Apple, please. Can we focus again on better, not thinner.

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Anathem, Mar 31, 2016.

  1. Anathem macrumors newbie

    Jun 11, 2012
    I've been using Macs since System 6; very confused about Apple's design obsession right now.

    (1) I don't care how many millimetres thin my computer is when it's viewed from side on. Just like I don't care what my car looks like when viewed from underneath.

    (2) I do care—a lot—about how capably the machine will let me work and play when I'm facing the screen.

    The problem with thin being the #1 design consideration is that it forces compromise.

    Thin forces integrated graphics cards. Thin forces keyboards without travel. Thin forces insufficient ports, mobile class processors, reduced battery life...

    It's not just MacBooks afflicted like this. With new iMacs hitting sometime later this year, which advertising copy would you rather see?


    You'll hardly know it's there. Up to 20% thinner than previous models. Will run games* and let you work efficiently**

    *as long as you play at 640x480, and set graphics to "flubby pixel"
    ** once the 5400 RPM hard drive spins up.



    Run everything. At once. At Maximum*.

    * Seriously. Just dial everything way up. This new machine will eat it.

    Apple, if you can produce the latter, please, take my money. I won't care of the machine is a foot thick; it will look exactly the same from where I'll be using it.

    Share my frustration? Add your voice below.
  2. AustinIllini macrumors demi-goddess


    Oct 20, 2011
    Austin, TX
    Are you lost?

    And no. I absolutely love the iMac.
  3. 12vElectronics macrumors 68040


    Jul 19, 2013
    I agree that the obsession with thinness is ridiculous. But when the average joe hears the new one is thinner it peaks his interest and automatically thinks it's "better".
  4. garirry macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2013
    Canada is my city
    In my opinion, laptops need to be thin in order to be carried easily. Apple has done an excellent job with their MacBook at keeping it still practically powerful even though it's super thin and the processor is not that strong. But I generally agree. Too much "making it thinner" results in decreased performance like in the iMac 21.5" just to cash in more.
  5. es5694 macrumors member


    Mar 31, 2016
    Las Vegas
  6. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I think Apple's obsession with thinness has gotten in the way to producing great iMacs. There's absolutely no reason to make a desktop computer that is not normally moved razor thin
  7. bernuli macrumors 6502a

    Oct 10, 2011
    At an Apple Store recently I overheard and employee demoing an iMac for a potential customer. His first point was "see how thin it is" He had to physically turn the iMac sideways so the customers could see what he was taking about. I wanted to throw up. I can't speak for the customers directly but they did not seem to be impressed. They had no reaction to the thin.

    The thin provides 0 benefit. The thin does not allow it to take up less room on the desktop. The thin provides 0 functionality nor does it make the machine any faster. All it does it make the iMac more expensive to maintain.

    Thin is not a feature, it is a bad side effect of fashion that someone decided we needed on the desktop.

    Also, Apple has been and probably will continue squeezing the life out of the MacBook Pros. Yes thin is nice when you are carrying the laptop with you. However it would be nice to have a fully functional machine when you get to where you are going.
  8. Ipadilac macrumors member


    Feb 18, 2013
    I have no intentions on buying another new iMac ever if they keep going with the thin underperforming platform they are currently on. I currently have this super duper R9 M295X that basically is useless due to the fact that if you throw any sort of intense graphical task at it.. it climbs to temps over 100 degrees.. all because apple thought I needed a thinner computer. I think the whole thing was just an excuse to strip features out of these things. Yet they market the thinness of their devices as if it has been something we have been begging for? The design also makes sure that if and when we ever have any sort of failure, that we bring it back to apple to get it serviced. But at the end of the day its probably fine that way.. considering most tech owners rather not maintain their own equipment.
  9. merkinmuffley macrumors 6502a

    Dec 3, 2010
    I have no serious objection to the thin portables and believe they look great. I don't like the lack of ports on them, when these things get so thing it impacts functionality it's ridiculous, and they've clearly reached that point. The IMac is another problem, it seems with every thinning it loses something I like. There is no reason to keep making a desktop computer thin.
  10. joema2 macrumors 68000


    Sep 3, 2013
    It has been this thin since 2012. The current top-spec iMac 27 is vastly faster than the thicker equivalent 2011 model. What have you lost vs the thicker 2011 model?
  11. kagharaht macrumors 6502a

    Oct 7, 2007
    Fix the OS first because the quality is just not there. Ongoing WiFi disconnects, Sleep Wake Unreliable (stays awake for days or just never sleeps), Wake On LAN (doesn't work reliably), Bonjour Services (Stops working randomly), External Hard Disk Unmounting Itself, Quicktime X occasionally stops responding, New Finder Window from HD never stays in the same place when reboots...and on and on...
  12. bent christian Suspended

    bent christian

    Nov 5, 2015
    "Thinness" is an excuse to make all Apple products disposable.

    This is the ultimate goal: Ensure that most users will buy a new machine every three to five years.

