Friday, January 23, 2009

Suppose Apple Kills the iMac

Maybe not today.  Maybe not in the next couple of years.   But don't be surprised if Apple offers only Macbooks and Mac Pros as the two main Mac choices somewhere down the line.
If that was to happen, I'm sure there will be an hybrid of Mac and Apple TV (my Mac Hybrid) perhaps even integrated with a widescreen LCD (or LED) HDTV.  But that's analysis for another blog.  
First let's examine why Apple would do this rid themselves of consumer desktops:
  • Macbooks have higher margins.  Mac portables account for an increasing percentage of sales.
  • Steve Jobs read our lame blogs at On Apple and over at Onxo.  Okay.  Just being funny.  Okay, not funny.
  • The move is towards mobile computing - laptops, smartphones, mobile platform with devices like iPhones and iPods.
  • Affordability.  Laptops, including Macbooks, have gone down in average selling price.  Furthermore, refurbished Macbooks are very popular with consumers.
  • As far as going green, Macbooks uses less power than iMacs.
Now, why Apple won't do this get rid of the iMac and the Mac Mini:
  • There is still a large segment of the market that aren't ready to move towards mobility.
  • Businesses generally would prefer iMacs with its larger screens for productivity.  
  • Creative users like the flexibility and expandability of iMacs.  That isn't to say that Macbooks are less flexible.
  • Cost.  Some folks see value in desktop.  Well, I sort of agree, provided being mobile isn't an issue.
  • Apple may merge additional home entertainment features into the iMac and possibly Mac Mini and having a consumer desktop allows them these options should they chose to.
Now, I'm talking about consumer Macs here.  Not Mac Pro.  How will the Mac lines play out without an iMac?  What are the likely scenarios for such a possible (but improbable) move by Apple?
  • We might see a 18-20" Macbook.  It may be the Macbook for the creative crowd.
  • Additional Macbook units.  There may be two lines:  traditional Macbooks and Macbook Pros and additional units along the line of the the Macbook Air.  Perhaps a 15" model in addtion to the 13" Macbook Air on the market now.
  • A Mac tower that merged the Mac Mini with the Apple TV for use with home entertainment systems and HDTVs.  
  • MacHD - just came up with this name.  It's an HDTV with a Mac mini and Apple TV inside.
 Now, I'm talking about iMacs.  Consumer Macs.  There will always be a Mac Pro.  No Macbook Pro will ever come close to the power and expandability of the Mac Pro. 
Note:  Personally, I hope they won't kill the iMac.  I plan on picking up a powerful quad-core iMac in the future for development myself.  However, the multi-year delay in Mac mini update and the 10 months since the iMac was updated does provide an opportunity to speculate.

Another note:  This is not a rumor post.  I don't traffic in rumors.  It's just fun speculation.

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