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Apple Businesses

17-inch flat-Panel iMac Dead 517

EnlightenmentFan writes "Apple plans to stop production in June of the iMac with flat-panel 17-inch display, according to this article at Asian tech-news site Digitimes. As with the now-history 15" flat-panel iMac, sales started strong but stalled once the early-adopter crowd had bought in. Probably-not-unrelated story (also posted today): Chungwha Picture Tubes is boosting the price of its 17-inch LCD monitor panels."
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17-inch flat-Panel iMac Dead

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  • by Chicane-UK ( 455253 ) <.moc.dlrowltn. .ta. .ku-enacihc.> on Thursday January 02, 2003 @01:04PM (#4999145) Homepage
    I have had limited exposure to Apple machines in the past, and I have to say I do like them.

    But this is not the first time that Apple have had an unsuccessful product on their hands - the iCube went the same way. I mean, to me it was an excellent product, but I think it was just too expensive.

    Apple are quite a big company, but they are not THAT big - perhaps they should learn from this and the iCube, and plan a little more carefully before they launch certain products? It must have cost them a lot of money in R&D and the parts for these things?
  • MacWorld (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 02, 2003 @01:06PM (#4999175)
    perhaps we should wait until MacWorld Expo to set straight the rumors, and see if perhap a new/great product will be introduced in its place, or if this will infact happen at all.
  • by Skyshadow ( 508 ) on Thursday January 02, 2003 @01:18PM (#4999336) Homepage
    So here's the big problem with selling designer computers: You can't stop redesigning them.

    So far as I can figure, there are two types of people who bought this thing. The first group is predictible and, as such, irrelevant: Mac die-hards who would buy the latest-and-greatest regardless.

    Then, there's the people living in this posh little urban apartments who bought it because it'd look cool on their Britanny Computer Desk from Crate & Barrel. These people are a good market, because they have too much money and they use it to buy things to make them seem hip. This may be a slightly down time for these people, but they're still around and you can bet your bottom dollar they'll be back in force the second the economy upticks.

    For a little while, it really looked as if that was the new key market for these iMacs -- the designer crowd. But the problem with selling to the designer crowd is that if you don't have something *different* every six months or so, you've destroyed the whole point of the attraction. Once grandmas in the Midwest start getting these things on their desk, it's time to move on.

    Well, this thing's overstayed it's time, and there's still no heir apparent. C'mon, Jobs -- you decided on the target market. Start selling.

  • by johnpaul191 ( 240105 ) on Thursday January 02, 2003 @01:23PM (#4999373) Homepage
    .....of getting things wrong.
    Actually the last quarter financials did not imply the LCD iMacs were quite so dead in the water. Most of Apple's $$$ recently has been from 10.2, and it is the G4 towers that have really not been selling as well as they should be. Everything else was steady. The reason Apple's profits were not as nice as some people would want (even in this market) was due to a lot of cash going to opening stores and in the buying a few software companies out.

    It's possible Apple is switching to another plant. At one point Apple invested a lot of $$$$ in some LCD manufacturing plant, though i forget which one. That was why they did better in the LCD shortages than some other manufacturers. They traditionally have invested in some of the plants that produce their parts, and that seems to give them a bit of leverage when parts get tight and i guess helps them when they have their demands of secret products and quick production changes.

    Somebody else would know better, but is the main Apple LCD supplying plant, or were they using it to get the initial supplies up to match initial demand? They have done that in the past too.

    MacWorld Keynote is next week, i assume *something* will change there and maybe in the few weeks following. Last year the G4 towers were bumped to 1GHz in a no-press website update about 3 weeks after MacWorld SF.
  • by democritus ( 17634 ) <miker&alum,wpi,edu> on Thursday January 02, 2003 @01:25PM (#4999393)
    It seems to me Slashdot got trolled bigtime on this one. I don't see Apple discontinuing either of the flat-panel iMacs, especially since everyone seems to like them.

    Now stopping production to update the product line? With MacWorld coming up, that doesn't seem to be much of a stretch. Or maybe they're just moving production to a company that doesn't broadcast all of Apple's future moves to the entire world.
  • by JonathanF ( 532591 ) on Thursday January 02, 2003 @01:38PM (#4999490)
    I haven't seen anything online suggesting that 15" production will stop altogether, so be wary of those who predict that every iMac will be a 17" model as of next week.

    Apple, like most computer manufacturers, will EOL (end-of-line) a product depending on when they release a new model, as well as how many existing models they need to clear out of their stock. Apple could well have just stopped production on the current-generation iMacs because they're about to be replaced, and did so in October because they knew that interest in the initial models was fading fast after almost a year.

