When Will Apple Dump the non-Retina iMac Line?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by PowerMac G4 MDD, Jan 7, 2016.

  1. PowerMac G4 MDD macrumors 68000

    PowerMac G4 MDD

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2014
    Location:
    At the intersection of Conch and Coral.
    #1
    The iMac is now a complete consumer product yet again; only, it's nothing special or new. When released in 1998, it was a whole new beginning for Apple and a fantastic new computer that nobody had ever seen before.

    Currently, the regular iMacs are severely underpowered, are hard to or even impossible to upgrade, and contain 5400RPM HDDs be default.

    It's no surprise that the iMac line (save for the Retina models) has been seeing little attention recently: desktop sales are plummeting, since - nowadays - most average users can get by with a measly tablet. The desktop is pretty much dead in this day and age, and its only hint of life is given to it by professionals, gamers, and those who are old-fashioned enough to want to use such archaic computer equipment... that would be me.

    However, Apple continues to update their Retina line regardless. As for the regular line of iMacs, they recently received a little bit of an upgrade, but after a long period of absence. And, of course, it was nothing major.

    One can argue that the iMac at its start was a lower-powered consumer device, but the iMac has now become an utter disgrace. The base-model iMac comes with - what - a dual-core i5? Shoddy integrated graphics? A price tag of over $1000? I can remember back to when an iMac was $1000 (albeit in 2006 money), yet was a beast of a machine for its time. When the Intel iMacs came out, they were some pretty b*tch'n machines! Let's remember that non-Apple Core 2 Duo laptops at that time would have usually cost more than those iMacs altogether. Heck, I have a 2007 Gateway with a 1.66Ghz 'Centrino Duo,' and it cost about $600 more than a 2006 MacBook/iMac and had lesser specs. By 2006, the iMac had become a great machine, and that was also back when a desktop was still relevant.

    By now, the desktop is no longer too relevant, and that's likely why the iMac has basically become neutered - I guess you could say. It's no longer impressive (maybe only by design), it's no longer cheap (relative to previous models), it comes with a 5400RPM LAPTOP hard drive (again, if I am not mistaken), and the 21.5 inch models cannot receive RAM upgrades.


    I'm still content with my 2005 iMac G5 iSight - and while I would be content with a brand-new iMac if someone handed me one, I would NEVER go out and buy one at this point; and you're hearing it from someone who still buys desktop computers.

    Even more archaic is my 2009 Mac Pro, which is a full-fledged tower.... but that's not stopping me from using it. The fact that it's more powerful than a low-end iMac in every way is why I'll be sticking with this for a number of more years.

    What do you think?

    -
    MDD (personal owner of around 17 iMacs - all of which were produced back when the iMac was well and alive.)
     
  2. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #2
    Lets just say I totally disagree. 5 iMacs from the first G5 to the first Retina. Each one has been quieter, faster, cooler, and better display than the one before. And I wouldn't want to go back to any but the last two. Particularly the G5 benched slower than the 3 year old Pentium 4 Dell it replaced.

    The 27" iMacs use 7200 RPM desktop drives. And I can buy a 21.5" Retina iMac for the same price I paid for the 17" G5 in 2004, even less considering inflation.
     
  3. Strider64 macrumors regular

    Strider64

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2015
    Location:
    Suburb of Detroit
    #3
    I would never do any serious web development or design on anything other than a desktop computer, sure I use tablets and smartphones to see how websites look and feel. However, that is it. Sure there are a lot of people who use laptops as their main computer, but I personally don't like working on one at a stationary desktop. I like the big screen with the computer all in one package, less wires and space being taking. Before I bought my iMac 5k, I built my own PC and most of the were big towers that had to sit next to my desktop and when space is at a premium makes it a very cluttered room. I don't think Apple would deliberately leave the iMac to gather too much dust for there will be always a market for them be it a niche one. Just my 0.05 cents (used to be .02 cents). :)
     
  4. PowerMac G4 MDD thread starter macrumors 68000

    PowerMac G4 MDD

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2014
    Location:
    At the intersection of Conch and Coral.
    #4
    Relative to their time periods, iMacs usually offered something great and unique... now they seriously DO feel like lame laptops stuffed into a desktop case. I suppose the 27" models are okay, but the 21.5" models (while still nicer than other all-in-ones) are a disgrace to the iMac line.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 7, 2016 ---
    Oh yeah - I can agree that there will always be a niche for them... but a niche is a niche. Apple doesn't care about niches.
     
  5. redheeler macrumors 603

    redheeler

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2014
    #5
    The Retina 5K iMac is actually a terrific value and offers something great and unique: the stunning 5K display. The hardware is also fairly decent.

    The low-cost 21.5" non-Retina models, not as much. Apple has definitely made some stupid decisions with those, such as the 5400 RPM HDD and removal of the dGPU. I wouldn't call these models a bad value, especially when you go up to the 21.5" Retina and get the true 4K 4096x2304 display, but they could be better. Apple is clearly more intent on upselling the higher-end models than ever, and overpriced Fusion drive/SSD upgrades when they should be made standard.

