The dutch apple news site MacFreak has a small news article about a new european Apple clone maker named PearC. They offer Leopard pre-installed clones in a case that looks quite similar to the MacPro cases, but not really. Their argument for creating and distributing the clones is that the Apple EULA isn't valid in europe because it cannot be read in advance (before opening the package). That's an interesting take on a legal tidbit, and I leave it up to Apple, PearC and the EU to judge if this is indeed true.
But that's not the point of my post. I discussed this with a good friend and co-geek before, and what is noticable is that there is a huge gap in the Apple line-up. Yes, what Apple needs is a mid-range computer between the iMac and MacPro. It should have more possibilities than the iMac, but should not be as extensive and expensive as the MacPro. There is the Quadcore MacPro (default config €2299,-), but that is still too expensive: personally I'd like to have a quadcore computer, with 2.93GHz cpu, 8 gigs of RAM, a 1TB harddisk and an ATI GPU. But when I configure the basic macpro like that it'll cost me €2800,-- ! The high end iMac makes it even more expensive since 8 Gig RAM in 2x4G slices is extremely expensive. So, a computer with 3 or 4 memory slots would be a great option.
For the next iteration of apple hardware updates, I hope they will leave the quadcore macpro intact, except using Intel i7 CPUs, and drop the price of the standard configuration well below €2000 (€1899 is a nice price). Still more expensive than a clone, but I'm happy to pay a little more for the design and component quality (also case). But not a lot more like currently is the case.
Until that is done, the clone makers actually have a business case that may work for them, selling quality products for better money than the Apple offerings. Maybe Apple will create new iMacs that will have 3 or 4 memory slots, that would actually convince me to get an iMac, but currently the offering is not tempting enough (I value RAM higher than raw CPU speed).