Do flowers make your sales grow?
by Frontline Lamb firstname.lastname@example.org, 7 March, 2001
When I last wrote, it was early December and I was worried about how the holidays were going to go without anything compelling to sell from Apple.
How things have changed! It's now early March and I'm worried about how the quarter is going without anything compelling to sell from Apple.
Okay, to be fair, I have plenty of compelling stuff to sell that's on order from Apple; the company just can't deliver. TiBooks? I've got 200 people waiting and I get six a week. 733MHz G4s? I've got 75 waiting on those. And despite Apple's claim that these machines are shipping, it can't tell me when I will see even one of those. That one hurts the most. Most 733s are going as a whole system, with monitor, extra RAM, etc. – but no CPU, no ship. So I sit on that inventory and hope the customer doesn't cancel the whole order. They just love the answer, "I have no idea when your order will be in."
I guess that Steve's answer to all this is to light one up. Okay, I haven't seen one in person (Tokyo is not in the budget this quarter), but I haven't heard many positive reactions to Flower Power or Blue Dalmatian. They seem to be an attempt to distract us from the fact that the new iMacs aren't new. A few more megahertz, CD-RW and slightly better graphics – and a higher entry-level price point. This isn't that new. I have sold a lot of external CD-RW drives in the past and now I can kiss that margin goodbye. And you can't add an external DVD drive to make up for that switch. This is going to increase sales how?
And speaking of margin, Apple has lowered our margin on the iMacs. Yes, lowered them. Not that they were high before, but now I'm making even less. Instead of making almost no money on the lowest-end iMac, I now make almost no money on all the iMacs! Margin starts at four points on the low end and climb all the way to five and a half as you step up in the line. But hey, we'll make that up in volume. Everyone wants Flower Power, right? Right?
And don't get me started on the Cube. Those, I have for sale. Anybody? Bueller? Hey, US$300 for 64MB would have been a good deal five years ago ... but today Apple has a fabulous deal: Am I the only one who has noticed that the only difference between the US$1299 Cube and the US$1599 Cube is the CD-RW drive and 64MB of RAM? And that you can swap out the CD-RW drive for a DVD drive at no cost? That means that the 64MB of RAM is costing you US$300! Damn, I wish I could get away with that in my store.
So, what should Apple do to help us poor schmucks ... um, dealers? A truly new iMac would be a start. Our favorite naked friend says to expect new iMacs this summer. I'm guessing that they will be announced at the NECC2001 show in June. That would be good timing for the education buyers, and would give Steve something to talk about in his first-ever Chicago keynote.
So just in case Mr. Jobs is a closet MacEdition reader, here's my iMac wish list:
- An iMac with a larger monitor. This one is a must. The iMac is so popular because it is an all-in-one solution. And 15" monitors are so low-end.
- An integrated TV system. Stevie, sometimes you need turn your brain off. It's perfect for dorms, kids' rooms, etc. (My kid has a PowerMac with an ATI card and TV tuner. It works great.)
- Standard audio in and out ports. Want the iMac/iTunes combo to be part of a music system? It's got to plug straight in. No funky USB or FireWire adapters, please.
- DVD drives. Use those combo DVD-ROM/CD-RW drives in the high-end iMacs. It will make people step up. Again, perfect for the dorms, kids' rooms, etc.
- Dolby Surround sound. Sell more Apple-branded speakers. Do you watch your DVDs on a stereo setup? I didn't think so. Your customers would also appreciate the chance to step up to surround sound – the difference is amazing. Harman/Kardon can help you with some nice four- or five-speaker designs.
Apple has to lead in audio and video. It's not doing that now. And colored plastics are so late 90s.