My guess for the ridiculous iMac refresh delay: Retina iMac TV

Discussion in 'iMac' started by redirector, Oct 8, 2012.

  1. redirector macrumors member

    Aug 26, 2012
    Seeing that the timing gap for a simple component update for the iMac is now several months since a similar upgrade for MacBook Pro (like the Non-Retina MBP -- new RAM, CPU, GPU, USB3.0, better SSD pricing), we all are thinking this makes no sense, that Apple is taking iMac (and Mac Pro) users for granted, and is definitely causing a major long-standing customer base to question loyalties. If Apple would do this in October, I will be right there making my iMac purchase, as a professional user of Aperture, Final Cut Pro and video/photo offloading at USB3 speeds and with a big RAID storage like a Drobo 5D.

    That said, what is Apple doing? Why the delay, foregoing certain revenue and breathing life into an important flagship product where the competition is heating up? And where the feedback from apple customers is turning from questions to howls to despair?

    I do think there is something to the Retina Display supply issue, hard to upsize a Retina to 27", and potentially questionable performance and value so upgraded and priced... but I think there's something more.

    I mean it has been total radio silence, and over 500 days since an iMac Update... so some are even wondering if Apple's commitment to desktops is still strong, will the iMac and Mac Pro be discontinued? I posted on the Forum some very simple revenue trendassessments of Apple, and iMac is over $6BB in sales, a significant product indeed. That these questions are even being asked speaks volumes about Apple's treatment of these important segments. For my part, I have bought Apple products since 1984 Mac 128k, and I would argue that the Desktop Mac user is one of the most long term loyal Apple customers. My Apple Graveyard is huge (Duo Dock, anyone?). I'm sure I'm like most of you who probably have bought many or all of the "downstream" products, iPods, iPhones and iPads, along with iMac several upgrades over the years. It has been the desktop's hosting of iTunes as the major anchor for all these iOS products. Yes, now with the continued strength of the value of "mobility", the advent of iCloud etc, the laptop is where the future growth is largely to be sourced, but it just doesn't make sense that Apple would allow the iMac to die, or to make it a 2nd fiddle to a PC All-in-One resurgence.

    Reading this report from Motley Fool regarding the "growth in PC_based all-in-one desktops", and the push by HP to integrate a TV option, I think Apple has been quiet for a reason. After all, Apple invented the category, and it is not wise as a business leader to abandon the category you invented.

    But it is smart to reinvent it.

    I believe Apple is preparing, finally, once and for all, to introduce the iMac as a fusion of computing, TV, on-demand Entertainment, and Networking --the home hub they think we all have been wanting or needing. And they want to do it with Retina displays and even larger sizes, to stay one step ahead.

    I still think they are wrong for not issuing a component upgrade for iMac TODAY, but doesn't it make sense that Apple is trying for a bigger splash? And wouldn't a complete integration of Apple TV, or an integrated Tuner, as a business line, with an iMac Retina as a home hub make a more compelling case for future growth and adoption by a larger customer base? Worldwide?

    I'm not an analyst, nor can I navigate the tech integration or components needed to create such an iMac, but this is the rationale that best fits Apple's decision to ignore customer requests and create a terrible record setting delay of updating a flagship product.., that Apple is once again trying for the home run, to reinvent the category, and do it before they get outflanked by the PC guys again.

    What the heck, let's go all the way with the full product time and place prediction: Apple will introduce a new Retina iMac TV for the Super Bowl in 2013.

    Meanwhile, if they could just kick out a lowly 21" iMac USB3 etc Component upgrade, I would be quite happy to buy today. Right now. This minute. And promise to shop for that Retina iMac TV in 2013 anyway. That's the Apple way, is it not?

