Why Apple will NEVER build a mid range tower.

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  • Reply 41 of 60
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


    This thread isn't likely to give more insight into the matter than the very long thread dedicated to this discussion, which is concerning the oddly named xMac - the term commonly used to describe the mid range tower.



    Everything said here has been covered many times and it's wrong plain and simple. A mid range tower would be Apple's killer machine and would put them in a large number of businesses. You don't see iMacs in there for good reason and it's not just to do with the OS because Macs run Windows now too.



    I don't agree.



    1) Business computing tends to be built around certain software packages (typically, database programs, and finance programs - MS access, Quickbooks etc... for small businesses, others for larger business)



    2) IT consultants are not as experienced with Mac OS X, as they are with Windows. Therefore, changing to a Mac is a big step.



    3) It is not about the cost, or choice. Mac OS X is a big step for any SME, and for a multinational there would have to be a seriously good reason for the move (which right now, I don't believe there is).





    Quote:

    The xMac is to businesses and PC users what the Macbook Air is to Japan. How many Macs did you see there before it was introduced?



    I have never been to Japan. If you have verifiable figures on the % growth since the inception of the Macbook Air, it would help the discussion.



    Quote:

    Wrong, we want our choice of configuration and display and proper desktop parts. Affordability and upgradability are merely byproducts.



    If affordability is only a byproduct, then the Mac Pro should suit you fine.



    Quote:

    You mistakingly assume that people who can afford to buy a Mac Pro won't and will simply go for the mid range tower. You also make the mistake of assuming that this is somehow bad for Apple. Making a computer that satisfies more needs means more sales to people who wanted a Mac Pro but bought a PC instead.



    I posit that without the Mid range tower, users who would have chosen it are forced to choose the Mac Pro. It is not a mistake to see that people paying less to Apple = lower $$$ for Apple. You are making the mistake that the mid range tower will by its own virtue draw people from the PC side of computing.



    Quote:

    You've forgotten the Macbook Pro, which I'd say is a better/faster machine than the iMac. But yes they are forced to go to a Mac Pro if they need a desktop. Then again, it is Apple's only true desktop.



    The MBP has a weaker graphics card, and a smaller screen, for a higher price. In addition, the iMac goes up to 2.8 GHz.



    Quote:

    Wrong. It would be the best thing to happen to them in a very long time and would shoot their stock price way beyond 300. At the moment, the people who have crappy PCs and looking to upgrade won't even think to look at Apple because their low end is weak and over priced, their iMac is too different and not cost effective for a long period of time and ugly and not customizable and the Mac Pro is too much, price and power.



    No, their stock would tank, and fast. Lots of people buying non-upgradable, expensive iMacs and Mac Minis means more customers in 2-3 years time. Lots of cheaper, more powerful, xMac's being sold means no 'screen' sale (for the majority of sales), and no more customers for 3-5 years. You are still looking at this from your own point of view, and not that of Apple.



    Quote:

    People just need a competitive mid range machine that is designed well - it won't compete with the Mini as the Mini can turn into a media center model. It won't compete with the iMac because the iMac is for a niche market that wants an AIO model and it won't affect Mac Pro sales because people who buy a Mac Pro generally need loads of HD space with RAID, and as many processors as they can get.



    Of course it will compete. People only buy one computer at a time (in general).



    Quote:

    Any loss they make from cannibalizing the other products is more than made up for with a dramatic increase in appeal to the PC crowd and businesses and subsequently market share increase which improves software sales and developer interest and other hardware product sales e.g ipods, iphones, itunes etc.



    They won't lose money because it costs less to build and their profit margins can actually be higher if they price similarly to their current machines and as I say any loss will be made up for by a sales increase. The same thing happened with the iphone. It came in highly priced but quickly dropped after the initial sales figures arrived.



    For a midrange tower to be competitive, Apple has to take lower margins. If they are taking lower margins, their profit will dip. The iPhone stunt is what is known as 'skimming' the market, and boy did it work.



    Quote:

    Where I work, the Macs we have are just completely wrong for what what we use them for. We have people using Macbook Pros but don't take them anywhere, people using G5 towers that only use half of the machine's capability but need matching dual display support. If a mid range tower came out, we'd probably buy about 5 right away and I'd buy one for home use and at least two members of my family would buy one. Currently, Apple's product line up isn't appealing at all and so without the mid range tower, their sales from people I know equal zero. With a mid range tower, sales would be 8 units. Whether or not Apple make less profit from one mid range machine than one Mac Pro, they make more profit from 8 mid range machines than they do from zero Mac Pros.



