Do you really want another iMac?

in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
I have a question for you folks, and I hope I don't get attacked for asking it. That said ...

Do you really want another all-in-one iMac to replace the current iMac next year? It sounds like quite a few people are upset with the all-in-one nature of the iMacs. Some people wish they could change the monitor, some people wish they could change the graphics card, some people wish there where a variety of expansion slots similar to what you find on a PowerMac G4 or G5 tower.

So, wouldn't it be a good idea for Apple to make an "affordable" tower? The PowerMac G4 has a GREAT price right now, but most people are saying that Apple will get rid of it once they sell the current inventory. So, once the current PowerMac G4 towers are gone, we'll have only all-in-ones and a VERY expensive tower for desktop Apples.

Is there room in the Apple lineup for a cheap tower AND all-in-ones ... or are we doomed to all-in-ones if we can't afford a top-of-the-line PowerMac?


  • Reply 1 of 72
    yevgenyyevgeny Posts: 1,148member
    Yes, I want to see another iMac. If the towers are too expensive, then that is a different issue. There needs to be a simple, elegant, relatively powerful, and affordable all in one system at the bottom end of Apple's lineup, and it sure had better not be just the eMac (IMHO an ugly, bulky machine).
  • Reply 2 of 72
    neilwneilw Posts: 77member
    With that said, there is also IMHO a large and ready market for an affordable tower, or "headless iMac." There are compelling reasons for some to want to avoid an all-in-one solution, and equally compelling reasons (size and cost) to want something less than a full-blown PowerMac.

    I continue to be puzzled by Apple's failure to address this. To me this is the one glaring hole in their line-up, and has been ever since they adopted the four-quadrant product line.

    BTW, I count myself as someone for whom a low-end desktop would be perfect. I don't need all the expandability of a G5, but want flexibility in monitor selection.
  • Reply 3 of 72
    yes i want another imac,but maybe in a different form and or configuration than what we currently have.

    apple should make ALL imacs under 1000 dollars,period.

    they should change the design.

    other than that i have no problems with the current imacs.

  • Reply 4 of 72
    tak1108tak1108 Posts: 222member
    They NEED a headless low end mac. Period. Make it flat or make it square. Just give me something under $999 with an AGP port, and 1 PCI-x slot. build in slot loading super drive or combo. See my other post about the imac.

    Firewire drives are now standard to have outside the box. Get rid of the eMac and make the current iMac lower priced.
  • Reply 5 of 72
    amorphamorph Posts: 7,112member
    I'd like another iMac.

    I'm aware that there's a small but vocal cadre of people who can't stand AIOs. Nevertheless, they're the better choice for most people who - whether or not they could conceivably learn to set up a PC - just want the thing to plug in and go.

    AIOs also give Apple a lot of design latitude, the ability to engineer quiet machines (PCI and/or AGP slots require fans and make predicting and controlling airflow complicated), and they keep costs down because once you've got the assembly line tooled to make the machine, there are hardly any variables.

    The iMac is what I'd have bought myself if it had had an LCD when I was looking. You don't have to be a novice to appreciate what it offers.
  • Reply 6 of 72
    smirclesmircle Posts: 1,035member
    Actually, I believe the sunflower iMacs are dinosaurs and should not procreate.

    I loved the CRT-iMacs back then, because they were inexpensive and targeted at consumers. The TFT iMacs are neither inexpensive nor really targeted at consumers since the iBook offers the additional value of mobility.

    To me, the iBooks are the true followers of the CRT iMacs as an AIO consumer machine. I don't see the need for a desktop AIO any longer. No matter what Apple does with the iMac, it will never again sell in such numbers as it did when it was still G3.
  • Reply 7 of 72
    my god, i can't imagine somebody that doesn't want to see what the next iMac will look like!
  • Reply 8 of 72
    powerdocpowerdoc Posts: 8,123member
    I would love to see a new I mac with a ZIF GPU. it would be lovely to be able to change of GPU. People will be stuck with the same CPU, but at least they could upgrade a little their macs.

    For Apple, adding just a ZIF for the GPU would not be a big deal in term of price and money.