    Mind you, would I (and others) like it if there were nothing but 17" models at about the same prices? Heck yeah.
  • by Drakino ( 10965 ) <d_slashdot@mi n i i n f o.net> on Thursday January 02, 2003 @01:40PM (#4999512) Journal
    Speaking as someone who is posting this from a G4 Cube, it wasn't and isn't that great a machine. All it has for a video connector in the back is an ADC connector

    Hmm, odd. Maybe you should look again at this supposed cube you are posting from. All G4 Cubes came from the factory with an ATI Rage 128 with ADC and VGA ports, an ATI Radeon with the same ports, or a GeForce 2 MX with the same ports.

    The G4 Cube was an awesome machine. It was nearly as powerful as the high end desktops, but also dead silent. The PC industry is now making machines that try to fit the market of small, powerful, and quiet with Shuttle boxes and such. The Cube died because Apple could not price the thing properly to sell, and never marketed it's main advantages. It didn't die due to any technical fault.

    And returning to an On Topic discussion, I see no reason to kill the 17 inch iMac. Talking to a local Apple Reseller, it's still selling like hotcakes. It's the only model in the iMac lineup to offer DVD burning, and more and more people are getting into this.
  • by rseuhs ( 322520 ) on Thursday January 02, 2003 @01:42PM (#4999532)
    A computer with a non-detachable monitor is not perfect. Even if it would cost half of Apple's price, I would not buy it.

    It would be not that hard: All Apple had to do was stop purposely crippling their low-end machines. That means it should have PCI and AGP-slots and a goddamn VGA-port.

    And they should sell the CPUs and motherboards seperately.

    Even the most crappy 300$ PC is more reliable than a $2000 Mac. Why? Because when something breaks I can get a replacement within half an hour (well if the stores are open ;-), while I would have to send in the Mac - or buy a completely new machine.

  • by Triv ( 181010 ) on Thursday January 02, 2003 @01:47PM (#4999568) Journal
    But who wants an iMac when you can get a Dual G4 with one of those really pretty cinema displays

    People without $6,000 to throw down, you idiot.

    I make around $20,000 a year and I needed a new computer. I took out a loan and bought a midrange flatpanel iMac and I love it. I would've LOVED a 23" cinema display, but guess what? I couldn't afford one even with years of saving. I thought about spending the extra cash and get a tower but the form-factor of the iMac is so unassuming and the screen so wonderfully designed I can't believe I even thought about a tower. I also know myself and know that I'd much rather buy a new computer in 4 years than keep upgrading the tower. Ok, realistically if they had a cheaper 17"er I would've bought it, but I got my iMac for $1,350. Throw a 10 GB iPod in there and it's STILL cheaper than the cheapest tower/monitor combo, even with an education discount on the pre-windtunnel models.

    So in short: you're either a troll or spoiled, and either way you need a serious dose of reality. Apparently you don't realise how hard money is to come by these days.

  • by crayz ( 1056 ) on Thursday January 02, 2003 @01:54PM (#4999623) Homepage
    I seem to recall a foreign site months ago saying that Apple was discontinuing 15" iMacs, but what really happened was 15" LCD displays went away.

    Maybe a similar translation error is occuring here?
  • by nomadic ( 141991 ) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .dlrowcidamon.> on Thursday January 02, 2003 @01:56PM (#4999643) Homepage
    But who wants an iMac when you can get a Dual G4 with one of those really pretty cinema displays.

    And who wants a Honda Civic when you can get an Aston Martin V12 Vanquish? I mean, there's absolutely no reason for people to go with the Honda...
  • by emil ( 695 ) on Thursday January 02, 2003 @02:01PM (#4999691)

    While Mac OS X is breathtaking, and the aesthetic design of the cases is both stylish and functional, the processor technology lags far behind the x86 market, and the equipment is quite simply overpriced.

    What is more, much of Mac OS X is written outside of Apple (BSD, Mach, gcc, et al). In theory, Apple's OS development costs should be somewhat below Microsoft. There are more than a few cases where Apple's OS tools are substandard, also.

    I suggest that Apple release a $350 450MHz G3 with USB and a standard VGA connector. It could double as a gaming machine. Please bundle StarOffice, and it is also time to ditch IE (I hate popups).

    Apple also ought to investigate the embedded market with OS X, especially since Linux has made great strides in this area. A Tivo running a stripped down OS X with Apple branding would have an enormous impact on Apple's visibility.

  • by Twirlip of the Mists ( 615030 ) <twirlipofthemists@yahoo.com> on Thursday January 02, 2003 @02:04PM (#4999711)
    They're not here to make their customers happy, they're here to make money.

