So, the new Macbooks are here...what next? :)

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
Well, I suppose it had to be, right?



We've got the new Macbooks (and I reckon its a good update) but I wonder what the next one will be like. While this was a nice update, its not a huge one and it may be that the next update (6months or so?) could see major revisions.



Let the debate begin
«13

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 54
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,369member
    No really!
  • Reply 2 of 54
    outsideroutsider Posts: 6,008member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    No really!



    I saw a patent not too long ago dealing with a smaller version of the Mac Pro. Don't know if the Mac Pro is going to shrink (likely) or they split off the towers into 2 distinct lines (a little less likely, but plausible) but changes look to be coming to the desktops.
  • Reply 3 of 54
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,369member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Outsider View Post


    I saw a patent not too long ago dealing with a smaller version of the Mac Pro. Don't know if the Mac Pro is going to shrink (likely) or they split off the towers into 2 distinct lines (a little less likely, but plausible) but changes look to be coming to the desktops.



    My guess is that the Mac Pro will stay work station class for some time. After all there is a considerable market for a no holds bared Mac Pro. A simpler Mac desktop could fill a lot of holes in Apples line up. Especially if priced right. Apple continued expansion in market share would be helped greatly by a reasonably priced desktop machine to fill the performance void between the Mini and Mac Pro.



    In other words to keep momentum Apple needs more desktop and laptop models.





    Dave
  • Reply 4 of 54
    guinnessguinness Posts: 473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    My guess is that the Mac Pro will stay work station class for some time. After all there is a considerable market for a no holds bared Mac Pro. A simpler Mac desktop could fill a lot of holes in Apples line up. Especially if priced right. Apple continued expansion in market share would be helped greatly by a reasonably priced desktop machine to fill the performance void between the Mini and Mac Pro.



    In other words to keep momentum Apple needs more desktop and laptop models.





    Dave



    I don't think it will ever happen. Apple rather sell you that iMac or laptop. I personally detest AIO's (other than the 24/27" iMacs), but I think Apple is more concerned with being thin/small, than catering to the prosumer market.



    I think Apple could sell the mythical xMac at $1200-1500 US, and make a nice machine, and add balance to their lineup, maybe add more BTO options as well, due to lower cooling constraints, but I don't believe that fits their MO at this point.



    I think Blu-ray coming to OSX would happen before the xMac showing up, and BR is a "bag of hurt" to SJ.
  • Reply 5 of 54
    lorrelorre Posts: 396member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    My guess is that the Mac Pro will stay work station class for some time. After all there is a considerable market for a no holds bared Mac Pro. A simpler Mac desktop could fill a lot of holes in Apples line up. Especially if priced right. Apple continued expansion in market share would be helped greatly by a reasonably priced desktop machine to fill the performance void between the Mini and Mac Pro.



    In other words to keep momentum Apple needs more desktop and laptop models.





    Dave



    I seriously doubt Apple will ever add another desktop system to its lineup as long as Steve Jobs is in charge. The best thing you can hope for is that the Mac Pro shrinks in size and drops in entry level price., or that the Mac Mini grows a little more powerful. Or Both. "Normal" desktops are so 90's... Sure, there is a market for it, but I'm sure it's small. Even people that never leave the house with their computer tend to buy laptops now.



    IMO, the only hole in Apple's lineup is a 15inch laptop with a low-dpi screen, say 1280x800. It hurts me every time I visit an Apple store and see people in their 40's and 50's check out the laptop lineup, only to conclude that the letters on all the screens are simply too small for their eyes. Now that's a lot of potential customers that simply cannot find anything appropriate in Apple's lineup.



    So Apple has 2 options:

    - work on that resolution independence in OSX (but even then, the 15" MBP is way overpriced for these people)

    - add a 15 inch MacBook with 1280x800 screen to the lineup. Same price point as the 13inch ones, just give people the choice between portability and legibility.
  • Reply 6 of 54
    mcarlingmcarling Posts: 1,106member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Lorre View Post


    I seriously doubt Apple will ever add another desktop system to its lineup as long as Steve Jobs is in charge.