    How else could they justify eventually sealing every product they make?
  13. joema2 macrumors 68000


    Sep 3, 2013
    Apple (ie Jobs) always favored a sealed case, even before the 1984 Mac. This was not planned obsolescence. Here is a quote from the book "Revolution in the Valley...How the Mac Was Made" by Andy Hertzfeld, one of the original Mac designers:

    "Jef Raskin [who originally conceived the Mac]...thought slots were inherently complex, and that they were one of the obstacles holding back personal computers from reaching a wider audience. He thought hardware expandability made it more difficult for third-party software writers since they couldn’t rely on the consistency of the underlying hardware....
    Apple’s other co-founder, Steve Jobs, didn’t agree with Jef about many things, but they both felt the same way about hardware expandability: it was a bug instead of a feature. Steve was reportedly against having slots in the Apple II back in the days of yore, and felt even stronger about slots for the Mac. He decreed that the Macintosh would remain perpetually bereft of slots, enclosed in a tightly sealed case, with only the limited expandability of the two serial ports."
  14. andiwm2003 macrumors 601


    Mar 29, 2004
    Boston, MA
    Yep, and it was a mistake then and it is a mistake now. DOS and Windows still to this day dominate the market despite OSX being the vastly better and more secure system. And pro and niche markets are mostly dominated by Windows machines too.
  15. bent christian Suspended

    bent christian

    Nov 5, 2015
    I don't think a disproven theory from 30+ years ago can be used to justify the current business model.

    Now, the walled-garden approach is designed to generate more profit. Period.
  16. e93to macrumors 6502a


    Jan 23, 2015
    At least slim iMacs look great on receptionist desks. If I see a Dell monitor on the desk, I question the "pro"ness of the office.

    I would like to see iMac Pro with all kinds of beefy hardware. I also want audio-in port back.
  17. joema2 macrumors 68000


    Sep 3, 2013
    There is nothing disproven. Apple's viewpoint 32 years ago was a sealed case had advantages. It wasn't superior in all aspects but they felt it favored reliability, aesthetics, and standardization. With some exceptions they have since applied this across computers *and* mobile devices. E.g, you can't replace the battery in your iPhone or iPad.

    All mechanical and electronic designers know there's no such thing as a free lunch. You always give up something to provide component accessibility by end users. There must be access panels, card rails, etc. The power supply must generally be bigger. It limits packaging efficiency. There are standardization and reliability issues with the added hardware. These are not severe but they exist and all design engineers know it.

    Apple also has to weigh what % of users actually use that expansion capability, since all users will pay for it. If their surveys indicated 80% of customers actually used that expansion feature they might provide it.

    Whether it was a mistake, following that strategy has produced the world's most valuable company. If it is a mistake, a lot of other companies wish they could make similar mistakes.

    Nobody has to "justify" anything. It is Apple's prerogative to design their devices -- both computer and mobile -- according their design philosophy.

    The closest competitor to the iMac 27 in the marketplace is the Dell XPS 27. It is much thicker, heavier, clunkier-looking and louder -- yet no faster. Like the iMac it is not expandable. Using a much thicker case didn't buy them (or the customer) anything vs the iMac:
  18. AFEPPL macrumors 68030


    Sep 30, 2014
    Not sure i'd agree with either vastly better or more secure..
    W10 is much more modern and i actually enjoy using it and its defiantly more stable than OS X. As for secure, all the experts say not.. it has more vulnerabilities than windows.

    Totally agree with OP, i dont care much about the thinness, I want performance and features.
  19. AFEPPL macrumors 68030


    Sep 30, 2014
    Im with you on that too, Dell are just about cheap... i just don't like the brand and wouldn't ever get another one
  20. e93to macrumors 6502a


    Jan 23, 2015
    I've heard before that Apple doesn't allow Mac computers to be upgraded by users because of OS X's limited support/compatibility for hardware variations.
  21. Maxx Power macrumors 6502a

    Maxx Power

    Apr 29, 2003
    I think for a lot of people, the biggest gripe is that the newest "thin" iMacs have lost a lot of the ease to maintain and upgrade-ability compared to the earlier, "thick" iMacs which had a magnetically attached front glass that one can easily remove to get at the HDD (to swap to SSD or to replace a dead HDD) and replace a failed video card (common issue on certain models), even upgrade the CPU and so on.

    When the newest "thin" iMacs came out, I didn't sense what you referred to as "reliability" and "standardization" are at the core of the iteration. Particularly since HDDs still fail at relatively the same rate as they do about 5 years ago and nothing of the form factor has become "standardized" thus far (perhaps I am interpreting this notion in correctly).

    Whether or not this strategy is a mistake depends on what you think Apple's potential future market is. If you think that the potential market consists of people who would are increasingly phobic about maintaining their own electronics, then the strategy is a good one. I think it is hard to say. I genuinely think that Apple is trying to make the lives of its product-users more productive, but certainly can see that the direction they are heading is not one that aligns with some people who appreciates Apple products on an engineering level. That said, I frequently service electronics down to the component level and appreciates the engineering choices Apple has made in their electronics, but dislike Apple's tightly-integrated approach, partly being obsessed on thinner devices.