    As always these discussions fall flat for one very common reason. The arguments against the xMac make assumptions about what we the buyers of said device want. Whether or not my needs can be summarized so adequately without even asking, the FACT of the matter is that I would buy one the day it was released, that much is clear and a huge number of people would do the same, even people who think it's not a financially sound idea, which ironically makes it financially sound.



    [/QUOTE]



    So, where you work, the xMac would be more financially beneficial and practical? Think about it in reverse. If you are only paying for what you need, and less for it, Apple are making less from your sale.



    As it stands, you buy Apple products anyway, and if you need power, you go for the Mac Pro. Apple wins, and they won't be changing that scenario.



    Peace and God Bless!
  • Reply 42 of 60
    idaveidave Posts: 1,283member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Magicsilence View Post








    I posit that without the Mid range tower, users who would have chosen it are forced to choose the Mac Pro. It is not a mistake to see that people paying less to Apple = lower $$$ for Apple.






    Or, they settle for a Mac mini = less profit than a mid-range tower for Apple.



    I suppose it could be argued that those who buy a mini will buy another one in a year or two so = more profit for Apple.



    Built right and priced right, I think a mid-tower could be very profitable for Apple; more so maybe than the mini and Pro combined.
  • Reply 43 of 60
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by iDave View Post


    Or, they settle for a Mac mini = less profit than a mid-range tower for Apple.



    I suppose it could be argued that those who buy a mini will buy another one in a year or two so = more profit for Apple.



    Built right and priced right, I think a mid-tower could be very profitable for Apple; more so maybe than the mini and Pro combined.



    Yes, I agree, and outlined the possibility in the first post.



    I think the whole xMac has really come to centre stage because of bootcamp. With just Mac OS X, any Mac gave/gives a solid experience. Pro users would go for the Mac Pro or MBP for graphical power, if needed.



    However, now, people can use Windows on a Mac, the possibility of playing games has arisen, and consumers are finding that if they want serious gaming power, its minimum the iMac (second one up), or the Mac Pro. For consumers who want to game on Mac, its a minimum £949 ($1750 ?) spend.



    And even at £949, you will struggle to play newer games at high resolution, which is driving people crazy, because for £949 you can build a PC that will match the Mac Pro, and probably beat it. In addition, consumers can upgrade for the next 2-3 years.



    Therefore, the additional choice of Windows has caused people to notice a gap in the Mac line up. It is not a gap for Mac OS X, but for Windows, and in particular gaming on Windows.



    Having said all of this, it is normally young males that tend to game, and be on a shoestring budget, and post on Apple rumors websites, so although the consensus here is that everyone wants an xMac, I think Apple realises that most of its customers are happy with what they offer.



    In Jesus Christ,



    MS
  • Reply 44 of 60
    benroethigbenroethig Posts: 2,782member
    Boot camp of the fact they jacked up the price for the lower end PowerMac/MacPro users from a reasonable $1499 to an insane $2299. People don't usually remain perfectly happy after having the rug pulled out from under them. This isn't about being able to buy a PC for a lower price. This about having owned Macs that were a hell of a lot more useful than the iMac for the price.
  • Reply 45 of 60
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BenRoethig View Post


    Boot camp of the fact they jacked up the price for the lower end PowerMac/MacPro users from a reasonable $1499 to an insane $2299. People don't usually remain perfectly happy after having the rug pulled out from under them. This isn't about being able to buy a PC for a lower price. This about having owned Macs that were a hell of a lot more useful than the iMac for the price.



    I'd agree with this too, and spare a thought for us Brits who get the Mac Pro (one processor) for £1499 !



    I know processor price has gone up and so has performance because of dual and quad cores, but I think a £999 tower would go a long way to satiating many of those clamoring for a mid range tower.



    In Jesus Christ,



    MS,
  • Reply 46 of 60
    mjteixmjteix Posts: 563member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Magicsilence View Post


    For a midrange tower to be competitive, Apple has to take lower margins.



    I don't agree at all with that. And with most of your posts.



    One lesson from the Intel switch is that Apple can indeed compete with PCs (I'm talking about known brands, not junk or half-DIY computers). The MacBooks are well positionned, the MacBook Pro too, the iMac has seen "some" sort of competition, but AFAIK they didn't succeed, even the Mac mini has been copied, yet (even desperatly in need for an update) is still doing great.



    The Mac Pro is the best example: the original, as the new, models are better priced than the competition, better looking inside and out, and use the latest, fastest Intel chips/chipsets. Apple can do as well as PC manufacturers in terms of price/performance ratio and they can do it with more style.



