Where are Apple's high-end gaming Macs?

If Apple doesn't do budget, instead choosing to concentrate on higher-end systems, why doesn't Apple sell high-end gaming Macs?
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

Yesterday I blogged about my thoughts on the comparative price of Macs versus PCs and came to the conclusion that while you can pick up a Vista PC for fewer dollars than a Mac, that didn't automatically mean that Macs were dearer than PCs, just that Apple doesn't cater for the budget market.  This post prompted a lot of commentary, both in the TalkBack section and via email.  However, there was one question that hit my inbox that I feel is worth me expanding on in a separate post - If Apple doesn't do budget, instead choosing to concentrate on higher-end systems, why doesn't Apple sell high-end gaming Macs?

Apple logo
Good question!

If you didn't already know, allow me to let you in on a secret.  Gaming is a very lucrative sector for both component manufacturers and OEMs.  Markups are still very comfortable on pretty much anything labeled as gaming.  Gaming equals high-end, and high-end means high prices and good profits.  In many ways this is an ideal market for Apple to go after, so why hasn't it?

I guess that the most obvious reason is that the Mac OS X platform isn't really all that cut out for gaming as of yet.  Yes, there are a few games which support Mac OS X but not enough to make it a viable platform as of yet.  However, Apple could bypass all these limitations and simply leverage Boot Camp.  Just offer the system with Mac OS X and Windows pre-installed.  Boot Camp is great for gaming because it allows Windows to use native drivers and access the hardware directly.  The reason why I'd suggest pre-installing Windows is that people who want to take the route of installing Windows themselves and configuring the system would be more likely to build a custom system.  Apple, however, could apply the whole "it just works" ethos to gaming PCs.  Apple selling systems with Windows pre-installed would likely upset the lunatic fringes of Apple fandom, but given the popularity of Boot Camp and tools such as Parallels, I doubt that any negative feeling would be widespread.

Most of the PC would be standard gaming stuff.  Take the Mac Pro case, add a gaming motherboard (ASUS would be high on my list), a quad-core processor, 4GB of RAM, nVIDIA graphics (offer SLI), a couple of fast drives in a RAID 0 configuration, DVD drive and the system is complete.

Of course, Apple could avoid having to install Windows if it could get companies like EA to take the Mac OS seriously, but that would take time, and I don't see it happening any time soon.  An Apple gaming system that was a Mac OS/Windows hybrid would allow Apple to break new ground, put the Mac OS in front of new eyeballs and improve Apple's gaming credentials, which in turn might mean that game studios take Apple more seriously. 


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