Speculations on the new iMac's specifications

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  • Reply 61 of 241
    rolorolo Posts: 686member
    To address something Onlooker said about the G5 when it first came out, initial tests didn't really show the speed because nothing was optimized for the G5--not the tests or the software or the OS. That's all changed, now. Today's G5 tests faster than it did 10 months ago because the software got better. Simply coming out with a faster processor and a better architecture is only part of the story. The software has to be there, too.



    This next speedbump should show its true speed right off the bat since all the limitations of 10 months ago are gone.
  • Reply 62 of 241
    commoduscommodus Posts: 270member
    I should reiterate something on the subject of iMac colours.



    Personally, I think that Apple might not consider it practical to do so, and I wouldn't mind if there was just one colour (whatever it may be).



    If Apple did have multiple colours, I don't think they'd make the same mistake they did with the iMac G3, i.e. have 5 different shades and ask retailers to carry all of them. We already know that with the iPod mini, Apple is watching colour preferences very closely and tailoring shipments to reflect that.



    One possible solution would be for Apple to have just one colour available in retail (such as silver or white), while others would have to be ordered in online or by phone (not necessarily from Apple directly). That way, Apple wouldn't end up giving retailers unnecessary stock but would still be able to offer up the exact model you want - even if you have to wait a bit longer to get it.
  • Reply 63 of 241
    quagmirequagmire Posts: 558member
    Another solution to that is to offer everything in white( retail and online). Then offer clip on colors. So the people who hate white can get clip on colors for their imac.
  • Reply 64 of 241
    pscatespscates Posts: 5,847member
    Referring to Quagmire's post above, I've long mentioned the idea of modular inserts or plates to customize Macs, color-wise. Not all Macs, of course, but let's say iMacs. If a new design came out, have it ship stock with the chrome or white plastic accent pieces.



    But people could order little color kits, to replace the Apple logo, trim pieces, panels, etc. at their whim. Hardly seems like the elegant, cool solution...but it means Apple and retailers don't get into a "no, you have to buy 20 Limes before we can give you any Blueberry or Tangerines!" pissing contests.



    I've said for a while now that "colors are over!", but maybe not. The iPod mini certainly showed otherwise. Maybe just different ones? Or, maybe, just bring back the ones that represented such a cool time in Apple's history: Bondi and the five fruits?



    I don't mind all-white, either, so I don't really care. It's nothing I worry about too much.



    Just don't ever do a black computer! U G L Y.



  • Reply 65 of 241
    commoduscommodus Posts: 270member
    Quote:

    Another solution to that is to offer everything in white( retail and online). Then offer clip on colors. So the people who hate white can get clip on colors for their imac.



    I don't think that would work. First, of course, you couldn't clip on colours for the entire system. It would also not give off the same sense of quality that you'd expect from Apple hardware.
  • Reply 66 of 241
    idaveidave Posts: 1,283member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Commodus

    I don't think that would work. First, of course, you couldn't clip on colours for the entire system. It would also not give off the same sense of quality that you'd expect from Apple hardware.



    Agreed. I've seen some low end wintel PCs with clip-on color panels which seem really cheesy. Of course, most wintel PCs seem cheesy to me regardless.
  • Reply 67 of 241
    jginsbujginsbu Posts: 135member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Amorph

    Since laptops are taking off - and I think this is a long-term trend that will not reverse - what the iMac has to do is justify its lack of portability by offering a machine powerful enough that you can only park on a desk and plug in to a wall.



    The G5 is a good start. A big, bright monitor is a must-have. If it can be moved around like the current iMac, better still.





    I see things a little differently: Apple is well aware that many laptops primarily get used around the house, and their out-and-about portability is rarely used. The obvious thing for Apple to do in the long run is build a machine for this market. That means a touch-sensitive detachable display with a wireless link to the base, allowing for around-the-home portability. With something like this you'd get a larger display than on a laptop, and it would be well suited to web-browsing, etc. from the living-room couch -- this is what a lot of people end up using their laptops for anyway. And Apple's handwriting recognition would offer sufficient input options for many activities away from the base with the keyboard.



