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Think Secret Predicts Sub-$500 Headless Mac

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the wouldn't-it-be-nice dept.

Hardware 922

eadint writes "I have just read an article posted on Think Secret that discusses a confirmed $499 Apple box sans monitor. According to the article, this has been under development for almost one year and may be available towards the end of 2005Q1. The system is rumored to be based on a G4 with 256MB of RAM , 40-80GB HD with a combo drive (sorry, no SuperDrive). Although Apple has stated in the past that they have no motivation to compete in the sub-$600 PC market, this system was based on polls showing that more people would buy it after initial exposure to the iPod." "Confirmed" seems a strong word, but I hope this is more than wishful thinking.

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emerge first-post (1)

gentoo_user (843424) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208040)

Brought to you by the speed of gentoo linux

Finally - make it an impulse purchase (5, Insightful)

Brento (26177) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208044)

I've never bought an Apple computer because the prices are too high to be an impulse purchase. At $500, though, I would pick one up along with a $50 keyboard/monitor switch and start playing around with it.

Plus, at $500, geeks can afford to buy it and find out if it's easy to get their work done on it. The easier it is to switch my day-to-day work over gradually to an Apple, the more likely I'd be to do it. I'm sure I'll have a couple/few apps that I have to run on Windows, but if you put them both on my desk and let me toy with both, I bet I'd be more likely to run my MS-only stuff on a virtual machine.

Could I get a $500 used Mac with a CRT monitor? Sure, but who wants that big bulky thing around? Instead, give me something I can use with a USB KVM switch, and then I can explore it on my own pace.

Re:Finally - make it an impulse purchase (1, Interesting)

DaHat (247651) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208070)

Even $500 for a Mac is an awful lot just to see if it works.

Don't get me wrong, if true it'd be a great deal, but not one my pocketbook would be very accommodating for. And yes... this is being said by someone who owns an iPod (of course at the time I was only an intern, now I have student loans to repay!).

Re:Finally - make it an impulse purchase (2, Insightful)

rollx (830963) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208081)

At least, a student like me, will be able to buy such a great toy.
Apple should do it befor x-mass...

Re:Finally - make it an impulse purchase (1, Interesting)

gilgongo (57446) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208084)

I've been toying with the same idea or switching for a while. Of course this subject has been done to death on /. but heck, I'll do it some more:

My main worry is that I'll switch, drink the Apple kool-aid, then wake up one morning and think "The novelty of the pretty eye-candy has worn off now. What do I have that I would not have with GNU/Linux with (say) KDE?"

Apart from a hole in my bank balance, not much I would say.

But then I'm not a graphics person, nor do I play games or have weird peripherals with unknown drivers.

So sub-$500 or not, what would I really gain by switching to OSX as opposed to GNU/Linux (I'm a-liking Debian these days)? Speaking a member of the disgruntled-but-somehow-sticking-with-it Windoze community, that is.

Re:Finally - make it an impulse purchase (2, Insightful)

mordors9 (665662) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208132)

You do know that you can run Linux on a Mac don't you? I always dual booted back in my Mac days.

Re:Finally - make it an impulse purchase (4, Informative)

Randy Wang (700248) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208256)

Speak once and it shall be revealed:

One potater [yellowdoglinux.com] , two potater [debian.org] , three potater [mandrakesoft.com] four [ubuntulinux.org] . All as healthy and mature as any linux distribution, but it's not like most would ever buy a Mac just to run linux.

Unless this is another of those "just cause I can" things. :-)

Re:Finally - make it an impulse purchase (4, Insightful)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208143)

You already mentioned it, you get the kool aid, now shut up and wait for it! :)
Seriously, you can get linux for a mac and with a cleverly designed box. As this iBook gets older I might put linux on it, because at some point it isn't going to handle the newer os'es (Tiger already needs a 64meg gcard).
In anwser to your question, Linux at this stage doesn't have the more mainstream windows apps that the mac has. Thats an added bonus because you have that compatibility bonus without the day to day hassle of a windows machine..

Re:Finally - make it an impulse purchase (5, Informative)

Nexum (516661) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208162)

Tiger does NOT need a 64 meg graphics card. I am running it on this PowerBook with a 32MB card, and I would not be suprised at all to have it run on something even weaker.

Re:Finally - make it an impulse purchase (1)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208212)

Sorry I meant for the features such as corevideo, something I am waiting for. I won't be buying another mac until tiger comes preloaded with any new macs. I want corevideo and coreimage.

Re:Finally - make it an impulse purchase (1)

jrockway (229604) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208146)

Full screen X. I use it from time to time when I need to concentrate (and don't want to see my WiFi signal strength, time and date, CPU load, etc.)

Re:Finally - make it an impulse purchase (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11208179)

ummmm...kde can do this too....u do know that right, just hide the menus....