    However i doubt that they will do that. SANTA CLARA KLAUS DO YOU EAR ME ?
  • Reply 9 of 72
    lucaluca Posts: 3,833member
    I think people are pushing for another iMac redesign not because they are unhappy with the current design, but because they're just frustrated with the price and more importantly, the price/performance ratio. If it's impossible to get the current design under $1000 for the base model and under $1500 for the highest end model (and those would be maximum prices), they should replace it with a design that is nearly as elegant but cheaper to build. $1300-$1800 is NOT consumer territory, so something has to change.

    However, I love the design. I wish it were $300-$500 cheaper, and then I'd buy one. But they're way too expensive right now. It's really a shame that such a good design is going to waste (in my opinion) because of the number of people buying eMacs, used PowerMacs, or PCs because they can't get a well priced iMac from Apple.

    I'd rather they keep the design the same, myself. It's so cool. But they have to cut the price by a lot before it'll be successful. The price SHOULD have been cut far earlier so as not to get the iMac it's current reputation as a nice looking but overpriced computer. Either that, or Apple could have released the eMac to replace the CRT iMac at its price points ($799-$1499), and waited on the LCD iMac until they were able to get the price of it down to the same range. As it happened, they managed to get the shock factor of releasing such an awesome computer (the eMac would have been kind of cool if it were released back then but it wouldn't have gotten much press), but they've had to resort to stop-gap measures to allow people to buy affordable Macs. I just hope they don't consider the eMac a permanent solution to the iMac's price problem. Again... something must change. Maybe the eMac will be discontinued for non-education purchases along with a quiet iMac price drop, just like what happened with the CRT iMac.
  • Reply 10 of 72
    peharripeharri Posts: 169member

    Originally posted by Luca Rescigno

    they should replace it with a design that is nearly as elegant but cheaper to build. $1300-$1800 is NOT consumer territory, so something has to change.

    This creates all sorts of images. What about a "retro" iMac which looks similar to the current model, but with a bare CRT, Brazil-style, on a stalk above the dome instead of an LCD.

    "Introducing the new iMac - in 7", 9", 12" models"

    Works for me....
  • Reply 11 of 72
    coscos Posts: 99member
    Apple has a bit of a dilemma on their hands. They know that if they make low-end towers, it has the potential to eat into their mid-range and high-end towers, so Apple makes up for this by selling low-end machines that require you to buy a monitor.

    Apple knows that prices can be dropped, but they don't want to kill themselves off like so many PC manufacturers are doing by accepting margins that are less than 1 percent. So again, they compete by selling hardware that is competitively priced to comparably equipped PCs by forcing you to buy more.

    Apple can either make their hardware less expensive all the way around and make less money or they can make their computers more configurable which of course would eat into their mid-range and high-end margins and therefore make less money.

    Regardless, something has to give. One of the two options has to be adopted if Apple is to remain competitive.

    I think I may have an idea for Apple that would allow them to essentially be able to have their cake and eat it to while not loosing to much on profits, but at the same time filling the hole in their product line that was previously mentioned in this thread and even build some added benefit to their product line... all of which leads to a new iMac idea that I would like to put forward and have you all tell me what you think of it.

    The cube would have been a great design, but it was simply priced wrong and also didn't really meet any direct market need other than those looking for a mac without a monitor.

    My idea is to make something like the cube (although my design idea has it looking more cylindrical than cube-shaped. The primary difference is that (unlike the cube) the cylinder would be a very VERY basic system. It would have a single port to plug in a monitor, no 3d graphics card, very little expansion (1 firewire port & 1 USB).

    The cylinder would be stackable with expansion plates all of which would be thinner than the base unit, but thick enough to house the expansion item that was required. One expansion plate for example would offer more external expansion ports, another would add graphics cards or, another for an optical drive, wireless etc etc etc.

    Each plate would be sold by Apple but would be the product of various coordinated efforts between Apple and many hardware manufacturers. Apple would retain quality control this way by keeping everything in-house, and it would loose little financially as it would bee the primary benefactor of hardware upgrades because they would be the ones selling them.

