Will Apple deliver a budget-priced iMac in 2014?

Will Apple deliver a budget-priced iMac in 2014?

Summary: An analyst with a knack for nailing future Apple plans predicts cheaper iMacs will be on the way to boost sales outside the U.S.

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TOPICS: Apple, PCs
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While Apple's iPhone and iPad sales remain strong, its Mac sales have flagged a bit recently -- or more than a bit -- which is leading to the usual rumor-mongering about what the company will do next to boost sales. These include new MacBook Pro models, perhaps announced as soon as next week, or some hybrid iPad/MacBook portables

A new one involves the iMac, Apple's all-in-one desktop PC, which recently got a quiet update to Intel Haswell processors and other improved specs, but features a starting price point of $1,299. With more and more Windows all-in-ones being released all the time, many for well under $1,000, the iMac's pricing may be blunting its popularity -- even if it's in line with Apple's overall premium pricing strategy.

This problem may be most acute overseas, where the iMac is even more of a luxury purchase. So it may come as little surprise that KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is predicting that Apple will be releasing a more budget-friendly iMac in 2014. According to Kuo, the last redesign of the iMac in late 2012 did not ship as many units as expected -- owning mainly to price, he believes -- and Kuo predicts that a lower-priced iMac could boost its sales from 10 to 20 percent.

Unlike some Apple "experts," Kuo is regarded as having a pretty good track record at predicting future products from the company. And if Apple wants to continue its growth streak, it may have to make its computers slightly more affordable, though as the iPhone 5C illustrates, its idea of "cheap" and the worldwide market's idea may not be the same. There may be ways to cut a few corners on the iMac (slower Haswell processors, cheaper materials), however, and lower its price to $999 without crippling it.

Would you be more likely to buy an iMac if the price were lower? How much lower would Apple have to drop the price? Let us know in the Talkback section below.  

Topics: Apple, PCs

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Talkback

26 comments
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  • Apple sales always sag before a new release

    There's nothing particularly noteworthy in that.
    1,2,3
  • Budget Apple product?

    Wasn't there a similar speculation about the iPhone 5C? Yet its price is $99 dollars down on contract, 500 dollars full retail. That's about the same as the iPhone 5's price would be now, if it had been kept in the line up.
    C#Ismylife
    • Apple never uses the word "budget"

      Writers and people like you may use that word, but never Apple. If you expectations are based on Apple producing budget devices, then you have missed the point about their business model.
      1,2,3
      • yes

        Agreed. But they do use low cost Mac called LC many years ago
        ThinkFairer8
  • unlikely

    About the only sane thing for Apple to do is to produce new "retina" iMacs at the same price and lower the price of the current models a bit ($100-200).

    Thing is, there is no competition for the Mac. There is no comparable spec computer on the market at the same price. And please, don't consider "comparable" the amount of RAM and CPU frequency - it doesn't work that way with computers. Consider also Thunderbolt, other interfaces, CPU variants, the overall build quality, etc.

    By the way, Apple's weapon with PCs is the mac mini, not the iMac.
    danbi
    • There is competition for the Mac...

      If you compare low cost hardware to Apple, it's clear they are better. But compared to business and enterprise PC, other vendors have hardware as good or better than Apple.
      dvm
      • All in one

        We speak of all in one desktop PC, it can't include the hardware only! With iMac Apple brings to you Mac OS X , its ecosystem , bunch of useful services and great hardware. Real all in one. Pay 100-200$ more and forget about a computer related problems. I'd gladly buy iMac in a lower price, but the problem , that I can't get all the set I mentioned above with any other product.
        Maria Davidenko
        • AiO

          "With iMac Apple brings to you Mac OS X , its ecosystem , bunch of useful services and great hardware. Real all in one."

          I can't agree with you on this. The Windows ecosystem and services is larger than Apple / OS X ecosystem. And when you add a high quality PC to that, is as good or better than Apple.

          "Pay 100-200$ more and forget about a computer related problems. I'd gladly buy iMac in a lower price, but the problem , that I can't get all the set I mentioned above with any other product."

          Many people had the same POV as you, but not with the desired results,

          http://appleinsider.com/articles/13/10/14/apples-2011-macbook-pro-lineup-suffering-from-sporadic-gpu-failures

          http://www.macworld.co.uk/mac/news/?newsid=3436737

          http://www.hardwareluxx.com/index.php/news/hardware/pcsystems/27506-apple-replaces-faulty-amd-graphics-chips-of-older-imacs.html

          "I'd gladly buy iMac in a lower price, but the problem , that I can't get all the set I "

          How do you know? Have you owned or tried other products?
          dvm
          • "I can't agree with you on this. "

            You know, I have absolutely no problem about it. :-) So, you don't agree with me. Wow.

