The new desktop product matrix (It's not what you think it will be!)
Reply 21 of 33
December 22, 2001 8:42PM
My guess is that Apple will look at their sales figures for iMac DV SEs to decide if a new prosumer Mac is viable -- if SEs are selling better than plain vanilla DVs, there's obviously pressure in that direction, if not then not.
If anyone from Apple reads this thread, here's my suggestion: keep pushing external expandability via Firewire. As a 'prosumer' I love compact 'consumer' machines at half the cost of 'pro' machines. I'll probably get flamed for saying this, but I think the 'low end' products are in some important ways superior to 'high end' ones. They represent older technology, are therefore more mature and stable, with cheaper and more generic components, usually less power consumption, and often roughly equal speed for non-cpu intensive tasks. In other words, great value for money. I would love to be able to expand them with plug'n'play, swappable devices. A little tower with 1 or 2 or even 3 PCI slots isn't attractive to me, I can see past the limit from the start. Graphics card, video capture card, sound card, and I'm out of slots. No such problem with Firewire. And FW devices are portable too.
Reply 22 of 33
December 22, 2001 8:49PM
Apple has just told us that they are not going to support older ATi graphics chipsets.
It is to the customer's advantage to be able to replace the video card. Even the lowly 66 MHz-bus iMac would be snappier with a PCI Radeon in it - although I'm not certain the bus could handle the data volume to the Radeon.
It seems that the idea of one PCI slot , too, would allow users to update their machines and extend their lifecycles. Add Firewire to your iMac, or HDTV on a card, or whatever becomes the rage in 2004.
Question is, is any of this to Apple's benefit?
In some ways yes, in some ways no.
The original and non-firewire iMacs are examples of built-in obsolescence. You cannot upgrade them significantly, so they become less and less useful for some things faster than a blue and white G3 might.
This means Apple has a chance to sell Bondi iMac users new Macs quicker than if they were upgradeable, and therefore increase Apple's revenue - providing the iMacs are replaced with Macs.
This seems cold to some of us who are used to being able to add on to our machines, etc. But it is a fact of life in most consumer electronics devices. My Sony VVega TV is not HDTV and cannot be upgraded to that, even though it cost $1,500. My DVD player has it's set of features and if something really neato comes out, I'll have to buy a new player in order to get the neato stuff. We accept that every day. We may not like it, but we know it going in. We knew the iMac was not upgradeable (but lucked up in that some of them coudl be upgraded via the mezzanine port), yet we bought them anyway. The same is true of most consumers.
It is also true that most consumers never, ever upgrade their PCs. It's too hard and dangerous (especially in Windows where one wack driver can really bring pain to the world).
Apple could make an upgradeable iMac and market easy-to-do upgrades. (Yes, we know adding a PCI card or RAM or a new VidCard is easy as p-i-e on a Mac, but consumers don't necessarily know this.)
An Apple add-on kit for the GeForce3 might have special plastic handles for the card to keep static from jumping. A RAM add-in might have a similar protective sleeve that gets removed when the chip is inserted. Same for whatever Apple wanted to make available.
Of course we "experts" could still add our own stuff, but consumers would be suffciently hand-held to make them comfortable.
Thus a new enclosure with one open PCI slot and one used AGP 4X slot along with a RAM slot and Apple Easy-Install® Add-ins would probably offer consumers what they want AND keep Apple in the $$$.
Sorry So Long
Reply 23 of 33
December 22, 2001 10:47PM
I like the idea of separate consumer, prosumer and pro models. One point in favour of this arrangement is that having
pro models frees Apple to take a money-is-not-much-of-an-object approach and deliver some really cutting-edge equipment that:
keeps creative professionals happy
reinforces Apple's image as a cutting-edge computer maker
lets Apple start early in amortising research into next-gen mobos, etc.
The chief advantage of a dedicated prosumer model is that it could be made smaller, cheaper and more attractive by eliminating unwanted space and features.
I suppose that the chief disadvantage of all this is that it makes inventory that much harder to juggle. But this shouldn't be too much of a problem if the focus of each range is clearer than what we had before with the iMac/cube/tower arrangement.
