Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 11th Jun 2013 17:07 UTC
Apple We already talked about iOS 7 yesterday (after a night of sleep, it's only looking worse and worse - look at this, for Fiona's sake!), so now it's time to talk about the downright stunning and belly flutters-inducing new Mac Pro. As former owner and huge, huge, huge fan of the PowerMac G4 Cube - I haven't been this excited about an Apple product since, well, I would say the iMac G4. This is the Apple I used to love.
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galvanash
Member since:
2006-01-25

Ill get modded down of course, but what the heck ;)

These days, you don't have to do any real innovation. Just put a PC in a cylinder that looks like an Imperial torture droid, and you'll have nimrods lined up around the block, probably clutching their aluminum iPhone 5 or HTC One fashion accessories.


People throw the word innovation around without understanding what it means...

Inovation: Noun

1. A new method, idea, product, etc.
2. The action or process of innovating.

Common Synonyms: Novelty, Newness, Departure, Modification

My only point really is this IS innovation - you just don't like it. That's fine and all, I totally get that and you are certainly entitled. But you say it's not real innovation... What is? Apple is essentially an VAR when talking about anything north of tablets - they don't make computers - they "package" them. If their package is just like all the other packages, well then that ARE NOT innovating are they?

In a nutshell, if it was a big beige box it would most certainly be LESS innovative, wouldn't it?

Thing is, I KIND OF understand this obsession with form over function when it comes to phones... I mean, if you're using them as status symbols, at least you carry it around with you, so others can see how cool you are.


There are lots of people who feel like you do about this. I think it is simply a lack of perspective on human psychology.

Apple makes computers and gadgets - but they sell them primarily based on refined design. Sure, lots of people buy these kinds of things purely to look cool or whatever - I don't deny that at all. But it's not having the "thing" that makes such a person feel "cool" - it is the fact that they want others to see them as someone who appreciates such things (design, asthetics, etc.) and is willing to pay for it. It is the epitome of a status symbol. Such people are shallow, I will spend no time defending them.

There are lots of people though that actually appreciate refined design. They buy nice things - nice furniture, nice cars, nice houses, nice art, nice wine, etc. They appreciate such things beyond how it makes them look to others - because they really don't care what other people think, they have money, like to spend it in ways that make them happy, and can easily afford it. They are called "rich" and they are the target of a great deal of commerce in market economies...

There are still others that do some of that even though that are NOT rich, they are more picky though. Some will buy high end scotch or beer, some splurge on clothes, some on furniture, etc. They are not rich, but they selectively spend excess money on certain things because they simply appreciate those things. It is a form of self reward and has nothing at all to do with image or status symbols.

Apple does things the way they do because they want THESE kinds of people to buy their products. They do this because they like to operate at very high margins, and this is how ALL high margin products are sold.

You appeal to a sense of taste and aesthetics, you present a product that obviously took lots of effort, you make certain you present it in a way that leaves no question to the fact they you really thought about how it is made and how it all goes together. Then you charge a lot of $$$ for it.

That is how luxury cars are sold, that is how fine cigars are sold, that is how good scotch is sold, etc. It is how Pioneer managed to sell Plasma TVs for $10,000 when everyone else was selling them for $3000. I could keep going FOREVER.

Point is there is some item that you buy, yes YOU - that can falls into this category. If there isn't you are not human... It may be as simple as buying Coke instead of no-name Cola, but you do it. Everyone does.

It is emphatically not only about status symbols and looking cool... There is more to it than that.

Conveniently for Apple, there is one particular demographic that they simple don't care AT ALL about appealing to - it is people who don't appreciate what they do. If you think of phones or computers as all being the same, look and feel doesn't matter, one beige box is just as good as another, well they don't really care about you buying their products - you are their kryptonite and they don't want you.