    What do you think?
  2. sdo1982 macrumors member

    Sep 26, 2012
    North Vancouver
    I think... IF we dont see a refresh soon, that you MIGHT be right.
    The comments earlier in the year about Foxcon etc starting playing with big LCD panels, the comments in Jobs biography and the press statements around content licensing being held up... It all points that way.
    I think its going to happen at some point, maybe 2013 is too soon?
    Nice post though!
  3. marzer macrumors 65816


    Nov 14, 2009
  4. redirector thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 26, 2012
    Partial credit! ;)
    Noted, and indeed that was why I posted the motley fool article the pc guys are already there with hardware, but they have no ability to do what Apple is doing on content... Apple's version of reinvention includes the full ecosystem, not just the pipeline. Obviously the business case goes beyond AIO Hardware... I think Apple's pursuit of program licensing, rentals, on-demand, live network broadcast, etc -- all of that is a significant driver, and Apple wants to have its own hardware to showcase it.

    iPod + iTunes = reinvented music category
    iPhone + iOS6/Apps = reinvented mobile phone category
    iMac TV+ (insert Broadcast content package) = reinvented TV category?

    In each case, the business model includes the hardware and the content for recurring revenue.

    Twenty Year Mac... lol 1997 tech and 12,000 units.
  5. Razeus macrumors 603

    Jul 11, 2008
  6. redirector thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 26, 2012
    Thank you. Yes, timing is highly questionable! But you're right, those variables are all dancing around and I think not without consequence for iMac.

    The 30 year anniversary of "1984" (aka 2014) would be a significant symbol. But that's 15 months out. Not even Apple can keep their mouth shut that long!
  7. Razeus macrumors 603

    Jul 11, 2008
    ...they have about the iPod Classic. Never to be heard from again, though still available for sale.
  8. redirector thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 26, 2012
    Yes. Although coming from someone who is already on record that Apple is getting out of the desktop business altogether, you might be expected to say that! Since we (and many others) share bitterness over Apple's inexcusable lack of iMac update, it's a worthy debate that Apple should track. I think the business case favors a reinvention than termination (or iPod Classic perpetual stasis).
  9. Razeus macrumors 603

    Jul 11, 2008
    I stand by that statement until Apple proves otherwise. A iMac TV doesn't make sense. People buy iMacs to do computing stuff (spreadsheets, photography, music, etc.) A TV function is just an added feature. I think we'll get spec bump iMacs and a Retina iMac (for an insane price) and nothing more.
  10. pacalis macrumors 6502a

    Oct 5, 2011
    You don't seem like you have credit to spare.

    And "transformed" is the word you're looking for.
  11. redirector thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 26, 2012
    most of your posts are not personally directed and usually advance the discussion. nice of you to stop by and nitpick this one.
    "pointless" is the word I'm looking for.
  12. DisMyMac macrumors 65816


    Sep 30, 2009
    Is there content better than 1080p?

    Can Retina deliver 70mm film quality?
  13. dkersten macrumors 6502a

    Nov 5, 2010
    Its an intriguing idea but I'm not too sure about it. I for one actually never want Apple to release an actual Apple branded TV (even as a feature built into a computer). I hope Apple keeps up the set top box mentality and lets me pick my display. I will not, nor will others update their TV every 1-3 years like they do phones and sometimes computers. This is exactly why I buy laptops and external displays/docking stations (a.k.a. TBD). The internals are obsolete way before the screen is in need of replacing.

    Pros for an iMac TV:
    -All data is centrally located such as work/school related data and media/entertainment, and then TV content.
    -In some situations no need for a TV and computer (think like a kitchen setup)

    -Apple will update the iMac TV with new features most likely annually. Some of the new awesome features will not run on last year's hardware (like Apple not allowing Siri to run on the iPhone 4 (which is just ridiculous)). People will not be willing to pay absurd amounts of money each year for the latest features
    -Display size: My TV is 46in because I don't sit right in front of it. My "desktop" (Macbook Pro/Air) has a 27in display. When I'm doing computer related things, larger than 30in screens that you are sitting right in front of is pretty annoying. I have done and don't like doing general computing on a large TV right in front of me.

