BusinessWeek:  Apple ‘blowing an opportunity’ with iMac G5; calls for ‘headless iMac’

“No question about it, Apple Computer’s new iMac G5 is beautiful. The minimalist design, whose echoes of the iPod are entirely intentional, would grace any desk. Although I have some quibbles with the details, the iMac offers outstanding performance at a fair price. Still, lovely as the iMac is, I think Apple may be blowing an opportunity to expand its market,” Stephen H. Wildstrom writes for BusinessWeek.

“The hardware is beautiful, the software is beautiful — so what’s wrong with this picture? For one thing, some functionality seems to have been lost in the interest of aesthetics. The previous generation of iMacs allowed almost unlimited adjustment of both horizontal and vertical screen angle and a considerable range of height. The new models offer effortless vertical tilt, but only up to 30 degrees. Horizontal movement is accomplished by swiveling the entire unit, which has a slippery plastic pad on the bottom of the aluminum foot. There is no height adjustment at all, a serious blow to good ergonomics,” Wildstrom writes.

MacDailyNews Take: With the iMac’s foot removed and an articulating arm attached instead (as Apple obviously intends as the ultimate iMac setup), the new iMac G5 simply floats above your work surface and allows an even greater range of motion that the iMac G4 desk lamp models that preceded it. Apple’s online store (under “Apple Accessories”) shows the “iMac G5 VESA Mount Adapter Kit” which will allows your iMac G5 to be used with VESA compliant mounting solutions such as wall mounts and articulating arms. Apple’s iMac G5 VESA Mount Adapter Kit is slated to become available for order in October for US$29. The iMac G5 VESA Mount Adapter allows your iMac G5 computer to be used with a variety of alternate mounting solutions such as wall mounts and zero footprint articulating arms based on the VESA flat panel mounting interface (FPMI). The new iMac G5 family features a removable desktopfoot. iMac G5 VESA Mount Adapter Kit contains a tool that allows you to remove the system foot and to attach the VESA Mount Adapter to the computer. The iMac G5 is now ready to attach to any VESA compliant mounting solution that has a 100mm x 100 mm attachment. More info here.]

“With any real improvement in Windows at least two years away, I think Apple could shake the industry by offering, for $700 or less, a PC-like Mac box for which consumers would provide their own displays. The company wouldn’t have to scrimp on features or quality; the unit would lack the elegant design of the iMac G5, but it would still be a Mac. Given Apple’s obsession with beautiful but expensive industrial design, there is almost no chance we’ll ever see such a product. And that’s a shame, both for Apple and for its prospective customers,” Wildstrom writes.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Wildstrom mentions Apple’s eMac, “Apple’s only sub-$1,000 computers are two dated eMacs, bulbous all-in-ones with 17-in. CRT displays.” Obviously, he’s calling for the mythical “headless iMac.” We suggest Wildstrom try pricing a 64-bit processor Windows machine that includes a Slot-loading Combo Drive (DVD-ROM/CD-RW), two FireWire 400 ports, three USB 2.0 ports, two USB 1.1 ports (on keyboard), VGA output, S-video and composite video output, and a 17-inch widescreen TFT active-matrix LCD featuring 1440 x 900 pixels and millions of colors and see how close he comes to US$1,299. Even if he can come within $500, he still will be stuck with Windows and not have the superior and secure Mac OS X. Would a “headless iMac” make sense for Apple? Would it really increase sales or would it simply cannibalize Apple’s other Mac lines?

Related MacDailyNews article:
The Washington Times: Apple Mac offers better value than Windows PCs – October 05, 2004
Wendland: ‘Apple iMac G5 is the finest personal computer I’ve ever used’ – October 05, 2004
Apple Macs now cost less and run faster than Wintel PCs – September 30, 2004
Replace iMac G5’s foot with an arm using Apple’s iMac G5 VESA Mount Adapter Kit – September 01, 2004
Apple iMac G5’s removable foot saves us from switching to Windows XP – August 31, 2004

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