Introducing eMac,
April 29, 2002 8:32 AM   Subscribe

Introducing eMac, a new version of the iMac aimed solely at the education market. Rather than getting all slashdotty, let's discuss the looks of it, rather than the guts, and debate the wiseness of this new strategy. Oh, Apple also released a new 800MHz TiBook.
posted by me3dia (59 comments total)

 
It looks like a white television.
posted by pracowity at 8:39 AM on April 29, 2002


Personally, I don't like the look. It's a bit too utilitarian, despite its obvious iBook influences. Where the iBook looks all sleek, the eMac looks sorta like an aspirin dispensor.

In terms of the education-only strategy, I don't know. This thing has a larger screen than iMac v1 and a G4 chip -- why not make available to anyone, and just give big discounts to educators? There's gotta be a number of people who don't like the new iMac design but want more power than the legacy iMac. Sure, they could get towers, but the all-in-one design is kinda nice, and it's far cheaper than a tower.
posted by me3dia at 8:40 AM on April 29, 2002


I'll discuss what I want to about it.

It makes my nose itch.
posted by corpse at 8:41 AM on April 29, 2002


I know the mhz isn't directly comparable but isn't it a little pricey for it's power?
posted by revbrian at 8:44 AM on April 29, 2002


It is a bit pricey, but Apple always is. And considering Dell is pricing their education grade PCs starting at about $700, I don't know how many schools are going to bite.
posted by me3dia at 8:50 AM on April 29, 2002


i really wish apple would get their edu pricing down, otherwise they'll never re-capture the school market...

the emac looks ok... but i wouldn't buy one...

at least they are trying to salvage the edu market...

puga
posted by PugAchev at 8:55 AM on April 29, 2002


The eMac comes with five crisp screen resolutions — 640 by 480 pixels at 138 Hz,800 by 600 pixels at 112 Hz,1024 by 768 pixels at 89 Hz,1152 by 864 pixels at 80 Hz,and 1280 by 960 pixels at 72 Hz

But only one of these doesn't look like shit.

And considering Dell is pricing their education grade PCs starting at about $700, I don't know how many schools are going to bite.

But price isn't really the key figure, "cost of ownership" is. Do those Dells come with everything needed to set up a classroom network, or will they have to buy tons of network hardware and support time to make it all work? And what about software? (And all the other usual questions.)

(I don't know the answers, I'm just asking.)
posted by rodii at 8:58 AM on April 29, 2002


...let's discuss the looks of it, rather than the guts...

Thanks for moderating, but no thanks.

It seems underpowered and overpriced. Underpowered I can understand, because educational settings are driven entirely by price point. When many schools can't pay for paper and chalk (and I spent my not terribly distant youth in institutions like these), they shop computers based on little else beyond how much change is left over on the grant after the purchase is made. Cash outlay is everything in the pitifully underfunded public classroom. (Can you tell I live in California?)

In light of that, the price point seems a little unrealistic.

It's looks, hardly an important point except perhaps in well-funded institutions that can afford an aesthetic, are no great shakes: It's a utilitarian white lump, another version of the iMac. But then, that isn't a surprising judgement: I haven't seen ID out of Apple that I've liked in quite a long time.
posted by majick at 9:06 AM on April 29, 2002


I noticed that the "grab and go" handle is missing. . .I always thought that this handle is convenient for thieves (I work in a school district).

The problem that I face is that through grants and such, a lot of free or cheap computers show up, and no thought is given to providing electricity (outlets and extra capacity) for them, thus you see a lot of daisy-chained power strips and cord, which the fire marshal frowns upon.
posted by Danf at 9:10 AM on April 29, 2002


As one with access to educational purchases, I did a bit of a price comparision.

Assuming one purchases a low end model, one can purchase a new iMac for only $50 more than the eMac. Aside from the obvious monitor and footprint differences, the machines are very much alike. [I've read of a $999 model, but that wasn't available at the Apple store.]

