XMac next week?

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
OK guys last minute poll. YES or NO will XMac come at WWDC?



I'm keeping this as simple as possible so the result is binary. I a ctuallya think something might come this year as Intel has put Apple in a bind here. I'm actually thinking of a PC with a MBP like architecture. Squeezing that into a Mini box would be a challenge so the thought is a slightly larger XMac like box.
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  • Reply 1 of 23
    backtomacbacktomac Posts: 4,579member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    OK guys last minute poll. YES or NO will XMac come at WWDC?



    I'm keeping this as simple as possible so the result is binary. I a ctuallya think something might come this year as Intel has put Apple in a bind here. I'm actually thinking of a PC with a MBP like architecture. Squeezing that into a Mini box would be a challenge so the thought is a slightly larger XMac like box.



    Do you think Apple will release an xMac or do you want Apple to release an xMac?



    Because you know logically that Apple will not release an xMac, right?



    I think the odds are greater that Apple drop the Mac Pro than release an xMac. But I doubt either happen.
  • Reply 2 of 23
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,436moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    OK guys last minute poll. YES or NO will XMac come at WWDC?



    I'm keeping this as simple as possible so the result is binary. I a ctuallya think something might come this year as Intel has put Apple in a bind here. I'm actually thinking of a PC with a MBP like architecture. Squeezing that into a Mini box would be a challenge so the thought is a slightly larger XMac like box.



    I think it's the same issue spoken about between Jobs and Ballmer at the recent D8 conference. Jobs said that people would use PCs less and less and more mobile devices like the iPad and Ballmer said that it's more accurate to ask what we define to be a PC. PC hardware will get more powerful and compact as time goes on so people will always use PCs but the form factor changes.



    This applies to the mid-range Mac because 5 years ago, we would ask for an affordable mid-range tower and today, the Mac Mini will exceed the performance of the machine we wanted back then. Obviously the lines change for some people but not everyone. For me personally, I am getting a bit tired of being stuck with 2 cores on anything less than £1600. Intel's 6-core/12-thread chip would be awesome.



    However, I don't want it inside a 19kg £1900 aluminum behemoth of a workstation. My original line was set at £1000 for a quad core and Apple haven't delivered. I would stretch to £1500 for a 6-core and be content with just 2 drives, a single or no optical, just 2 PCI slots and 30% smaller/lighter enclosure.



    On the other end of the scale, the Mac Mini improvements might hit 2.8GHz with a 320M GPU. This performance isn't too bad and would be around £700 and would actually match the entry i5 MBP aside from the GPU which is only 50% faster. If that was all that's on offer then I'd probably get that and still be frustrated at a lack of an affordable quad.



    So, I think the best we can hope for is one of those two things: either a fast Core 2 Duo with 320M in the Mini or a cheaper, smaller 6-core Mac Pro. Knowing what Apple have done in the past, even this may be unlikely because they like to push the Mac Pro outside the iMac price range and they like to hold the Mini down so that it encourages people to buy their iconic iMac.
  • Reply 3 of 23
    daemonkdaemonk Posts: 49member
    Apple is all about low-volume, high-margin with their PCs. No way do they want to go up against Dell et al with a generic xMac box. Best we can hope for is:



    1. Cheaper "entry level" MacPro at $1500

    2. High end "Gamer" Mac Mini at $1000



    Personally I think a "Gamer" Mac Mini is more likely, since Valve is now bringing games to OS X by means of Steam. But even I would only give a 1 in 3 chance of happening.
  • Reply 4 of 23
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    It seems to me that ship has sailed. There used to be a $1500 tower Mac, that was eliminated. For a few years after that, there used to be a $2000 tower Mac, that was eliminated too.



    What is getting the spotlight next week is the iOS line. Even the Apple Design Awards this year are only being given for iOS-based products. There are sessions that cover Mac OS X technologies, they just seem like they are treated as low-priority sessions.