    Even if a mid-range tower seems a dull form factor, that has been used for decades and you don't see what Apple could do in terms of design to make it stand-out, just look at the interior of a Mac Pro and then open (or go look at pictures) a Dell workstation and SEE the difference.



    If Apple could bring the esthetics of the Mac Pro in a smaller enclosure, half is done.



    Then the other part is what you put into it. This is were it is crucial to understand this:

    - if you use mobile parts like the iMac, of course you'll make some gains in terms of economy of scale, power requirements, etc... but the parts cost more than desktop equivalents, and you get a computer that is not as powerful than PC desktops at similar prices.

    - also you can use workstation/server parts, that would make the xMac more like a small workstation instead of a "dull" desktop computer, but yet some parts are expensive: cpus, chipsets, RAM. Even if you take in account the economy of scale you can achieve in using some of the same parts of the Mac Pro, you'll end up with an expensive computer.

    - using current desktop parts, while making no economy of scale on cpus/chipsets, is SO more affordable than server or mobile parts, that even paying the full price, it is yet less expensive than using mobile parts at 50% discount or server parts at 25% discount (the Mac Pro only represents less than 10% of Mac sales).



    With the upcoming release of the mobile quad-core the price comparaison of desktop parts vs. mobile parts is almost incredible:

    - desktop Q9300 2.50GHz/1333FSB $266

    - mobile QX9300 2.53GHz/1066FSB $1,038 (at 50% it is still $519, a price that Apple will never get since they will not be buying much of them)

    - the server E5420 2.50GHz/1333FSB cpu is just $316, but it's the chipset that cost much more than a regular desktop chipset (a P35-based motherboard costs around 150$, while a 5400-based motherboard costs around $450).



    So, of course, if you use more expensive parts, you have to lower your margins in order to be competitive, but if you use low-cost parts (like the others) you may not need to, just like Apple can compete in terms of price with most of its real competitors.



    I didn't choose the quad-core examples at random, I choose them because I believe that quad-core is about to be mainstream, it is almost mainstream in the PC market, and it will certainly be the benchmark base next year.



    I really think Apple could release a small desktop computer using a quad-core desktop cpu for $999 and still make the 30% margins people are so afraid they may loose.



    Apple can choose not to go there, and they may even still succeed without entering this segment, but I think it would be their loss. All along the G4/G5 era there was a PM under $2,000, most of the time under $1,700 and even as low as $1,299 (Cube and MDD2003). This is the segment were Apple is nowhere to be found. And it's not just about PC switchers or corporations, it's also about Mac users that started with a mini or even an iMac and want something better (whatever it means for them, for some it's more power, for other it's internal storage, for others expandability...) without having to take the Mac Pro route.



    You also have to revise you first post because it is completly absurd to offer a desktop Mac with a 100GB HDD while the smaller drive that Apple offers today is a 250GB drive.



    If you take the cheapest MP (single Q2.8GHz, with 2GB, 320GB HDD and a 8800 GPU) it's $2,499

    If Apple makes a $999 xMac with a Q9300, 1GB RAM, 250GB HD and a HD2600XT GPU, to make it comparable to the MP, it's: +$50 for the HDD, +$200 for the GPU (both by BTO) and $50 for another GB of RAM (DIY), GRAND TOTAL: $1,299, I'll take it, even if I have to put $100 more for the KB+Mouse. It would be a computer slightly slower, smaller, with less bays/PCIe slots than the Mac Pro, but that more people can afford.
  • Reply 47 of 60
    benroethigbenroethig Posts: 2,782member
    Better yet Apple already has enclosure and intel has both a chipset in x38/48 and a cpu in Yorkfield. Replace the 2.83 quad with a 2.5ghz eight-core and introduce a sub-$2000 quad core line.
  • Reply 48 of 60
    kareliakarelia Posts: 525member
    I want everyone to know that Apple tried this once before. If you all recall, it was called the PowerMac G4 MDD.



    When the PowerMac G5 was first released, Apple realized that not everyone would want to go to the new G5's, but might be in a position where the iMac G4 was insufficient. So for a while there, the PowerMac G4 and G5 were available side-by-side. The MDD was actually dropped in speed when compared to it's previous cousin, but was dropped from $1999 to $1299, so this is understandable.