As such, I'm not sure where the eMac fits in. The iMac is already a wonderful machine for an educational environment and the eMac isn't significantly cheaper to make much a difference.

It seems to me that Apple is doing the cube all over again - releasing a beautiful machine that simply doesn't fit in to the product lineup.
posted by aladfar at 9:11 AM on April 29, 2002


But only one of these doesn't look like shit.

Wuh? It says it's a "flat" CRT display, not an LCD. Ugly resolution-switching is an LCD issue, no?

On the other hand, I love how iTunes 2 is being marketed as a "learning tool."
posted by furiousthought at 9:13 AM on April 29, 2002


Bright clean shiny white computers are only going to make the computer labs look even dirtier. That's why beige worked so well, you can't see the years of built up grime.

Other than that, I want one for my house.

Finally, at least this Mac doesn't look like a big molar.
posted by DragonBoy at 9:15 AM on April 29, 2002


I question the education only strategy as well, maybe after the initial order spike that they always get when they announce a new computer (and the ensuing delivery delays), they will offer it up to the general market.

even within the edu market, you can still buy just one if you are a K-12 or college faculty member or student, starting at $1250. And as for looks, I think it is exactly what everyone was asking for in the iMac before the new Luxo style iMac cam out: G4, flat screen, bigger display, all in the same basic form factor as the old iMac.

I almost wonder if they're focusing it so much on the edu market so that people who want this computer will be forced to buy the iMac for a couple hundred bucks more. when you look at the technical specs (sorry), it has a bigger screen, same processor speed as the low end iMac, and an audio input port, which the iMac lacks.

All in all, a risky strategy, but hopefully they know what they're doing....time will tell.
posted by rorycberger at 9:19 AM on April 29, 2002


Assuming one purchases a low end model, one can purchase a new iMac for only $50 more than the eMac.

Ed prices for an entry level iMac are at $1050? I find that hard to believe. That's $350 less than retail. Are you sure you aren't looking at an old price list from before the $100 price bump?

From my point of view, I'd much rather buy one of these than an iMac. I'd buy the eMac with a CDRW and pocket the $200. I think there are two basic reasons why this model was created. One is the magical $1000 price point, which defies explanation, but is very important. The other is LCD availability. In the event of another LCD shortage, this gives Apple the opportunity to at least provide an alternative purchase for Ed sales.
posted by machaus at 9:23 AM on April 29, 2002


I haven't seen ID out of Apple that I've liked in quite a long time.

I'd like to hear your comments on what you don't like about the iPod? I've had one for months now, and it is truly a marvel of ID. Pefrect size, quality materials, proper weight, intuitive interface, one hand (thumb) operation, clear display and looks awesome (I've had numerous comments on this, unlike my previous cheap-o lightweight rio that held about 10 songs). I'm not an ID expert, so maybe I'm way off here, but I think that the iPod really was amazing. Oh, and the TiBook isn't too shabby either IMHO.
posted by stormy at 9:24 AM on April 29, 2002


I noticed that the "grab and go" handle is missing. . .I always thought that this handle is convenient for thieves (I work in a school district).

That may have been convenient for thieves, but it was/is also convenient to tie a cable lock through, as my school has done, to prevent thievery. This raises the question: how the hell do you lock this to the desk? Security slot? Nope. Sturdy handle? Nope.

hmmmm, hopefully i'm missing something here
posted by rorycberger at 9:24 AM on April 29, 2002


I noticed that the "grab and go" handle is missing. . .I always thought that this handle is convenient for thieves (I work in a school district).