    Actually, because Apple sells a relatively expensive niche product against the prevailing direction of the market, the only way for them to continue to make money is by making their customers happy.

    The two kinda go hand-in-hand, you see.
  • by veddermatic ( 143964 ) on Thursday January 02, 2003 @02:08PM (#4999758) Homepage
    that's funny, I bought FOUR in the last 9 months.. a TiBook and G4 dual for home, a G4 for work, and a 17" iMac for my GF for xMas.

    I'm going ot go out on a limb and say two things:

    1. You have never USED a Mac running OS X (and you probably wouldn't know what to do with a shell, Apache, MySQL, a good GUI, etc anyway)

    2. You have never actually built a box (or even better, bought one from Dell, Gateway, etc.) that was FEATURE EXACT and *then* made your "overpriced" out-your-ass comments. Given you cna't compare processor speeds per say (assume 1.5x to 2x speed of G4 == speed of Intel) go ahead. Make sure you include OS, basic productivity SW and so on.

    God I hate moronic zealots (both PeeCee *and* Mac) it's fine to dislike somehing based on KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE... but fukcing-a 99% of the people who say "Macs suck, they are overpriced and blah blah blah" have never priced or USED one!!!!

    OK, my rant for 2003 is done.
  • by GurgleJerk ( 568712 ) on Thursday January 02, 2003 @02:16PM (#4999811)
    First of all, the new product announcements are in a few days. That could clear things up. Second, are you all really going to take the word of an obscure Asian business journal as the death knell of the best selling computer Apple has built in the last three years?

    The 15" iMac has been consistently rumored to have been discontinued, but this has been refuted by other sources. It is still for sale on Apple's site and in retail stores - but the reigining theory is that it will be history in favor of the 17" model. It has to do with better margins for 17" LCDs vs 15".

    Another story widely posted Thursday details the iMac (and eMac) production being switched to a new manufacturer, so maybe the reporters got half the story.

    And lastly, how the heck do you kill a computer six months from now? That makes little to no business sense. The rumors of the iMac's death... you know the rest.
  • by SethJohnson ( 112166 ) on Thursday January 02, 2003 @02:17PM (#4999818) Homepage Journal

    ...comparable PowerMac and it is more robust

    This is doubtful. Lets say you got them a P4 Dell with a monitor. How much was that? Your victim at work could have bought an iMac [apple.com] with a DVD-R drive for $1700. With it would come iDVD. You're encouraging them to shell out the bucks for a seperate DVD-R purchase and the DVD authoring software (which I doubt will be as slick as iDVD). And is this person planning to run a Unix-based OS like Mac OS X? If not, then there goes robustness. If they are, then there goes native DVD authoring capabilities. With this Dell bundle you dropped on this poor sap's head, is there an LCD monitor? Does the thing make a lot of racket with its cooling fan? Yeah, that person saved some money. Kind of like when I save money by pushing my car around town rather than filling it with gas.
  • by frankie ( 91710 ) on Thursday January 02, 2003 @02:19PM (#4999828) Journal
    stop purposely crippling their low-end machines. That means it should have PCI and AGP-slots
    Your wish is my command (http://www.apple.com/powermac/)

    BZZT. A tower model that starts at $1700 (sans display) does not count as low-end.

    I've been harping on Apple ever since the "four quadrant" [google.com] lineup began. There needs to be a prosumer model in between the iMac and the PowerMac -- a $999 "iMac II" (aka eMac LC [tripod.com] if you prefer). Low cost, small form, with easily accessible AGP and IDE, and it would be a huge sales success.

    Except the profit margin might be lower, and Apple doesn't want that. Mac advocacy is definitely a love/hate relationship.

  • Re:19" iMac (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dhuff ( 42785 ) on Thursday January 02, 2003 @02:52PM (#5000106)
    half the performance at twice the price
    Well, half the MHz at twice the price is closer to the truth - but that's fairly meaningless. Repeat after me, children, "MHz does not equal performance."

    Over 15 years ago, I went to a good friend who is an electrical engineer for advice on what computer I should buy. His response is still valid today, "Well, what do you want to do with it ?"
  • by Lysol ( 11150 ) on Thursday January 02, 2003 @03:16PM (#5000298)
    A few things:

    You have a $200 walmart pc that will still have shaky support for a wide variety of devices. There will definately not be any of this plug and play nonsense.

    Consumers will continue to buy macs just as they do BMWs or Mercedes - because they're willing to pay more money for something better. Apple will never nose out the Wintel duopoly, but it will always (hopefully) have a following of loyal users. I should know, I bought my second Tibook this year. My old one I sold to my friend to replace his iBook.

