No More iMacs?

On July 2, 2004, in Opinion, by Roger Born

(Xanadu News) Apple Computer Inc. announced on Thursday plans for a next-generation iMac desktop computer, but said it won’t ship until September, missing its original internal schedule.

The company also said it has stopped taking orders for the current iMac, sales of which have slowed in recent quarter, and didn’t give details about the forthcoming iMac replacement.

“We planned to have our next-generation iMac ready by the time the inventory of current iMacs runs out in the next few weeks,” the Cupertino, California-based company said in a statement. “But our planning was obviously less than perfect.”

Apple’s statement was somewhat unusual in that the secretive company hasn’t said anything publicly about redesigning the iMac, analysts said.

Analysts said that Apple shouldn’t be hurt by the lack of an iMac for the back-to-school shopping season, which is important for the company, because it has emphasized other models for the education market.

In the education market, Apple has historically emphasized its iBook notebook PC and the eMac desktop machine rather than the iMac computer, which has a circular base and a flat-panel screen that hovers above it.

Apple may have had a problem with a supplier of the flat-panel displays used in iMacs or another component, Kay said, adding that sales of the current iMac have been slowing in recent quarters.

Apple had a hit with the original iMac all-in-one design which had a traditional video monitor and came in colors like blueberry and tangerine. Other computer companies, such as International Business Machines Corp. had nowhere near the success Apple did in the quirky all-in-one PC category.

“They did remarkably well with the original iMac and then they got another pop with the flat-panel version,” Kay said. “But the current iMac line has been tapering down for the last few quarters.”

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Interestingly, most people prefer buying the new G5 Tower if they want desktop computing. There is expandability with the G5s. If they want portability, they have their choice of the PowerBooks or the iBooks. An excellent all-in-one is the eMac, which is also very inexpensive.

So where does this leave the iMac? We will have a completely redesigned and form factored G5 iMac in a few months. A September release date means it will likely be released during the Paris MacWorld Show.

Will the new iMac be so drool-worthy that everyone will want one?

Apple is pretty good at creating world-class designs. If it has the gotta-have-it design of the iPod, or the Mini-iPod, or indeed, the first colorful iMacs, then the new iMac will be a hit.

The current iMac design is very hard to top. In fact, some designs are so good that it is ‘wrong’ to abandon them. The current iMac world-class design is definitely one of those, and it would be a shame if there were to be no more of them.

Many all-in-one designs are simply the computer stuffed behind the monitor. As such, they are NOT memorable designs. But this is probably the direction Apple will go with the new iMac. Hopefully, they will put it on a pedestal with a movable arm.

So what do you think? Will Apple knock another one out of the ballpark? Will the new iMac make your wallet leap into your hand when you see it? Stay tuned.

 

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