Here's my problem: Tim's Apple doesn't seem to make the desktop computer I need. Seems strange to say.
Here's my concern: that maybe Apple has cast itself as a "lifestyle" company to such an extent that it has forgotten that some of us need computers for, um, work. (Sounds so grubby, doesn't it?)
To some degree, computers are appliances. Lifestyle is well and good, but I still need a computer. I worry that Apple is gradually losing the basic mission.
If you want to pick your own monitor (I chose an NEC PA272W which I love, by the way), you have to pick the high road or the low road—a half-crippled Mac Mini marketed for "switchers" with everything soldered in (the resellers are still trading upgraded 2012 models back and forth), or the svelte, design-y overkill of the current stratospherically-priced Pro (you know, the one that is too small, that came after the one that was too big).
I don't need twelve cores, but four would be nice. Could the amount of memory and a separate graphics card possibly be my decision? A box big enough to fit a proper fan into would work well for me. A bunch of ports just because, ach, well, I need 'em (sorry, I'm so ashamed) is probably too much to ask for. Could I have a card reader? Could I put in the memory myself, you know, like I did the '90s and the aughts? Can I have my SuperDrive back? (I can actually hear Jony Ive thundering, "'E wants whot?!?")
If you ask me, Apple should ditch the Mini, ditch the Pro, and put out a lineup of three medium-sized desktops, good better and best, all user-configurable, all reasonably sized, all non-crippled, all user-upgradeable. It's not beyond the limits of the technically feasible.
I'll take the middle one. (You know, the one there isn't one of right now without leaving the Apple universe.) Some people just need a computer for their work, is all. In addition to all the stuff for their lifestyle...stuff that I have also bought, mind you.
Can't I get a medium-sized box (maybe the same size as the old Quadra 605 of sainted memory), with user-replaceable memory and space for more than one user-replaceable hard drive? I don't need it to occupy the least possible amount of space. (In fact it would be great if I could set the monitor on top of it.) I'd like it to not overheat. It would be nice if it were more or less affordable. If it could be quiet that would be fabulous, because...I'm listening to music. At home. Where I work.
I promise I won't flash it around in public. I just need it for work.
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Featured Comments from:
B. Collinson: "Your plea to Jony and Tim's Apple is part of a growing chorus of voices. I love my Macs (we have four of them in the house), but increasingly find the road ahead to be foggy and concerning. I have previous generation 13" MacBook Pro, and I cannot even begin to fathom replacing it with the new MacBook Pro (touch strip aside, I want my ports back thank you). The total consolidation of connectivity for a 'rofessional' laptop into a single USB-C connector is simply ridiculous. That, and the fact that my Mac Minis need surgery to give them SSDs (which they desperately need) leaves me feeling much the way you do. Sigh."
Frank Petronio: "I haven't followed all of your Mac posts but the 27" iMac 5K is the best computer I've had in a lifetime of digital imaging (well since 1989). And a small MacBook Air or larger iPad (with a Bluetooth keyboard) would be perfect travel companions. Buy it once, max out the RAM, replace in 5–8 years. Well made, reliable and long-lived. Very secure unless you're a politician. I don't see what the issue is?"
Mike replies: You're right, I probably should have just bought another iMac (I bought the earliest one and have used them ever since—I'm smack dab in the middle of the target market for iMacs). But the way my new home is configured, I wanted a way to either lock up the main computer or take it along with me when I travel, for security reasons.
Peter Wright: "I think just about every serious photographer, or person who uses Macs for work will sympathize. I have a fully specified Mac mini (with the NEC PA 272W), a MacBook Air, an iPad Pro, iPhone, Apple TV and router. Everything works well for the most part, and if I have any problems Apple service is good at sorting things out. However...I have no issues with the 'lifestyle' products, as you call them, but the Mac Mini and Air are not exactly what I want, and nothing on offer at Apple seems to be a reasonable replacement.
"If the PC universe can get its act together with respect to reliability and usability, I may take a serious look at their offerings, especially for the desktop.
"My parish priest (who is definitely not a techie) decided recently to donate, with my help, one of his computers to a Syrian family who have recently arrived in town. (He mostly uses an old MacBook Pro for office work, and an iPad.) He decided to donate his PC (with a quad-core i7, 1TB SSD, and 16GB RAM), but it was a close call. He explained to me in a tone of voice that he would normally reserve for someone drifting into heresy, that he thinks Apple may be beginning to lose its way. If even my priest can see the problem then, perhaps its time to think of the Bible: Book of Daniel, chapter 5, where the writing appears on the wall, and recall what happens next!"