    I've had, literally, dozens of x86 servers at home and have over the past 10 years. So, it's not that I don't know what cheap is. True, lets go down and buy the newest fastest video card or lets get some cheap drives and upgrade to raid. However tho, now I just want something portable that works.

    The DVD playback on a Tibook has no equal. AND, since I can make movies and DVDs on my Tibook, the Fujitsu equivalent - the Celcius - (which is the only x86 laptop company I'd ever consider buying from after constant crap from Dell, Compaq, HP), doesn't even have DVD burning. But it does have 1/2 the ram costs $600 more. Laptops vs. desktops are different; true. But Apple designs machines, not commodities. Wintel is all about commodities. And there you have it.
  • by LoudMusic ( 199347 ) on Thursday January 02, 2003 @03:17PM (#5000307)
    Do not compare an iMac to a Dell workstation. That's not what I was doing. I was comparing it to a PowerMac G4, which is what it takes to get real work done.

    No it doesn't have an LCD. LCDs can not compare to a Trinitron CRT monitor. The quality of his monitor is infinitely better than an LCD of the same display (20" or better) and a fraction of the price. I would call a 21" flat CRT Trinitron at $700 and higher output a better buy than the leading Sony 20" LCD for $2,000 - wouldn't you?

    I'm not encouraging anyone to shell out money for a DVD writer. If that were the case I would get a PowerMac, not an iMac.

    No they're not using a Unix-based OS like Mac OS X. He's using Windows XP, which blows OS X out of the water. I don't wish to discuss this with anyone who has not used both operating systems for a prolonged time in a working environement on quality hardware. But if I wanted a UNIX operating system on my Dell I would probably run Mandrake 9. It's pretty, just like OS X ... oh but it's fast too like Windows XP.

    No it does not make a lot of racket with its two fans. The damn 17" iMac that sits on my boss's desk makes a lot of racket with its fan and unballanced DVD drive though. It does, however make a lot of racket with its Soundblaster Live audio and speakers. Lets see you do that with your iMac.

    How about plugging a SCSI device into your iMac. Or an additional hard drive or CD/DVD drive. What about a second monitor? Oh, I guess you're shit out of luck.

    I find it interesting how you say I've victimized my employee when he came to me and asked that I configure a comparable new Dell to a new PowerMac. He realized that the Dell was over a thousand dollars cheaper, had longer hardware support and life-span, and could communicate with other computers and the world much more effeciently.

    Arguing on Slashdot is as good as pissing into the wind - I don't know why I do it. On this particular topic no one has a voice until they've played with both options in a high-end configuration doing high-end work loads. I have and for me Windows XP on a loaded Dell absolutely smokes OS X on a loaded PowerMac. And it does it at a bit of a cost break. If you're playing at home or running a business by yourself, spend your money however you want. When you work for someone that is trying to turn a profit in the real world you go with the best bang for the buck - for us that's XP on a Dell.
  • by LoadStar ( 532607 ) on Thursday January 02, 2003 @04:10PM (#5000803)
    They can pump out a whole hell of a lot of those things, and I guess they much just have a couple of big-ass warehouses full of them sitting somewhere.

    Apple typically only has in the channel anywhere between 1-6 weeks of inventory. Their last financial results for Q3 2002 [macworld.com] said that total channel inventory was reduced from 6.5 weeks of channel inventory in Q2 2002. So, no, they don't have "big-ass" warehouses full of them.

    Also, don't forget, a statistically significant percentage of Apple's sales are build-to-order through the Apple Store website. If they had, indeed, stopped producing the iMac 15, I'd imagine that build-to-order would be rather difficult.

    Apple did indeed stop producing the iMac 15's - briefly. As I recall, Apple issued an order to stop production of the iMac 15s early 2002, in an attempt to get channel inventory down. I believe, however, that production resumed shortly after. I'm also not terribly surprised that Apple would stop producing the current iMac 17 in June... in fact, I'd be more surprised if they wouldn't. Anticipate a revised iMac to be announced at the latest by June.

  • Considering... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by OS24Ever ( 245667 ) <trekkie@nomorestars.com> on Thursday January 02, 2003 @06:06PM (#5001885) Homepage Journal
    Considering the recent rash of hoax stories posted on slashdot related to Apple I'd not believe this one too much.

    This is the same company that says that Apple hasn't made any 15" iMac since October, yet if you go to your nearest Apple store and look at the iMac's they have in boxes ready to go home with you they have manufacturing dates on them as far back as December.

