I think Thresher might be onto something. I still long for the day that they don't necessarily release the $1500 tower that Apple had in its lineup from 1998 all the way through 2003. And prior to that, they'd had sub-$2000 (significantly sub-$2000, like $1799 and lower) Power Macintoshes (read: expandable boxes, not necessarily towers) going all the way back to the PowerMac 6100*. It was only when Apple killed the $1299 single-CPU 1.25GHz G4 in June of 2004 that all Power Mac prices were $1999 on up. So apparently they were successful before, as Apple's marketshare and profitability had been steadily increasing pretty much since 1998.
But you gotta remember, Jobs was the guy who in 1982, 1983 said the "Macintosh" (still a codename at that point) had to be an appliance with no expandability and it wasn't until he was summarily tossed out of the company in 1985 that they could even start designing expandable machines like the Mac Plus.
*I'd like to thank MacTracker
for the pricing information.
This is similar to our discussion on the Macbook and Firewire. Again, it's just something Jobs insists on with no real reasoning. While I applaud Jobs for turning the company into a money maker, at the same time, I've seen too many of these things where he has unneccesarily hamstrung the company. He comes out with some kick ass products, but then leaves gaping holes in his product line. He comes out with products that include some things that others don't, but then at the same time doesn't include something that is standard on the competition.
Apple is truly Jobs company. It is a living avatar for his id. Sometimes his id is creatively brilliant. Other times it's petty, childlish, and capricious. He did rescue the company, but if you really look at what was causing their problems back then, it was Jobs insistance on hiring somebody who had no understanding of computers and the leadership had no grasp of the competition that IBM would unleash. By the time they got rid of Jobs, then John Sculley, it was nip and tuck whether Apple would survive at all.
I guess I'm in a bit of a funk about Apple right now, but they really have no computers in my present budget that are worth buying. And yet the competition has a multiplicity of competing models priced very attractively. The only things they miss are OS X and Apple's build quality. But even that's tenuous, HP, Lenovo, and Sony all have models that are close to the same level of build quality, although they still miss out on OS X.
With current market conditions, I do not see 2009 as a good year for Apple's computer products. They are in the wrong segments. They are doing the right things with the iPod and its universe, but they are asleep at the wheel with the computer lineup. I suspect that the iMac will limp along fine, but the Mac Pro is going to stop growing market share and will probably retreat. I don't see a lot of good things happening for the Mac Book Pro. At all. The Mac Book may suffer in comparison to other manufacturers because of the price/value quotient. While beautiful, it just isn't a great value. I would not be surprised at all to see the entire MacBook/MacBook Pro lineup have a bad year. Don't even get me started on Apple Cinema Displays.
Ah well, I hope I'm wrong and that Apple has products in the works that will fill the gaps I see in their lineup.
(BTW, I have a marketing degree, so I am not entirely pulling this out of my, er, rear-end. It doesn't make me an expert, but I think these holes are obvious to anyone with a bit of marketing experience).