Has apple ever talked about a mid level non-imac?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by xheathen, Sep 8, 2010.

  1. xheathen macrumors 6502

    Aug 5, 2010
    Some of you may have read a couple of posts of mine deciding between what mac to get. I've yet to do anything just for budgetary reasons and therefore I'm just saving up.

    But I'm just wondering if apple has ever discussed something like a mid-range non-imac that's between the mini and the mac pro?

    I'm not really that interested in the glossy screen of the imac since I do graphic design work on a professional level, plus I don't really need a screen since I have 3 monitors at home, 2 of which are HDMI 24" monitors. I understand the glossy screen isn't the end of the world, but it's better to have a matte screen for heavy work with print colors.

    I don't really need the power of the Mac Pro, and from what I've gathered a mac mini MIGHT do the job, but I'd have to spend an extra $200 for 8gb of ram and possibly buy another hard drive (FW is what I've heard). So in terms of speed, I don't know if that ends up being the most cost effective choice. Am I wrong on that?

    So that leaves me with kind of this blank spot where I really want like 8 to 16gb of ram, at least a core i3, and a stand alone graphics card. I guess I could just buy the base imac and use the imac screen as my 2nd monitor while I use one of my 24" as the primary.

    I was even thinking about just building a hackintosh with the same components as the base line or even the core i5 so I can use my existing hardware.

    It just seems like if they had a mid-level option for $1200 to $1500 I'd be happy to buy that up, but since there isn't it is kind of frustrating.

    Just to clarify what I'm doing with it - web design and graphic design, so I'd have coda or dreamweaver open with photoshop and illustrator, and maybe like 5 or 6 browser windows and itunes of course. The files I work with are between 20mb to 300mb for the larger print graphics.
  2. dXTC macrumors 68020


    Oct 30, 2006
    Up, up in my studio, studio
    There has been incessant talk of dreams of a "headless iMac" midrange computer here on MacRumors over the years. Apple seems to have successfully ignored it all, however.

    My guess: Don't hold your breath. :)
  3. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    Loads and Loads of people here on the boards would love to see a mid-level tower. I don't think we'll ever see it, not with the current architecture of computers. A mid-level tower from Apple would be competing directly with all the other PC makers, and too many people make purchasing decisions based solely on price. IF Apple changes the basic architecture of PCs, then all predictions are off (I say this because I am keenly waiting to see what Apple is going to do with Light Peak - but that is a different discussion.... search MR for Light Peak to get a sense).

    I have the luxury of being happy with my Macs, and so I can follow the "what's coming up next" news without stress.

    If you do web design and graphics as your professional (intended or actual) then think Mac Pro - now or in the future. You can get a refurbished one from Apple, or a 2nd hand one. Build your peripherals around this - with the intention of eventually trading it in for a current Mac Pro (current at the time you pull the plug). If you doing this as a business, consider the tax advantages of leasing....

    Once you move to a current Mac Pro you should be able to keep it for 3, 4, 6 years if you buy one that is more than you currently need instead just barely adequate.

    Alternatively, go with a Mini and do the RAM upgrades yourself (easy now, with the unibody). Save some $$ by buying it off the refurb store. Consider this a temporary system while you save up for the Mac Pro, so again buy your peripherals thinking about how they work with your eventual Mac Pro.

    If you do web-design and graphic work for fun, a hobby (paid or otherwise) then a Mac Pro is overkill and a Mini or iMac is the better choice.

    I agree with you that a mid-tower would fill this gap. I don't see Apple doing it.

    Of course of this is just IMO.... Good Luck.

    Make it a point to check the refurb store several times a day, and start identifying which models you would find suitable. Once you have your short list, then when one appears, if you like the price you can pounce on it.
  4. rdowns macrumors Penryn


    Jul 11, 2003
  5. Tomorrow macrumors 604


    Mar 2, 2008
    Always a day away
    I might be oversimplifying what you wrote, but are you sure a Mac Pro isn't what you're looking for? I know the price is through the roof by comparison, but it sounds like you're talking about that level of horsepower. :confused:
  6. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    xMac has been beaten to death. Steve has said that the end-user should not hassle with the hardware thus iMacs are so limited and we won't see the xMac. Current lineup is selling like hot cakes so there is no need for Apple to attract more users and expand their lineup. Besides, Apple wants to sell you everything. If they made an upgradeable mid-tower, people would buy the low-end from them and then upgrade from 3rd party.

