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Messiahtosh
Apple Historian
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2011-04-18, 12:48

There are just so many interesting things going on with Apple right now that could lead one to make some wild guesses about what Apple's plans are and what kinds of twists and turns their business might take in the next few years. Estimates of 130 million iPads selling in 2015, cloud services speculation, acquisitions, hybrid devices...AHHH



How about we stop being so linear and start getting a little nuts?

What if Apple kills the PC? Not the entire PC, mind you, just some models of the PCs they sell. They could eliminate the MacBook, and redesign the MacBook Pros to be more like Airs. This way, they would sell one line of notebooks, differentiated by screen size and performance, but basically being modeled after the MacBook Air. No plastic MacBook and no "big body" Pro. They could sell it with 3 screen sizes: 11.6, 13.3, and 15.4. The end. Apple has their simplest portable lineup ever. Let's call them the sports car of the lineup.

The iMac line is great. It's the mid-sized SUV of the product line.

The Mac Pro line is the definition of Steve's "truck vs cars" analogy. It can stay. Some people need their F350s, I guess.

The Mac mini is the Honda Civic. Definitely necessary to sell an entry-level PC.

The iPad is like an electric vehicle. It has most of the functionality of a regular PC (or car) while it has some major benefits (battery life, size) but also some drawbacks (performance, precision).

But once the iPad matures, won't it have almost all of the features and abilities of PCs, just like future EVs will be complete replacements for gas powered cars?

So, will the iPad continue to exist as a supplement to the PC or will it end up making the PC obsolete in most cases? I'm going to guess that in 5 years time, Apple only sells MacBooks, iPads, and a Mac Pro of some sort.

3 lines of computers, that's it. 4 if you count the iPhone/iPod touch.

The world is headed in that direction. Mobile everything. Smaller everything. We don't need iMacs in our houses if we have TV screens that are 50 inches and could be controlled via wireless keyboards and other means of input. Won't TVs eventually just come with PC-like internals anyway?

"We are reviewing some 9,000 recent UNHCR referrals from Syria. We are receiving roughly a thousand new ones each month, and we expect admissions from Syria to surge in 2015 and beyond." - Anne C. Richard, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
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Robo
Formerly Roboman, still
awesome
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Portland, OR
 
2011-04-18, 19:30

Quote:
Originally Posted by Messiahtosh View Post
What if Apple kills the PC? Not the entire PC, mind you, just some models of the PCs they sell. They could eliminate the MacBook, and redesign the MacBook Pros to be more like Airs. This way, they would sell one line of notebooks, differentiated by screen size and performance, but basically being modeled after the MacBook Air. No plastic MacBook and no "big body" Pro. They could sell it with 3 screen sizes: 11.6, 13.3, and 15.4. The end. Apple has their simplest portable lineup ever. Let's call them the sports car of the lineup.
I don't think pros are going to be lining up to run Final Cut X on 10W ultra-low-voltage processors.

I agree that the plastic MacBook is dead — I would be extremely surprised if it saw another update. But I think the MacBook Pro is going to be with us for a while yet. You say that the one line of notebooks would be differentiated by performance, but that means they can't all be super-thin notebooks. Some would need room for more powerful processors.

I do think the days of the 13" MacBook Pro being just a promoted MacBook, and the MacBook Apple really wants all consumers to buy are over, though. Apple has a 13" aluminum consumer MacBook now, the MacBook Air. I could see Apple taking the 13" MacBook Pro upmarket, or even eliminating it entirely. (After all, Apple didn't have a 13" MBP from 2006 to 2009, and they originally intended the 13" MBP to be just the new MacBook. They only called it "Pro" so they could keep on selling the white plastic MacBook, what with the recession and all.)

I don't think Apple will have two 13" laptops $100 apart for long.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Messiahtosh
The world is headed in that direction. Mobile everything. Smaller everything. We don't need iMacs in our houses if we have TV screens that are 50 inches and could be controlled via wireless keyboards and other means of input. Won't TVs eventually just come with PC-like internals anyway?
Do you really think that TVs are going to have good interfaces any time soon? Not unless Apple makes one.