    So for a while you could get the G4, with either a single or dual 1.25GHz CPU, or go for the G5, with a 1.6, 1.8, dual 1.8, or 2.0GHz CPU. Seems like a fair compromise, right? Except here's the catch:



    The 2003 MDD sold like shit. Everyone went for the iMac G4 or the PowerMac G5. And much like the Cube, Apple's only line of headless mid-range machines went the way of the dinosaur after the next product cycle came around. So, in their defense, they've got no reason to believe it will succeed this time, and Apple would rather NOT try something, than try it and fail, both for the sake of expense and saving face.
  • Reply 49 of 60
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,228moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mAc-warrior View Post


    My G4 iMac can do Word/Excel/Outlook just as fast as your "xMac" could.



    Consumers are much more into video and games than they ever were and your G4 will look terrible compared to an xMac. Try encoding a DVD and you will probably find your G4 taking 1 hour + where even a Mini can handle it in 15-20 minutes.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mAc-warrior View Post


    Do you honestly believe that most people who buy an Acer PC care about configuration in the slightest?



    Yes, I believe they care about how much drive space they can get and if they can burn DVDs.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mAc-warrior View Post


    If this "xMac" were available, I would probably buy it instead. Reason being that it could probably last me just as long, for less money. Therefore, less money for Apple. Why would they do that?



    There's not a whole lot of people like you who are willing to spend that much money on a computer. They go and buy PCs instead - that's why Apple should do that.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mAc-warrior View Post


    Ever stop to think that maybe Apple thinks that the AIO model is the model of the future?



    Yep and I agree but the future isn't now otherwise it wouldn't be the future. Right now we need machines that use good cost effective technology like the rest of the industry is offering and as per usual Apple falls short in choice.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mAc-warrior View Post


    I think the fact that Apple has not yet introduced the "xMac" tells you exactly what they think about the viability of that business model.



    We know how viable the business model is by looking at 95% of the computing world. People already have mid-range towers but they don't have one with an Apple logo.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Magicsilence


    IT consultants are not as experienced with Mac OS X, as they are with Windows. Therefore, changing to a Mac is a big step.



    Linux is very heavily used in web servers and OS X isn't greatly removed from it. I think most IT people would feel quite at home with it. But it runs Windows either way.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Magicsilence


    I have never been to Japan. If you have verifiable figures on the % growth since the inception of the Macbook Air, it would help the discussion.



    It fits the market is what I'm saying. Whether or not Apple's implementation takes off remains to be seen.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Magicsilence


    If affordability is only a byproduct, then the Mac Pro should suit you fine.



    Cost isn't the primary concern but it is a big factor. The Mac Pro actually does suit me fine but I don't want one at home because it's a workstation.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Magicsilence


    I posit that without the Mid range tower, users who would have chosen it are forced to choose the Mac Pro.



    If someone can't afford a Mac Pro, how are they forced to buy one? It's either a Mini, an iMac or they get a PC. If the Mini isn't powerful enough and they don't want an iMac then they have a big array of manufacturers willing to give them what they want. Judging by the stats of Mac users vs PC users my guess is Apple just aren't providing what people want.



    How about all the people who endlessly asked for an ultra-portable from Apple for years and people said it would never happen for much the same reasons as those given against the xMac. Apple finally delivered the Air. People who wanted an ultra-portable would have been forced to buy a Macbook or Macbook Pro by the same logic and that just doesn't work in most cases.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Magicsilence


    You are making the mistake that the mid range tower will by its own virtue draw people from the PC side of computing.



    What's clear is that people are buying PCs. It's also clear that PC manufacturers primarily sell mid-range towers and Apple don't sell any. Sure there are other factors involved but it seems pretty obvious that a mid-range tower is a popular model.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Magicsilence


    The MBP has a weaker graphics card



    No it doesn't. 8600M GT > iMac ATI card.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Magicsilence


    You are still looking at this from your own point of view, and not that of Apple.



    Why do people keep pointing that out? You wouldn't say about someone that guy doesn't work, he just steals because let's face it what's in it for him working for a living? Apple being selfish and greedy is not a good business model because it puts people off buying into their hype. Sony have suffered a similar backlash for their arrogant attitude. It's time Apple realized that they can't call all the shots without suffering for it.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Magicsilence


    For a midrange tower to be competitive, Apple has to take lower margins.



    Competitive with PCs? I think not in the same way that iMacs don't have to be priced lower to compete with PC AIOs.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Magicsilence


    If you are only paying for what you need, and less for it, Apple are making less from your sale.



