Nearing the end of PowerMacs?

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc. Rumors' started by FlamDrag, Jan 8, 2003.

  1. FlamDrag macrumors 6502

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    #1
    After yesterday's Keynote at MWSF I got to thinking and reading between the lines a bit and came up with a not-too-outrageous thought that I'll share.

    *Pure speculation follows*

    I'll guess that we will see no more than 6 additional PowerMac model revisions (other than simply price) - ever.

    Apple will adopt the following strategy: High-end notebooks will take care of power users and everyone else will buy an iMac (or some iteration thereof).

    Currently there are 9 notebook models available for every flavor of live. 4 PowerMacs who have not seen revision in quite some time.

    A quote from the keynote: "We believe that someday notebooks will be more than 50% of all computers that are shipped." In 2001, Apple's notebok increased to 35%, decreased to 32% in 2002, and expects to be 35% this year."

    Note that they believe that notebooks will be 50% of ALL computers, not 50% of Apple. Apple could have goals closer to 70% (30% iMac) in the long term.

    Just thoughts. A 17" PM is a desktop on wheels and costs similar amounts. Throw in an additional monitor and your golden. A desktop user can leave the AluBook on the desk and take it with them on the rare occasion that they need it. A luxury indeed.

    I'm sure I'll get flamed on my first post ever, but it's feul for the post MW fire.

    All the Best,

    FlamDrag
     
  2. lmalave macrumors 68000

    lmalave

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    #2
    No way. What about expandability? Pro users often need to buy specialized video or audio boards. I don't see Apple doing away with PowerMac. I expect once Apple gets the 970 it'll try to revitalize the PowerMac line and start pushing its XServer more...
     
  3. Bear macrumors G3

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    #3
    Re: Nearing the end of PowerMacs?

    In terms of cost, you probably need an iMac line.

    In terms of expandability, you need the PowerMac line. If you need more than one harddisk, the space around a laptop or an iMac starts to look messy with powercords, firewire cable and external disk enclosures.

    Also, if you want more processors, you need the cooling available in the PowerMac. [I suspect the 17" AlBook has enough space for a second processor, but the cooling and power requirements would kill the battery in no time at all.]
     
  4. ChicagoMac macrumors regular

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    #4
    Nope, ain't gonna happen because laptops just aren't as expandable as the desktops, they can't hold as much info and they wear out faster. Most professional users are not going to want just a laptop. It's just more convenient to have everything built in instead of plugging everything in to usb and firewire ports.
     
  5. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #5
    lmalave is right. Especially Pros in the creative fields have to be able to expand and customize their machines. More IDE HDDs, SCSI HDDs, analog and SDI video i/o's, pro level audio i/o's, hooking up 3 monitors... just to name a few things. Laptops are good for one thing, portability. For everything else there are desktops.


    Lethal
     
  6. Kid Red macrumors 65816

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    #6
    So Apple will no longer cater to high end graphic, 3D, video and audio croud with powermacs and also stop selling their line up of LCD screens?

    Wow, you want them go out of buisness don't you? Steve was emeerly showing that nearly half their users buy notebooks, meaning they will spend more time getting and keeping good slection in the notebook area. Not that the desktops will suffer or fade away as a result.
     
  7. FlamDrag thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #7
    While I don't expect anyone to agree (again, it was just a thought) don't start putting words in my mouth either. I never said anything about discontinuing monitors or any other product other than the powermac. It's all pure speclation and coversation fodder. Do I EXPECT any of this to happen? No. Could it?

    I don't see why Apple wouldn't make an expandible notebook. Need a better graphics card? Then slap one in there. Why shouldn't notebooks be equally as upgradable as a desktop?

    To the point of expandability and hard drive storage space - why should all of these accessories need cables at all? I agree, cables get messy - so eliminate them. Sure firewire ports will still exist, but couldn't you implement some sort of "Airport 3" solution for hard drives and other related peripherals which transfer mass amounts of data?

    Imagine a bank of high-speed wireless hard drives. Just walk inside the room and you're ready to use them. Why should you need to plug it in at all?

    Why should any computer need more than a power cable?

    Also note that I didn't say that Apple was doing this by February. At this pace 6 revisions of the powermac is quite a length of time.

    Relax folks.

    FlamDrag
     
  8. ChicagoMac macrumors regular

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    #8
    We are relaxed. We're just disagreeing with you.:D
     
  9. ddtlm macrumors 65816

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    #9
    FlamDrag:

    Because there is less than an inch of height to work with, not only for the chips and boards, but for cooling, for connections between interchangeable components, and for somehow protecting the guts against damage from drops or bending.

    Seen the cooling for a GeForce FX?

    Hmmm, well perhaps because a decent hard drive can already throw out 50MB/sec, which is about half of a gigabit ethernet connection (way beyond anything wireless out there now). I mean sure, Apple can just "implement" whatever they want, it's easy, right?