    Your best option is a Hackintosh if none of the Macs suit for you
  7. xheathen thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 5, 2010
    Light Peak looks really interesting! I'll have to look into that more when I have some time to sit down :)

    Hellhammer - I was afraid that would be the way to go :( But, I don't think it's the worst case scenario to be honest. I do think the Mac Pro is overkill, not only in components, but in price. Plus, I really want a smaller computer footprint on my desk, not a larger one :)

    I was just pricing out the same components that you might find in the core i5 imac, and for a complete system using the same exact components apple does it's somewhere around $800. That's kind of the same amount I would drop if I bought a 2nd hand 24" iMac (which I have actually seriously considered). Using iboot + multibeast it looks like if I'm not trying to "trick out" the thing it should function identically (minus the cool wireless keyboard + magic mouse... which is a shame cuz that thing looks nice).
  8. jwp1964 macrumors regular

    Mar 16, 2004
    Enterprise, KS
  9. BornAgainMac macrumors 603


    Feb 4, 2004
    Florida Resident
    If Apple ever releases Mac OS to other companies to create Macs then you will see it. When iOS devices are huge and Mac sales are like the current iPod classic and nano sales then I don't see why they can't do that. It won't hurt them.
  10. xheathen thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 5, 2010
    With a 500gb or 1tb 7200 RPM available on the base unit it makes me more readily consider it. I'm just having a hard time spending $700 ($600 refurb) on something that's going to require $300 to $400 in upgrades before it can perform :(

    I know you can buy a brand new mini with a larger and faster HD, but by the time you get out the door, you may as well have bought an imac. The mini's just seem to make sense to me on what they offer.
  11. CubeHacker macrumors 65816


    Apr 22, 2003
    It was called the Powermac G4 Cube, and was sold for about a year in 2000 before being discontinued due to poor sales.

    My guess is that Apple just doesn't want to bother with it again.
  12. andrew086 macrumors regular

    Dec 31, 2009
    you mean the Magic Mac.

    did you even glance at the thread before posting?
  13. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea

    Because it will hurt them. Macs have a reputation of "just working" and being reliable. Apple is able is do this simply because they keep the parts that need to work with each other at a very manageable level. They don't need to worry about wonky drivers for every 3rd rate peripheral out there. That is the big problem with Windows, they try to work with everything - and that makes a very complex and complicated undertaking - which means it breaks more often. The moment Apple releases OS X to 3rd party computer makers is the day Macs loses their reputation as being reliable.

    Plus.... Apple makes money off of the hardware. Why would they give that profit centre away? And create competition for their own hardware sales?

    Ain't never gonna happen.... imho, of course.
  14. xheathen thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 5, 2010
    Just out of curiosity, has anyone actually known someone who has something like a 2009/2010 mac mini with a full 8gb of ram + a FW external HD? I just wonder if anyone can even attest that kind of setup can actually push the applications I'd use it for with any ease.

    Maybe it's worth it to just wait until the next mini update and hope it's got a half decent hardware upgrade.
  15. RedReplicant macrumors 6502a

    Mar 31, 2010
    Look for someone with a 13" MBP doing what you are, it's the same hardware.
  16. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Apple has clearly moved away from the computer market. Heck they dropped the word computer out of their name a few years back.

    To that end, while they're still developing updates to laptops, iMacs and to a lessor extent Mac Pros. I don't see apple dedicating any more resources towards a headless iMac.

    I'm pretty happy that they're providing the consumer with non-mobile chipsets in their iMac line finally. If you want performance but don't want to buy a MacPro the high end iMac will be a good deal.
  17. crackbookpro macrumors 65816


    Feb 25, 2009
    Om nom nom nom
    Get an iMac. I use it for what exactly you want to use it for - Web Development & Graphic Design. I have 4GB of RAM and it is fine for now even using some heavy video editing in FCP. But, I am moving into some extensive Maya work, and we will be upgrading to the the highest end iMac or a MacPro by the fall.

