Do we really need an expandable mid tower?

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
I can just see your faces now, looking at me like I'm completely nuts.



I think Steve is right, that is most people rarely upgrade their machines. I got this G5 tower because I wanted expandability and it took me two whole years for one upgrade - another gig of ram. I was thinking of 500 GB drive, but then I realized I still have plenty left on my original drive. Then I thought about a new video card then realized it works fine.



This is not to say I think the mac mini is perfect, I do wish it used a regular sized drive and the ram was easier to upgrade.





Ok, now you can kill me :P

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    regreg Posts: 832member
    I guess I am in the minority. The only 2 macs that I have that did not get upgraded are G-4 gooseneck imac and a TAM. I will max out the ram when I buy whatever but have almost always needed more storage.
  • Reply 2 of 12
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,218moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MajorMatt View Post


    I think Steve is right, that is most people rarely upgrade their machines.



    I think he's right too. The ultimate flaw is really in Apple's BTO options and not their hardware upgradability. When I bought my Mini, I would have payed extra for a dedicated graphics card, a 7200 rpm drive and a DVD burner. Apple's options are either non-existant or overpriced.



    Now, if it's the case that the Mac Mini can't accommodate sufficient upgrades at a reasonable price then that's the reason we need a mid-tower. Not so much that we can upgrade them but that Apple can at an affordable price, the former would be an added bonus.
  • Reply 3 of 12
    vineavinea Posts: 5,585member
    Mmmm...a mini with a vid card slot (akak cube) would answer 90% of folks' needs IMHO. Yes, that 90% number is pulled out of thin air.



    And I don't even see the need for 3.5" drives if they put a 2.5" SSD in there as a BTO. Then you use draft N wireless to hit your multi-terrabyte NAS...speedy and dead quiet.



    Vinea
  • Reply 4 of 12
    admactaniumadmactanium Posts: 812member
    i had upgraded my quad g5's ram, hard drives and video card's cooling fan before the machine had booted 3 times. i agree that most people probably do not upgrade their machines. but there is definitely a pretty big group of people who want to buy a machine that they can upgrade even if they don't upgrade it. if those people buy a machine and find they don't really need to upgrade, then bully for them but bully for apple for making money off of them and probably switching them from windows.



    i understand jobs' obsession with making machines that only get used for their intended purposes, but i do think they're leaving marketshare on the table by not at least giving people the option to choose what they want. maybe he doesn't care or believe it to be true.
  • Reply 5 of 12
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,720member
    Indeed, most people do not upgrade their computers. I don't see the main plus point of the xMac being its upgradeability. The beauty of the xMac concept is that it covers the needs and wants of far more people than the Mac Mini or iMac.



    The "xMac" (a mini-tower that is just big enough to house a PSU, Core Duo (desktop) CPU, 4 RAM slots, 2 HDD bays, 1 optical drive bay, 2 PCIe slots) has the potential to have a lower price entry-point than the Mac Mini (desktop parts are cheaper than laptop parts, the motherboard can have integrated graphics so the cheapest model doesn't have a dedicated graphics card), but be able to scale to higher prices.



    The machine would have the potential to be more price-competive than the Mini, again because desktop parts are cheaper than laptop parts. In addition, HDDs go much higher capacity on the desktop side, and the CPUs scale to higher performance.



    On the upgradeability front, there's the people who really do need it, the people who think they need it but will never actually use it, and the people who are told by their geek friends or computer salespeople that they need it. I sincerely believe that that covers well over 50% of the desktop computer market.



    Lastly, I don't believe that people, on the whole, buy the Mini for its small size. For most people, the attraction is that it is the cheapest Mac. Replacing the Mini with the xMac would maintain the low price, and make it bigger. So, people who really want a tiny desktop (not that many people) will be put off, but all those who want a cheap, and/or price-competitive and/or expandable desktop Mac will prefer it over a Mini.
  • Reply 6 of 12
    bageljoeybageljoey Posts: 1,755member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post


    The "xMac" (a mini-tower that is just big enough to house a PSU, Core Duo (desktop) CPU, 4 RAM slots, 2 HDD bays, 1 optical drive bay, 2 PCIe slots) has the potential to have a lower price entry-point than the Mac Mini (desktop parts are cheaper than laptop parts, the motherboard can have integrated graphics so the cheapest model doesn't have a dedicated graphics card), but be able to scale to higher prices.