I've changed my mind regarding the iMac. I thought for a while that to keep the iMac relevant Apple would have to make some major changes to the product, like adding an articulating multi-touch screen. I'm not going to say they won't ever, but I think right now that would be the wrong direction (and 27" capactive glass panels are probably still prohibitively expensive). What I realized is that the iMac is actually more relevant than it was a year ago, and the reason is the iPad.

The iPad requires a PC to use, and to be honest I think it will for a while yet. But if you're getting an iPad and a new Mac, you're probably not going to want to pair that iPad with an 11" MacBook Air. You already have an ultra-portable device, in the iPad; what you'd want from the PC is a bigger screen and more powerful guts and lots of capacity at a reasonable price. What you'd want, in other words, is an iMac. (It's like in your automotive analogy. If you're a two-vehicle household and you have a subcompact EV or a two-seater roadster or a motorcycle or [other iPad equivalent here], you're not going to want your second vehicle to be a Mini Cooper. You'll need a backseat sometime. What you'd want is a midsize crossover, which is exactly what you said the iMac was.)

This realization changed my thinking. What Apple should do to the next iMac (I still think we'll see a new iMac this year) isn't add an expensive articulating touchscreen. The current screens are fine. What they should do is make it cheaper, and push it as the perfect iPad companion. If a couple can get two iPads and an iMac for under $2,000, that's compelling. It's like one of those "PC Home Makeover" bundles Best Buy likes to sell, only not sucky.

There's precedent for this, of course. When Apple introduced the iMac's current where-did-the-computer-go form factor in 2004, they showed it matching the iPod — "chin" to match the iPod's clickwheel area, screen tilted back at the same angle as a docked iPod — and sold it as "from the makers of iPod," enraging anybody who thought that Apple was still primarily a PC manufacturer. And with the 2007 iMac, many noted the aluminum and black glass design's resemblance to the iPhone.

Now, I think we're about to see the "iPad" iMac. What does that mean? The obvious is a thinner design that comes to a point around the edges, and a white glass option. (I think we might finally see the end of the "chin," too.) But the iPad is also a product that was very aggressively priced. It's the ultimate $499 product. Right now the 21.5" iMac starts at $1,199, and the 27" iMac starts at $1,699. After nearly a decade of the iPad being consistently priced at $1,199 or $1,299, I think it's time to break the $999 barrier. Apple briefly sold a $999 17" iMac once before, as an eMac replacement, before getting rid of it when they switched to aluminum and bumped the base iMac to 20". But with this redesign, I'm not expecting Apple to increase the screen sizes. I think it'll all be about simplifying and streamlining the form of the iMac and reducing the price.

Will they get rid of the optical drive, to get to that price point? Who knows — but if they do, a good time to do it would be when they're reducing the prices $200 across the board.

In addition to new versions of OS X, new iMac designs have also historically been paired with new input options — the Mighty Mouse, Apple Remote and first built-in iSight in 2005, the current keyboard in 2007, and the Magic Mouse in 2009. The Magic Trackpad was introduced alongside an iMac spec bump last July. With the next iMac, I think the Magic Trackpad will simply become the default option. And I suppose I could see Apple making a black keyboard to match the black iMac (and iPad!), too.

I think we'll see it in June. The spec-bump-in-April-and-redesign-in-October doesn't seem likely this year — not only are we most of the way through April (with a white iPhone apparently still in the wings), but it sounds like October is going to be the iOS and iPhone month this time. That leaves WWDC, which, let's be real, people will be expecting new hardware at, "developers conference" or no.

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
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thegeriatric
geri to my friends
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Heaven
 
2011-04-18, 19:42

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo View Post
You'll need a backseat sometime.
Sorry. But it kinda goes with the thread title..........................
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psmith2.0
Mr. Katan
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2011-04-18, 20:05

I do not see a white glass/framed iMac. At all. That's following the iPad a little too closely...for no real reason. I think they'd want to keep their manufacturing/shipping/stocking woes to a minimum. Offering 3-4 iMacs, in two different screen sizes, is more than enough. They start offering color options (or bezel choices, or however you want to phrase it...which, by the way, nobody is needing or asking for), then buying an iMac will start to be the pain-in-the-ass the iPad is...you finally find one in a store but it's the 27" model in white and you only want the 21.5" in white and...

