How will MacTels outcompete WinTels in Hardware?

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
We are now starting to see some real-life, head-to-head competition between Macs and Wintels in the much bigger ecosystem that is 086 world. In my mind this is the first real comparison between the two and in the very important laptop segment. Here is the link to an Ars comparison of the new Lenovo laptops compared to Mac Mini's and MacBooks:



http://arstechnica.com/reviews/hardware/x60.ars/4



These comparisons show some problems in what I thought were Apple's advantages in media - OpenGL and QuickTime optimization!!



My real question is for those with knowledge in the future of hardware and chipset designs ... How can Apple differentiate itself more and out perform similar other intel-based systems in the realm of basic hardware? Beyond the aluminum case and better iApps, how can Apple be the best at media delivery and win the head to head comparisons on cross-platform stuff. It will need to be better if VPC becomes its silver bullet in improving market share.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 49
    dhagan4755dhagan4755 Posts: 2,148member
    They won't compete just in hardware (although that will be important) ? they will compete on the "complete package" ? software (OS X and apps) and hardware.
  • Reply 2 of 49
    I think reviews like Ars will force Apple to really produce better quality drivers and software optimization because it will only take a few reviews like this before they will have to admit that there is an elephant in their living room.



    (remembers the iraqi official who kept denying the invasion of bagdad)
  • Reply 3 of 49
    rickagrickag Posts: 1,626member
    Apparently, very well



    Sulis posted this link over at Arsetechnica in the "BadAndy responds" thread.
  • Reply 4 of 49
    macgregormacgregor Posts: 1,434member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by rickag

    Apparently, very well



    Sulis posted this link over at Arsetechnica in the "BadAndy responds" thread.




    That's what I hope to keep hearing!!



    As DHagan sez, it is about the complete package, but that only hits part of the market. And if it really is about the complete package, then you have to actually MARKET the complete package. Where are the Apple commercials and SuperBowl adverts about the complete package. And how about REAL switcher programs. Bring in a Dell or Sony and take $100 off a Mac!! It is called investing in the future market.
  • Reply 5 of 49
    slugheadslughead Posts: 1,169member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by jtaylr77

    I think reviews like Ars will force Apple to really produce better quality drivers and software optimization because it will only take a few reviews like this before they will have to admit that there is an elephant in their living room.



    (remembers the iraqi official who kept denying the invasion of bagdad)




    I don't think Apple will be "forced" to do anything by reviews like this. Apple's trying to sell more to consumers, rich consumers, and media professionals who don't know or care about this kind of thing.



    I would probably wager that Apple optimizes software incrimentally with each new major OS release to counteract the effects of the bloat that they've added--spotlight in 10.4, exposé in 10.3.



    Each revision runs faster even though it has more features, I think this is due to Apple de-crippling their code a little bit.



    It may not be a scam, it's probably just the fact that they started with an OS meant for a decade-old instruction set and it takes a while.. or it is a scam just so people won't start calling each revision a "downgrade" like they do with most windows revisions.
  • Reply 6 of 49
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,229member
    Apple's OpenGL is not optimized and is behind. They are working heavily on it to make sure 2.0 is fully featured in the next OS release.



    This content should be familiar:



    http://www.shatters.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=9127



    Quote:

    <<Mac OS X 10.4.6 is coming along slowly but surely, according to developer sources; one of the chief improvements is a significant overhaul of Tiger's graphics engines in preparation for this summer's gamer-related announcements. Steve Jobs wants to be able to announce that the Mac is the ultimate platform for game players and game developers not only because it's easy to use and easy to develop for -- but because it has the best, most efficient OpenGL 3D graphics implementation anywhere. A substantial performance boost will be a cornerstone of those announcements and 10.4.6 is intended to deliver that boost>>



  • Reply 7 of 49
    onlookeronlooker Posts: 5,252member
    I don't get the Out-compete part. The hardware will be mostly the same as the PC hardware. Apple will remain #1 in hardware Design, OS, User Experience, Productivity, and there are Apples famous inexpensive Digital Lifestyle (iLife) Applications. Apple also has it's comparatively inexpensive Pro Applications, and the Semi Pro Applications like Logic Express, and Final Cut Express. Nothing will change for Mac users other than we wont be consistently playing catch up with our PC counterparts, and we will hopefully / probably have access to more hardware.

