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View Full Version : Much Needed Venting...


Aciddan
Jun 16, 2004, 06:34 AM
Ok,

Well I haven't posted in a while, though I keep checking back to read the news/rumors etc (though it seems to have slowed right down the last 6 months or so...)

I have some perplexing questions/frustrations that I need answered. I am an apple owner for 2 1/2 years now (iBook 600) and PC user. About September I will be *finally* upgrading (if you've seen any of my posts from last year, the CFO (tm) has been holding up things... Buying a new car and doing house extensions can really put a dampner on an upgrade).

Anyhoo,

I have decided to air my own personal "Pros" and "Cons" about Apples and I want to see if this is common or I am just silly. It might be that different types of users have different Pros/Cons:

(just a note, I am in Australia. I talk below in Australian Dollars (about US 70 cents)

I'll start with the Pros:
1. Apple Laptops are finally at the right price-point (in Australia). They are no longer double a PC price but are comparable (both feature and price-wise).
2. Lifestyle Software. Apple hits the nail on the head here: Music, Movies etc. I really would love to try out Garage Band.
3. Networking - easy as Pie
4. Powerbooks shipping with the Radeon 9700.
5. Design (what Pro list would be complete without this point)
6. G5 - Darn nice piece of Kit...
7. Bluetooth and Airport Extreme standard on Powerbooks (very good when considering the Centrino competitors. There are some VERY capable PMs out there that give desktops a run for their money and are comparable feature-wise to current Pbooks)

Now some Cons (uh Oh):
1. Slow Laptop Hard Drives (most comparable PC lappys use 5400s with 7200 option, not 4200s with a 5400 option)
2. Screen Resolution Options on portables. Now this may not mean a lot to most people, but as a dev (and I guess Graphic Artists would have this gripe too) I lust after real-estate. SXGA up to UXGA are common now in the PC world (whoever supplies the Dell LCD screens - they are VERY sharp/clean). A BTO option would be nice.
3. Desktop Price-Point. "Consumer" Macs are ok, but The low-end G5 Price-Point (about AUD$3599) is too much. $2500-2800 is more reasonable. Even if they have to re-introduce a single processor model to get under the $2500 mark, it would be better.
4. Apple Displays. Nice, but too expensive (hear me out): the 17" is far too much, the 20" (at $2399 is comparable to other LCDs in that range). the 17" is AUD$1399, the Samsung 172X is about the $799 mark. If someone is thinking of buying a G5, if they buy the Apple display at the same time, you end up paying over AUS$5000 (ouch!)
5. Superdrives. Once this was a really big pro. Now, I wonder why they are not standard across the entire range? With the new Dual-Layer Sony Drives entering the market at AUD$265, I am expecting Dualies to enter the Apple line-up soon
6. Limited BTO options
7. Upgradeability of "Consumer" Desktops - I think A single-processor power mac would bridge this gap, but for the moment you either have to buy something that is "Ok now" but cannot have components upgraded (especially GFX/Processor) over its lifetime.

Anyway, I feel better now that I have vented...

-- Dan :confused:

----
www.geekandgirl.com

krimson
Jun 16, 2004, 08:44 AM
you can't upgrade the gfx card? or does gfx stand for something other than what im thinking? :confused:

bousozoku
Jun 16, 2004, 09:09 AM
It's amazing how expensive the G5s are there. Maybe they're priced by the weight. The 17 inch display seems over-priced here but it's tough to find another 17 inch display that has more than an analogue interface. Still, the 19 inch models from other companies with analogue interfaces run about the same.

matthew24
Jun 16, 2004, 09:40 AM
I totally agree with you, good analysis.

Aciddan
Jun 16, 2004, 03:24 PM
It's amazing how expensive the G5s are there. Maybe they're priced by the weight. The 17 inch display seems over-priced here but it's tough to find another 17 inch display that has more than an analogue interface. Still, the 19 inch models from other companies with analogue interfaces run about the same.

Priced by weight:- LOL :) I would have thought since they shipped from Asia (just north of Australia) they would be even cheaper than shipping across the Pacific.

I used the Samsung 172X as the comparison example since it is a Digital Monitor that has a 12ms response time. Analoge Models are around the AU$550 mark (cheaper again). I wanted to use as a comparison what is considered one of the best 17" LCDs at the moment (Apples and Apples so to speak - what ARE the refresh times on the Apple LCDs???)...

you can't upgrade the gfx card? or does gfx stand for something other than what im thinking? :confused:

Perhaps I am mistaken, but I was under the impression that the GFX (Graphics Card) on "Consumer" Desktops (iMac, eMac) were not upgradeable. I'd like to be proved wrong (is someone running a Radeon 9800 in their iMac?)