    On the cheaper side, a Mac Mini will be fine for DW, PS, and AI. But, nonetheless, the iMacs have refined GPU's in their line-up - I would want this tenfold rather than no dedicated RAM for Mini's.
  18. BornAgainMac macrumors 603


    Feb 4, 2004
    Florida Resident
    That is why Apple will need to wait until Mac hardware sales are a very small percentage of their business. By the time that happens it won't make sense in an iOS / iPad dominated world. People won't care anymore.
  19. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    Apple may be moved from being 'just' a computer company, but they are selling more computers now (last quarter) than they have every sold before. It is still a huge part of their business.

    I'd go further and say that computers are still an essential part of their business. One of the (many) reasons that so many people buy iDevices is that they work so well with their Macs. Take those Macs away, and that reason to buy an iDevice goes away. Not for everyone, perhaps. but for a sizeable portion. By the same token, Apple is using the adoption of iPhones and iPads by some enterprise customers to leverage Macs into those formerly Mac-less markets. Which will, incidentally, sell more iDevices.

    It's complete package that Apple offers. So they need all the parts to be there.
  20. carlgo macrumors 68000

    Dec 29, 2006
    Monterey CA
    Jobs is just being Jobs, he is totally stubborn on some things and this is one of them.
  21. QuantumLo0p macrumors 6502a


    Apr 28, 2006
    Gaping Apple Lineup Hole


    Excellent point and a very good one, IMO. You have identified the infamous GAPING APPLE LINEUP HOLE that is big as the Grand Canyon.

    I love the design of my new Mini and really don't care for the look of the iMac. To me the huge bezel at the bottom of the screen is quite ugly. Since I don't need a Pro anymore I was left with a choice. Between the iMac, which I don't like, or the underpowered, under-equipped Mini.

    I chose the Mini but if Apple were to build a matx-Mini-on-steroids i would buy one in a heartbeat. And now I await the planned upgrade with a Momentus XT, 8GB of ram. Perhaps setting up a ram disk also.

    To Apple: Please fix the GAPING APPLE LINEUP HOLE.
  22. mstrze macrumors 68000

    Nov 6, 2009

    They did do this to an extent with the 'clones' in the mid 90s...and it was one of the very first things Steve Jobs ended when he was called back to save the company. He ended it for the very reasons you list...3rd party setups which can vary incredibly cannot be supported adequately and are not very reliable and will take away from the Apple/Mac experience.
  23. jonjons macrumors newbie

    May 16, 2009
    Has apple ever talked about a mid level non-imac?

    Interesting thread.....

    Traditionally, Apple's strategy of leaving a gap between their Pro model and all-in-one made commercial sense. However, with things trending so strongly to mobile solutions these days, it might be appropriate for Apple to put it's very best foot forward on the desktop - so to speak.

    I have always thought that a "modular Mac" might fill this gap nicely. The head unit could be Mac Mini-like with add-on boxes that provided additional niche functionality such as "RAID storage" "Pro audio I/O" "DVR" etc.

    This would provide the kind of configuration flexibility that mobile solutions fail to provide.

    Crazy talk?
  24. xheathen thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 5, 2010
    No I think that's "sane talk" :)

    The thing is, a middle solution to me IS apple's style. I mean, you've got a flavor of portable media consumption for any budget and range known to man (nano to touch to pad).

    It's just weird that they seem to be uninterested in it, or possibly they have run the numbers and the group that wants it just isn't worth developing (which may be the sad truth :). But I think they would capture a large number of PC users who are in the same boat I am - they have a ton of accessories like monitors, speakers and external drives, may want to move to Mac, but don't seem to find a viable solution that fits their niche.

    Oh well... I guess I'll just keep milling it about :)
  25. MonkeyET macrumors 6502

    Aug 7, 2009
    Coachella, CA
    This statement doesn't make any sense. If you pay attention to what Apple has to say, I would say the consensus is that :apple: does what they want. If people choose to buy, then :apple: makes money. If people don't, then they won't sell the product. If consumer demand is overwhelming, then they might decide to alter how they are attacking an issue.

    I believe Steve said something along these lines in regards to :apple:'s thoughts on the demise of flash. Until the market says otherwise, :apple: is choosing to design the demand of the future. I can't say I disagree. When someone decided to design the first computer, were they thinking "I can change the world with this", or were they thinking "I can make a boatload of cash with this?" I am going to lean more towards the thought that their decision will affect the world instead of the world affecting their decision.

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