    Nope, there would be more purchases. If my work has £1200 to spend, they'd get one Macbook Pro, which means one person gets a laptop that isn't used as a laptop (matte screens required so no iMac and dedicated graphics cards so no Mini). They'd stretch to getting two £700 xMacs though for £1400 as it means two people get better desktops and we can reuse the same displays and keyboards.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Magicsilence


    And even at £949, you will struggle to play newer games at high resolution



    I don't see how if you put a good GPU in with a dual core machine. 8800GTS cards are powerful and cheap. Imagine the desktop equivalent of the base iMac without a display so £800 subtract £200 for the screen and £100 for using desktop parts vs laptop parts to be conservative. Now add in a £300 GPU and you get back to the iMac price without a display. Add in a £150 1680x1050 display and you have your £950 price point.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Magicsilence


    I know processor price has gone up and so has performance because of dual and quad cores, but I think a £999 tower would go a long way to satiating many of those clamoring for a mid range tower.



    Absolutely correct but people would wonder why it costs more than an iMac that has a display. I doubt that the mid range tower would have to be that much at the base spec. It would have more BTO options though so it would cover a broader price range.
  • Reply 50 of 60
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Karelia View Post


    I want everyone to know that Apple tried this once before. If you all recall, it was called the PowerMac G4 MDD.



    ...



    The 2003 MDD sold like shit. Everyone went for the iMac G4 or the PowerMac G5. And much like the Cube, Apple's only line of headless mid-range machines went the way of the dinosaur after the next product cycle came around. So, in their defense, they've got no reason to believe it will succeed this time, and Apple would rather NOT try something, than try it and fail, both for the sake of expense and saving face.



    ::sigh::



    As discussed in the other thread about this, Will Never Happen!, there are two major differences.



    1. xMac consumers don't want a stripped down Mac Pro as the low-cost PowerMac was.



    2. Mac owner demographics have changed significantly since 2003. With the Intel switch, the number of switchers have exploded, there are more of us using our Macs as dual-boot setups than ever before (mostly because as much as we like OSX, there are still games and apps that we need that aren't available or aren't equivalent in their native Mac version), and unlike the longtime Mac faithful, we're not as willing to adjust out needs to fit Steve Job's vision. We expect our computers to work for us.
  • Reply 51 of 60
    gongon Posts: 2,437member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Magicsilence View Post


    Having said all of this, it is normally young males that tend to game, and be on a shoestring budget, and post on Apple rumors websites, so although the consensus here is that everyone wants an xMac, I think Apple realises that most of its customers are happy with what they offer.



    I wonder when people will get over this "young male" stereotype that hasn't been accurate at least for the past ten years, and gets farther from the truth every day.



    http://www.theesa.com/archives/files/ESA-EF%202007.pdf
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Magicsilence View Post


    If affordability is only a byproduct, then the Mac Pro should suit you fine.



    Affordability is a question of degree. For any particular person, just keep pushing the price up and you'll find a point where OS X just isn't worth it anymore. Affordability isn't the first thing most people look for in a car, nor is it the second, but at the end of the day you won't find most folks driving a 911 Turbo, a hybrid etc. In fact I just read that the average millionaire spends ~$25000 on their car vs. average American who spends ~$21000. (data few years old but still...)
    Quote:

    As it stands, you buy Apple products anyway, and if you need power, you go for the Mac Pro. Apple wins, and they won't be changing that scenario.



    ... unless they want to sell to people like me, who will now buy a non-Mac and either dump OS X altogether or get by with the cheapest Macs on the side.



    Even if I had a hundred grand buried in my back yard, I'd still refuse to pay $1500 *extra* to get a current graphics chip in my personal computer just to retain the option of having OS X on it.
  • Reply 52 of 60
    sequitursequitur Posts: 1,901member
    Night of the living xMac



    This is the way I'd like to be able to configure my new xMac.\



    http://arstechnica.com/staff/fatbits...005/10/30/1676
  • Reply 53 of 60
    maddanmaddan Posts: 75member
    Never say never!
  • Reply 54 of 60
    From a customer perspective an xMac would be a good thing. No one in this thread has denied this point. More flexibility than the iMac or Mini at a better price than the Pro - what's not to like? What people have argued is that from Apple's perspective it's not worthwhile to make such a computer. There seem to be two basic reasons:



    Reason 1: Few people would buy the xMac, so it's a waste of effort to make it.



    But if it really would offer more flexibility at a better price, it's hard to believe that there wouldn't be buyers. Marvin and RexTraverse and others have made excellent points about the appeal of such a machine. I won't rehash their points, but I will second the idea that the appeal to potential switchers seems vastly underappreciated. Lots of switchers are probably excited by the iMac form factor, but at least as many are turned off. Give these people something they're more comfortable with, and they'll buy it.