    But I think it will be a few years before anything like this makes an appearance. As an aside, doesn't SGI have something called "Visual Area Network" or something, that is a step in this direction? Anyone have any experience with it?
  • Reply 68 of 241
    ensign pulverensign pulver Posts: 1,193member
    I knew as soon as I described the true nature of Apple's consumer desktop strategy (and the limitations that require it) there would be howls of uninformed protest. Let's take another whack at it, shall we?



    Quote:

    Originally posted by Res

    Totally disagree with this one. The crippled iMac is a terrible, terrible strategy, guaranteed to shrink market share.



    Try reading the original post. I never said it was a good strategy, I said it was the best strategy available, given the circumstances. Big difference.



    Quote:

    You might not think that selling an iMac with competitive specs will attract switchers to the Mac when it is priced several hundred dollars above the equivalent PC, but I will tell one sure thing: selling "crippled" iMacs does encourage switchers -- from Mac to PC.



    I *DO* think a truly competitive iMac would attract switchers, even with a 10-20% Apple Tax. I said precisely that in my original post. The problem is that Apple cannot build such a machine. In fact, they can't even come close. This is exactly what the Mac installed base can't get through their heads: 95% of consumers buy on price and clockspeed ONLY. On the Windows side, $999 gets you a 3GHZ HT enabled processor with a 17" LCD. On the Mac side, $999 gets you a 1.25 GHz processor and a 17" CRT. Ouch.



    Now if Apple could build a 17" flat panel iMac with a 3GHz HT 975 G5 for $1199 then, and only then, could you even begin the process of justifying the extra $200, which half of the consumers would immediately choke on anyway. Now how many of you think we're gonna see an iMac with those specs and price anytime soon? Yeah, thought so.



    So here's the point of my argument: Apple knows this. They're not dumb. They flat out know that 95% of consumers are never going to buy an iMac based solely on a lack of perceived hardware parity. That's a terrible situation to be in, but the silver lining is you end up knowing a great deal about the 5% who will buy an iMac. This 5% (mostly, but not all Mac installed base) appreciate the iMac's intangible values: industrial design, ergonomics, integration with the OS and iApps, lack of virii, or just the plain old fact that it looks cool. What's important is this second 5% group thinks the iMac is a bargain at almost twice the price and half the speed of a Wintel, because they value the machine differently.



    Now I also recognize that Apple can't go too far with this or risk turning off even that 5%. I also recognize that the current line of iMacs comes dangerously close to doing just this. However, and this is the main point, the new G5 iMacs can only be expected to re-establish the traditional iMac value proposition, NOT to grow marketshare. If Apple makes the specs of the new iMac "too good" in a doomed attempt to grow marketshare, then yeah, they'll sell more of them, but not to switchers. All that will happen is margins will go down, PM sales will go down and marketshare will NOT improve.



    Quote:

    Since Apple introduced them Macs were always on par with the computers from the other side -- sometimes a little, faster sometimes a little slower, but always in the same performance range.



    Not the same perceived performance range. It doesn't matter what the machine can do once they get it home and actually use it. The only thing that matters is what the idiot consumer thinks it can do when it's still sitting on the store shelf. Once the initial fad of the original iMac as internet appliance wore off and Apple simultaneously fell woefully behind in the megahertz race the iMac has gotten murdered at this game. And again, Apple cannot currently build an iMac that will reverse that trend. Stabilize it, yes, stop the bleeding, yes, but not reverse it.



    Quote:

    Most Mac users know that they are going to spend more on a Mac than they would with a PC, but they don't mind paying for it because they think that they are getting value for their money.



    Yeah you're right, Mac users don't mind. PC users do. So again, unless you're gonna hit that 3GHz/$999 combo, it doesn't matter how close you get. Anything in between that magic price point and the highest price the "enlightened 5%" will pay is the worst of both worlds. All a 2.0 GHz $1599 "marketshare" iMac is going to do is destroy margins and cannibalize Power Mac sales, because the only people who are going to buy it are people who would have either bought a more expensive iMac or moved up to a PM anyway.



