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It's 1984 All Over Again
January 11, 2005 11:42 AM   Subscribe

Apple has announced the following:iPod shuffle, Mac mini, iWork. MacMerc has a play by play of Job's keynote address at Macworld. I suspect 2005 is the year Apple takes over the world.
posted by chunking express (243 comments total)

 
tha Mac mini looks amazingly good to me, but the new shuffle tiny thingie sounds too much like a music USB key to my early-iPod-adopting ears
posted by matteo at 11:46 AM on January 11, 2005


I predict that this thread is going to go through some ugliness.

But totally down with the Shuffle and the Mini. Haven't had a chance to check out iWork yet though.

leotrotsky, I came from there!
posted by fenriq at 11:46 AM on January 11, 2005


...that said, I want a mac mini badly enough to name my first-born child "Steve"
posted by leotrotsky at 11:47 AM on January 11, 2005


A lot of really interesting stuff here.

Apple now sells a computer for less than their most expensive iPod. And the computer is about the size of my external harddrive. Very nice. The only downside I can see is no bluetooth.

With the introduction of iWork, what is to become of Microsoft Office for Mac? Sure iWork doesn't have a spreadsheet app but that's probably for 2.0. I think we might see the end of Mac Office like we saw the end of basically any software that Apple decided to compete against. I actually think this is a dangerous trend because it could scare developers from writing Mac software and reduces competition when the OS vendor also produces the apps (gee, that sounds familiar, huh?)

iPod Shuffle is Apple's way of saying, mp3 player market, you are 0wned. Apple now has something for everyone who would ever want to listen to music with headphones.

iLife seems cool-- they basically trickle in features from their high end apps each year as a way to update their line of consumer apps.

The last crazy thing is: The rumor sites we're like 95% on with their predictions. Way way higher than normal. No wonder Jobs is suing.
posted by gwint at 11:47 AM on January 11, 2005


Also MacMerc's Flickr Photostream for the show.
posted by fenriq at 11:47 AM on January 11, 2005


Wow, I might pick up a Mini just to use as an extra household server.

And the Shuffle is like a value-added thumbdrive.
posted by bshort at 11:48 AM on January 11, 2005


gwint - you can add 802.11g and bluetooth to the Mini, for an additional price.
posted by bshort at 11:49 AM on January 11, 2005


oh god oh god oh god....

lawd have mercy on my credit card for i will have none
posted by keswick at 11:52 AM on January 11, 2005


The iPod Shuffle is a neat idea. Why risk a hard-drive based player to have music for a jog, or a circuit at the gym? 1GB of AACs is more than I'd need for stuff like that. Funny how they played up the 'random' thing to explain away the lack of a display, though. And I guess if you want to control what gets synced, you need to create Shuffle-specific playlists in iTunes. Still, I'd get one.

The Mac Mini will be great, too. The $499 price point is a big one for folks. And besides, if an average PC user is willing to shell out $399 for a 40GB iPod, I can see them being curious enough about Macs to go for a computer for a little bit more. Heck, that makes the Mac Mini as "cheap" as the iPod Photo!

If only it had more than two USB ports... that's a biggie for "swap out" PC users, I think.
posted by pzarquon at 11:52 AM on January 11, 2005


so when you've plugged in your keyboard and your mouse, how are you supposed to hook up your ipod shuffle?

on preview: yeah
posted by mr.marx at 11:54 AM on January 11, 2005


iPon. You heard it here first.
posted by ColdChef at 11:55 AM on January 11, 2005


If only it had more than two USB ports... that's a biggie for "swap out" PC users, I think.

if you have that many devices, just use a USB hub. My PC only has two USB ports.
posted by rks404 at 11:56 AM on January 11, 2005


The operation timed out attempting to connect to store.apple.com. Heh.
posted by pzarquon at 11:56 AM on January 11, 2005


leotrotsky, I had to post this. I am frothing at the mouth as I type.
posted by chunking express at 11:56 AM on January 11, 2005


Apple are going to take over the world.
posted by influx at 11:57 AM on January 11, 2005


A USB hub? wireless keyboard and mouse? magic? I'm not sure. But I know I'll absolutely be getting one as soon as I can afford it. I've been tinkering with a dedicated media server in my apartment, and this wins the contest hands down. On second thought, it might make a really, really cool LAN party box as well. If it has the juice to handle UT2004, it would certainly be easier to haul around...
posted by verb at 11:58 AM on January 11, 2005


iPon?
posted by bshort at 11:58 AM on January 11, 2005


I love the Mac Mini idea. It looks fantastic, and it's selling for just the right price. Bravo Apple. It reminds me of the cube - what ever happened to that thing? I thought it was a wonderful little idea.
posted by odinsdream at 11:58 AM on January 11, 2005


Actually ColdChef, I heard it here first. Gotta get out in front'a that meme, huh? ;-)
posted by leotrotsky at 11:58 AM on January 11, 2005


and most USB keyboards have a USB port for your mouse, leaving a USB port free fcr the Griffin iMic you're using for audio-in and Garageband 2.