Re:Finally - make it an impulse purchase (3, Informative)

Nexum (516661) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208148)

A lot of things about the Mac experience is unqquntifiable - that is, I can't draw you a graph based on fact that shows you a heap of things better on the Mac platform. Instead the best anyone can do is explain that, the GUI at least, is just so much better than anything else they've ever used.

That's certainly true for me. It's a mixture of thousands of small things - spring-loaded folders; labels; the application install process (or lack of); the dock (yes I like it); the way windows show you where they are coming from and where they are going with neat effects - this actually helps subconsciously build a better understanding of where your stuff is on screen and where it's gone to; beautiful icons; running a beautiful fullfeatured OS that runs MS Office, Photoshop and more but not being Windows; the way aliases (shortcuts) automatically update; the way searching is faster (there's a reason why the search functionality in Windows is called "Search", and in OS X it's called "Find"); the sheer "fit and finish" that goes into the GUI - NEVER will you have a busy or hung application that displays white contents when you drag something else over it, OS X stores the contents of a GUI app in a different way so that even when the app is hung it can be nicely moved around; the way you can Command-Click on any GUI element such as a scrollbar, and you can use it without forcing it to the front; the way you can close application windows without closing the app; the instant sleep instant wake function; bloody fantastic bluetooth support; seamless integration with Windows networks.

There's so much more, especially the little things, there's nothing bigger :)

And on top of all that it's built on a Unix foundation so, you have great things working out of the box, Apache can be turned on with the ticking of one easy to find check box - and BANG it's serving your "Sites" folder. Not to mention the security.

Well, just try it, ok :)

Re:Finally - make it an impulse purchase (1)

SlamMan (221834) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208152)

Well, the questing would be what do you get out of Windows that you don't get out of Debian? What's making it more handy to keep (disgruntled) Windows than switch to Debian, which you're liking?

Maybe OSX would provide that missing "thing".

Re:Finally - make it an impulse purchase (5, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208259)

I made part of the switch at the end of thanksgiving. other than the transprancy I don't notice much of the cool effects anymore.

I still have a Dull running Windows for games, but have pulled all my document, data, movie, and audio files to the Powerbook.

OS X has the most of the features of *nix yet it has very few of the down falls(drivers, okay that's all I can think of).

I bought a lightweight portable computer. It's now very common to see me next to the fire place listening to music and surfing the web for hours at a time. The 4-5 hours of battery life is great. I am getting roughly 4 hours of wireless web surfing. slightly less if I start playing videos. Of course I have also downloaded AND burned a knoppix disc wirelessly and still had two hours to go web surfing with. If Burning a CD isn't power intensive I don't know what else could drain the system.

Re:Finally - make it an impulse purchase (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11208112)

At under $500 I would pick one up for my mother and finally get rid of that blasted Windows box (that I built for $450 for her) that I've come to hate. Woohoo. An eMac is just out of my price range for family gift purchases and she doesn't need a monitor. :-)

Re:Finally - make it an impulse purchase (2, Insightful)

DanielJosphXhan (779185) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208147)

I've wanted a Mac for a long time, but could never -- and I know this rubs more than a few Mac evangelists the wrong way -- justify the cost with the benefits.

But for this price, sure I'd buy one, and like the parent post, use it with a KVM switch. My girlfriend's father uses a Mac (he's in graphics), and I've had a while to toy around with the interface. And I like it. It's like a classic martini joint compared to the sports bar that is WinXP.

$500 impulse buy (1)

jfinite (742897) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208233)

500 bones is an impulse purchase for you? Daaaam!

egg (-1, Offtopic)

DanUK (676625) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208045)

cheese

FP!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11208046)

hHhH

also confirmed (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11208048)

Scientists have released a study showing an 800 percent increase in homosexuality in test mice after exposure to Apple products. Scientists stopped the study early after 68% of them started watching boy meets boy and queer eye for the straight guy.

I love (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11208053)

humping a big ass bitch... Oh yeah baby ride it like the dog you are.

Definatly (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11208059)

One of the largest drawbacks for macs for people buying PC's for the first time is their cost. People love the way they look, but don't want to shell out the extra cash. If they can compete on an even field, I bet their marketshare will go up dramatically.

Re:Definatly (-1, Troll)

Brento (26177) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208073)

One of the largest drawbacks for macs for people buying PC's for the first time is their cost. People love the way they look, but don't want to shell out the extra cash. If they can compete on an even field, I bet their marketshare will go up dramatically.

Here come the trolls, but you're missing the point. Even if Macs were priced 20% cheaper than PCs, Apple's market share would not rise as long as their cheapest desirable product is in the $1300 range. (The CRT-based eMac is not desirable, except by the guys who put phrases like "BBW" in their personal ads.)

But put a PC out in the $500 range, and suddenly nobody cares whether it's 20-30% slower than the eMachines $500 PC, or whether it doesn't have as much ram or hard drive space. People will just want to buy it, because it's an impulse-level purchase.

