Is the iMac doomed?

in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
Reading the financial reports of today, revenues from iMacs are down 25% compared to one year ago while Powerbooks are up.

Somehow, I got the impression that the form factor of the iMacs with their flatpanel display is not focused enough:

- if you want a desktop, you are going to buy a tower

- if you want an AIO, you are going to buy an eMac

- if you want a sleek, space-saving computer, you are going to buy a 'book.

There just seems a shrinking nieche for an AIO that wants to be as flexible as a notebook yet as powerful as a tower - especially since the price/performance rating is just soso compared to the eMac or iBook.

Is the iMac just a cube reloaded, overdesigned and overpriced for its target audience?


  • Reply 1 of 53
    applenutapplenut Posts: 5,768member
    Yes, it is doomed.
  • Reply 2 of 53
    chinneychinney Posts: 1,019member

    Originally posted by applenut

    Yes, it is doomed.

    No, it is not doomed. Lot's of people like flat panel desktop, but don't need to or want to move all the way to a tower.

    For the current price/performance ratio, I agree, however, that the eMac is a better deal.

    I think that the iMac is a good design, but it needs an upgrade and a bit of a price drop. Apple needs the iMac, so I hope that this happens.
  • Reply 3 of 53
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,273member
    There is simply no room for the iMac. It was nice in its inception as a lowcost and foolproof setup Mac. Now it starts low but ends up growing too ambitious at the high end. Apple would be best to keep the eMac at the lowend. And create a small lesser expandable Mac that bridges the gap between the eMac and the Powermac. It probably should be something with 1AGP(ADC/DVI) slot one PCI. Single Processor only and standard I/O like USB/Firewire/10/100/1000 etc.

    That would Allow Apple to move to Duals only in the future Powermac lineup and push clockspeed while the xMac could be the solid midrange machine Apple needs.
  • Reply 4 of 53
    cubitcubit Posts: 846member
    The eMac and the flat-panel iMacs are totally different in design, concept and "user experience." They are in different worlds. The eMac is an armored original iMac with G4 inside and therefore where the original iMac was headed. The new iMacs (of which I have one early and still very practical 15" model) with maxed memory is a wonderful, easy to use, ergonomic and attractive machine. Of course, I loved Cubes too.

    I don't think they are doomed, though with the 17" screens, I don't really see any reason for the 15" model. Knock the price down $200 and it will fly.

    What the new G5 towers lack compared to the El Capitan towers (with or without chrome) is "fuzziness". They are industrial chic machines, I fear. And that will not appeal overlly to the home user or light industry i.e. office) environment. The speed and power of the processors and the memory and storage with sound video etc are all more than adequate and indeed challenging enough to keep most users fully occupied buying peripherals for several years to come. Keep tweeking Apple.

    I saw a wonderful product at the NYC Creative Pro expo called iGo from Rains Designs, which doesn't go anywhere, but is instead, a modular desk/stand for iMac that did pretty well at MacWorld SF. It is very boutique and gallery oriented, but can that possibly be a bad thing for iMacs?

    iGo4mac Link

    There is a sit-down desk version on the right is even better. I'm not pushing the produce, and have nothing to do with it, but I think those who underestimate the critical importance of design stylei n Mac's sales appeal are missing something big. Oh, of course, I do own several Cubes, so what do I know>
  • Reply 5 of 53
    buonrottobuonrotto Posts: 6,368member
    The eMac did creep into Jobs' and Ive's dream of where the AIO and consumer desktops are headed. Now that they've made the eMac available to the masses, the iMac is squeezed for a market position. It's not that it's a bad design or even that it's not what people want, it's that the eMac is cheaper -- where the iMac should be by now, but Apple couldn't wait for the price to drop and moved the eMac into that spot. For that reason, it's in the spot that was occupied bt the Cube previously, and look how well it did. That also why another line between the iMac and towers would be squeezed for an audience.
  • Reply 6 of 53
    cubitcubit Posts: 846member
    Good points, BuonRotto. I indeed agree that the original iMac, in snow and bullet-proofed for schools and then brain transplanted to G4 would have sufficed. It is just that I've not bought eMac, Towers, or TiBooks, but have Cubes, iMacs (Snow & flatpanel), ice iBooks and Blackbird Pismos. Of course I do go back to 128k Macs too and bought plenty of clunkers along the way (no 900s or IIfxs), including the elegant IIci?still the best of the best with the AV display! Call me "Niche-man" I guess. What can you expect from an historian anyway? Especially one who works in Japanese?8)
  • Reply 7 of 53
    buonrottobuonrotto Posts: 6,368member
    Don't get me wrong, I love my LCD iMac, probably the best computer I've ever owned.
  • Reply 8 of 53
    yevgenyyevgeny Posts: 1,148member
    The iMac is not doomed. It is in need of a refresh. Then again, what in Apple's lineup (970 aside) isn't in need of a refresh???
  • Reply 9 of 53
    jcgjcg Posts: 777member
    the iMac needs to be faster than it now is at the price of the eMac. Also, to really grow consumer market share, Apple needs a headless Mac below the price of the eMac, it dosnt have to be fast or have a lot of bells and wistles, just cheap...think desktop version of the next iBook.
  • Reply 10 of 53
    cubitcubit Posts: 846member
    When you look at the lineup now, it is rough to pick a new desktop. I certainly cannot justify moving from a G4 Cube 500 at home with 22 Cinema display and an iMac 15" at the office (second machine there is another Cube and 15" display I use just for Japanese. Anybody interested? to the G5 desktop quite yet. I went round and round on el Capitain, but just couldn't see adding that bulk and sound to my workspace just so I could have it. I'm not talking taste here, alone, but trying to think rationally. I WANTED to buy one because it was fastest, dual-processored and all, but it was a step down in practicability. The new iMac at work replaced a G3 Beige and my AV Monitor so was both a major upgrade in both performance and style. (Btw my spouse uses an iMac Snow and is 100% satisifed??i.e. I could never talk her into buying a tower after I talked her out of the IIci). Despite the great price, I could never go back to CRTs, so where does that leave folks like me?