Ugh.

No.

Makes no sense and creates more problems/hassles than it solves or addresses.

Being a desktop, homebound device, it's not spending time out in the world where one would do their "making a statement" color/style choices like they may with a colored iPod or a white or black choice in iPhone or iPad. Offering a white-framed iMac instantly doubles the inventory/manufacturing and opens the door for stock and shortage hassles. It's just unneeded complexity, IMO.

And, again, I've never heard or read a single soul asking for this. It's about #74 on the list of Stuff We Wish the iMac Had®. Yes, I've checked...

I've never hoped you were more wrong.
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Robo
Formerly Roboman, still
awesome
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Portland, OR
 
2011-04-18, 20:29

Quote:
Originally Posted by pscates2.0 View Post
I've never hoped you were more wrong.
Seriously? It's one color option. Black or white. This isn't going to be, like, the end of Apple as we know it or anything.

Quote:
Offering a white-framed iMac instantly doubles the inventory/manufacturing and opens the door for stock and shortage hassles. It's just unneeded complexity, IMO.
The iMac is currently available with five different CPUs, three different GPUs, six different HDD/SSD combinations, two keyboards, two mice, et cetera. I don't think Apple is terribly concerned about the iMac's current inventory/manufacturing complexity, and if they are, there's plenty of opportunities to simplify the line besides only offering it in one color. If they wanted to, Apple could actually end up with a white iMac option and fewer potential option combinations, if they chose to simplify their options elsewhere.

Also, an all-new iMac design at a breakthrough price would likely necessitate stocking more inventory in their stores anyway.

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
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psmith2.0
Mr. Katan
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2011-04-18, 20:37

I just think it would look idiotic. There.

And it ain't gonna happen, so you may as well get used to it. Don't shoot the messenger.

I do agree with everything else (a lower price, etc.) and how it's an ideal pairing to the iPad. A big, powerful desktop and then an ultra-portable, covers-the-basics "satellite" device, meant for easy travel (great battery life, gets online anywhere, light and thin, fun to use in bed or on the couch, etc.).
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screensaver400
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
 
2011-04-18, 21:31

Why not an Apple Online Store-only white iMac? Solves the inventory issues, but allows for promotional materials showing two iMacs and two iPads, one of each color.
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iFerret
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: New Zealand
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2011-04-18, 21:48

I love my iPad 2. I really do. But I need it to go that one step further and become a little less tied to a computer. I still have to keep my old, broken MacBook around so I can sync, update, restore, etc my iPad which for me is less than ideal.

The iPad is just so wonderful for so many things (like couch browsing), I just wish it didn't require that link back to a home base.

I don't think it's so wild to have an iMac, iPad team thing going on. I can see Apple's line-up moving to the iMac, a line of Air-ish laptops and the iOS devices in the not too distant future. Maybe the mini will stick around, maybe not.

Also if Apple moves to one Air inspired laptop range, I think they will find a way to have more powerful processors in there. I dont see them forcing pros onto ULV processors.
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psmith2.0
Mr. Katan
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2011-04-18, 22:19

But serious pros (as in People Actually Using This Shit to Get Some Real Work Done, and Not Just Circle-Jerk About it Online by Being Spec Whores and Buzzword Flingers) aren't that tied up in appearances/style, in theory, so they'd be the first to react strongly to any sort of "form over function" reworking of the pro stuff. The pro towers and notebooks (the 15" and 17") don't need to get "sexy and stylish" for the fun of it. If they can keep their performance, I/O, battery life, etc., then great.

But if Apple goes and tries to "Air" the entire line, to the exclusion of horsepower, ports, expansion, etc., a lot of people are going to freak (and rightly so).

Those of us in the consumer space, buying the sub-$1,500 gear and just dicking around with iLife, Safari and doodling...Apple can afford to give us snazzy designs and we don't have our lives tied up in pure performance, so we don't mind the occasional form-over-function "WTF?!" move from Apple.

