Posted by Neil Crosby on January 14, 2005 02:55 PM
Well, if you’ve got any interest in Apple Computers at all, you’ll know that on the 11th Steve Jobs gave his keynote speech at the MacWorld Conference over in San Fransisco. During the course of his speech, two nice new products were released - the Mac Mini and the iPod Shuffle.
The Mac Mini is Apple’s incredibly sexy new headless computer. For £339 you get an absolutely tiny computer, with pretty much all the connectivity you could wish for. The Mac Mini is basically the size of 5 CD albums stacked on top of each other. I’ve looked at the picture already, and been wowed by the Mac Mini’s looks, but just now I actually picked up 5 albums and held them in my hand. I’m now utterly in awe of just how Apple managed to fit just so much into a box so small. Of course, the power supply unit is externally connected, but with everything else that uses external power supplies already, that isn’t really an issue.
My take on the Mac Mini is that it’s a really nice little bit of kit, and should help Apple wean a few extra people over who were umming and ahhing about trying Macs for the first time. The price has hit a psychological sweet spot where lots more people will be willing to buy - especially after the success of the iPod (and the new top iPod photo costs considerably more than the Mac Mini does). For my money though, I won’t be buying the Mac Mini. Although I’m looking for a sexy little computer which would look good in the living room, I’m needing considerably more storage space than the Mac Mini is able to provide, and I’m wanting a RAID 1 array, to keep the data that it contains secure. So, the Mac Mini is not for me. If I did decide to buy one though, I would at least double the RAM (more if I could afford it, since it’s only meant to be done by Apple technicians), and add the wireless networking module. This would increase the price to £438 - still a very nice price.
The other major new product introduced on tuesday, the iPod Shuffle, is a cut down, flash memory based iPod. It has no screen, and is smaller than a packet of chewing gum. Lots of people are complaining about the lack of screen right now, but how else were Apple supposed to get a 512Mb mp3 player to the £69 price point? And honestly, how often do you actually look to see what’s playing when you’re walking to work, or exercising? Personally, I know that I don’t at all. If I didn’t already have my very nice little iRiver iFP-190T then I’d have ordered one of these already. As it is, my girlfriend has decided to buy one, so I’ll hopefully be able to play with the iPod Shuffle soon. Until then, read Russell Beattie’s iPod Shuffle review.
There were a couple of other smaller announcements during the keynote as well - iTunes has been bumped up to 4.7.1 (support for iPod Shuffle was added, and other “performance enhancements”). There appears to be no update to the iTunes Windows COM interface though. Ah well. In other news, Final Cut Express and iMovie are now High Definition Video capable. This excites Russell Miles, and I’m sure it’ll make a lot of high end consumers happy too.
And before I forget about it, the iProduct was annnounced too - you will buy it, and you will like it.
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