    I wouldn't even put much faith in even hearing about Mac OS X updates at the keynote, though it's possible there will be a segment on it. A mini update would be nice, but it is a good idea to curb your expectations on that, because it's not even a year yet, and it once went 1 1/2 years before getting an update.
  • Reply 5 of 23
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,369member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by backtomac View Post


    Do you think Apple will release an xMac or do you want Apple to release an xMac?



    Well both obviously.



    The main reason to think this way isthat the Mini is no longer an optimal base machine. The problem being the lack of disk space and RAM expansion. Then you have the problem of Intel and their built in GPUs.



    So we are talking about a machine somewhat larger than the current Mini.

    Quote:



    Because you know logically that Apple will not release an xMac, right?



    There is nothing illogical about it. Apple needs a machine that will fill the honking big gap between the Mini and the Pro.

    Quote:



    I think the odds are greater that Apple drop the Mac Pro than release an xMac. But I doubt either happen.



    If Apple deployeed a XMac that would allow for the PRO to become focused on top end performance. It could remain a machine built around server / workstation hardware directed at top end performance. XMac could easily be built around mid range desktop hardware.





    Dave
  • Reply 6 of 23
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,369member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post


    It seems to me that ship has sailed. There used to be a $1500 tower Mac, that was eliminated. For a few years after that, there used to be a $2000 tower Mac, that was eliminated too.



    Oh come on the line up has been the same for years now. More so the line up was truncated when Apple was in serious risk of going under. Todays users have different needs than they did five years ago.

    Quote:

    What is getting the spotlight next week is the iOS line. Even the Apple Design Awards this year are only being given for iOS-based products. There are sessions that cover Mac OS X technologies, they just seem like they are treated as low-priority sessions.



    Of course the iPhone OS is getting the spotlight, it is what is new. More so it is where developers are demanding support and education. People really read to much into Apples focus at this years WWDC they are simply doing the right thing to shepard the platform to success. It is important to realize that short term sales that we are seeing do not imply long term success. That can only happen with a strong software offering. Apple knows the long term success of iPad depends upon developers thus WWDCs focus to bootstrap the community.

    Quote:



    I wouldn't even put much faith in even hearing about Mac OS X updates at the keynote, though it's possible there will be a segment on it.



    It is a given that something will be said even if it is just a patch upgrade notice. Besides I think the next major release is a ways off as 10.6 is rather complete and some of the rumored improvements are far more extensive than is allowed for by the quick turn around crowd.

    Quote:

    A mini update would be nice, but it is a good idea to curb your expectations on that, because it's not even a year yet, and it once went 1 1/2 years before getting an update.



    Actually it is looking more and more like a Mini update is coming.



    In any event one detects a theme common of late in many postings which is: "the desktop is dead". Even Steve Jobs seems to think in this manner. I don't however and can actually see a resurgance in desktop hardware.



    For one thing the advent of iPad and iPhone greatly reduces the need to have a laptop. Considering that desktops off better values and can easily support multiple iPhones and iPads there may be a strong move back to the desktop.



    Another consideration is that Apple has been doing very well in the area of Mac sales. They are effectivey beating the industry.



    It is a given that Apple sees a strong growth in Mac sales and is making decisions based on consummer acceptance of the product. The range hasn't been abandoned. All the WWDC actions indicate is that Apple wants to make sure iPad is successful.







    Dave
  • Reply 7 of 23
    daemonkdaemonk Posts: 49member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    There is nothing illogical about it. Apple needs a machine that will fill the honking big gap between the Mini and the Pro.

    Dave



    It's called the iMac. No, I don't want an all-in-one either.
  • Reply 8 of 23
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    Oh come on the line up has been the same for years now. More so the line up was truncated when Apple was in serious risk of going under. Todays users have different needs than they did five years ago.