It's really two distinct classes of users. I used to think I was in one, but I'm really not. I'm just a regular guy, using regular stuff. I haven't had a hard-on over a tower in over nine years.



As for the white iMac talk, what would it be? Metal? Plastic? I just can't imagine either one, frankly. They're not going to go back to plastic, I'm guessing. And white metal...what would that look like, I wonder? Matte or glossy finish?

I think nice, sleek silver is where it's at on this stuff.
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Robo
Formerly Roboman, still
awesome
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Portland, OR
 
2011-04-19, 00:12

Quote:
Originally Posted by screensaver400 View Post
Why not an Apple Online Store-only white iMac? Solves the inventory issues, but allows for promotional materials showing two iMacs and two iPads, one of each color.
Apple's retail stores are far more important to the company than in the days of the BTO-only Key Lime iBook. Apple reaches the mass market, more than they ever have before, and if their ads show white iMacs, people are going to go to their nearest Apple Store to see them and will wonder why they're not there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pscates2.0 View Post
As for the white iMac talk, what would it be? Metal? Plastic? I just can't imagine either one, frankly. They're not going to go back to plastic, I'm guessing. And white metal...what would that look like, I wonder? Matte or glossy finish?
Plastic? White metal? Nonono. They'd keep the metal parts silver, and make the glass parts black or white. Take Apple Cinema Display. Remove Apple logo. There's your chinless black iMac! Change black glass to white. There's your white iMac! (Alternatively: Take white iPad. Make big and put on silver stand. There you go!)

There'd obviously be a bit more to it than that — the edges would come to a point and match the iPod and iPad, &c. But you get the general idea. If there still has to be a chin, I think glass will cover it up — either way, the two-tone face is done for. And I think the back might be flat again. The iPhone 3G and 3G S, the second- and third-generation iPod touch, and the first iPad all moved to curved backs, but the then went back to flat cases with the iPhone 4/iPad 2/iPod touch fourth generation. The iMac still has a curved back. Making it flat could make the new iMac seem much thinner, a la iPad 2.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pscates
I think nice, sleek silver is where it's at on this stuff.
Didn't you draw up a white aluminum iPod nano? I like it, but I think a white glass option on the iPod touch is more likely. The same goes here.

In Apple's design vocabulary, silver and colors = aluminum and black and white = glass (or, in the case of cables, keycaps and antenna windows, plastic). Apple's never used white aluminum, and even their black aluminum is more of a dark grey. (The only black aluminum product Apple currently sells is the iPod classic, which was designed before the current design language took effect. The "black" iPod nano is officially considered graphite.) So I agree, silver is where it's at for the metal parts of the iMac. I'm not saying the whole thing will be white. Just the glass front, a la iPad.

Apple's made white products for a lot longer than they've done the black glass thing. If the iPhone 4 and iPad 2 are any indication, that's only because Apple could never get white glass that looked right, and now they can.

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
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psmith2.0
Mr. Katan
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2011-04-19, 00:25

I view iPods differently than Macs, oddly enough. I wouldn't want to see an orange or green aluminum iMac either, FWIW. 1999 was a long time ago.

My white iPod mockup was a focused thing, for a specific reason. And it can be plastic if that's a better look, I don't care. It's not real, so we can imagine anything we want. The beauty of pretending.

As for the iMac chin, they've had six-and-half years - over several materials, revisions and processor families - to do something with it. The Cinema Displays obviously don't have to contain as many guts as a full-blown computer. I've come to accept the chin as necessary...I assume it's helping contain computer-y stuff, and if Apple could do away with it, they probably would. Goodness knows they're not going to go thicker with anything, so the thinner and sleeker these things get, I figure that extra area - represented by the chin - is more important than ever.

