In case, you’ve missed, a company called Psystar is selling a Mac clone for $399 & up. As the Guardian noted, they are either operating out of mom & dad’s garage or in a new office.
For $399, they are offering you a Mac Mini (specs) encased in a large (but nice looking) PC case.
For some reason, this seems to excite people as if what we really want in life is a cheap knockoff of something, REALLY? This is really a goal in life? Don’t sell me the real thing, I’d rather pay slightly less money for a thing like the real thing?
A clone made sense when not just Macs but all personal computers sold in the $2,000+ range. Of course, at that price point, I’m willing to compromise a little here and there for a computer in the $999 range.
But for a savings of $200 versus a Mini? What is really the point?
They like to talk expandability as if that’s some great thing worth the savings of $2,000 versus a MacPro desktop. (Um, never mind the MacPro has a quad core and thing isn’t even a duo core).
Sure, in the days of serial ports and wonky SCSI on the Mac side, anything you could install internally pretty much meant it would be easier for the OS to find and for it to work.
But now with firewire and USB, I can daisy-chain 128 firewire devices and nearly as many USB drives with powered hubs. Sure, they don’t don’t look as attractive but how many drives can you fit into most cases anyway, 4? I can buy 4 1TB drives that stacked on top of each other take up about as much desktop space as 4 inside a desktop case.
Expandability inside the case is not that important anymore – with USB & firewire, EVERYTHING is expandable in less than 5 minutes and no chance to cut your hand open trying to fit a HDD onto a tray inside a computer.
If anything, it’s better because if an external drive is really going down, I can unmount it and plug in a new drive without even restarting.
And If you are the 5% of users who will actually replace their graphics card, are you really going to buy a underpowered $399 Mac clone just to spend $2,000 on a graphics card?
Even as recent as 10 years ago, the margins on the PC side were that you could save substantially by building your own but now if your time is money, there’s no real savings. You have to be the type that enjoys tinkering because if a component breaks, you think it’s bad trying to get Dell to admit the power supply went down now, good luck getting a power supply you bought and installed replaced yourself from some company in Muncie? And yes, you can save a little here and there but the quality of the components? How many no-name fans are built for about 6 months before they start making noise slightly louder than a F-22 flyby?
And sure, you can save $200 by not buying a Mini … but what is iLife worth to you?
Or what is it worth to you that Apple has 200 stores around the globe open and ready to take responsibility and answer any question for your Mini (or any other Mac you buy?)
The time is passed for clone makers. The $200 dollar difference is too miniscule (never mind that the website sort of implies that they don’t guarantee any other OS other than 10.5 will run on this – and never mind the legal issues or that this business seems to have started last week). Even if you started selling these at a retailer where customers could return it such as Wal-Mart, $200 savings is just not enough of a difference – now if this clone were selling for $99 or $149, then you might have a business as saving $450-$500 dollars, that’s actually substantial enough to make a difference.
But right now – pointless.
(and yea, Apple will sue – if Apple doesn’t, customers will walk into Apple stores trying to get tech support or more likely, warranty support – your OS is bundled with it?! Apple could care less if you wanted to sell an open source $399 computer but bundling Apple OS as if they had a license to bundle or sell it – implying to customers there is a relationship? That won’t fly).