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From: m...@spt.entity.com (Marty Connor)
Newsgroups: comp.sys.mac
Subject: Affordable Macs?
Keywords: mac affordable (cheap) education low-end thanks
Message-ID: <254@spt.entity.com>
Date: 15 Nov 89 19:27:21 GMT
Lines: 89

I hope this message is premature and that even as I speak somewhere in
the bowels of Apple Cupertino someone is working on an affordable
Macintosh.  But, just in case...  

I hope we can get some discussion going on what is essential to
people in a CheapMac, and how it could be positioned for maximum
effect. 

Background:

I run a small Desktop Publishing/Word Processing shop in the Boston
area, and currently have 4 Mac Pluses for people to come in and use.
I teach beginners how to use all kinds of Mac Software.  I like the
Plus. My customers like the idea that the machines only cost 2K
loaded.  Six months ago I spent a lot of money upgrading all my
machines (Pluses) to at least 2.5 megs, so I could offer my customers
PageMaker under Multifinder, MacDrawII, Illustrator '88 and other
software.

Worries:

I am getting very nervous about the fact that Apple keeps releasing
these expensive machines.  I fear that any day now major software
vendors may stop caring about the Plus, and that I would have to spend
a lot of money to upgrade to more expensive machines.  Money I don't
have. 

Was I Dreaming?

I thought I heard someone at Apple say that they were going to address
BOTH ends of the product line.  Gassee's jokes at press conferences
aside, it's not funny Jean.  It hurts to drool at high-end machines,
knowing they're just out of reach and moving away. I have heard rumors
of something called the "headless SE" for under $1000.  That would be
nice.

Blue Sky:

Personally I think a lot of people would buy an IchabodMac [sp?]
(headless horseman).  3rd party vendors could do displays for it, and
of course external SCSI folks could build drives for it.  I would be a
way to get into the educational market and encourage people to write
educational software.  Kids could use Mom and Dad's Mac to do
homework, and mom and dad could help the kids without buying a Mac and
a ][c and learning both.  Maybe buy the kids their own for home and
use PublicFolder to transfer files using PhoneNet over the extra phone
wires in the house (but I digress...).

Deep Blue Sky:

The more I think about it the better I like the idea of having machine
in this class.  In some ways it would be nice if it used 128k ROMS, to
keep software houses from jumping ship on the Plus, though I imagine
someone at Apple just screamed when I said that.  Alright, I know my
plus has to die someday; I could live with 256k ROMS, but of course
should use a 68000.  Perhaps the 800k floppy?  (saves money, lets
people by Rapports), no ADB so as not to compete with the SE20?

Well, there are some rough ideas.  anybody else got an opinion?  I
think we really should get Macs into schools soon, and for use people
who can't see spending more than 2K for a machine (CPU, SCREEN, HARD
DRIVE), this would be nice.

Questions:

1. Does anyone have confidence that Apple is going to address the
   low-end market anytime soon (< 6 months)?

2. Does anyone care that Mac prices are going to the moon?

3. How many people are excited about the idea of a "headless SE" that
   can take a 3rd party monitor and disk, and can sell for <$1000
   retail? 

4. Since Apple is clearly listening, how about we talk about some of
   the things we'd like to see?  To give some ideas more than
   anything, but also to make sure Macs get into schools where kids
   can do neat things with them. (You can't have a top without a bottom.)

Feel free to send mail to me if you don't like to post news.  But
posting would be nice too.  

Let's get busy.  May someone will forward this to people at Apple
who think about these thing?  Merci.

-- 
Marty Connor, Marty's Computer Workshop,  "Specializing in Macintosh Training"
126 Inman Street, Cambridge, MA 02139; (617) 491-6935
m...@entity.com, or ...{harvard|uunet}!mit-eddie!spt!mdc

Path: utzoo!utgpu!watmath!att!rutgers!ucsd!usc!apple!sun-barr!newstop!
sun!concertina!fiddler
From: fiddler%c...@Sun.COM (Steve Hix)
Newsgroups: comp.sys.mac
Subject: Re: Affordable Macs?
Keywords: mac affordable (cheap) education low-end thanks
Message-ID: <127995@sun.Eng.Sun.COM>
Date: 16 Nov 89 22:16:45 GMT
References: <254@spt.entity.com>
Sender: ne...@sun.Eng.Sun.COM
Lines: 32

In article <2...@spt.entity.com>, m...@spt.entity.com (Marty Connor) writes:
> I hope we can get some discussion going on what is essential to
> people in a CheapMac, and how it could be positioned for maximum
> effect. 
> 
> The more I think about it the better I like the idea of having machine
> in this class.  In some ways it would be nice if it used 128k ROMS, to
> keep software houses from jumping ship on the Plus, though I imagine
> someone at Apple just screamed when I said that.  Alright, I know my
> plus has to die someday; I could live with 256k ROMS, but of course
> should use a 68000.  

Why? (Other than the obvious issue of cost, a 68020 or, better, an '030
would give the headless Mac owners(oops...that should be HeadlessMac) 
more confidence in having their machine be useful for a longer time.  This
particularly in light of the announced direction that the System/Finder
is going.  Why make a machine *now* that won't be able to use some of 
the more desirable features of 7.0, which is already (pre-)announced.