I'll take four (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11208061)

One for each person I have to support on an unofficial basis once a month. It would be cheaper than my time. However, they'd be stuck using their old monitors; no cool 23" Cinema Display for you!

Re:I'll take four (1)

jazzbo54 (224259) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208253)

no way apple will lower prices, as they have highest margins in the PC world

a clone mac was tried last year and it failed.

Besides,with bittorrent taking up 35% of net use,apple software would be canabalized and free

If it has PCI-slots I might consider it. (3, Interesting)

rseuhs (322520) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208065)

Also the G4-design suggests fanless (or at least very quiet) operation, so it would be a real nice machine for office work or internet surfing.

But please add PCI-slots.

Re:If it has PCI-slots I might consider it. (1)

Rinikusu (28164) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208103)

Um.. maybe not. If they want to compete at all in this space, they should at least use 1ghz G4 parts, which do run a bit warm. My 800mhz iBook's fan comes on occasionally (usually when rendering in Mojoworld or playing something like World of Warcraft), I'd at least hope to see a SFF style computer for that.

But yeah, for $500, I'd buy one. Hell, I think I have enough in the change bucket and a Coinstar is right around the corner...

Re:If it has PCI-slots I might consider it. (1)

Rinikusu (28164) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208136)

LOL

And I just RTFA.. 1.25ghz G4 is "planned". Fucking sweet. If they release it, I'll buy it.

Re:If it has PCI-slots I might consider it. (4, Interesting)

boaworm (180781) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208128)

Just out of curiousity, what are you going to use those PCI slots for ?

There is already NIC, Firewire, USB, Sound and Video cards onboard. I've had several macs, and i've never installed a single addon card in any of them.

The only thing i've ever come up with was to use one as a firewall, in that case a second NIC would be desirable, but otherwise?

Re:If it has PCI-slots I might consider it. (1)

SlamMan (221834) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208170)

Well, video in and out would be nice. Can you imagine a nice little Apple box for your Myth front end?

I still say apple missed the boat by not making their new G5's be able to act as a monitor. Not to much use for it, but it seems like it'd fall into the "damn, thats cool" idea that Apple loves.

Plus, how about trickle charging laptops over firewire when they're in target disk mode?

Re:If it has PCI-slots I might consider it. (1)

martinX (672498) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208220)

You don't know that this thing doesn't have VI-VO already. Anyway, it's available as a firewire box already.

Re:If it has PCI-slots I might consider it. (1)

SlamMan (221834) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208243)

Yes, but firewire doesn't plug into a tv. Its a wonderful tool, but its not an interface to a home entertainment center.

And you right, I hope it does have VIVO! Standard ports are far easier (for other people) to code for. But a pci would also make it nicer for musicians to drop into their racks. Plenty of nitch stuff uses pci slots instead of firewire still.

Course, if you know of a good firewire->Pci expansion box....

Re:If it has PCI-slots I might consider it. (1)

NoOneNoteWorthy (787580) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208189)

Just out of curiousity, what are you going to use those PCI slots for ?
- TV tuner card
- another, better, video card
- new sound card with 7.1 support perhaps?

Re:If it has PCI-slots I might consider it. (1)

bhima (46039) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208165)

With so many addons using USB 2 and Firewire, what do most users need PCI for?

Re:If it has PCI-slots I might consider it. (5, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208168)

There's no chance of PCI slots. Even the iMacs don't have PCI slots. This device is rumoured to be only an inch and a bit thick. Other than the Powermac range, and specifics like Airport cards, Apple expansion is via USB peripherals.

But if you want to use it for office work or internet surfing, it's hard to see why you'd want or need PCI anyway.

Great! (5, Insightful)

Zo0ok (209803) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208066)

I have asked for such a Mac for years... since they discontinued the cube...

I think it'd be a great decision... lets see how much it canablizes on Power Macs though.

Re:Great! (4, Insightful)

mrpuffypants (444598) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208099)

I know how silly it is to expect people to actually read the articles around here, but:

Sources familiar with the product cautioned that the low-end Mac will be marketed towards a totally different audience than those who traditionally buy even a $799 eMac. "This product is not going to be about performance," said a source close to Apple. "This is going to be the basics, but with just as much of a focus on software as any Mac could ever be."

Entry-level Computer: The new MyMac (or whatever)
Workstation for Pros: The PowerMac G5

I don't see how hard it is to realize that they have two vastly different target markets that don't overlap that much; some people will want the experience of using Apple Mail and Safari while others need 8GB of RAM for Photoshop.

Re:Great! (1)

SlamMan (221834) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208190)

There's plenty of people who get a PowerMac simply for the dual displays. Being able to pop in a second video card would mean most of our design department could have gotten iMac instead of Powermacs.

There's not that much of a performance difference between the iMac and the PowerMac these days.

Re:Great! (1)

lxt (724570) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208100)

"lets see how much it canablizes on Power Macs though." Probably not that much, since the PowerMacs do have PCI slots (this low end mac probably won't, following tradition...), and more importantly it won't have a G5 processor (or two).