If they spent an ounce of effort trying to make these people happy they would turn into AST, Hewlett Packard, Gateway, Dell, HP, Compaq, etc. Another boring OEM on a race to the bottom on pricing... I'm not saying that an Apple computer is better than a Dell or HP or whatever, I'm saying that Apple's business model depends on them not selling the same stuff that everyone else sells... It has to be different or they can't justify the pricing - the key is they effectively convince quite a lot of people that their idea of different = better.

My point (I do have one) is that being frugal about computers is fine - there is nothing at all wrong with it. Some people just don't care about form and only want function. To each their own an all that. The solution is simple - don't buy Apple stuff. There are LOTS of alternatives.

But please don't assume that all people that do care about such things are just trying to look "cool" - its infuriating. It would be like me calling you a cheapskate or a tightass - it is nothing but a form of name calling.

I really don't think that you are either of those things btw. I'm a middle aged guy on a middle class salary. I have a Macbook Air - one of the few things I splurged on, and I really REALLY like it. Fact is I'm more embarrassed to haul it around than anything else - specifically because I know some people assume that I must be a techno-snob or something...

I can't afford (and don't want) a Mac Pro. But I don't automatically think that people that can and do are sheep... There is more to it than that.

Reply Parent Score: 5

Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Hats off to this post ;)

I am not convinced myself that Apple, in particular, do provide the additional value that their high margins should require. But that was quite a beautifully written explanation of how the high-end market works.

Edited 2013-06-13 06:21 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

My only point really is this IS innovation.


Assuming that nobody has ever released a PC in a cylinder design, then I guess it technically counts as innovation. But it's not the kind of innovation that actually matters, because it likely has ZERO impact on the way that the machine operates. In fact, it probably limits the expandability options, so technically this form of innovation actually HAMPERS the overall workmanship of the product. And trust me, I'm not the only one that thinks this way:

http://www.theverge.com/2013/6/13/4423844/cant-innovate-anymore-my-...

Now, don't get me wrong... I have nothing against owning nice things. I understand why a luxury car sells more than a low-end Hyundai. When it comes to phones, I care about things such as ergonomics, and whether or not its comfortable to hold. But companies like Apple have figured out that you can ship a product with half the functionality of the competition, and as long as you make it shinier than everyone else's, you can convince millions of mouth breathers that it is somehow a superior product. That, my friend, is not REAL innovation. If you're going to make something different, then at LEAST make it different in a way that counts.

As you alluded to, if this thing came in a plain, beige box, nobody would give two shits about it. Even if it was a solid case that was quiet, easy to get into, and virtually indestructible, nobody would care. But they put it in a f**king can, and suddenly people lose their minds. Several folks in this thread said they didn't even want a new PC, but were thinking about buying it anyway. Because it is round. So, yes.... SHALLOW, I say.

Having said that, why do I care if people want to waste their money on such nonsense? Because it is having a detrimental effect on the entire industry, as other companies try to follow Apple's lead and concentrate more on form than function. You see it from Microsoft with Metro and the dumbing down of Windows 8. You see it with Google, who is busy removing features from Android (like CIFS and SD card support), and 'beautifying' their products while at the same time gimping functionality that was present in older versions. The new Google Maps is an example of this. Try to find such things as the 'search nearby' or multiple route destination options in the new preview. You won't find them. But hell, at least it's pretty to look at, right? They've essentially dumbed down the interface to a single search box. I guess that could be considered innovative, but is not the kind of innovation I'm looking for.

Edited 2013-06-14 00:44 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

Assuming that nobody has ever released a PC in a cylinder design, then I guess it technically counts as innovation.


I said already that I don't want and can't afford one of these anyway - but when I look the Mac Pro and mull over what it is, the fact that it "looks" cylindrical seems completely besides the point to me...

I don't see a product that is the result of market research design - its not like the pointy heads at Apple sat around trying to come up with what look and shape they should the next Mac Pro should have and settled on a black cylinder because they thought that would be the most effective way to wow the crowd at the WWDC...