    Reason 2: Many people would buy the xMac stealing sales from the iMac and/or the Mac Pro, undermining profitability.



    Again others have pointed out mistakes in this reasoning. There is no good reason to believe that an xMac couldn't carry the same margins as an iMac or a Mac Pro. Sure, an xMac will cut into sales of the other lines, but that just means customers are getting what they want. None of us can predict exactly what the financial math would look like if the xMac were available, but selling customers what they want for a price they can afford is a pretty standard formula for success. Personally, I don't think an xMac would hurt Apple's bottom line at all. Moreover, I just can't attibute to Apple the sort of wrong-headed financial motives that others suggest. When a company starts gaming their product lines to force customers into higher priced options, or worse into more frequent upgrades, this suggests that idiots are in charge.



    Even though I think this second reason is seriously flawed, perhaps I can understand why people believe it: The fact that Apple hasn't produced an xMac requires SOME kind of explanation. If we're convinced that the demand exists, then there must be a reason Apple hasn't responded. What are the available explanations? Truth is, there doesn't seem to be much to say. In the absense of other options, financial greed, even if it's also financial ineptitude, may begin to look like the only option.



    I have been thoroughly perplexed about the gap in the Mac lineup for a couple of years, and I'm stunned that Apple stands by and allows it to widen. As a result, I've often speculated irresponsibly myself. I've even wondered if there's not a new line of Macs and monitors waiting in the wings repeatedly postponed by some mysterious problem. At one point I nearly convinced myself that resolution independence (RI) was the culprit. Perhaps, I fantasized, Jobs has a vision for a perfectly matched new xMac Cube and a glorious new high resolution display, but since RI hasn't matured as fast as was anticipated, we see nothing. I'm pretty certain I'm wrong about this, nonetheless, I prefer this explanation to the two above (and it also has the virtue of explaining Apple's long neglect of its displays). As an aside, allow me to point out that once RI is ready an xMac seems inevitable. Because when RI is ready Apple is going to want to be first to the party with beautiful displays. But the first panels are likely to be very expensive and Apple probably won't be able to put them in the iMac. At the same time, Apple won't want to limit sales to those who are willing to buy a Mac Pro. So I would think an xMac will eventually appear for this reason alone.



    The fact that there is such a large gap in the Mac lineup is a mystery that begs for an explanation, so it's not surprising that this issue gets so much attention on this forum. I wish one of the explanations above made sense, but it doesn't. There is a demand for an xMac, and their sales would not undermine Apple's profitability. Who knows, maybe it's this simple: with all their success in other areas, and all the pressing work to be done on iPods and iPhones and laptops, maybe the desktops just keep falling to the bottom of the to do list. But eventually there will be an xMac.
  • Reply 55 of 60
    synpsynp Posts: 248member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacJello View Post


    When a company starts gaming their product lines to force customers into higher priced options, or worse into more frequent upgrades, this suggests that idiots are in charge.



    Actually, a lot of companies do that. Note Microsoft's crippled Vista home leading many to buy "ultimate". Are you in Europe? If so, what's the point of Fiat Panda other than to present a cheap entry level and push people into buying stylish 500 or roomier Punto? Of course some would buy the Panda, but would these people have bought the Punto otherwise?



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacJello View Post


    As an aside, allow me to point out that once RI is ready an xMac seems inevitable. Because when RI is ready Apple is going to want to be first to the party with beautiful displays. But the first panels are likely to be very expensive and Apple probably won't be able to put them in the iMac. At the same time, Apple won't want to limit sales to those who are willing to buy a Mac Pro.



    They could upgrade the Mini to support higher resolution at the same time. Also, IIRC, the iMac can support an additional external screen.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacJello View Post


    There is a demand for an xMac, and their sales would not undermine Apple's profitability.



    No, there is not a demand for an xMac. There is never a demand for a product, just as there is not demand for Vista, or Fiat Pandas. The demand is for certain benefits that we may want to get, and upgradeability is not one of them. A larget hard disk is. So are dual Ethernet ports. So is large memory. So is graphics performance. The engineers here believe that a modular xMac would be able to answer these demands. Apple, obviously, either thinks different (the world is going AIO except for the very high end) or else believes that they can't make a decent profit on xMac.



    Or maybe it's nearly ready, just waiting for announcement.
  • Reply 56 of 60
    vineavinea Posts: 5,585member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacJello View Post


    From a customer perspective an xMac would be a good thing. No one in this thread has denied this point.



    Nope. No one ever does.