            The one thing Windows PC can not do is to run Mac OS X. But it works vice versa,that is, Mac can run Windows. This is the first benefit of Macs over Windows.
            A high quality PC isn't equal to Mac. PC always causes problems to its owner, doesn't matter who manufactured it. Big or small. Most of them are solved by PC restart, some of them can be solved by reinstalling Windows and some of them can't be solved at all so you have nothing to do except to throw your PC through your window. I've never restarted my Macs (laptop or desktop) to solve a problem. I've never reinstalled Mac OS X. No PC owner, that can tell the same.

            "The Windows ecosystem". Windows OS and ecosystem are two different things, that are not connected.

            "Many people had the same POV as you, but not with the desired results"

            And many has the desired result.

            "http://appleinsider.com/articles/13/10/14/apples-2011-macbook-pro-lineup-suffering-from-sporadic-gpu-failures"

            I own Macbook Pro 2011 for almost 3 years. I have no any problem with it. It just works. In case of a PC - it just doesn't.

            "How do you know? Have you owned or tried other products?"

            Sure.Though I didn't own non Mac all-in-one desktop, but my experience working with Windows platform is still greater than my experience working with Mac. I would define the first as the disappointing and the latter as the nearly perfect. To prevent the further questions - "nearly" is because there is nothing perfect in this world. Even Macs.
            Maria Davidenko
          • Re:

            "The one thing Windows PC can not do is to run Mac OS X. But it works vice versa,that is, Mac can run Windows. This is the first benefit of Macs over Windows."

            You started with the wrong foot. You can run OS X in a Windows PC.
            http://www.hackintosh.com/
            The thing is that legally you cannot do that because Apple won't let you do. You seem happy with it, while I consider that a limitation of OS X. There is hardware more capable than Apple offerings where I cannot run OS X. Too bad...

            "A high quality PC isn't equal to Mac. PC always causes problems to its owner, doesn't matter who manufactured it"
            That's not true. I manage hundred of PC's and most of them go to 5-6 years without issue. Why? Because we deploy high end systems from Lenovo, HP and Dell. And looks like I'm not the only one. Thinkpads are the only certified system in the Space Station, and it has been 15 years. I addition, Lenovo, HP and Dell have systems that passes MIL-STD-810G tests, while Apple have none.
            http://www.lenovo.com/news/us/en/2009/02/rugged_computing.html
            http://blog.lenovo.com/products/thinkpad-laptop-nasa-youtube-spacelab

            Workstations are certified by Adobe, Autodesk, Solidworks and other high vendors. Saying that PC's always causes problems is not true.

            "I've never reinstalled Mac OS X. No PC owner, that can tell the same."
            I can tell you, I manage hundreds of systems that I never had to reinstall Windows XP or Windows 7. And most of the cases I had to is because of hard disk failures.

            "The Windows ecosystem". Windows OS and ecosystem are two different things, that are not connected.
            My Windows 8 notebook connects and integrates beautifully with my XBox, a Lumia 920 I had for test purposes, and a HP Microserver with Windows Home Server. Add to that the integration with Skydrive, Office 365 and other cloud services. IMO, that's an ecosystem, but since English is not my main language, I could be wrong. Can you give examples?

            "And many has the desired result".
            Same as a lot of PC users have the desired results.

            "I own Macbook Pro 2011 for almost 3 years. I have no any problem with it. It just works. In case of a PC - it just doesn't."

            So what I posted is people lying about their problems because you had none with your MBP. Previously I owned a 2011 MBP 13" and had a disk failure after 1.5 years. So I suppose that's a lie too. Interesting...

            "Though I didn't own non Mac all-in-one desktop, but my experience working with Windows platform is still greater than my experience working with Mac. I would define the first as the disappointing and the latter as the nearly perfect."

            I manage hundred of PCs and a few Mac's, and neither gave me problems. Maybe you should find someone who can help you, because blaming the system is not working for you.
            dvm
    • I think you're right

      *If* Apple decides to reduce the price of the iMac, it makes the most sense to upgrade the current iMac, say with the retina display, and at the very most leave it at the same price point. They could then lower the price on the current iMac by just a bit as danbi suggests above.

