Brace yourselves for some wheely bad puns in the comments
Well, someone had to start :-)
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 …
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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.
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.
*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!
"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.
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.
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.
*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...
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.)
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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