    Things Apple would need to do to bring this to market:
    -HDMI in for set top boxes (if people don't want to fully get rid of cable) and gaming consoles plus other things
    -A good remote control (like the rumored iPad Mini) with Siri integration
    -Expansion, most specifically space for media. This can be done by USB but I have a feeling Apple would push for TB adoption. That means TB cables and accessories need to come down in price and fast

    Personally I wouldn't be adverse to the idea and in theory it is a cool idea. However from a practical standpoint I don't know if Apple would be able to integrate a TV with an iMac. Even if they did, I would much prefer a set top box and streaming media, especially live TV.

    I do however believe the entire Apple desktop line is in for more than a spec bump. I think there will be a redesign of case/chassis/etc. and the inclusion of Retina on the iMac. It would be extremely stupid business wise to not update a still profitable product(s) if all you were doing is upgrading internal components. Just my thoughts though...
  14. Liquidstate macrumors member

    Jun 11, 2012
    Pacific Northwest
    New iMac thoughts...

    This is an interesting idea, but Apple likes to own categories, such as iTV, so I doubt that they are going to merge the iMac into iTV as a consumer package.

    But IMHO, the lack of routine refreshes for both the iMac and the Mac Pro for an unusually long time speak volumes that Apple is up to something. I've been using Mac's since the 800 processor tweaking days (crash city), and when there is this much of a lull, it can indicate they are putting all of their desktop engineers on whatever is coming next.

    I've assembled lists of possible scenarios and sent them to my friends off list, because I don't want to fuel more speculation. And I'm going to keep it that way. That said, my overall guess is Apple needs new game changers to keep the brand from becoming a slick design me-too company. Tim Cook's future as CEO depends on the brand continuing to shake up categories.

    What better than to shake up the stagnating desktop market with new gear that is a must-buy for desktop fans and pro users?

    In fact, maybe they looked at the current Mac Pro design and realized they'd made a great machine for the time, but they did too good a job of making it upgradable and expandable, which inadvertently spurred lower sales.

    Tim Cook is on record saying they are working on a new iMac and a new Mac Pro. He even broke silence with the Mac Pro. At this point, they have to be working on something different, because a mild refresh would damage Apple's brand.

    Mac is the soul of Apple. So I think the pressure to innovate in the desktop category might be what is creating this situation, whether it's design or components or manufacturing issues. And there is nothing we can do but wait it out.

    I do have one question for the technical brains on the forums.

    Does anyone know what Apple is using as servers in their iCloud data centers?

  15. jetjaguar macrumors 68030


    Apr 6, 2009
    dont they use HP
  16. IGregory macrumors 6502a


    Aug 5, 2012
    A Thought

    As you may or may not be aware, there 'appears' to be a production problem with the Macbook Pro with Retina. There are a plethora of complaints about the display being faulty. I am wondering if Apple planned to release an IMAC with retina display but has put the release on hold until it can resolve the display problems on the MBP. It seems logical to me that if there is a quality control problem Apple would fix it first before releasing a new product that may have similar problems. Just a thought. :)
  17. fisha macrumors regular

    Mar 10, 2006
    Its an interesting idea. I personally don't see it though...

    principle reason being that by being the centre of a media hub, its most likely that it would sit in the living room of the house ... which pushes the bias away from creation to consumption ... an area that the ATV ( and other products like iPad ) serves just now, and which wouldn't need much more processing power to scale upto 4K displays. ( an area which I think is still a good few years away )
  18. redirector thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 26, 2012
    Unfortunate. Concur... If true this as a practical reality that would certainly impact the launch of a Retina iMac, and they had a couple months production and in market feedback/returns to examine before the September product update. And it would account for the radio silence.