> no ADB so as not to compete with the SE20?

Unlikely, since Apple committed to the ADB notion a *long* time ago.
(Does use of ADB make the //gs compete with the SE more than the Plus?)


------------

"...Then anyone who leaves behind him a written manual, and likewise
anyone who receives it, in the belief that such writing will be clear
and certain, must be exceedingly simple-minded..."

		Plato, _Phaedrus_ 275d

Path: utzoo!attcan!utgpu!jarvis.csri.toronto.edu!mailrus!cs.utexas.edu!
usc!apple!cambridge.apple.com!spt!mdc
From: m...@spt.entity.com (Marty Connor)
Newsgroups: comp.sys.mac
Subject: Re: Affordable Macs?
Keywords: mac affordable (cheap) education low-end thanks
Message-ID: <257@spt.entity.com>
Date: 17 Nov 89 17:16:10 GMT
References: <254@spt.entity.com> <127995@sun.Eng.Sun.COM>
Reply-To: mdc@spt.UUCP (Marty Connor)
Organization: Hacks 'R' Us, Cambridge, MA
Lines: 104
Tickler: Now c'mon it doesn't have ATM in the header, but read it
	 anyway, eh?

In article <127...@sun.Eng.Sun.COM> fiddler%c...@Sun.COM (Steve Hix) writes:
>In article <2...@spt.entity.com>, m...@spt.entity.com (Marty Connor) writes:
>> Marty:
>> The more I think about it the better I like the idea of having machine
>> in this class.  In some ways it would be nice if it used 128k ROMS, to
>> keep software houses from jumping ship on the Plus, though I imagine
>> someone at Apple just screamed when I said that.  Alright, I know my
>> plus has to die someday; I could live with 256k ROMS, but of course
>> should use a 68000.  
> Steve:
>Why? (Other than the obvious issue of cost, a 68020 or, better, an '030
>would give the headless Mac owners(oops...that should be HeadlessMac) 
>more confidence in having their machine be useful for a longer time.

>This particularly in light of the announced direction that the System/Finder
>is going.  Why make a machine *now* that won't be able to use some of 
>the more desirable features of 7.0, which is already (pre-)announced.

Compatibility with 7.0:

Desirable to who?  At what price?
Apple has already admitted by creating the SE that not everyone needs
virtual memory if it is going to cost over 1K to produce.  So other
than virtual memory and a few other unix-like features, the SE will
support the weight of 7.0 fairly respectably.  

And people like Ashton-Tate who come out with disgusting ad campaigns
that say "finally a machine that can run our pig word processor"
notwithstanding, 7.0 *will work* on an SE and the machine we're
blackboard-designing would (so far...) have an SE engine.

And let's not forget the Portable...  No PMMU there; Will run 7.0 with
2 megs... I must just assume 4 meg SIMMS will work with it...

Price/Performance:

Price is very much an issue for many people.  You would seem to to
shrug off the fact that not everyone can at the drop of a hat waltz
down to their Apple dealer and say:
  "Money is no object.  Make me a Mac system, and deliver it to my
    office/home,  You take Platinum Amex for double warranty, of course."
 And their dealer says:
  "Sure.  How about a IIcx with 8 meg, and a RasterOps 19" monitor,
   and a LaserWriter II NTX, and of course all this MicroSoft Office 
   software.  All for just $17K.  Amex, of course!"

(Don't laugh, I have clients who did this just to "check out the
technology".

>> no ADB so as not to compete with the SE20?
>Unlikely, since Apple committed to the ADB notion a *long* time ago.
>(Does use of ADB make the //gs compete with the SE more than the Plus?)

ADB and other Features:

Your point here is will taken.  I was attempting to say that this
hypothetical machine should not compete with the SE too strongly or
the Apple Marketing people will get scared off.

Maybe not as Sexy, but fun to be with:

Perhaps just having it in parts so it is not even as portable as the
SE would be enough.  Maybe someone can think of some more ideas to
make it attractive to low-end business users and educational users and
still keep the managers buying the high margin stuff to keep apple
accountants and greedy board members happy.  Maybe 800K floppies would
do it.  Ideas anyone?

Middle-Managerial CPU Envy will Prevail:

I notice that in the IBM World managers still buy the Compaq '386s
with big color screens to run tiny spreadsheets because they can play
Leisure Suit Larry games on them behind closed doors.  While
secretaries and admin assistants just down the hall write 90 page
proposals on XT Klones in WordStar [tm].

So maybe Apple shouldn't worry so much about coming out with a low-end
"Apple Civic" (sorta like) a Honda Civic or whatever the low-end thing
is) kind of machine.  People still buy Preludes and the Acuras.  But
for the low-end there is still something of quality and compatability.

Pass it on:

Now I hope some of you good Apple folks will slide all these messages
under Gassee's door or something (along with a Ramsey Memorial crying
towel or something).  I mean I hear tell at Apple that even the
secretaries have IIs, and almost *nobody* has a plus, and 128s are not
spoken of...  Just want to make sure y'all remember the millions of
plusses that made the R&D money for the IIs and IIcx possible.  I
write this on a 4meg Mac Plus with 6.0.3.

