Should Mac Go Low Cost?

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by snoopy, Jan 27, 2003.

  1. snoopy macrumors member

    Jul 30, 2002
    Portland, OR
    The first question is whether Apple needs to have a low cost Mac in their product line? If so, the second question is what should it be like? I'll say a few thing on the first question, but leave the second question up to the replies.

    It's open for debate, but I think the first answer is yes. Apple is losing market share badly in places. Fortunately they are making gains somewhere, which offset the loses for now. In education they are taking a beating. In small or medium business, the little market share Apple had appears to be shrinking. Lastly, some homes that have used Macs for years are dumping them for Windows. I am seeing lost of Macs in homes today.

    The reason for such loses is price. Classrooms, general office use and homes that only do simple things do not need performance and features. Yet Apple's lowest priced new Mac is worthy of digital hub applications. Those who need just a humble computer must either pay Apple's price, buy a used Mac or buy a low cost Windows PC. Most by far are taking the third option.

    At this point, some might say Apple should let these markets go, since profit margins are small. The problem with this approach is that the Mac is more than a brand of computer. It is an entire computer platform. Mac market share needs to be high enough to keep the developers interested. Without enough developers, the platform cannot do well. That is my pitch for a low cost Mac. Call it a MacPC if you will. It would be worth doing even if it did not make Apple more profitable.

    Those who take on the second question, there are things I wonder about. How do you keep a low cost MacPC from taking too many sales from more profitable Macs? What should the price, performance and features be? How expandable? Should Apple create their own clone division, and build it under a different name? I'm looking forward to what people think about these issues.
  2. dricci macrumors 6502a

    Dec 15, 2001
    I think they should lower prices to compete with the clone makers, however I don't think they should get in a price war that they'll ultimately loose. I have no idea how they could go about doing this while remaining profitable, I'll leave that up to R&D in Cupertino to figure out ;)
  3. rainman::|:| macrumors 603


    Feb 2, 2002
    the eMac line is considered low-cost, for Apple. sure a cheaper model would be nice, but it would be lacking in quality and not worthy of carrying the name Macintosh. They cut costs with displays (i'm speculating here) and had display problems. the cheaper you go, the more unreliable...

  4. krhodus macrumors member


    Dec 16, 2001
    Dublin, OH
    two words: origional iMac

    They are still for sale on the Apple Store. $799.
  5. Glossybear macrumors member

    Oct 1, 2002
    Hollywood CA
    Return of the Cube

    I think that low-cost Macs are a must have for Apple.

    ESPECIALLY for switchers and schools (even switcher schools). Alot of consumers are looking for a second machine, and I belive if apple played their cards right they could get alot of people to buy a Mac in this situation.

    And I think they could do this with a reintroduction of the Cube.

    We always say that Apple is ahead of its time, and that the Cube was ahead of its time. So why not reintroduce the Cube now?

    It could run a fast Gobi(?) G3 and use the old CRTs that everybody has now that they have LCDs on their main computer.

    Maybe market it as a home-entertainment Computer.
  6. lmalave macrumors 68000


    Nov 8, 2002
    Chinatown NYC
    CRT iMac, baby!

    Oh, man, I just started a new thread on more or less the same topic. Except I didn't ask for opinions, I just stated that Apple should start pushing the CRT iMacs again :D

    Here's the text of the other post:

    Well, Steve Jobs ate his words about the CRT being dead when he brought out the eMac, and now I think it's finally time to recant entirely and start pushing the humble little 15" CRT iMac again. Why? Because Apple can stand on the strength of OS X and iLife, and the classic iMacs still have tremendous recognition and consumer appeal, if it weren't for the feature/price mix currently offered (which almost seems halfhearted - as if to kill the CRT iMac just to prove the point that the CRT is dead). Here's what Apple REALLY needs to do:

    For $599:
    700 MHz G3
    ATI Radeon 7500 16MB
    20 GB HD
    128 MB RAM

    For $799:
    800 MHz G3
    ATI Radeon 7500 32MB
    Combo Drive
    30 GB HD
    256 MB RAM