Almost certainly upgradeable (4, Interesting)

Dark Paladin (116525) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208068)

I imagine this (if it will actually exist) would be like the eMac: base model low specs with the combo drive and 256 MB ram, but you can upgrade from there so a Superdrive will set you back an additional $100.

Kind of like the Dell machines that start at $400 or so, then by the time you add on the usual needs (bump up the RAM to at least 512) they come out to $500 - $600.

If this is the case, Apple now has a great chance to gain market share. I've wondered for years what would happen if a headless iMac comes out (since everybody already owns a monitor, why buy a machine with another one anyway?).

If it becomes popular, I wonder if more game companies will go the Blizzard route and dual-release their software for both the PC and the Mac. Hm. Well, I've got an hour before I have to go to work - time for a little Warcraft ;).

I wish I had a cute daughter. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11208069)

If I had a cute daughter, I'd really enjoy using a scientifically-proven magic petrification ray to transform her nubile young buttocks into solid marble! I'd petrify my daughter all the time. If I had two daughters, I would petrify them both, while they stood together nude and hugged each other and stuff.

First, I need a wife. If any females read this, would you please be my wife? I want to turn you to stone, and have sexual contact with you, and impregnate you for the purpose of creating cute daughters for me to petrify, because I REALLY WANT TO PETRIFY MY CUTE DAUGHTERS, I just need to get some daughters first, and I need a wife for that.

PLEASE BY MY STATUE WIFE AND HAVE MANY CUTE DAUGHTERS FOR ME TO PETRIFY.

Dear females,
please consider this.
Thank you.

HOLY CRAP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11208155)

Thanks for the memories. 01/00 NEVAR FORGET!

LOLROR!@ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11208255)

NEVAR FORGET that the GNAA is nothing but a bunch of lonely white dorks! You make the average drooling fat slob Slashbot look like Hugh Hefner!

As long as it isn't crippled software wise... (3, Insightful)

mobiux (118006) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208071)

I think i would pick one up if I could run the same software as any other macs can run.

I would still keep my PC's, but I would love access to FCP and Motion.

Re:As long as it isn't crippled software wise... (1)

finkployd (12902) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208172)

I cannot imagine that it would be, I do not believe Apple has any history of doing any such thing.

Finkployd

Re:As long as it isn't crippled software wise... (1)

mobiux (118006) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208194)

I know they haven't in the past.
I was just thinking it may be a responce to MS releasing cheap crippleware in 3rd world countries.

Re:As long as it isn't crippled software wise... (1)

martinX (672498) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208191)

Motion has very hefty hardware requirements, especially in the video card department. A Mac such as is described almost certainly won't run Motion. Not all Macs can run Motion.

FCP would probably run, but not well i.e. throw in a couple of layers of video and watch it grind to a halt.

Think of this postulated Mac as an eMac without a monitor.

If you want to "get into" video the Mac way with a machine like this, stick to iMovie. If you want to really "do stuff" with video the Mac way, you'll be wanting a dual G5. I know I do :-)

Re:As long as it isn't crippled software wise... (1)

Nexum (516661) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208192)

You won't want to be running Motion on this hardware unfortunately - to use that for any length of time and keep your sanity, you'll need a G5.

FCP should be usable if you pump up the RAM though.

Re:As long as it isn't crippled software wise... (3, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208206)

There's no reason why it wouldn't run any MacOS X software. But with what you've got in mind, you better hope that there are plenty of memory expansion slots.

Headless Mac? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11208074)

Steve Jobs got kidnapped in Fallujah?

Interesting... (2, Insightful)

M3rk1n_Muffl3y (833866) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208078)

It's all nice and well, but i doubt it will convince many PC users to switch. Mainly because, apart from the hardware costs, you have to keep in mind the costs of new software and also the implementation costs of learning to use the new hardware. I am sure its not that difficult if you can get along with Windows, but it still takes time away from revenue generating work. Still it's a step in the right direction for Apple, let's hope they can eat a bit more into the Windows "monopoly".

Re:Interesting... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11208091)

you have to keep in mind the costs of new software and also the implementation costs of learning to use the new hardware.

That's the whole point. Getting a Mac so you can use the Macintosh system software, because you want to move from Windows or (like me) you think System 6 is the greatest operating system in the history of human existance and you want to revisit that in some small, pathetic way with System 10, and you refuse to call it "OS Ten" because it was always "System 6" and "System 7" and you'll be damned if you're going to start calling it anything other than "System 10".

Re:Interesting... (3, Insightful)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208180)


What other software do you need if it is a secondary machine?
You won't need these for a start when buying a mac:
Mp3 player, dvd player, photo editor, movie editor, music editor, dvd burning software, internet browser, anti-spyware, anti-virus, word processor, email, instant messenger.

