Bregalad's Profile

  • Jun 03, 2009
  • 14
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Latest comments made by: Bregalad

  • I agree with Chris and others that it appears Apple is getting ready to re-brand the whole unibody lineup as "pro" machines with those long lasting "smart" batteries that you can't swap. If the unibodies become MacBook Pro, that leaves only one MacBook. Customers (and Apple financials) demand some choice. I think the one feature customers understand most is screen size. That means the MacBook becomes a 2.13GHz machine with 9400M graphics in either 13" or 15" case. I think that makes more sense than the current choice of processor speed as the main differentiating factor between models. If you aren't driven by performance (and most non-MBP customers aren't) then the difference between 2.0 and 2.4 won't be noticed as much as a larger screen would be. I'd further reduce the number of standard configurations and have just three stock MacBook Pros: 13", 15", 17", all with the same processor, graphics, RAM, etc. Faster processors, "gaming" graphics, more RAM, high res displays, matte finish, etc. would all be options available through the Apple Store. I understand why Apple puts slower processors in their smaller machines, it's because smaller batteries wouldn't last as long, but some people want full power in a small package while others want a big screen and don't care nearly as much about that last ounce of horsepower.
    Bregalad had this to say on Jun 03, 2009 Posts: 14
    15 Inch -The Missing MacBook
  • While I agree it's better to cannibalize your own sales than to let a competitor do it, Apple doesn't necessarily have to offer a netbook. If netbooks are mostly stealing PC laptop sales and not hurting Apple much, then introducing a lower cost Mac would actually hurt more than doing nothing. Apple tends to go their own way so I don't expect to see a MacBook nano. Instead I expect to see better value and more obvious customer targeting using traditional Macs combined with increased capabilities in the handheld units.
  • I still run desktops, they offer more power and storage for less money. I never need to do work on the road and rarely need information while I'm out. For those rare occasions an iPhone would be perfect if the data plans weren't so expensive.
    Bregalad had this to say on May 07, 2009 Posts: 14
    May 7, 2001: Henrico Public Schools Go Mac
  • I don't think Apple will introduce any budget Macs. Doing so would disrupt their current system of features and price points. Worst of all, a budget Mac would probably be adequate for customers who currently buy higher end models. Show someone that they don't need as much as they think they do and your chances of ever up-selling them again are slim. The better response for Apple is to improve the value of their existing lineup. There are simple things Apple could do without affecting their bottom line much. 1. Include more RAM. Since most PC manufacturers have stopped advertising processor speed (they just use processor model numbers) this has become the most obvious number for customers to compare. Macs, particularly at the low end, always look anemic in this area. Consumers are being told that 2 or 4GB of RAM is necessary these days so a machine with only 1 looks like a joke. 2. Include bigger hard drives. Hard drive capacity is now up there with RAM as a top comparison item and is another one where Apple routinely loses. 500 GB notebook drives are very inexpensive, I just bought one in an external case for just $99. 3. Include better graphics chips. This will be increasingly important after Snow Leopard ships. Programmers will be able to off-load many computations to the GPU meaning that a powerful GPU may become equally or even more important than a powerful CPU. Even today there are really only two types of customers, those who only need basic integrated graphics and those who see the GPU as an important component. There is no room for low end chips like the GT120 that Apple uses in the iMac and Mac Pro. Putting what is essentially a $50 card into a $2500 workstation is insulting. All three of those components are continuously dropping in price on the open market. Apple should be able to take advantage of those changes and add value to their Mac lineup without hurting their margins. 4. Lower upgrade prices on the Apple Store. Apple could own the RAM/HD upgrade market, but they've ceded it to third parties by charging way too much. Mac Pro hard drives are THREE TIMES the price of identical hard drives in my local PC store.
    Bregalad had this to say on May 04, 2009 Posts: 14
    What Would a Budget Mac Look Like?
  • Apple doesn't want to sell to every Tom, Dick and Harriet. They only want customers who are willing to pay a premium price for the OS and pretty box. Just because you want to be an Apple customer doesn't mean they want you to be. Most studies show TCO for Windows boxes is very close to that for the "more expensive" Macs. My personal experience shows you get what you pay for with a PC. My first one blew a power supply. The second one developed a motherboard problem where first one processor and then both stopped being recognized. The third one has been running perfectly with all its original parts since November 2000. In the same time I've had a dozen different Macs including Umax and Power Computing clones and the only one that failed was a white iBook G3.
    Bregalad had this to say on Apr 16, 2009 Posts: 14
    Microsoft is Right About the Cost of Macs
  • Well said UrbanBard, but I still think the potential upside for Apple is greater than the loss from widespread hackintoshing. I also believe it allows Apple to keep their highly focused product line. Apple doesn't make a mainstream desktop computer or a netbook. They must have good reasons for ignoring the second largest market segment and the fastest growing one because one doesn't usually turn one's back on hundreds of millions of potential customers unless you've determined that they'd be more trouble than they're worth. If someone can't afford a real Mac or is simply determined to have a netbook then it's better for Apple to have that person buy OS X and become a fan of the OS than it is for them to continue using and recommending Windows XP. Likewise if you're determined to have a tower so you upgrade your own components then Apple is better off getting $129 from you than having you continue to dual boot Linux and Windows. Unless and until Apple decides to expand their product line such a person is unlikely to buy a real Mac anyway, but having played with OS X on their PC they might start recommending Macs to friends or family members for whom the Apple product lineup is a better fit. Chasing individuals for breaking the EULA is way too expensive and only serves to scare away people who are curious about OS X.
    Bregalad had this to say on Mar 18, 2009 Posts: 14
    Why Does Apple Allow Personal Hackintoshes?
  • Apple is very smart. They generate money faster than anyone who posts here. They knew that moving to the x86 platform was going to result in hackintosh machines with better price/performance than real Macs. They don't care. People who hack their PCs aren't worth chasing. Even dedicated Mac users who love Apple but want a mini-tower apparently aren't worth the effort. We may think they're daft, but it's their choice. Apple isn't trying to achieve 100% market penetration. They only want customers who can afford and justify paying more for a computer. Those who can't or won't pay a premium price aren't worth pursuing. They have determined that the effort of designing, manufacturing, shipping and supporting a Mac mini-tower that only some of the hackintosh people would buy isn't worth the sales it would generate and the disruption it would cause to their existing sales. The only hackintoshes that Apple cares about are the large scale operations like Psystar. Interestingly enough there are two diametrically opposed conspiracy theories about Psystar. One contends that their lawsuit is a legitimate attack on Apple by those who feel threatened (Microsoft and friends). The other theory is that Apple themselves have indirectly funded Psystar so they can get a legal ruling against all hackintosh users. No matter how the case is decided customers are going to lose so I truly wish Psystar and the others had never set up shop in the first place.
    Bregalad had this to say on Mar 11, 2009 Posts: 14
    Are Hackintoshes Illegal?
  • Because a product is better spec'd it should undoubtedly cost more? That would be true if any time in the last few years Apple had lowered the price of their badly outdated desktops. As it is the "upgrades" they introduced yesterday were minimal, especially after 11 months (iMac), 14 months (Pro), 19 months (mini). In the same time frame all the Apple notebooks have been updated at least 3 times. If anything they should have lowered prices across the board to reflect how little improvement these machines represent when compared with the amount of change in the market around them. Unfortunately the country that triggered the global economic meltdown has seen its currency rise dramatically and the rest of us get to pay the price. Just as significant is the fact that I haven't noticed any PCs going up in price this past year. That means the price gap between PC and Mac just got substantially wider for all non-USA customers. I believe that will definitely lead to a lot more hackintoshes. I am bitterly disappointed that the new iMac is still just a dual core machine and still requires an hour of service technician time just to swap the hard drive. So I'm going to spend the C$2100 I was going to give Apple for a quad core iMac and buy two computers instead. My wife, who insists her next computer come with a warranty, will get a new Mac mini (C$729) and the remaining C$1370 will buy a killer hackintosh that will rival the C$2899 Mac Pro.
  • I'm not prepared to accept that the graph is telling the whole truth. Where is the huge year-over-year growth in MacBook sales? You can't hide 20% growth without trying pretty hard. So that's just what you did. You put the iPod shuffle on the same graph as a machine costing 25 times as much. Clever. There's also the simple matter of cause and effect. I believe sales aren't growing because the machines aren't being updated to be more appealing. The notebooks are updated regularly. People can buy with confidence knowing (almost) exactly when the next update will happen. On the desktop side it's a crap shoot. Even the charts of introduction dates aren't helping us predict when to buy. Combine that with the economy and it's no surprise that Apple is having trouble moving desktops these days. If I sit on the sidewalk with a sign I'm not going to have much luck getting a job. If I actually make an effort to upgrade my skills, advertise myself, etc. I stand a much better chance. Apple desktop computers are just sitting at the side of the road getting splashed by passing cars hoping someone will take pity on them. I'll concede that Macs don't offer the same potential for rapid growth as handheld devices, but they aren't likely to crash like your iPhone line so clearly shows. Pouring all your effort into an area that relies so much on trends and making a big splash can be a mistake. A couple of false steps or simply not being "cool" anymore can spell disaster. Back in the late 1990's many companies tried to get rich quickly. Most of them don't exist today. Those who stick to a sensible plan of steady growth will always prosper in the long run.
    Bregalad had this to say on Feb 10, 2009 Posts: 14
    Apple Neglecting the Mac?
  • In the somewhat distant past Apple only made new product announcements a few times per year and almost always in conjunction with an event (Macworld SF, Boston, NY, Tokyo, WWDC, etc). That built huge expectations for these events because people knew that anything not introduced there wasn't going to show up for months. Today that's not true. Apple holds their own media events throughout the year to make announcements, but people (sometimes) have long memories and continue to think Macworld is going to be the place where the greatest products appear. Introducing the iPhone there was probably a mistake in retrospect because it made it look like Macworld was the only stage worthy of major announcements. Most of the expectations I read in the weeks leading up to Macworld were perfectly reasonable. The Mac mini has gone an astounding 17 months without an update and the other desktops are also due for a change. Any other hardware (iPhone, AppleTV, etc.) would have been way too much for one event. The iPhone nano was probably an intentional plant by Apple to find a leak because I don't think an iPhone with an even smaller display would be practical. When Apple moved to Intel based hardware most reasonable people assumed that Apple would update their hardware more frequently than they had in the past because Intel has always updated far more frequently than Motorola or IBM ever did. Boy were we wrong. In the 38 month lifespan of the G5 tower the lineup was completely changed three times. In the 29 month life of the Mac Pro the lineup has only been replaced once. The iMac is only a bit late for an update, but the PC desktop machines the iMac competes against switched to quad core processors two years ago. Apple still doesn't offer 4 cores under $2500. The Mac mini is an astonishing product. Only Apple can get full price for 3 year old components.
    Bregalad had this to say on Jan 08, 2009 Posts: 14
    Apple Fans asking too much from Macworld
  • A lot of people buy on price alone. I've worked in Apple retail and people are genuinely interested until they realize just how much more they'll have to spend. Hardly anyone considers resale value because PCs don't have any so they can't believe Macs do. Likewise few think about the cost of dealing with malware. Unfortunately for all of us, millions of Windows users have no protection against malware at all because it's an added cost. These people are easy pickings for bot-net operators. From my 3.5 years at an Apple specialist I believe they could gain a significant number of new buyers if they hit some "magic" price points. At the same time Apple has decided that gaining those people would come at too great a cost, both in real dollars and image. Too many buyers of $1200 Macs would go for an $800 model to be covered by new buyers coming to the platform and Steve's carefully crafted elitist image of Macs as the BMW/Lexus of the computing world would start to crumble. It's the same reason we'll never see another reasonably priced tower from Apple (apart from Steve's hatred of towers): too many MacPro and high end iMac buyers would buy a $1200 tower instead, costing Apple serious dollars. With the desktop market in decline the number of new customers wouldn't be sufficient to make up the difference. At the same time I believe one of the reasons why the desktop is in such decline is because Apple, the trend setter in the marketplace, hasn't had a competitively priced desktop since 2003. It's just not cool to use a desktop computer because Apple says so. I don't count the iMac because most people who choose to be tied to a closed, notebook-like design want to be able to carry it with them.
    Bregalad had this to say on Oct 16, 2008 Posts: 14
    Why you didn't see an $800 MacBook: The Dell Comparison
  • A year ago I did a little math to see if Apple could switch to being a software compnay. I used actual Apple financial reports to determine just how much profit they make on their hardware. I then took that number and divided it by the wholesale cost of OEM copies of Windows. Retail sales of Windows are insignificant compared with the OEM numbers. That little examination ignored huge factors like the fact that large portions of the wholesale price aren't profit for Apple, the fact that Dell and HP pay even less per copy, the enormous increase in development and testing needed to support every brand of PC hardware and prevent widespread piracy, and the really big factor: what Microsoft would do in retaliation. I was being extremely generous to the software side of the equation, but the results were still clear. Using those figures Apple would have to sell EIGHT TIMES as many OEM copies of OS X as they currently ship with their own hardware to make the same profit. Factor in all those ignored factors and the actual figure probably rises to somewhere between 10 an 15 times. If Apple were to switch to being a software company they would have to gain a 30-50% market share almost immediately just to maintain their current profitability. Nobody at Apple is that stupid.
  • Spotlight it useless to me as a search tool. I've long ago lost count of the number of times it's failed to locate a file for me. I've tried every suggestion I've ever seen online to no avail. I've even spoken to software developers who write plug-ins for Spotlight, but nothing helps. Using a decent freeware tool finds the same files instantly. Unfortunately I've started to notice the same thing in Mail too. Last week I was looking for a message from IT with the subject "Re: Parallels license". I didn't know the exact subject line when I did the search but knew it contained "Parallels" so that's what I searched for. I got a lot of results, but none of them were the message I was looking for so I tried searching for "license". Same problem. Eventually I sorted my Inbox by From and looked through every email I'd received this year from IT. Talk about a serious waste of my time.
    Bregalad had this to say on May 15, 2007 Posts: 14
    Work Life Balance: Don't Believe the Hype
  • Entourage is a fine application with lots of features and an interface that anyone with an Outlook Express or Windows background will find comfortably familiar. Entourage does have one serious flaw, however. The database file used to store all mailboxes and their contents has a frustrating habit of becoming corrupt for no apparent reason. I highly recommend rebuilding frequently (hold down option when double clicking the Entourage icon) and keeping multiple backup copies.
    Bregalad had this to say on Mar 29, 2007 Posts: 14
    Why I Stopped Using Mozilla Thunderbird