iMac® is a flashy computer in which the PowerPC 750 G3 based central unit and a 15 inches monitor are put together in a translucent blue package. It also features a 56Kb Flex modem, 2 USB ports, a 10/100 Mbit/s Ethernet card, 32 MBytes of SDRAM, a 24x CD-ROM and a Quantum Fireball 4 GBytes IDE Hard drive. All these features sound great and confirm the will of Apple computer to bring the 'future' to their customers, but this will of change has been pushed in my opinion to a ridiculous extend.
Indeed the new iMac® has no floppy drive, no serial nor parallel port, and has no extension slot ( forget about adding your DVD or you Zip drive to the unit ). It is true that iMac® was designed mainly to make access to the internet as easy as switching on your computer, but unfortunately the only way to print your Word file with it is ever to build a small network at home with a network shared printer, or to wait until USB printers get available and affordable for the average iMac® user. This is a very negative point for the iMac® since for $1299 it is easy to get a cool AMD K6 300 based Compaq Pressario with a floppy drive, a 4.3GB hard drive, a 32x CD-ROM, several extension slots for whatever card you would like to add, 2 USB ports, and old good parallel port, a serial port, plus a cool color printer! Why would you go for iMac® then?
I therefore believe that iMac® will only be sold to the installed based of Mac users who wants to upgrade their old computer, but I can hardly imagine any PC user switching from PC to iMac®. There is then no way in my opinion for Apple to increase or even keep its market share in a so competitive PC market.
But Apple plan to convince all of us that iMac® is the solution to our Internet needs through a $100,000,000 add campaign until December 31st, the biggest ever in the company history. Experts estimate that thanks to this campaign Apple could sell around 400,000 iMac® until the end of the year, which sounds very impressive.
But unfortunately as impressive as this number may sounds it is darkened by the high cost of the iMac® add campaign which roughly weight $250 per iMac®. Which PC maker can afford 20% of add budget per unit sold in today's competitive PC market? No one I guess, not even Apple… With all this hype around the iMac®, I would not be pessimistic in saying that Apple will not make big money out of it, will loss market shares and will slowly head directly to a point where iMac will sound more like Bye Mac! But all this hype around iMac® may impress Wall Street 'gamblers' and therefore may lead to an impressive increase of Apple's stocks. If this occur, it would only confirm that a new 'vapor-hardware' company is born!
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