    The machine would have the potential to be more price-competitive than the Mini, again because desktop parts are cheaper than laptop parts. In addition, HDDs go much higher capacity on the desktop side, and the CPUs scale to higher performance.




    OK, so it would be at least as powerful as the Mini, vastly more upgradeable and or versatile than the Mini, and cheeper than the Mini.



    Sounds good to me, but I can see why Steve might wake screaming at night at the thought. How would he sell iMacs? How would he get anyone but the graphics professional/hardcore gamer to buy a MacPro? \



    Sure, I have heard the arguments: cannibalize your own sales before someone else can do it to you. But the fact is, right now, no one can cannibalize the Mac's sales. They have a kick-a$$ halo and they are still growing sales and printing cash with the limited lineup.



    If the shareholders made money on market-share or the happiness of the user base then this would be a no-brainer. As it is, I suspect that they keep updated plans for the "xMac" so they could develop it quickly if there was a need--there just isn't a need right now that balances the risks.



    Sorry.
  • Reply 7 of 12
    royboyroyboy Posts: 447member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post


    ....snip...



    Lastly, I don't believe that people, on the whole, buy the Mini for its small size. For most people, the attraction is that it is the cheapest Mac. Replacing the Mini with the xMac would maintain the low price, and make it bigger. So, people who really want a tiny desktop (not that many people) will be put off, but all those who want a cheap, and/or price-competitive and/or expandable desktop Mac will prefer it over a Mini.



    Excellent point and I believe absolutely true.
  • Reply 8 of 12
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,720member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bageljoey View Post


    Sounds good to me, but I can see why Steve might wake screaming at night at the thought. How would he sell iMacs? How would he get anyone but the graphics professional/hardcore gamer to buy a MacPro? \



    Indeed. It always comes down to the cannibilisation argument. But really, I don't think that anyone who's currently spending $2300+ on Mac Pros would suddenly turn around and buy a $449 xMac instead. The two are utterly different machines. Cannibalisation of the Mac Pro would be below the measurable limit.



    Personally, I think that cannibalisation of the iMac would also be low. But, if it's not, then the market will have spoken, declaring that Apple were pushing the wrong type of desktop Mac all along.



    The point is that I am sure that the number of extra people brought to the platform + the number of people who would buy new Macs from Apple instead of second-hand ones from eBay, would more than make up for the profit lost to cannibalisation of higher-absolute-margin products.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bageljoey View Post


    But the fact is, right now, no one can cannibalize the Mac's sales.



    I disagree. It's called "the rest of the PC market", and right now, Apple is doing nowhere near as well in the desktop segment as it is in the laptop segment. Could it be that it is delivering laptops that the market wants, but not desktops that the market wants?



    I struggle to understand how this can still, apparently, not be a no-brainer for most Apple folk.
  • Reply 9 of 12
    splinemodelsplinemodel Posts: 7,311member
    The midrange tower does not fit into Apple's marketing model. They market a computer that's really stylish, a little more expensive, and not a boilerplate. At the moment, not only are laptops becoming more popular in the general market, but for years they have been Apple's forte. The iMac is not an abstraction from this core market. The Mac Pro isn't going to cannibalize sales from Apple's core market. A mid range tower has a good chance of disturbing the harmony that Apple has struggled to achieve in it's product line.



    Aside from that, I have long argued that the people who buy mid range towers in order to customize them represent a niche of the overall computer buying population, and an even smaller niche of the mac buying population.