    If Apple has their heads screwed on straight Graphics cards will be a priority, and we could possibly be buying off the shelf PC graphics cards soon. They all wont be available straight away, but Apple will have a team writing the drivers for the most desired ones. With luck graphic card compatibility will be announced in updates, and put on a list at Apples site. That was my #1 desire from the beginning of this transition. Apple has always taken steady flow of heavy flack about graphic card availability, and compatibility. If I were on a board of decision makers at Apple removing long standing criticisms would have been a priority in this transition. I can't imagine them overlooking something as critical to their growth in hardware as this.
  • Reply 8 of 49
    hardeeharharhardeeharhar Posts: 4,841member
    They won't out compete the high end PCs. Have they ever?
  • Reply 9 of 49
    macgregormacgregor Posts: 1,434member
    onlooker: The "outcompete" part is only my way of wondering if there will be any hardware advantages that Apple can leverage over and above the obvious software advantages. We can assume that Apple will continue to design their own pro circuit boards and optimize them as well as they have with IBM. Hopefully you are right about hardware compatibility and gpu drivers. And that may be good enough ... to have the same hardware as everyone else. Yet I still think that with the inherent disadvantages of middleware development and such, Apple needs to be better than Lenovo.



    My pet thought is that Apple should integrate a secondary cpu that gives pro laptops an "always on" functionality for the pda-like iApps. Vista is supposed to have this functionality so that laptops can have a pda window for calendar and other windows functionality.



    I hope the summer does come with Apple gaming announcements. Not that I play many games, but it would mean that Apple is looking to increase its markets.
  • Reply 10 of 49
    macroninmacronin Posts: 1,140member
    MOSR says...



    "Gamer's Dream" iMac w/ATi X1900-class dual GPUs...



    "Gamer's Dream" MacBook w/ATi X1800 Mobility-class dual GPUs



    Believe it, or not.



    ;^p



    Oh yeah, the quote from the forum mdriftmeyer posted a few spots up seems to exactly match a paragraph over on MOSRs site...



    Which came first, the chicken or the egg...?
  • Reply 11 of 49
    slugheadslughead Posts: 1,169member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by onlooker

    If Apple has their heads screwed on straight Graphics cards will be a priority, and we could possibly be buying off the shelf PC graphics cards soon. They all wont be available straight away, but Apple will have a team writing the drivers for the most desired ones. With luck graphic card compatibility will be announced in updates, and put on a list at Apples site. That was my #1 desire from the beginning of this transition. Apple has always taken steady flow of heavy flack about graphic card availability, and compatibility. If I were on a board of decision makers at Apple removing long standing criticisms would have been a priority in this transition. I can't imagine them overlooking something as critical to their growth in hardware as this.





    Of course, you and I both know they will never use off-the-shelf cards because then they wouldn't profit off of them. It's the same reason you can only buy a superdrive compatible with iDVD from Apple.



    Graphics cards are the 2nd most expensive component in the computer--second to processors, and sometimes (more often in cheaper computers) more expensive.



    In my PC, the GPU is as expensive as all the other components combined.



    No way Apple's going to give that up. They make their money from selling computers.



    SO, they'll continue taking ATI's or NVidia's cards, modding them for incompatibility's sake if for no other reason, and then selling them at the Apple store for 10-50% more than resale (likely due to lower economy of scale).



    This is why I made this thread. Maybe Apple could persue a more diverse route.
  • Reply 12 of 49
    onlookeronlooker Posts: 5,252member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by slughead

    Of course, you and I both know they will never use off-the-shelf cards because then they wouldn't profit off of them. It's the same reason you can only buy a superdrive compatible with iDVD from Apple.







    Actually that is a false statement. My superdrive works with iDVD, and always has. It didn't burn dual layers at first, but Apple hadn't written the drivers for every possible player when they updated to DL burning in iDVD. They have sense updated the Drivers for iDVD a few times, and everything works fine on mine now.



    Also, Apple sells highend video cards for less than PC card manufacturers. Where is this big profit margin? When Apple announced that the Quadro was available on the Mac they had every QuadroFX 4500 Price beat by $200.00.



    Apple's margins are not that high as many would try to lead people to believe. Comparatively vs. PC's Apples pricing is one of the most reasonable there is in computing.



    Now what other conspiracies are you manufacturing today?



    Throw that line back in water, and keep trolling.
  • Reply 13 of 49
    @homenow@homenow Posts: 998member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by slughead

    ...It may not be a scam, it's probably just the fact that they started with an OS meant for a decade-old instruction set and it takes a while.. or it is a scam just so people won't start calling each revision a "downgrade" like they do with most windows revisions.



    I think that you have it right there, OS X is a young OS, but it has already been around a while, and was in development longer still. It also is based on a much older OS. I'm sure that there is still legacy code in there that needs updating, as well as more optimizations for the new Intel platform that they are running it on.



    Apple will compete in hardware by designing innovative housing designs for the "reference" computer, while trying to give the consumer the best value that they can for their money. A good part of that value is going to be in software, not hardware. Given that, if Apple needs to improve video drivers becouse the video performance is taking a substancial hit due to inneficient drivers then I'm sure that they will, they have addressed Java speed deficiencies in the past for just this reason.