    Such a solution would also allow the company to gain a configurability advantage that would be very consumer friendly, as plates could be easily snapped on.

    The consumer could buy as much or as little computer as he or she sees fit without it having a significant impact on the Apple's higher-end machines. To configure one of these stackable computers with the same components as a high-end machine... would cost the same.

    I envision the design (when plates are stackked on the base unit) looking something like an iSight standing on its end.

    What do you think?
  • Reply 12 of 72
    messiahmessiah Posts: 1,689member
    I think we are missing the point.

    The eMac has the entry level market pretty much sown-up. It can do everything that a FP iMac can do, but at a considerably lower cost. It's great value for money, and it's ideal for the home and education markets. I think Apple has hit the nail on the head with the eMac.

    The G5 has the power user market pretty much sown-up. There aren't many complaints about the current G5's speed, and if Apple makes good on its promise the G5 is going to scale quickly and it's going to be a real rollercoaster ride. Again, I think Apple has hit the nail on the head.

    So is there a middle ground left? Well yes and no. My point is that the FP iMac isn't aimed at users who are looking for a particular level of performance - I think it's aimed at users who appreciate the product design and are willing to pay a premium for it. Therefore by it's very nature it'll never be the mass market product that the original G3 iMac was - that's what the eMac is for.

    So I think the new iMac will exist outwith what we consider are the conventional markets and rely on outstanding product design alone. So it really doesn't matter what Apple puts in it. I bet you most people who consider purchasing a FP iMac couldn't tell you how it compares to an eMac or G4 tower in terms of componentry. They just see it and want it. That's what the current FP iMac is doing at the moment. From a product design standpoint it has still to be bettered - and nobody has even come close. It's a small niche market, but it's what Apple does best, and whilst people might not buy the FP iMac they all think it's 'cool'. It's a mindshare flagship for the consumer market, and a status symbol.

    It's the iPod of the computer world. But whereas a lot of people are willing to pony-up for the iPod, there aren't a lot of people willing to pony-up that much extra for the FP iMac.

    That's my take on the iMac - but there again I could be a complete idiot!

    But back to the middle ground. Isn't that what the G4 tower is for? There seem to still be an awful lot of them still around. Does anyone know if Apple is still manufacturing them on the quiet? Or are they simply not selling at all?
  • Reply 13 of 72
    amorphamorph Posts: 7,112member
    In the analyst conference call, Fred Anderson identified the single processor PowerMac G4 and the big duallie as the top sellers within the line, so my guess is that Apple isn't just burning through old stock. They're actually building them.

    I think part of the reason there's so much speculation about the low end is that the pro area is all taken care of (how amazing it is to be able to say that!), and so now it's the low end that looks kind of chaotic. The PowerMac G4 is a good deal where it is now, but something tells me it's not a long term solution - although how long it lasts really depends on how much pressure there is on Apple to keep an OS 9 bootable solution around.

    The eMac wasn't intended for the consumer market (say otherwise, Matsu, and you're basically calling a lot of people liars who have no reason to lie about this) and it has a strange but successful existence as the educational machine for people who don't want Apple's preferred educational machine (the iBook), and the consumer machine for people who don't want Apple's favorite consumer machine (the iMac). This is not a bad way to make a living, but it seems like something that's due to be either replaced or renovated.

    Also, the iMac has gone wandering off in unexpected directions. Before it was released, Fred Anderson told analysts to watch for when Apple could sell an LCD machine for $999, and that's when the iMac would move to LCD. When it appeared at $1299, then $1399, I thought they still had $999 as a goal. Maybe they did; but they missed it, and how. I wonder how much of this was to differentiate the iMac and the eMac, since the latter's move into the iMac's territory (by popular demand!) must have sent people scurrying to find comfortable niches for both.

    So, basically, it looks to me like the PowerMac G4 sort of fell into its current role; the eMac sort of fell into its current role; and the iMac sort of fell into its current role. The iBook, the PowerBook and the PowerMac G5 are all clearly and powerfully designed for their roles. So the question is, how long with the company whose name and reputation are synonymous with industrial design continue with what amount to repurposed models?