I just bought an iMac G5 (1.8Ghz/17") and already have an iBook G4, but the Mac Mini is so CUTE.. I just want one. Don't know what I'll do with it, but I'll figure something out.
posted by mrbill at 11:59 AM on January 11, 2005


From the bottom of the page:

2. Do not eat iPod shuffle.

I heart Apple.
posted by fandango_matt at 11:59 AM on January 11, 2005



so when you've plugged in your keyboard and your mouse, how are you supposed to hook up your ipod shuffle?


You could use one of the million or so brands of keyboard with USB ports. Or get the bluetooth option and leave both USB ports free.
posted by influx at 11:59 AM on January 11, 2005


If it has the juice to handle UT2004, it would certainly be easier to haul around...

My dual-867Mhz G4 with 32M Geforce 4MX ran UT2K4 fine, so I'd think a 1.25Ghz G4 with 32M ATI 9200 would be usable as well.
posted by mrbill at 12:00 PM on January 11, 2005


Yes, in fact I do. For I see new technology and I immediately associate it with feminine hygiene.

iPon. Cause, you know, it's white and slender and has this string...
posted by ColdChef at 12:01 PM on January 11, 2005


Not sure this is good FPP material, but now that it is there...

* mini's power source is external. which explains how they can keep the thing cool.

* this is not targeted to apple power users (even if some are drooling). the idea target audience is ipod owners who use PCs. but you knew that.
posted by terrapin at 12:02 PM on January 11, 2005


Every MacWorld, someone posts, and some people bitch. Matt, it seems, begrudgingly lets these slide so we Mac-heads can collectively wank off in the corner.

As a looooong-time Apple follower, this may have been the coolest keynote I've (never) seen. The Mac mini is exactly the product they needed to put out. Clearly, they took The Lesson Of The Cube to heart. I agree with bshort- it's an awesome media server. It's also the perfect thing to tell my dad to buy to replace his old Gateway.

The iPod Shuffle seems cool, but I don't know if a display-less music player that holds more than an album's worth of music will fly. I appreciate, though, their attempt to break paradigm through the "Shuffle" feature- it'll be interesting to see if people adopt.
posted by mkultra at 12:04 PM on January 11, 2005


Another footnote:

Keyboard, mouse, megaphone and display sold separately.
posted by smackfu at 12:05 PM on January 11, 2005


Just think, for $500 an email / web user can have a cute little computer that barely takes up any room, has a great operating system, and which is basically immune to every virus out there. No scumware, no spyware, no viruses.

This is going to be *huge*.
posted by bshort at 12:05 PM on January 11, 2005


You know...If you're rolling out a bunch of drool worthy products, have the decency to make sure you have enough bandwidth to handle all the looky-loos.

Can anyone get this crap to load yet?
posted by ColdChef at 12:05 PM on January 11, 2005


this is not targeted to apple power users (even if some are drooling). the idea target audience is ipod owners who use PCs. but you knew that.

Good point - I wonder if Apple risks cannibalizing their sales of iMacs and G5s. Personally, I am now in the market for a mini even though I would have been years away from needing to buy another Apple system if it hadn't been released - so they'll get one sale from me anyway.
posted by rks404 at 12:08 PM on January 11, 2005


ColdChef: No problems loading Apple's site since the expo ended.
posted by terrapin at 12:12 PM on January 11, 2005


I'm buying it to carry around instead of a powerbook.
posted by orange clock at 12:13 PM on January 11, 2005


2. Do not eat iPod shuffle.

Do not taunt iPod shuffle.


Just think, for $500 an email / web user can have a cute little computer that barely takes up any room, has a great operating system, and which is basically immune to every virus out there. No scumware, no spyware, no viruses.


And for this reason, I'm urging my brother to buy one. He's got half a dozen spyware/"spam killer" programs running on his PC simultaneously, so afraid of that stuff he is.
posted by me3dia at 12:14 PM on January 11, 2005


>but the new shuffle tiny thingie sounds too much like a music USB key

That's pretty much all it is. I can only think of one application for it - making the gym, public trans, etc slightly less boring. This is strange move for apple and probably a smart one. They are selling to the Walmart crowd. This is not for music lovers, its for people who listen to top40, lightFM, and wouldnt mind a cheap mp3 player in their lives.

>No scumware, no spyware, no viruses.

As marketshare increases, targetability also increases. OSX is a slick, but its not immune from users installing the upcoming ports of windows-only spyware. This is the problem:

"Hey a talking monkey! In totally installing this!!"
posted by skallas at 12:16 PM on January 11, 2005


I really like the Mac mini, but the memory upgrade seems quite costly. Upgrading from the standard 256Mb to 1Gb almost double the cost.
posted by Tenuki at 12:16 PM on January 11, 2005


Upgrading from the standard 256Mb to 1Gb almost double the cost.