    I think that is why PowerBook sales have been up, up. I've got the desktop covered, but now I want power on the fly; darn hard to give up those big screens though.\
  • Reply 11 of 53
    powerdocpowerdoc Posts: 8,123member
    The i mac is not doomed. The articulated screen is genius. I know some friends who have bought them, just to have this feature.

    One of my friends who his an urologist said he is very happy with it. He use it for his job, on his desk. He write infos on it : the medical folder, and when he want so show some video to explain a procedure, he just turn the screen. You should notice that a mirroring screen do not do the same, because you don't want to show everything you wrote in your medical folder.
  • Reply 12 of 53
    lemon bon bonlemon bon bon Posts: 2,383member
    The iMac2 is doing better than the Cube but far worse than the original imac. Falling far short of the peak of over 700, 000 for the original iMac and short of the 400, 000 plus average quarter to quarter. The inclusion of the eMac masks problems with Apple's confused and lacklustre consumer desktops.

    If the iMac2 had been aggressively ramped down in price like the original had then it would have built upon its momentum at launch. No fruity flavours for the iMac2 over a whopping 13 month stagnation.

    Apple's laptop percentage looks so good because the desktops have been so lame despite the 'portable trend' in increased sales.

    The general desktop range needs a damn good sorting. The POWERMac G5 heralds a comeback trail. 04 and 0.09 970s can't come quick enough for the entire desktop range. By then, POWERMac G5 will need a refresh and consumer desktops will be draining their stagnant waters.

    I think Apple needs a fundamentally different product from the eMac and iMac2. Replacing them? Not necessarily. A cheap consumer product...without the awkwardness of non-upgradable screens...non-industry standard sizes. A cheap headless Mac...white plastic box with an Apple chrome logo on it. No frills.

    Rip the screen off an ibook and sell it as an iSlab that you can plug into your own monitor for £495. A 'mini-desktop'. A thin client on its side? Very space saving for edu'.

    There's many ways Apple could go cheap and headless and beat the eMac on price and spec.

    Lemon Bon Bon
  • Reply 13 of 53
    i, fredi, fred Posts: 125member
    one imagines that in another 'revolutionary design process' the iMac 3 will be the headless iMac with choice of displays.....They'll ooh and aah about it, but it will be the Cube, essentially......
  • Reply 14 of 53
    i think the flatpantel iMac will be with us for a while since it is the bridge between the consumers and the professionals. the eMac is only competitive with an iMac in price and power, but not presence. the eMac's presence (sans Tilt and Swivel) is to be a rock solid educational lab machine. imagine 7 year-olds playing (uh, i mean, learning) with an iMac... the display arm will be broken off in 15-20 mins. but an eMac with its girth and physical stability will prevent any distractions from learning. but the iMac is a great machine for people, as in more than one person. Powerdoc brings up a good point of how easy it is to share the display with clients, colleagues, and friends. also iMac's are much better than eMac's for the desk-space conscious.

    Apple does need to draw more distinct lines between consumers, prosumers, and professionals. consumer products should have low-end G4's (eMac), prosumer products should have high-end G4's (iBook, iMac, remaining G4 towers), and pros of course have the glory of the G5's (PowerBook, PowerMacs). the prices would also be separated more clearly since they reflect the power of each system. the confusion of the eMac and iMac comes from their close price and power.

    lastly, the only way a headless mac will become popular is if Apple comes up with a cheap display. i could not see myself buying a display that costs as much or even more than the actual computer. it would be better to just buy an AIO like an eMac (crt display + computer) or an iMac (flat panel display + computer).

    edited, thanks CubeDude.
  • Reply 15 of 53
    kcmackcmac Posts: 1,051member
    The iMac has been continually squeezed by the slow progress of the Powermac (thanks moto) and the introduction of the eMac. We were going to buy a new iMac (currently have 400 DVSE) the last version but it just didn't go up in speed or bus size enough.