    The plain fact is that Anderson's original goal for the iMac needs to be met, especially now, two and a half years later. It needs to be Apple's iconic, affordable consumer machine, and Apple needs to be able to resurrect its original boast - a consumer machine with this year's technology, not last year's.
  • Reply 14 of 72
    I agree with Powerdoc and Luca. The current iMac is an incredible work of design. It is a great machine and everyone that I know that owns one loves it. Yes it needs to have a AGP slot of some sort but other than that, it is great hardware wise. The two biggest home/consumer upgrades are RAM and HDD, both of which can be upgraded in the current iMac. Next most would be vid card which an AGP slot would solve handily. Most home users don't need to and don't upgrade a processor even when they have a rig that it can be done in. Where it misses the boat is price. *cough*CUBE*cough*

    15" LCD iMac should be speced as is for $999.

    17" Combo for $1299

    17" SD for $1599

    The custom built config is just idiotic.

    Yes, I really want a new iMac.
  • Reply 15 of 72
    matsumatsu Posts: 6,558member
    Luca is close, ecept for the fact that he's STILL about 200-300 too high. iMacs, as currently configured shouldn't cost more than 799-1299, end of story. For 999, that ought to be a 17" LCD you get, plenty of packages on the PC aisle offer 17" LCD's, 160GB HDD's (STANDARD), superdrives, 512MB RAM (STANDARD), all of the same built in I/O, and better 8X AGP cards (with 64-128MB of video RAM) for 1299-1399.

    In a few months that'll drop rapidly to 999. iMacs aren't even close (neither in specification or price) Apple is stingy with RAM and HDD alotments to boot.

    What the iMac lineup needs to look like SOON.

    15" combo iMac, 799.

    17" combodrive iMac 999

    17" superdrive iMac 1299.

    Furthermore, by Jan/feb '04, expect superdrive 17" iMacs for 999. eMac should be pointless unless it's going to be less than 799 across the board.
  • Reply 16 of 72

    I'm holding out for a G5 iMac, possibly with a 19" LCD. I'd hope it doesn't diverge from the current form factor by much and I'm not really concerned about style (ie white versus metallic) because I like the current ones and I'm sure whatever they do it will look good, after all that IS what Apple does best.
  • Reply 17 of 72
    lucaluca Posts: 3,833member
    Matsu, I'm just thinking realistically. It would be nice for the iMac to hit $799-$1299, but it has to reach $999-$1499 first. Yes, a $500 price drop would be awesome, but a $300 drop is still very large for Apple and it would be a huge step in the right direction.
  • Reply 18 of 72
    Ah, this is the million dollar Question. What to do with that damn iMac?

    Let me start by saying that I am the 100% satisfied owner of the original $1,800 800Mhz G4 Superdrive 15" iMac. I love this machine to death. The design is absolutely outstanding, and like others have said there's still nothing out there that compares to it. But, as Smircle pointed out, the iBook has kind of taken over the market that was once dedicated to the iMac. Think about it. Back when we had the CRT iMac, everyone wanted a flat-panel model, but at that time laptops just weren't cheap enough and weren't suitable enough as a desktop replacement. But now, Apple has a $1,099 iBook - that's fantastic! So riddle me this - why would I buy a flat panel monitor with an unexpandable 20 pound ball stuck to the bottom when I could get an iBook or PowerBook and get myself the advantage of portability along with that flat-panel? Hmm, why indeed.

    Well, let's look at what we could do with the iMac that would make a person choose it over a laptop. The first and most obvious thing would be to throw a high-end G5 single processor in there. This chip better be at least the same clockspeed as whatever the low-end Powermac G5 has at the time of this iMac's release. So if the Powermacs start at 2Ghz early next year, then the high-end iMac better damn well have a single 2Ghz processor. That's just the way it's got to be. And make those Powermacs dual processors across the board. That way, there's no performance confusion, and with prices starting at $2,000 those Powermacs should very well be all dual-processors!