And according to the Apple mini site needs to be done by "must be performed by an Apple Authorized Service provider."
posted by terrapin at 12:19 PM on January 11, 2005


ColdChef, had no problems getting to Apple during the show and none since it ended.

And its worth a look.

How long before the Shuffle with a one line LCD comes out? I'm not down with not having any idea of what's coming up next.
posted by fenriq at 12:21 PM on January 11, 2005


go through some ugliness

Well, I always find public ... er, displays of extreme affection ... to be kind of ugly, in a way, so I'll agree there.

That said, I'm disappointed that the apple store isn't beefier than it is. Now I'll have to order late and not get my Mac Mini delivered by 1/22.....

What really amazes me is that they've cut so few corners on it. Spec-wise, it pretty much blows an iBook out of the water, and bangs a bunch of nice anodized aluminum nails into the coffin of the current Powerbook line. I was sure they'd cripple it, somehow; I won't apologize for being wrong, but I'll be happy about it.

And let's really establish something, here, BTW, while we're at it: The Mac Mini is not a minimal computer. It's not. It's just not. Dismissing it as such really, really obscures the importance of this thing. This thing is more powerful than what 80% of people have in their homes or on their work desktops. Mac Mini is going to have a radical impact on the PC marketplace, because you can just as easily (and maybe more easily) make a PC this small and cheap. (Well, maybe not as cheap. Apple can pretty much eat the OS cost...)

And I say, let the games begin.
posted by lodurr at 12:22 PM on January 11, 2005


mebbe it's just me.
posted by ColdChef at 12:22 PM on January 11, 2005


skallas, OS politics aside, there is still a fundamental difference between how Windows and Unix handle day-to-day operations. Windows starts with "allow anything, restrict these things," while Unix is the polar opposite, "allow nothing, except these things."

The user can still say Yes to warnings for installing software system-wide, and open themselves up for attack, but for the most part, if users are given a restricted account (which, in windows, is practically impossible to do if you want to use any 3rd-party software), they can only hurt their own home directory. The system itself stays safe.
posted by odinsdream at 12:24 PM on January 11, 2005


This is strange move for apple and probably a smart one. They are selling to the Walmart crowd. This is not for music lovers, its for people who listen to top40, lightFM, and wouldnt mind a cheap mp3 player in their lives.

That's a big assumption. I'm a huge music fan, but this thing appeals to me more than the old-school iPod I've got holding down papers on my desk *specifically because* it's so small and basic. It's perfect for commuting by train or bike, and it's cheap enough that I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of current iPod owners buy it for those specific tasks.
posted by me3dia at 12:25 PM on January 11, 2005


I wonder if Apple risks cannibalizing their sales of iMacs and G5s.

I think the new Mac will bring more people like myself into the Apple fold.

I'm not a power user and I can't see spending $1000 - $2000 on EITHER a PC or Mac desktop. So I would never think of buying a higher end Apple machine before. To me, a computer is an appliance and the price point is one of my first considerations. So I used PC's exclusively, pretty much based on price alone.

For $500 bucks and change, I can finally see myself, for the first time, actually considering a Mac. Will I buy it? I won't know till I see one, but at least I will consider a Mac and that's more than I could say before.
posted by bawanaal at 12:25 PM on January 11, 2005


The Mini has absolutely no appeal to me. The iMac G5's GUI performance is laughable for the price you pay for it. A G4 based machine with OS X would be unbearable for me. I'd go for a Linux based BareBones server over this as well.

But for those whom this appeals to, bravo. Apple has responded to the need for a product in this niche.

When will this thread be removed?
posted by juiceCake at 12:25 PM on January 11, 2005


That's a big assumption. I'm a huge music fan, but this thing appeals to me more than the old-school iPod I've got holding down papers on my desk *specifically because* it's so small and basic. It's perfect for commuting by train or bike, and it's cheap enough that I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of current iPod owners buy it for those specific tasks.
posted by me3dia at 3:25 PM EST on January 11


People commuting by bike shouldn't be listening to anything but traffic!

The Mac Mini looks like an ideal candidate to replace my desktop.
posted by trey at 12:26 PM on January 11, 2005


...Which is not to say that they're not also selling to the "Wal-Mart crowd," but I think you're underestimating the audience.
posted by me3dia at 12:27 PM on January 11, 2005


This is not for music lovers, its for people who listen to top40, lightFM,

Because a real music lover would simply not buy their infant any formula for a month and get a *real* ipod.

Now all we need to convert the mini into the perfect media server is one-button DVD-->mpeg conversion and a Tivo plugin.
posted by mecran01 at 12:27 PM on January 11, 2005


"When will this thread be removed?"

