$500 Mac - Let's discuss!

ftaok

macrumors 603
Original poster
Jan 23, 2002
6,147
1,169
East Coast
There has been talk there being a huge market for a $500 Mac (mainly by the infamous anti-zealot group). I've been looking around to see which other manufacturers offer a $500 computer. Other than the POS eMachines, I found a Dell for $550 that has a 1Ghz Celeron, 128MB, 48X CD, 15" CRT, and 20 GB HD. I'm assuming that Gateway has a similarly priced offering.

If Dell can't offer a $500 computer with their huge economies of scale, how do you expect Apple to have one?

The argument for the $500 Mac says that they would not need all of the extras that make a Mac a Mac. Just pop in a slow G3, a CD-ROM, and a HD in an iMac case and there she is. The problem now is that these Macs wouldn't have Firewire, so no iPod. I'm assuming that USB is the only port, so you'll have slow HDs and burners. Is this the image that Apple wants? I don't think so.

I say let's leave the low low end market for eMachines to play in and price a low-end Mac at $700 (500 mhz G3, 10 GB HD, CD-ROM, full complement of ports). Not sure about the $700, but that seems like a good figure for those specs.

ftaok
 

Ensign Paris

macrumors 68000
Nov 4, 2001
1,781
0
Europe
There is already a $799 iMac with the following spec:

$799.00
500MHz
PowerPC G3
256K L2 cache @ 500 MHz
128MB SDRAM
20GB Ultra ATA drive
CD-ROM Drive
RAGE 128 Ultra w/16MB
10/100BASE-T Ethernet
56K fax modem
15-inch display
(13.8-inch VIS)
Harman Kardon Speakers
VGA Video Mirroring
2 USB & 2 FireWire ports
AirPort Ready

Ensign
 

ilikeiBook

macrumors regular
Jan 27, 2002
107
0
Make a consumer-oriented mac which would have these specs:

700 Mhz G3 with a 100 Mhz bus

128 MB of SDRAM with an extra free slot

15 GB 5400 RPM HD

3 USB, 1 Firewire, 10/100 Ethernet, 56 kbps Modem, speaker port

2 built-in Harmon-Kardon speakers

built-in 15" CRT Display

24x CD-ROM

Rage 128 Graphics

Airport ready
$499




850 Mhz G3 with a 100 Mhz bus

128 MB of SDRAM with 2 extra free slots

25 GB 7200 RPM HD

3 USB, 2 Firewire, 10/100 Ethernet, 56 kbps Modem, speaker port2

2 built-in Harmon-Kardon speakers

built-in 15" CRT Display

24x CD-ROM

Airport ready

Rage 128 Graphics

$699




1.0 Ghz G3 with a 100 Mhz bus

128 MB of SDRAM with 2 extra free slots

30 GB 7200 RPM HD

3 USB, 2 Firewire, 10/100 Ethernet, 56 kbps Modem, speaker port

2 built-in Harmon-Kardon speakers

built-in 15" CRT Display

24x CD-ROM

Airport ready

Rage 128 Graphics

$899
 

stoid

macrumors 601
56K / 10/100 Ethernet

If they need to shave of an extra $50 or so they could offer the option of either the ethernet or a 56K modem, as with the extreme low-end computer you will either want broadband or dial-up, not both.
 

Timothy

macrumors 6502
Jan 2, 2002
473
0
Seattle, WA
Don't go after the low-end...

I gotta disagree with this line of reasoning. Apple should never cut corners on a machine just to get it to an arbitrary price point. That $799 mac is perhaps as relatively low as I'd ever like to see Apple go.

Want a $500 mac? Go to eBay, where there are great computers available for $500 and lower.

Part of what makes Apple great is that they don't exclude key features just to compete in the low end market. Computer users expect a certain level of useability, and Apple users expect just a bit more than PC users. Cutting key features like ethernet, USB, or Firewire just to meet a price-point would negatively effect the user experience in the long run.

Just as BMW doesn't care to compete with Yugo, Apple shouldn't care to compete with eMachines.
 

dantec

macrumors 6502a
Nov 6, 2001
605
0
California
I still find it amazing how stupid some computer users can be. My school I.T. guy (I call him wedgieman cause he wears the same pants every day and is a complete idiot) recommended my school to order 70 comps for 2500 CHF (about $1300) for these crap computers. Ever heard of the computer mark "Neo". I don't think so...

They each have 800mhz celerons DVD drives (most have gum in them), diskette drives that have each at least been replaced a couple times, "NO" sound card. The only respectable thing is the logitech keyboard...