    To answer the title question: likely as early as this year, aside from a lone low-end 21.5" model which may stick around. The Retina models will be decreased in price to coincide with that.
     
  6. PowerMac G4 MDD thread starter macrumors 68000

    PowerMac G4 MDD

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2014
    Location:
    At the intersection of Conch and Coral.
    #6
    Yeah, it's very true; they are skimping on the low-end models in order to sell more high-end models. I think the love went with Steve. Tim, here, is all about sales and profits, and that's it.
     
  7. Strider64 macrumors regular

    Strider64

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2015
    Location:
    Suburb of Detroit
    #7
    That's true with practically with all companies that the bottom line is sales and profits; got to keep the shareholders happy.:D If a company isn't selling that many of a product line because the demand isn't that great then they are going to concentrate on the high end models before the low end models. That is why in my opinion all iMacs will have Retina displays in the future, be it with the lower models not being so "spruced" up at first. $$$
     
  8. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #8
    I think Apple is cutting corners which has a two fold advantage, one it, improves the profit margins, and two, it motivates people to the higher end models.

    I don't think apple has any short term plans to kill the non retina iMac, as it probably still represents a sizeable percentage of their iMac sales. Why kill off a profitable product?

    As for the Laptop drive in the iMac, iMac's historically used mobile components, so its no surprise that they would use a mobile hard drive. I'm not condoning the practice but just pointing out iMacs over the years have used mobile chipsets instead of the desktop variants.
     
  9. MadDane macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2015
    #9
    I think Apple is going with the same strategy as with the non-retina MacBook Pro. Keep one model around for as long as possible, as the entry level iMac. I think with the next revision we will se two standard configurations 4k iMac, in addition to one non-retina. That non-retina will then probably be kept around for multiple years to maximize profits (just like the non-retina MacBook Pro currently is).
     
  10. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #10
    That the smaller screen iMac seems crippled compared with the larger screen model has always been the case. At least since the G5 iMacs:
    • The smaller screen (17" and then 20", but not the 21.5") have been TN panels rather than IPS.
    • The 21.5" use 2.5" HDDs instead of 3.5" HDDs and do not have user upgradable RAM.
    • The smaller screen tends to have integrated graphics and miss the higher processor options, frequently having notebook processors rather than desktop processors which are in the larger screen models.
    The last two items can be attributed to the smaller enclosure limiting the amount of heat generated.
     
  11. PowerMac G4 MDD thread starter macrumors 68000

    PowerMac G4 MDD

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2014
    Location:
    At the intersection of Conch and Coral.
    #11

    It's obvious that they would use a laptop HDD, since the machine has a small form factor, but they could at least include a stock SSD or something. This shows how neutered the iMac has become; it's becoming a laptop inside a desktop case. Man... I can remember back when iMacs were amazing. In 2006, an all-in-one with a 2Ghz Core 2 Duo and up to 3 or so GB of RAM was very good. Now, the iMac is only impressive in design.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 8, 2016 ---
    They likely won't kill it off, but their lack of consideration towards it is exemplary to the fact that desktops are a dying line. All-in-ones are actually becoming more common with other manufacturers, but they're still old news - esp. towers.
     
  12. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #12
    Given that their Laptops don't use stock SSDs, its not surprising.
     
  13. MadDane macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2015
    #13
    Well if we look at the MacBook (not MacBook Pro) from late 2006 (from the same time as the iMac you are referring to), it came with 1.83GHz/2.0GHz Core2Duo and up to 2GB RAM. How is that any different from the current lineup?
     
  14. Starfia macrumors 6502

    Starfia

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2011
    #14
    I think… your needs are perhaps more specialized than those of tons of people. There are a bunch of people who aren't ready for the post-PC world, still want a desktop, still want the simplicity of Apple's all-in-one legacy, and just… barely if ever need graphics beyond checking e-mail, and browsing the (still perfectly browsable) modern web sites, what with all their fanciness. (And if they do want to use Logic Pro X and Final Cut Pro, those things are still totally usable there.)

    I'm on a 2012 27" iMac – I often do earn money from music, art, video and more; it all happens on my iMac, and I still feel like the thing is overpowered.

    I'm just holding out for that Retina Mac mini! Eh? Eh? = D
     
  15. PowerMac G4 MDD thread starter macrumors 68000

    PowerMac G4 MDD

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2014
    Location:
    At the intersection of Conch and Coral.
    #15
    The specs and the machine itself were impressive for its time... and that no longer holds true for the current, lower-end iMac.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 8, 2016 ---
    I mentioned that professionals are more likely to need a desktop, so there you go. For average users, though, I can concur that they are more of a luxury than a necessity for computing.
     
  16. MadDane macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2015
    #16
    I will agree with you that the specs in the low end 21.5" iMac are far from impressive. However, the $200 step up version still performs pretty well. And if power is what you need there is always the 5k iMac or a Mac Pro.

    But what I commented on is that you said that 'it's becoming a laptop inside a desktop case.' My point is that this has been the case for many years and is not a recent phenomenon. The late 2006 iMac was basically identical to the late 2006 MacBook in terms of performance. They both even had the Intel GMA 950.

