back to article That's how we roll: OWC savagely undercuts Apple's $699 Mac Pro wheels with bargain $199 alternative

Apple's $699 Mac Pro Wheel Kit provoked astonishment from the general public, swiftly followed by raucous laughter. Even by Apple's standards, these were a blatant piss-take. Fortunately, there's now an alternative for thrifty punters from Mac accessory biz OWC that costs "just" $199. Yes, $199 is still a lot of money. You can …

  1. xpz393

    Brace yourselves for some wheely bad puns in the comments

    Well, someone had to start :-)

    1. Andy Non Silver badge

      Re: Brace yourselves for some wheely bad puns in the comments

      Keep it up, you're on a roll.

      1. hakuli

        Re: Brace yourselves for some wheely bad puns in the comments

        I'll never get tired of things like this, and even if I do I'm sure I'll come back round eventually...

    2. DJV Silver badge

      Re: Brace yourselves for some wheely bad puns in the comments

      You "spoke" too soon.

      1. TeeCee Gold badge
        Coat

        Re: Brace yourselves for some wheely bad puns in the comments

        These puns are tyreing and nut very funny.

        1. Symon Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Brace yourselves for some wheely bad puns in the comments

          Never mind, I expect you're bearing up.

        2. Lee D Silver badge

          Re: Brace yourselves for some wheely bad puns in the comments

          It's just the pressure getting to you.

        3. jake Silver badge

          Re: Brace yourselves for some wheely bad puns in the comments

          That comment was rather flat. What an axle.

    3. Korev Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Brace yourselves for some wheely bad puns in the comments

      Wheel bet there will be a few more of these...

      1. Chris G Silver badge

        Re: Brace yourselves for some wheely bad puns in the comments

        Wheel never tire of making shiny things for our fans to buy.

        Depending on which side of the pond you are Harbor Freight or B&Q sell those nice little furniture moving platforms for less than twenty smackeroonies.

  2. Jon Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

    Pretty lax of Apple, I'm sure the next version will have a proprietary wheel connector than they can sue anyone for replicating.

    1. Symon Silver badge
      Coat

      Don't the wheels have rounded corners?

  3. Dave 126 Silver badge

    They're only wheels, they're not essential. Nobody has to buy them.

    But yeah, does anyone make a PC case with Meccano-spaced holes? You could even use a Mammod traction engine to power the fan via a belt.

    1. Humpty McNumpty

      They should...

      1. David 132 Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        I want to live in a world where you have to pour methylated spirits into your computer and give it time to come to a boil before you can do any work. And one of those brass spinning-ball governors on the top would be perfect!

        1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

          For at least twenty years, there's been talk on-off about putting a fuel cell into a, um, cell phone. Then just add fuel. But most of the market is happy with "just add electricity". And yet the opposite with cars... Anyway, you aren't wishing for a fuel cell, you want to forget Steve Jobs and own a personal computer designed by Charles Babbage. The inventor of "not shipping on schedule".

          But his machines were generally operated by a crank.

          Well, so were Steve Jobs's.

  4. simonlb
    Unhappy

    Still Overpriced

    For a set of castors it's still stupid money. You'd be better off getting a custom skateboard and strapping the computer to that. Would also look way cooler.

    1. Steven Raith

      Re: Still Overpriced

      To be fair, for a low volume, presumably high quality (or at least, good enough for the company it keeps) set of castors where people along the design process need to be paid, tooling set up, etc I can see it being pricey to set up for* - economies of scale and all that. I don't imagine they'll be expecting to sell 100k of them.

      I'd put a shiny penny on OWC making at least 100% margin on these though, easily. Likely more.

      Kudos to them - if they can completely take the piss and make money off them, I suppose they win regardless.

      Steven R

      *my old man worked in manufacturing and engineering maintenance - some of the costs of dies and machining and generally tooling up for production, even in an existing manufacturing environment, can be eyeopening and eyewatering...

