Is Apple trying to get rid of me as a customer with the new iMacs? Need advice.

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by cnymike, Dec 9, 2012.

  1. cnymike, Dec 9, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2012

    macrumors newbie

    Nov 7, 2004
    A little background: I purchased a mid-2012 13" 2.9GHz MBP and a 15" mid-2012 2.7GHz i7 with Hi-Res Anti-glare MBP a couple months ago. Love them both but especially the 15". It's screaming fast. I also own an older iMac that needs to be replaced. That's the dilemma.

    I was holding off upgrading my iMac awaiting the new iMac's. Now that they've been announced I"m not very happy that I"d be losing the optical drive and be getting essentially a sealed unit that is not easily user upgradeable.

    So now I'm considering either getting another mid-2012 15" MBP and an external monitor or a 2011 27" iMac if one ever shows up again as a refurb.

    I'm a DJ and use my MBP with VirtualDJ and I use my iMac for photography and video editing mostly.

    Help me sort this out. I feel like Apple really doesn't want me as a customer anymore the direction their product line is moving.
  2. macrumors 6502a

    Jun 28, 2012
    I know what you mean. If my 2008 iMac croaked tomorrow, I'd buy a Mac Mini and the biggest TV my office wall could fit.
  3. macrumors demi-god


    Jul 8, 2011
    Have you considered an external optical drive. Lots of good ones out there. I have an external optical drive, plus the one in my iMac because I need it. Do a lot of dvd burning. External is actually easier to use as I can place it anywhere I please.
  4. macrumors 68040


    Nov 3, 2011
    They want you - just buy an external optical drive as noted above.
  5. macrumors 604

    Mar 26, 2008
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    An external optical drive is also easy to replace if it goes bad. Try that with the built in superdrive.
  6. r0k
    macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    I just picked up a 15 in "late 2011" hires antiglare MBP. Why? Because it was affordable. I like having the optical drive but an external would work for me if I had been able to get the rMBP for what I paid for my MBP. I do like being able to upgade my own RAM and HDD more than I care about the optical drive and that would be more of a factor in my decision than the optical drive.

    Then again, I'd probably find myself quite happy with fusion drive and I'd consider shelling out a little extra for more RAM at time of purchase.

    I think optical drive and user upgradable HDD and RAM are not part of Apple's strategy going forward. They will probably only be available on the Mac mini and Mac Pro from now on.

    As for optical drive? Why Do I need one? So I can rip my DVDs and put the originals down in the basement next to the cat litter and 78 rpm records where they belong. To me an external optical (DVD or blu ray) is adequate for this requirement.
  7. macrumors 65816


    Oct 26, 2009
    Down the rabbit hole
    You're right. I heard Cook say to Brian Williams last week, "This year, we're going to alienate Mike." :D

    Kidding aside, I see the iMac being repositioned even more definitively as a "consumer" offering. Apple is of course willing to sell you more horsepower and the ability to upgrade RAM at an exorbitant upcharge. The one positive thing I take away from this development is that the refresh to the Thunderbolt display is likely to soon follow, netting us USB3 and reduced glare.

    Since both your laptops have more than enough power, I say sell the old iMac now and bank the proceeds to put toward a new TBD when it is released.
  8. macrumors 6502


    May 15, 2006
    Orlando, FL
    I went through the same issues when I upgraded my Mac Mini. I really wanted everything it offered, except the lack of optical drive. I wound up ordering a 2011 Mac Mini with an external optical drive.

    It works, and I get by, but it still irks me to no end that I couldn't order it BTO with an optical drive. The tooling and the space is there, they just choose not to release it that way. It sure makes my beautiful Apple product look clunky when the optical drive is out.

    I think Apple is just trying to force people into the iTunes business model. They avoid Blu-Ray and are trying to eliminate CD and DVD as well. Less discs sold = more money for them. It's sad but true.

    So yes, I understand your frustration. it's a silly decision, and I for one think the new iMac is a step backwards. I'd get a 2011 iMac. You're losing out on a slightly faster processor and USB3 for a machine that's a lot more useable.
  9. slu
    macrumors 68000


    Sep 15, 2004
    I am in a similar boat to the OP. Lack of optical drive is not a deal breaker to me, but lack of upgradability is a big issue since I keep my machines for at least 4-6 years. Because of this, I am probably going to pick up a BTO mini for about $1000. Apple actually loses money on me by updating their iMacs in the manner they chose to. I'd prefer an iMac, but I'd rather trade some performance for expandability.
  10. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 7, 2004

    Get over myself? Why don't you lose the attitude.


