Why can't Macs be expandable? (rant)

in General Discussion edited January 2014
Seriously, despite what Steve Jobs has done for Apple in recent years, I don't see why they have to remove all expandability from the iMac and iBook. Why can't the iMac have a removable graphics card in a 2x AGP slot? Why can't it have a PCI slot or two? Why can't the iBook have even just one PC card slot? Why can't you replace the HD in either one without voiding the warranty and risking destroying your computer?

Remember when every Mac had PCI slots, and the laptops had two PC card slots? I really don't think saying that they need to distance the consumer and pro lines is a legitimate answer, because they shouldn't have to make the consumer lines bad in order for the pro lines to seem good. If Apple makes good hardware (which they do), they shouldn't be afraid to make the consumer lines expandable. At least one PC card slot should be on the iBook, for things like Flash Media readers and the like. An easily replaceable hard drive should be on all computers, and there should be at least one PCI slot and an AGP slot on each one of their desktops. Crippling future usage is stupid. I'm not saying they have to make all their computers faster or more advanced, but at least add in a few more options for upgrades. No LCD iMac that anyone owns now will ever support USB2 at its full speed (not that I'd want it, but still). You can't get a fast, compact PCMCIA flash media reader for your iBook; instead you must use a much slower and larger USB reader (isn't the iBook supposed to be an ideal portable digital hub?).

Every single CRT iMac will be left behind when Jaguar is introduced and QE comes out. I don't think they'd go slower than they already do, but they won't benefit from QE. If Apple had some foresight, they would have put removable graphics card in them and then they could sell Mac video cards on their website and maybe even have a trade-in program.

Okay, I think that's enough ranting for me. Perhaps someone else would like to comment on Mac expandability?


  • Reply 1 of 19
    drewpropsdrewprops Posts: 2,321member
    Computers are a consumable good. If you wanted a computer for expansion you would buy a tower.

    Horses for courses.

    Apple defined broad market segments with targed products and suceeded fairly well.

    Laptops with replaceable video cards weighed HOW much?

    Jag will likely afford options for de-tuning these graphic niceties to afford older machines some functionality.

    There, think I touched all the bases.

  • Reply 2 of 19
    lucaluca Posts: 3,833member
    I'm not asking for replaceable video cards in laptops.

    As far as computer expandability, I was comparing current Apple products (only one of three desktops has PCI/AGP slots, only one of two laptops has a PC card slot) to ones of the past (every desktop had at least one PCI slot, usually more). It's just annoying that these computers cost upwards of $1,000 and they still can't seem to put a PCI or AGP slot in them. The low end tower is too expensive considering that the PCI and AGP slots, faster bus, and lack of built in display are the only major differences between them.
  • Reply 3 of 19
    undotwaundotwa Posts: 97member
    Expandability in iMacs/iBooks? Have not we gone over this already?

    PC cards in the iBook makes no sense. It already comes with 10/100 ethernet and a fax/net modem.

    The iMac is a consumer good. Most of the buyers of the iMac won't care if the iMac is upgradable or not. Why add to the bulk/cost?
  • Reply 4 of 19
    junkyard dawgjunkyard dawg Posts: 2,801member
    IMO, an AGP slot on the iMac would ge an enormous improvement. I would actually buy one if only the video card could be upgraded.

    I think the cube was the perfect trade-off between expandability and form factor/styling/disposable computer philosophy. There were so many other problems, namely price, that this was overlooked, but really the Cube had good expandability for it's form factor.

    Imagine being able to drop a bitchin' video card into an iMac. Millions of people would be able to upgrade their iMacs to take advantage of QE, without buying a new mac...DOEH! That's the exact problem. Apple needs those sales, they are in a precarious position where EVERY sale matters.
  • Reply 5 of 19
    wagneritewagnerite Posts: 174member
    yeah, mac sucks, it doesn't even have a floppy drive

    ok, for this stupid comment above, i'm gonna punish myself to backup my 120gig WD FW drive to floppy

    [ 07-15-2002: Message edited by: Wagnerite ]</p>
  • Reply 6 of 19
    donnydonny Posts: 231member
    I do not have a clue as to why things are this way now. You could say Apple is protecting its bottom line, and they wish people to buy new computers instead of upgrading their old ones. However, I think many people would consider purchasing Macintosh models more seriously if you were able to upgrade the basic components in a machine. People would still buy new Macs for better CPU performance and technologies. It would benifit their gaming reputation if the graphics cards were upgradable. I do not think the cost would be anything major to warrant a decision to excude upgradablity options.