Maybe if they come out with a 32" iMac they'd have enough space to work with behind the display to omit the chin.
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Robo
Formerly Roboman, still
awesome
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Portland, OR
 
2011-04-19, 00:35

Quote:
Originally Posted by pscates2.0 View Post
I view iPods differently than Macs, oddly enough. I wouldn't want to see an orange or green aluminum iMac either, FWIW.
Me neither. But I think the choice between black and white glass is a little different than iMacs in a bunch of crazy colors. It's kind of like how I'm glad Apple didn't make the iPod 2 with a bunch of candy-colored metal backs. They made two equally classy glass options, so a couple can have two iPads that each look different, say, and then made covers to supply more color/personalization options. You're never looking at the back of the iPad or iMac, anyway — it's not like the iMac G3, where there's a big side of the tube that needs to be brightened up and made attractive. What matters is the glass on the front — that is the product.

I don't think the full-size iPod touch or iPhone is about to come in a zillion colors, either, just like the iPod classic never did. But just black and white? That's different.

We can agree to disagree. But I think all of Apple's "full-size" iProducts will get a white option this year — the iPhone in April (sounds like), the iMac in June or thereabouts, and the iPod in September.

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
  quote
faramirtook
A for effort.
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: New Jersey
 
2011-04-20, 01:58

Off-topic (click to toggle):
aside: i really liked the chin on my first-gen iMac G5- it gave me a place to put sticky notes, which I use to organize my life.
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joveblue
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Melbourne
 
2011-04-20, 05:06

Quote:
Originally Posted by faramirtook View Post
Off-topic (click to toggle):
aside: i really liked the chin on my first-gen iMac G5- it gave me a place to put sticky notes, which I use to organize my life.
Now that you say it, that'd be really handy if I had an iMac for work, my CPU is covered in Post-Its!



Here's my prediction which I think will (...might) happen to the portable Macs line-up within the next two years:

MacBook (Air) 11" / 13" / 15"
No longer known as MacBook Air, just MacBook. 15" model available for those that like a little more screen real-estate but don't want a beefed-up, pricier, thicker, heavier Pro. These little babies are packing a minimum 128GB flash memory across the lineup with 256GB and 512GB available in some models. Ports aren't a problem of course with Thunderblast ready to daisy-chain and USB3 supporting backwards compatibility with USB2. And no-one could complain about speed with Intel's Haswell processors, 4GB RAM and flash memory all standard. No one's really missing their optical drives too much but you can hook one up to your Thunderboat.

MacBook Pro 15" / 17"
A little thinner than now, with built-in flash memory, but still plenty of room for all the things that make a pro's balls go a little tingly - the better processors, discrete graphics, and choice of either an optical drive, a super-high-capacity HDD or moar battery.

2 SKUs for each of the 11" and 13" Airs and 15" Pro, 1 SKU each for the 15" Air and 17" Pro. Total of 8 SKUs, which is 2 less than now (three less 13" models but one extra 15" model).

Meanwhile the desktop line-up will look pretty similar to now but updated.
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wtd
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
 
2011-04-21, 01:31

Presumably the screen resolution on that 15" MacBook will be 1680x1050. The $1849 for a 15" notebook thing is really a pretty gaping hole in Apple's lineup. Of course, they might say they want to emphasize portability in the most popular price range, but if they could do a 15" MacBook (Air) that comes in at or under the 13" Pro's weight of 4.5 pounds, it would handily address that concern.
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Matsu
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2011-04-21, 05:13

Kill the iMac. It fits the wild computer speculation theme. And, it's not entirely insane if we only kill it as we know it, not wholesale genocide. Replace it with a line of "Mac Mini type" boxes with no I/O to speak of, except for wireless, a power plug and thunderbolt ports. Then, redesign the Apple displays to supply power to the CPU, like it does now for the laptops, but with more power for desktop biased machines. Put all the I/O breakout into the display: audio, mic, SDXC, USB2/3 FW, and TB (though it sounds like doing it this way might require a smidgeon of proprietary engineering, since TB is supposed to terminate the device chain.) You could always put two ports on the mac boxen, so they live more easily on non-Apple monitors)

Make the monitors good: big, wide and full featured, for pros and consumers alike. Stuff like SWOP certified matte screen options for pros, built-in high quality audio (20 watts or so of clean power with reasonable base extension - down to 60-80hz or so, like what you might get from a decent book shelf speaker), airport antennae, iSight camera, all the aforementioned I/O... Maybe even put the optical into the display, programmed to work as a bluray/DVD player even when not connected to a Mac, or when the mac is off.