No if Apple concentrated on educating the "idiot" consumers, and showing them that they can get great Macs for cheaper than "bloated" peecees I think they might sell very well. What we need is posters inidacting, a G4 Mac running at 1.6 ghz, 384 Ram, & a DVD drive. If we see those everywhere, then will Apple's marketshare increase.
 

dantec

macrumors 6502a
Nov 6, 2001
605
0
California
Oh and I have the most important detail of my "Neo" school computers that I have forgot... The nVidia TNT graphics card... According to the sticker these computers were manufactured in 2001... Why the hell then would they use graphics cards from at least 3 years ago???
 

eyelikeart

Moderator emeritus
Jan 2, 2001
11,849
0
Metairie, LA
dantec...

very good use of the "idiot" factor....I feel similarly with if Apple could somehow get through to these people with an inexpensive system....they could really make a difference.

I'm not knocking Apple for the efforts as of late...they are making incredible strides to gain more market share. But in this particular case I feel there simply cannot be too much of a good thing! :p
 

Weaky

macrumors newbie
Jul 18, 2001
7
0
Montreal
No monitor iMacs

I still believe in a cheap mac with no monitor and a standard VGA connector, so people who can't tell the difference between a good and a crappy monitor or more important, businesses and schools who already have monitors can think about macs as a viable choice. Sure, quality is important but what about market share? And by the way, two buttons mice with scroll wheels .. it's about time:mad:
 

blakespot

Administrator
Jun 4, 2000
1,315
46
Alexandria, VA
Originally posted by dantec
Oh and I have the most important detail of my "Neo" school computers that I have forgot... The nVidia TNT graphics card... According to the sticker these computers were manufactured in 2001... Why the hell then would they use graphics cards from at least 3 years ago???
My desktop workstation @ the office is a P4 1.6 w/ a Riva TNT2. It's old, but more than adequate for an office workstation. Why put expensive 3D hardware in there?


blakespot
 

AlphaTech

macrumors 601
Oct 4, 2001
4,556
0
Natick, MA
popping open a can...

One... Apple will never make 'cheap' computers just to get a larger market share. The initial numbers MIGHT rise, but they would soon fall when the 'cheap' systems started either failing, having major issues, or got discontinued because it cost more to make then they were being sold for.

IF you want a cheap Apple system, get one of the G3 iMacs that are still being offered online at the Apple Store.

I cannot see Apple offering an iMac minus a screen just to get the price point down a little. That doesn't follow their business path. People that would purchase a cheap monitor to plug into such a unit wouldn't be smart enough to know that the cheap screen they are plugging in will be 90% of their screen issues (poor resolution, flicker, etc...).

As for offering either ethernet OR a modem in the iMac... not gonna happen. I can see pulling the modem if you don't intend to use it. BUT I also do not see Apple pulling the ethernet port since that is integrated into the logic board. To do so would require redesigning the iMac, which would drive up the costs (someone has to pay for the R&D).

That is about all I have time to comment on right now... I am sure that more will follow later when I have more can's of whoop-a$$ or I get home and pull out the flame thrower :D.
 

dantec

macrumors 6502a
Nov 6, 2001
605
0
California
Originally posted by blakespot


My desktop workstation @ the office is a P4 1.6 w/ a Riva TNT2. It's old, but more than adequate for an office workstation. Why put expensive 3D hardware in there?


blakespot
The point I was trying to make was that these where expensive computers!!! A little lower than the low-end G4 showing how stupid my I.T. technician was... Even the lowend G4 comes with an ATI 8500 (or is it 7500?) which is better than the "*ç% that shipped with my school computers!
 

blakespot

Administrator
Jun 4, 2000
1,315
46
Alexandria, VA
Originally posted by dantec


The point I was trying to make was that these where expensive computers!!! A little lower than the low-end G4 showing how stupid my I.T. technician was... Even the lowend G4 comes with an ATI 8500 (or is it 7500?) which is better than the "*ç% that shipped with my school computers!
Fast 3D graphics cards are nice and easy to picture sitting in the slots of fast machines, but in the world of purchasing for businesses and academic institutions (I have been responsible for both corporate and universtiy purchases in my career), you're not going to spend even $50 more on a powerful 3D card when you can go with a super cheap, fully acceptible display card that meets the needs of the machines' intended rolls: as corporate or academic workstations.

Every $1 spent has to be justified. I would not have even tried to justify any $$ spent on a machine so I could have 3D hardware that no one needs. There's thought behind these decisions, dantec.



blakespot
 

DakotaGuy

macrumors 68040
Jan 14, 2002
3,996
3,121
South Dakota, USA
What I have been saying all along...

I say...keep the CRT iMac as it is...make it just one color...for example "snow" cause that fits in with the new iMac...put some freaking punch into the G3. I would say an 800MHz and a 1GHz and tag it with $399 for the 800MHz and $599 for the 1GHz. It would be perfect to compete with other budget systems and even if it was not a sales run away the schools would keep it selling well.