    These were G5s, Apple was not in trouble then. Given that desktops in general are stagnant, I would say yes, needs are different, people don't need desktops as much anymore. I think Apple doesn't care either.
  • Reply 9 of 23
    piotpiot Posts: 1,346member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    There is nothing illogical about it. Apple needs a machine that will fill the honking big gap between the Mini and the Pro.



    Apparently you need it not Apple.



    Quote:

    Oh come on the line up has been the same for years now.



    Exactly! And as each year goes by, Apple needs this product even less.



    Quote:

    Todays users have different needs than they did five years ago.



    Yep. They seem to be needing notebooks.... and smart phones.
  • Reply 10 of 23
    trobertstroberts Posts: 702member
    With Valve releasing Steam for the Mac it makes sense to me for Apple to release a desktop computer geared more toward consumers instead of professionals and price it around $1500 and it will sell.
  • Reply 11 of 23
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,369member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by troberts View Post


    With Valve releasing Steam for the Mac it makes sense to me for Apple to release a desktop computer geared more toward consumers instead of professionals and price it around $1500 and it will sell.



    One of the big motivations for an XMac is a low cost desktop with a real desktop grade GPU. Gaming is certainly one element here, but so is more professional usage. Here I'm looking at Engineering and Design. It will be a long time before integrated GPUs deliver acceptable performance here. Not to be missed is general support and leveraging of OpenCL.



    Like it or not the Mini isn't really acceptable in these applications and the iMac while better isn't exactly overflowing with performance. When the XMac comes to mind it is because of the lack of CPU cores and better performing GPUs. Delivering such these days does not require a box the size of the Mac Pro.



    Frankly I could see Apple discontinuing the Mini for a slightly larger machine with a better video system.





    Dave
  • Reply 12 of 23
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,436moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    Frankly I could see Apple discontinuing the Mini for a slightly larger machine with a better video system.



    Apple gives each machine an identity though. The Mini is small, the iMac is all-in-one, the Mac Pro is a powerhouse. Something slightly bigger than a Mini has no identity and it doesn't have many advantages because you still won't fit a desktop-class chip in it.



    If they could make a Core i7 quad cube then it would have a label but from looking at the internals of the Mac Pro, you realistically can't make a desktop that has a volume less than about 60% of the size of the Mac Pro but that's still about 20 times the volume of a Mini.



    Once you get up to the desktop chips, you jump from a 25W CPU to at least 85W. An XBox 360-sized PSU lying on the floor doesn't look too good so they'd want to put it inside the machine but then you have to beef up the cooling and the internal volume considerably.



    If you go for high end mobile chips then the price goes up considerably.



    I think the big problem is the component manufacturers as they aren't building parts that allow these mid-range, compact machines to be built. You'd need an affordable 55-65W quad core. The only option would be the old Core 2 Quad but current dual i7 mobile chips are faster so you go to all the bother of building a mid-range model that costs more and you find that it really has no benefits besides drawing more power that the majority won't need (not green) and it has no compelling design element.



    We aren't more than 3 years away from having mobile chips that will satisfy the mid-range Mac crowd and while performance requirements move on too, I think we're hitting that point where an 8-core 2GHz CPU paired with 2 successive generations from the Radeon 5xxx series in a box the size of a Mini will be enough for anyone. It sucks to have to deal with slow hardware in the mean-time but that's the way it has to be.



    I think a more realistic bet would be for the Mac Pro to shrink. It'll still be expensive but it'll last a long time. I'd easily take a 6-core 12 thread Mac Pro for £1500 with a mid-range GPU over a 320M Mini with even a 2.8GHz Core 2 Duo so long as it was smaller and lighter. It would last me 3 years instead of upgrading every year to the latest Mini and this way, I can hold out while mobile chips improve. It would be good if they threw AppleCare in with the Mac Pro package too.
  • Reply 13 of 23
    nvidia2008nvidia2008 Posts: 9,262member
    Mac mini and AppleTV would conceivably remain as they are, AppleTV only 2011 may transition to ARM-based thingy.
  • Reply 14 of 23
    kishankishan Posts: 732member
    I vote "no" on yet another XMac thread!
  • Reply 15 of 23
    nvidia2008nvidia2008 Posts: 9,262member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Kishan View Post


    I vote "no" on yet another XMac thread!