    Quote:

    Reason 1: Few people would buy the xMac, so it's a waste of effort to make it.



    No. It's not enough people would buy the xMac not "few people". We'll discuss this in the next point.



    Quote:

    Reason 2: Many people would buy the xMac stealing sales from the iMac and/or the Mac Pro, undermining profitability.



    Again others have pointed out mistakes in this reasoning. There is no good reason to believe that an xMac couldn't carry the same margins as an iMac or a Mac Pro.



    Same margins, but typically xMac proponents couple the xMac with a $1000 price point.



    This is $500 below the current Apple ASP (Average Sale Price) which is centered on the middle iMac 20". The new centerpoint would be at $1000 because few folks are going to pony up for the overpriced iMac and most xMac descriptions are almost as capable as the Mac Pro.



    Essentially the entire Mac desktop product line would get cannibalized. Lets assume 30% margin for the moment. For $1500 the gross is $450. For $1000 the gross is $300. You need to sell 50% more desktop macs under the xMac than you do with the current line up just to break even.



    Less given you'll make some monitor sales and more AppleCare sales. But still a hefty number but the minimal proof for xMac proponents is that they can actually increase sales by 50% by introducing the xMac because hey, you do want to do better than simply break even for the risk you take.



    Folks hate car analogies (mostly because it doesn't favor them) but the Porsche comparison is more a business comparison than a car one. Porsche has very high ASPs and margins. It maintains exceedingly few models in comparison with other makers (even some high end ones). It doesn't have a mid-priced model at all. It has a very deep brand focus in the sports luxury market. It too is form over function coupled with a high degree of engineering investment to make it still performant. They do a good deal of partnering to reduce their cost (which is below that of the 6 and 7 series BMWs). Wiedeking doesn't quite have the RDF factor of Jobs but is another one of those media CEOs.



    Does a $30K model fit into its branding or business model? No. The 924/944/968 line is dead and is unlikely to ever get replaced. Porsche invests in VW for diversity.



    Apple has largely the same strategy. Long term commitment to branding, a focused market view, design over performance but going the extra mile to make the machines fast anyway, high ASPs and margins. It has diversified in the phone market vs investing into another company.



    A good move for HP or BMW is not necessarily a good move for Apple or Porsche because the business models are different.



    Quote:

    Even though I think this second reason is seriously flawed, perhaps I can understand why people believe it: The fact that Apple hasn't produced an xMac requires SOME kind of explanation. If we're convinced that the demand exists, then there must be a reason Apple hasn't responded. What are the available explanations? Truth is, there doesn't seem to be much to say. In the absense of other options, financial greed, even if it's also financial ineptitude, may begin to look like the only option.



    Neither Apple nor Porsche has shown financial inepitude. What they have is a different strategy for maximizing returns and they have been great at it.



    Quote:

    I wish one of the explanations above made sense, but it doesn't. There is a demand for an xMac, and their sales would not undermine Apple's profitability.



    You believe this but it doesn't make it true. Moving toward an xMac would be a strategic shift in the Apple business model just as a new 944 equivalent would be for Porshe.



    You're asking Apple to undertake a huge risk for minimal gain even for you. It is the sole supplier for OSX and Apple like products. If I have to get a used G5 or wait an extra year in my replacement cycle to afford a Mac Pro that a trade I'd rather make than take a big roll of the dice with the only computer company making decent products.



    We're talking $1000 here. That's maybe $100 a month to save over the course of a year vs an xMac. You can afford a Mac Pro by flipping burgers over the summer even if you're a student. Folks have hobbies that cost more than $2200 every two, three years.



    Apple makes luxury computers. If you don't want to pony up to pay more for less value then there's HP, Dell, etc. The Boxster may be a fine machine but for $50K you can get a faster/better car. Likewise the iMac, MBP, Mac Pro.



    Quote:

    But eventually there will be an xMac.



    Anything can happen when Jobs retires but it still ain't likely.
  • Reply 57 of 60
    benroethigbenroethig Posts: 2,782member
    Three are two fatal flaws with the Porsche Argument



    1. They have a large stake and will soon have a controlling interest in the Volkswagen group. They have VW and Audi to go places where the Porsche brand cannot.



    2. They run on the same gasoline and diesel fuels that power the other vehicles on the planet. They're not hoarding some revolutionary fuel source for only the Porsche.
  • Reply 58 of 60
    vineavinea Posts: 5,585member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BenRoethig View Post


    Three are two fatal flaws with the Porsche Argument



    1. They have a large stake and will soon have a controlling interest in the Volkswagen group. They have VW and Audi to go places where the Porsche brand cannot.