That may have been convenient for thieves, but it was/is also convenient to tie a cable lock through, as my school has done, to prevent thievery. This raises the question: how the hell do you lock this to the desk? Security slot? Nope. Sturdy handle? Nope.

hmmmm, hopefully i'm missing something here
posted by rorycberger at 9:26 AM on April 29, 2002


On another note, i want the TiBook...I was going to buy a apple laptop, but the fact i was stuck w/ a 12" screen for almost $2000 while i could get my 15" for $600 less w/ comparible power wasn't going to cut it (amazing how cost becomes a factor when the rents finally make you pay for stuff)
But, damn is fhe TiBook nice...perfect for some trips to the top of some 10,000ft peek.
posted by jmd82 at 9:28 AM on April 29, 2002


rorycberger, it doesn't specifically mention a security slot, but it does show that a kensington security cable is available as an option.
posted by machaus at 9:35 AM on April 29, 2002


Another great poorly informed MeFi thread, rivaling the Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes embarrassment.
posted by donkeyschlong at 9:36 AM on April 29, 2002


has anyone made an Emacs joke yet?
posted by luriete at 9:37 AM on April 29, 2002


Out the door for about $1,300. That does sound pretty steep.
posted by NortonDC at 9:40 AM on April 29, 2002


they have on filepile, luriete.
posted by moz at 9:57 AM on April 29, 2002


has anyone made an Emacs joke yet?

On Slashdot. Many times. In the running-emacs-on-an-eMac vein (you can in OS X; it's included).
posted by mcwetboy at 10:03 AM on April 29, 2002


I know that Apple trumpets the "no floppy drive" idea, but for a school computer, it's stupid. Do they expect everyone to bring their projects from home on a cd? If you want to transfer your assignment to home, do you get a free cd to burn it on to?
posted by grum@work at 10:06 AM on April 29, 2002


I noticed that the "grab and go" handle is missing

Um, it's 50 lbs. Grab at your own risk.

Not sure what to make of the price point. The gap between the still-available 600-MHz G3 iMac (old style), $999, and the new low-end, 700-MHz G4 LCD iMac, $1,399, was pretty narrow to start with. The $999 (for institutions only) eMac, which presumably plunks itself between the G3 and G4 iMacs, has a G4 and a larger monitor, but a CD-ROM only (vs. CD-RW) and no modem. I don't think the price point is the issue, though. It's a special-purpose computer. If Apple releases its rumoured rackmount servers, they ought not to be compared to its other offerings, I think.

I know that Apple trumpets the "no floppy drive" idea, but for a school computer, it's stupid. Do they expect everyone to bring their projects from home on a cd? If you want to transfer your assignment to home, do you get a free cd to burn it on to?

No, it's not stupid. You e-mail it to yourself. I was doing that, work/home-wise, even before I switched to the Mac. 1.44 MB doesn't go very far these days.
posted by mcwetboy at 10:14 AM on April 29, 2002


grum:

Do they expect everyone to bring their projects from home on a cd? If you want to transfer your assignment to home, do you get a free cd to burn it on to?

you see, this is where the iDrive comes in. upload your work to your iDrive and download it again at school. osx makes the upload and download process pretty seamless (the iDrive behaves as any other folder).
posted by moz at 10:17 AM on April 29, 2002


rorycberger, it doesn't specifically mention a security slot, but it does show that a kensington security cable is available as an option

Good eye, I didn't see that...although when you click through for info on the kensington cable, it doesn't list the eMac as being one of the models compatible with it....hopefully they just forgot to update that page.
posted by rorycberger at 10:22 AM on April 29, 2002


rorycberger, it doesn't specifically mention a security slot, but it does show that a kensington security cable is available as an option

Good eye, I didn't see that...although when you click through for info on the kensington cable, it doesn't list the eMac as being one of the models compatible with it....hopefully they just forgot to update that page.
posted by rorycberger at 10:24 AM on April 29, 2002


I think this is all about the CRT display. If they can sell them at this price point to school districts, in bulk, then this allows them to make the deal without worrying about tying up their supply of LCD displays that they sell at a higher margin. I don't think they care too much about individual edu customers.
posted by mikel at 10:25 AM on April 29, 2002


On Slashdot. Many times. In the running-emacs-on-an-eMac vein (you can in OS X; it's included).