    I hear far more people complain about the iMac not being an upgradable machine, and I have heard MANY people say theu would buy one, otherwise. I find it difficult to make a good argument on Apple targeting sales of consumer machines to people who, mainly, would never upgrade them. At least, they would have the machine upgraded in a few areas over time, if they did choose not to perform the upgrade themself. Pro users (Towers and PowerBooks) obviously have a great need for upgradability, and I do not think it even desrves a comparison here. It is a given, known fact, and those machines are upgradable and will be upgradable in the future. The questions is focused upon the consumer models, and I cannot think of a major reason to cut off such a large portion of Mac users. I think it hurts Apple's sales (I would buy an iMac if...), reputation (well..I can get a 500.00 PC with no upgrade limitation), etc. We rant on Microsoft for controlling, or asserting control, over its users. However, Apple is doing something similar in this area, and Mac users accept it. I do not like the situation either.
  • Reply 7 of 19
    Simple fact is: providing expandability costs money; providing safe and supported access to the innards takes time & costs money; increasing the number of things the user can get at & mess with means increasing the number of users getting at & messing w/ things - and that means that support costs will skyrocket.

    You could have what you're asking for, but do you really want your iMac to cost $500 more? 'Course, then you'd get to scream about how long it takes to get through to Apple support. You could angrily demand that Jobs devote an entire keynote to an explanation of why Apple had negligently failed to make it impossible for you to screw up you Mac, when all you wanted was access to the system components (!). <img src="graemlins/oyvey.gif" border="0" alt="[No]" /> <img src="graemlins/bugeye.gif" border="0" alt="[Skeptical]" /> <img src="graemlins/oyvey.gif" border="0" alt="[No]" />

    I mean, that would be fun, right? You wouldn't be bored anymore, right? So you'd be happy?

    [ 07-15-2002: Message edited by: Capt. Obvious ]</p>
  • Reply 8 of 19
    lucaluca Posts: 3,833member
    [quote]Originally posted by undotwa:

    <strong>Expandability in iMacs/iBooks? Have not we gone over this already?

    PC cards in the iBook makes no sense. It already comes with 10/100 ethernet and a fax/net modem.

    The iMac is a consumer good. Most of the buyers of the iMac won't care if the iMac is upgradable or not. Why add to the bulk/cost?</strong><hr></blockquote>

    My PowerBook G3 has a modem and ethernet built in too. It has not one but two PC card slots. I use one of them for my FireWire PC card. If I didn't have PC card slots, I wouldn't be able to afford my iPod. When I bought my iPod, I didn't have the money to get it and a new, Firewire equipped computer. So I got a PC card. Three years down the line, I'm sure there will be a cool new iDevice that I really want, but I won't be able to get because it uses a new connection that isn't on the computer I'll have then, and I won't have any way of adding it because I don't even have a freaking PC card slot (which is present on every single other laptop I know of). There, Apple just lost a sale because they didn't allow for any expandability.
  • Reply 9 of 19
    g4dudeg4dude Posts: 1,016member
    Seems like lots of people here have been brainwashed by Steve. It doesn't cost $500 to put an AGP slot in an iMac. I can't remember who said that but they need a good punch in the stomach.

    And all this "consumers don't need this or that" bullshit is just that; bullshit. I can go out and buy a $499 eMachines computer that has an AGP slot and that is a consumer computer. Are you saying that is is okay for eMachines to be ahead of Apple? I don't want my iMac to be obsolete in a year, I wanna be able to pop a GeForce 4 in there, oh wait, I guess that must make me a "pro" user <img src="graemlins/oyvey.gif" border="0" alt="[No]" /> Steve has taken this form over function thing WAY too far. It's getting obscene. I shouldn't have to pay $3000 just to get a PCI slot. That is rediculous. What Apple should really do is introduce a consumer tower and keep the iMac as well, then all types of people would be covered.

    All Apple laptops should have a PC card slot. Most people don't like carrying around extra devices to plug into a USB port. I think since Apple tells people to use iPhoto and other software, that they should include a PCMCIA slot so you can put in a CF or Memory stick, or another type of media reader. And voiding your warranty just 'cause you want more storage is a terrible thing to do to customers.
  • Reply 10 of 19
    frawgzfrawgz Posts: 547member
    I think Apple's consumer machines should each include just one PCI slot, at the very least. Now, the vast majority of consumers won't touch it or ever know it's there, but it adds so much value for the people who would take advantage of it.

    Just look at the TAM owners who to this day continue to extract every little dollar out of their machines by utilizing its PCI slot. USB/FireWire, ATI Radeon with DVI, etc.
  • Reply 11 of 19
    matsumatsu Posts: 6,558member
    Laptops are what they are and not terribly expandable, though, thanks to the plethora of 3rd party makers, even this is changing (in the x86 world at least).

