Xserve, Xstation, and beyond

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
How do you get Macs into the corporate environment? Make it worthwhile and inexpensive to boot! The first part of the equation is already in place: Xserves, XRAIDs, and Xserve cluster configs. The second stage is netbooting Xstations. These Xstations would be inexpensive slabs 2 inches wide, 10 inches deep, and 10 inches high.



In that 200 cubic inches there would be an itty-bitty motherboard with



a soldered on processor (low power G5) and graphics,



1GB of soldered on RAM (no DIMM slots),



USB, Firewire, Gb ethernet,



a slot loaded optical drive (vertical),



a small hard drive (maybe 2.5" no more than 20GB) for virtual memory and caching files,



ADC with DVI and VGA adapters,



Built-in IP phone that interfaces with address book.



The Xstation can be free-standing, upright or flat, or use the optional cubicle, under the desk, or wall mount attachment. The powersupply is housed in a 2x5x5 external box, which also has all the ports on it (USB, Firewire, Gb ethernet, power, ADC, sound) and connects to the main box with a docking cable similar to the new iPod cable connection, but bigger. The Xstation has a button that releases the port so you can't accidently pull it out. Also you would be able to configure them with out optical drives.



Built in IP phones would be very useful. they share the same connection as the Xstation and the Xstation keyboard has a small LCD that shows you who's calling and other phone options. This special Xstation keyboard also has a button to allow you to switch the keypad to phone mode to manually type in numbers and extensions or you can use the new addressbook with IP phone integration to call people. Headsets could be bluetooth, or wired via USB on the keyboard, or a separate handset that connects to the port/power box (or integrated with the port/power box (?)).



the computer itself is basically what we'd consider a dumb terminal. No OS or personal files on the HD, just used for caching and VM. The motherboard is easily replaceable, the heatsink is even bolted on. Because there are no ugradable parts (only replaceable) the tight integration will offer cheaper prices. All files are kept on the server to ensure they get backed up. The boot drive icon on the desktop simply opens to your home directory.



These are the kind of complete solutions that Apple would LOVE to implement. With an Exchange type email solution that could even interface with a PC Exchange server would be another option. This is what the new sales group at Apple should be focusing on. Anyone can just push G5 towers and Xserves.



Tear it apart.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 10
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,268member
    I'm not tearing it apart at all I LOVE this idea.



    Networking is key and Apple is strong here with OSX. Add Airport though. I think Wireless options would benefit many areas.



    Keep it small simple and CHEAP(Matsu's even blushing)



    Hell I don't always need brute power I need flexibility!!
  • Reply 2 of 10
    @homenow@homenow Posts: 998member
    That would be a xClient, and xStation would be a workstation...at least if they were to follow conventioinal nomenclature. Also I think you have it a bit too high end, no need for 1Gig for most wordprocessors and browsers, they could easily get by with 512 for some time to come, better yet 1 dimm slot with a 256 MB chip standard.



    Get ride of the phone, most companies have expensive phone systems with contracts to maintain them, even a $25 dollar savings could tip the ballance in making a purchasing decistion, especially if the companiy in questioin is going to to buy more than 10 at a time. Also no modem, for the same reason, its a redundency in a corperate computer anyway. USB, noreal need for FW on a thin client. I would say they could get ride of the CD as well, though the market might not be ready for that psychologically. Same with the video connectors, go straight ADC and bundle them with innexpensive LCD's, or in an AIO config.
  • Reply 3 of 10
    I REALLY like this idea except for the small HD. Perhaps the network-based system could be standard with a stand-alone option? This could easily be a BIOS feature or a stripped-down (free downloadable?) OSX network computer kernel, thus extending the usability scope of the machine.



    I believe the key to any such product would be it's ability to work in a windows network. So long as neanderthal M$ admins are afraid of "learning" OSX (it so simple!), Apple machines will be kept out of most corporate computing environments for the simple, flawed sake of homogeny. The system needs to be seen on a windows network as a windows computer, and must be able to seamlessly interact with the other systems on the active directory just as if it were a win2k machine.

    Fortunately, MacOSX does most of this already8); the key is dissemenating the information amongst the windows crowd.



    I think the IP phone, optical drives, and AirPort should be options, instead of standard equipment. A modem would be useless save for the **few** home users wishing to get an inexpensive, no-frills home computer (they can buy a USB modem if it means that much to them).



    All in all; an excellent idea! I'll be checking my local AppleStore daily!
  • Reply 4 of 10
    outsideroutsider Posts: 6,008member
    Well I think a HDD is needed mainly for virtual memory . It doesn't even have to be mounted. The rest of the drive space would be used as local cache for applications and the OS.



    Thanks for the comments guys.
  • Reply 5 of 10
    hasapihasapi Posts: 290member
    Awsome thread!, Spot On!. Outsider



    Im currently configuring for a client a 20 unit solution - managed to get iMacs into the budget (by taking a margin hit), but it would have been much easier to configure with PC (my original concept).



    Now the client will get all these things they dont need, such as Combo drives, 56K modems, Pro Speakers, and 60G HD's. I would have much preferred your solution - I just need Apple to ad a 15" LCD to their list of displays for Corporates else, i would use the Sony 15" LCD's.



    And speaking of displays, Apple would sell lots of Displays with this solution, and importantly a 15" - Apple god rid of the 15" becuae they didnt sell, well duh! why would you buy a 15" for design with a PMac?, but with this, almost standard until the 17" price point becomes acceptable in corporate.



    The only issue that I can think of is will this product be sales/revenue incremental and not affect sales of apple's existing lines?



    The price point with a 15" LCD should be below the 15" iMac - both feature and bundled software for this to sell - but Im sure it would.
  • Reply 6 of 10
    Great idea.



    I see it as an ideal solution in the university environment, both for research laboratories and for computer labs used for teaching. Seamless interaction with PCs would be ideal. Some of my PhD students like to build their own PCs.
  • Reply 7 of 10
    @homenow@homenow Posts: 998member
    Apple displays on the low end have historically be overpriced, epecially 2 months after introduction. Also Apple has been slow to react to reductions in price points of thier monitors.
  • Reply 8 of 10
    aphelionaphelion Posts: 736member
    I was looking at a copy of InfoWorld and they have lately been running ads for a keyboard PC with all the guts needed for a low end PC built right into the keyboard.



    As I looked at this, I wondered about a Mac keyboard with all the pieces needed to implement a fully functional Mac built in. This would be a headless, boxless, low end Macintosh. Zero space needed.



    ADC to a Mac flat panel and you have an elegant terminal for the desktop. What do you guys think of this idea? What would it have in it and how much would it cost? Sort of taking the AIO to the next level.
  • Reply 9 of 10
    xserve was more than half the cost of other similiar machines at it's intro, very good for Apple.
  • Reply 10 of 10
    outsideroutsider Posts: 6,008member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Aphelion

    I was looking at a copy of InfoWorld and they have lately been running ads for a keyboard PC with all the guts needed for a low end PC built right into the keyboard.



    As I looked at this, I wondered about a Mac keyboard with all the pieces needed to implement a fully functional Mac built in. This would be a headless, boxless, low end Macintosh. Zero space needed.



    ADC to a Mac flat panel and you have an elegant terminal for the desktop. What do you guys think of this idea? What would it have in it and how much would it cost? Sort of taking the AIO to the next level.




    I've seen the same thing for several years. i think the company is Cyber-something?? I can see some problems with this configuration. Putting the keyboard on an under the desk tray is one potential nightmare. But if they could miniaturize the components enough, no optical, just one cable out from the keyboard to a break out box, it could be a really great solution.
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