    For $999: (and here's the piece de resistance)
    800 MHZ G3
    ATI Radeon 7500 32 MB
    30 GB HD
    256 MB RAM

    Can you imagine the ruckus the above product mix would cost? Of course, the Superdrive eMac would have to be lowered to $1299 and the superdrive FP iMac to $1499. The combination of Superdrive and iLife is just so appealing. I think a LOT of switchers would buy a $999 Superdrive CRT iMac - it would just prove Apple's point that it's not GHz that matter - it's what you can do with the computer. And I don't think cannibalization is so much of an issue since most CRT iMac buyers would be switchers that wouldn't have bought a Mac anyway because they didn't think they could afford it (or weren't willing to pay the price premium over a PC). And anyway, on the eMac you get a G4, 60GB HD, and a 17" CRT screen, and on the FP iMac you get a G4, 60GB HD, and of course an LCD screen and incomparable style, so I still think deeper- pocketed consumers would still go for those if they could afford them.

    What do you all think?
  7. ddtlm macrumors 65816

    Aug 20, 2001
    A modest upgrade of the classic iMac would go a long ways, I think. And drop the "white only" crap while they're at it.
  8. t^3 macrumors regular

    Oct 17, 2001
    I think you forget that it would practically take forever for the current G3 to encode DVD's. But until IBM cranks out G3's with an AltiVec-like core, there will NEVER be a SuperDrive in a G3-based Mac that Apple sells. Yes, you could still just burn data, but I don't think Apple would let people who need a cheap Mac w/SuperDrive suffer through hours of encoding.
  9. Bear macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
    What everyone forgets is that a G3 with Altivec is essentially a G4. I suspect that with the 970 coming, IBM wouldn't bother doing a G3 with Altivec.

    Also the eMac is essentially a slightly larger CRT iMac, and it has a Superdrive option.
  10. orangefoodie macrumors member

    Jan 17, 2003
    Entirely TOO FLAT Ann Arbor, MI
    Okay, this is a rather personal opinion, but look at the eMac: It's UGLY.

    The classic iMacs weren't ugly; they were PRETTY.

    And, the eMac doesn't have a handle - it's rather hard to tell how much a handle helps when you're deploying a few of them across a high school.
    I have to agree with the idea of bringing back the original iMacs but in updated form - with the price cuts, I think I would have made the decision to switch a lot sooner.

    My two cents. :)
  11. movmkr macrumors newbie

    Jul 19, 2002
    For people who answered eMac or original iMac, those are not low cost options to the general public. I tried to convince my family to get a mac, they ended up getting a Compaq, why? $499. People will argue "get a used Mac," but the general public doesn't want to go rummaging through eBay or want ads or refurbishers when they can simply go to Best Buy or CompUSA and walk out with a cheaper computer in ten minutes. Here's my thoughts on the matter:

    Original iMac:




    FP iMac

    $999 and up

    It would be nice if they could sneak in an iBook for $799 (not complaining about their $999 iBook, they did a great job with that, but once again, my family got a laptop...picked an HP, why? $799).

    Now it's true that Apple can't possibly fight the onslaught of all these PC companies trying to undersell each other. Maybe they shouldn't try? As for now, the original iMac and eMac are not really serious attempts at attacking the low end market. Maybe they should ditch the low end all together and put all their resources into the high end nitch they've spent the last decade creating. Just my random ramblings, take care all - Matt
  12. BigJayhawk macrumors regular

    Jan 8, 2003
    New Jersey
    Would everyone just GET REAL????

    The age old question: When will APPLE come out with a CHEAP MACHINE to gain marketshare?

    Again I say: GET REAL!!!!

    Q: When will Cadillac come out with a CHEAP vehicle so they can "outmarketshare" Chevvrolet?

    A: The 80's -- and they were CRAP (Similar to the Performa Debacle!)

    Cadillac has regained ITS PLACE by making QUALITY again!


    End of discussion.
  13. BigJayhawk macrumors regular

    Jan 8, 2003
    New Jersey
    Oh, and by the way . . .