    Because wireless will always be slower and less secure. Imagine some hacker listening to you talk to your drive array, or your monitor, and then taking control of it himself.
     
  10. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #10
    Laptops are propriatarily<sp?> designed machines that use all-in-one and/or customized components so that you can maximize the amount of space to make the device as small, light, cool, and energy effcient as possible.

    If you want to make a laptop as upgradable as a desktop it will be bigger, heavier, hotter, and consumer more power.

    Like I said in my first post laptops were concieved w/one thing in mind: portability. For everything else there are desktops. :)


    Lethal
     
  11. hobie macrumors member

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    #11
    You guys really live in the present...!

    Does anyone of you really think hardware development will stagnate in the near future, say within 3 or 4 weeks??? Nope, I don't think so!

    So let's assume that all parts get smaller and smaller, notebook expandability won't be a big issue in, say, 2-3 years. 0.5" HD? Of course, put 3 of them in my Powerbook G7. Quad processor? No problem, processors are only switched on when really needed on the go.

    Cables? Who needs cables... (btw, has anybody heard of some british guys developing a sort of "induction loading battery"? Just put your PB on a table and the battery will load...).

    I have to agree with FlamDrag. Powermacs are likely to get dropped in a few years. What you'd rather need instead is some kind of Xserve in your home. As a file server for the whole family.
     
  12. sedarby macrumors regular

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    #12
    PowerMacs 4Ever!

    There will ALWAYS be a PowerMac or some box with expansion slots. Have you ever heard of ProTools? Their TDM and HD systems require the use of PCI cards. Where are you can put them in a laptop? Sure, you could get an enclosure hooked in with Firewire 800 but won't approach the transfer rate of a card plugged right in.

    There are also other professionals who need expansion slots for other things some do not even consider such as data acquisition boards for scientific research.
     
  13. Bear macrumors G3

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    #13
    While I agree with hobie that advances in technology will continue to happen, I suspect that for several years at least you'll have a PowerMac type system. Although it may actually get smaller as time progresses.

    And of course the iMac G4 type system will stick around for a lot longer. This mainly for it's ability to move the screen to many useful angles.
     
  14. mymemory macrumors 68020

    mymemory

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    #14
    ¿Expandability? When was the last time you herd the PCI word? I'm switching to firewire all the way.

    I have a dual 500 and I do not need that computer because I do not need PCI ports, I can do the same thing with my 2 pismos. If I need a secund drive would be external, that is it.

    If I have a 17" Powerbook I wouldn't need the tower for sure.

    The thread is about that in a near future (less than 2 years) powerbboks will replace desktops and desktops are gonna be used for "special needs" as the portable computers did ¿why? because in order to increase performance you need PCI slots, not any more. Most audio and video applications can run with no problem without those peripherals.
     
  15. lmalave macrumors 68000

    lmalave

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    #15
    True, FireWire is fast enough that any audio or video processing components could be external FireWire devices and not necessarily have to be PCI cards. Right now most high-end video cards, though, are still PCI devices. I do envision a future where PCI would be obsolete, but I don't think we're there yet...
     
  16. ddtlm macrumors 65816

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    #16
    hobie:

    Some devices may be getting smaller, but others are actually growing larger with each revision (processors, graphics chips) and heatsinks keep getting bigger. It is going to get progressively harder for laptops to keep up with desktops in speed because the heat is too hard to dissipate.
     
  17. chicagdan macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    I think the originator of this post is onto something. Steve Jobs hates it when people open up their computers -- he's a neat freak. He likes systems that are beautiful and closed up. From an aesthetic point of view, I bet he'd like nothing more than to kill the PowerMac.

    Why do you think Apple introduced the Cube? Jobs wanted three types of no-fuss enclosures ... pro, consumer and portable. But the market wasn't ready for it. Maybe someday people will be willing to link up all peripherals via FW, USB and Bluetooth. But the market isn't there yet.
     
  18. hobie macrumors member

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    #18

    You're right we are not there...YET! Who knows how much time it'll take?
    Right now most high end Video cards are PCI, correct, just because customers demand it.

    BUT, if there is a faster, smaller, more convenient bus some day, people will switch.

    @ddtlm:
    Well, processors are getting bigger and so do heatsinks, but do you really think it'll stay that way forever? I personally don't think Intel and co can afford to sell processors that burn 1000watts or more! Right know they just push their old architecture to the max, and then introduce a smaller chip w/less power consumption. One reason why they increase their die sizes is heat. And once that issue is cleared, processors get smaller again.
     
  19. ChicagoMac macrumors regular

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    #19
    And those fire wire devices plug into what? Fire wire ports. And when those fire wire ports are all full you do what? You add a pci card with more ports! of course, you could always get some kind of hub, but then you are losing speed. Or you could just unplug that hard drive... but wait, I needed the info from that hard drive so i can't unplug it.

    So, until everything is wireless there is no way the power macs will be gone. And wireless technology is nowhere near what it would take to pull off something like that.
     