Re:Interesting... (4, Insightful)

Nexum (516661) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208225)

It's funny, one thing I remember from WWDC this year was one of the sessions that attempted to debunk the myths about Apple Enterprise Computing - one big one was "It'll be too difficult to train out users on different software"

The next slide simply showed a class of 4-to-5 year olds sitting on the floor of a classroom learning how to use some new Macs, they all looked like they were having a great time.

The implication was very clear - either your employees are less capable than the average four-year old, or it's going to be a breeze to train them.

More seriously though, the whole training thing is a bit of a myth in itself - Microsoft has made a habit out of taking something they see on the Apple platform (in terms of GUI innovation) and breaking it just enough to make sure it doesn't look like a complete rip-off of the original. The consequence that I have found in training PC users to use OS X, is that they already understand how a feature is supposed to work except that in OS X, it actually WORKS like they expect it to finally.

Re:Interesting... (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208245)

"Implementation costs"? "Revenue generating"? This is a home machine designed to appeal to people who have bought an iPod, and have had their minds opened to a machine that's a pleasure to use for the average home tasks like email and web-surfing, without the hassles of viruses and spyware.

Hell yes they would sell! (5, Insightful)

jacobcaz (91509) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208079)

I would buy one to put on my desk at work to prove they would interact with our network. Everyone gives me an odd stare when I recommend they pickup a Mac laptop for their personal work.

Face it, geeks know the power of OSX but Apple hasn't done a great job of selling why a Mac today is differnet from the Macs of yesteryear. People either have ancidotal stories of how Macs don't play nice with Windows (which was never really true) or they have experiences with Mac-snobs or anti-Mac-snobs that have put them off even giving it a chance.

I recommended we look at replacing some of our desktop machines with eMacs or iMacs as a trial last year and senior management looked at me like I was nuts. "But...But...it's not a Dell! And it Doesn't-Run-Windows(tm)! How will anyone get any work done?"

It's harder to convince senior management to put out $20,000 for a ten box trial, but $5000 is much more palatable

So go Apple! Build your boxes; they'll sell like hotcakes (especially if you make a $700 headless mac / iPod bundle).

About friggin time! (4, Insightful)

Mean_Nishka (543399) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208082)

We all know Apple's been sitting on a gold mine if they could only get the cost of their computers in line with the rest of the 'commodity' PC's out in the market. If this rumor is indeed true, Apple could very well pick up some market share.

The biggest selling point is obviously security. EVERY average Joe computer user I know is compromised with spyware and viruses (especially those with kids). I tell everyone who'll listen to buy a Mac when they're looking for a new PC, because it'll actually work after two weeks of use. It's nice to see that Apple might actually have something affordable for these folks.

Re:About friggin time! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11208142)

What a stupid comment.

Re:About friggin time! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11208174)

What a stupid comment.

Re:About friggin time! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11208223)

We all know Apple's been sitting on a gold mine if they could only get the cost of their computers in line with the rest of the 'commodity' PC's out in the market. If this rumor is indeed true, Apple could very well pick up some market share.
I tell you this--if Apple comes out with this product, I'll pick one up immediately for my mom.


Mom's been trying to learn about computers, and a couple of years ago she took a free computer class for senior citizens. The teacher instructed them on Macs, and Mom found them intuitive and easy to use.

When she decided to get a computer, Apple's boxes were simply out of her price range. So she wound up with a PC, which she likes, but even now she complains that it isn't as easy and fun as the Apple.

A $499 iMac would be within my price range, and I know she'd love it. What's more, with an iMac she'd feel a lot better about getting online--Mom worries that as a Windows user, she's a sitting duck for the different security problems out there on the Net. I tell her that her paranoia is the best anti-virus/anti-spam/anti-spyware/anti-phishing/an ti-Nigerian-411 software she could have. :)

PowerBooks (-1, Troll)

echocharlie (715022) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208086)

I've always loved the design of the [i|Power]Books and [i|e]Macs, but the price has always been too high to make the leap. Even a sub-$500 wouldn't be enough to make me to buy one though. At $400, I'd consider it, but not very long. If the price point was ever the same for a comparable PC, I'd switch in a heartbeat.

Re:PowerBooks (2, Insightful)

Nexum (516661) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208254)

The machines that Apple are selling right now are very comparable with PCs of equivalent spec - it's just that they are VERY full featured, so when you compare the basics it looks like it's more expensive on the Mac side without taking into account the added kit like BT, 802.11g etc.

As for $400, man - will the whining never end? If this $500 machine isn't cheap enough for you, then I'm sorry it's very likely that Apple doesn't want you as a customer.

Re:PowerBooks (2, Informative)

ChristTrekker (91442) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208262)

If you compare the Mac feature-for-feature to a PC, the price is pretty comparable. You almost always have to "upgrade" the PC to get what the Mac considers standard features. The 'books especially; they've been that way longer than the desktops. The days of paying a premium just to have a "Mac" are over.