    The case for a headless desktop Mac between the Mac Mini and the Mac Pro increases as the volumes of desktop Macs sold grows. However, most of the Mac growth is in laptops.



    I also have trouble figuring out just what someone would want that one couldn't get from a Mac Mini. Faster? Then it might make more sense to offer a higher-end Mac Mini.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Lorre View Post


    IMO, the only hole in Apple's lineup is a 15inch laptop with a low-dpi screen, say 1280x800. It hurts me every time I visit an Apple store and see people in their 40's and 50's check out the laptop lineup, only to conclude that the letters on all the screens are simply too small for their eyes. Now that's a lot of potential customers that simply cannot find anything appropriate in Apple's lineup.



    So Apple has 2 options:

    - work on that resolution independence in OSX (but even then, the 15" MBP is way overpriced for these people)

    - add a 15 inch MacBook with 1280x800 screen to the lineup. Same price point as the 13inch ones, just give people the choice between portability and legibility.



    There is no significant market for lower resolution. The only solution is Resolution Independence. I expect Apple to drop the 1440x900 option for 15" MacBook Pro sometime next year, just as they did with the 17" model shortly after the high-res version became available.
  • Reply 7 of 54
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,369member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by guinness View Post


    I don't think it will ever happen. Apple rather sell you that iMac or laptop. I personally detest AIO's (other than the 24/27" iMacs), but I think Apple is more concerned with being thin/small, than catering to the prosumer market.



    Apples marketing needs today and in the future are not the same as those in the past. Now that Apple is seeing respectable sales growth in the Mac Line up they need to flesh outtheir line up. Mainly to keep driving sales with products that people from other markets are likely to buy. In other words a box that appeals to traditional mid range users.



    As to thin and small this is very possible in an XMac platform. For example a modern desktop doesn't need to support 3.5" form factor drives. Expansion slot(s) are desirable but I'd be happy with a descrete GPU soldered to the main mother board. An external power supply is doable even if it requires a heavier connector and cable. In the end we may be talking about a 300 watt machine or maybe a bit more. That would be a machine with a 65 watt CPU and maybe 110 watt GPU system.

    Quote:



    I think Apple could sell the mythical xMac at $1200-1500 US, and make a nice machine, and add balance to their lineup, maybe add more BTO options as well, due to lower cooling constraints, but I don't believe that fits their MO at this point.



    Well I agree they could do it if they wanted. As to MO I don't believe they have one as this is a business and businesses need to react to changing realities and positions in the marketplace. The way I see it is that the Mac Pro is not going away and if anything will become far more powerful, so they gap between it and the Mini just keeps getting wider. They need to fill that gulf.

    Quote:



    I think Blu-ray coming to OSX would happen before the xMac showing up, and BR is a "bag of hurt" to SJ.



    Blu-Ray is a stupid waste of time on Apples part. Filling market demand for the XMac isn't. And yes I'm implying here little real world demand for a Blu-Ray drive in a Mac.



    As to XMac I've considered many ideas in my head. Drop the optical all together and you could build an XMac in a profile that isn't any wider than the current Mini and possibly not much higher. Deeper of course and maybe only with a shorty expansion slot but very capable. It depends upon what Apple wants to offer up, but dropping the slot would make things even easier to design. Apple could easily have a desktop class machine in a case not much bigger than the Mini. By desktop I mean a desktop class CPU and a discrete GPU and plenty of RAM expansion.





    Dave
  • Reply 8 of 54
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,369member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mcarling View Post


    The case for a headless desktop Mac between the Mac Mini and the Mac Pro increases as the volumes of desktop Macs sold grows. However, most of the Mac growth is in laptops.



    Yes and I suspect Apple is concerned about that and the high price of the Mac Pro. They simply need a more appealing high performance headless Mac.



