Apple ignores glare-averse customers again

Apple announced updates to three different lines of macs yesterday (the mini, the macbook, and iMac).  As previously mentioned, I’m in the market for a new desktop computer, but I’ve been waiting to hear what might come of the previous rumors about updated iMacs.  Apple did a few things yesterday with their announcement that are just plainly frustrating to me.

First, it’s highly irritating that Apple continues to basically jam shiny, eyestrain-inducing, glossy, pro-glare displays down their customers’ throats.  None of Apple’s 13″ laptops (neither Macbook Pro nor Macbook) offer an “anti-glare” display option (the opposite of which is most obviously pro-glare).  None of their newly announced iMacs have an anti-glare option, either.  My office has some ambient light — it just does.  Also, because I’m not blind, I can see reflections from ambient overhead lighting in any glossy display.  I realize this apparently doesn’t bother some people, but there are a lot of us out there that it does bother.  I’m willing to pay for the option, and I’m glad that Apple offered it on the macbook pro, but it’s disappointing that the option hasn’t spread throughout Apple’s lineup.  Frankly, the glossy displays make no sense.  Even people who tout the benefits of glossy displays (better contrast ratios) on TVs will tell you that strict control of ambient lighting is key.  Basically, to do it right, you have to operate your home theater with thick curtains & strict adjustable low ambient lighting.  In other words, you have to operate the thing in the dark, and then it’s pretty stunning.  I have some friends that prefer the “cave” experience for computing, but I am not one of them.  Call me weird — I like to have the lights on, and sometimes I even open the blinds in my office.  I am not a Morlock, and I’ve been led to believe by Apple marketing that their hipster-douche customers in their commercials are also not strictly basement-dwellers.  So what the hell is up with this display lineup?  I’m glad for other people that eyestrain is not an issue, but I’m also irritated that Apple ignores the rest of us.

The other odd thing about the latest lineup is the pricing.  Apple announced that a (mobile/”Clarksfield”, I believe) 2.8 GHz version of the Core i7 (“nehalem”) processor will be available in the 27″ iMac for $2199.  The Mac Pro features the older 2.66 GHz Core i7 and starts at $2499, and features no display at all.  What.  The.  Fuck.  Yeah yeah, the Mac Pro has a Xeon in there (uselessly, I might add) which jacks up the price, but Apple’s stated intention for putting the i7 in an iMac was to give “home professionals” an option when they didn’t want to get a Mac Pro.  Is this really an option?  Despite the garish 27″ display that comes with the higher-end iMac, wouldn’t it be smarter to get that?  Apple is basically charging an extra $300 for expandability, while simultaneously removing the bundled monitor.  And it’s great & all that Apple’s willing to take a stand against the US Chamber of Commerce on the cap-and-trade proposals, but how exactly is this “environmentally friendly”?  They’re encouraging people to ditch computers sooner rather than encouraging modularity that would allow both choice and upgradeability.  Then again, I suppose that might hurt Apple’s sales — which is the real reason behind all this bizarre pricing, I think.

Finally, and I realize it’s a nonissue for many customers, but what the hell is up with the obsession of building a desktop computer that’s “thin”?  Who the hell cares?  Are you taking it somewhere?  Make the damn thing 2″ thicker where necessary, put some appropriate curves on it to draw the eyes away from the thicker portion, and boom, you can put a desktop Nehalem (retail price:  $280) and possibly even desktop graphics in the lower-end iMac.  Instead, this fetish with “thin” computers absolutely hamstrings the design.  I’ll be curious to hear the reports on how loud the fans on these new iMacs may get and how often heat is a problem.  I’m betting Core i5 and i7 variants of the iMac may see significant issues with heat-related defects.  Bye-bye soldering!  You’d think that Apple might’ve learned this lesson from Microsoft with the Xbox 360 (overheating leading to soldering coming apart, leading to complete unit failure — caused by jamming a lot of hot parts into a tiny box that cannot dissipate the heat being generated), but instead Apple appears to be running head-on into this train.

Fuck it, I’m building a hackintosh.

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