When fictional ‘US$499 Headless iMac’ doesn’t materialize, the disappointment could hurt Apple

The “Headless iMac” is a fantasy, Bill Palmer assets for billpalmer.net.

Palmer writes, “Look at what we’re left with here. All the discussion [about Apple] now centers around a theoretical product that doesn’t exist, never will exist, never had any chance of ever existing…and yet now, this non-existent entity is the center of attention of the platform. So guess what happens when Steve Jobs gets up there on stage in January and doesn’t launch this non-existent product? That’ll be the story — that the headless iMac didn’t happen. And what about all the actual, real-world, legitimate products that he does announce that day? They’ll either be swept under the rug entirely, or they’ll be pooh-poohed in comparison to a fantasy product that never existed.

“In other words, this false rumor has quite possibly already destroyed any chance that Apple had of making a splash at MacWorld Expo,” Palmer writes. “But the bottom line is that we’re left with a worthless Mac Web for the next month, but that’s just the beginning of the problems. You see, because the “headless iMac” rumor sounds good in theory until you actually spend five minutes dissecting it, the rumor is getting picked up rather quickly by mainstream news sites. Being reported as a done deal, for that matter. So now we’ve got these false expectations crawling all over the news wires, and the whole world is now under the false expectation that this false rumor is actually going to happen. And unbelievably, some idiot Wall Street analyst has gone and reported it as fact, meaning that the fate of Apple’s stock price now hinges on this BS rumor as well.”

Palmer looks at what he think actually will happen at Macworld Expo and concludes, “…when you stop and realize that there will likely be a few less Switchers in 2005 as a direct result of this phony ‘headless iMac’ rumor, you’ll want the dweeb who fabricated it hanging from a tree as badly as I do.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Palmer’s been very clear on his stance: the “Headless $499 iMac” is a fantasy. If this rumor turns out to be false, Palmer will stand proudly while ThinkSecret and AppleInsider will get their just desserts. And vice versa, if this rumor proves true. Hopefully, Apple will somehow emerge from all of this relatively unscathed, regardless of what they announce at Macworld. MacDailyNews’ stance, as always, is that this is a rumor only. Nothing official has been stated by Apple either way regarding this “Headless Mac” rumor. We’re waiting until Steve Jobs’ January 11th Keynote Presentation at Macworld Expo to see what Apple has to announce for real and reporting on what other media outlets are writing and saying about Apple, as usual.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Rumored $500 ‘Headless Mac’ could double Mac market share, boost share price – January 01, 2005
Analyst: Budget $499 Mac doesn’t make sense for Apple Computer – December 31, 2004
Apple’s rumored $500 ‘Headless Mac’ more wishful thinking than fact? – December 31, 2004
Quick glances back at 2004 and ahead to 2005 – Happy New Year from MacDailyNews! – December 31, 2004
Apple’s next great idea: gearing up to take a big bite out of the mass computer market – December 30, 2004
Rumored ‘Headless iMac’ would be radical departure from Apple’s usual high margin strategy – December 30, 2004
Piper Jaffray: ‘Headless iMac would appeal to many potential Windows to Mac switchers’ – December 30, 2004
Headless iMac for $499? Please, Apple, let it be true! – December 29, 2004
RUMOR: Apple to debut $499 ‘headless iMac’ at Macworld Expo on January 11 – December 29, 2004
Inexpensive ‘Headless iMac’ could hook Windows users who love their iPods on Mac OS X – December 29, 2004


  1. I hope the rumor is true but it certainly won’t turn me off on Macs if it isn’t. I also think that this rumor is and will remain largely isolated to the Mac Community and Apple watchers. The vast majority of the population is not even aware of anything happening at all. Heck, most people don’t even know OS X has no viruses. If it does turn out to be only rumor I think it might have a momentary adverse effect on the stock price but over the long run it will not mean much.

    First post perhaps?

  2. “In other words, this false rumor has quite possibly already destroyed any chance that Apple had of making a splash at MacWorld Expo,” Palmer writes.

    I’m worried because I kind of agree….

    Where’d my faith go??

  3. The fact that the mere rumor of a $500 headless iMac is causing such a huge stir, even on Wall Street, gives substantial weight to the possibility that there is a huge demand for it. Apple doesn’t really have to invent any new technology to fulfill that demand…just a new form factor. It almost seems like a no-brainer. I simply can’t see any real downsides to doing it, as long as the machine has the same basic style and usability as other Apple products. The real key to the success of the Mac platform is OS X, and anything that gets X onto more people’s desktops the better. A $500 Mac would do that in spades.