    However, a desktop should at the very last have a full speed AGP-SLOT! and a CPU daughter-card. Even Consumer AIO's.
  • Reply 12 of 19
    [quote]Originally posted by G4Dude:

    <strong>Seems like lots of people here have been brainwashed by Steve. It doesn't cost $500 to put an AGP slot in an iMac. I can't remember who said that but they need a good punch in the stomach.</strong><hr></blockquote>

    If you're talking about this...

    "You could have what you're asking for, but do you really want your iMac to cost $500 more?"

    ...then I'd be the one you want to punch in the stomach.

    Rather than sticking our tongues out @ each other, why don't you figure out where an AGP slot could go in the new iMac? I've been trying to think of where to put one, how "The Average User" could get to it without getting to anything naughty.

    Thing is, I think you underestimate the amount of effort and ingenuity that goes into something like an iMac. The people who make this stuff happen are highly trained and very good; they get paid comfortable salaries to keep them around. If Apple were a church, then perhaps the staff professionals there would live like monks & nuns, chaste and poor, working diligently in service to The Mac Faithful, but they don't.

    Just for gigles: my point in the post of your offense was that the level of upgradability being requested/demanded would lead to design compromises that would seriously and negatively affect the machine; this would inevitably lead to (even create opportunities for) "detrimental user interaction" (to put it delicately) - or DUI for short.

    If you ever knew anyone who did technical support work, you'd know that there's a way to screw something up, users will find it. Where there's NOT a way to screw things up, users will find them anyway. Provide LOTS of ways to screw things up, and you have a customer support nightmare of company-killing proportions. The whole point behind the iProducts is to minimise ways in which people can get at things & screw them up.

    Consider the Performa (*shudder*)

    The costs for repairs, replacement parts, replacement units and gratis shipping would be staggering, and would weaken Apple at a time when they need that money in the bank; but they would be as nothing compared to the black eye they'd take in the marketplace. In the current weak economy, with the deer-in-the-headlights approach with which the markets traditionaly greet anything related to Apple, it almost certainly would be the real end of the road. Microsoft would have the perfect excuse to terminate Mac development, and it's all over but the flushing. They might recover eventually, but it would be yet another long, slow, brutal climb that would leave Apple broke & exhausted - and with market share numbers that would make 5% seems like the glory years.

    In short, the iProducts are not expandable because they aren't supposed to be. They are not supposed to be expandable because this keeps costs down. Design costs, parts costs, and support costs. That's why the PowerMacs are called the Pro line, because they are best off in the hands of people who are experienced in & comfortable with computers, inside and out.

    As far as 'what consumers need' (or don't need), I'll leave that to them.
  • Reply 13 of 19
    In certain cities hi-speed (128 Kbps) wireless internet access is available. To use it, you need a PC card slot on your laptop. Adding a PC card slot wouldn't break the bank, or have the enormous engineering challenges of sticking an AGP slot in something as small as an iMac.

    There are too many times Apple is clearly guilty of deliberate limitation to imagine good faith in this instance. iBooks deliberately have monitor-spanning disabled. In fact, another thread has pointed out that monitor spanning is enabled and works during boot-up. iBooks are unecessarily limited to 16MB of video RAM so they won't have as much as the TiBooks. The original iBook had a 3GB drive when 6 or 9 was standard on even cheap PC laptops. The Apple DVD player deliberately plays only to one video line at once on an iBook. The iBook wasn't designed to be run closed, though it easily could have been. The iBook has 128 MB of RAM soldered into its first SODIMM slot, so it can only take 640 MB of memory. A second SODIMM mounting bracket would have cost pennies, if that. The iBook uses a 700 Mhz G3 instead of, say, a 450 Mhz G4. The bus is also deliberately limited.

    I still think the iBook is the most valuable laptop available per dollar, but there are good reasons to buy a TiBook, and most of them are deliberate undermining of the consumer section. You can argue that some of the limitations I've limited saave money, but lack of monitor spanning, other strange limitations to external video, soldered RAM, the slower bus, a G3 instead of an older G4, and others I've no doubt forgotten have no manufacturing cost justification.
  • Reply 14 of 19
    lucaluca Posts: 3,833member
    I just recently read the rumor log on lowendmac.com that has a record of most of the pre-Macworld rumors since early 2000. People were speculating on a 100 MHz bus for the iBook (back when it was 300 and 366 MHz), 133 MHz bus for the iMac, G4 for the iMac, and a 166 MHz bus for the PowerMac even way back then. More than a year later, they FINALLY got the 100 MHz bus in the iBook. They also mentioned that they expected a SuperDrive or Combo Drive in the high end iMac after MWNY 2001.

    I don't know, I like Apple's products more than any PC, but I just hate how they deliberately limit their products to make them not interfere with each other. They seem to be hypocritical lately - they say that Windows takes away your right to choose anything about your computer, but then they go ahead and decide what computer will suit you best, allowing no room for customization.