    I have an external optical drive that I use with my laptop but I'd prefer an internal drive. Clearly that is not going to happen as Apple is dropping optical drives from it's entire line. Optical drives are going the same direction as the Dodo bird.
  11. macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    Well, it appears the sarcasm has preceded my post.... so I'll save it :) .

    Seriously though, it has been evident for a few years that Apple was moving to sealed units. Apple believes that consumer computers should be appliances. For the same reason you don't open up and 'upgrade' your dishwasher or fridge, Apple doesn't want you opening up your Mac. I suspect that the only reason they are even letting you touch the RAM is marketing. Many years ago American car makers wanted to seal the engine compartment. They could make it so that you didn't need to check anything between oil changes, other than the washer fluid. But their customers would have none of that ... they wanted to 'tinker'.... I think Apple is caught in the same dilemma. They'd rather seal the unit entirely, like a fridge. But there is still a large element of people thinking they need to tinker. So, Apple lets them play with the RAM. I predict even that will be gone in a few years on the consumer models.
  12. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 7, 2004
    I really want an iMac.. I like the form factor.

    But I do not particularly want the "new" iMac.

    So do you think I'd be OK with a 2011 speced out iMac for video editing? I'd rather not go the mini route as I just would rather have an all-in-one solution rather than piecing together something.

    And maybe another 15" maxed out MBP and external monitor would serve me just as well as a 27" iMac. Aren't the graphic specs for the MBP pretty spectacular? It sure seems fast to me. For all I know, I'll never see another 27" 2011 iMac in the Apple store as a refurb.

    Oh the agonizing decisions.

    Heck, maybe I'll just hang in there and see what the Mac Pro will bring to the table (besides an outrageously high price tag, as I'm sure it will have.)
  13. macrumors 6502

    Jul 24, 2002
    New Jersey
    I just got a 15" Retina MBP, which also has no optical drive. I simply opted for the Apple USB Optical Drive. No regrets. That thing really screams burning a disk. It only has one speed, and that speed is fast.

    The ONLY thing I have a problem with is the fact that it is still a USB2 drive. The USB3 ports on the MBP, and likely the iMac self-configure depending on the device you plug in first. If you plug in a USB3 device, it will act as a USB3 port. But if you plug in a USB2 device first, that sets the speed for that port until you restart again.:eek:

    On the other hand, it makes a nearly perfect riser for a Magic Trackpad! :D

  14. macrumors 65816


    Oct 19, 2012
    To the OP.....

    I just have symphaty for you. Apple can throw anything on us and we have to make compromises, But still, we are no forced to buy anything. Options always exists in the market of any as usual as a computer. Only I dont want to loss the ease of use, a proofed workflow and the expertise gained in the Mac world....and wondering if 2013 can bring us a new Pro

  15. macrumors 68040


    Dec 27, 2003
    Portland, OR

    Please. Buy an external drive.

    I used the SuperDrive in my wife's MBP twice last year.
  16. macrumors 6502


    Oct 3, 2008
    With the repair record of their not-so-super SuperDrives, I can see why Apple moved away from internal drives. In short, they suck. They sucked (i.e. got replaced) on my PowerBook, my wife's iMac G5, my 15" uMBP --- multiple times, despite light use...

    I now have a Mac Mini and the cheap (<$50) external drive is just fine for rare burns (pics, movies), installations of crappy software (i.e. GPS, tech gadgets).

    Write/read performance for stand-alone external drives should be faster than internal ones, right?
  17. ApfelKuchen, Dec 10, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2012

    macrumors 65816

    Aug 28, 2012
    Between the coasts
    Apple is trying to boost appeal, maintain/increase profitability, and improve customer satisfaction, while keeping the consumer price acceptable. Since Apple gear is already at the high end of the price spectrum, it's a tough balancing act.