Won't it be nice to say:

"Macintosh, the power to be your best.  Offerring systems from highly
 affordable Entry-Level systems to Powerful High-End WorkStations all
 with an intuitive, consistent user-interface and with Apple Quality
 backed by a One-Year Warranty."

And so it goes...

-- 
Marty Connor, Marty's Computer Workshop,  "Specializing in Macintosh Training"
126 Inman Street, Cambridge, MA 02139; (617) 491-6935
m...@entity.com, or ...{harvard|uunet}!mit-eddie!spt!mdc

Path: utzoo!yunexus!ists!jarvis.csri.toronto.edu!mailrus!cornell!
batcomputer!rpi!nyser!rodan!wwtaroli
From: wwta...@rodan.acs.syr.edu (Bill Taroli)
Newsgroups: comp.sys.mac
Subject: Re: Affordable Macs?
Keywords: mac affordable (cheap) education low-end thanks
Message-ID: <1384@rodan.acs.syr.edu>
Date: 17 Nov 89 19:11:54 GMT
Article-I.D.: rodan.1384
References: <254@spt.entity.com> <127995@sun.Eng.Sun.COM>
Reply-To: wwta...@rodan.acs.syr.edu (Bill Taroli)
Organization: Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY
Lines: 23

In article <127...@sun.Eng.Sun.COM> fiddler%c...@Sun.COM (Steve Hix) writes:
>Why? (Other than the obvious issue of cost, a 68020 or, better, an '030
>would give the headless Mac owners(oops...that should be HeadlessMac) 
>more confidence in having their machine be useful for a longer time.  This
>particularly in light of the announced direction that the System/Finder
>is going.  Why make a machine *now* that won't be able to use some of 
>the more desirable features of 7.0, which is already (pre-)announced.

I don't think that this is necessarily the case.  Apple knew for a while
that System 7.0 was going to provide things like virtual memory and still
decided to go with a lower power CMOS 68000 in the Portable.  So, if you view
the Portable in light of System 7.0, then Apple built an obselescent machine
(a view I do not subscribe to).  Also, I think Apple realizes that everyone
is not going to jump on the System 7.0 bandwagon.  Sure, it will provide many
new an interesting features.  BUT, with it comes the requirement that there
be 2 Megs of memory and that you have a 68020 or > to use virtual memory (which
is not an inherent limitation of 7.0, but the MC68000 itself).  So, building
a "new" machine with a 68000 in it will certainly not put it up there with
the IIcx and IIci, but it will allow Apple to price it more appropriately with
the Plus and SE machines... were you really expecting a 68030 for $999??

Bill Taroli
WWTA...@RODAN.acs.syr.edu

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usc!apple!sun-barr!newstop!sun!concertina!fiddler
From: fiddler%c...@Sun.COM (Steve Hix)
Newsgroups: comp.sys.mac
Subject: Re: Affordable Macs?
Keywords: mac affordable (cheap) education low-end thanks
Message-ID: <128145@sun.Eng.Sun.COM>
Date: 20 Nov 89 20:27:22 GMT
References: <254@spt.entity.com> <127995@sun.Eng.Sun.COM> <1384@rodan.acs.syr.edu>
Sender: ne...@sun.Eng.Sun.COM
Lines: 40

In article <13...@rodan.acs.syr.edu>, wwta...@rodan.acs.syr.edu (Bill Taroli) 
writes:
> 
> I don't think that this is necessarily the case.  Apple knew for a while
> that System 7.0 was going to provide things like virtual memory and still
> decided to go with a lower power CMOS 68000 in the Portable.  

In the case of the portable, *not* going with the CMOS 68000 left them with
*no* processor, given constraints of power consumption.  They could have
done it, maybe, but you'd kiss 8hrs+/charge goodbye.

> So, if you view
> the Portable in light of System 7.0, then Apple built an obselescent machine
> (a view I do not subscribe to).  Also, I think Apple realizes that everyone
> is not going to jump on the System 7.0 bandwagon.  

I agree, S7 isn't going to buy *me* that much...at least as long as my Mac+'s
are still running.  I can live with it.  (And I don't think that the Portable
is obsolete on intro.)  But if you *don't* have other major constraints, such
as power consumption, there seems to be little reason for not putting a
68020/030 in newer machines, other than the obvious one of cost.  Competition
with current higher-end machines shouldn't be a problem, particularly if you
restrict expandability of the base-level machine.

> Sure, it will provide many
> new an interesting features.  BUT, with it comes the requirement that there
> be 2 Megs of memory and that you have a 68020 or > to use virtual memory (which
> is not an inherent limitation of 7.0, but the MC68000 itself).  

Since you also need to get a 68851 with your '020 to get virtual memory (and
Motorola may be dumping the '851 completely), you could make a case for going
directly to the '030 and ignoring the '020 completely.


------------

"...Then anyone who leaves behind him a written manual, and likewise
anyone who receives it, in the belief that such writing will be clear
and certain, must be exceedingly simple-minded..."

		Plato, _Phaedrus_ 275d

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