BusinessWeek columnist calls for ‘headless’ Apple iMac computer

“Its integrated tilt-swivel flat-panel monitor has gone from a competition killer to just plain deadly. Apple should set it free,” Alex Salkever writes for BusinessWeek. “When Steve Jobs introduced an iMac with a floating flat-panel display in January, 2002, the faithful roared. The press wrote about it incessantly. Time even gave Jobs a gushing cover story based on the iMac, hailing the elegant desktop PC as a ‘sleek machine’ that could be the future digital hub of the home.”

“Digital anchor is more like it. In the first fiscal quarter of 2004 ending December 27, 2003, iMac unit sales and revenue plummeted by 24% and 29%, respectively, compared to the same period last year. The iMac was the only Apple product line to show shrinking revenues and unit sales over that interval,” Salkever writes. “So what to do about the iMac? Cut off its head. This suggestion has been floating around the Apple community for a while, and it’s time for Apple to listen.”

Salkever writes, “A competitive, freestanding, entry-level computer that’s sleek and powerful has a role. The all-in-one eMac with a CRT monitor has done fine by targeting schools, but it’s just too bulky for consumers, I think. The PowerMac G5 line is a big jump up in cost from the iMac when you add the requisite monitor. So a headless iMac — a pretty little machine that sits beneath your desk and provides enough power to do nice things but not enough to run a advertising agency — might fit into the plans of people who, say, own an Apple laptop and want a second machine.”

Full article here.


  1. Do it. That’ll shave off at least $1000 .. it’d be cheaper than the eMac and smaller than any shuttle PC. It’s frickin common sense. It would sell like hotcakes, dangit!

  2. Is this “The Return of the Cube”? What a sequel!

    I would like the new iMac or its cousin to have more juice and I don’t need dual-processors or PCI slots.

    Is it technologically feasible to cram one G5 processor and all its architectural components into a Cube, or other geometric shape, sans PCI slots and fans, and turn it loose?

  3. This has become more and more apparent as the monitor got bigger and bigger. Look at the price of an iMac and then deduct the cost of the equivalent cinema display and you have a cheaper machine that people can use with their existing monitor or with a cinema display that can move with them to their next machine. They don’t even need to change to form factor, just cap off the dome where the arm attaches.

    The iMac with it’s attached display is a superb design, but people are just going to be reluctant to buy into a display that get thrown out with the machine when it breaks or retires.

    $899 for the iMac hemisphere (with superdrive).

  4. I want to be able to buy a nice Apple LCD monitor that I can use on my next two or three consumer-grade Macintosh computers. Today, Apple offers me no solution. Why not? If I buy an iMac today, the monitor has to go on eBay with the machine when I’m ready for a new one. Stupid. I DO NOT WANT to have to buy a new monitor with each computer upgrade! Steve Jobs is missing the boat on this one!

  5. I think its time has come too. I think the eMac has taken the place of the original “candy colored” iMacs. The current iMac is left in an odd position. I think it is time that the cube return, but instead of calling it the cube (or dome) call it the new iMac. Yes I know the iMac has always been an all in one, but since we have the eMac lets just have the iMac as the the sexiest $999 computer with a little room to upgrade.

    It’s time has come, and I can see the splash now. “The iMac has lost its head!”

  6. Alex Salkever contradicts himself when he criticises the iMac for not being an upgradable, speed demon and then calls for the monitor to be done away with. So a machine that does not impress him now would become only less impressive to be a little cheaper. Yeah, right.

    Anyone who wants a G4 without a monitor can buy a PowerMac now. These are still available on the Apple Store and it is hardly objective writing to dismiss them for some bogus reason like “it has a clunky, massive footprint.”

  7. Coming …. 7 weeks from now. G5 iMac.


    A detachable 20 widescreen as entry level. No slots… 100gb drive as entry level.

    …. And a message for Bobby from level 4, room 5…. lock the door next time ya need an expresso! We LOVE them marketing profiles! Ha Ha!

  8. � G4 or G5
    � one AGP plus one PCI slot
    � Combo/Superdrive
    � bay for user added drive
    � no built-in monitor

    Maybe drop iMac & eMac altogether, keep selling the 1.6/D1.8/D2.0 G5s when the new G5s come out.

    I really hate the notion of having a flawless iMac monitor only to upgrade to a newer iMac that has dead pixels.

    Look, Steve. My wife won’t ‘let’ me buy a monitor UNLESS it has an Apple logo on it. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

    But really, I want my choice of an Apple monitor and some sort of ‘headless Mac’. Okay?

  9. New iMac (Slightly Larger Remake of the Cube)

    1) 1.6 Single 90nm process G5 chip w 800mHz Bus
    2) 256MB RAM, expandable to 1GB
    3) Slot Mounted Video/Audio Cards (Users Choice + Aftermarket)
    4) Built in Bluetooth & Airport Extreme
    5) 1 FW 800, 1FW 400 2 USB 2.0 Connections
    6) Superdrive
    7) Ships w/ WIRELESS Mouse & Keyboard
    8) Ships with 4 different packages of software:
    a) iLife, AppleWorks, Safari, World Book, etc.
    b) iLife, MS Office, Safari, Photoshop Elements, FileMaker
    c) iTunes,Garage Band, Safari, Toast Titanium, Photoshop Elements, Final Cut Express, Quicken.
    d) iTunes, MS Office, Safari, Toast Titanium, FileMaker, Photoshop Elements, Final Cut Express, Soundtrack, Devon Agent & Devon Think.

    Leave most of your wires behind and use the monitor that you want. Not a low-end throw-away but a real value for the non-pro market. The ability to replace sound and video card would make them have a much longer life cycle.

  10. When the Cube was out it did not sell. Now everyone wants it again? As usual Apple was ahead of its time. Are consumers really ready for a Power Mac G4 Cube 2.0? It would have to be a G4, if it was a G5, it would cannibalize sales of the iMacs. Sounds good, but its only been 3+ years since Apple pulled it.

  11. When the Cube was out it did not sell. Now everyone wants it again? As usual Apple was ahead of its time. Are consumers really ready for a Power Mac G4 Cube 2.0? It would have to be a G4, if it was a G5, it would cannibalize sales of the iMacs. Sounds good, but its only been 3+ years since Apple pulled it.

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