    Anyway, the way I feel about customized mid range towers is basically the same way VW marketing seems to feel about compact cars -- case in point, the "unpimp your auto" ads.
  • Reply 10 of 12
    vineavinea Posts: 5,585member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post


    Indeed. It always comes down to the cannibilisation argument. But really, I don't think that anyone who's currently spending $2300+ on Mac Pros would suddenly turn around and buy a $449 xMac instead. The two are utterly different machines. Cannibalisation of the Mac Pro would be below the measurable limit.



    Um...are there $450 Core 2 Duo machine yet? I thought most of those were Pentium Ds or Athlon 64s.



    But either way, it won't be long with Bearlake and price drops coming so a Core 2 Duo E6540 xMac in that price range there's zero reason to buy a iMac. For $569 you get a 24" monitor. Unless Apple is going to drop the 24" iMac to $999 the iMacs are toast.



    Heck a 22" WFP is only $309. A 20" iMac for $999 is also a nonstarter with a quiet Shuttle-sized xMac in the lineup...because a Apple xMac in that form factor is going to be a lot more Cube like than Shuttle like in style. And for $450 I can afford to toss the E6540 and put in a 3Ghz E6850 or if the motherboard, PSU and cooling can hack it...a QX6700. And then you will be kissing a lot of Mac Pro sales goodbye.



    Even a $999 cube is likely to kill the iMac.



    Vinea
  • Reply 11 of 12
    bageljoeybageljoey Posts: 1,755member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post




    I disagree. It's called "the rest of the PC market", and right now, Apple is doing nowhere near as well in the desktop segment as it is in the laptop segment. Could it be that it is delivering laptops that the market wants, but not desktops that the market wants?



    I struggle to understand how this can still, apparently, not be a no-brainer for most Apple folk.



    There is no doubt that apple could sell more computers if they add to their lineup. But as I said in my post, their goal is not market-share. Its profits. Remember, the desktop market is killing itself. Companies are selling tons and making little profit. The laptop market is where the $$ is and Apple is doing fine there.



    Meanwhile, iMacs are holding the fort in the desktop segment. Maybe because they represent something unique on the desktop to buyers, they are not compared so directly to the rest of the "PC market" and have room to generate profits. Sure, sales are not growing at the laptop rate, but they are making money...



    Quote:

    But really, I don't think that anyone who's currently spending $2300+ on Mac Pros would suddenly turn around and buy a $449 xMac instead. The two are utterly different machines.



    Sure, but the point I was responding to was the scaleable/upgradeable xMac. Super cheep at the low end, but upgradeable. Max out the RAM, add decent graphics and put in a serious hard drive and you have a MacPro killer.

    Ok, that is a little strong. The people who need MPs will buy them. But not everybody who buys one needs it. Case in point. My neighbor, a plumber, bought a MP six months ago. He uses it for internet and photos. He did not want an integrated screen. He did want internal storage. He had no choice if he wanted a Mac.
  • Reply 12 of 12
    nvidia2008nvidia2008 Posts: 9,262member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MajorMatt View Post


    I can just see your faces now, looking at me like I'm completely nuts.



    I think Steve is right, that is most people rarely upgrade their machines. I got this G5 tower because I wanted expandability and it took me two whole years for one upgrade - another gig of ram. I was thinking of 500 GB drive, but then I realized I still have plenty left on my original drive. Then I thought about a new video card then realized it works fine.



    This is not to say I think the mac mini is perfect, I do wish it used a regular sized drive and the ram was easier to upgrade.





    Ok, now you can kill me :P



    No brotha, I hear ya. I am on "your side". Heh. ...Although in your case people with G5 towers or Mac Pros will expand more often than you have.



    The Mac Mini is in no-mans-land, at this stage. I think it was cool, I do wish there was more to it, but I am ready to close the chapter on this. The new iMacs, MacBookPros, alongside the bumped up MacBooks, AppleTV, iPhone, all these will see very strong Apple profits and revenues towards the end of 2007, and will essentially render the Mac Mini obsolete*.



    *From an Apple/ Apple Apologist point of view.
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