    I'd be more willing to be the 15" and 17" screens this place is referring to are the ones on the Apple Studio Display monitors, not the iMac's themselves. There have been several Mac rumor sites stating the 17" panel would be replaced by a 19" panel coming next week.

    They also have been showing there will be a single 800Mhz 15", and then newer 17" 867 and 1.0Ghz iMac machines announced.

    Guess we'll know next week.
  • by bnenning ( 58349 ) on Thursday January 02, 2003 @06:07PM (#5001897)
    And if you like your Terminial on your OS X you should give Command a try in Windows. Just run 'cmd' and you'll get a similar app with similar commands.

    Too bad you're serious or this would be +5 Funny.

  • by Drakino ( 10965 ) <d_slashdot@mi n i i n f o.net> on Thursday January 02, 2003 @07:09PM (#5002396) Journal
    I know exactly why it's silent. Apple used engineering to build a convection cooling system similar to the one used in all the late model CRT iMacs. It works well, all the way up to 800mHz PowerPCs. Beyond that, upgrade kits do come with a single fan to put in the bottom, but thats there as a precaution only. (Since not all home machines sit in nice 62 degree controlled rooms).

    And as far as space, Paramount uses 16 G4 cubes in fairly tight places to drive the displays seen on Enterprise. Unfortunatly the photos are down, but the article is still out there at TrekNation [treknation.com].

    Discussions with the local Apple Reseller before I bought my G4 Cube off eBay tended to point to issues with the sensitivity of the power button being the leading problem with the Cubes, and not heat. I've run D.net on my cube 24/7 while it's been in summer heat, and the CPU diode never reached above 72C (Sure, that seems quite hot for a processor, but it's still within limits, and is reported from the chip, and not a diode nearby).

    And I'd love to see a melted cube, as lexan takes quite a bit of heat to melt. That, and the fact that a metal shell seperates the lexan from the core of the computer.
  • by torpor ( 458 ) <ibisum@gm a i l . com> on Thursday January 02, 2003 @09:08PM (#5003219) Homepage Journal

    I've decided I don't rant nearly often enough about shit like this and for some reason your post has set me off, so I'm gonna pitch in here and tell the /. world why, in my book, Apple can do no wrong (for now).

    I am not someone who cares what /. mods do by now, so I'll light one up and let 'er rip.

    Here goes:

    My 500mhz tibook ('chipped', incidentally, from a 400mhz one, quite happily) gives me *plenty* of bang for the buck and for me: IT IS THE PERFECT COMPUTER (almost).

    Why? A few good reasons:

    - 1Gig of RAM [this is !pure sex! to old-timers, lemme tell you ... and it's /portable/, too, no way!?]

    - Case design is *PHAT* and groovy, and goes extremely well with my perspex furniture, next to my 19" rack here in the living room...

    - The display just can't be beat. I'm yet to be as impressed with a laptop display as I was with the one on the tiBook when I first saw it up close and personal...

    - OSX

    But now, really, the *ONLY* reason worth arguing about and in this case the tiBook truly shines for me:

    - Productivity

    Now, I am really, really productive on this box.

    About as productive as I, personally, could ever be without getting some sort of scarey Rael'ian upgrade.

    I should say that I'm not a 'typical' user, though I don't think there is such a thing actually.

    I'm a (mostly C+Unix, still, after all these years) programmer, since - essentially - '79.

    Well, I started using Unix and mostly hacking around then, anyway, but even still the line at that time between programmer/user was always pretty blurry.

    During the 80's and 90's my platform-of-choice was always whatever unix-box was available. These were computers: so well made they could do more than one thing at a time, inherently.

    Performance back then, at least in my personal sphere, was often expressed in terms of *modem* speed. CPU speed? Well, that was already being measured and appropriated out of our direct control, as it is about to become, yawn, with .Net... but man, in the shops I worked in during the late 80's and 90's if you had Ethernet to the local microwave link (56k) to the computer room across town, holy shit. *That* was performance.

    As a programmer, I've always had the notion of running my code on distant computers.

    CPU-speed was something for the *ADMINS* to worry about, based on user-demand, not me. As long as my code ran as well as it possibly could, and did the job, that was just fine.

    Coder vs. Admin vs. User. In that order.

    It seems to me, then, that the more you get involved in administering a box, the more you fret about its performance and get sucked into the upgrade loop ... hey, maybe MS' bugs were a *positive* thing for them and their slick hardware bed-partners, eh?

    On the other hand, it's always sweet as a coder to work out how to make things run faster without needing *any* new hardware... That's the best possible result from the above equation, in my opinion... (API's that imply that this can still happen always get my vote!)