      This would be in line with what they've done in the past. They might make reduce the price of a product but not by very much.

      As for the question in the original blog entry, I'm in the market to replace my 7 year old iMac which is just now beginning to show its age. But $1299 is an awful lot for a basic machine. $999 would be a price I'd be willing to pay for one. Otherwise, I'd be more likely to buy a Mini and an extra monitor for less.
      Bugbyte
      • 4 things i would like to see...

        1) Mac Mini with SSD as standard for $699
        2) iMacB basic starting at $949 with a door for servicing -- don't care if it is thicker
        3) A system-wide way to scale the fonts and all in OS X -- too many tiny fonts. At the very least increase font size for bookmarks toolbar and tabs.
        4) iPhone C should be $399 and iPhone 6 should have a larger screen and price of $599
        mytake4this
  • Overseas

    Yes, here the entry level iMac costs $1762. That is very expensive compared to the competition which still come in at around $1000.
    wright_is
  • Budget priced iMac???

    This is unlikely to happen. Low cost macs can't be in the field of Apple interest. Mac buyers are those who can afford its price, Mac is affordable for those, who really needs it .
    Seriously, do you believe this 'prediction'? Apple did it once in its history,if I'm not mistaken. Macs price is always higher than any other PC price. Because you need to pay for quality. Yet you don't have too much choice , when you want to buy all-in-one desktop PC. Lenovo released one, if I'm not mistaken, but its hard to believe it COULD be better than iMac. There is no all in one desktop PC of even near equal quality of iMac , therefore, it's price can't change.
    Maria Davidenko
    • AiO

      "There is no all in one desktop PC of even near equal quality of iMac"

      I don't know what's your criteria, but based in specs, options and warranty, the HP Z1 is in class above the iMac.
      dvm
      • Dell, Lenovo

        there are several models from different manufacturers that are over and above the iMac.

        They might not be 15mm thick at the thinnest point, but they pack in more features and more power for the same or less money.
        wright_is
    • "Because you need to pay for quality"

      And yet they suffered the same capacitor issues years past as PC's did, and the tear downs down on sites including ZDNet show most of the hardware in an Apple product to be 100% the same as found in a low cost PC.

      You make the common mistake of confusing "actual" quality, and "perceived" quality, which is fine as it's your money, but still two totally different things.
      William.Farrel
      • Back in the real world

        Back in the real world where I live, the 27" iMac is not at a price premium to the competition. The HP Z1 (with i3, 0.5GB HDD, 8GB Ram) is $3.3K, whereas the 27 iMac (i5, 1Tb HDD, 8GB Ram) is $2.8K. So I can get the iMac, with its beautiful design, and aluminium case for $500 cheaper than the plastic HP Z1 workstation.

        Mmmmmmm, tough choice...
        paddle.
        • Some details you missed...

          For your information, even though the Z1 is an AiO, is a workstation. Meaning that is more capable than any iMac you could build. For example, the Z1 have Xeon processors, you could add Quadro video cards (vs GeForce for the iMac), you could add two 2.5" drives with a RAID-0/1, and the display is capable of billions of colors vs millions of colors in the iMac. To finish, the Z1 has a 3YR warranty with onsite service, something Apple don't offer.

          "So I can get the iMac, with its beautiful design, and aluminum case for $500 cheaper than the plastic HP Z1 workstation."
          A part of plastic, the Z1 is built with aluminum. And is certified by Adobe, Autodesk, Bentley Software, Solidworks and other high end applications. If you think the Z1 is cheap because it has plastic in the chassis, you are wrong.
          http://h20195.www2.hp.com/V2/GetPDF.aspx/4AA4-1071ENW.pdf

          "Mmmmmmm, tough choice..."
          No, it's not that hard. The Z1 is more advanced, but the cheaper iMac isn't that bad.
          dvm
          • @dvm - Back in the real world

            As I stated, the build of the Z1 I price checked is less in terms of CPU (i3 vs i5), HDD and graphics processing, and it $500 more expensive. You can buy better models of both obviously. WRT plastic, HP certainly have a way of making alloy look like plastic. LOL

            BTW, I get that the Z1 is "user configurable", that it can open to allow you to tinker. My only comment is "what were they thinking"?? I don't want my KIDS to do that, let alone end users. I shudder to think of the engineering cycles HP has expended to answer a question nobody is asking...

            Do the check yourself, don't take my word for it.

            And get your other eye working.
            paddle.