Urgh. Unfortunately, I (and anyone that majored in this specific field at RPI) could be EMACers running emacs on an eMac.

(EMACers being those that majored in electronic media art and communication).

I apologize for dragging this out, but the first thing I thought when I saw the name was pretty much "Oh no! Let the jokes begin!"
posted by stefnet at 10:32 AM on April 29, 2002


!!!Thread hijack!!!!

pitifully underfunded public classroom

But not for lack of cash directed their way. Just seems that it all goes to new Caddys for the school board and other bureaucratic leaches.

!!!Resume thread!!!
posted by HTuttle at 10:35 AM on April 29, 2002


I would say it is a pretty good price for something specifically tuned to the education market. Undoubtedly it would be better if the price were lower, but G4 processors aren't that inexpensive, and the all-in-one nature of it makes it a good fit for classrooms. The LCD iMac seems a little fragile for classroom use, although it isn't as fragile as it looks, and the 17-inch monitor with different availble resolutions is a big advantage for the eMac. Also it is more weighty and sturdy than the LCD iMac. I don't know about the white casing though; I wonder how dingy it will get to be under school usage levels? And the speakers in front don't seem to be covered.
posted by donkeymon at 11:03 AM on April 29, 2002


I'm a little curious as to why the thing needs a G4. Is the MacOS just that bulky? As far as I've seen, most educational software doesn't really require much power. Drop it down to a slightly older chip and drop the price with it.
posted by Su at 11:39 AM on April 29, 2002


su - i can understand the g4. Writing and math aren't the only things going on in schools these days. I went to a public high school in california, and they still managed to get a class in photoshop, some web design classes, and even a llittle 3d modelling action going on. The output was generally crap, of course, but still. Also, just the way kids have been making powerpoint presentations for class projects, I could deffinately see them making little DVD's as well, and when youre dealing with digital video, g3's really arent up to snuff.
posted by atom128 at 12:01 PM on April 29, 2002


I know that Apple trumpets the "no floppy drive" idea, but for a school computer, it's stupid.

When was the last time you had a project that was small enough to fit on a floppy drive and unimportant enough that you didn't care if it spontaneously corrupted itself while driving across town? Floppy disks suck, and it's about time to abandon them.

Throw the files on an FTP server or other network file share. Apple's no-floppies strategy makes a lot of sense when you consider that the MacOS can mount a WebDAV volume on the desktop, and that Apple provides free access to a WebDAV server via mac.com.

-Mars
posted by Mars Saxman at 12:01 PM on April 29, 2002


Another great poorly informed MeFi thread, rivaling the Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes embarrassment.

Care to enlighten us donkeyschlong?
posted by brittney at 12:12 PM on April 29, 2002


su - besides the points made by atom 128, also consider the fact the a G4 is much more likely to still be a useable processor in three or four years, which is very important as schools do not ordinarily have the budget to be constantly updating their hardware.
posted by donkeymon at 12:13 PM on April 29, 2002


The Mac OS doesn't require a G4. I have a G3 that runs both OS X and OS 9 simultaneously with no problems, even when I'm working on something big like video. Though, as atom128 points out, a G4 is optimal for video. Not to mention a hell of a lot faster.

Overall the eMac seems like a good idea but currently Apple doesn't offer much in the way of educational software, which is what might really convince schools to buy them. Sure, iMovie and iTunes are great, but what about software that lets kids do science experiments or an interactive atlas? I think that would make the eMac a complete package.
posted by gutenberg at 12:14 PM on April 29, 2002


Floppy disks suck, and it's about time to abandon them.

Did that comment come from a 1998 discussion about the original iMac? The floppy disk has been dead for years now.
posted by andrewraff at 12:26 PM on April 29, 2002


Floppy disks suck, and it's about time to abandon them.
In my into to CS class here at UGA, we had to hand all of our projects in on floppy disk...
posted by jmd82 at 12:53 PM on April 29, 2002


I like the eMac design. I enjoy it when form and function meet.

