Bill Palmer almost gets it right about people who want a headless iMac — i.e., an affordable, consumer-level Mac without a monitor. It’s only partially about monitor choice, which, Palmer argues, Apple has addressed by providing four screen options (one CRT, three flat panels) across its consumer line.
It’s also about cost: people wanting to shave just a little more off the list price of that low-end eMac, and people who want to upgrade their monitors on a different cycle than their computers (a C$3,500 G5 is a lot easier to buy if you already own a Cinema Display) or who think that the computer and the monitor will fail at different times.
All of which are valid concerns for any all-in-one component - whether it’s DVD/VCR combos, home theatres in a box, or all-in-one stereo systems. In general, you do pay a premium for separate, higher-quality components. But it’s not usually the rule that buying separate components lowers the overall costs, unless you’re really scraping the bottom of the barrel. That doesn’t stop people from wishing it were otherwise, though.