    And anyway, no matter what you do, there's *always* a way to make code run faster and better without needing hardware upgrades... at least from my perspective.

    Getting back to my rant-topic, with the tiBook I am extremely productive, and extraordinarily content as a computer programmer and user.

    With my tiBook I can quite happily replace a small network of PC's I used to use for development with 4 VirtualPC sessions instead, each running its own particular PC-based OS (mostly BSD and Linux for me, but I have a Windows image around if I ever ... shudder ... need to get things working under Win32/CYGWIN. I can barely tolerate a 'make' in that universe on *good* hardware anyway...).

    Admittedly, these were ancient PC's (Pentium-I and -II class), but nevertheless they were, in spite of their hardware specs, being used productively in my computer room, and they're even virtually productive 'now' in VPC land.

    (Not to mention that - when needed - I can *really* push my apps into the free space that 1GIG provides: portably. Whoa. Did I mention 'pure sex'? 64k was sexy, 1GIG is out of control)

    So yeah, I guess I'm moderately old-school, computer-wise but for some reason this results in me feeling honestly that OSX is a dream to code for, from inside to out, top to bottom. It is the apex of a loooong - in computer-market terms - computing history.

    I honestly do *not* want to get caught up in the horrid trap that is Windows: here's a strange thought - computer hardware should be getting *faster* as code is better and better tuned as it ages, not slower!!! It's the API's, dummy! The API's are Microsofts' hamster-wheel - they'll *never* get faster, only slower!

    As someone who first cut their teeth in Windows hacking with the *first beta* of Microsoft Virtual C (not C++) for Windows3.1 (Pre-WFW 3.11) and subsequently ran screaming in terror back to his MIPS/RISCOS login until Borland came along, I think you can get the point about OSX being nice to code for ...

    Speaking of that lovely MIPS login and all it offered to my personal working/coding (and thus, computing) 'heritage', I suppose I should admit that my 'personal hardware' history leading up to tiBook glory is a little off-beat. I guess it goes something like this:

    -- Apple II - okay, hands up who *didn't* grow up trying to convince their folks to buy them one of these when they came out? That would have been me, but only because I spent *all* my free time in the Computerland Apple store, hacking away. I didn't *NEED* to buy it, what I needed to do was quit school and make enough money to own my own computer, fast! Heh heh... then Dad bought me:

    -- Oric-1 + Modem. First personal computer, mostly a terminal, but it could play games and run a plotter. That was neat. With this, I discovered Unix at a lovely 300 baud, and thus C ...

    Oh boy. I didn't *need* to own the computer in order to use it... oh boy, oh boy, oh boy ...

    Skip forward 5 or so years to '87/'88:

    -- MIPS R3230, across the room but accessible when I needed to load a tape. I had a couple shit 286's running Desqview, which was my first 'sniff' at PC-land... but they only ever ran telnet to that box.

    -- MIPS Magnum Pizza-box (first 'desktop' computer, and by that I mean it was on my desktop rather than sitting in the computer room next to the other MIPS, WANG, and Tandem systems I worked on, where, actually, it belonged. To have it on my desk was the only way to guarantee nobody else bigger than me would use it, sort of ...)

    (I should note that during the MIPS-era I'd lusted after a Next Cube, 5 weeks before it was announced by Steve, publicly. Somehow the MIPS guys had details on it, and boy did I want it. (Mostly as a *TERMINAL*, but I had designs on that DSP... a *TERMINAL* with a DSP! WAY COOL!!) I'd heard that NextStep was sweet (later found this to be true with NS4/Intel) but alas the box was just too expensive for me to justify it to the bosses as a 'new terminal', so I missed out on that one. It hurt to see Next die, but it was well-deserved.)

    -- AST 486 running something horrid. I think it was early versions of SCO Unix. That was a nice thing to see on cheap PC's, but I remember it had weird int's. I mostly did filesystem work then, and I *HATED* the test disks from this box for their endian'ness! If you can't guess why, I'll tell you: I never had the SOURCE!

    -- Then I dl'ed this thing called Linux in '93 from some fast server in Finland, and got it running on whatever PC-hardware was around. At this point in time, I still didn't care much for PC hardware: I don't care what anyone says, the *mentality* of an 8-bit design is still there... but somehow, Linux made it better.

    I became a PC user and Windows developer during the darkness that was the 90's, mostly due to client requirements, but I gave up soon after Windows 98. Microsoft can eat shit: I'm not working to make them bigger and greedier any longer, no matter *what* they try to offer me. It's a trap, programmers!

    However, around '94/'95, there was hope for my personal computing needs, such as they were (Ethernet to something fast was always more important than my desktop system, though, as a coder...)

