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September 21, 2004

New Mac time

So I have an order in for a new dual 2.5-gigahertz G5. A friend let me take advantage of an expiring developer discount, which saved me around $500.

I waited to make the decision until the new iMac G5 was announced, and I was sorely tempted to go with the less expensive box. I didn't because a) my usual personal buying strategy is to buy higher end machines, with an eye toward being able to bear them for longer before I can't stand working on that old crappy box that once was scary fast, and because b) the dual G5s look like a bargain to me, even at their higher prices.

One thing I found a little strange is the big hole in the Apple desktop product lineup right now. If you want to spend under $1,000, look at the eMac. For $1,300-$2,000, it's the iMac G5.

But what if you're looking to spend $2,500-$3,000? Well, you could buy a PowerBook, and a fairly nice one. But if you're looking for a desktop solution, you can buy a computer, but only without a monitor. The dual-1.8 G5 plus a 20-inch Cinema Display comes in around $3,300. For now, you can still help Apple empty overstocked warehouses of overpriced 17-inch Studio Displays at $699, but that price, along with the reports of backlight problems with the displays, is just going to drive people to buy their LCDs from somebody else.

On the one hand, I really hope Apple has a plan to fill in that middle ground, possibly with a less-expensive 17" Cinema Display (they certainly buy enough 17" widescreen LCD panels). On the other hand, I think Apple may be intentionally splitting its market into home and education users, who are expected to buy eMacs and iMacs; and professionals who don't care much what their systems cost, since the company is picking up the tab.

Note that I don't consider the new Cinema Displays overpriced. I haven't used an Apple display since the snakebit AppleVision 1710av, working pretty happily through a succession of Sony, ViewSonic, and Nokia monitors. But I have my eye on one of these new Cinema Displays, or an equivalent display, and for now at least, the big Apples compare very well with Sony's and Samsung's big and wide-screen LCDs, typically coming in $50-$100 below the competition.

September 21, 2004 in Apple - Desktops | Permalink

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