The Non Existent Glaring Hole in the Mac Lineup

Discussion in 'MacBytes.com News Discussion' started by MacBytes, Apr 18, 2008.

  1. macrumors bot

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2003
    #1
  2. macrumors 68000

    Much Ado

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    UK
    #2
    If this isn't about the xMac then I will take off all of my clothes and run down the street, singing the national anthem of Germany to the tune of 'Don't stop me now'.

    EDIT: Thanks, QS. A refreshing point of view, (hence the 'non-existant'), even if it is still about the xMac.
     
  3. macrumors G3

    QuarterSwede

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    #3
    It is but his point is this:
     
  4. macrumors regular

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    #4
    Great freakin article.

    Hard to refute. Well, then again its reality, which is always hard to refute.
     
  5. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 30, 2007
    #5
    Hole

    Lining up the prices doesn't disprove a gap. The gap is between the iMac and the PowerMac, regardless of price. The iMac is non-upgradeable laptop hardware... far inferior to even a mid-range desktop.

    The real gap is between the $1,200 iMac and the $2000 PowerMac. Filling that gap with laptop prices doesn't count.
     
  6. macrumors 65816

    SkippyThorson

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    #6
    :p Holy crap. That got a good laugh. Very specifically graphic.
     
  7. macrumors 6502a

    RichardI

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    #7
    Well said. :cool:
     
  8. macrumors regular

    Mashiach

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    #8
    You may all shoot me for saying this but.....

    maybe the fact that there isn,t an expandable mid tower is because of the software itself. Apple state that one of the reasons that macs 'just work' is because of the software being built for defined hardware. By introducing many new hardware choices into a system more and more fixes and drivers need to be introduced into osx to support this and correct me if i am wrong isn't this one of the reasons windows falls flat on its back because their are too many system configurations out there to support every one to the letter.
    This is my opinion anyway.
     
  9. macrumors 601

    Yvan256

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    #9
    IMHO the only thing people want from Apple is a tower with more than two RAM slots and a PCI-e slot to upgrade the video card once in a while.

    Otherwise, the only thing lacking is real, decent GPUs in the Mac mini and MacBook. My :apple:TV has a dedicated GPU but not my Mac mini? :confused:
     
  10. macrumors 68000

    Silencio

    Joined:
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    #10
    Adding another line of desktop computers would not add a significant burden on Apple's software team to support it. They had to jump through far more hoops to support some of the new and/or missing tech in the MacBook Air than they would for a theoretical midrange tower.

    My guess is that Apple actually does look very closely at the sales figures and sales trends for their computers and just doesn't see an opportunity in the midrange tower that justifies the expense and effort.

    Playing with the system configurator on the Psystar site was a bit illuminating for me. When I took their $999 tower and customized it in the ways that I wanted -- quad-core Core 2 Duo, upgraded video card, &c -- the price came out to $1,800 or therebouts. For that kind of money, I might as well spend a few hundred more and get the low-end quad-core 2.8GHz Mac Pro (or perhaps even a refurbed octo-core 2.8GHz model) and get a vastly superior machine that will last me a longer time.
     
  11. macrumors 68030

    BenRoethig

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    #11
    They also limit everything to monetary. They don't quite get the usability angle. Use the same laptop parts, but but them in a tower form factor and it would still be a much better machine for me than the iMac I'm typing on.

    Is there anything such as defined hardware anymore? The optical drives, hard drives, mice, and keyboards all use a universal driver. The current intel platforms use common families which have similar drivers. In fact, with the exception of some BIOS related issues, today's Macworld said that a P35 based homebuilt machine worked just as well as those that came from Apple. The OS is much more flexible than you guys give it credit.
     
  12. macrumors 68000

    mklos

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    #12
    I would love to see Apple release an $899 and/or $999 Mini-tower (mini compared to the PMG5/MacPro). But...you have to becareful with what you release. You don't want to take away from other products. For example, you don't want this mini-tower taking away from MacPro sales. Don't think that people would were considering a MacPro won't look at this Mac minitower first unless they know they need some serious power.

    I don't think releasing a tower in the $1500 range will work. Apple has tried it many times and its always failed. People will either buy the iMac, or a MacPro. This is what has happened in the past with the $1500 PowerMac G5. It will have to be in the $899/$999 range for it to work. It would actually fit the bill nice because there's a HUGE gap between the $599 Mac Mini and the $1199 iMac. There's plenty of room for a computer there...
     
  13. macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    #13
    Good night sweet single processor Power Mac for $1,499.
     
  14. macrumors 68030

    BenRoethig

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    #14
    Apple has had PowerPCs in the past. The early G3s were the only ones really on par. Afterwards Motorola and IBM lost interest.
     