    Not allowing the iBook to have monitor spanning, or making it so it can't run closed, or limiting the mirroring resolution to 1024x768, or any other thing like that is a lot like digital cameras putting a cap on how long a movie can be or not including a microphone for recording sound. It wouldn't cost anything to allow you to take movie clips longer than 60 seconds, and it also would cost very very little to add a little microphone in, but they don't do it anyway.

    I reiterate my previous statement: If Apple is confident in the superiority of their hardware, they shouldn't be afraid to add some expandability in. Crippling the machine is not equal to making it "user friendly." They really need to come out with more advanced stuff if they want more customers, and if they purposely cripple their machines, how are they going to do that?

    Edit: Yay! 200th post.

    [ 07-15-2002: Message edited by: Luca Rescigno ]</p>
  • Reply 15 of 19
    matsumatsu Posts: 6,558member
    I think, this time, Captn. with all due respect, you're wrong, sir. hehehe...

    It is not easier to make a fully integrated iMac. The lengths to which Apple has gone on their consumer models leans more towards built-in obsolesence than streamlined support services. Apple charges a lot for an extended warrantee, and there is no reason to equate a modicum of internal upgradability with devestating support expenses. Forget PCI, faster firewire (if we ever get it) would easily usurp ALL of PCI's consumer, and most of it's professional, uses. A daugther-card PPC and an AGP SLOT. When has Apple EVER warranteed 3rd party alterations?

    Firstly, the CPU.

    The overwhelming majority of consumer owners WOULD NOT not open their macs (thereby voiding the warantee) during the Apple-Care life of their machines. This is moot, by the time someone decides to make this kind of upgrade, 99% of the machines in question will be out of warrantee.

    Now the GPU.

    This may get upgraded inthe first three years of a machines life, maybe more than once. Would it really be so hard for a company that has designed the BEST, and I mean the very best, enclosures in the world, a company that gave us the cube, the iDome, the icebook, and the PM... would it be so hard for this company to make turn their talents to the standard AGP slot and make it as accesible as the RAM and airport slots? Of course not.

    The expansion limits of consumer macs have NOTHING to do with support, a little to do with ease of use, and most everything else to do with profit.

    From Apple's end there is absolutely no worry concerning support. If you open up the bits Apple doesn't want you to touch, you void the warrantee, simple. But when the warantee is done, you can eek a few more years out of the machine. That is what Apple doesn't want, and any other explanation is just plain bunk.
  • Reply 16 of 19
    lucaluca Posts: 3,833member
    Maybe I'll just avoid spending money on Apple. I haven't actually bought anything from Apple myself; all of my computers so far have been handed down to me from my parents.

    There are features missing from the iBook that are present on every single other notebook computer that I know of. Even the sub-$1000 discount PCs. Things like PC card slots (usually two, but I'll settle for one), running while closed, replaceable hard drive, etc. If someone wants these features, you'll have to either do what Apple wants (spend tons on a new PowerBook), do what Apple wants (live without the features by getting an iBook), or do what they don't want you to do (buy a used PowerBook that matches the current iBook's specs but with the extra features). I can use Macs without Apple ever seeing any money from me.

    Looks like I'll be waiting until the next TiBook revision, and then I'll pick up a used 550 or 667 instead of the iBook.
  • Reply 17 of 19
    matsumatsu Posts: 6,558member
    1 PC card is enough. You don't need two. What they should have done is utilized a standard PC card slot and just added an extra contact on the inside (for the built in antennae) When you plug in an airport card (from Apple) the extra contacts allow it to utilize the antennae. But, should you require a solution not available from Apple, you could use the slot for a standard PC-Card.

    Firewire, USB, ethernet, modem, A/V-out, and VGA really do take care of all the other laptop connection needs. Still, as with wireless Internet service, a PC-card makes a nice future expansion periph. Who knows if some 3rd party can rig something up to work in the airport slot itself?
  • Reply 18 of 19
    drewpropsdrewprops Posts: 2,321member
    Now I'll agree with the fact that some of these things come off looking like toys with certain aspects of their design. Pretty looks winning out over functionality is always disappointing.
  • Reply 19 of 19
    lucaluca Posts: 3,833member
    And the worst thing about many of the limitations they build into their computers is that not only would it cost NOTHING for them to add them, but it would never cause the consumer lines to take sales away from the pro lines! Think about it. Does someone say, "Hmm... I want to get a laptop, and the iBook looks great for me... but I would kinda like to have a PC card slot, so TiBook it is!"? Unless they're really stupid, no. If I needed a TiBook for video editing work, and all of a sudden the iBook got monitor spanning and the ability to run while closed, would I buy the iBook instead? No way! The features absent from the consumer lines are not enough to justify purchasing from the pro line for $1000 more, they're only just enough to annoy whoever owns a consumer machine.
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