    Quote:

    When you sell a "crippled" iMac, many Mac users start feeling ripped off -- not only are they paying more for a Mac, but now it is a lot slower than a PC? That is not a tolerable situation. To a few people the use of a Mac has taken on a religious like statues, and "converting" to a PC would be unthinkable, but for most of us our preference doesn't have religious overtones, and we will switch over to PC if we feel it would be in our best interest.



    Apple not only needs to encourage people to switch to the Mac, it desperately needs to hold on to the current Mac users. Anyone who thinks that trying to foster off "crippled" iMacs to the current user base is a good idea, is not thinking things through. Mac users are not easy marks waiting to be fleeced, nor religious fanatics that will flock to Apple no matter what it does. If Apples marketing department thinks we will be happy to buy computers that cost more AND preform less than PCs, then they are way out of touch with reality (and Apple is in big trouble).




    As I just said, you're right that Apple has to keep the iMac competitive by Mac standards or risk losing the "enlightened 5%". I fully expect the new iMac line to do just that by putting 1.6-2.0GHz G5s and better graphics cards into roughly the same form factor at roughly the same prices. What I do not expect (and Apple doesn't either) is for these machines to grow marketshare. They will only exist to keep the "enlightened 5%" happy, keep margins nice and high and protect Power Mac sales. The same thing the iMac line has always done.



    I know it's a hard pill to swallow and we all sit around saying "why doesn't Apple do something", but the reality is their hands are tied, even after being "rescued" by the G5. The fact that Apple has been able to not only survive, but prosper by selling machines that are perceived as "half the speed at twice the price" is all the proof you need that the current strategy works. Can you imagine Gateway getting away with the same thing? No, didn't think so.
  • Reply 69 of 241
    jwdawsojwdawso Posts: 377member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Ensign Pulver

    I knew as soon as I described the true nature of Apple's consumer desktop strategy (and the limitations that require it) there would be howls of uninformed protest. Let's take another whack at it, shall we?



  • Reply 70 of 241
    amorphamorph Posts: 7,112member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by jginsbu

    I see things a little differently: Apple is well aware that many laptops primarily get used around the house, and their out-and-about portability is rarely used. The obvious thing for Apple to do in the long run is build a machine for this market.



    I wasn't looking at the long term, because you can't. You have to see where the markets is at any given time, figure out which markets you can best target, figure out how best to target them with the technology available, etc., and all this is notoriously difficult to predict, even over the relatively short time it takes to develop a product. You can map out a long term strategy, but you'd better be willing to drop it or modify it in response to actual data as it comes in.



    An iMac redesign will last two, maybe three years. Since present trends indicate that desktops will still be majority sellers for the next two-three years generally - or close enough - the realistic choices are desktops and laptops. Given that, and given that the iMac is a desktop, the question becomes, what makes a consumer desktop PC attractive?



    I believe we're a ways from detachable wireless screens. 802.15.3 is a step in the right direction, but LCDs are holding steady pricewise, and the technology to make a compelling tablet - even one that is "tethered" is not there yet. In fact, I don't think Apple will go there. You have to have some computing power locally, so you might as well have enough. Network latency is crippling, and I won't even mention network reliability. Finally, I think the perfect candidate to be this machine is... the iBook. And if you want to borrow some desktop cycles, you can use Rendezvous to your iMac/PowerMac/whatever.



    Quote:

    But I think it will be a few years before anything like this makes an appearance



    Well then, we agree that that's past the lifespan of any putative "new iMac," and so outside the scope of this thread.
  • Reply 71 of 241
    mac voyermac voyer Posts: 1,292member
    Ensign,



    I now understand your position and I agree fully. But Apple still has to do better with that product line even for the faithful because the faithful doesn't seem to like it much either. The market that it used to reach is now owned by the eMac. The iMac 2 is a different animal. Whatever strategies worked for its predecessor will not work for it. The iMac 2 is a new computer for a new market requiring a new strategy. I don't think there are enough Mac users to justify and support this new animal in the long run. I don't think the iMac will ever do better than what it is doing right now. The eMac is the original iMac's rightful heir. The iMac 2 is the bastard stepchild of the iMac and the Cube. An Apple product line should do more than serve as a placeholder between the eMac and the PM. Retire it already, and bring us something that will be worthy of the name and the legacy.
  • Reply 72 of 241
    a_greera_greer Posts: 4,594member
    <voice of Cartman from southpark>

    I WANT A HEADLESS MAC FOR UNDER $1500, GOD_DAMN IT!!!!!!!