You're kidding, right? This is like manna from heaven for the Jobs-remoras.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:29 PM on January 11, 2005


I don't know if it's high demand caused by these new items, or whether apple.com has technical problems completely unrelated, but my browser has been stuck on "waiting for registration.euro.apple.com" for the last 20 minutes when trying to access http://www.apple.com/uk/thestore/...
posted by kaemaril at 12:30 PM on January 11, 2005


Does there exist, or could one foresee, a small portable flat screen monitor that would be coupled with the mini for "semi-portability?" For example, on for the weekend at the country/beach house or on Amtrak? (I'm debating as to whether to go with an iBook, or a desktop machine...)
posted by ParisParamus at 12:31 PM on January 11, 2005


this is not targeted to apple power users (even if some are drooling). the idea target audience is ipod owners who use PCs. but you knew that.

Not sure I follow the logic here...is the assumption that people who own PCs and iPods are impressed with the iPod and thus want to buy a mac? I think they should market it at least partially as a media server, using it the same way I use my little fanless ITX PC. Personally I have no use for it, my ITX setup was cheaper.
posted by MillMan at 12:31 PM on January 11, 2005


I disagree that the Shuffle is for the WalMart crowd. I'd be surprised if WalMart sells it for one since Apple is alot less likely to bow down before their buying might.

The Shuffle is for people like me who love their iPods but sometimes don't want the whole thing with them.
posted by fenriq at 12:31 PM on January 11, 2005


Remoras eat manna?
posted by ColdChef at 12:32 PM on January 11, 2005


FWIW, I can listen to music or the Mets game on my bike without any safety issues arising. Why is it any different than legally driving with music in a car? On the other hand, it is illegal.
posted by ParisParamus at 12:33 PM on January 11, 2005


Best thing: PC Weenies can't scream about the one button mouse. :)
posted by eriko at 12:33 PM on January 11, 2005


That's pretty much all it is. I can only think of one application for it - making the gym, public trans, etc slightly less boring. This is strange move for apple and probably a smart one. They are selling to the Walmart crowd. This is not for music lovers, its for people who listen to top40, lightFM, and wouldn't mind a cheap mp3 player in their lives.
posted by skallas at 3:16 PM EST on January 11


Not at all. I don't want to run with a $300 hardrive attached to my arm or hip, much less work out with one.

With a flash player, though, its the perfect size for an hour run or gym excursion.
posted by orange clock at 12:34 PM on January 11, 2005


Looking a bit closer at the specs, it would have been nice if they bundled iWork onto the mac mini in addition to iLife.
Instead we get a 30-day trial of mac:Office.
posted by me3dia at 12:34 PM on January 11, 2005



I am so getting one of these to replace my aging iMac indigo with a failing display [I bought it second hand before after I got my iPod and before I became a complete convert]. My old iMac acts as a file and print server that I access from my Powerbook. The Mac Mini will be faster and has all the ports I need to plug in my firewire storage, printer and scanner.

And the iPod Shuffle? For people who have yet to make the jump to MP3 players, this price point + Apple buzz could make them snap them up. Small investment, download the free songs from iTMS and the next thing they know they are getting a larger iPod and buying a Mac.

iPod Shuffle might be an nice augmentation to my iPod.

This is the first keynote where I found I could afford all of the items!
posted by birdherder at 12:39 PM on January 11, 2005


Spec-wise, it pretty much blows an iBook out of the water, and bangs a bunch of nice anodized aluminum nails into the coffin of the current Powerbook line.

Not really. Portables cost more, because they have to deal with things that the Mac Mini doesn't. Examples: No battery, and no battery charge circuit. No panel, and no need for the structure to hold it. It appears to use a regular DDR DIMM, not the more expensive SO-DIMMS. It doesn't need to hyperoptimize for power -- a huge bonus in design.

The Mac Mini is useless to me as a PB replacement. The cost of hauling the keyboard, mouse and monitor wrecks it.

Having said that, and given the backorder on the Prius, I may well buy one today. I will note, service wise, this may be even worse than the Cube. It looks like getting it open will be a royal pain.
posted by eriko at 12:41 PM on January 11, 2005


I can listen to music or the Mets game on my bike without any safety issues arising. Why is it any different than legally driving with music in a car? On the other hand, it is illegal.

Because you can't hear sirens and horns if you're listening to music with headphones. But deaf people can drive, and statistically speaking, they have fewer accidents and are better drivers. The world is an odd place.
posted by fandango_matt at 12:41 PM on January 11, 2005


Re The Apple Store: last time I talked to a semi-senior Apple sales guy, he claimed that the entire store system ran on two G4 XServes. Not to say that they haven't beefed it up since then, but the system isn't designed for 'Keynote Christmas', it's designed for everyday.

Re Mac mini: Perfect. I can see myself buying two of them at least; one for home, where I have a need to replace an aging laptop-as-server, and one for my folks, who I need to wean off of Windows, at least as a primary machine.