    The other thing here is that many people would be better off with an iPad and a desktop machine than a laptop only solution. Apple needs to keep an eye on this because if the market starts to realize this then they need a play.

    Quote:



    I also have trouble figuring out just what someone would want that one couldn't get from a Mac Mini. Faster? Then it might make more sense to offer a higher-end Mac Mini.



    Well based on my early 2008 MBP I'd have to say that the XMac needs to be a kit faster than it is now. 10.6 has been frustrating to say the least as the user interface is far less responsive than it should be. Maybe Apple should fix 10.6 but it hasn't yet so much faster is what I want to see.



    However I don't see the XMac as having to be huge. In fact that would be counter productive. Rather it needs to house multiple disk drives, a desktop class 65 watt or so processor and a good GPU. It could be a fat Mini or a shrunken tower but it doesn't need to be big fir the sake of being big. It only needs to contain the required hardware to give us a fast four core CPU.





    Dave



    Quote:

    .



    There is no significant market for lower resolution. The only solution is Resolution Independence. I expect Apple to drop the 1440x900 option for 15" MacBook Pro sometime next year, just as they did with the 17" model shortly after the high-res version became available.



    I forgot to mention that extremely high resolution screens don't do a lot for us old farts. I'm sitting here in front if an iPhone wondering if I will ever see the difference in the rumored new screen.



    D
  • Reply 9 of 54
    guinnessguinness Posts: 473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    Apples marketing needs today and in the future are not the same as those in the past. Now that Apple is seeing respectable sales growth in the Mac Line up they need to flesh outtheir line up. Mainly to keep driving sales with products that people from other markets are likely to buy. In other words a box that appeals to traditional mid range users.



    As to thin and small this is very possible in an XMac platform. For example a modern desktop doesn't need to support 3.5" form factor drives. Expansion slot(s) are desirable but I'd be happy with a descrete GPU soldered to the main mother board. An external power supply is doable even if it requires a heavier connector and cable. In the end we may be talking about a 300 watt machine or maybe a bit more. That would be a machine with a 65 watt CPU and maybe 110 watt GPU system.



    Well I agree they could do it if they wanted. As to MO I don't believe they have one as this is a business and businesses need to react to changing realities and positions in the marketplace. The way I see it is that the Mac Pro is not going away and if anything will become far more powerful, so they gap between it and the Mini just keeps getting wider. They need to fill that gulf.





    Blu-Ray is a stupid waste of time on Apples part. Filling market demand for the XMac isn't. And yes I'm implying here little real world demand for a Blu-Ray drive in a Mac.



    As to XMac I've considered many ideas in my head. Drop the optical all together and you could build an XMac in a profile that isn't any wider than the current Mini and possibly not much higher. Deeper of course and maybe only with a shorty expansion slot but very capable. It depends upon what Apple wants to offer up, but dropping the slot would make things even easier to design. Apple could easily have a desktop class machine in a case not much bigger than the Mini. By desktop I mean a desktop class CPU and a discrete GPU and plenty of RAM expansion.





    Dave



    That just sounds like an upgraded Mini Server.
  • Reply 10 of 54
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,369member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by guinness View Post


    That just sounds like an upgraded Mini Server.



    The machine would need to be longer to accomodate a desktop class processor and GPU, maybe a bit higher. The important thing is that from the front it wouldn't look much bigger than a Mini.



    The way I envision this is that the machine would be configured like this (from front to back). We would start with a drive bay with room for at least three laptop type drives, followed by a fan assemby, next would be the CPU/heatsink assemby, then followed up with the GPU and the rest of the required circuitry. If Apple takes some cues from 1U server design I believe Apple could put considerable performance into such a box.



    This is especially the case with all the new high performance but relatively low power chip sets coming out. Apple doesn't need maximum clock frequency either, on a XMac, but rather lots of cores. The goal is maximum snappy.
  • Reply 11 of 54
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,341member
    2011 xMac



    Small Chassis w/Internal PSU

    Quad Core Intel processor (Non Xeon)

    One double sized PCI-Express GPU slot

    Two 2.5" drive bays.

