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Old October 17th, 2013, 12:29 PM   #1
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Where will you purchase the new Mac Pro?

As an Apple reseller - I've noticed a migration of customers away from the video specialist stores like ours to places like the Apple Store.

Now that Apple is about to announce the pricing and configurations for the new Mac Pro, I'm curious if video professionals will return to their previous Pro Video resellers, or if they will simply purchase systems through Apple directly (or online box houses).

Please take a moment to express your plans/opinions on where you shop for "professional" Apple gear. (I know that is a loaded expression - thus the quotations.)

Allan Barnwell
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Old October 17th, 2013, 06:42 PM   #2
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Re: Where will you purchase the new Mac Pro?

Respectfully, I think more and more people have gone the Apple or regular retailer route since the "systems integrator" became less mandatory as we moved away from internal PCI card-based solutions for drive bays, IO and the like. Setting up a Mac Tower with internal cards was certainly an exercise in frustration back in the day. Now that MOST (if not ALL in the case of some folks) devices are controllable via Firewire, USB or ThunderBolt the perceived risks in setting up a stable edit bay are lower.

If I was setting up a CURRENT Mac Pro tower with internal cards, I'd definitely go with a video specialist systems integrator and I would EXPECT that system to work flawlessly - that's why I'm paying an integrator. With the upcoming mac "Pro", if I buy one, I'll buy it from Apple.

My 2 cents.

BTW, my first edit computer was a G3 B&W 450MHz running MacOS9.0.2 (upgraded from OS8.6) and FCP 1.2.5 (Upgraded from 1.0.2 - I still have the install disc!) that was built by a systems integrator and it had 2 graphics cards and a SCSI controller internally running the 3 Barracuda 9GB SCSI-2 drives I paid a small fortune for... I eventually installed my own ATA66 30GB hard drive and another 128 MB of ram when prices came down. Oh and I got lucky that the install of my ProTools Digi001 PCI controller card went seamlessly as well when I did that. My last two edit bays have been iMacs and I'm more than capable of configuring those with external IO (Matrox MXO2LE) and hard drives.

If I switch to a PC based AVID system, I'll be calling in the pros again.

Hope this insight helps.
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Old October 18th, 2013, 04:05 AM   #3
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Re: Where will you purchase the new Mac Pro?

Hi Allan

I have been thinking about your question since this morning, while I finished a university essay. That is done and I want to offer some advice on the underlying assumptions of your question.

I have worked in retail both for myself and others in small and large businesses for over twenty years I guess in one form or another, so I feel that I get where you are coming from.

My first suggestion is that you should read the only business book I have ever recommended to anyone, it is called "The Art of Profitability" by Adrian Slywotsky. It is an older book now and may be harder to find, but I managed to get it on audiobook. It is a wonderful exposť on the way businesses make profits. Not just selling something for more than it cost, but the models they use to generate profits.

The book covers 23 different models in a list that is not exhaustive. As soon as you started to ask your question, I saw that you were asking about the "Solution Profit Model". You make your money by providing the solution to your customers needs.

Sure I can go to the Apple Store and spend $5000 on a new Mac Pro for editing, but if it takes three or for days to set it up and even then I am still not sure it is working correctly and maybe I break some component along the way and have to buy another and end up spending $5200 or more. But if I know that I can go and see Allan Barnwell down at Omega Broadcast Group and get everything I want perfectly set up by a guy who stands behind what he sells, then I am going to pony up the $6500 and walk away a happy customer who is straight into editing and making money with his new business tool.

This is the essence of the solution profit model.

With the move to more people editing on all-in-one desktops like the iMac (which is me as well) there is less of a solution required because there is less configuration required and it can all be done on the Apple web site at the time of purchase (sorry).

So, my point is really, there is less of a solution you can provide, so the solution profit model will not hold up as a way to sell Apple computers in your store.

You will need to look for a new paradigm for selling these devices, or consider whether you continue to do so.

I am not trying to sound harsh, just offering a different perspective. Apple are very good at exploiting their profit model and I suggest you have a read of the book and work out which one they use.
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Old October 18th, 2013, 06:06 AM   #4
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Re: Where will you purchase the new Mac Pro?

It has become too expensive to buy at the local Apple store. Sales tax near 10% kills. I can get a new decked out Mac Pro from out of State and save hundreds of dollars and have it delivered to my office in 3 days.

I have an Mac guy come in and set it all up, or I can still take it to the local genius bar and have them set it up and migrate data at no charge.

An Apple store purchase experience brings nothing to the table for me.
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Old October 18th, 2013, 09:38 AM   #5
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Re: Where will you purchase the new Mac Pro?