  15. macrumors 65816

    Clive At Five

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    St. Paul, MN
    #15
    This article reeks of sweeping generalizations. Worse yet, it barricades itself by labeling xMac hopefuls as stubborn whiners who 'just don't get it.' How can one even hope to state a counter-argument when the author has HIS mind made up that opponents 'just don't understand?'

    Nevertheless, I will try, and you'll all have to take my word that I actually DO know what I need in a computer.

    That being said, let the broad generalizations and misleading statements begin!

    1)
    Major assumption, and a flat-out lie. I will never buy an iMac again. I grew out of mine way too quickly and not being able to upgrade was a major disadvantage. I attached an external drive (dongles are ugly!), replaced the internal RAM and upgraded the optical drive (the last two of which are "non-user-replaceable," mind you) out of necessity. I can't afford to throw out my entire computer every 3 years and just buy anew, and many users are the same. One can upgrade for a couple hundred as opposed to complete replacement for a grand and a half.

    For those with the knowledge, upgrading is definitely the way to go.

    2)
    "These are techie folks who need the power?" Please. I don't even know where to begin with this statement since it is swimming with lies. A) In two years, iMacs will NOT be cheaper. B) Of all my geeky friends, only one of them is obsessed with having the lastest and greatest. The rest are just fine using 2, 3 year-old technology. When their system starts getting slow, they replace the bottleneck for a small price and move on. They add RAM for $50. They add a second HDD for a hundred. They get a modestly priced GPU for $80 (you can get really decent cards for $80 these days). Wrost-case scenario, they buy a new CPU for $150 - $250. Or even if they perform all five of these upgrades, it will only cost them $500... a far cry from the price of a new iMac @ $1200...

    And who on earth upgrades their display every three years? I don't know ANYONE who does that... even my performance-starved friend. Heck, that's just wasteful.

    3)
    Wow, blatent exaggeration. With a GMA950, the MacMini's GPU can't even decode HD content. What percentage of people DON'T want to view HD content? Likely very few. According to reports, the MacMini can't even play streaming HD content off the web. Now THAT is a pitiful statement. If Apple expects their computers to be a home's digital hub, it better damn-well make them capable of doing something as trivial as watching HD content. It's 2008, not 1998.

    Secondly, there's the issue of gaming on the MacMini. While opponents will be quick to dismiss "gaming" arguments, let me share with you a statistic: "Sixty-seven percent of heads-of-households play video games in their free time." Granted not all of these are hardcore gamers, but they don't need to be. Even 2004 tween-favorite The Sims 2 is a polygon cruncher, whose system requirements exceed the MacMini's capabilities. One may be able to play the game, but it won't be very well. For a 2008 computer not be able to play a 2004 kids' game... is pathetic. Apple should be embarrassed.

    4)
    Prosumers don't want a crippled pro machine, they want a modest tower that is built for their needs. One astonishing fact is that Apple completely omits Desktop-class CPUs from their lineup. MacMinis and iMacs use mobile-grade CPUs, and the MacPro uses server-grade GPUs. The performance gap between these two breeds is immense. Prosumers don't want a server CPU. They want a dual or quad-core DESKTOP-CLASS CPU. Likewise, they don't need to spend the extra money on FB (fully-buffered) RAM that the MacPro uses, but don't want the confinement of SO-DIMMs. Just as Apple avoids using cheap-but-fast desktop CPUs, they avoid typical cheap-but-fast desktop RAM.

    Why do they do these things? It's not about Apple avoiding a "me too" product. It's so they can wrap their greasy little fingers around a few more dollars. Using mobile and server components comes with a higher price tag, therefore Apple can set the price of their units higher, allowing them to rake in bigger profits.

    xMac advocates want a Mac that doesn't waste money on functionless design frills or miniturization. If Apple were to use desktop-class components, their computers would be much faster and cost much less. Unfortunately, Apple is much too obsessed with further lining their already-stuffed pockets than listening to what their customers want.

    Will an xMac create competition with the iMac? Of course it will, but an xMac would hardly drive the iMac into extinction. There will always be people who want the simplicity of an all-in-one. There will always be people who will never need more than a MacMini. There will always be professionals who need MacPros or better. And between all these groups, there will always be prosumers who need the technology that's right in the middle.

    Apple is blind to that group... but out of choice.

    -Clive
     
  16. macrumors 68040

    RedTomato

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    #16
    First I want to say i agree with pretty much everything you say, and I'd love to see an xMac too. I considered building a hackingtosh, but at the moment I'm happy with using an old powerbook with a broken screen and various drives hanging off it as a media and printer server.

    However I want to say I do disagree with the quote above. In my PC days, every couple of years, I considered upgrading my midi-tower tower PC. I soon realised that the cycle is such that something apparently simple like getting a new graphics card, to be cost effective, meant getting a new mobo, which meant getting a new processor, which meant getting new RAM.