    -- SGI Boxen, too many to mention, mostly Indigo2/Indy class though. I decided I couldn't afford an Octane, and O2 was too close to PC territory and then, a few months later, that Windows NT-ONLY workstation scared me off SGI for good... FOR SHAME! I thought there was hope for SGI when I saw that laptop in the tornado movie, but godamn it was only a prop and not even a very good one at that. Too bad, but it set the fires a-burnin' that would only later be put out by my tiBook ...

    -- For general-purpose hacking and coder-chops (its important!) I scrounged and got myself a BeBox. This was a *fantastic* hacking box. Man, what a great idea. Unix-ish'isms, a promising GUI, and a tight new kernel. Hey, even the filesystem was groovy: AND IT HAS MIDI!!! Yay!

    Damn, did I pick a loser. Oh well, at least I'd avoided Amiga!

    -- So, for production (that is what we're talking about here) at this point I had to switch to PC laptops running Linux. Oh, the pain, the agony, after so many beautiful years of avoiding Intel... still, we had some good times, me and Linux and I loved her from the start (still do, deeply!), until the golden era began:

    -- tiBook running OSX.

    And now, here we are.

    In my opinion, Apple is a computer company that has survived for so long and is now, even still, worth supporting. Maybe IBM too. I conside their Linux work to be amends, though.

    Steve is back at Apple and he has delivered on his promise:

    OSX. PowerPC. Totally Portable.

    You can groove in BSD-land with you-name-it shell, mix and match even, or play nice and cool in Cocoa-land with Objective-C ...

    Hack away at pure C with the tried and true (POSIX), or do fancy-schmancy graphics tomfoolery with PDF-based widgets and glorious things like Aqua. With what is, frankly, a pretty fresh API for a GUI - oddly enough it also feels well proven, actually, I'd say. Maybe there's some OpenGL mojo in there, too.

    Oh, I forgot to mention Java (I don't do Java), but hey: I've heard tiBooks are *primo* Java hacking boxes, and the JDK integration in OSX is smoovier and far less S&M'ish to ... other ... 'operating systems'. I believe you can actually *get* to Java in OSX, heh heh ...

    MySQL. Linux-friendly. fink. gcc. gcc *3.1*.

    A 'Media hub', and then iSome... Watch -or- burn DVD's (so sci-fi!).


    Plus, no matter how far I travel (and I've travelled far) I am yet to see any other laptop *function* as well in tems of pure hardware design. It's aged, but its aged well and it has actually survived our journeys together.

    Every other laptop I've ever owned would have been completely grungy and getto by now - however, this tibook has somehow managed to maintain its shine and lustre thorugh an almost complete circumnavigation of the planet.

    Okay so its 'aged beauty' might have something to do with the fact that I've *actually* replaced my own keyboard, case and hard drive (not to mention the aforementioned chippin' for speed) - but how many times can you say you've done *THAT* with a PC notebook? (see www.pbparts.com for starters, a link *all* tiBookers should appreciate and use well, as I have...)

    Development-wise, I've never *EVER* had to be worried about processor speeds. Whatever flavour chip is available, I've always been able to run my code *plenty* fast.

    Performance != Productivity.

    CPU speeds are irrelevant now. They have gone past the point where human perception really matters - and not only that, parallelism technologies are on the rapid track (Internet++) to putting us all where we can just *rent* extra CPU time where its needed: on computational backends like the terribly-late .Net, etc.

    Arguing, or actually, getting caught up in arguments about CPU speeds is a dead giveaway that the person doing the arguing is someone who simply isn't using their computer productively enough, and thus they have time to notice... which as a phenomena, is oddly enough, also observable in someone with a 'slow' computer...

    The tiBook is the perfect computer. Look at its heritage. You cannot argue with its heritage.

    Okay. I think I've said enough about this. I now return to a state of torpor. Thank you for reading.

    [Incidentally, I'd happily trade a mint vintage BeBox for a vintage ~mint NS Cube, if anyones interested... oh, and yah, before anyone starts, I know that "Productivity != Games", which is the only /other/ reason I can see for getting a decent PC these days, and it is a bad one. IMHO.]
  • by MoneyT ( 548795 ) on Thursday January 02, 2003 @09:44PM (#5003433) Journal
    For $1000 I can get a $200 Walmart PC that will run circles around an imac performance wise, and a nice 17" Viewsonic monitor. The current rate for a 17" imac is $1999. Does anyone else see the problem for Apple here?

    Yeah I see a few problems:

    1) You're paying $1,000 for a $200 computer. Would you also like to buy a bridge? I have one in Brooklyn you'd love.