    Four USB ports

    One Light Peak port

    One Gigabit Ethernet port

    One Mini PCI slot



    No optical drive

    No floppy drive

    Bluetooth/Wifi optional (on Mini PCI)



    $1099
  • Reply 12 of 54
    lorrelorre Posts: 396member
    Seriously, what you guys want wounds a lot like a slightly more powerful Mac Mini. The new Nvidia chip in the 13" MBP seems like a logical addition there, combine that with a zippier Core 2 Duo (which Apple must get almost for free by now) and you've got a desktop machine that'll cater for the needs of 98% of all people that don't need a Mac Pro and don't want the iMac because it's AIO. My gut tells me you guys really are a minority here.



    Speaking of the iMac, the base model will hopefully get bumped with that new Nvidia chip soon as well.
  • Reply 13 of 54
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,369member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post


    2011 xMac



    Small Chassis w/Internal PSU



    There are two things I don't like about internal PSU. One is that they result in a much larger box. The second is simply maintenance. I have to admit thoughthat after a certain power point the supply might as well be internal.

    Quote:

    Quad Core Intel processor (Non Xeon)

    One double sized PCI-Express GPU slot

    Two 2.5" drive bays.



    Having a GPU slot means having a far bigger power supply than is needed. As to the drive bays well I'd like 3 or more myself. The idea here is to put the OS and apps on a SSD, and then use a magnetic disk for bulk storage. The third slot provides for expansion of the bulk storage.



    Before anybody says anything NO an external drive is not acceptable.

    Quote:

    Four USB ports

    One Light Peak port

    One Gigabit Ethernet port

    One Mini PCI slot



    No optical drive

    No floppy drive

    Bluetooth/Wifi optional (on Mini PCI)



    Bluetooth should be built in. That simply to support a Bluetooth mouse. WiFi is interesting and I like your suggestion for a mini PCI slot or similar.

    Quote:

    $1099



    Maybe slightly lower in price. After all that is one of the points of going with desktop parts. That is we want performance at a lower cost.



    In any event you have the general idea right. We aren't asking for a lot here but the overall package has to deliver significantly better performance than the Mini.







    Dave
  • Reply 14 of 54
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,369member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Lorre View Post


    Seriously, what you guys want wounds a lot like a slightly more powerful Mac Mini. The new Nvidia chip in the 13" MBP seems like a logical addition there, combine that with a zippier Core 2 Duo



    I read that and just about cringed in digust as apparently either I'm not communicating well or you are not reading for content. What you describe would make for a fine Mini update but it is not what we want to see in the XMac. The XMac would be very much a performance machine.



    Today performance means cores thus a minimal XMac would have at least four cores. That would be supported by a desktop class GPU. Those are two key elements of the XMac.

    Quote:

    (which Apple must get almost for free by now) and you've got a desktop machine that'll cater for the needs of 98%



    If you honestly think that a Mini caters to 98% of the people not needing a Mac Pro then you have no idea how people go about using computers. The Mini is a slow machine and always will be as long as it uses laptop parts.

    Quote:

    of all people that don't need a Mac Pro and don't want the iMac because it's AIO. My gut tells me you guys really are a minority here.



    I don't think so, especially as the Mini as languished performance wise. There are many people out there that simply prefer a separate monitor system but don't want to give up the performance going to a Mini entails. Plus we need space for storage.

    Quote:



    Speaking of the iMac, the base model will hopefully get bumped with that new Nvidia chip soon as well.



    The iMac is one of the best deals going in the computer world right now. However for a desktop machine the Mini is the worst and has no potential what so ever of becoming a good value. Where good value equals a machine with a modern, good to excellent CPU and GPU. Like it or not that means a quad core or better and a discrete GPU.