    Now we are torn because of the G5. We really like the all in one design of the iMac (can't stand the eMac) and don't want to have to spend the money on a screen and a tower.

    It doesn't appear feasible that the iMac will use a G5 for quite awhile. Since we buy a new desktop about every 3 to 4 years, it is really hard seeing a G5 and buying a G4.

    Apple has really put the iMac in an awkward position in my opinion. The sooner they get a G5 in this thing, the better.
  • Reply 16 of 53
    cubedudecubedude Posts: 1,556member

    Originally posted by soberbrain

    Apple does need to draw more distinct lines between consumers, prosumers, and professionals. consumer products should have low-end G4's (eMac), prosumer products should have high-end G4's (iBook, iMac, remaining G4 towers), and prosumers of course have the glory of the G5's (PowerBook, PowerMacs). the prices would also be separated more clearly since they reflect the power of each system. the confusion of the eMac and iMac comes from their close price and power.

    I think you mean "pro's of course have the glory of the G5's."
  • Reply 17 of 53
    pscatespscates Posts: 5,847member
    DORK ALERT I glanced at this thread and thought it said "is the iMac domed?" and was about to write a response along the lines of "well, it depends on which model...the original CRT iMacs were more of a jellybean/gumdrop look, but the flat pa..."

    Then I re-read the thread title...
  • Reply 18 of 53
    applenutapplenut Posts: 5,768member
    The problem is that the iMac is not the product it was originally created to be.

    When the iMac was released it matched the low end professional machine's specs nearly exact and ssold with a suitable screen and other consumer features for a set low price.

    233 Mhz


    32 MB RAM

    6 GB HD

    ATI Rage IIC

    56K Modem

    10/100 Ethernet

    24X CD-ROM

    15 inch Display


    it sold because for that one price it was a great all around consumer machine with a consumer focus and a great consumer software package. It also sold because of design and later because of personal preference in design. Apple now, doesn't seem to use these beliefs/guidelines in the iMac.

    The iMac i think could be a great seller again, but Apple has to refocus it on its target market. They can't try to cover both the lowend consumer and the prosumer with it.

    My preferred specs for the next revision would be this:

    1.6Ghz G5

    800 Mhz Bus

    256 MB RAM

    80GB HD


    Geforce FX 5200 64 MB

    Gigabit Ethernet

    56K Modem

    Better supplied speaker system, perhaps even include the iSub

    17 inch LCD


    Package it with a new and refocused software package consisting of a new Apple Productivity Suite.... AppleWorks 7?..... Print Shop..... The Sims.... Quicken......the iSuite..... WorldBook......another fun family friendly game or two (Backyard Baseball?).....some other home related apps (Williams Sonoma, etc.)

    I understand based on the current 1999 introductory G5 price these specs, which virtually mirror the G5 tower, at this price seem far fetched but.... G5 prices should eventually come down a bit..... despite that I still realize that Apple's G5 pricing leaves little support that they could do an imac this cheap..... so, perhaps Apple could ship a 1.42 Ghz G4 in it instead although doing so wouldn't be too cool IMHO.
  • Reply 19 of 53
    kcmackcmac Posts: 1,051member

    I would buy that right now at the current $1799 price. (Superdrive)
  • Reply 20 of 53
    reynardreynard Posts: 160member
    Honestly, I was concerned about the desirability of the iMac before I read this thread. One on hand, I think its a clever and attractive design. I would have bought one but for a great deal on a 733 PM + ASD about 18 months ago. (education store.)

    So why doesnt it sell like hot cakes? I dont think its just the lack of upgraded chips from Motorola...

    Its the screen!

    An all-in-one CRT is fine cause the monitor development is mature. CRTs arent getting better and cheaper every 3-6 months. LCDS are. The iMac is kinda pricey for a consumer who is accustomed to $800 Celeron based machines. Yet for "prosumers" the idea of getting married to that good-but-not-great screen for 3 years is too heavy a commitment.

    Even me, a consumer, wants a 20" LCD. I was thrilled with my 17" ASD for almost a year but now after seeing larger, better LCDs at the same price, Im glad my monitor isnt attached to my computer.

    Hey, how about a headless iMac?! Has there EVER been a thread on that topic?

    But sincerely, all you young pro-sumers out there, aren't you a little reluctant to commit to your girlfriends and to the iMacs screen?
Sign In or Register to comment.