    2) While you might like a CRT monitor, I don't have shitloads of space on my desk, and since I don't need highend color matching, an LCD monitor is much better suited to my needs.

    3) Did that $200 POS come with firewire? A decent graphics card? Good software packages (iDVD, iTunes, iMovie)? What about gigabit ethernet and auto sensing (both of which are useful to me)? Did that POS even come with a decent processor?

    Apple's problem is that consumers have grown up.

    Right, because a true sign of having grown up is getting into pissing contests with other people as to who has the fastest processor, or the most ram and not realizing the people have different needs and sometimes don't have the desire to spend hours tinkering with compentents or the need to crunch numbers into oblivion.

    Windows is just as easy to use and more reliable (I have had fewer Win2K crashes since 1999 than I have with OS X since 2001.)

    Ok, you're definately not using a well configured mac, or possibly you fucked arround with the kernel? Or maybe you're intentionaly trying to crash your computer? The last time I saw OS X crash unintentionaly was when it was in beta. If seen prgrams themselves fail, but nothing that brought down the system. The last time I saw Win2k crash was when I upgraded the video card drivers, which proceeded to lead to a mess of problems and ended up in the install of XP which needs a reboot every week when my router rolls over the IPs.

    People know that Apple's 700MHz CPUs are slow compared to the 2+ GHz X86 CPUs, and that Apple is charging twice as much for RAM and old Nvidia/ATI cards than X86 vendors.

    Anyone who buys the RAM or Video card update directly from Apple is a moron, just like anyone who did the same from compaq or Dell would be a moron. You can buy macs on the cheap if you know how to shop, the same goes for PCs. But actualy try and price out equvilent computers from vendors and the prices are very close.

    Buying my ibook was the worst computer-related decision I have ever made, and after seeing how an Apple system performs for the cost, I will never do it again, nor would I encourage anyone else to.

    I am truly curious to know what made buying an iBook the worst computer related purchase you've ever made.

    Apple has been riding on waves lately; the Jobs-is-back wave, the visual-aesthetics-are-nice wave, and is now trying to stay on top of the Linux-geeks-really-want-to-watch-a-DVD-with-no-fre e-software-hassles wave. The problem is, none of those waves has done anything to create a solid customer base

    Right a loyal base of devoted customers with brandname loyalty, a wilingness to forgive mistakes and reward sucesses, fans willing to suport your product, vouch for it, sell it and contribute to it. People who will walk into stores like CompUSA and help people with information on macs when the incompitent employees falter. Definately not a solid customer base. In a time when vendors are merging and laying off employees to stay alive, Apple is right where it's always been, but that's not a solid customer base.

    Apple is falling back into its old habit of hyping gimmicks to the undying cult of Mac Geeks, who cannot keep that company alive.

    Apple: Proudly going out of business for more than 20 years.
  • by BiOFH ( 267622 ) on Friday January 03, 2003 @12:16AM (#5004099)
    People in the industry read /. and they trust it to accurately reflect its claims. You guys act like news editors (it says "news" in your logo!) yet you do not abide by the same rules as other news organisations are held to. Accountability? Whatever...

    Stories like this can only harm companies like Apple. When ondustry people see it and say "Slashdot says..." others take it as truth. It would appear that Slashdot editors are starting to suffer from the same syndrome much of its readership does; not reading and checking facts and accepting the blurb as containing the facts. This is exactly how this came to my attention. Someone in the industry wrote to inform me that the 17" iMacs were dead (and were therefore not a viable investment).

    I've come to expect this sort of thing from Timothy, but I was shocked that Hemos posted this one. I think you owe it to your readers, the industry and Apple to correct this story, if not pull it altogether.

    This is bullshit. Own up.
  • by cmacb ( 547347 ) on Friday January 03, 2003 @12:41AM (#5004219) Homepage Journal
    As a mostly PC user, that also has an iBook...

    There is one advantage that a lot of the Apple computers have over thier PC counterparts: No fan.

    Anything with a clock speed over 500 is going to be in service doing usefull work for a good long time unless it fries it's little brain out because a fan failed to move enough air over it.

    I have a feeling my iBook will outlast just about everything else I have. It runs cool and the plastic that it is made of is sturdier than my Compaq laptop by far (and apparently less flexible than the titanium cases the Powerbook uses too.)

    I'm running Linux on it rather than OS X, and I can testify that it runs Linux faster than PCs with 50% faster clock speeds.

    Apple makes good, and sometimes durable hardware. I'm not so sure about their software.

Mr. Cole's Axiom: The sum of the intelligence on the planet is a constant; the population is growing.