Lame (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11208265)

Uhm... get a job.

Apple needs to rethink specifications (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11208093)

the price difference between 40 and 80gb hdds is small. The price difference between 256mb and 512mb of RAM is not large.

The average Joe's perception of difference between a computer with 40gb of hdd & 256mb of RAM vs one with 80gb of hdd and 512mb of RAM as huge as a "3 megapixel camera" vs a "5 megapixel camera".

Apple needs to understand that underspeccing their computers to make a few dollars more per unit or to have the price slightly lower, actually costs them more than it makes. It furthermore makes people take Apple less seriously - they keep trying to push their out-of-date computers, *and* they're underspeccing them as if they're old stock or they're trying to cut every cent off of costs.

I seem to remember Commodore having a similar over-priced highend + underspecced low-end strategy.

MOD UP (1)

NoData (9132) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208175)

My sentiments exactly.

Here They Come (5, Funny)

Alexander (8916) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208095)

"But, I can build an AMD 87GHZ box overclocked with a gajillion megs of video ram for $1.23 Canadian, why would I buy a Mac?"

Re:Here They Come (3, Funny)

byolinux (535260) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208119)

You forgot the obligatory comment about one mouse button too ;)

This is a good thing imo (2, Interesting)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208102)


It is also down to the ipod, apple wants the bigger marketshare and this could be the best way to do it. Since it is supposed to complement an existing system, power shouldn't be an issue either. However people will have a windows mentality and expect a $499 Mac to play DOOM 3 as does some PC's already do. This thing cannot be to slow or to fast.
What might be nice is if this thing is upgradable (other than the usual HD and memory), if one can upgrade an Xserve Gcard then I see no reason for this to be able to. But then the other consumer machines would need this ability, which they won't get as you need to go higher than that and get a Powermac. It would look weird having your lowest and highest models with that capability. I only mention it because it is another feature a windows user might expect.
They need to satisfy their intended market with more than just a low price (maybe?) if they want average pc users aboard the mac train.

I'm willing to bet that (-1, Troll)

BHearsum (325814) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208105)

Such a cheap Mac is going to be filled with horribly cheap parts, and it will likely be a piece of shit. Apple as stayed away from the cheap-o market because you can't make good stuff for that cheap. I see it on a daily basis in the PC market, Customer buys an Asrock motherboard, generic ram, Celeron, crappy power supply -- and wonders why it doesn't work as well as he would've liked.

iPod Dock built in (4, Interesting)

mikeloader (590119) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208106)

It would be interesting if it had an iPod dock built in given the target market. I know you can connect a dock via a Firewire cable, but with a built-in dock, Apple could market this baby Mac as an iPod accessory.

Not for US Market (5, Informative)

Lysander Luddite (64349) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208107)

Last summer I read from a south asian government press release that Apple would be working with said government to build a cheap system for use only in that market. I firmly believe this rumored, stripped down machine is for that market.

Here's the press release [nationmultimedia.com]

Home Entertainment Mac (2, Insightful)

TheAcousticMotrbiker (313701) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208109)

The register has this to say about it:
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/12/29/sub-5 00_im ac/

Sounds sensible.
Hook it up to your TV and/or an airport express (or whatever that wireless streaming audio thingamajig is called) and go.

Of course, a standalone DVD player these days costs $50

Bigger Hard Drive? (1, Redundant)

lucaschan.com (457832) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208113)

"It is unclear how big the hard drive capacity will be, although sources indicate it will be between 40GB and 80GB."

Surely if they're targetting iPod users they'd bundle a bigger hard drive given that iPod's currently come with 20-60GB capacity?

Re:Bigger Hard Drive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11208177)

Only if you are stuck in the mindset that future consumer computing products will look like today's devices.

Already been tried (1)

SilentChris (452960) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208117)

This idea has already been tried with blade servers [cubix.com] and, to a lesser extent, thin clients. Apple also produced a "pizza box" style Macintosh many years ago that took off in schools but not much elsewhere.

The problem with these designs is that they're missing the goal of having one invisible, large storage box providing desktop "heads" for all the monitors in a home. Servers are still too geeky/complicated for the average home user. Apple is still thinking small (1 or 2 tiny PCs sprinkled around the house). The company that comes up with a single server for the home that provides multiple desktop heads and enough storage for media will "win".

Re:Already been tried (1)

SlamMan (221834) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208221)

Are you talking about the right discussion here? What do thin clients, blade, or servers in general have to do with apple producing a cheap box?

How can it be so cheap? (1)

mOoZik (698544) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208125)

Even given the reduced specs and the absence of a monitor, does it mean that Apple charges a huge premium on its brand name? Obviously, the parts aren't as commoditized as the equivalent PC ones, but I can't imagine the components warranting such a high cost on mid/high-end models. So, will Apple risk the sales of higher-priced models - the ones that most Apple fans will currently afford to purchase - with the introduction of a cheaper introductory model?