    I am not so strong on pre PPC G5 iMac's, so I am not sure how G3 and G4 iMac's compared to laptops of the time. But ever since the change to Intel the laptops and iMac's have been very similar in performance.
     
  17. PowerMac G4 MDD thread starter macrumors 68000

    PowerMac G4 MDD

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2014
    Location:
    At the intersection of Conch and Coral.
    #17
    True, the MacBook was very similar to the iMac in terms of specs; but I was saying that because of its weak specs, weak GPU, and the fact that it has a 5400RPM laptop hard drive.
     
  18. MadDane macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2015
    #18
    The fact that a 2.5" 5400RPM HDD is used has, sadly, been the case since the late 2012 21.5" iMac. They really should include an SSD as standard in this day and age, just like they do in their laptops. Or at the very least a Fusion Drive with a 128GB SSD as standard in all of their models.
     
  19. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #19
    When Apple rolled out the 2015 update to the iMac line and introducing the 4k iMac, I was very critical and still am, on their decision to include by default a 5400 rpm drive, either as a bare drive in the base configurations or in the Fusion Drives. What makes matters worse is that they cut back on the Flash portion on the 1TB Fusion drive which was insult to injury imo.

    This was one major reason why I opted for the 5k M395 model, because for a little more money I got a better GPU, faster processor and the 2TB Fusion drive that has 128GB of flash and a 7200 rpm drive. I wished my data could fit on a 256GB or even a 512GB SSD, but sadly it doesn't and as I posted before I wanted to move away from the external drives that I lived with over the past several years with my MBP.
     
  20. OllyW Moderator

    OllyW

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2005
    Location:
    The Black Country, England
    #20
    That iMac you fondly remember had the exact same internals as the MacBook Pro, with only the hard drive substituted for a 3.5" desktop drive.
     
  21. MadDane macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2015
    #21
    Your choice makes perfect sense to me. I have the exact same configuration Fusion Drive in my late 2009 iMac with a 128GB SSD (instead of the SuperDrive that had failed anyway) + 2TB HDD (after the original 1TB had failed).

    Apple really should offer at least the a 128GB SSD version of a SuperDrive in all of their iMacs. A Mac should be all about the perceived use of an incredible machine. Without any kind of SSD storage it simply feels slow, no matter how fast all of the other internals are.
     
  22. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #22
    Agreed, and when I was playing with some of the demo units at the apple store, I felt that this was the case. I was tempted to split my Fusion drive up, so I could decide what goes on the flash portion and not OS X. Yet at this point, I find the performance equalling that of my MBP. I have not found a need to split it up.

    I think they could have and by all accounts should have made the iMac a little more current with the use of SSDs.
     
  23. MadDane macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2015
    #23
    I am totally with you there. The MacBook Air has had nothing but SSD storage since 2010! And as long as you don't feel the need to split up the Fusion Drive I see no reason to do so. However, I have experienced the same when playing with demo models at stores. They just feel sluggish.
     
  24. mlody macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2012
    Location:
    Windy City
    #24
    I agree that the most iMac are actually not the smartest buys! Apple can quickly address most of the performance complains by simply removing the ancient HDDs and equipping the iMac with proper storage. I would be fine if 21.5" models had SSD as standard drives and 27" PCI-E flashbased storage. That would solved a lot of performance problems and make them very good computers. Right now the base models are crippled by 20+ years old technology stuffed in them.
     
  25. PowerMac G4 MDD, Jan 10, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2016

    PowerMac G4 MDD thread starter macrumors 68000

    PowerMac G4 MDD

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2014
    Location:
    At the intersection of Conch and Coral.
    #25
    The GPU was better as well, but I guess that can be expected. It's true that the two machines were very similar, but the point is that the iMac then was still a very impressive desktop. I forgot to consider that the 2006 machines, however, WERE very similar - but later models of iMac (before they were neutered) were usually much better than their MacBook counterparts. There was also certainly an advantage to having an iMac over a MacBook, but, by now, I think I'd rather have a Retina MacBook Pro over the normal low-end iMac (not the educational iMac; the $1,300 one... which is what Apple wants us to do at this point). This is coming from a guy who doesn't enjoy using laptops as desktops. At least, with the MBP, I get a PCI SSD, a Retina screen (albeit 13-inch), etc. In 2006, it almost seemed great to have BOTH the laptop and desktop.

    Apple is just skimping on their low-end machines because they want people to go and buy the high-end ones; it's simple. Back in 2006, we'd be just fine with the low-end machines because they were still impressive for their time. Now, however, it's almost not worth settling with the low-end iMac.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 10, 2016 ---
    Yeah, I don't understand why they don't fork over an SSD. Apple's PCI SSDs are expensive items, but for what the customer is paying, they shouldn't get some stupid, 5400 RPM laptop drive. Fusion drives aren't expensive (as far as DESKTOP drives go... which won't fit into an iMac); I have seen 1TB fusion drives online for around $60-80 (which actually makes me wonder why someone would choose a regular 1TB HDD if you can get a fusion one for $10-30 more).
     

Share This Page