That is the main reason Apple is keeping the Classic iMac, for people that want a Mac on a budget and for schools...but lets get more power in the processor and a lower price. Make it compete with the Celeron PC's. Imagine what a 1GHz G3 would do to a Celeron or even a PIII for the same price or less.

OSX would run good on a G3 if you can get the thing to spin at 1 GHz and you put some freaking RAM in it.
 

jefhatfield

Retired
Jul 9, 2000
8,803
0
Re: What I have been saying all along...

Originally posted by Abercrombieboy
I say...keep the CRT iMac as it is...make it just one color...for example "snow" cause that fits in with the new iMac...put some freaking punch into the G3. I would say an 800MHz and a 1GHz and tag it with $399 for the 800MHz and $599 for the 1GHz. It would be perfect to compete with other budget systems and even if it was not a sales run away the schools would keep it selling well.

That is the main reason Apple is keeping the Classic iMac, for people that want a Mac on a budget and for schools...but lets get more power in the processor and a lower price. Make it compete with the Celeron PC's. Imagine what a 1GHz G3 would do to a Celeron or even a PIII for the same price or less.

OSX would run good on a G3 if you can get the thing to spin at 1 GHz and you put some freaking RAM in it.
right on, i am with you on that one
 

AlphaTech

macrumors 601
Oct 4, 2001
4,556
0
Natick, MA
pipe dreams

I think those prices are the product of pipe dreams... at least for the near future (next year or so). Right now, the hard drives that they use run between $80 and $130. The G3 chips at higher speeds are not cheap enough (YET). Never mind the cd-rw drive that Apple uses.

I COULD see Apple shaving about $100 or so off the G3 iMac's, and increasing the speeds to the 800MHz-1GHz range (for low and high end). I know of people that would give their left yam for a iMac in those speeds.

Personally, I am waiting until either of the next two MacWorlds to get a new tower. Depending on what Apple releases will dictate what I will buy and when. Finances being what they probably will be, I will probably be forced to wait until next year sometime :(.
 

blakespot

Administrator
Jun 4, 2000
1,315
46
Alexandria, VA
Re: What I have been saying all along...

Originally posted by Abercrombieboy
I say...keep the CRT iMac as it is...make it just one color...for example "snow" cause that fits in with the new iMac...put some freaking punch into the G3. I would say an 800MHz and a 1GHz and tag it with $399 for the 800MHz and $599 for the 1GHz. It would be perfect to compete with other budget systems and even if it was not a sales run away the schools would keep it selling well.
Apple's low-end iMac is $799 with a 500MHz G3. Obviously Apple could not take a 800MHz G3 iMac and sell it for $399! Apple needs to maintain its margins--the prices on these units are not arbitrary figures, picked out of thin air. Let's keep some kind of grip on reality when conjuring theoreticals!


blakespot
 

MacAztec

macrumors 68040
Oct 28, 2001
3,023
1
San Luis Obispo, CA
Re: What I have been saying all along...

Originally posted by Abercrombieboy
I say...keep the CRT iMac as it is...make it just one color...for example "snow" cause that fits in with the new iMac...put some freaking punch into the G3. I would say an 800MHz and a 1GHz and tag it with $399 for the 800MHz and $599 for the 1GHz. It would be perfect to compete with other budget systems and even if it was not a sales run away the schools would keep it selling well.

That is the main reason Apple is keeping the Classic iMac, for people that want a Mac on a budget and for schools...but lets get more power in the processor and a lower price. Make it compete with the Celeron PC's. Imagine what a 1GHz G3 would do to a Celeron or even a PIII for the same price or less.

OSX would run good on a G3 if you can get the thing to spin at 1 GHz and you put some freaking RAM in it.
Are you retarded? Apple would not even make a PROFIT if they sold a computer for that cheap.

You guys, I already said this once before. GO TO THE APPLE SPECIAL SAVINGS STORE! iMacs or 619 dollars! Thats cheaper than most all dells or PCs!

P.S. Its also better!
 

idkew

macrumors 68020
Re: popping open a can...

Originally posted by AlphaTech
One... Apple will never make 'cheap' computers just to get a larger market share. The initial numbers MIGHT rise, but they would soon fall when the 'cheap' systems started either failing, having major issues, or got discontinued because it cost more to make then they were being sold for.
It may be the drugs (just got my wisdom teeth out unfortunately) but i think you made a great point. I was for a $500 iMac (as seen in other posts) and i think it is a good idea not to do it. Anyways- do you see porshe selling a $10,000 machine so they can get a larger market share? No.

I kinda like having the porshe of computers. It has all the software i need and want, so no complaints there. Not to mention that my Ti actually has a sex factor......

-idkew