What plus for the targeted audience ? (1, Informative)

GrAfFiT (802657) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208135)

First of all, in these ranges of price, Apple is by essence unable to compete in terms of price/performance ratio. This is not breaking news.
The capabilities of those computers would be seriously lagging behind those of other Macs. The Macs made their fame by performing well in some niche markets : graphism, video.. If this Mac performs poorly in these situations, it's not a Mac. And I'm not talking about the applications most used by the targeted audience (MP3 savvy young people). Hell you got 1/10th of the games available on PC and with a lag that can be years.
So why buy a Mac if a x86 computer of the same price range can fit well better your needs ? Because, hey there are ads for iPod everywhere, iPod must good, so Apple is good and this Mac is good for me (the fancy ad told me so !) ?
My 2 cents.

Re:What plus for the targeted audience ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11208197)

Wow, you are wildly clueless even by Slashdot standards.

Re:What plus for the targeted audience ? (1)

GrAfFiT (802657) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208261)

Do you have anything more informative ?

mid 2005 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11208139)

in the summer of 2005 i will either be buying a new Mac or building my own PC depending on the money i have available, i never buy OEM PCs and always build my own selecting hardware specificly for installing Linux on, but if i have the extra cash i may buy a G5 PPC...

one thing i surely wont be doing is paying an OEM the evil MSFT tax even if i have to go out of my way to NOT pay it...

Apple has never competed in PC market (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11208140)

' Although Apple has stated in the past that they have no motivation to compete in the sub-$600 PC market '

They've never competed in any PC market. They compete AGAINST the PC market, but not in it: they have yet to make a PC.

Sub-$500 market (4, Insightful)

Aggrazel (13616) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208153)

The way the world is going, "Sub-$500" is slowly edging its way away from the "economy class" and becoming more of the middle line for PCs. Just look at Dell, they are selling brand new Celeron 2.4ghz machines
  • with
a monitor for $499. On ebay you can find some pretty nice used machines for under $100.

Over $1000 these days is where you can find some really nice machines. But $1000 is no longer the entry point. If you were someone buying your first computer, would you want to plunge right in to a $1000+ Macintosh, or go for a sub $500 PC?

It took long enough for Apple to see this, but they would have to be stupid to ignore it forever. It makes perfect sense to offer an entry point into Apple at the sub-$500 mark. And with the massive amount of cashflow they are getting from the overpriced iPod, they can certainly afford to cut their margins a bit on the low end in order to get the "apple" brand into the hands of the PC using public.

I never really pay much attention to apples, but I love competition in the marketplace, so I hope this is true.

I'll buy it! (1)

iJed (594606) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208171)

Fortunately this was posted on ThinkSecret who has a far better track record than most of the other rumor sites. So, if this rumor is correct, I'll be one of the first to order one of these on 10 Jan. The only thing I'd really like to see in this headless iMac is a higher-end model with a G5 processor, better graphics card and superdrive.

Re:I'll buy it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11208234)

Netcraft confirms ThinkSecret has been sued by apples glorious legal team for once again releasing pivaleged information and trade secrets.

256mb RAM? (2, Insightful)

kaleco (801384) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208182)

I'm a little worried that, although the price will be right, too many people will invest in the low-end Mac and end up a little disappointed. Sometimes it's better not to try and compete for control of the market and instead nurture your niche.

If iPod users invest in this machine, they are quickly going to be disappointed in the lack of games (especially since the spec is relatively low), and find it struggles a bit when they start using large Garageband files. Still, only time will tell. We Slashdotters can, occasionally, be wrong.

Re:256mb RAM? (1)

KZigurs (638781) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208263)

Ok, ram is quite a shitt, but think again. If the speccs and description are right, then I'm picking two immediately up.

You know why? Just because it has iTunes. Forget the store, but there simply isn't anything that manages large collections of mp3/lossless audio so effortlessly. And the speed of iTunes on G4 is simply blazing.

So, they have sold two of them already. And it won't impede their high end sales since I'm buying them as applicances, not as computer.

Now all I have to pray for is proper audio output. Something on a level of iBook, not some x86 world realtek or via crapchip.

Apple's approaching it wrong (3, Interesting)

IGnatius T Foobar (4328) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208195)

This isn't necessarily the right approach. All the folks at Apple have to do is build complete Macintosh systems onto ATX form factor motherboards. System builders all over the world would buy them up and build Apple-compatible computers.

What many people don't know is that Sun actually did this [link4pc.com] a while back. I have an ATX rack-mount server with a Sun AXi motherboard in it, and it acts exactly like a Sun machine -- because it is a Sun machine. I'd love to see Apple do this.

Re:Apple's approaching it wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11208224)

Yes, Apple needs to heed the advice of some random idiot on Slashdot.

If they would only listen!