    The only other area for hardware competition, everything being basically equil, will be add ins like USB ports, DVD drives, wireless, etc. Since the Mac Mini's price point of $799 for the CoreDuo is priced right around the anounced price of CoreDuo computers that Intel gave when the chip was introduced I think that Apple is doing pretty good with value. The only thing that would make it better is if the CoreSolo at $599 had a DVD burner in it instead of a Combo Drive, and both of the Mini's had more memory standard (from what I am reading you really need 1 Gig RAM in the Mini, but then again historically base memory in the computers has never been offered in a size that ensures the optimal performance)
  • Reply 14 of 49
    onlookeronlooker Posts: 5,252member
    This thread Just became far more relevant now that DELL bought Alienware. You want to talk about great hardware configurations. Look no further than Alienware. OR now DELL I guess.



    Dell snaps up Alienware



    And why is this thread named after a telephone company? MacTel is a telecommunications company. The Apple Macintosh is a computer. Get it straight.
  • Reply 15 of 49
    murkmurk Posts: 935member
    Why not slap in a DSP coprocessor? The software foundation is there already.
  • Reply 16 of 49
    onlookeronlooker Posts: 5,252member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by murk

    Why not slap in a DSP coprocessor? The software foundation is there already.



    Are you trying to answer the question of what does Apple do to outperform PC's hardware wise now? There is nothing that adding a DSP coprocessor is going to help other than add more cost to the computer. The hardware is the same. Anyone can add one. Adding a coprocessor is adding cost. If Apple adds a co processor 5 to 10 other vendors will announce they will also be adding a co processor within a week. All your suggesting is to drive up costs all the way across the PC industry.
  • Reply 17 of 49
    wmfwmf Posts: 1,164member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by onlooker

    There is nothing that adding a DSP coprocessor is going to help other than add more cost to the computer. The hardware is the same. Anyone can add one. Adding a coprocessor is adding cost. If Apple adds a co processor 5 to 10 other vendors will announce they will also be adding a co processor within a week.



    Windows and Windows apps won't automatically take advantage of a DSP coprocessor, but Core Whatever could. I agree that this is not a good idea; if you're going to spend money on more processing power, just get a more expensive main processor so that everything will run faster.



    (This idea just won't go away. Quadra 660AV/840AV, Cell coprocessor rumors, physics processing units...)
  • Reply 18 of 49
    onlookeronlooker Posts: 5,252member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by wmf

    Windows and Windows apps won't automatically take advantage of a DSP coprocessor, but Core Whatever could. I agree that this is not a good idea; if you're going to spend money on more processing power, just get a more expensive main processor so that everything will run faster.



    (This idea just won't go away. Quadra 660AV/840AV, Cell coprocessor rumors, physics processing units...)




    "but Core Whatever could."



    So "Could" windows, and windows apps. It's the developers prerogative. There is nothing stopping MS from doing it.
  • Reply 19 of 49
    thttht Posts: 3,104member
    Apple can have Intel-based machines faster than typical WinTels, but it'll cost Apple money (lots of it) and they'll pass the cost to the customers. It's just more cost effective to have the same internal hardware and make the differentiators the software and the industrial design. Mac OS X should be smoother, more elegant, more usable than Windows. Apple Mac/Intels should be more elegant, fashionable than PCs. That'll cost Apple customers more, but it's technologically less daunting and less risky than the more performance side.



    If they actually want more hardware performance, there is only one low hanging fruit available to Apple: core logic chipsets (or system ASICs, northbridges and southbridges if you prefer). They could snap up some SGI and IBM engineers and enhance Intel's chipsets. On the high end for multi-socket machines, they can put a bunch of stuff on the northbridge to increase performance: backside cache to alleviate FSB contention, 4 channel SATA RAID, and Ethernet. On the low end, they can possibly design a more cost effective, de-featured 1 chip solution and use the cost savings on a discrete graphics chip instead of integrated ones.



    It's just simpler to differentiate with unique features like Firewire, Magsafe, integrated cameras, and other stuff. I suppose all this stuff could be traded for a higher performance CPU or GPU, but this is Apple were talking about. They like these unique little features.
  • Reply 20 of 49
    murkmurk Posts: 935member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by onlooker

    "but Core Whatever could."



    So "Could" windows, and windows apps. It's the developers prerogative. There is nothing stopping MS from doing it.




    But Apple is already there with the Core technologies. Don't know if they will do it, but it is a way to differentiate for a while. No matter what they do, MS will follow. MS might get around to it say in 2009... 2012....2015.
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