xMac speculation

The Mac rumor market just got extremely hot and bothered over a renewed rumor that Apple will soon announce a headless iMac that will sell for $500. The goal of such an xMac (apparently the preferred “unknown product name” title) would ostensibly be to build off of Apple’s success with the iPod—Windows users who were impressed with the design of the iPod might be willing to spring for a Mac on the side, provided that Mac didn’t cost as much as Macs today do.

Of course, the rumored specs of this rumored xMac aren’t knock-your-socks-off impressive: 1.25 GHz G4 processor, 256 MB RAM, 40 GB hard drive, CD-RW/DVD drive, DVI and/or VGA out, a handful of USB and firewire ports.

I’d say that this thing, if it does exist, has potential in three directions:

1) OMG CHEAP MAC If you aren’t terribly interested in high-end tasks, you don’t actually need a G5 processor or a fancy video card. (Let’s face it: you don’t buy a Mac to play the latest games.) This would probably be Apple’s best hope to gain market share, and this (courtesy of the iPod) is probably Apple’s best time to attempt such a move. Besides, at $500 it wouldn’t cost any more than a high-end iPod.

2) OMG CHEAP SERVER I’m probably the only one in the world who thinks like this, but I’ve been longing for some Mac-compatible form of NAS for a good year or two. The xMac, save for the piddly hard drive, would make a damn fine home server. (This is where the firewire port comes in, if not one’s ability to replace small hard drives with large hard drives.)

2) OMG EXPENSIVE TIVO Put some sort of video-out port in that box—and, maybe, a larger hard drive—and you have an Apple-branded TiVo. (Confession: I don’t actually have a TiVo, or much beyond a superficial understanding of how they work.) This would also seem to be a different angle of Apple’s “digital hub” strategy.

Of course, I (and everyone else on various Mac forums) am just blowing smoke right now… but I could see potential in such a “3-in-1” device. I’d be tempted to buy one, just for the server potential.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

powered by wordpress