Granted, the eMac isn't as sleek as the iMac, or the iBook, but I would buy an eMac and, with its clean, flat white face, install it into a wall. Even on a desk I think it looks nice.

Just get me as far from an over-designed beige (or not) box as you can.
posted by o2b at 1:25 PM on April 29, 2002


During my freshman year of college, we had to submit all of our assignments on floppy disk, but in subsequent years we just had to make sure that everything was FTPed into the central repository by the chosen time. Much more convenient, to be sure, but I sure did miss the sight of dozens of my fellow geeks blazing by on bikes, making the mad dash across campus to beat the 5pm deadline....
posted by youhas at 1:54 PM on April 29, 2002


Dammit! I just bought a TiBook 2 weeks ago. I should have waited...
posted by laz-e-boy at 2:18 PM on April 29, 2002


But not for lack of cash directed their way. Just seems that it all goes to new Caddys for the school board and other bureaucratic leaches.

New Caddys? Funny, I thought all the money went to new equipment for the sports teams. Or is that *after* the Caddys?
posted by CrayDrygu at 2:47 PM on April 29, 2002


Has anyone considered the blandness of the MAChine is intentional: to imply that all the money is spent on in guts of the thing? Also, perhaps the lightness of the unit (no CRT) makes it attractive; movable from class to class?
posted by ParisParamus at 2:58 PM on April 29, 2002


During my freshman year of college,

During my freshman year of college, FSEDIT (full screen edit!) on the VAX was all the rage.
posted by ParisParamus at 3:00 PM on April 29, 2002


As far as macs being used in an educational setting, the highschool I went to got a pretty big grant to become a digital school district, which involved among other things giving every student from third grade on an ibook, and wiring every students' house for a wireless connection to the school's network. My sister still goes there, but she doesn't seem to use her computer at all, so I'm not really sure what is being gained from all this.
posted by guyincognito at 3:10 PM on April 29, 2002


I suppose this is a bit off-topic regarding the discussion, but am I the only one that noticed something not-quite-right about the launch of the new eMac?

It's the first time I've ever seen Apple *not* use Apple Garamond as a typeface! This is rather interesting (to me, at least.) Could this signal a (slight) change in Apple's identity system?
posted by robbie01 at 3:38 PM on April 29, 2002


If Dell is selling boxes without monitors, then why doesn't Apple do the same? I imagine a good chunk of the price of an eMac is tied up in the display. If they had done this right, the low end headless eMac could be for schools and high end headless model could be a rackmounted server. *sigh* They never listen to me.
posted by stevis at 3:44 PM on April 29, 2002


No, it's not stupid. You e-mail it to yourself. I was doing that, work/home-wise, even before I switched to the Mac. 1.44 MB doesn't go very far these days.


What kind of email account do grade school kids have? From the ones I know its cheesy webmail accounts that won't even let you email something as big as 1.44 megs. With hotmail and yahoo offering 2 meg limits on email, its probably not such a hot idea to get rid of floppies on a grade/high school level. Especially when there's a short supply of computers to begin with. I'd rather drop off the floppy than wait in line to use the public PCs to get into my email account and print something out.

Sure, if your teacher will just accept the emailed file then everything is groovy, but that's not always the case.
posted by skallas at 3:49 PM on April 29, 2002


Wuh? It says it's a "flat" CRT display, not an LCD. Ugly resolution-switching is an LCD issue, no?

Right you are. I didn't read that carefully enough. I even wondered why the stuck to the CRT-shaped case. Duh. Now that I see it, I think mikel is on the right track.

Floppy disks suck, and it's about time to abandon them.

