only Apple could make a notebook like this. Hardware and software. Design and engineering. Production and manufacturing. They’re all part of a single process at Apple. When you start using your new MacBook, you’ll discover what that means. The light and sturdy unibody protects the components inside. The LED-backlit display — along with the graphics processor that helps power it — gives you faster games and a brilliant canvas for your photos, movies, and more. The glass Multi-Touch trackpad feels as good as it functions. From the smallest detail to the biggest engineering breakthrough, the new MacBook truly is the next generation of notebooks"

http://www.apple.com/macbook/design.html

"Only BMW could make a car like this. Power and grace. Design and engineering. Production and manufacturing. They’re all part of a single process at BMW. When you start driving your new BMW, you’ll discover what that means. The light and sturdy unibody protects the passengers inside. The tight suspension — along with the twin turbo inline 6 that helps power it — gives you faster performance and brilliant handling for your favorite curvy road, everyday commute, and more. The polished burlwood shifter feels as good as it functions. From the smallest detail to the biggest engineering breakthrough, the new BMW 5-series truly is the next generation of performance sedans"

They have a whole bleeding paragraph on how the LED is machined into the laptop with a fricking laser drill.

The thiness adds to the bragging rights as a total package. It's no longer the biggest point but it's a given that it HAS to be thin...and thinner than the last one. Just like BMWs have to be sleek.
post #33 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinea View Post

It does when you can claim you're less than an inch thick.


Honestly, I've never met anyone who's had the slightest regard for the diff between a notebook being 1.01" (shudder horror) and 0.99".

The rest is just you equating to cars again, which is one of the most-overused and ill-fitting analogies/cliches in consumer electronics. A notebook is not a BMW. A BMW is a BMW. A BMW is cool (to some), but so are many things.

Where you would be more right is if you were comparing a Macbook to a Macbook Air. THEN the differences in form factor are quite noticeable, and you can then make a credible image/marketing play based on that.

Though I, along with many others, still consider the Air to be somewhat of a niche product. But it's a noticeably different and sexy one, at least.


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post #34 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

In fact this just happened. A friend of mine with the black MacBook was holding the new unibody MacBook and noted how light it was and how much better if felt in the hand.


Actually, not the same thing at all. The old MB was 1.08" thick, which is .13" more than the new MB. The question was, could one detect a 1/20th of an inch (.05") difference?

Even in your friend's case, dealing with a difference almost three times larger than we were talking about, I have to wonder. Put both notebooks in a (slim) sleeve so he can't tell which is which (a 'blind' A-B comparo), and I think he notices a slight diff at most.

Now, 1/20th of an inch, under the same circumstances? Very much doubt he notices at all.


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post #35 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBaggins View Post

The rest is just you equating to cars again, which is one of the most-overused and ill-fitting analogies/cliches in consumer electronics. A notebook is not a BMW. A BMW is a BMW. A BMW is cool (to some), but so are many things.

Folks don't like car analogies because they don't like to positions they support, not because there's some inherent problem with them any more than any other kind of analogy.

Apple makes a premium brand that is defined by elegant design and excellent user experience. For them that .05" difference matters as part of the whole design and as a part of attention to detail.

Will people really notice .05" difference? Not by itself, no. But perhaps the notebook just feels a little better in their hands or fits a little easier into their briefcase. In any case, this is a design early in its lifecycle. As technology improves, performance will increase.

Form over function is as tired a cliche as car analogies but hey, since you do it I guess it must be okay. Besides, the form follows function folks eventually evolved into such "functional" minimalist design (Bauhaus*) that many designs became less usable. If anything your complaint is the same as that against some Bauhaus designs and some modernist architecture.

V

* that's a little unfair to Bauhaus which actually tried to merge art with technology rather than pure minimalism. But the Wassily chair is still so so as a chair even if it is interesting to look at.
post #36 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinea View Post

Folks don't like car analogies because they don't like to positions they support, not because there's some inherent problem with them any more than any other kind of analogy.

That's a pretty mangled sentence, but I think I know what you're trying to say. And no, ppl actually don't like car analogies simply because 1) they've been beaten into the ground (and then some), and 2) they're often pretty vague and inaccurate.

Hey, have you checked out my blender? It's a Ferrari.


Quote:
Apple makes a premium brand that is defined by elegant design and excellent user experience. For them that .05" difference matters as part of the whole design and as a part of attention to detail.

Oh, we know that .05" difference matters to *Apple*. The question is, does it matter that much to *us*, the users who keep Apple in business?

Does "elegant design and an excellent user experience" go out the window once your laptop is 1.00" instead of 0.95"? I think for the vast majority of ppl, the answer is an obvious no. But might that user experience be improved by things like say better battery life, which you might get by going a little thicker than the cutting edge? That seems to be the likelier argument.


Quote:
Form over function is as tired a cliche as car analogies

The 'form over function' criticism didn't get chanted en masse in Apple's direction until Apple started pretty obviously valuing form over function as a matter of course.

So, blame Apple for the popularity of that phrase in regards to their products, not all the ppl who happened to notice.

And I think most ppl leveling that criticism don't dislike Apple designs so much as they wish that Apple's design ethic was more form = function in importance, instead of form >>> function. There is a middle ground.


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post #37 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBaggins View Post

The 'form over function' criticism didn't get chanted en masse in Apple's direction until Apple started pretty obviously valuing form over function as a matter of course.

Exactly where is this so-called "form over function"? Where exactly do you see that form has over-ruled function? A missing option or feature from something doesn't mean it was removed to make sure they could make the form the way wanted it.

In fact the new uni-body enclosure was designed to be more functionally sound, that is, less parts, less quality issues. The new design was also used to add strength to the overall laptop, yet another function out of form.

The lack of a FireWire port (which seems to be the biggest issue), may have been in the plans before they designed the new laptops. They previously removed FireWire from iPods because it's cheaper to support one bus than two and that certainly wasn't a consequence of form. (Except of course for the iPod shuffle which was nothing more than USB stick.) Apple probably sees a trend of consumer products moving towards all USB and professional equipment sticking with FireWire. The MacBook was always intended to be a consumer laptop, regardless of what anyone else says, that is a fact Apple has reiterated over and over again.

The only time function follows form is when it is intended to such as with the MacBook Air. The whole point of the Air was to make it as thin and light as possible, because there are in fact people out there who do care about such things. And that meant removing just about all the ports and optical drive, but even then there is function in the form; lighter and smaller, these are in fact functions to those that care about them.
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post #38 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjtomlin View Post

Exactly where is this so-called "form over function"? Where exactly do you see that form has over-ruled function?


Either ya get it, or ya don't. But it has been a major topic of debate for many Apple products over the past year or so, most especially the iPhone, MacBook, and MB Air.

The unibody construction doesn't have to be anti-function at all, assuming that there's enough space within the unibody for things like a big-enough battery (the new MB Pro and MB batteries are significantly lower capacity than the previous gen, unfortunately), FW port and chipset, etc. But if all else were equal functionality-wise, you'd want the unibody, for all the advantages you state.

Far as the Air goes, I don't have a problem with loss of function in that one particular case. It's its own, sort of 'niche' product, and to be what it is, it needs to lose some functionality.

What I don't like is when some of the workhorse product lines do the same. Including the iPhone, which is a 'workhorse' multifunction device, not a niche product IMO... at least judging from the level of sales Apple seems to want to get from it.


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post #39 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBaggins View Post

Either ya get it, or ya don't. But it has been a major topic of debate for many Apple products over the past year or so, most especially the iPhone, MacBook, and MB Air.

The unibody construction doesn't have to be anti-function at all, assuming that there's enough space within the unibody for things like a big-enough battery (the new MB Pro and MB batteries are significantly lower capacity than the previous gen, unfortunately), FW port and chipset, etc. But if all else were equal functionality-wise, you'd want the unibody, for all the advantages you state.

Except that Apple has reduced power consumption that the ALU with the 45 W/hr battery lasts about as long as the older MB with the 55 W/hr battery. Mossberg reported that the new MB lasted 6 minutes longer on his battery test. AnandTech found that the new MB lasted 4.77 hours vs 5 hours on the old one. About 10-15 mins less. It looks like in the real world testing it's a wash and you can get pretty close to Apple's claimed 5 hour mark depending on what you're doing.

Tests that hit the drives a lot will see a reduction in time. Tests that hits the CPU will see about the same or better time.

So it has a big enough battery to meet previous performance. What you want is MORE performance.

FW was not a form issue. FW is missing for the same reason that the expresscard slot is missing.

The MB is essentially a MBP now at lower cost. Yes, the GPU is weaker but it's no weaker than the X1600 in my MBP. The only difference is that the MB lacks the expansion capability. One that many MBP users probably won't miss.

Quote:
What I don't like is when some of the workhorse product lines do the same. Including the iPhone, which is a 'workhorse' multifunction device, not a niche product IMO... at least judging from the level of sales Apple seems to want to get from it.

There's a new case that blends in a bigger battery for the iPhone and there are external packs of various kinds and sizes. I don't see where Apple traded significant function for form on the iPhone. It fits nicely in my hand now and I doubt Apple could have gotten a lot more power into it without making it more awkward...and I have medium sized male hands. It's probably borderline for small female hands sizewise.

There are certainly smaller phones. Even the Sony Walkman phones are smaller.
post #40 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinea View Post

FW was not a form issue. FW is missing for the same reason that the expresscard slot is missing.

I agree with everything else you have stated, but I do feel that the loss of FW400 from both the MBP and MB are due to the change in the form. While this is an engineering trade off of allowing easier access to the HDD and battery, which in itself adds a function, the new 'form' has reduced the ability for Apple to have all the ports they had on the previous notebook design. FW400 was bottom of the totem poll; I don't think it's much more complex than that.

Here is a cool x-ray of the new MacBook. The only way that FW400 could have been added in an Apple-like way would be in the optical drive* had been removed (wishful thinking) or the battery was made even smaller so the HDD could be slide a little more to the center, which would allow enough space for more ports on the left edge.

http://gadgets.boingboing.net/302510...8ebed6a8_o.jpg
* Notice how much space that worthless optical drive is taking up. I can't wait until it's gone. Think of all ports you could put along that right edge.
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