Sell Displays and Boxen bundled and seperately. The boxen should span a range of prices an specs. All sealed except for RAM an HDD. All simple 1 or 2 plug connections. They might start popping up all over the place. Server farms, home theatres, custom installations in A/V, production, computer control, mobile/auto/boat/rec etc...

Still call it the iMac. No display, but sold on the same, one plug and you're off notion as the original. OK, maybe its a little insane...

.........................................
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thegeriatric
geri to my friends
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Heaven
 
2011-04-21, 06:01

Actually sound pretty forward thinking. I like it.
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Eugene
careful with axes
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Hillsborough, CA
 
2011-04-21, 06:23

Having just suffered the death of a perfectly usable late-2006 iMac, I am all in favor of killing the line. If Apple truly prides itself on being a green manufacturer, then it should promote the three Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Reduce the amount of waste by separating monitor and computer, reuse the monitor when you upgrade your CPU.

I have a perfectly good, high quality 20" S-IPS panel that can no longer be used. I could sell the stripped down panel second-hand I guess, but it would have been much easier had a I just purchased a mini and a separate monitor.

The next mini will likely rely solely on Intel's integrated graphics. I'd rather have something between that and the Mac Pro that isn't the iMac, but we all know that won't happen.
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psmith2.0
Mr. Katan
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2011-04-21, 09:02

When Matsu makes a wild prediction, he makes a wild prediction!

I've always been one of those talking about a "headless iMac" (iChabod ) - a respectably-powered small box/tower - situated, performance/price-wise, between the $699 mini and $2,499 (and up) Mac Pro.

It's looking like that will never come to be. The Mac mini has gotten more powerful (and more expensive), so it's not the $499, severely-lacking/neglected little machine it once was. But I can certainly understand people - like those in Eugene's situation - wanting something like this.

iMac-level performance (discrete graphics, 7200rpm hard drive, etc.) but with no display attached. There is, I believe, a market for it. It simply doesn't seem to fit into Apple's plan or view. Unfortunate, because I know several situations and individuals who'd be a shoe-in for such a product.

The Mac mini, while much improved, isn't going to cut it for some. And the iMac, while a fine performer, also doesn't fit into everyone's life (crazy as it sounds). And even on practical terms (if the iMac guts take a dive, then, like Eugene, you're left with a fine, working display that you can no longer use and then you have to figure out what to do with it).

While I would never go so far as to kill the AIO iMac design, I'm fully into the idea of a display-less box/tower/wedge of some sort offering iMac-level performance for those middle-ground people...those not fully served by the mini, but who don't need a $2,500 tower with hard drive bays and card slots they'll never use. And who don't want a display attached.

Apple is already halfway there, in fact. Maybe if they just created a second version of the mini, tweaked as needed (design, size, etc.), to offer standalone graphics and the faster hard drive, maybe that would satisfy many? Discrete graphics, 7200rpm drive, room for one additional hard drive, no cards or anything like that, HDMI, Thunderbolt, etc.? $999 or $1,099?

Seems pricey, but, psychologically, it would have to sit between the $699 Mac mini (because it's got More Power & Stuff), but it couldn't be more than the entry-level $1,199 iMac because it doesn't have a screen and it just would seem weird if it was going for $1,200 or more.

$999 seems about right...Apple has a couple of products already there, with displays attached, but they're portables.

As mentioned above, however, I just don't see it happening. And it's a shame, as it would probably be a solid seller. As neat and clean as the three-tier desktop lineup is, I know for a fact that it doesn't serve everyone, and there is a glaring gap in there, price/performance-wise.

Instead of looking at it like Mac mini, iMac (display attached) and Mac Pro, it should be more like Mac mini, Mac+ (temporary placeholder name for the sake of discussion) and Mac Pro - three "headless" desktops, sort of viewed as part of the same family...entry, mid and pro - with the iMac standing separately, on its own, as a nice "well, you get all the performance of the Mac+, but with a nice flat screen, webcam, keyboard and mouse included" offering. That's always going to appeal to many (myself included).