Reply 24 of 33
December 23, 2001 1:41AM
Apple still has no machine for people that wan't to upgrade their iMacs to something more powerful/expandable, that doesn't cost absurd amounts of money. A lone tower with no monitor, no speakers (?), no good software bundle, that costs a pricey $1700 doesn't look all that compelling. Add a small 15" LCD, a game or 2, and some speakers, and you are well over $2000 - MUCH more than the iMac they originally bought. Compare that to Dell's tower bundles for nearly half that price, and I'll bet that iMac upgrader will be more compelled to buy a PC.
I know Apple always flaunts the quality of their computers over PCs (and make that the excuse for their high priced computers), but frankly, I'm sick and tired of Apple refusing to come out with a mid range desktop that has the features I want with an unbloated price tag. I wish Apple would release a smash desktop lineup like they did with their portables. They were powerful, high quality, AND reasonably priced.
2001 was the year of the laptop, so lets hope 2002 is the year of the desktop.
Reply 25 of 33
December 23, 2001 1:56AM
Ohh it will be.
Reply 26 of 33
December 23, 2001 2:28AM
Apple won't (or shouldn't) put a G4 in ANY consumer product. No average consumer uses photoshop, final cut PERIOD. Maybe I do, and you probably do too, but then I guess you should be looking for a pro model or a PC!
"Sahara G3?" I haven't done any research on the new technology, but I think that a processor that increased everyday speed in common multimedia (and otherwise) apps would be a better choice without relying on Altivec technology, that the average consumer would not take full advantage of.
Reply 27 of 33
December 23, 2001 2:44AM
But these consumers are expected to handle iMovie, and perhaps iDVD. Those can be easily AltiVec accelerated. Not to mention the possible gains Aqua could have if newer versions (say 10.3 or .4) knew that most all users would have G4 processors, be they consumers or not. (I know the iBook makes a problem with this, but it's still an issue)
I'd like to see a iMac DV class machine with upgradable monitor and an expansion slot. I might be able to talk my family into buying that.
Reply 28 of 33
December 23, 2001 7:44AM
[quote]Originally posted by preston:
<strong>Apple won't (or shouldn't) put a G4 in ANY consumer product. No average consumer uses photoshop, final cut PERIOD. Maybe I do, and you probably do too, but then I guess you should be looking for a pro model or a PC!
That's just retarded. Sorry. Exactly what are iMacs good for then? You can only sell so many quite expensive iMacs to people who will only use them for e-mail and Word. Lots of average consumers use photoshop, and if not final cut, at least iMovie. Especially those inclined to buy macs in the first place. Just because someone isn't rich doesn't mean they don't use creativity apps. I know of a few people who use iMacs for just that purpose. They just can't afford a PowerMac. To tell someone in effect, "Well go buy a PC" because we don't offer anything for your needs is just stupid. It also explains Apple's market share. In the end you can only get so far with a computer for games and/or simpletons! PC's are better in both areas. Certainly, iMac money buys a much better gaming rig on the PC side. And, if I just need a simple computer for e-mail, web browsing, and word processing, then a $300 e-machines will do quite nicely. Say what you want about Windows, but the system will do those tasks well enough without crashing, and the consumer will find them easy enough to. NO NO NO! A mac, ANY mac, is unique and useful specifically because it's good at content creation. They ALL have to run PhotoShop, Dreamweaver, Quark, Bryce, iMovie, and the proCreate line (well), and even the consumer models have to at least run FCP (1.0-2.0), and Premier decently (for schools). Maya is the only thing that I can think will remain exclusively in the pro domain, for now.
Think before you flame. All of those Apps run decently on B&W G3 towers. Most of the current iMacs and iBooks are now faster than those Pro models (many of which are still in use in PRO environments). There are A LOT more people than you think making due with consumer machines. As are many institutions -- my former highschool just set up a photshop, digital art, 3-d lab with mostly
(about 30) and a handfull of powermacs. Take away these users, and 'consumer' sales WON'T look quite so good any more!