Re:Apple's approaching it wrong (1)

KZigurs (638781) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208242)

They DID it already quite a while ago. And then - stopped to do this. It just isn't the same level of quality or service if OEM's starts to put their "well save 30c on this if we place crappy samsung instead of proper hdd in" thinking in.

Perhaps, some day, it will be repeated. But for now - a mac is a mac from Apple. And this means - quality, working drivers, effortless installations and compatible hardware. Always.

My guess would be - at the moment when Mac will realise that their core value now is not the hardware, but MacOS X. Cheap volume market with profits from MacOS X. Sounds nice, but a nightmare for the people that value quality.

Apple is getting smarter.... (1)

cyberkahn (398201) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208200)



I think this is great! Right now all I have are Windows and Linux boxen. I will definitely be picking one of these up. My main objection to Apple has always been price. I think competition is a good thing, but I could never see Apple competing with the likes of Dell in the enterprise because it is simply cheaper to outfit an organization with cheap PCs. I think Apple should target businesses with this system. Other than the graphics artist how much memory/CPU does a user need to word process, email, and web access? I could see a bunch of these on the average user desktop and then outfit power users with more high end G5 boxes.

Better Prices? (-1, Flamebait)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208204)

The $499 price tag is pretty good. * But I decided to compare it against Walmart's stuff. For close to the same price you can get a similar performance system but it comes with a 17" CRT monitor, but not with firewire. Maybe the smaller form factor will be a plus or have been burned enough by PCs to want to try something different. But the price is not good enough to target the budget PC buyer. It probably is good enough for a large group of people who want to try a Mac but were afraid of shelling out cash for one. Or for the Mac person to give to a friend for a gift. As well the price for used and refurbished systems will be lower then that which may be able to target the sub $400 market and get more people interested in the Mac. But still average cheapo american will be more willing to give more of his money to China to buy a cheaper system.

* You will be preaching to the converted by stating how CPU speeds don't match up do to different architecture or you just don't need as much y on a Mac that you need on a PC. The interface alone is worth the extra money. I have an older 667mhz powerbook for my primary system and I still prefer it over the more modern PCs because I can just get more done. I am just putting my head in average Joe Smo Computer Buyer.

But it's all about "style"... (1)

lxt (724570) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208260)

"But I decided to compare it against Walmart's stuff"[...]"But still average cheapo american will be more willing to give more of his money to China to buy a cheaper system"

A few months back I took my iBook into a class, to run a presentation. The very first comment I got when I took it out was not "Nice iBook", "is that your laptop" etc. - it was "Wow - that's a really big iPod". ...now, "average cheapo american" may be perfectly happy spending $99 on a perfectly good MP3 player, or he could buy...an iPod! And be cool! Similarly, he could buy a no name, or even a Dell, PC for a similar price, but it wouldn't be an Apple. It would be a Dell, or a no-name. There are lots of cheap alternatives people can buy, and they may suit them perfectly fine - but I'm willing to bet the majority of people when it comes to certain items (MP3 players, say) prefer the style and brand over the substance (just look at the iPod).

Imagine... (1, Offtopic)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208208)

Imagine a cluster of these things! For once, it would be easy to set up...

change my buying strategy (1)

ChristTrekker (91442) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208238)

Last spring I bought a dual G5, my first new Mac in 6 years. My last Mac was also top end for that time. It was 5 years old, and replaced a high mid-range Mac. My needs are really not that great, so why spend the money? Because I've invested in a very nice monitor that would go to waste with an iMac. Therefore, I buy top-end and make it last 5-6 years.

However, with a low-end headless Mac, it suddenly makes much more sense to go that route and upgrade every 2-3 years. I'll never be on the front end of the speed curve, sure, but I'll also never fall as far back as I do now, either. Not only do I get the new hardware, but an OS upgrade thrown in for free, whereas now I would have to pay to jump a major revision.

If this turns out to be true (and is still true 5 years from now when I'm back in the market) and it has even one slot and upgradeable RAM, I know what I'll be buying.

Great! (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208249)

Where $ 300 gets you a PC built from second grade parts, and usually with second grade engineering).

If this rumor is true, $ 500 will get you a machine built by Apple, with top notch engineering and quality parts. It won't have stellar performance, but most applications don't need that, and the Mac platform is a lot less demanding. Plus, PCs are often in such a bad state that they crawl despite great specs on paper.

It's a pity this wasn't in time for christmas.

Not enough RAM (4, Interesting)

Cow007 (735705) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208258)

It is silly to think that 256 is enough RAM to run 10.3. This 12" came standard with that and I couldn't use it w/o dropping another 512 into it. I think that 512 standard is more logical.

Mom, there's your Apple! (2, Insightful)

Nice2Cats (557310) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208266)

Long, long overdue. The only thing that would annoy me about this is that they didn't get it in time for X-Mas sales -- a Mac for under 500 bucks would have been exactly what I would have gotten my dear mother as a present to replace her little AMD K6.

However, better late than never as they say...

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