Re iPod Shuffle: I bought my wife an iPod mini for Christmas, and have been toying with getting one myself for a while now. However, this will be it; with a 1Gb capacity and ability to use it for music and data, they've got a customer.

Today is a good day to be an Applehead.
posted by lowlife at 12:41 PM on January 11, 2005


If you've already bought a $300-$400 mp3 player, why wouldn't you buy a more portable $100 one just for the hell of it?
posted by smackfu at 12:41 PM on January 11, 2005


If this new Apple word processor (Pages) means that I can dump MS Word, that's the biggest news of the day for me.
posted by Prospero at 12:41 PM on January 11, 2005


are they insane? it comes without a mouse or keyboard. Add those costs plus extra memory to get the real price (which may also mean that a pc user's keyboard/mouse may not be compatible). from the NYT article: The Mac Mini is a tiny machine with a processor, hard drive and optical drive--you supply the monitor, mouse and keyboard. Jobs said the package will settle long-standing complaints that Apple extracts too high a premium for its products. "This is the most affordable Mac ever," Jobs said. "People who are thinking of switching will have no more excuses."
The new Mac Mini will go on sale Jan. 22 and will cost $499 for the base model, or $550 for one with a bigger hard drive.

posted by amberglow at 12:42 PM on January 11, 2005


ok I can see why people are excited about the mini, but for fucks sake, the shuffle, come on? a flash player with no lcd is suddenly the best thing evar, just because there's an apple on it??

mac evangelists scare me
posted by mr.marx at 12:42 PM on January 11, 2005


FWIW, I can listen to music or the Mets game on my bike without any safety issues arising. Why is it any different than legally driving with music in a car? On the other hand, it is illegal.


The headphones are the kicker here, I believe. When you're listening to the Mets game in your car, you can still hear most outside sounds.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:43 PM on January 11, 2005


The iPod Shuffle will also be perfect for people who are into podcasting. Set up a custom playlist for your latest Xmb of podcasts, set it to autosynch and you have something that's almost an on-demand radio.
posted by bshort at 12:43 PM on January 11, 2005


Why is "only" having 240 songs at a time so awful? Seems like the right amount to me.
posted by ParisParamus at 12:45 PM on January 11, 2005


The Shuffle feature is shit if, like me, you have iTrip. Unless, that is, you like to every now and then have your pleasant music interrupted with loud beeps and shit.
posted by ColdChef at 12:45 PM on January 11, 2005


Shit.
posted by ColdChef at 12:46 PM on January 11, 2005


The second a Mac tech site tells me how to upgrade the mini myself, I'm getting one. Until then, I can only stare and drool.
posted by sid at 12:46 PM on January 11, 2005


The iPod Shuffle will also be perfect for people who are into podcasting. Set up a custom playlist for your latest Xmb of podcasts, set it to autosynch and you have something that's almost an on-demand radio.

and you can't do that with any of the other gazillion flash players out there?
posted by mr.marx at 12:47 PM on January 11, 2005


This iPod...it shuffles?
posted by Stonewall Jackson at 12:47 PM on January 11, 2005


iWant, iCovet, iNeed.
posted by fandango_matt at 12:48 PM on January 11, 2005


iSuffer.

/Bhuddist
posted by Stonewall Jackson at 12:49 PM on January 11, 2005


Anyone who can actually see the macmini upgrade price amounts want to share?

Apple Store has no love for me. Specifically, RAM upgrades, Bluetooth, Airport, and Superdrive upgrades.
posted by ..ooOOoo....ooOOoo.. at 12:51 PM on January 11, 2005


If you've already bought a $300-$400 mp3 player, why wouldn't you buy a more portable $100 one just for the hell of it?

Because suddenly it's no longer safe to use your $400 portable mp3 player as a portable device?
posted by juiceCake at 12:51 PM on January 11, 2005


But deaf people can drive, and statistically speaking, they have fewer accidents and are better drivers. The world is an odd place.

I see I was beat to the punch...but this is an interesting tidbit. My thinking here is that deaf people are used to the lack of sound, and are thus much more capable of getting around safely with their other senses. On the other hand, those who can hear, who have not developed ways to get around safely with their other sense, are at a marked disadvantage when their hearing is blocked and distracted.

(Sort of like how Daredevil can fight at night, in the dark. It's all the same to him, but his opponents are at a disadvantage. Yes, I just invoked the example of Daredevil. All disabled people are exactly like Daredevil. Remember that, and have it engraved above the archways of hospitals everywhere.)

In other, more on-topic news, these products are going to sell like hotcakes, although I'm not exactly clear how much niftier an iPod Shuffle is than similar products already available. The design, I suppose, which is nothing at which to sniff.

Garageband 2 looks sweet, by the by.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:52 PM on January 11, 2005


I'm not a Mac guy (they've always seemed overpriced for what you get), but the minimac sure looks interesting. Sure, I can get twice the PC (even in a small-form-factor) for less money, but it's just so cute! And it runs that OS X thing I've heard so much about. Definitely a great way to get us non-Mac-people to give it a try.