-- Daniel

krimson
Jun 16, 2004, 03:41 PM
that's what you meant by "consumer", i get it now. You're right. :)

Chip NoVaMac
Jun 16, 2004, 04:52 PM
Pricing issues for those outside of the US leave me scratching my head. Some blame Apple, but I wonder what effect regulatory issues play a part in overseas pricing. I doubt that Apple would want to have higher prices in other countries, unless salaries justified that move. Charge what the consumers will bear.

Many of your other observations were on the mark. In the con category I find issue with.


Now some Cons (uh Oh):

2. Screen Resolution Options on portables. Now this may not mean a lot to most people, but as a dev (and I guess Graphic Artists would have this gripe too) I lust after real-estate. SXGA up to UXGA are common now in the PC world (whoever supplies the Dell LCD screens - they are VERY sharp/clean). A BTO option would be nice.

5. Superdrives. Once this was a really big pro. Now, I wonder why they are not standard across the entire range? With the new Dual-Layer Sony Drives entering the market at AUD$265, I am expecting Dualies to enter the Apple line-up soon

6. Limited BTO options

7. Upgradeability of "Consumer" Desktops - I think A single-processor power mac would bridge this gap, but for the moment you either have to buy something that is "Ok now" but cannot have components upgraded (especially GFX/Processor) over its lifetime.


For my aging eyes the resolution on the 12" and 15" are more than enough.

For the SDD it is all about price point. We will have to wait till DVD-R drives hit the same price point as CDR drives.

Limited BTO options makes the process a bit easier. the more options offered the greater the possibility for error. Also there is a possibility of greater support costs involved.

Consumer systems are just that consumer systems. For those that want to have future expandability, the PM exist at their greater cost. Keep in mind Apple relies a great deal IMO on repeat buyers. Those that after 2 or 3 years will buy the latest revisions. This helps in their overall profit margin. Given their smaller share you really can't blame them.

7on
Jun 16, 2004, 06:04 PM
Most of the upgrading of GFX cards in PCs are due to games. Macs do not have that many games and it's usually not a consideration for most users who want a Mac. If it is the PowerMac is ready and waiting. The iMac and eMac are for people who don't want to ever have to look into their computer.

Apple LCDs are really good quality. Better than most LCDs I'v seen. Then again I've never seen a DVI LCD on a PC, most are still VGA ~.~

THere could be more BTO, but on the lower end and in laptops there could be problems on the models. Having 3 different iMacs is good, but imagine if Apple had to have 3 different models for every LCD size? (effectively 9 different machines) Knowing which to stock may be hard to do.
Can be done for PowerMacs, but I can't see what else to add as Apple doesn't control the GFX card production.

Apple may have issues with 7200RPM drives. They may draw too much power or may make the laptop hotter. Which also explains why PC laptops get 2 hours of battery life and aren't made of metal (metal seems to get hotter than plastic laptops, then again plastic laptops are always 2" thick).

Better resolutions may be nice, but the line has to be drawn somewhere as LCDs only support one resolution well. Rather than improving resolution I'd like to see Desktop Spanning across the Mac products. One of the main reasons I went with a Powerbook over an iBook (I've never been a fan of hacks).

Aciddan
Jun 16, 2004, 10:25 PM
Pricing issues for those outside of the US leave me scratching my head. Some blame Apple, but I wonder what effect regulatory issues play a part in overseas pricing. I doubt that Apple would want to have higher prices in other countries, unless salaries justified that move. Charge what the consumers will bear.

Interestingly, given my research into current pricing in Australia it's not *all* Apple products. Apple notebooks are equivalent in price to PC laptops with the same featureset. The 20" LCD is at the right point given current competition. It's only the G5 and the 17" LCD I am questioning.

As I suggested, a Single processor model sub $2500 would probably fit in this space (I admit the Dualies when compared to equivalent workstations are about right).

As for other countries, I'm sure there are many Brits here that could tell you about some of Apple's pricing there ;)


For my aging eyes the resolution on the 12" and 15" are more than enough.


I have no problem with this statement. I'm pointing out that the option for higher res is a reality with other vendors. If you have seen the current batch of 15" UXGA screens (6 or less months old), they are off the planet. I wear glasses and yet I can read off them 2 meters away. I think pixel density is something that should be an option.

For the SDD it is all about price point. We will have to wait till DVD-R drives hit the same price point as CDR drives.