Plus, nothing says Apple like the iMac (computer-wise). I'll cry the day they do away with it...

The iMac could be the "design playground", always being the test field for new I/O, materials, design cues, etc. People like me would still buy them (because I'm more than served by the performance/features, and I prefer a clean, sleek AIO setup), but a lot of others would go for the Mac+ because they've already got a nice third-party display they love, etc.

Sadly, it's all just an academic wang-yank at this point because, chances are, it ain't ever gonna happen.

But that's why this thread is called "wild predictions". And this certainly qualifies...go nuts, gang!
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Xaqtly
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2011-04-21, 13:29

I don't think they would kill off the AIOs at all, because Apple is all about simplicity uber alles. Apple knows there is a massive portion of the general populace that wants a very simple plug and play solution, and that's what the iMac is.

Apple really does seem to be on its way to eliminating towers though, almost as if the tower format were a relic from its past that it wants to purge. There is no reason for an average consumer to buy a Mac Pro. None. An iMac will get the job done just as well, and the only thing a Mac Pro has over an iMac, realistically, is expansion slots, more processor cores, the ability to handle more RAM than 8GB and more HDD slots.

So unless you specifically need more than one internal HDD, more than 8GB of RAM, more than a quad core i7 or an expansion card of some kind, or maybe a 30" monitor there's no reason to get a Mac Pro. Although even the iMac can drive a secondary 30" monitor, come to think of it. So that limits its usefulness to professionals, not consumers, and I strongly believe now that Apple is trying to get out of catering to professionals altogether. It started with the XServe RAID, then the XServe, then OS X Server, and I think the towers are next.

With the advances in technology, it may come to a point where we are able to get literally the same performance out of an AIO as we are from a tower, and there will just be iMacs and Mac Minis. It's doom for the towers! Doom!

*gasp* DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_49iNqxOnH4
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psmith2.0
Mr. Katan
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2011-04-21, 14:15

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xaqtly View Post
So unless you specifically need more than one internal HDD, more than 8GB of RAM, more than a quad core i7 or an expansion card of some kind, or maybe a 30" monitor there's no reason to get a Mac Pro.
I agree 200%. Those customers are out there, of course. But they're not anyone most of us know.



But seriously, I think they're probably fewer and further between than we think. And they have to be doing some demanding, focused stuff to put all that expansion to full use.

It's interesting to see this all play out, and it makes me wonder what the lineup will look like three years from today.

Off-topic (click to toggle):
I can't imagine, knowing what I know/doing what I do, ever straying from the iMac for my fairly-modest needs. When you buy every 4-5 years, and try to time it smartly in relation to other things, you can get a lot of juice out of something.

I assume my next iMac, in other 18-24 months, will come with a 1TB drive, 4GB RAM (maybe more by then?) and 512MB-1GB graphics. I'm doing everything I do now - Illustrator, Photoshop and iMovie - on far, far less and it doesn't feel like I'm hitting any sort of "performance ceiling".

In fact, the main drivers for any hardware upgrades I do won't be "my current iMac is not fast enough" but, instead, just so I can run the most current OS and software, as needed. I don't want to fall behind on OS X or more than one generation back on the iLife or iWork stuff. I know that with Lion will also come an update to my Adobe CS stuff, as I'm running the first (CS) version of it, and I read that Lion isn't supporting Rosetta so there will be no way to run my sole PowerPC-based software once I upgrade.

But that's okay, because I imagine jumping from CS to CS 5.5 (or 6?) is a substantial enough span to be worth it. It dawned on me a while back that I might not even recognize Illustrator and Photoshop in their current form, as I've never used anything beyond CS3 (and even that was just barely). I guess I'm in for an eye-opener!
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Matsu
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2011-04-22, 15:24

As much as I'm critical of the AIO, Apple does make it work for the most part. That's why my proposal differs subtly from the mac mini. The mini interfaces quite conventionally: everything plugs into it. In that sense it's a conventional desktop, just a very small one.

