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#1 of 99 Ted Todorov

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Posted January 11 2005 - 07:28 AM

Steve Jobs introduced the Mac mini at Macworld this morning -- an absolutely tiny $499 "desktop" computer.

Mac mini at Apple.com

I floored by how small it is even compared to the Apple Cube of a few years ago. I can only imagine that they'll sell boatloads of the things -- between the price, design and practical convenience, the thing looks like a sure winner.

Other stuff of note from Macworld include lots of software goodies (including iLife upgrades, Pages -- a new word processor (part of iWork) and a preview of Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger which will include an HD centric Quicktime 7) and a $99 to $149 flash based iPod shuffle.

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#2 of 99 Patrick Larkin

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Posted January 11 2005 - 07:44 AM

Considering they sold the cube for $1799 (I think), they should sell millions of these. The slashdot crowd is wetting themselves over the possibilities.

I'd like to get one but then I'd have to buy a display from Apple that costs twice as much as the mini! Posted Image And I can't bear to hook up a cheesy monitor to this thing.

#3 of 99 Kimmo Jaskari

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Posted January 11 2005 - 07:47 AM

Not a huge Mac fan, but I am a fan of their design department. They do keep coming up with fun, attractive designs for everything from the user interface (Aqua) to the hardware itself.

Since I do use my home computer for games much of the time, the Mac isn't a worthwile option, but I could see myself using one as a workstation at work, I guess.
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#4 of 99 ThomasC

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Posted January 11 2005 - 08:24 AM

Holy crap. I can't believe they actually did it.

#5 of 99 Craig S

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Posted January 11 2005 - 10:50 AM

OK, I'm a die-hard Windows guy, but I think I'll be picking up one of the 80GB Mac minis. I've been wanting to play with/learn the Mac, and the price is certainly right (even includes iLife w/ Garage Band!). Plus, I think it will make a kick-ass little music server, especially paired with the iPod I bought last month.

I'll just put it next to my main XP machine, and get a cheap USB KVM so I can use my existing mouse, keyboard, and monitor with the mini.

I think Apple hit a home run with this one.

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#6 of 99 Martin Rendall

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Posted January 11 2005 - 10:51 AM

I saw it and immediately wanted it. Then I thought about all the stuff I would run on it, and came up blank. Posted Image Maybe in a future life...

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#7 of 99 Jim_F

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Posted January 11 2005 - 12:35 PM

My reaction to the Mac mini was similar to Martin's

An iPod shuffle is on its way to me. First, they drew me in with the 3G iPod. Then they get me hooked on iTunes to manage my music library. Well, then an AirPort or 2 comes in handy for wireless distribution in and around the house. Now, this little dealy can be randomly loaded with portions of my iTunes playlists. Should be ideal for flying and yard work.

I'm still a PC person (partly because I insist on building my own machine) but I've got to admit that Apple has won me over in the music playing/management department.
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#8 of 99 Keith Plucker

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Posted January 11 2005 - 02:00 PM

From the reaction I have read on the net so far, the Mini seems like it will be a hit.

However, from my perspective I don't think I would ever consider it.

First problem is that it has only a single slot for memory and according to Apple's website, memory must be installed at an authorized service center. I take that to mean if you buy memory on your own and install it, you will void the warranty.

A DVD burner seems to be only available as a build to order option ($100) at the Apple Store and it is only a 4x unit.

I am guessing the HD is a 2.5, 4200 RPM unit although I haven't been able to confirm this yet. If true, drive performance won't be very good.

The video subsystem (ATI 9200 4x AGP, 32MB) is rather slow for modern games.

As I understand it, it also has a rather sizable "power brick." Of course, given their design I would imagine there would be no other way to deal with a power supply.

For a web, email and light duty machine it should be great.

I would have loved to have seen Apple make a somewhat larger unit that would allow for higher performance options if a user was so inclined (at a higher cost of course). The biggest problem I have with Apple's current hardware line is that there is really nothing like my Shuttle SFF available. I would love a small but very powerful & upgradeable (CPU and video card) Mac. On the software side I would like to see Apple buy Tivo and port the software to OS X and create a media Mac. As you can see, I am not a very realistic guy. Posted Image

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#9 of 99 JeremyErwin

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Posted January 11 2005 - 03:58 PM

The Electronic Frontier Foundation recently extolled the benefits of the EyeTV500, a ATSC compatible HDTV recorder peripheral for Macs. The big benefit, in the EFF's view, was that at present, it does not give one fig for the so called broadcast flag. The major disadvantage of the EyeTV500 is that it requires plenty of processing power, as Apple has not see fit to share certain secrets about accelerated iDCT and motion compensation with the ElGato engineers...