Although, a question for you Mac people -- how would this G4 hold up against multitrack audio recording? My aging 1GHz P3 chugs along pretty well, but bogs every so often. Could I jack a Firewire audio interface into this thing and expect reasonable performance with Garage Band or ProTools LE?
posted by uncleozzy at 12:54 PM on January 11, 2005


"The headphones are the kicker here, I believe. When you're listening to the Mets game in your car, you can still hear most outside sounds.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:43 PM PST on January 11"

Same thing on a bike, provided the sound isn't super-cranked. The wind is, basically, the noise you lose with headphones. Then again, since I'm an above average rider, maybe it's stupid to advocate doing this for the masses? In any case, I've never had a problem. One just reflexively looks first; you can't really hear that much on a bike, anyway, due to the wind.
posted by ParisParamus at 12:54 PM on January 11, 2005


I'd like to see Apple put out a disposable iPod about the size of a quarter with enough storage space to put on, say, an album's worth of songs; enough music for an average one-way commute. When you get to work you can throw it out and not have to worry about losing it or having it stolen. Using computer peripherals more than once is so last century...
posted by Stonewall Jackson at 12:55 PM on January 11, 2005


Millman: Everything I have been reading (and I have been eating up the rumor sites for a month now) indicates that the Mac Mini is aimed at those iPod users who run a windows environment. Apple's research apparently indicates that many of these folks show up in the Apple stores viewing the iMac, iBooks, but don't buy because they are more expensive than the the perceived PC-equivalent.

So while it is obvious (at least from this thread and mac-head friends) that the Mini will appeal to some Apple users, it is likely to entice windows users who use their machines for music, email, browsing etc. As others have pointed out it will appeal to those long-suffering Windows users who are fed up with spyware and viruses.

I know at least 2 people who recently stopped turning on their machines because they are so cluttered with spyware, etc. One of them boasted over the holidays that they were buying a new Dell and would get in touch with me as soon as it was set up. Just today this person IMd me and said that as soon as they were done running the spyware software they would check their hotmail to see if the email I sent them was there.

And I never made the assumption that the only audience is current windows users, or that Apple aficionados wouldn't want them either. I made my comments minutes after discussing the Mini with an Apple aficionado who said "the mini is worthless to me. I'd need to add RAM, a DVD burner, and more disk space." And I replied that they are a power user and that the standard specs of the mini will do fine for those wishing to SwitchTM
posted by terrapin at 12:55 PM on January 11, 2005


At the risk of being a Me Too! poster, put me in the "have an iPod, want an iPod shuffle" camp. Sometimes using the iPod is like swatting flies with a sledgehammer, a little bit of overkill. Perfect for the gym, or slips easily into a jersey pocket for those long boring training rides on quiet country roads. The mini seems squarely aimed at PC users like me who are tired of the Gates monopoly (latest IE security flaw announced today!) and dood, I'm gettin' rid of my Dell.
posted by fixedgear at 12:57 PM on January 11, 2005


This Shuffle iPon really does finish crowding-out the MP3 player market to everyone else. The shuffle feature can't be turned off, I take it? I wonder how much time that differentiation was studied by Apple.
posted by ParisParamus at 12:58 PM on January 11, 2005


Overhyped, flashy, underpowered gizmos: The Mac legacy lives on.
posted by m0nm0n at 1:00 PM on January 11, 2005


Same thing on a bike, provided the sound isn't super-cranked. The wind is, basically, the noise you lose with headphones. Then again, since I'm an above average rider, maybe it's stupid to advocate doing this for the masses? In any case, I've never had a problem. One just reflexively looks first; you can't really hear that much on a bike, anyway, due to the wind.
posted by ParisParamus at 3:54 PM EST on January 11


Paris: You've answered your own question. As stated earlier, it's illegal to ride (in most places) wearing headphones. It's much easier to outlaw a practice that can easily be dangerous rather than writing the law to read "illegal unless you are an above average rider and don't crank the volume." Then again, you're an attorney, so I'm not sure why I'm telling you this. Many places don't have bike lanes and many drivers aren't on the lookout for cyclists, so most cyclists need every bit of every sense they can use to stay safe.

/derail
posted by trey at 1:00 PM on January 11, 2005


I welcome our new mass market mini overlords. It will be a long time before Apple's PC market share is so large that it stops Thinking Different.
posted by ParisParamus at 1:00 PM on January 11, 2005


I ordered a 1G Shuffle as soon as I could get through to the store. I was going to buy an iPod mini but held off to see what the Expo revealed.

a flash player with no lcd is suddenly the best thing ever, just because there's an apple on it??