I see an elegant solution to an engineering problem... They have upwards of 400W of heat to get rid of, how do they do that while maintaining the smallest physical and acoustic footprint possible?

But it's not the kind of innovation that actually matters, because it likely has ZERO impact on the way that the machine operates.


Imo it is the complete opposite... A cylinder with a large central heatsink and a single fan is one solution (one of the better ones too) you might get if you were trying to solve the problem I just outlined above. It is the way the machine operates - it is in fact its fundamental design. It is not a matter of form over function at all, its the opposite (as someone else has already pointed out on this thread - http://www.osnews.com/thread?564494 ).

Thing is you probably don't give a cr*p about your workstation being small and quiet - and you have every right to not care about that... In the grand scheme of things small and quiet probably rate pretty low on your desired feature list for a workstation... But there ARE people out that care about such things I assure you - and this product is designed to separate them from their money. I suspect it will work too.

In fact, it probably limits the expandability options, so technically this form of innovation actually HAMPERS the overall workmanship of the product.


But that is because you want internal expansion... and it is not designed for solving that problem. Many people won't like that aspect of this product at all, and I don't really blame them. But it isn't a fault of the design, it is an intentional tradeoff. Small + quiet = limited internal expansion. That is why Apple embraced Thunderbolt so heavily, it solves this problem by no longer needing to have it as a problem...

Now, don't get me wrong... I have nothing against owning nice things. I understand why a luxury car sells more than a low-end Hyundai. When it comes to phones, I care about things such as ergonomics, and whether or not its comfortable to hold. But companies like Apple have figured out that you can ship a product with half the functionality of the competition, and as long as you make it shinier than everyone else's, you can convince millions of mouth breathers that it is somehow a superior product.


I just outlined reasons some might consider a Mac Pro a superior product, and similar reasons could be brought up about virtually all of Apple products. It is not about them being shiny - it is about them being designed to address very particular design goals. It just happens that many of those design goals have little or nothing to do with computing per se - and lots of people don't get why you woud design a computer to solve problems that don't have anything to do with computing...

I don't like my Macbook Air because it is particularly fast, I can get a much faster laptop. In fact I could get a much faster laptop that is just as small and lightweight. But the particular combination of size, weight, build quality, battery life, and performance is pretty unique to Macbook Airs - I have tried other ultrabooks and find them severely lacking when compared on all the merits.

If you want a workstation that you can put behind your monitor and forget it is there you will probably really like this thing. Every time you need to move it or clean it you will appreciate it a bit more. From the looks of the hardware in it the performance compromise is extremely small - you are not giving up much in the way of performance even compared to machines 5 times the size. Im just saying there is more to it than being a shiny.

That, my friend, is not REAL innovation. If you're going to make something different, then at LEAST make it different in a way that counts.


I actually think that is exactly what Apple does. We just have different opinions of what counts.

Reply Parent Score: 3

patrix Member since:
2006-05-21

Brilliant!

Reply Parent Score: 1

unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13


There are lots of people though that actually appreciate refined design. They buy nice things - nice furniture, nice cars, nice houses, nice art, nice wine, etc. They appreciate such things beyond how it makes them look to others - because they really don't care what other people think, they have money, like to spend it in ways that make them happy, and can easily afford it. They are called "rich" and they are the target of a great deal of commerce in market economies...



Completely wrong. According to Bankrate.com, 86 percent of people who spend cash on luxuries like expensive cars, jewelry, and electronics are non-millionaires trying to act the part by purchasing luxury brands.

Studies (eg The Millionaire Next Door) have shown that the really rich tend to have a much more modest lifestyle than they can afford. They wear chain store clothes, eat simple foods, buy mid range cars (often second hand) and live in modest houses. They don't buy designer clothes or accessories, drink expensive wines or travel first class. These people are often business owners or successful investors.

Edited 2013-06-16 03:24 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2