Pity. The minIMac might have made for nice living room computer. Astute cynics will also note the lack of "component video outs", which are potentially more problematic than the evident lack of an S/PDIF out.

The lack of a user accessible memory slot could well be a problem, although perhaps I'm not in their target market, which seems to be "People who bought a cheap malfunctioning eMachine, and need to replace it with something that works."

#10 of 99 Ted Todorov

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Posted January 12 2005 - 12:54 AM

Quote:
I would have loved to have seen Apple make a somewhat larger unit that would allow for higher performance options if a user was so inclined (at a higher cost of course).
The low end PowerMac G5 is plenty user upgradeable (and plenty powerful, to start with). Totally different audience. The mini is intended for what 80% of the people out there use PCs: e-mail, surfing, word processing, digital photography, etc.

I ceertainly agree that Apple would be the logical author of the ultimate media PC, and the mini isn't it. I certainly hope they are working on it. Can (m)any HDTVs or projectors handle DVI, or is component video a must? The Power Macs & iMacs do at least have optical digital audio out.

The new mini can be hooked up to a receiver via optical by way of AirPort Express, but so far that only works with iTunes, not the DVDPlayer, which I suspect has more to do with Hollywood's copy protection paranoia then Apple not wanting to do it.

Still, I can readily imagine how good an Apple media/HTPC would be with iLife quality software to run things. I wouldn't be surprised if they are working on it -- but the main problem here is that Steve Jobs HATES TV. But it is such an obvious fit for Apple that I do hope they go for it.

Ted

P.S. I have read of plenty of people upgrading their similarly "un-upgradable" Cubes. Just wait for the warranty to run out...
Quote:
as Apple has not see fit to share certain secrets about accelerated iDCT and motion compensation with the ElGato engineers...
I am pretty sceptical of this claim. It may be laziness on ElGato's part.* The good part is that ElGato stores the HD-DV on disk in unencrypted form -- so any 3rd party app. could play it, or transcode it for DVD, etc.

*The only motive Apple would have for doing so is if they were on the verge of releasing their own media PC, and I suspect that they aren't.
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#11 of 99 Ricardo C

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Posted January 12 2005 - 02:33 AM

I'm getting one as a test machine for my games. Great going on Apple's part. Wow Posted Image
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#12 of 99 Keith Plucker

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Posted January 12 2005 - 06:54 AM

I just read a report by Henry Norr over at macintouch.com. According to what an Apple employee told him, while they do recommend that an authorized service center perform memory upgrades on the mini, if an end user does it, it does not void the warranty unless you break something. So that is good news.

-Keith
As far as I'm concerned, it's a damned shame that a field as potentially dynamic and vital as journalism should be overrun with dullards, bums, and hacks, hag-ridden with myopia, apathy, and complacence, and generally stuck in a bog of stagnant mediocrity. - Hunter S. Thompson, 1958, from cover letter he wrote for a newspaper job.


#13 of 99 JeremyErwin

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Posted January 12 2005 - 03:54 PM

Quote:
I am pretty sceptical of this claim. It may be laziness on ElGato's part.* The good part is that ElGato stores the HD-DV on disk in unencrypted form -- so any 3rd party app. could play it, or transcode it for DVD, etc.

*The only motive Apple would have for doing so is if they were on the verge of releasing their own media PC, and I suspect that they aren't.

ElGato's explanation for ridiculously high CPu requirements is this:

Quote:
Q: The EyeTV 500 product requires a "G4 500 MHz or better" processor. Why is that?

A: Decoding MPEG-2 video is a very CPU-intensive task. EyeTV will not be able to decode MPEG-2 content in real-time on a slower processor. It takes a dual processor G5 to display full size, full frame rate HDTV.



Q: The Apple DVD Player also decodes and displays MPEG-2 video, but its system requirements are lower than EyeTV's, and it even works on some G3 Macs. Why can't you do that?