    Next, let me be able to remove my graphics card. Please! I'm not saying I'll actually replace the graphics card, but the satisfaction of knowing I can would lean me towards an iMac instead of a laptop, yes? Would this be possible in the current form-factor? Nope. That half-dome is going to have to open in more than one spot for that. Lay the graphics card in the bottom, and have ports on the sides for Airport and Memory (like little space ship doors)

    Lastly, lower that damn price! I'm sorry, but I don't think there's anything Apple could do to make the new iMac worth $1,800. It worked when it came out because flat panels were still at a premium price, but I can walk into Best Buy and pick up a 17" flat panel for like $300, and a good one at that. Obviously they can't put a monitor on that arm much larger than the current 17", and even if they did, it'd look so ridiculous that no one would want it. That 17" screen could certainly be replaced though with something brighter, more crisp, and a resolution that hits the 1600x1024 range. I'd buy that.

    In all honesty, I think the laptop is making the current iMac obsolete. I really think Apple just has to go with an all-tower solution for their $1,000-$3,000 desktop offerings, and place the eMac below those prices. There's a reason they're selling so damn many of those old Mirrored Drive Doors Powermacs still (and they certainly aren't hurting G5 sales). Having said that, we already know Apple's got a new iMac in the works, and I'm hoping they'll do something with it that'll once again make it the must-have Mac system, instead of just being an unwanted filler for those who can't afford or justify a PowerMac purchase.

    One last thing - if Apple wants to court PC users over to the Mac, they really need a desktop system that a PC user can slip comfortably into at an affordable price. The all-in-one designs, although fantastic, are far too bizarre for a lot of people. I think that's why you see so many switchers picking up laptops - it's a form-factor they can feel comfortable with and not get snickers from their peers. I know that seems silly, but it's true in many cases.

    You know...if the iMac was killed and the Cube made a return at prices from $1,299 to $1,799 with G5 chips, they'd sell like hotcakes...Hell they can call it an iMac if that's the problem!
  • Reply 19 of 72

    Originally posted by Luca Rescigno

    Matsu, I'm just thinking realistically. It would be nice for the iMac to hit $799-$1299, but it has to reach $999-$1499 first. Yes, a $500 price drop would be awesome, but a $300 drop is still very large for Apple and it would be a huge step in the right direction.

    Take a look at Apple's online store. Check out these two systems:


    1GHz PowerPC G4

    256MB SDRAM

    80GB Ultra ATA drive




    1.25GHz PowerPC G4

    256MB SDRAM

    80GB Ultra ATA drive



    They're charging an extra $700 for 250Mhz and a Flat-Panel instead of a CRT. That's absurd. That $1,799 iMac should sell for $1,399, tops! Apple's making a huge profit on these things. It's sad, really. The original flat-panel iMac was a fantastic price/performance system.
  • Reply 20 of 72
    lucaluca Posts: 3,833member
    Yes... the original LCD iMac was pretty nice because it was 700 and 800 MHz when the towers were 733 and 867 MHz. Also, back then it was $600 for a 15" Apple LCD. Apple upgraded the towers to 800 and 933 MHz G4s shortly after the iMacs came out (I'm not counting the dual 1 GHz which was in a league of its own, same goes for the previous dual 800 MHz), but the iMacs were still excellent values.

    Then a year passed. No change other than a $100 price hike followed by a $200 price drop. Towers shot to an all-dual 867 MHz to 1.25 GHz lineup. iMacs stayed at 700 and 800 MHz G4s, with the same horrible 100 MHz bus, the same horrible 5400 RPM hard drive, the same horrible AGP 2x bus with the same horrible GeForce 2MX video system. Maybe those shortcomings weren't huge drawbacks in early 2002, but by early 2003 it was getting pathetic. Luckily they were updated to remedy these problems, but they still haven't fixed the price.

    Now the performance gap between the iMacs and PowerMacs is similar to the performance gap between G3 iMacs and G4 PowerMacs - but when G3 iMacs were being sold alongside G4 PowerMacs, it cost only $799-$1499 for the iMac while a PowerMac cost at least $1599. Apple was somewhat justified in charging a lot for the LCD iMac when they used the same processor as the PowerMac, but with the G5s, Apple's excuse for the iMacs costing what they do has vanished. Yeah, they can blame LCD and RAM prices all they want, but it still seems pretty lame to me.
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