      Edit: Having had a look at the OWC kit, it looks more sensibly engineered than the Apple ones too - pretty much tool-less. I think OWC might actually have earned that $200-250!

      1. nematoad Silver badge
        Stop

        Re: Still Overpriced

        "Kudos to them - if they can completely take the piss and make money off them,"

        Funny that you should say that. I was looking at it the other way and thinking that it was Apple taking the piss and being unjustly rewarded.

        Though I was not thinking that any kudos should be given to Apple. It's just the standard modus operandi . Take all you can and give nothing, or in this case very little, back.

        God! A set of castors for nearly £590.

        Just greedy bastards in my opinion but I suppose some Apple fans will have sucked it up and bought the bloody things.

      2. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Still Overpriced

        There are loads of examples of seemingly simple things that are purchased by companies and cost stpid amounts of money. The companies just pay the prices.

        For ordinary folk buying stuff for home, I got a "Roughneck Dolly" from Wickes. Which is not a sex toy, but a four wheeled load skate for moving large bits of furniture. Cost £10, 200kg capacity.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "Roughneck Dolly" from Wickes. Which is not a sex toy,

          And do you normally expect to find sex toys in Wickes?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "Roughneck Dolly" from Wickes. Which is not a sex toy,

            I always thought those small triangular detail sanders looked a bit dodgy.

            1. TeeCee Gold badge
              Alert

              Re: "Roughneck Dolly" from Wickes. Which is not a sex toy,

              Really? You've not noticed those paint mixing things that go in a drill yet then?

          2. jonathan keith Silver badge

            Re: "Roughneck Dolly" from Wickes. Which is not a sex toy,

            Well, there's always this:

            SFW image

          3. WolfFan Silver badge

            Re: "Roughneck Dolly" from Wickes. Which is not a sex toy,

            If you can’t, you’re not trying hard enough.

          4. David 132 Silver badge

            Re: "Roughneck Dolly" from Wickes. Which is not a sex toy,

            Anything is a sex toy if you’re brave/kinky enough.

            1. Chris G Silver badge

              Re: "Roughneck Dolly" from Wickes. Which is not a sex toy,

              "Anything is a sex toy"

              Good luck with that Taser and lubed cattle prod!

              1. TeeCee Gold badge
                Coat

                Re: "Roughneck Dolly" from Wickes. Which is not a sex toy,

                Have we met?

          5. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "Roughneck Dolly" from Wickes. Which is not a sex toy,

            I'm always looking for my roughneck dolly

  5. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

    Sheets of PTFE

    If I think a rack or something might have to become itinerant, I will put a 1cm thick sheet of PTFE under it before loading it up with equipment. Then I can slide it about the lab without needing, say, a rugby team to help me out.

    1. NorthIowan

      Re: Sheets of PTFE

      Similar to "Sliding Robots" at Menard's or "Magic Moving Sliders" at Harbor Freight. Every home should have a box.

      With them I can move a heavy hid-a-bed couch on a carpeted floor by myself. The couch is heavy enough that I only pick up one corner at a time. But that is all you need to do to put a slider under each leg.

  6. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

    Lifetime warranty eh?

    *scratches chin thoughtfully*

    I wonder how specific the clauses are?

    For that money I'd truly consider using them for something prone to having high wheel wear so that I'd get the best value for money out of them.

    That said all I can think of is my office chair or maybe attach them to the welded steel frame I've got in the drive for a mobile workbench...

    1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      Re: Lifetime warranty eh?

      Warranty lasts for the lifetime of you, or the wheels, whichever is the shorter

      1. joesomeone
        Thumb Up

        Re: Lifetime warranty eh?

        I don't know about OWC today, as the last time I dealt with them was when they were selling Gateway Destination TVs faster than they could stock them. Back then their warranty was basically no quibble and their support team excellent, as long as you were honest. (Meaning you weren't trying to pull shit over them.)