Hear hear. They're so *small* (and so unreliable). I have an occasional student who still tries to turn things in on floppy, though, and they always look so devastated when I tell them I don't have a floppy drive, and neither does anyone else in my department. (These are often the students who also try turning papers in 30 seconds before deadline by cutting and pasting a Word document into a text-only email client.)
posted by rodii at 3:52 PM on April 29, 2002


Also, perhaps the lightness of the unit (no CRT) makes it attractive; movable from class to class?

It has a CRT, which is probably why it weighs 50 pounds.....not likely that they will be moved from room to room very often.

If Dell is selling boxes without monitors, then why doesn't Apple do the same? I imagine a good chunk of the price of an eMac is tied up in the display. If they had done this right, the low end headless eMac could be for schools and high end headless model could be a rackmounted server. *sigh* They never listen to me.

Probably because apple would like to sell a monitor to the school along with the box, and its unlikely that anyone would buy a cheap box, only to pay $600+ for one of apple's current display offerings. Of course then that raises the issue of whether apple should offer a lower priced monitor. i dunno, say maybe a cheap 17 inch CRT. that would be perfect, then they could get the bargain box and the bargain monitor together for one low price.....wait a minute.
posted by rorycberger at 4:02 PM on April 29, 2002


If they had done this right, the low end headless eMac could be for schools and high end headless model could be a rackmounted server.

The rumor is that Apple is working on rack-mountable units right now (again, finally).
posted by rodii at 4:33 PM on April 29, 2002


During my freshman year of college, FSEDIT (full screen edit!) on the VAX was all the rage.

I spent some time at a university between ninth and tenth grades and there was a two week waiting period to get CRT time on the IBM 1130 (described as: very compact and desk-like in appearance) - so it was FORTRAN on punch cards for me...

...by the time I hit college three years later, I owned a computer that was faster (1.2Mhz) and had more memory (64k) than that other beastie but FORTRAN on mainframes was still the flavor of the day (Waterloo Version 5 at that time) and the CRT's mimiced punch cards almost perfectly.
posted by RevGreg at 4:39 PM on April 29, 2002


Robbie - the new font, I believe, is Adobe's Myriad typeface... I sure hope Apple doesn't switch over to this font completely. Their custom Garamond Light typeface was sleek, classy, and perfect.
posted by premiumpolar at 4:40 PM on April 29, 2002


So much for my theory. CRTs: oh well.
posted by ParisParamus at 7:06 PM on April 29, 2002


If anyone cares, Apple already has the developer docs on the eMac online --- I don't think you need an ADC membership to access just the technical docs but, if you do and are truly interested, online memberships are free (but you're not in the seeding program, nat.)

As far as the eMac itself goes, it seems to be in the right pricepoint relative to Apple's other all-in-one desktop offerings. The flat panel iMac with roughly similar specs runs about US$200 over the base eMac and the eMac has a DVD/CD-RW drive instead of the flat panel's CD-RW. I'm guessing Apple'll drop the price on the 15" CRT iMacs as the edu institutional pricing on the eMac runs too close to the old school iMac---the CRT iMac is now overpriced even starting at US$750. I don't think a US$600 iMac is very far in the future.

Gripes: The modem, NIC, and Apple's propietary audio jacks should be on the back. In a lab setting it makes perfect sense to have the USB and Firewire on the side of the machine, easily accessibly for students. Keeps people from digging around back of the computer which, in a lab setting with cables neatly dropped into cable chases, can actually strain and unplug cables. The NIC, modem, and the jack for Apple's speakers should be on the back because no user should ever have to mess with those
posted by nathan_teske at 10:15 AM on April 30, 2002


The Gestalt of the eMac, aimed at administrators, is one of stealth: I am a Mac person, but I like Macs for reasons too intangible to justify in my school district's budget. But these Macs do not have "gratuitous" cool features; and yet they are still Macs.
posted by ParisParamus at 10:30 AM on April 30, 2002


« Older Putting free, unencrypted copies on the web increa...  |  In re: the middle-east conflic... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments