I have two G4 towers and several beige box PCs sitting in a spare office. The towers sit on display on top of a desk, and several times a week a curious passerby will ask me what I plan on doing with those machines. I can see the gleam in their eye as they begin to mentally drool at the thought of having one of those sleek boxes sitting on their desk. The PCs are all stacked and sitting under the desk. No one ever asks about those. I guess they aren’t pretty enough.
The two towers take up the same cubic space as four PCs. I can’t stack them or lay them on their sides. I can’t place them on a narrow shelf (too tall) and they must be balanced carefully if stored upon wire shelving (convenient carrying handles fall between wires). Though the cases can be easily opened and PCI cards exchanged, have you tried to replace the built in DVD drive? Difficult.
Look at the trend in corporate desktop PCs, it is to smaller integrated devices. I could put ten small form factor (SFF) PCs in the same space as these two towers. The SFF PCs will fit under or beside a monitor, and could even be mounted on the under side of a desk. Sure, you could claim that the iMac is a small machine, but is it stackable? Can I store dozens of iMacs on a computer room floor without fear of cracked LCD panels or broken swing arms? Can I carry more than two of them at a time?
If Apple has an interest in the corporate desktop market they need to produce a machine that fits the needs of that market. As a system administrator I want computers that store easily, don’t get scratched, have parts I can easily interchange, are easy to carry by the armful, can be deployed in a variety of environments, and finally, I need computers that aren’t so sleek that all my users are fighting over who gets the prettiest one.
Should Apple make this mythical corporate desktop it needs to be much cheaper than the current G4 tower. Not only can I fit ten SFF computers in the space of two G4 towers, I can purchase all ten at the same cost.
Is Apple the Honda of the computer world? Building innovative machines, but lacking the diversity of models to be the next Dell?