    Ultimately, for the form factor, I do not think there is anything out there that conclusively (outside of niche markets like gaming) rivals or outshines any modern Macbook, iMac, iPad, iPod, iPhone or Mac Mini (not certain about the other models). While the iPad, iPod and to some extent the iPhone can all benefit from being thin, I am not sure about the iMac, Mac Mini or the Macbooks (the key strokes on the newer Macbooks are not nearly as nice as the older unibodies due to limited travel). I think there is some legitimacy to this notion that some of Apple's products can start to focus on more function over form, for both usability reasons and service/upgrade reasons.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 1, 2016 ---
    Dell monitors meant for work are excellent and have been for a while. They are better engineered and built than your typical Acer, BenQ, LG and Samsung. I have fixed numerous monitors over the years and personally use Dell.

    Dell laptops and desktops are highly inconsistent. Dell has only recently started focusing on their laptops and some how decided that their best laptops should be replicas of Macbooks, down to the layout of the heatsinks (which many other manufacturers are copying also).
  22. briloronmacrumo macrumors 6502


    Jan 25, 2008
    Maybe not then but it sure seems like it is now. For all the environmental accolades Apple likes to collect, we ignore the fact that most of the hardware Apple sells is essentially disposable. Sure, it's highly recyclable; but reuse and extending the useful life of devices is far more environmentally friendly than even recycling is. Despite claims of loftier goals, Apple's sealed machines are part of a planned obsolescence strategy IMO; customers have noticed not only Apple's inconsistent message( i.e. we want to be environmentally friendly but we sell disposable products ) but its impact on their budget. Extending a machine's life with more RAM, an SSD upgrade etc. is clearly good for the environment and the budget.
  23. Razzerman macrumors 6502

    Sep 11, 2007
    Totally agree with this. I'm sure that this planned obsolescence looks really good on someones spreadsheet at apple. My last purchase from apple was my little 2009 mini, which I've upgraded with ram/ssd. I have zero intention, with their current offerings, of purchasing a new apple computer.

    I always dislike the car analogies, but I'm going to let myself offer one: BMW's are lovely cars to drive. Envied by some for their perceived special status, especially when parking in disabled or mother & child allotted spaces. However, I've found that my Ford Mondeo does the same job, costs a lot less to maintain and has excellent fuel economy.
  24. Ludatyk macrumors 68000


    May 27, 2012
    Now, I do understand that thinness does not provide any functionality... But it's the idea of pushing boundaries, seeing how far we can take technology.

    For me, holding a thin device and looking at how much effort & thought process that went into it... it's pretty awesome. For example.. the recent Macbook. Mind you, I decided to trade it in for a iPP. But as soon as I opened it up... it was such a marvel to look at.

    Now I know some simply just say "whatever" to a thin device. But maybe it's just the inner geek in me when I opened up the iMac to notice and behold how much a beauty it is. Apple looks to produce art first & then slowly venture to the functionality aspect of it. I guess me being into art can appreciate the thinness aspect of it.
  25. richinaus macrumors 6502a

    Oct 26, 2014
    My Ford Fiesta overtakes BMW's on the motorway, but in no way does it do 'the same job' as a BMW. If you equate things in terms of 4 seats and an engine then ok it does, but for everything else, and I mean mainly 'experience' I am afraid your Ford Mondeo and my Fiesta are not in the same league.

    Experience is what Apple is about. Not the fastest, or lightest but best overall experience. This can be seen from the website, to the store and finally the product. It is a wholistic approach to retail [which is the business they are in] that is unsurpassed and backed up with a solid OS experience too [from the phone - tablet - computer].

    Now I absolutely loved my macbook and it was perfect for email, web, and even some light modelling.
    My iPadpro is fantastic as a digital sketchbook and information tool.
    My RMBP hooked to the back of my TB display performs seamlessly for me and never has an issue, and I can undock it and take it wherever I want.
    The experience is seamless and great.

    Do you get that with aging hardware or windows? Is it as slick or seamless? Is it fun to buy a PC?

    I have been using computers for a long time now and am happy with my experience with Apple and won't be jumping ship anytime soon. I embrace all new technologies and would prefer them to slim down the RMBP further to allow it to be more portable. Even though the iMac is thin, I know it would perform absolutely fine for my 'professional' [3d modelling, CAD] requirements and will do for the majority of people [its faster than my current computer so I have no hesitation on saying this]

    Most people enjoy the whole 'experience' of Apple and I have no doubt they will continue in the same successful vein. It is unfortunate for a minority that require more performance which Apple really doesn't seem to cater for, however the majority will always win as that is where the money is.

    Apple have really nailed it and for those who need more power I suggest looking towards windows as I highly doubt Apple is going to change for you.

    [for an FYI I have been using macs for 16 years now and also still use Windows PC's daily]

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