These are some great comments so far - I really appreciate the feedback.

Some observations and further questions:

(1) Let's assume all things being equal (price, sales tax, time to receive the item), who would you rather purchase Apple equipment from for the purpose of video production/editing/streaming?

(2) Observation: resellers like myself can sell below the price that Apple sells at the Apple Store, AND depending on the sales tax laws of the state you are in (Texas has the Film and Video Production exemption) , resellers don't need to charge sales tax if the purchaser qualifies - something Apple refuses to honor in their stores or online except for education and non-profit entities.

(3) Do you want to be able to get all the gear you are purchasing in one place if the pricing is the same?

From my vantage point, there seem to be many reasons for customers to pick purchasing through video resellers for not only the value-add, but also simply for economic reasons. It seems like more of an awareness issue and competing against the Apple Store brand.

Comments?


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Old October 18th, 2013, 09:49 AM   #6
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Re: Where will you purchase the new Mac Pro?

I'm not in the States....but I have always bought my Apple computers (current tally 2 Mac Book Pros and one 8-core Mac Pro Nehalem at the moment) from a well know UK Apple reseller who also does video gear too, Jigsaw24).

Savings over the Apple store price have been pretty significant, especially if you wait for offers (for example my very high spec, near enough maxed out MBP Retina was £390 cheaper than the Apple Store Price when bought a few months ago).

I also bought an iPad Mini last November from a major UK Department Store, John Lewis, as it was the same price as from the Apple store but came with a 2-year guarantee, not one.

The only Apple product I bought directly from Apple's on-line store was my unlocked iPhone 5 as there was no price differential when bought 6 months ago...I have no 5S envy BTW!

Not sure if this helps with your specific questions - but at least it's one more perspective!
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Old October 18th, 2013, 11:39 PM   #7
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Re: Where will you purchase the new Mac Pro?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Allan Barnwell View Post
(3) Do you want to be able to get all the gear you are purchasing in one place if the pricing is the same?

From my vantage point, there seem to be many reasons for customers to pick purchasing through video resellers for not only the value-add, but also simply for economic reasons. It seems like more of an awareness issue and competing against the Apple Store brand.

Comments?
My 2nd last iMac I now recall was bought from my former pro video dealer in my former city as well. I paid a slight premium over what Apple was charging at the Apple store.

IF I could buy my computer for the same price at a retailer that UNDERSTANDS video the way I do (as opposed to people who fool around with iMovie or are getting their feet wet with FCPX with zero need for IO or external devices), no question I'd support my local video house.

SAVE money?? SOLD!
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Old October 22nd, 2013, 03:58 PM   #8
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Re: Where will you purchase the new Mac Pro?

Allan - Running a business is really tough these days so I can understand your question about what makes buyers tick. For what it's worth, I also ran a retail business with a small service department for many years. Still own the building and I remember the good times. The business helped us to buy the property and construct a new building and justify getting a Cessna 172 to fly to trade shows in San Francisco and Las Vegas. The business was a lot of work but a good nest egg builder.

Things have changed since then. The Internet makes finding out about products and shopping for price easier and UPS/FedEx/DHL make getting it easier. What is difficult to do via distance is to solve problems, be they operational (how do you do [fill in the blank]) or troubleshoot and repair problems. Sure, some big Internet retailers can help with a few of those things but they are few and far between. Most of them are only interested in making the sale and getting your money. Once they got the money they don't want to talk to you. Hey, airlines included!

Consumers think that because they bought it new there will never be any problems, but there will be. Sometimes it's out of the box and other times it's later down the road. A Mac Pro isn't your iPad, it's a business machine. A work horse. A fast work horse. A machine with a lot of components. Getting everything so they run smoothly when they run is important, and after the sale service when some little thing is causing a glitch (a chain is only as strong as its weakest link) it's nice to be able to talk to someone who understands it and can help finding a solution.

Because the Mac Pros are going to be more specialized I think that is where the servicing retailer will be able to compete.

For myself, I've been down the Commodore 64 route when they first came out. Used to sell them and also used one in our business. Got a high-end Apple computer in '89 but since then every computer except for the iMac (got the first day it came out) has been a hand-me-down. I'd like to upgrade my MP 3,1 early 2008 but since I don't need so much speed (taking it easy these days) what I'd like to do is find a used Mac, probably from someone who is buying the new one. Ditto the MBP.

If I did video commercially I'd opt for a new machine but being a video hobbyist I'm okay with second best. My current Mac Pro is a beautiful machine and I'd really hate to give it up. Keep the video card clean of lint and keep on going.

Speaking of lint, the video card was upgraded (that's one way to keep it clean!), has a SSD, two hard drives, RAM increased, and I'll be looking for a RAID system in a couple months.

