What’s the perfect Mac? It depends. Apple has plenty of notebooks, a broad range of iMacs, and powerful MacPro towers and a fast server line.
What about the low end Mac line? What’s between the iMac and the Mac Pro? What’s missing in Apple’s new Mac product line?
With the exception of the very sub-$1,000 Mac mini, and the expensive MacPro line, Apple seems to have a product for any computer user with money or lots of money.
My first Mac cost $2,499 back in 1984 and didn’t come with much. A floppy drive, a 9-inch black/white/gray screen, and a very buggy OS. Very buggy. Cool. But buggy. Oh, and not much software.
24 years later and the same money gets you a time of the line iMac with OS X Leopard, a 24-inch screen, huge hard drive, plenty of RAM, and iLife ‘08 and enough money left over to cover dinner for two and a big tip.
So much for inflation, right?
Even the Mac mini sports Intel’s Core 2 Duo CPUs, so it’s no slouch even by cheap PC user standards.
Apple’s new MacBook Air appears to be a hit among those willing to pay more for less and less, so Apple now has an ultra-light model.
What’s missing in Apple’s new Product line?
Discounting Apple’s traditional evolutionary product line expansion, I see two glaring gaps, though Apple’s attention to hand held models, and the overall Mac strategy aimed profit and revenue over market share may make both sit on the shelf for awhile.
The first is the low end. Or, rather, the mid-range low end, a Mac between the lowest priced iMac and the lowest priced Mac mini. A Mac mini with a less expensive. There’s not much money in low end displays, so I suspect Apple will remain restrained and disciplined and not bother with cheap.
After all, for those manufacturers who sell very cheap PCs, how many make money? How many have $18-billion in the bank? Apple, and… hmmmm…
The other gap in Apple’s product line, from my perspective, fills a personal need. The high end iMac is $2,249 and the low end MacPro is $2,799, sans display. How about a $1,999 MacPro mini-tower with dual CPU’s, space for dual hard drives, plenty of RAM (far less than the 32-gigs capable in the MacPro) and a few cards?
That’s a reasonable request from a long-time Mac user. I’d even settle for the same industrial aluminum design.
The problem here is that Apple has found a new market. Consumers who prefer mobility to power and expandability. Many PC users these days don’t want to be tethered to a huge box under the desk. Notebooks are all the rage, and I suspect Apple knows that handhelds will be all the rage in a few years.
What of the desktop? It won’t go away, but the trend is clear. The issue is whether there’s enough of a semi-pro market to make a MacPro mini-tower profitable; one that won’t take sales from the high end iMacs, or the more expensive and highly profitable MacPro models.
Still, I can dream. Or, continue my daily email requests to Steve Jobs until someone responds or my email starts bouncing. What about you? Are you satisfied with the current Mac product line or is something missing for you (besides a MacBook Pro for $199).