    </voice of Cartman from southpark>
  • Reply 73 of 241
    resres Posts: 711member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Ensign Pulver

    I knew as soon as I described the true nature of Apple's consumer desktop strategy (and the limitations that require it) there would be howls of uninformed protest. Let's take another whack at it, shall we?

    -snip-

    Try reading the original post. I never said it was a good strategy, I said it was the best strategy available, given the circumstances. Big difference.





    And I disagree, I think it is it is far from the best possible strategy given the current circumstances.

    Quote:

    Originally posted by Ensign Pulver



    I *DO* think a truly competitive iMac would attract switchers, even with a 10-20% Apple Tax. I said precisely that in my original post. The problem is that Apple cannot build such a machine. In fact, they can't even come close. This is exactly what the Mac installed base can't get through their heads: 95% of consumers buy on price and clockspeed ONLY. On the Windows side, $999 gets you a 3GHZ HT enabled processor with a 17" LCD. On the Mac side, $999 gets you a 1.25 GHz processor and a 17" CRT. Ouch.





    Exaggerating a little, at Dell it costs about $1300.00 for a P4 HT 3.06GHz w/533MHz FSB, 256MG ram, 80GB Ultra ATA/100 HD, 17"Flat Panel Display, 128MB DDR NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200. Which still beats the pants off of what you can get from Apple at that price.





    Quote:



    So here's the point of my argument: Apple knows this. They're not dumb. They flat out know that 95% of consumers are never going to buy an iMac based solely on a lack of perceived hardware parity. That's a terrible situation to be in, but the silver lining is you end up knowing a great deal about the 5% who will buy an iMac. This 5% (mostly, but not all Mac installed base) appreciate the iMac's intangible values: industrial design, ergonomics, integration with the OS and iApps, lack of virii, or just the plain old fact that it looks cool. What's important is this second 5% group thinks the iMac is a bargain at almost twice the price and half the speed of a Wintel, because they value the machine differently.




    The problem with this argument is that most Mac users do not think that the "iMac is a bargain at almost twice the price and half the speed of a Wintel," and Apple needs to fix the current state of affairs or it will lose a lot of customers.



    Quote:

    Now I also recognize that Apple can't go too far with this or risk turning off even that 5%. I also recognize that the current line of iMacs comes dangerously close to doing just this. However, and this is the main point, the new G5 iMacs can only be expected to re-establish the traditional iMac value proposition, NOT to grow marketshare. If Apple makes the specs of the new iMac "too good" in a doomed attempt to grow marketshare, then yeah, they'll sell more of them, but not to switchers. All that will happen is margins will go down, PM sales will go down and marketshare will NOT improve.



    As I just said, you're right that Apple has to keep the iMac competitive by Mac standards or risk losing the "enlightened 5%". I fully expect the new iMac line to do just that by putting 1.6-2.0GHz G5s and better graphics cards into roughly the same form factor at roughly the same prices. What I do not expect (and Apple doesn't either) is for these machines to grow marketshare. They will only exist to keep the "enlightened 5%" happy, keep margins nice and high and protect Power Mac sales. The same thing the iMac line has always done.




    When the iMac came out it was about as fast as the middle tower. Now it has far less then half the power of the current middle tower. The iMac used to be a viable choice for people who did not need expansion slots -- now it is not. Moving them up to G5s at 1.6-2.0GHz will just not cut it in todays market. Somewhere in the 2.4 - 2.8GHz range would do it.