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Old October 22nd, 2013, 05:07 PM   #9
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Re: Where will you purchase the new Mac Pro?

As of today, we now have the pricing for the two base models of the new Mac Pro - $2,999 and $3,999.

They'll be assembled here in Austin - so as the local video dealer - I feel warm and fuzzy.

Since Final Cut X supports XAVC natively, I can package these with Sony F55's and F5's (or Blackmagic 4K camera) and the upcoming AJA 4K thunderbolt box with a Seiki 4K monitor for a great 4K edit system.

Being able to put all this together (and let customers come put their hands on it before buying) is where I think a reseller like us really outshines the Apple Store (not to mention beating them on price).

Anyway - I appreciate everyone taking the time to view and comment on this thread so far. I think this topic is not just beneficial to a reseller like myself, but also helps remind purchasers they have options out there.

Without your support, Apple will continue to deauthorize resellers like me.

Thanks,

Allan Barnwell
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Old October 23rd, 2013, 06:46 AM   #10
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Re: Where will you purchase the new Mac Pro?

Allan - Speaking of support, I've had some experience with our "local" Apple stores in Seattle at University Village and the one in Tacoma. I've only been to the Tacoma one twice so maybe that is not as good of a measure.

Anyway, I would give them good marks for helping me troubleshoot some hardware and software issues that I've had over the years but when it comes to FCPX they have not been any real help. The University Village store has a huge staff and it is nearly always packed with customers. I'll interject something here: The Microsoft store is just across the parking lot and I've seen comparatively few customers there. Note that Microsoft is headquartered just a few miles away.

Anyhow, getting back on topic, the U-Village store hardly ever has someone there who is versed in FCPX. When I find someone I get their card and the next time I go there I'm told they're no longer are on the staff. Granted, I don't go there very often, but still, you'd think there'd be someone. Using the video applications and knowing about the equipment that is needed go hand-in-hand so this is where you'd be way ahead of the game.

How many resellers, nation-wide, are in your situation? Perhaps some networking to help each other out, if that is possible. Sharing information "internally" among a small group would be a way to protect one's customer base. Maybe coming up with troubleshooting diagrams and I would assume that using something like Omni Graffle OmniGraffle - The Omni Group to make flowcharts would be useful.

One thing for sure, making good video is highly technical and the technology has been constantly changing. With the movement toward 3D and 4K it just keeps right on going and I'm positive, knowing what I know about them, that the Apple people at U-Village who were fluent in FCPX went on to greener pastures.
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Old October 23rd, 2013, 04:22 PM   #11
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Re: Where will you purchase the new Mac Pro?

In Norway their are no big difference about where to buy. Allthough if you buy from an Apple Retail store its easier to hand it in if somethings is wrong. Never had to do that my self, since I always figure it out on my own.

But at least here in Norway, if you can't wait, like me, apple.com is the fastest.
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Old November 19th, 2013, 09:11 AM   #12
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Re: Where will you purchase the new Mac Pro?

For those interested - we have the 16GB wireless-only iPad Air in stock.

Allan Barnwell
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Old December 19th, 2013, 09:08 AM   #13
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Buy your Mac Pro here in Austin today!

As Tim Cook tweeted yesterday - the Mac Pro is rolling off the assembly line here in Austin and goes on sale today.

We are an Austin based dealer. Does that mean anything? Not really - but it does make me proud!

I'd love to give you a great deal and some expert knowledge when you purchase your new Mac Pro from Omega Broadcast Group.

Come and get 'em!

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Old December 20th, 2013, 03:43 AM   #14
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Re: Where will you purchase the new Mac Pro?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Allan Barnwell View Post

(2) Observation: resellers like myself can sell below the price that Apple sells at the Apple Store, AND depending on the sales tax laws of the state you are in (Texas has the Film and Video Production exemption) , resellers don't need to charge sales tax if the purchaser qualifies - something Apple refuses to honor in their stores or online except for education and non-profit entities.
As a point of interest, in California we have the Section 6378 partial tax exemption for post production, and Apple honors this both at the stores (via their Business division) and when you buy online, although via a rebate after the sale.
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Old December 21st, 2013, 03:03 PM   #15
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Re: Where will you purchase the new Mac Pro?

That's good to know that they will recognize the tax exemption in California - though you are only eligible if you are a business.

In Texas, any individual (no business necessary) can claim the Texas Production Exemption. But Apple Stores won't accept this - and an individual can't purchase through the business division.

So in Texas, if you want to take advantage of that exemption up front - you need to go through a reseller (like Omega Broadcast Group)

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