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Mac mini and iPod Shuffle

January 11, 2005 at 01:21 PM
The Mac mini

Apple has officially announced the Mac mini and iPod Shuffle. Both look really cool but I'm much more interested in the Mac mini.

The Mac mini has a nice looking form factor, and it's tiny and cheap too. $599 for an 80GB version. Bluetooth and WiFi are options and it only comes with 256MB of RAM. After all the upgrades you're pretty much required to make, you're looking at close to $1000. Not as cheap as it should be.

It just seems that you are much better off getting a 12" G4 Powerbook and an iCurve for just a couple hundred more. You're portable and get a nice screen to go with it. If you already have an LCD then you've got dual displays. The Mac mini just cuts too many corners, maybe the next iteration will up the ante.

iPod shuffle

The iPod Shuffle is decent in concept, but why buy a 1 GB player for $150 when a soon to be 5 GB iPod mini is only $250? You could even spam all your friends and get a free iPod. Plus, that's an awful lot of music to navigate without a screen.

The best features of the new player are it's size, weight, and the built-in rechargeable battery. That's one of the things I dislike about most flash players, having to constantly replace the AA or AAA batteries. It's also the component that adds most of the weight to the player, so putting in a slim and light rechargeable battery was a no-brainer.

With the claimed twelve hour battery life and it's ability to act as a USB storage device, the iPod Shuffle is definitely a worthwhile product. If I wasn't so happy with my iPod mini or I needed a USB flash drive I would definitely consider it.

Posted in Web/Tech | 7 Comments | Add yours


1 Small Paul said...

Maybe you're "pretty much required" to upgrade the mini, because you want a more powerful computer - but this is for all those folks who don't do much with their computers (i.e. the majority of the market, we're talking mom and dad here), and want to try a Mac economically to avoid Windows problems. As this market is likely to have monitor/keyboard/mouse already, they really can just buy the mini, slot it in, and (theoretically) start loving OSX/iWork/iLife. No need for upgrades, no need to spend more money. People like that. That's why Dell are successful.

When they're into it and want to do more with their Mac, that's when Apple hope they'll move up to a proper Mac. If Apple made the mini too fully-featured, a) this would be less likely, and b) sales of higher-spec machines like the iMacs (I think the mini will kill the eMac anyway) might well be cannibalised, which is not what Apple want (given the presumably higher margins on those products).

I don't think 240 songs is that many to navigate without the screen, but the entire point of the Shuffle seems to be that Apple thinks there are lots of people who want to buy a low-capacity player for $150, and aren't interested in navigating their music. They just want to play in order, or at random. I'll be interested to see if people do, and if people really like the small form factor. Because aside from that, there doesn't seem to be much difference between the iPod Shuffle and lots of other similar music players. I feel that the iPod's ease of use may have been lost along with navigation.

Why not pay $250 for an iPod mini? Because you don't have another $100, or you want the tiny form factor (which is why people bought the $250 mini as opposed to the not-much-more-expensive 20Gb iPod).

Posted on January 12, 2005 at 03:52 AM

2 Brian said...

Well I have to say that may have been the most well thought out comment in the history of this site, of course that's not really saying much.

You're definitely right that I'm not "most people," but I really like the form factor and wouldn't mind having that as my only computer. Of course by the time I need either a new Mac or new PC, it'll probably be packing at least a 2GHz G5 in there.

The thing that really frustrates me is that Apple and other PC makers continue to sell machines with that little RAM. It would seem to me that it's actually making them look bad, as mom and dad get home and wonder why their brand new computer is so sluggish. 512 MB should be the minimum, too few people know that and therefore don't upgrade.

Posted on January 12, 2005 at 09:08 AM

3 Jess said...

I see you're finally listening to Howie Day... check out the Madrigals EP - it's my fav... Also check out Matt Nathanson - he plays sorta the same kind of stuff as Howie, but he's a lot more fun live...

Posted on January 13, 2005 at 05:49 PM

4 actionBERG said...

I didn't know computers these days came with 256KB of RAM. Just shows you that Macs suck. :)

Posted on January 14, 2005 at 05:08 PM

5 Brian said...

Quit spamming my site Berg, you bastard.

256MB isn't bad for a $500 computer, but their damn $2000 Power Mac and PowerBooks also only come with that much.

Posted on January 15, 2005 at 07:19 PM

6 christina said...

I can get around your no img tag rule. I wonder if photobucket is any good.

Posted on January 17, 2005 at 02:29 PM

7 Shuffle owner said...

I like the shuffle-its hard to find the songs ture but its smaller than the others and can easily fit in your pocket and it has a simple design-Anyone who does NOT own an iPod has failed in life and the iPod owners are better human beings as my DT teacher told us-words of wisdom I say

Posted on September 20, 2006 at 10:55 AM