  4. This reminds me of the $100 iPod rumor. Personally, the headless iMac idea is not a good one. How could Apple remain profitable when there is very little margin in selling a $499 computer? Dell may advertise that they sell a $499 computer, but if you need any functionality, you have to add over $300 of their extras to the computer, like most computer users do, effectively making that $499 computer a $799 computer. eMac anyone? Plus, there is no guarantee that the Windoze drones will switch en masse. Those folks are quietly loyal. Lastly, when was the last time Mercedes sold a new car for under $32,000?

  5. I’ll say Apple will probably not release the headless mac at this point, though they probably will develop one based on the positive responses. It also seems likely that a headless Mac would replace the eMac.

    I’m not sure why people refer to this as the “headless iMac” when I really doubt that Apple would ever consider naming it after such a different computer. Its kind of like referring to the eMac as the “iMac CRT.”

  6. Sure wish Palmer knew how to write succinctly. His rantings are usually twice as long as they have to be (Similar to Mac360). Would never get a job in a real writers world.
    I quite reading him, wastes too much of my time.

  7. I’m not familiar with Bill Palmer’s reputation, so I took the bait and looked around his web site to find how accurate his previous predictions have been.

    To be honest, I can’t really claim that I noticed any previous predictions when I scanned about a dozen entries, particularly those just before the winter & summer Expos, just a bunch of opinions. Nothing wrong with them, but nothing remarkable either.

    Maybe his idea is that if the three village idiots can drum up business for their respective Mac-bashing sites, then a Mac fan should also be able to drum up a bit of self-publicity by making controversial statement.

    Think Secret can at least point to previous form with their predictions, so at least they’re putting something at stake by saying what they’ve said.

  8. Let’s hope Mr. Palmer is wrong. Why? Not because so many Mac fanboys and rumor site railbirds have clamored for their beloved headless iMac, but because if Mr. Palmer is right, I fear for what this will do to Apple.

    Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to January 1, the opening of the silly season. It’s that time of the year when rumors are rife, when nothing too fantastic is not considered realistic. What’s sad though is that the hyper-inflated expectations and fantasy rumors are increasingly being looked at by Wall Street, and often, the rumors are accounted for in an inflated stock price. But if Apple’s lofty stock valuation does not pan out as a result of a rumor not being true, just wait for an ugly backlash.

    Which brings me to the subject of the rumored headless iMac. What if it’s not true? What do you think will happen to Apple’s stock valuation? Based on some dork’s fantasy, or a cruel joke possibly emailed in by a Microsoftie, Apple could stand to lose millions in valuation overnight. That’s not funny.

    Is it not too much to ask for a happy surprise now and then? Guys, give the rumors a rest. Let Steve pull a rabbit from his hat. And if you really like your favorite company, you’ll avoid speculating. It will be better for all of us in the end.

  9. I don’t mind palmers rantings. usually he has at least some sort of point, and opiniated writing ist still way way better that just repeating what everybody else is saying.
    anyway, keep it up bill, and I tend to agree with bill, if this thing comes to pass, well, it won’t save any space on my desktop compared to my emac, it won’t be easier or harder to design than if it had a screen in it, and simply put, well, mhm, I really don’t know many windows users that have a screen they so dearly love that they wanna keep it over a great quality display that is built into apple computers.
    but anyway, happy 2005 to everybody

  10. Hi everyone,

    I think a lot of people don’t remember who came up with the rumor of $100 dollar iPodmini. Certainly, for those people who pay close attention to rumor websites and especially ThinkSecret and AppleInsder, they would remember that these 2 websites NEVER claimed there would be a $100 dollar iPod mini. They NEVER specificied the price; other people made it up.

    Rumors coming out of these 2 websites almost always turn out to be true later. The head-less iMac rumor has got to be true.

    In the future, check out

    If you do, you will know that these guys only publish reliable information.

    Happy New Year!

  11. you guys are missing the point. his point is that if it turns out to be false this will tarnish Apple for not delivering an affordable PC. This rumor is being spread like wildfire by mainstream media. not just MDN or AI or TS. When CNN and NYTimes or CNET starts reporting it people who are not Macheads will have high expectations and if false will be totally disappointed. They will not want to switch to Apple because they will see Apple never able to meet their needs. They will then resign to continue using Winbloze. Potential customers loosing faith in Apple.
    As far as repercussions, the guy is an analyst. they are supposed to relate good and bad sides of a deal. that is his job. AI and TS will report it as another bad insider information. CNET will report it as another missed opportunity by Apple. and nobody will remember these articles on CNN or NYTimes.

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