    XMac. The idea that just will not DIE.
  • Reply 16 of 23
    futurepastnowfuturepastnow Posts: 1,772member
    That ship is never sailing.
  • Reply 17 of 23
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,369member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


    Apple gives each machine an identity though. The Mini is small, the iMac is all-in-one, the Mac Pro is a powerhouse. Something slightly bigger than a Mini has no identity and it doesn't have many advantages because you still won't fit a desktop-class chip in it.



    Computers don't have identities, they are solutions to problems. It is non sense to say a computer thay is slightly bigger than the Mini has no future. For Apple a slightly larger Mini is nothing but a marketing opportunity. For many people the promise of considerably faster GPU performance would more than offset the slightly larger size.

    Quote:

    If they could make a Core i7 quad cube then it would have a label but from looking at the internals of the Mac Pro, you realistically can't make a desktop that has a volume less than about 60% of the size of the Mac Pro but that's still about 20 times the volume of a Mini.



    You seem obsessed with marketing form factor. For me that is a huge mistake because many of us look for capability. Especially customers looking at the Mini as one can argue it is used by some of Apples more informed customers.

    Quote:



    Once you get up to the desktop chips, you jump from a 25W CPU to at least 85W. An XBox 360-sized PSU lying on the floor doesn't look too good so they'd want to put it inside the machine but then you have to beef up the cooling and the internal volume considerably.



    Strange I though one of either AMD or Intel had CPUs in the 45 to 60 watt range. It doesn't matter if they are desktop or not as long as a descrete GPU is had with it. This is the key to giving the Mini more longevity and performance. It really needs better than integrated graphics. When looking at the recent MacBook Pros it is very obvious which direction Apple should go.

    Quote:

    If you go for high end mobile chips then the price goes up considerably.



    So don't go for the high end, instead look for a 20-30 percent improvement over the current CPU. One can look for excuses or one can look for solutions.

    Besides the cost arguement is useless, if Apple wanted a low cost entry level model they wouldn't use mobile parts.

    Quote:

    I think the big problem is the component manufacturers as they aren't building parts that allow these mid-range, compact machines to be built. You'd need an affordable 55-65W quad core. The only option would be the old Core 2 Quad but current dual i7 mobile chips are faster so you go to all the bother of building a mid-range model that costs more and you find that it really has no benefits besides drawing more power that the majority won't need (not green) and it has no compelling design element.



    Arrandale would be perfectly fine if supported with an external GPU. The over all power profile would only be slightly worst.

    Quote:

    We aren't more than 3 years away from having mobile chips that will satisfy the mid-range Mac crowd and while performance requirements move on too, I think we're hitting that point where an 8-core 2GHz CPU paired with 2 successive generations from the Radeon 5xxx series in a box the size of a Mini will be enough for anyone. It sucks to have to deal with slow hardware in the mean-time but that's the way it has to be.



    I think a more realistic bet would be for the Mac Pro to shrink. It'll still be expensive but it'll last a long time. I'd easily take a 6-core 12 thread Mac Pro for £1500 with a mid-range GPU over a 320M Mini with even a 2.8GHz Core 2 Duo so long as it was smaller and lighter. It would last me 3 years instead of upgrading every year to the latest Mini and this way, I can hold out while mobile chips improve. It would be good if they threw AppleCare in with the Mac Pro package too.



    I do hope you reread the last three paragraphs here and see how silly your position is. You claim in one that people don't need more out of the mini and then later claim you update ever year. Just how green is that??? Not that I consider myself green, mainly because of the strange logic like this that floats around the green world, its just that I don't like waste. Supporting Apples lackluster products because you can buy a new one every year is not very green at all.