A: The graphics cards and drivers that are built into Macintosh computers contain special features to support the Apple DVD Player. These features are used exclusively by the Apple DVD Player, they are currently not available to third parties and they have various DVD-specific limitations that make them unsuitable for EyeTV. Note that QuickTime does not use these features either. EyeTV's MPEG-2 decoder is about 10-20% faster than the QuickTime MPEG-2 component.

Alas.

#14 of 99 Shane D

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Posted January 13 2005 - 01:08 AM

i think i read though in tiger, dvd player and quick time are being intergrated, so it may blur the line a bit more betwen to two.

and i also read, that the eyetv 500 had a update this weeek, that allows a few more features to be used and some of them sound pretty decent.

#15 of 99 Shane Martin

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Posted January 13 2005 - 01:24 AM

Schools will likely eat these things up.

#16 of 99 EricWilliam

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Posted January 13 2005 - 02:09 AM

only in computers does a company with 3% market share garner all this attention..pity, apple was once the leader in PC's, but that hasn't been true for almost 20 years...

#17 of 99 Peter Kim

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Posted January 13 2005 - 03:22 AM

Indeed, sign of the times...consider that apple's arch nemesis at the time was IBM.

Now Apple's stock is soaring madly, while IBM has entirely exited the home pc market (through its sale of that division to China-based Lenovo).

And just as good...in '79, Sony creates the archetype portable music player, the Walkman. FF 25 years, and now thev've abandoned their efforts to steer the market toward their iteration of DRM (ATRAC, a miserable failure) and are attempting to retrofit their latest digital players with mp3 capability. All while frantically trying to keep afloat in their own home market of Japan, where Apple's iPod takes the top 3 positions in the digital audio player market.

Throughout the last 20 or so years, I've often been bewildered by Apple's (Jobs') own seemingly bizarre decisions. But it's hard to fault Apple for charting its own meandering course through market downturns and whims, when you consider the endpoint, as one of the earliest massive cultural icons in the 21st century.

IBM...eh, corporate servers (as if anyone in the mainstream even knows or more importantly, cares). Sony...ask the kids (anyone younger than me or less than 35) and they'll tell of console dominance started in the '90's, but that luster could fade as quickly as game console history dictates.

But Apple...everyone's got those cool white cords dangling about, so must I (however, not me...I hate 'fads'). To the tune of 4.5 million iPods sold last quarter alone (a freaking 80% of the hard-drive based player market).

And even if the mp3 market transmogrifies towards Apple's insignificance as a niche player, somehow I have a feeling that Apple won't care. As they'll probably have long cast aside the uncoolness of that archaic and tantalize us yet again with the taste of another nascent trend.
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#18 of 99 Ted Todorov

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Posted January 13 2005 - 03:36 AM

Quote:
only in computers does a company with 3% market share garner all this attention..pity, apple was once the leader in PC's, but that hasn't been true for almost 20 years...

Well, which PC maker should be getting more attention? IBM? (Oops) Gateway? E-Machines? Dell? When is the last time any of them did anything remotely interesting unless they were copying Apple? Heck, apart from Dell, none of them can even turn a consistent profit, much less produce something interesting. Five years from now most of them may not be in the PC business any more. You can bet your bottom dollar that Apple still will be there.

So far as Apple's market share is concerned, if you look into the details of the quarterly results they announced yesterday, it looks poised to rocket. It already had a 25% increase in the number of Macs sold, before a single Mac mini goes out the door.

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#19 of 99 Jacinto

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Posted January 13 2005 - 05:11 AM

Quote:
only in computers does a company with 3% market share garner all this attention..pity, apple was once the leader in PC's, but that hasn't been true for almost 20 years...


Really? I don't see many car magazines with a Ford Escort splashed across the cover -- Tends to be companies like Lamborghini, Ferrari, Porsche, Mercedes. To me, being a "leader" in one's market has little to do with market share.
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#20 of 99 Chris Bardon

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Posted January 13 2005 - 07:19 AM

It's definitely an interesting design, I'll give them that. The one I don't understand is the ipod shuffle-there are dozens of different flash players out there that have the same features to start with, and then add things like a display to them (check out the creative muVo for a better featured player).
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