    This year's model had better be faster than last year's. More base RAM (8 gb is the new iMac minimum) helps achieve that goal, a DVD-R drive does not. Built-in ease of upgrade/repair adds costs that few would pay if it was a factory option (those who will... I've got a tower to sell you). Most important, neither empty upgrade slots nor DVD-R drives improve the initial out-of-box experience - performance does. Pare-off whatever consumers aren't likely to miss and few will need.

    Further, eliminating components that are prone to early failure improves reliability. Reliability makes for happy, repeat customers.

    Reliability also reduces warranty repair costs, and reduces the need to build-in ease-of-repair. DVD-R drives are, arguably, the least-reliable component in a modern computer. Meantime, a brand-new, outboard DVD drive is half the cost of a repair shop fix, plus there's no CPU downtime.

    Plug and Play beats unplug, move the CPU to where it can be worked on, open the case, remove the drive connectors and retaining screws... then do it again, in reverse order. And if you don't have the skills or inclination to DIY, your 'puter's gonna be in the shop overnight, or longer. I replaced my old tower's DVD drive with an outboard, even though I used to run a repair shop!
  18. macrumors 6502a


    Jun 7, 2008
    Yeah, it sounds like you're searching for something to complain about. It sounds like you like macs and are invested in the Apple ecosystem. Just get an external drive. Problem solved.
  19. macrumors 65816


    Oct 29, 2011
    Makes you wonder how people can download their digital copies that DVDs today come with. Even if it's a digital copy, you have to insert the DVD to be able to download it on iTunes.


    Umh... Why so mean? He was already told to get an external drive 4-5 times, you didn't need to add your useless mean comment.
  20. macrumors 68040


    Nov 2, 2007
    Los Angeles
    I picked up the i7 Mac Mini instead of the new iMac. I sold my 2011 base 27 inch and ended up making a slight profit. Now I have a really powerful Mac in a tiny package that is 1/2 the amount of what I spent on my 27 inch. Granted I'm stuck with a lower quality monitor... but I plan on picking up an upgraded TB monitor one day, whenever they announce them.
  21. macrumors 68020


    Oct 25, 2008
    I understand your frustration.

    Seems that Apple is morphing the iMac into an oversize iPad. Perhaps in a couple of iterations (if not the next), we'll have touch screens. Naturally, this all comes at a price being that of sealed, non-upgradable by end user, units.

    For folks like me, this is a definite no go. I left the other camp per se, when their OS got so bloated and pathetic (Vista) that it made sense to go with OSX and thus my first foray into the Apple world.

    A nicer design might have been to have a thicker bottom on the screen portion of the iMac that would allow for end user RAM upgrades and yes, I am still a believer that a door hatch to at least a 2.5" drive space could have been incorporated. However, Apple prefers to make their computers become outdated in 2-3 years at a time. Making end user upgradable (well easily) systems is contrary to the Apple philosophy of emptying our pockets as fast as they can AND abandoning professionals since they are the least profitable group of Apple product purchasers (Mac Pros etc.).

    Just my two cents.
  22. macrumors 68040

    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    Upgradability is not as important as it used to be.

    My old desktop machine, a core2 quad from 2006-2007 still runs most things just fine.

    It will be 6-7 years old soon. That was previously unheard of in older generations of hardware - 2-3 years, and certainly 5 years after purchase, a machine would be way too slow to be useful (e.g., if you bought a 386sx in say 1989, it would be WAY too slow to run anything written with a pentium in mind in 1994. ditto for a pentium purchased in 1994 trying to run stuff written for pentium 3 in 1999).

    Base level hardware is now "good enough" for most people and there's no real killer app (i.e., something everybody MUST HAVE) on the horizon to make use of the cpu power.
  23. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 7, 2004
    And you're not a DJ. I am.

    I have over 8,000 CD's and only about 2000 of them have been ripped. So for me an Optical Drive is an essential piece of equipment. I also make a lot of DVD's for my videography projects. And I do have an external optical drive. I want an internal drive for many reasons.
  24. macrumors newbie

    May 9, 2012
    What makes an internal drive so much better than an external that you can't rip the remaining 6000 CDs.
  25. macrumors 68040

    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    This problem isn't going to go away, and optical is not going to be around forever. Apple ditching internal optical is your early warning sign to fix that problem you have. The other OEMs will follow suit eventually, like they did with floppies.

    You can either take the hint and do so, or do nothing, accumulate more discs and make the problem bigger.

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