Last week, Mac enthusiasts seized upon the opportunity presented by the CNET News.com Poll, "Is iMac the answer for Apple?" to make their voices heard. A resounding 70 percent answered "yes."
The informal poll, along with strong early sales, shows that the enthusiasm the futuristic computer has inspired is not just hype. Almost all respondents credited Apple for its groundbreaking design and color scheme, just as most voiced their concerns about the iMac's lack of floppy drive and the inability to upgrade the hardware.
"Will Mac beat Wintel? Of course not, but is the Mac here to stay? Decidedly so," responded the pragmatic Aureliano Sanchez-Aurango, who noted rather poetically: "It's refreshing, like a splash of cool mint on a hot August day."
Those who answered "no" to the poll generally cautioned that the iMac was only one in a series of steps for the computer maker on its road to recovery.
A good portion of readers swept up in the hype surrounding the launch of the iMac recalled the glory days of Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak in a garage, and compared the iMac hoopla to the original Mac craze.
"Can you imagine the look on a child's face when Daddy buys him or her a Compaq Presario when they have been wanting an iMac? Ain't gonna happen," fantasized Mitch Parks. "Daddys can't take that look. The iMac craze is only the beginning."
Still, other readers commented that although the iMac's teal color scheme was trendy and eye-catching, it would not single-handedly bring Apple's market share back into the double digits.
"The iMac is not 'the' answer, but as a significant stride in what is obviously a good direction, the iMac is clearly a large part of the correct answer for Apple," wrote reader Eddie Williams, in a bet-hedging response.
Not everyone exhibited hesitation in bashing the newest Apple product: "It's the same old, overpriced, behind-the-curve Apple, I'm afraid."
One Zen-like reader turned the tables on the traditional poll response: "iMac is not the answer. More importantly, it is the question."
For more reader responses, see the following page.
Following is a sample of reader responses to the NEWS.COM Poll.
Keeping the faith
"I can't imagine a better first step. The anticipation, the pre-sales, that design--it's magic."
"The iMac is the right computer and answer for Apple right now, because
after three profitable quarters, the media bulldogging of Apple is still
high. Selling 800,000 or more of the iMacs will force all of the industry
'analysts' to think different (pun intended) about the so-called impending
doom of Apple computer."
"Apple is going to sell at least a million iMac's in '98. If they introduce
designer colors for kids, teenagers, etc. they will sell twice or three times
as many. You heard it here first."
--William L. Slager
"Apple's iMac is a lead-up to product and I would not be too hasty to judge
it. Apple's mission for the future has in my opinion not been realized.
iMac is the head of great things to come. Keep The Faith!"
"Despite cynical reports from the press (which I believe is mostly of the
Wintel camp), the iMac seems to be an appropriate move on Apple's part.
Their forays into the consumer market have always been on-target and the
iMac is no different. The skepticism shown by market analysts seems to me
"If Apple can follow this one up with a very PC-like Mac with the PCI
slots, standard SCSI ports along with the USB, expansion bays and a floppy
drive for $999, it will get a large PC-following."
"The iMac could appeal to more markets than the pundits initially expect.
The inclusion of fast Ethernet in a consumer machine is particularly
forward thinking, as ADSL and cable modems roll-out to home users."
"Leaves a lot to be desired"
"The iMac will gain the same fate as the original Mac...suffering from inflexibility. The consumer will be trapped by Apple's greed syndrome which will force buyers to upgrade or add components that are only available from Apple at highly inflated prices. I look at Apple now as a trying to imitate Gillette. Sell the razor at cost or below (loss leader) and try to make money on the blades!"
"The Imac will sell, but Apple still lacks a stable OS; they should have
waited till OS X was ready and hit the market with a two-pronged attack.
Now people will say, sure, it's fast and cheap, but can I run software on it
and have advance features that Win/98/NT does?"
"Apple seem to have a habit of rolling out innovative technologies and
stating that it will blow away the competition only to see it fail. They
should stick to what they do best, supporting the design and graphics
industry rather than spending vast sums of money on the unobtainable dream
of 'a Mac in every home.'"
"Who was the bozo who left out the floppy drive! How do I back-up my needed
documents if the silly machine decides to quit? How do I save my shareware
and freeware programs? How many more expensive add-ons will I have to buy
to get the $1,299 iMac to equal a sub-$1,000 PC? Is anyone hearing ME!"
"The iMac is a gimmick computer without any real substance."
"Personally, I think the iMac just won't do it for Apple. The iMac was a
very innovative product, but I think it will only be carried by two types
of people: The extreme Apple loyalists and the people who are intrigued by
its flashy design, but don't have a lot of knowledge about computers. The
reason that other technically savvy people will probably not buy into the
iMac is because it really leaves a lot to be desired."