  7. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    And yet...

    five replacement wheely chair wheels can be obtained from the bay for under a tenner, including postage.

    1. Jon 37

      Re: And yet...

      The difference is that wheely chair wheels have a standard connection, allowing mass production and competition between wheel-makers to drive down prices. Apple chose not to put that standard connection on their Mac Pro.

      So OWC have had to produce an adaptor consisting of two CNC-cut pieces of stainless steel, each threaded, and each with a different piece of plastic attached to them. There are four of those adaptors in the kit, one for each wheel. This is being sold in relatively small quantities, so the custom adaptor will be expensive. It looks like OWC are using standard mass-produced wheels, the adaptor is the expensive part.

      1. Mongrel

        Re: And yet...

        From one of the more sensible Mac enthusiasts, Snazzy Labs. He collaborated with a viewer and made available a set of 3d printed adaptors for the Mac Pro feet so you can use whichever castor suits you for a lot less.

        Doesn't look as good but considerably less outlay

        https://youtu.be/t4HPq-tEYWY?t=54

        1. RM Myers Silver badge
          Happy

          Doesn't look as good but considerably less outlay

          But..but..isn't that the whole point of spending mucho money on a professional workstation - having it look good? Shirley you wouldn't buy a computer with this much power to actually get work done!

  8. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Pint

    Still taking the piss

    I'd go for four of these

    https://www.diy.com/departments/diall-dolly-150kg-capacity/1530965_BQ.prd Under £4.00 a pop.

    and be done with it..

    Apple making the things from unobtanium was just the last straw. mind you, the OWC option is still far too expensive.

    almost time for a nice pint of Harvey's Best. It if Friday after all.

    1. Dr. Vagmeister

      Re: Still taking the piss

      Those b4st4rds at Greene King have reduced the 10x500ml pack to 8x500ml pack, for the same price.

      1. PTW

        Re: Those b4st4rds

        You could have just stopped at Greene King

        1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: Those b4st4rds

          or kept going & found a better hostelry from a different pub chain.....

          1. Paul Greavy

            Re: Those b4st4rds

            How times have changed. Forty-odd years ago I was weaned on Greene King bitter. The town was full of their pubs and the majors could barely manage a token presence in the same of such quality competition.

  9. Warm Braw Silver badge

    There's 360˚ of rotation

    That is, to be honest, my minimum expectation of a wheel, even if it is a "bargain".

    1. laughthisoff

      Re: There's 360˚ of rotation

      I presume they mean laterally (i.e. 'swivel')? But your comment made me properly lol. Thank you! Many images of wheels that only do 359˚ now in my head. :-)

      1. shedied

        Re: There's 360˚ of rotation

        You are referring to the wheels used on shopping carts, always ordered in bulk and guaranteed to work, but fixed in that 1˚ (the direction you're not going)

        1. Mike Moyle Silver badge

          Re: There's 360˚ of rotation

          Back in the late '80s - early '90s, when the family was exiled out in Los Angeles, all of the grocery store chains supplied carts on which all four wheels were steerable. It took a short time to get used to but the convenience of being able to just pull the cart 90º to the side when some obliviot was barreling down the aisle in one's direction made one an instant convert.

          Having to settle for the old, less-maneuverable style of cart was the hardest adjustment to make on moving back to the east coast. I have to assume that the extra couple of dollars' cost of installing two extra swiveling casters is the reason that they seem never to have caught on out here, but I DO miss having them.

          1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

            Re: There's 360˚ of rotation

            Shopping carts seem to be slightly cheaper than bicycles, so not a trivial expense, but in the United Kingdom I don't think I've seen a cart that wasn't intended to be four-wheel drive. These days they even all touch the ground - unless you have one with a "Denver boot" built-in and activated.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shopping_cart mentions this as a US-Europe difference and related to "smaller retail premises in Europe" where a cart with too wide a "turning circle" would be a problem.

