The New G5 iMac...Make Mine Wireless!

by Chuck Toporek

This morning's announcement of the new G5 iMac was, well, expected and overdue (especially since we knew the iMac supply chain dried up months ago). The new design looks great and I hope it brings lots more Mac users into the fold and makes Apple scads more cash. But one thing that seems like a glaring miscue is that AirPort cards and Bluetooth continue to be options. Why?

Apple's mantra for the past year or so has been "wireless-this" and "wireless-that", and you'd think that AirPort and Bluetooth are vital a parts of that chant. We have Bluetooth keyboards and mice, the AirPort Extreme Base Station, and the new AirPort Express for streaming music or extending your Base Station's range. And it's hard to find a cell phone or PDA these days that doesn't have Bluetooth inside. Apple has continually set the bar high when it comes to hardware, and integrating standard "features" that everyone wants and expects in a desktop computer. You know, basic things like audio in/out, built-in CD/DVD drives, Ethernet, USB, FireWire.

So why not AirPort (802.11b/g wireless) and Bluetooth?

I realize that the iMac is Apple's low-cost consumer model, and that they probably shaved a few bucks off the price by leaving out AirPort cards and Bluetooth modules, but since these are pretty much household terms these days, don't you think it's time to quit making them an option? (It can't really cost Apple $50 to add Bluetooth when they're already providing the slot, and they have the know-how to build-in Bluetooth with the work they've done on the Aluminum PowerBook line.)

Just imagine how sweet those pictures of the new G5 iMac would be if they didn't have wires connecting the keyboard and mouse to the back of the unit. As someone who uses Apple's Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, I can assure you they do a great job (and that I can have fun messing with my wife's PowerBook from the living room when I steal her mouse).

Now close your eyes, and repeat these two words three times:

Wireless. Bluetooth.

Now run up to the rooftop and scream them in the direction of Cupertino. Maybe they'll hear?

Power to the people; make mine wireless. Bring an end to the tether!

Should the new G5 iMac be an entirely wireless, no-option-required consumer Mac?


2004-08-31 18:41:16
The machine (a G5) that sits where I would normally have an iMac happens to have an AirPort card and Bluetooth adaptor installed, but the AirPort card is now superfluous (since I bought an Airport Extreme which has become the base station for my laptop), and the Bluetooth adaptor is something I went out of my way to pick up when I happened to need a new cellphone and decided to pack up on toys.

In other words, I have no need for an AirPort card on my desktop, and the Bluetooth adaptor is a stretch. Why add to the cost/price of every iMac for something that is not commonly needed? Leaving them as options makes perfect sense; they are priced reasonably for those who have a use for them.

2004-08-31 20:40:27
After purchase?
The question I have is, can you add Bluetooth internally after purchase? This isn't an option for current iBooks, you can only get internal BT if you Build to Order. After purchase your only option is a USB Bluetooth dongle.

So can you add BT to a 4G iMac after purchase?

2004-09-01 05:13:25
Ah, so they can price themselves right out of the market
When buyers compare, they will be comparing against machines from the Wintel crowd that don't have these items standard. Making these standard fare in the iMac will crush its margin and make it more out of reach for the typical buyer comparing the two platforms.
2004-09-01 07:40:07
Wireless Mouse
How long does the battery last on your Wireless Mouse from Apple? And what kind of batteries do you use?
2004-09-01 09:23:58
re: Wireless Mouse
Silly questions, but here goes:

  1. How long the batteries last greatly depends on how much I use the keyboard and/or mouse. For example, if I'm playing Halo a lot, I'll burn through batteries a lot faster.

  2. I use the Energizer E2 lithium batteries. Sure, they cost more, but they last longer, even more so than two regular sets of AA batteries.

2004-09-01 09:52:46
re: Ah, so they can price themselves right out of the market
Did Apple price themselves out of the market when they started adding things like Ethernet, USB, and FireWire ports to their Macs when Wintel most systems didn't? Answer: No.

If you're a Mac user, why would you want to compare a Mac against a Wintel machine? Seems kinda silly, really. Macs cost a bit more for a reason: they're better. And what you get inside your Mac works, right out of the box, unlike most Wintel systems. If you're basing your purchasing decision solely on cost, you've got it all wrong.

It's sort of like buying a road bike (bicycle, mind-you). Sure, I could walk down to the local Schwinn shop and pick up some random 10-speed for about $800, or I could make the trek across town and drop $7000 on a Calfee's Dragonfly. Aside from the obvious cost, what's the difference? Basically, two things: quality and components.

You get what you pay for (and I'd much rather go tooling down the road on a lightweight carbon frame with pro-quality components than something that rides like it's been put together by a 10th grade shop class).

2004-09-02 22:48:30
re: Ah, so they can price themselves right out of the market
So perhaps price is no object for you in bikes or computers. (But you work for ORA so that doesn't seem *that* likely). But it's silly to say don't compare on price at all. That attitude got Apple it's 2% market share in the first place. The question is really, would a Windows user consider buying a Mac that cost $500 more for the same setup? That's not chump change to most people. And if that 500 included wireless and Bluetooth that said buyer didn't even want, would that be a wise move?
2004-09-03 00:12:28
re: Ah, so they can price themselves right out of the market
Nice to hear from you, Richard. How's yoga?
2004-09-05 10:27:38
Easy. no.
Not everyone wants wireless components. Think of the children! Seriously in a school having wireless keyboards and mice means something more to walk off. It's bad enough that before optical they'd steal the balls out of them, but now they could just put the mouse in their pocket/backpack and walk out of the room. You'd have to put some kind of tether on both the keyboard and the mouse, giving them a new cable just after removing one.

And in a room of 30 KB and Mice with batteries in them you now have to go out and replace those every 20 - 30 days or so, maybe longer depending on the life you can get out of them.

Now, of course I spent the extra $99 for the KB/Mouse/BT Module combo and added Airport Extreme to my system. But that's what they are there for.

Plus options are how computer companies make their money. Your whole goal when selling something is to sell 50% of the 'pre-built' stuff and 50% of the 'add-ons' which have a higher margin than the systems themselves.

While else do you think it costs so much more to put a second processor in an HP Server than buying a Xeon proc off the web? Because they put 30% markup on the RAM & other parts.

2004-10-28 00:17:46
After purchase? g5 imac and bluetooth
I recnetly got a g5 imac without bluetooth, but would love to add it if it were possible to do INTERNALLY.

I noticed you had a similar question. Did anybody ever find out whether it is possible to add bluetooth INTERNALLY, after purchase, for the new imac g5?

thanks for your time...