I have to disagree. The 8x pioneer drive (is this the current one used in the powermacs?) is less than AUD$150. If they want distinction, next round of updates Superdrives should be standard with Super Superdrives (dual layer) as the new high-end option. DVD burners are cheap as chips now (and combos are practically given away)


Limited BTO options makes the process a bit easier. the more options offered the greater the possibility for error. Also there is a possibility of greater support costs involved.


I don't think I can argue there, however I would ask who determines the options? I would also ask about economies of scale: more generic assembly would possibly lead to easier support/replacement of components (though, of course, we would hope the quality of the parts would mean this is a rare occurrence ;) )

Consumer systems are just that consumer systems. For those that want to have future expandability, the PM exist at their greater cost. Keep in mind Apple relies a great deal IMO on repeat buyers. Those that after 2 or 3 years will buy the latest revisions. This helps in their overall profit margin. Given their smaller share you really can't blame them.

This is where I dislike the "consumer" line. If it's aimed at the Joe Bloggs user, then it should not be in the enthusiast price point.

I am feeling there are actually *three* markets:

Consumer -> <- ??? -> <- Pro

I think a G5 range in this area would be ideal. OR some way up upgrading your iMac "ball" without having to throw your monitor...

Apple LCDs are really good quality. Better than most LCDs I'v seen. Then again I've never seen a DVI LCD on a PC, most are still VGA ~.~


That would have been true - 2 years ago... DVI is everywhere now... (typing on a 1703 FP right now)

THere could be more BTO, but on the lower end and in laptops there could be problems on the models. Having 3 different iMacs is good, but imagine if Apple had to have 3 different models for every LCD size? (effectively 9 different machines) Knowing which to stock may be hard to do.
Can be done for PowerMacs, but I can't see what else to add as Apple doesn't control the GFX card production.

Then, as I have said before, I think the solution would be a cheaper single-processor G5.

Apple may have issues with 7200RPM drives. They may draw too much power or may make the laptop hotter. Which also explains why PC laptops get 2 hours of battery life and aren't made of metal (metal seems to get hotter than plastic laptops, then again plastic laptops are always 2" thick).

Has anyone got an aftermarket 7200 rpm HDD in their iBook/Pb? The only example I have here at the office is in a Dell M60 and it runs fairly cool/quiet...

Better resolutions may be nice, but the line has to be drawn somewhere as LCDs only support one resolution well. Rather than improving resolution I'd like to see Desktop Spanning across the Mac products. One of the main reasons I went with a Powerbook over an iBook (I've never been a fan of hacks).

I agree with the spanning option, though I think I'd still like to see more resolution options (rather than the powerbook size being the denoting factor in how powerful it is).

-- Dan =)

adamjay
Jun 16, 2004, 11:14 PM
the only noticable difference you would experience between a 5400rpm and 7200rpm drive (that favors that faster drive) is when writing to the disk. Or in other words, saving large files. Plus the 7200rpm drives max out at 60GB for laptops. The powerbooks with 60GB stock offer an 80GB 5400rpm option for $150... The powerbooks with 80GB stock offer an 80GB 5400rpm option for $50, and on these a 7200rpm option would actually be a downgrade (60GB max)

check out: http://www.barefeats.com/pb12.html to see comparisons between 4200. 5400. and 7200rpm drives in the powerbook. Launch times, and boot times are the same for 5400 vs. 7200 but most notably, the 5400 drive READS faster than the 7200, and i dont know about you - but i definitely open many more files than a save.

4200 upgraded to 5400 is a must!
but 5400 upgraded to 7200 isn't really worth the $ in my opinion.

Aciddan
Jun 17, 2004, 12:39 AM
check out: http://www.barefeats.com/pb12.html to see comparisons between 4200. 5400. and 7200rpm drives in the powerbook. Launch times, and boot times are the same for 5400 vs. 7200 but most notably, the 5400 drive READS faster than the 7200, and i dont know about you - but i definitely open many more files than a save.

4200 upgraded to 5400 is a must!
but 5400 upgraded to 7200 isn't really worth the $ in my opinion.

Thanks for the info adamjay :D

Well, guess that's one of my cons I can retract :)

-- Dan =)

bousozoku
Jun 17, 2004, 12:14 PM
...
Launch times, and boot times are the same for 5400 vs. 7200 but most notably, the 5400 drive READS faster than the 7200, and i dont know about you - but i definitely open many more files than a save.
...


However, you don't choose the drive's interaction with virtual memory. If real memory (RAM) is of low availabilty, there may be quite a lot of writing in addition to the reading. Then, there is a greater balance for the 7200 rpm drive. This is more likely with higher end work than with reading e-mails and surfing the web.