    Apple is using the iPhone for diversity. Yes, Porsche is buying a controlling interest in VW but not merging the companies (for now). How did Porsche amass the money to buy VW and not the other way around I wonder? Because it's business model was broken as xMac proponents suggest about Apple's?



    Personally, I think Apple's iPhone play will have better results than Porsche's VW play. Apple's play is offensive. Porsche's play is defensive. They just bought themselves an assload of fuel efficient cars and the technologies behind them even if they don't combine the companies for a CAFE/EU Emissions fleet bonus. Which they probably will eventually for that reason.



    Quote:

    2. They run on the same gasoline and diesel fuels that power the other vehicles on the planet. They're not hoarding some revolutionary fuel source for only the Porsche.



    And your point is what? That there won't be developers for OSX because there's no xMac? I think Apple has crushed this assertion with the massive increase in OSX development through careful investment in tomorrow's platform rather than yesterday's.
  • Reply 59 of 60
    macjellomacjello Posts: 38member
    I like analogies, but it seems to me that you're missing the key issue. Nobody's asking Apple to lower its standards, or even to cater to the masses, just to fill in an obvious gap in the lineup. I admire Apple's good sense in ignoring the bottom of the market. Making quality high end products is completely consistent with the existence of an xMac.



    The desire for an xMac is not merely a desire to save money. If you offered me a free computer for use in my office, where I could choose between a Mac Pro and an xMac, I'd opt for the xMac. Like most people, I don't need a Mac Pro - I rarely do anything that would make decent use of 8 processors. I don't want anything that physically large, and I don't want to waste the electricity to run it, and I don't want it to generate unnecessary heat under my desk. I do want a computer with at least two internal 3.5 inch hard drive bays, and the ability to choose my own display, and I'd like the option for some internal expansion. So I repeat, the desire for an xMac is not merely about money.



    To be fair, if the price of the Pro was $1500 or less, I'd probably get over my quibbles about size, and wasted energy, and excess heat, and I wouldn't insist on the importance of an xMac. But as it is, I'll be damned if I'm going to pay a $1000 more than what ought to be possible, for excess that I don't even want!



    So here's a different analogy: Imagine a hypothetical car company that sells only three models. On the high end they have a Hummer-size SUV. On the low end they have a tiny, cute, somewhat underpowered 2 seater coupe. In between they offer a nice sedan, but it's got two glaring problems: 1) it comes with the hood welded shut, and 2) it "features" a non-detachable trailer. Most people agree that it's a nice trailer, and I need a trailer, but I already have one. Moreover, if anything goes wrong with the attached trailer, you have to junk the whole car! What a terrible idea. Would it be unreasonable to wish that this company make a more standard, unencumbered sedan? Would it be unreasonable to argue that it would be to their own benefit to do so?



    Some will reply that if I don't like the options, I should buy my vehicle from a different company. But it turns out this company has pioneered a special fuel - makes all their vehicles run like a dream. I've driven them for years, and they make me happy. I'm not going to switch, but I'll continue to drive my current vehicle much longer than I would have otherwise.



    Some will point out that this car company has been doing exceedingly well financially. The management owns calculators, they've run the numbers and they know what they're doing. If they offered a normal sedan, it would just cut into the Hummers and the sexy sedan/trailer combos, and they'd make less money. But this doesn't make sense. Of those who are committed to the company, and are forced to make a choice among sub-optimal options, many end up going for the cheap coupe. Very few go for the Hummer. But more importantly, among those who are not already committed to the company, many walk out of the showroom with nothing.



    Finally, others will note that whatever the reason for their choices, this company certainly doesn't need advice from the likes of me. Here, I tend to agree. Apple has been doing awesome things in so many arenas it's hard to object too vigorously. On the other hand, I'm so thoroughly convinced in the value of a mid-range headless Mac, it just makes it that much more perplexing that a company as smart as Apple has ignored it.
  • Reply 60 of 60
    sequitursequitur Posts: 1,901member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacJello View Post


    But this doesn't make sense. Of those who are committed to the company, and are forced to make a choice among sub-optimal options, many end up going for the cheap coupe. Very few go for the Hummer. But more importantly, among those who are not already committed to the company, many walk out of the showroom with nothing.



    I'm so thoroughly convinced in the value of a mid-range headless Mac, it just makes it that much more perplexing that a company as smart as Apple has ignored it.



    And to make matters worse, it could be the end of the line for the cheap coupe:

    http://www.fudzilla.com/index.php?op...7883&Itemid=38
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