Nope - a flash player with no lcd is suddenly the best thing ever because it works with iTunes and costs the same as players with a half (and even a quarter, looking at the iRiver) of the capacity. I'm very, very serious about my music. But (as others have noted) when I'm on the train, or in the gym, I really only need 40 minutes to an hour's worth. This thing weighs less than an ounce. It's like it was made for me. With iTunes integration the lack of a display is a non-issue - just set up my "workout" playlists, my "commute" playlists, my "new music" playlists, etc.

They will sell a gazillion of these.

As to the Mac Mini - perfect for my in-laws whose geriatric iMac is chugging toward the end of its life. I've got boxes full of old mice and keyboards, and a couple of 17" monitors in the basement. $500 and they have a cool new machine.

Mmmm that's some good Kool-Aide.
posted by jalexei at 1:01 PM on January 11, 2005


Apple's research apparently indicates that many of these folks show up in the Apple stores viewing the iMac, iBooks, but don't buy because they are more expensive than the the perceived PC-equivalent.
And they still are: you can get a PC with monitor and keyboard and mouse for 500 bucks easy.
posted by amberglow at 1:03 PM on January 11, 2005


Paris -- look at the product page. Looks like you can play in order. How you get the order, I don't know, not being a Mac guy.

Pricing is slightly steep, but not outrageous; still, you could get a nicely-styled iRiver with a display and definit UMS support for less.

In design, it reminds me a lot of the Virgin players.

OK, I need to be done here, now. I'm happy for y'all, and it mostly looks like good stuff, but I can only say so many nice things about Apple products before I start to Think Mean....
posted by lodurr at 1:03 PM on January 11, 2005


Anyone who can actually see the macmini upgrade price amounts want to share?

Mac Mini Upgrades:
512Mb +$75, 1Gb +$425, SuperDrive +$100, Bluetooth +$50, AirPort Extreme Card +$79, Wired Keyboard/Mouse +$58, Wireless Keyboard/Mouse +$99
posted by Tenuki at 1:05 PM on January 11, 2005


And they still are: you can get a PC with monitor and keyboard and mouse for 500 bucks easy.

yes, and it is a PC, amberglow. If you don't see that you are in the wrong thread ;)
posted by terrapin at 1:06 PM on January 11, 2005


One last parting shot....

Amber, you're right, of course; but the selling proposition on the Mini will be that you can use it with your digital TV, so no monitor, and they're pitching hard on the idea that you can use an aftermarket mouse/keyboard.

And the form factor is very key: That kind of form-factor in a PC is still around $300 for just the hardware - maybe more, with those specs. Been a while since I looked.
posted by lodurr at 1:08 PM on January 11, 2005


Thanks Tenuki.
posted by ..ooOOoo....ooOOoo.. at 1:08 PM on January 11, 2005


Pricing is slightly steep, but not outrageous; still, you could get a nicely-styled iRiver with a display and definit UMS support for less.

Could you? The cheapest iRiver N10 (which seems the closest in terms of size/features) lists for $150, and that's with a measly 128 megs.
posted by jalexei at 1:08 PM on January 11, 2005


And they still are: you can get a PC with monitor and keyboard and mouse for 500 bucks easy.

Sure, but this lowers the bar to Mac-entry significantly. Dropping in a Mac as a replacement for an old PC is a possibility now, and at a somewhat-reasonable price. Even with necessary upgrades (RAM, I'm looking in your direction), it's nowhere near as pricy as previous Macs.
posted by uncleozzy at 1:09 PM on January 11, 2005


Is the front page starting to look like Kottke's Remaindered Links, or what? :-)
posted by DakotaPaul at 1:09 PM on January 11, 2005


lodurr, Paris: There appears to be a shuffle toggle on the back, you can set it to be "off", "shuffle" or "repeat" by the looks of things; see for yourself: large picture ahoy!
posted by lowlife at 1:09 PM on January 11, 2005


I must say, I've never been much of an Apple fan, but this is a pair of genius moves on their part. Almost everyone I've ever talked to about the iPod has said either, "I've already got one" or "it's too expensive". Likewise for desktop Macs - "it's too expensive". Apple now has both an iPod and a desktop box for the "too expensive" crowd, and both tie beautifully into the tiny and cute Apple image.

Could you dual-boot Linux and OS X on the mini? If so, I might end up getting one.
posted by vorfeed at 1:11 PM on January 11, 2005


Between the price parity and the pleasantness of the Mac buying experience--an Apple Store I think this is going to be big for Apple.
posted by ParisParamus at 1:14 PM on January 11, 2005


Although, a question for you Mac people -- how would this G4 hold up against multitrack audio recording? ... Could I jack a Firewire audio interface into this thing and expect reasonable performance with Garage Band or ProTools LE?
posted by uncleozzy at 12:54 PM PST on January 11


My husband uses GarageBand with a 1+ year old G4 Emac and it does really well.
I use a 2+ year old iBook running ProTools LE and hooked to Digidesign's 002 firewire interface (expensive, you could get away with a cheaper in/out box), and it does great! It's very stable in the latest version of OSX. The limitations are: only 8 tracks at a time for mixing/playback, and audio is "bumped down" to stereo in real time. So when you're finished mixing, you just set it up to bump and then you go make a sandwich or something. I'm sure that since the mini Mac is newer/faster that some editing features (applying effects for example) would be much faster, but ProTools LE will still, of course, use your CPU and will always be slower than the full version.
posted by turtlegirl at 1:15 PM on January 11, 2005


The Mini is remarkably similar in size and feature set to an Epia-based fanless thing I recently built, expressly to serve as an silent, always-on, low-power music server. I don't use a mouse, keyboard or display with it; it's controlled via remote desktop and plugs into my stereo receiver.