    Dave
  • Reply 18 of 23
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,436moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    It really needs better than integrated graphics. When looking at the recent MacBook Pros it is very obvious which direction Apple should go.



    Something like a 2.66GHz Core i7-620M paired with a 330M or Radeon 5650 would be nice in a higher end Mini. That chip seems to be around the same price as the Core 2 Duo. They could even have just two models - have the normal model with a dedicated GPU, one HDD, possibly no optical and the server with no dedicated GPU - just Intel HD graphics and two HDDs.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    I do hope you reread the last three paragraphs here and see how silly your position is. You claim in one that people don't need more out of the mini and then later claim you update ever year. Just how green is that???



    I update regularly because I need more than the Mini offers, that doesn't apply to everyone and resale doesn't matter as the people buying them would buy a machine of some sort so it's still greener to have them use low power devices. Plus, I'd personally rather own a 6-core, 12-thread Mac Pro than a 2-core, 4-thread i7 mobile Mini.



    Let's be honest, people who want a faster Mini just want as much performance as possible for the money. Even an i7 mobile Mini with a 330M won't satisfy for long. It would obviously be better than what they offer now but the question isn't can they offer something better because the answer almost always is 'yes, they could' but they just won't because they never do.



    If they put an i7 in the Mini, no one would buy the entry Core 2 Duo iMac.
  • Reply 19 of 23
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,369member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


    Something like a 2.66GHz Core i7-620M paired with a 330M or Radeon 5650 would be nice in a higher end Mini. That chip seems to be around the same price as the Core 2 Duo. They could even have just two models - have the normal model with a dedicated GPU, one HDD, possibly no optical and the server with no dedicated GPU - just Intel HD graphics and two HDDs.



    I kinda like how you think here. The server model could be extremely low cost.



    I'm still of the opinion that Apple could serve more needs by designing entirely new hardware. People need to realize though that I'm not taliking about a giant box, rather something just big enough to support the GPU, a better drive layout and maybe more memory. It is more a question of rearrainging things than blowing up the box significantly. The reality is the could just make the box deeper and still have a very similar desktop profile.

    Quote:





    I update regularly because I need more than the Mini offers, that doesn't apply to everyone and resale doesn't matter as the people buying them would buy a machine of some sort so it's still greener to have them use low power devices. Plus, I'd personally rather own a 6-core, 12-thread Mac Pro than a 2-core, 4-thread i7 mobile Mini.



    That is kinda my point. Instead of a Mini every year just buy a Mac Pro every three years. It is not likely that the Mini would catch up with a Mac Pro performance wise in three years. Your cash out of pocket will be very similar in both cases.



    In any event that big gulf in performance is why I see a real market for an XMac. If not XMac a beefed up Mini that we have been talking about.



    Quote:



    Let's be honest, people who want a faster Mini just want as much performance as possible for the money. Even an i7 mobile Mini with a 330M won't satisfy for long. It would obviously be better than what they offer now but the question isn't can they offer something better because the answer almost always is 'yes, they could' but they just won't because they never do.



    They have not done so recently but that doesn't imply that they will hold the same pattern forever. Think about it, what would happen if Apple was locked into the current line up forever. Number one their ability to compete would go out the Window.

    Quote:

    If they put an i7 in the Mini, no one would buy the entry Core 2 Duo iMac.



    I don't believe that either because many buy for the lowest cost possible.



    In any event one thing that is obvious is that this year isn't the time to buy a Mini nor a laptop. Both Intel and AMD will have very compelling SoC solutions available for such products in 2011. This probably means this thread only has very short term relavance and that the Mini Update will be modest.



    In anyevent only a few hours left. The lack of rumors outside of iPhone is kinda strange. No solid leaks yet.





    Dave
  • Reply 20 of 23
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


    If they put an i7 in the Mini, no one would buy the entry Core 2 Duo iMac.



    Are you forgetting the momentary shortage of 13" MBPs back when they did the last update? People will buy a machine with the slower chip if it suits what they need or want.
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