    Frankly I don't know where you get the idea that the Mini could ever meet 98% of the needs of the users out there. I get excessive beachballing and nasty lag on my MBP so I don't see where a Mini would be significantly better. At least not considering how the current Mini is built with a Core 2. The unfortunate reality is that the current version of Mac OS/X needs a lot of horse power to feel smooth and lag free. I would prefer that Apple fix the OS but that will likely take longer than delivery of the XMac.





    Dave
  • Reply 15 of 54
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,341member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    There are two things I don't like about internal PSU. One is that they result in a much larger box. The second is simply maintenance. I have to admit thoughthat after a certain power point the supply might as well be internal.



    Having a GPU slot means having a far bigger power supply than is needed. As to the drive bays well I'd like 3 or more myself. The idea here is to put the OS and apps on a SSD, and then use a magnetic disk for bulk storage. The third slot provides for expansion of the bulk storage.



    Before anybody says anything NO an external drive is not acceptable.



    Bluetooth should be built in. That simply to support a Bluetooth mouse. WiFi is interesting and I like your suggestion for a mini PCI slot or similar.





    Maybe slightly lower in price. After all that is one of the points of going with desktop parts. That is we want performance at a lower cost.



    In any event you have the general idea right. We aren't asking for a lot here but the overall package has to deliver significantly better performance than the Mini.







    Dave



    Here's my reasoning behind the specs given.



    It's gotta have an internal PSU because the mythical xMac could be desktop mounted or floor mounted or even stacked side by side in a renderfarm like arrangement.



    Since the GPU is rapidly becoming another important computer resource we need to accommodate the larger Nvidia and ATI GPU. In 5 years the GPU's importance will rival that of the CPU.



    3 drive bay slots would be ideal although I went conservative with two because that gives you redundancy. 3 drives gives you redundancy with parity which is nice or you can have a boot drive or bulk storage drive mirrored. I think xMac should be built to be relatively quiet and ideal for networks.



    Actually Wifi/Bluetooth should be built in. I really can't see a computer being sold without these technologies as I myself rely on BT for my Apple BT keyboard and Magic Mouse.



    Oh I also forgot USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gbps is a must. Light Peak will take years to gather momentum and we'll need USB 3.0 to fill in the gap until LP is mature and well supported with peripherals.
  • Reply 16 of 54
    rickagrickag Posts: 1,626member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    The Mini is a slow machine and always will be as long as it uses EXPENSIVE laptop parts.



    I inserted my 2 cents in bold. Got to love xMac threads, may they only die when Apple adds one to their lineup.
  • Reply 17 of 54
    1337_5l4xx0r1337_5l4xx0r Posts: 1,558member
    I honestly wouldn't be surprised if the Mac Mini, in its current form, costs $200 to make. So I disagree with the EXPENSIVE bit...
  • Reply 18 of 54
    mcarlingmcarling Posts: 1,106member
    No doubt there is some market for an XMac beyond cannibalizing Mac Mini, iMac, and Mac Pro sales, but I'm not convinced that it's large enough to justify the costs. I would guess that over 95% of XMac sales would be cannibalizing sales of existing Macs.



    Keep in mind that Intel will be releasing quad-core 35W processors in Q1 2011. They will make for screaming fast Mac Minis.
  • Reply 19 of 54
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,341member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mcarling View Post


    No doubt there is some market for an XMac beyond cannibalizing Mac Mini, iMac, and Mac Pro sales, but I'm not convinced that it's large enough to justify the costs. Keep in mind that Intel will be releasing quad-core 25W processors in Q1 2011. They will make for screaming fast Mac Minis.



    I'm not either. In the end I think that Apple would deliver an xMac...it would go down in ignominious flames and that would be the end of that.



    People are generally happy with notebooks which is why they outsell desktops.
  • Reply 20 of 54
    rickagrickag Posts: 1,626member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by 1337_5L4Xx0R View Post


    I honestly wouldn't be surprised if the Mac Mini, in its current form, costs $200 to make. So I disagree with the EXPENSIVE bit...



    Unless something has changed, laptop CPUs, hard drives, etc have always been more expensive than desktop equivalents.
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