Date: Wednesday, July 18th, 2001, 14:32
Apple has played it very conservatively by upgrading the specs of the existing iMac and G4 desktop computers while retaining their aging form factors. It’s been quite a roller coaster ride since last year’s Macworld Cube introduction in NewYork. Although critically acclaimed for it’s small size and coolness factor, the cube was so overpriced that it never sold in sufficient quantity, even after price cuts and the addition of CD-RW. Corrections to mistakes made in restructuring the education distribution channel combined with strong sales of the latest portable offerings has helped keep the company out of the toilet in this PC recession . Apple stores will take a long time to have a significant impact on the company’s bottom line.
I suspect that Apple did not want to chance the introduction of all new desktop enclosures right now for a number of reasons. The inevitable delays in gearing up for all new machines may very well have left them with supply shortages going into the school year, a potential disaster. With Apple doing better than most PC manufacturers, they don’t need to shoot themselves in the foot.
An LCD iMac is probably still too costly to hit the right price point. Market conditions have driven the price of LCD screens artificially low, but a rebound in prices would be devastating to an LCD iMac aimed at consumers. I am concerned that the creeping price of the base iMac from $799 to $899 and now $999 is already a problem for a consumer machine. Apple has certainly added value to it’s desktop offerings, but the iMac is not nearly as appealing a product as the iBook.
The downside is that the new iBook and Titanium G4’s are flying high due their great design as much as the performance and value they offer. The original iMac was a runaway success for the same reasons. The potential to boost sales of the desktop machines is there if Apple can provide desktop products as compelling as their portables. I’m certainly disappointed they did not debut here at Macworld.