In tandem with yesterday's announcement of the Power Mac G3 All-in-one, Apple today announced a new line of affordable desktop computers, designed to demonstrate Apple's commitment to everyday users of everyday Macintoshes.
An Apple executive commented, "We realized that in our rush to reassure important niche markets like desktop publishing and education we'd neglected our base of home users and small business, people who keep Macs on their desks and keep buying more of them." A recent Apple marketing group survey learned of an "incredible ground swell" of people who have used desktop computers from Apple throughout Apple's history, typically purchasing a new model every few years while passing older models to relatives and non-profit organizations.
The study revealed that the typical person who purchased his first Apple between 1980 and 1988 has since then purchased an average of 7.3 Apple desktop computers and passed 5.2 of these computers to others. Further, of those who had an older Mac passed on to them, 63 percent went on to become primary purchasers, buying new Macs and passing on old ones on a regular basis. The statistics for businesses of ten or fewer people that use Apple computers are even more impressive - a ten-person business that started using Macs in 1990 has typically purchased some 34.6 new Macintoshes and passed on 21.2 older Macs to employees for use at home. Employees of such companies have a 72 percent likelihood of becoming primary Macintosh purchasers. "It's practically a multi-level marketing scheme, like Amway," noted an Apple executive when speaking informally to reporters yesterday.
The new line of Macintoshes, dubbed the EveryDay Apples, are targeted at these everyday Macintosh users and offer a G3 processor running at 200, 233, or 266 MHz; a 1, 2, or 4 GB SCSI internal hard disk; and 48 MB RAM (expandable to 256 MB). Prices for a CPU range from a budget-friendly $700 all the way to $2,100 for a model dripping with features like a Zip drive, second video card, and six-color "racing stripes." One particular option, the cup holder, is being pioneered by Apple and represents a major design breakthrough. The cup holder, a tray that pops out from the front of the machine, provides a convenient location for beverages. A control panel offers temperature settings and enables users to route extra heat from the processor to the holder. (Unfortunately for international users, initial versions of the control panel report temperatures only in Fahrenheit.) A special icon above the cup holder should prevent the past confusion between the cup holder and the CD-ROM drive, which also is located in the front of the machine.
Kudos to Apple for finally locating its core user base and creating the perfect Mac for those people.