  20. MrMacMan macrumors 604

    MrMacMan

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    #20
    First, Powermacs aren't going anywhere...

    Apple will not kill their (lets say) Professional Line of computers.

    Higher clock speed, faster Graphics card, different screens.
    No chance.
    Apple will (I hope) do a feb. release of some higher clock speed chips, and then during the summer (did they ever sorta the expo thing out?) do the same thing, hopefully by summer we will see a dual (quad?) 1.6 GHZ processor (atleast please, apple) and the iMacs will be up to 1-1.2 .

    Laptops will continute to rise but for people who aren't going places everyday laptops will not be needed, they are nice but screen size, capabaties, heat, and weight are all a factor in laptops and need to be accounted for... blah blah blah... PowerMacs are staying.

    -- Mrmacman
     
  21. barkmonster macrumors 68020

    barkmonster

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    #21
    PCI cards like DSP boards, Realtime video fx and that sort of thing need massive bandwidth, more than even gigabit wireless or 1600Mbit/s firewire could offer. I do think we'll see the end to PCI slots, when the sucessor to PCI is decided. I beleive right now PCI is here to stay and that's why people need desktops.

    Although it's quite a bit out of my price range. A factory refurbished Protools|24 Mix system with 2 internal Western Digital Jumbo Buffer drives to mount in the tower case and a 1622 interface comes to about £3,500. SCSI is usually used but I'm talking 'budget' high end.

    If I wanted to base that setup around a powerbook I'd have to compromise and use only 1 audio drive in a firewire case (less tracks, less performance, more to hang out the back of the computer) and a fairly expensive PCI expansion system hooked up to the PC card slot. I havn't worked this out exactly but £4,500 - £5000 wouldn't be much of an exageration.

    With the money saved from using a G4 tower instead of a Powerbook, I might just about be able to buy an iBook, firewire drive and mBox so I still have a portable Protools LE system to play with.

    This is all theoretical and the pricing isn't exactly 100% accurate but it's just to illustrate a point. If you own a tower you're in more of a position to upgrade to higher end stuff quite a cheaper than if you use a laptop.

    All this talk of owning my own TDM setup has got me almost drooling on the keyboard, I'll stop now :D
     
  22. FlamDrag thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #22
    A lot of interesting points, some of which I agree with - others not so much since I see them as minor hurdles.

    So I'll make slight revision to my thought. In Q1 2006, there will only be one high-end workstation. It will be a specialized beast for ultra-expansion in the same way that the Xserve is specialized for it's purpose. All other users who don't "see the light" of notebooks will be serviced by whatever the iMac has become.

    I think that many are underestimating the portability factor in the home alone. It's rather convienent to sit on the couch and watch TV and work, or at a desk, or in the kitchen while cooking / reading e-mail, an e-book in bed etc. Portability is more than taking a computer on the road.

    When you apply that to the digital hub concept, the advantages to Apple's strategy are clear. If Apple wants to be the center of the digital hub in the home - but that hub is tied down in some room of the house you can't use it from any other room. Sure they might use an iPod child to act as some sort of glorified remote control, but all the same.

    This is a little OT, but in certain office situations, the idea isn't much different. Collaborative situations could benefit from a mobile computer in the office. I envision a workspace that is more dynamic by simply letting folks move around the office with their machine. Situations like accounting etc don't really need the mobility, but they don't really need the power of a workstation either do they?

    Keep the comments coming.

    FlamDrag
     
  23. thedude macrumors member

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    #23
    PM dead?

    I must agree with the majority of people here. While the emphasis on the desktop market has diminished, it isn't entirely dead. For one, desktop sales have fallen over the last year or so, and the hardware situation at apple isn't making it any easier to push Powermac sales up. I Don't see apple abandoning the PM line, just waiting for better options in the hardware front. (ie 970 or amd or whatever).

    With apples buyouts of Nothing Real, Emagic, and the like, for them to announce that these programs will only be supported by osX in the next year, (wintel support will be dropped) and then discontinue the powermac line would be suicidal.

    I just hope they can come out with a desktop machine that everyone wants, like the tiBook did for notebooks. They just haven't been as innovative on the desktop side.

    Maybe they will focus on the rackmount server side? Who knows anymore.
     
  24. MacFan25 macrumors 68000

    MacFan25

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    #24
    I don't think that Apple will dicontinue the PowerMac for a while. I think that maybe in 10 years, we won't see as many destops. But for the next few years, the PowerMac will probably still continue to be a professional, powerful desktop.
     
  25. ddtlm macrumors 65816

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    #25
    hobie:

    Eh? It is true that adding space-munching things like on-die caches will lower the average watts per surface area, but it does nothing but increase the overall heat output of the processor and it does not address the hotspots of the processor. Larger die sizes are motivated by the drive for higher performance, and nothing else.

    The heat problem is not going to be solved until processors are no longer built by methods in use today.
     

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