Reply 29 of 33
December 23, 2001 8:59AM
[quote]I know Apple will continue to do what it wants and what it feels is best. But let us also remember that this singular path of theirs has consistently produced decreased market share. <hr></blockquote>
Well....true. But remember, the total number of PC's in this nation has increased dramatically in the last 10 years (hell, even FIVE years). That means that Apple's share is, say, 5% of that MUCH MORE. If there were 10 million home PC's in 1991 (just for argument's sake) and Apple had 10% (about right) at that point, that would put them at a 1 million customers. Now, if we estimate there are 100 million home PC users in the U.S. (who knows, but it is a much bigger number than in 1991)....and Apple has a 5% share....that is five million users. Again, don't pick apart my numbers as they are only provided for argument's sake. Though, I doubt anyone would argue that the total number of PC's didn't skyrocket in the last ten years. Effectively then, Apple would have increased its user base five fold.
Also, the PCI thing. The iMac will NEVER get them. It is an all in one, "grandma with no arms can use it" computer.
The prosumer tower is not a bad idea. But, it doesn't really need PCI slots. Whoever made the musician comment is a little off too....I am one....and a teacher too, BTW....and I don't know anyone who has need for them. Everything most people would need is USB or FireWire.
But, I doubt Apple will pull another Cube. Had they bundled that thing with a 15" LCD and sold it for < $2000 they would have cleaned up. But, they blew it on that one. I'm not sure they will repeat the same mistake.
[ 12-23-2001: Message edited by: SDW2001 ]
[ 12-23-2001: Message edited by: SDW2001 ]</p>
Reply 30 of 33
December 23, 2001 9:13AM
[quote]Originally posted by Cubed:
The unexpandable tower makes a little sense: because you can change the monitor. That is the single most cited complaint about the iMac - you're stuck with the monitor that Steve wants to give you. And for most people, 15" is too small. As will be a 15" LCD (1024X768).
Right Right Right Right
as mentioned above concerning RAM & PCI slots, even if they never replace their monitor with a larger one, a huge number of consumers are NOT going to buy anything with a fixed screen size!
"I need something that I can upgrade,!"
GAWD I hope they don't make the same mistake on the new iMac... unless they also introduce something else (maybe a 1AGP & 1 PCI microtower) with an ADC display connection.
Reply 31 of 33
December 23, 2001 10:09AM
I personally don't like the idea of expanding the product matrix this way - I like the simplicity of the current design. As a "prosumer," this is what I would like to see from Apple (although I'm not holding my breath):
Discontinue the iMac SE (because, at least in its current form, there's really not much that's special about it at all as compared to the iMac 600.). Drop the price of the entry level PowerMac to that of the SE (about $1500), and either make the Crystal Clear promo permanent or start some other kind of LCD bundle. This way you can have a computer and a monitor (either bundled 15" Apple LCD or non-bundled 17" 3rd party CRT) for < $2,000.
Reply 32 of 33
bozo the clown
December 23, 2001 11:31AM
I think Apple has the products since they fear (quite possibly correctly) that a consumer tower would kill of sales of their higher end stuff.
You either buy something with a 15" monitor, or buy something that costs at least $1700. I personally think this view is shortsighted, given the number of people that absolutely refuse to buy an iMac based on the crappy monitor, and can't afford a $2000 computer system. What do these people end up doing? They buy PCs.
Reply 33 of 33
December 23, 2001 11:34AM
Actually before Apple started thinking they could get away with murder in their pricing and margins, they use to have a PowerMac combo. Most people have forgotten that the Powermac line use to start at $1599. They moved it to $1699 to pay for adding a cd-r after taking out the DVD. (The difference wasn't even $100 then let alone now)
PowerMac pricing should be significantly lower even with the new tech updates. The rest of the industry is constantly introducing more for less, Apple introduces the same for the same or slightly more and then NEVER drops the prices when the componant prices drop. This is why a 867 even without the superdrive (I get tired of people using that as an excuse) is still almost $2000.
[quote]Originally posted by Ambrose Chapel:
<strong>I personally don't like the idea of expanding the product matrix this way - I like the simplicity of the current design. As a "prosumer," this is what I would like to see from Apple (although I'm not holding my breath):
Discontinue the iMac SE (because, at least in its current form, there's really not much that's special about it at all as compared to the iMac 600.). Drop the price of the entry level PowerMac to that of the SE (about $1500), and either make the Crystal Clear promo permanent or start some other kind of LCD bundle. This way you can have a computer and a monitor (either bundled 15" Apple LCD or non-bundled 17" 3rd party CRT) for < $2,000.</strong><hr></blockquote>