The AIO is really a monitor first: that's what you interface with, where you plug everything in, and what keeps the experience clean. So in that vein, while on the one hand I'm arguing for a stronger spec than the mini in my ideal of a headless mac, I'm also arguing for an even more radically stripped down box. No I/O except for TB/power and wireless, not even a built in power supply, or optical. That stuff all goes in the display, just like the iMac you already know. Think of it as the ultimate hot-pluggable brain!

When plugged into an appropriate Apple diaplay, it's completely seamless. In fact, you could hide it in a drawer, under your desk, in another room, toss it in your bag and take it to a friend's house, work, cottage, anywhere you have compatible displays.

On a non mac display, it'd be a bit more of a kludge. Might need a breakout box, power brick, etc... annoying enough that you'll consider getting just the box but probably buy an Apple display too. At 'upgrade' time it'll be so simple, and cheaper than re-buying another AIO, that you do it a bit more often since you've already got a great display on your desk.

Sort of an Apple take on a high end razors and blades market strategy...

.........................................
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Eugene
careful with axes
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Hillsborough, CA
 
2011-04-22, 16:38

I don't see the point of putting more components in a display other than what needs to be accessible on the fly. Optical is a dead format, so there is no need for that. The power supply for something attached to a display? Pointless. If we are using a display as a hub, then it should only be used for what is absolutely necessary: USB, ThunderBolt, SD Card...perhaps a standardized SSD compartment (but I really don't see that either).

The current mini already has an internal PSU. It's already small enough to pick up and take with you and it works with just about any modern display. Get rid of the optical drive and it will get smaller. Better yet, if you're always moving between your house, work or 'cottage,' then get a MacBook.
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Matsu
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2011-04-22, 17:55

All true, but it's supposed to be wild speculation. Optical isn't dead yet, fear the cloud...
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Escher
Sub-PowerBook Lobbyist
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Washington, DC
 
2011-04-22, 18:13

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eugene View Post
Better yet, if you're always moving between your house, work or 'cottage,' then get a MacBook.
Actually, I vote in favor of a MacBook Air, with an ACD in every each of those locations. At least that's where I'm headed. Although I still rely heavily on the iMac when I'm not traveling (and the iPad on the couch, in bed, and in the yard).

I never thought I'd say this. But in my life, the iMac, MBA, iPad, and iPad all serve a useful purpose that none of the other devices can serve. I like all of them. And I wouldn't give up any of them, save for the iMac once I get an ACD. And even then, the iMac (and iPad) will stay for the rest of the family.

I've been waiting for a true sub-PowerBook for more than 10 years. The 11-inch MacBook Air finally delivers on all counts! It beats the hell out of both my PowerBook 2400c and my 12-inch PowerBook G4 -- no contest whatsoever.
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Eugene
careful with axes
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Hillsborough, CA
 
2011-04-22, 19:07

Well then I could speculate how the next iPhone will have displays and both sides of the device and supports battery charging via vigorous shaking and MAGNETS (how do they work?!) It will also have a lanyard in case any iPhones go flying.
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Matsu
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2011-04-22, 19:20

Also useful for swinging it about over your head like a slingshot, faster charging that way...
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Matsu
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2011-04-22, 20:09

It probably makes more sense for the computer to keep the PSU, if they're small enough, but it would still be easier if the monitor passed power through to the computer, to avoid yet another cable. One cable linking computer to monitor, the rest of the I/O is either wireless or on the monitor. Hate on the optical if you want, eventually it will disappear, but that's neither here nor there...

.........................................
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RayMort
 
 
2011-05-02, 13:43

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matsu View Post
Also useful for swinging it about over your head like a slingshot, faster charging that way...
LOL nice mental image that created!
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Messiahtosh
Apple Historian
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2011-05-02, 20:53

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matsu View Post

When plugged into an appropriate Apple diaplay, it's completely seamless. In fact, you could hide it in a drawer, under your desk, in another room, toss it in your bag and take it to a friend's house, work, cottage, anywhere you have compatible displays..
Cottage?
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