    Apple has more marketshare than Cadillac, Lincoln, Mercedes, BMW, Jaguar, Lexus, Infiniti, Acura and all of the rest of the Luxury vehicles COMBINED!!! Hmmm, when are they going to write articles about the DEMISE OF THE LUXURY CAR MARKET??? Again, they're NOT because they fill a market niche just like Apple does -- i.e. THEY ARE THE BEST -- and they are only going to be successful if they STAY THAT WAY!
  14. lmalave macrumors 68000


    Nov 8, 2002
    Chinatown NYC
    This is an important point to make - Apple will never be the *same* price as the lowest-end PCs. But the point is to at least be in the ballpark so that almost anybody who really wants a Mac can get one. I agree with you that the difference between a $500 Compaq and $800 Mac is just far too great - that's almost double. But I don't think you'll see $399 or even $499 iMac. I think at $599 anyone who really prefers the Mac will pay the $100 premium.
  15. MrMacMan macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2001
    1 Block away from NYC.
    Don't tell me no one else cought that. :D

    I think that it would kill off apple for good. People sure want the super-drive but it cost more than that and all of there eMac, iMac sales would go Poof
    I can imagine: Hey where did they go? WTF the 'origional iMac' took them??? NOOOOO, OUR PROFITS!

    :blinks: oh hello reality nice to meet you.
    I would like to see a Education only computer (Apple don't BS me the eMac was never an educational computer was it? You were gonna change it anyway! WEREN'T YOU?!?!?!)
    A small repackaged cube maybe, low/very low cost wise...
    I mean were talking G3 gobi here, no G4 needed. A smallish video card (do schools need to run games or publish video's? no.) And give them a low price CRT (come back to me) or very low cost LCD (yeah like apple sells small LCD's. HA!)
    For schools it is price, price, price.
  16. lmalave macrumors 68000


    Nov 8, 2002
    Chinatown NYC
    I don't think you're right on this. For the simple reason that Apple has 3.5% market share, so if it introduces lower-priced models, they would sell primarily to *new* customers that wouldn't have otherwise bought a Mac. I wouldn't have bought an iBook if it wasn't so competitively priced, for example. There's no way I would've bought the low-end (at the time) PowerBook for $2300, for example.

    And that's the whole point: Apple seems to finally be getting it. Beginning with the price drop on my iBook, there have been a series of stunning price drops: $999 iBook, $999 eMac (with rebate), $1499 PowerMac, $1800 PowerBook. As long as Apple can take away features to the point where they can still make a decent profit, I think Apple has a lot to gain from introducing less expensive models.

    Plus keep in mind it gets people *thinking* about Macs to break magical price barriers. I'll bet a lot of people looked at a $999 iBook and then went with the $1299 model. Similarly, I'll bet a lot of people look at a classic iMac and maybe end up buying an eMac. And those that still buy the iMac probably had a cap on price anyway, which means they're *new* customers . Make sense?
  17. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

    Dec 21, 2002
    Yahooville S.C.
    A good entry level machine is a must for apple but the heart of their problem lies with all their marketing and stepping on toes of the next model all the way up to a powermac . entry and lower cost machines would appeal to the young crowd who dont have money for say a imacLcd or Power mac, The classic imac was and is a great little machine as long as you dont ask it to do hard core gaming or video! But if you ask the young crowd what do you want to do with your machine those are probably going to be the answers along with internet. So here we are not able to bump up the classic because of the emac cant bump it up cause of the imac lcd and we surely cant make it to fast cause then we cant sell the new 1 gig powermac! So apple has all their lines fighting with each other and the end result is joe consumer going out there and buying a Wintel Machine not realizing that they just bought garbage! that means apple gets 5-10 per cent of the market and the rest goes to Bill Gates and the Gangs! My answer to apple is to make a kick butt imac classic say 800 g3 and at least geforce2mx
    emac take it up some with the imac how about a radeon 9000 pro and 1.25 ghz or better. Have all Powermacs use dual cpus if thats all we are going to get out of motorola and presto everyone is happy! but No! constant worry of stepping on toes of other products so all lines loose to some extent and this probably all goes back to motorola and their apparent stagnation or inability to deliver the needed chips! and to a lesser extent because apple has to deal with the hand that motorola has given them.

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