    Makes the case for a non-retina iMac refresh even more compelling from a revenue perspective in Q4 -- at least for consumers. Maybe not for Apple!
  19. NunoBerny macrumors regular


    Feb 12, 2012
    Lisbon, Portugal
    I don't think this is good move.
    An iMac is an iMac, an iTV is an iTV.
    Different markets, different needs.
    I really don't see Apple merging them together anytime soon.
    That move would "force" people into something they probably don't want/need.
  20. Liquidstate macrumors member

    Jun 11, 2012
    Pacific Northwest
    Is it hardware?

    It just came to me that Apple recently hired back their head of hardware (after he retired) for an enormous amount of money. It was rumored that there was an engineer revolt with the guy Apple chose to replace him.

    I don't think they'd need to do this with any of the portables or iToys, which have issues, but not enough to give this guy bags of money to come back for awhile.

    I wonder if this has something to do with the delays for iMac and Mac Pro.

    What else in their lineup would be under that much hardware design pressure?
  21. Huginnmuninn macrumors regular


    Oct 8, 2011
    Far, far farfetched.


    Almost certainly not. Bob Mansfield never left Apple; he was persuaded to stay on while still at the company. If there were problems with timely release of new hardware he would still have been the person responsible.
  22. SpyderBite macrumors 65816


    Oct 4, 2011
    Are we just rationalizing to pass the time now? Doesn't matter why. It'll happen when it happens.

    If you need a computer now, go buy one. Mac, PC, whatever it takes to get your work done.

    If you don't need one right now and are just anxious; focus that restless energy in to something more productive than meaningless conspiracy theories.
  23. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    Remember how Cook said there was going to be a larger update to the Mac Pro in 2013? What if the Mac Pro and iMac are being merged into a single Mac iPro? That would make sense, from a timing point of view. It could also work as an introduction as a headless mac at the same time. Looking at the buyers guide, the mac mini is in need of an update too (it always is). But what if Apple did this:

    The Mac Pro and iMac were combined into a single iMac:pro lineup, with a G4 Cube-esque form factor. Simple, elegant, not huge over-the-top.

    The iMac and Mac mini are combined into an ultra thin iMac:arm edition, with an ARM CPU.

    The App store is able to provide software for the iMac:arm, while simultaneously providing a reoccurring revenue stream for Apple, allowing them to lower the price of the iMac:arm edition below $800.

    For those of us who need real power, we can buy the iMac:pro, which will have a convenient price increase to place it somewhere between the Mac Pro and current iMac. Apple gets more money from their power users, more money from their low end users, and everyone goes home happy. Including the Mac Pro users who just got an iMac with an upgradable HDD and video card for less than a Mac Pro price.

    Apple's laptop lineup went from Macbook, Macbook Pro, Macbook Air => Macbook Air. Even the Macbook Pro Retina doesn't display the Macbook "Pro" name on it.

    I see Apple's desktop platform going the same way.

    Sorry for the stream of consciousness.
  24. redirector thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 26, 2012
    1080p is 1920x1080=2.073mm pixels

    Content: the new BlackMagic Cinema Camera has uncompressed Raw Output exceeding 1080HD... 2432x1366. (aka 2.5k). This is a $3,000 camera and is compatible with Canon DSLR lenses. Many are very excited about this.

    15" MBP Retina display is 2880x1800 = 5.184mm pixels, enough for 2.5k, not enough for the new 4k standard.

    Not sure about 70mm but iMax Digital is 5616x4096 = 23mm pixels!

    Helpful link:
  25. RoelJuun macrumors 6502


    Aug 31, 2010
    I agree with your first paragraph but the ARM processor wouldn't make sense, you're not going to run iOS on your iMac/Mac Mini.

    Also, Apple doesn't make (big) profits on the sales in the (Mac) Appstore.

    I myself think that the iMac and Mac Pro will be merged in something smaller, and I do think there is a really big chance for the fabled xMac. The Mac Mini however…It has been redesigned not long ago and has always been the 'low-price' model for people that are new to Macs and already own a display and keyboard etc.

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