            I was going to guess that someone "getting used to" four-wheel freedom had an accident and sued the store.

            Though in the time of coronavirus, not allowing customers to turn around may be a boon. In fact, I think I shopped faster when (now discontinued) our large supermarkets converted aisles to one-way travel, with a side effect that to get to everywhere that you wanted in a store, it was simplest to go up and down -every- aisle. In fact... I really, really should just do that.

        2. hoola Bronze badge

          Re: There's 360˚ of rotation

          And all at slightly different offset of 1 degree. Then add in the special wheel wobble that shake the entire trolley, the oval wheel that occasionally sticks........

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: There's 360˚ of rotation

          Amstrad has seen an opportunity

  10. Andy Miller

    Do they do monitor stands as well?

    1. jonathan keith Silver badge

      Do they do wheeled monitor stands?

  11. 0laf Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    How much would it cost to hire a lacky to move the thing for you?

    £15 a pop (assuming 1:1 for £:$ as usual).

    That's 46 whole moves and one part way for £700.

    How often do you move your damn PC anyway?

    1. Geoffrey W

      RE: "How often do you move your damn PC anyway?"

      If you own a Mac Pro you probably take it everywhere you go so that everyone can marvel at the awesome human critter you are.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Finally.....

    ....someone told Apple to go swivel.....

    ...and these will probably be better - i mean axle....

  13. DenTheMan

    Wheels will never fall off

    ...Apples money making schemes.

    If Apple made cars the tyres would be security chipped immobilising rubber that has not paid the Apple tax.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wheels will never fall off

      Messing with a car's features long after a car has been bought is 'owned' by Tesla.

      They reserve the right to basically brick your car any time they please.

      Try to fast charge a crashed Tesla and even if you have paid several thousand $$$$ to get it certified safe you can't do anything but slow AC charging.

      That is the way of the future people. Get used to it.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Wheels will never fall off

        Your future, perhaps. Not mine.

  14. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge
    Holmes

    patent-pending design

    Is it a tray with a wheel at each corner? AKA a trolley, or even a skateboard.

    And they say patent quality is getting worse.

    1. joesomeone
      Meh

      Re: patent-pending design

      I'd suspect the patent is a "D" patent, or a design patent. Doesn't take too much. Design a different molding for a power cord and ta-da, "patented design".

      A quick search at the USPTO doesn't come up with anything new from them.

      I can't help but notice that the thing above the castor looks like a slip-on twist nut.

      Perhaps a tad bigger is all.

      1. RM Myers Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: patent-pending design

        Ah yes, design patents. Rounded corners, anyone? They may be "D" for design, but the patent office should get an "F" for fail when they approve some of these.

        1. joesomeone
          Facepalm

          Re: patent-pending design

          Looks like I'm not that far off on the split nut design.

          What I don't get is why you would spend $200 on casters because $700 was too much, and yet... the kit comes with wheel chocks to prevent unintended rolling. (Scroll down a bit, they don't use HTML anchors.)

          Thought this shit could only be made up in Hollywood. Guess that and in Apple Jeamland.

  15. A random security guy Bronze badge

    Has anyone IRL tried the apple wheels?

    Seriously. I was thinking of ordering them, writing a review of them, checking how it improved the performance of my computer, and then returning them.

  16. Maximum Delfango Bronze badge
    Pint

    Doesn't matter if design was perfected at dawn of humankind, you still have to pay Cupertino tax

    Whoever wrote this is a star.

  17. jake Silver badge

    I swear this isn't me ...

    After posting this comment, I ran a quickie business plan past my Wife. She agreed that it would be profitable (even if we sold one, single, solitary unit we'd profit), but she noted that our lawyers were smaller than Apple's lawyers and didn't really feel like playing that game for just a few thousand bucks. As she put it "Honestly, how many idiots do you think there are out there, anyway? Even with good advertising, we'd probably only sell a couple dozen units, max."

    She's probably right, as usual.

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