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\"Headless iMac\" could become iPod of the living room

updated 02:05 pm EST, Mon January 3, 2005

iPod of the living room?

Merill Lynch analyst Steven Milunovich says that circulating reports of a sub-$500 "headless" iMac would "the second step for Apple moving into the digital living room," following the release of its AirPort Express in July of 2004. In a report to clients, the analyst said that a sub-$500 iMac would help increase the iPod halo effect and move users to the Mac platform: "As we advocated in our June 22 report Apple Computer: New iMac Coming? we like the idea of a headless iMac. Why require a PC owner to buy a new monitor to get a Mac? Selling just the system unit would cut significantly the cost to switch." Milunovich noted that the iMac could cannibalize the eMac product line, but that the impact would be "modest" because of the targeted education demographic for the eMac.

The note said that the new "headless" iMac could become the entertainment server for the living the room, which was referenced in a Merill report late last year. Milunovich also said that the target market would be those iPod purchasers wanting a second easy-to-use PC with their iPod, noting that Windows users must upgrade to XP anyway to connect to an iPod. Milunovich also said that Apple must continue to build a strong digital consumer franchise based on more than just the iPod; he maintaind a "Buy" rating on AAPL with a target price of $78 per share based on a 2.2X EV/Sales ratio, which is an 18% premium to Dell and Lexmark. Merill also expects that Apple's earnings growth to be faster than Dell's.




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. leperkuhn

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    cannibalize away

    lets just suppose it did cannibalize the emac line. who cares? apple should just stop selling the emac if that's the case. Develop products that sell - seems like a logical business tactic.

  1. mowogg

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Digital Media Center

    I hope that Apple includes Airport in the new box. With wireless connectivity and an Apple-polished version of MythTV or other open source PVR software I could have a digital media center that wouldn't mean connecting my G5 to the TV.
    The new box could provide iTunes, iPhoto compatabilty with a remote machine (I do this now with my G5 and iBook) as well as web surfing, email and gaming.
    I wouldn't be at all surprised to see Griffin or Belkin come out with remote controls for such a box.
    Even if Apple doesn't see the value in such a product, the basic fundimentals are all there. Griffin has released RadioSHARK for AM/FM timeshifting and I wouldn't be surprised to see them release a video version that works with a Mac, maybe with a FireWire video capture device.
    If Apple offers up such a rich media device, I'll buy one. Heck, maybe two!

  1. Faizon318

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    what will it be called ?

    if enough anylist say it .. will it be true ?

  1. gambit-7

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Hmm...

    I tell you what: if Apple DID release a quasi-up to date Mac for 499 (meaning: one that is capable of running OS X decently enough), I'd buy it and shove it in a closet as a backup server and file dumping ground. Shoot, I know quite a few people who would be more than happy to shell out 500 dollars on a slim Mac just because! Some would be switchers, and some would be people like me who just want a secondary machine for light gaming and storage.

    Now, you add the ability to share photos, iTunes, connect to my TV and do things like that at that price point without messing with its ability to run OS X and OS X programs, well that's just frosting on a seemingly delicious cake already!

  1. cmoney

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    re: Hmm...

    I already have that. It's a Cube. You don't need to run OS X decently to have a quiet file server in the closet. My Cube does exactly that. It's quiet, headless and runs OS X great as far as server issues go. When I need to update something, I SSH in or run Timbuktu. BTW, Cubes go for $400-$600 now depending on config.

    No, a $500 headless modern Mac would serve as a powerful client for me around the house. I'll put one in the family room, bedrooms and library.

  1. bbxstudio

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Let's hope...

    Let's hope Apple is actually planning on unveiling a similar product at Macworld or their stock is going to plummet the minute the keynote ends. I'm optimistic at this point however - I'm sure that nobody is more aware of the potential fallout if this product doesn't materialize at MWSF than Apple is: ergo, if such a machine did not exist, they would have quashed these rumors with a statement long before they'd gotten this out-of-hand.

  1. groundwork

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Hey cmoney

    You did hear that Apple stopped producing the G4 Cube, right? I also don't remember the Cube being $499.

  1. cyngus

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Re: Let's hope...

    While Apple stock may feel a little pressure if the headless iMac doesn't appear, I wouldn't expect too much, since the stock does not appear to have run up on the rumor. If a flash-based iPod does not appear though, then I expect about a 10% pull back. The Street is much more focused on Apple's music business right now and the headless rumors hitting the mainstream analysts are pretty recent. If we see Apple introduce a flash-based iPod, HiMac (Headless iMac), and a grandly updated AppleWorks (iWork?) then I think we'll see a 10-20% runup in the stock. The next major direction will be taken when the final holiday iPod sales numbers arrive.

  1. cyngus

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Re; Let's hope...

    I forgot to say that my personal opinion, even if all three materialize, is that Apple's fair value is around $70/share. One factor that would significantly effect this is if we get more evidence that the iPod convincing more people to buy Macs, if so, I put fair value close to $100. One thing I'm interested to see is if iTMS starts to be a revenue source itself. Once you break even, profit margins should expand pretty quickly since most of your costs are fixed. Granted that as sales volumes increase you need to add more server power, but I think this cost is probably much below revenues generated by the additional equipment.

  1. Jonathan-Tanya

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    forget cube

    a cube expanded to run at 1.25ghz would go for well over $499, and, of course, it would be used and you'd probably have to buy it on e-bay or something like that.

    Apple isn't in the market of selling used computers, so this is a non-issue from apple's perspective...and many people aren't going to buy used, for many reasons, some of them quite good (I've really enjoyed most of my e-bay purchases, but then I've gotten ripped off sometimes too, even on mac hardware).

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