    Quote:



    I know it's a hard pill to swallow and we all sit around saying "why doesn't Apple do something", but the reality is their hands are tied, even after being "rescued" by the G5. The fact that Apple has been able to not only survive, but prosper by selling machines that are perceived as "half the speed at twice the price" is all the proof you need that the current strategy works. Can you imagine Gateway getting away with the same thing? No, didn't think so.




    Prosper with the current strategy? Lets look at the last 5 years:

    Apple's Net profits

    1999 - 601 Million.

    2000 - 786 Million.

    2001 - loss of 37 Million.

    2002 - 65 Million.

    2003 - 68 Million.



    I would not call the above numbers prospering. Apple managed to limp along while forced to sell hardware that that was slower than the competition's -- the slow hardware was not a strategy -- it was all Apple had available at the time.



    Selling hardware that is considerably slower than the competition's is not a viable long term strategy, it is a form of corporate suicide. If Apple continued this trend their market share would shrink as long term Mac users became switchers. Apple can get away with selling products that are more expensive, but it cannot survive selling inferier products. I think Apple is quite aware of this, and will come out with faster hardware as soon as the chips become available in large quantities.
  • Reply 74 of 241
    idaveidave Posts: 1,283member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Res

    ...Apple can get away with selling products that are more expensive, but it cannot survive selling inferier products. I think Apple is quite aware of this, and will come out with faster hardware as soon as the chips become available in large quantities.



    I agree. The reason for the so-called crippled hardware of the past can be summed up in one word...Motorola. I believe coming new iMacs, at least the top end model will be quite speedy compared to current iMacs; which until last year kept pretty close (in clock speed) to the towers except that they didn't have dual processors.



    One could argue that Apple intentionally crippled the iMac since it was only a consumer model. However, they only had so much to work with in the way of processors and the iMac case would not likely be able to handle them in pairs.
  • Reply 75 of 241
    ensign pulverensign pulver Posts: 1,193member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Res

    Exaggerating a little, at Dell it costs about $1300.00 for a P4 HT 3.06GHz w/533MHz FSB, 256MG ram, 80GB Ultra ATA/100 HD, 17"Flat Panel Display, 128MB DDR NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200. Which still beats the pants off of what you can get from Apple at that price.



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    Quote:

    Selling hardware that is considerably slower than the competition's is not a viable long term strategy, it is a form of corporate suicide. If Apple continued this trend their market share would shrink as long term Mac users became switchers. Apple can get away with selling products that are more expensive, but it cannot survive selling inferier products. I think Apple is quite aware of this, and will come out with faster hardware as soon as the chips become available in large quantities.



    You guys make it sound like Apple is doing this on purpose. Of course they are not and I'm not saying they should, I'm saying they are continuing to do the best they can given the processors they have to work with.



    I agree that "selling hardware that is considerably slower than the competition's is not a viable long term strategy" but it's not their long term strategy, it's their (now) short term strategy. Maybe one more year before they can let the dogs loose.



    What I'm really trying to get at is this idea that Apple isn't going after marketshare because they don't want to or don't think they have to. Or the idea that if Apple magically made a headless 1.5GHz G4 for $599 switchers would buy it or that a 2.0GHz G5 17" iMac at $1599 would increase marketshare.



    What I'm trying to say is that if Apple went after marketshare now, when they're still not ready, then that would be the real corporate suicide. We have to play the waiting game for at least a little while longer, and in the meantime G5 iMacs at current price points is the smart way to go.
  • Reply 76 of 241
    rickagrickag Posts: 1,626member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Ensign Pulver

    ...What I'm really trying to get at is this idea that Apple isn't going after marketshare because they don't want to or don't think they have to.



    The problem with that statement is that it is exactly opposite to what Fred Andersen was quoted as saying in a quarterly conference call.
  • Reply 77 of 241
    rhumgodrhumgod Posts: 1,289member
    I would really like to see the eMac die, and the iMac/eMac folded into one system, detachable swingarm option, thus headless, if that's your fancy. Remember the "chameleon" color changing patent a year or so ago? I think this is a good place for it, again if that's your thing. I would just like to see a cheaper iMac with a G5. All the other specs be damned. This doesn't have to be a wicked-fast machine, like a PowerMac, just a fast machine with some degree of expandability. PCIe for PowerMacs, AGP still for iMac, but with some kind of upgrade path, regarding memory/graphics. Storage can be dealt with externally, so one open card slot and 4 memory slots.