    In the end, it was usually the case I had to upgrade a whole bunch of components at the same time. The total price for all that wasn't far off the cost of a new PC.

    I'm talking about things like: (if I remember right)

    graphics card: ISA -> PCI -> AGP -> AGP 4x -> PCIe -> PCIe 2.0

    RAM: 30pin SIMM -> PC66 -> PC100 -> PC133 -> DDRxx -> DDRxx -> DDR2-xx -> DDR2-xx -> DDR3 -> ??

    Mobo: Socket 4, Slot2, Socket 474, far too dam many standards to remember.
     
  17. macrumors 65816

    dubhe

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    Norwich, UK
    #17
    If apple released a desktop computer like the mac mini with an easily replaceable 3.5" hard drive, decent/upgradable dedicated graphics, upgradable memory and 8 USB slots I would buy it tomorrow (I'm busy today).

    If it could have two 3.5" HDs I would be even happier :)

    Anyone remember the Acorn RiscPC? The way that was stackable so you could keep adding a layer of HD or CD drives? How about a stackable mini?
     
  18. macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

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    #18
    How many times must we do this ? iMac is the middle for Apple period. With a 2600pro and 2 cores of Intel power and able to hold 4 gigs its just more machine then most consumers need. Its gpu plays ET Quake wars with no problem so I have to admit after years of wanting a mid Mac that technological advancements have given us one anyways. Its called iMac and yes I love mine.
     
  19. macrumors 604

    MacsRgr8

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    Location:
    The Netherlands
    #19
    To me, the fact that this discussion never ends must prove that the stop-gap xMac is a "most wanted" machine.
    IMHO an xMac would be something like this:
    - Core 2 Duo CPU (Single and / or Dual configs)
    - PCIe 2 upgradeable grfx
    - 1 extra PCIe slot
    - 4 slots for memory
    - 2 internal Drive bays
    All in a shrunken Mac Pro enclosure.

    Apple must know this, but building this Mac would probably cannibalise sales of higher-end iMacs and lower-end Mac Pros. This in itself doesn't matter if Apple makes the same profits off these xMacs as iMacs and Mac Pros.
    But, two things do matter:
    1) Because this xMac is upgradeable, it will last longer than an iMac at home, therefore the sales in total will decrease over time.
    2) Apple will have to produce a new model which will probably sell alot, and therefore must alter the overall fabrication process, which might cost alot.

    If Apple were to do this, it could be that the price of making such an xMac would (and justifying the lost faster iMac sales) be too close to that of the low-end Mac Pro.

    Believe me, I wish I could have gotten an xMac. I just saved a little more and bought myself a Mac Pro.... but I hardly ever use the 8 Cores.
    I do use the GeForce 8800 GT though.

    Maybe, just maybe... Steve finds this xMac concept a bit too nerdy. Too much for the hobbyist build-my-own-PC type of computer user, and that doesn't fit the desktop Mac-user's two profiles...:
    iMac user: simple and elegant for at home. And buy a new one every other year when some part of the hardware doesn't cut it anymore (usually the grfx..).
    Mac Pro user: either a real Pro user, or a home user who wants the creme de la creme...
     
  20. macrumors 68030

    BenRoethig

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    #20
    Good for you, but I have that same iMac and I don't. As for most consumers, we're talking about Apple here, a supposed premium computer maker, not Gateway or HP. They're supposed to be (and were before the Jobs/Ive head trip) the company who caters to those who want something more.
     
  21. macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

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    #21
    Its called PowerMac errr--I mean MacPro yeah thats the ticket.
     
  22. macrumors G3

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    #22
    Apologist fanboy article.

    The need for the headless midrange is real. There isn't a single reasonable Mac model.
     
  23. macrumors 68030

    BenRoethig

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    #23
    It's called $1000 plus a display. They got rid of the lower end models that us PowerMac people used to buy.
     
  24. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
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    #24
    That's such a wrong argument that I don't even know why anyone would bother to make it. The 1.8 G5 was a crippled version of the better models for not that much less money, with the exact same form factor. This is a completely different thing from an ACTUAL mid powered, expandable Mac which was designed to be such a thing from the beginning.

    Lame article written by someone who doesn't seem to have that many working brain cells.

    --Eric
     
  25. macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

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    #25
    That argument is just so wrong, iMac is terrific add a elgato TV and its PUURFECTO! Does it all. And gets rid of the clutter of endless pc cables. Its why the PC makers are building iMacs look alikes. Anyways its time for some Enemy Territory on my ......Mid grade Machine called iMac. Yeah Baby Yeah!:D
     

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