    I'm not greedy...
  • Reply 78 of 241
    addisonaddison Posts: 1,185member
    Let's be honest a 2ghz G5 iMac with a 20" LCD is going top meet the needs of most people. Throw in a BTO option of a decent HD size i.e. up to 250GB and they will fly again. There are going to be a few people operating at the top end for which this would no be good enough, that is what the PM's are for, but for MOST people they would be ideal.



    Adding the pastel options would be fantastic, I can see them appealing to a lot of women who would like to compliment their iPod mini's.



  • Reply 79 of 241
    idaveidave Posts: 1,283member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Addison



    Adding the pastel options would be fantastic, I can see them appealing to a lot of women who would like to compliment their iPod mini's.




    May I see that in green, please.
  • Reply 80 of 241
    brussellbrussell Posts: 9,812member
    I decided to do a comparison with the Mhz rating of the iMac versus the PowerMac. It doesn't all map on perfectly because they were upgraded at different times, but I chose the most overlapping models. I got the info from http://www.everymac.com.



    Fall 1998

    iMac rev. A/B: 233 Mhz G3

    PowerMac Desktop 266-300 Mhz G3

    PowerMac Tower 300-333 Mhz G3



    Winter 1999

    iMac Colors 266 Mhz G3

    PowerMac Blue & White, 300-400 Mhz G3



    Summer 1999

    iMac, 333 Mhz

    PowerMac Blue & White, 350-450 Mhz G3



    Winter-Spring 2000

    iMac 350-400Mhz G3

    PowerMac G4, 350-500, dual 400 Mhz G4



    Fall 2000

    iMac, 350-500 Mhz G3

    PowerMac, Dual 450-dual 500 Mhz G4

    (Cube single 450-500 Mhz G4)



    Winter-Spring 2001

    iMac 400-600 Mhz G3

    PowerMac 466-733 Mhz G4



    Fall 2001

    iMac 500-700 Mhz G3

    PowerMac G4 Quicksilver 733, 867, dual 800 Mhz G4



    Spring 2002

    iMac Flat Panel 700-800 Mhz G4

    PowerMac G4 800, 933, dual 1 Ghz G4



    Fall 2002-Spring 2003

    iMac Flat Panel 700 Mhz - 1 Ghz G4

    PowerMac G4 Mirrored Drive Doors dual 867, dual 1 Ghz, dual 1.25 Ghz



    Fall 2003

    iMac 1-1.25 Ghz G4

    PowerMac G5 1.6, 1.8, dual 2 Ghz G5



    It's clear that the original intent of the iMac was to be at or just below the low-end PowerMac. And when the PowerMac went G4 and the iMac stayed G3, they overlapped quite a lot in Mhz. Then when the iMac went G4, they went to the iMac being just at the low-end PowerMac again.



    The other interesting thing to me is that the Cube was at about the same Mhz as the PowerMac, but it was single processor while the PowerMac was dual. If the Flat Panel iMac is kind of a new Cube, then this new iMac ought to be a single G5 rated at the same Mhz as the current PowerMacs and the eMac ought to be at about the same Mhz too but with a G4.



    Given this, I'd expect the iMac either to be right at the low-end PowerMac G5 - say, 2 Ghz when the new PowerMac come out - or if the PowerMacs go all dual, the new iMac ought to match the Mhz of the PowerMac.



    Of course history isn't a perfect predictor of the future, but it's clear where they want the iMac to be. And now that there's an eMac, the pressure for it to be up there with the PowerMac is even greater, as it was with the Cube when the iMac remained at a G3.



    The other thing I noticed is how they just stopped updating the iMac in a serious way there at the end. The PowerMac really has surpassed the iMac in a serious way in the last year and a half. But in the history of the two machines, that's an anomaly.
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