Given that every song on an iPod has to pass through a full-featured PC at some point, the Mini would be a really nice complement to a small iPod. I'm just baffled about why Apple would fail to include some kind of digital audio output on the thing.
posted by coelecanth at 1:16 PM on January 11, 2005


I can see what Apple's doing here -- and I appreciate it's not aimed at me -- but I'm slightly disappointed in the Mac Mini only having Firewire 400. (If it had FW800 I'd be on one like a shot, installing InterMezzo or OpenAFS on all the boxen in the house and then plugging like a terabyte of fast disk storage into it. Mmm, file servers!)

Soak up all that UNIXy goodness, folks. The only way to get it significantly cheaper is to buy a crap PC running Linux from WalMart ...

As for the rest of it, I can see the bumper stickers already: "my other PC is a Mac Mini". This is the Apple switch campaign reincarnated as a tempting test-drive program aimed at iPod owners, and this time it might just work.
posted by cstross at 1:17 PM on January 11, 2005


i like the idea of the shuffle, but i got no love for ITunes, and i found this little device for cheap that will work with an old SD card. I'm glad they released this thing though cause i wouldn't have thought to look for one.
posted by 31d1 at 1:18 PM on January 11, 2005


What!?!? No iPod radio!??!?!?
posted by scalz at 1:20 PM on January 11, 2005


I'm just baffled about why Apple would fail to include some kind of digital audio output on the thing.

Migh thave something to do with AirPort Express.
posted by terrapin at 1:20 PM on January 11, 2005


How well would the dev tools run on the mini? I'm a PC/Windows guy, but I've always wanted to explore OS X. The mini is right up my alley price-wise, but if the dev tools are unusable then I'll probably pass.
posted by Jeebus at 1:21 PM on January 11, 2005


The only way to get it significantly cheaper is to buy a crap PC running Linux from WalMart...

I guess they don't have independent computer stores in your neck of the woods. I've heard about computer prices in Scotland. Apple doesn't price accordingly there?
posted by juiceCake at 1:23 PM on January 11, 2005


The dev tools on OS X are freaking awesome.
posted by inksyndicate at 1:25 PM on January 11, 2005


The Shuffle feature is shit if, like me, you have iTrip. Unless, that is, you like to every now and then have your pleasant music interrupted with loud beeps and shit.

I feel your pain, CC. That said, I have recently been experimenting with Shuffle. I guess you could toss everything except the iTrip playlist into a separate playlist and just use shuffle on that. Or just have a small number of the iTrip frequencies loaded to the Library.
posted by anathema at 1:25 PM on January 11, 2005


ok I can see why people are excited about the mini, but for fucks sake, the shuffle, come on? a flash player with no lcd is suddenly the best thing evar, just because there's an apple on it??

mac evangelists scare me
posted by mr.marx at 3:42 PM EST on January 11


I use iTunes because it's really the best jukebox, I think. And I also ripped my entire cd collection to AAC.

ipod shuffle is the only thing that 1. I can run with and 2. I can finally play my damn music on.
posted by orange clock at 1:26 PM on January 11, 2005


You should really see the ipod shuffle as an extension of iTunes, not just a stand alone player.
posted by orange clock at 1:27 PM on January 11, 2005


Using computer peripherals more than once is so last century...

Funny, I thought the use-it-once-and-throw-it-away mentality of creating ever larger landfills was so last century. What were those protesters at MacWorld yelling about?
posted by fenriq at 1:28 PM on January 11, 2005


Apple Canada Store:

Mac Mini upgraded to 512 MB RAM, 80 GB HD, Superdrive, AirPort Extreme Card:

$1024.00 plus GST

Yipes. Just, yipes.
posted by Darkman at 1:31 PM on January 11, 2005


The ipod shuffle is perfect for me. I have 12+ tunes on my harddrive and burn a couple of mp3 discs every week to listen to at work. I can just load the thing up with about 120 songs and I'm set!
WHOHOO!!
posted by black8 at 1:34 PM on January 11, 2005


Man, I got a 256K TDK Mojo with a 256K SD card for $60. It's about the same size and has an LCD screen.

So I saved $40 by eschewing the Apple name-brand, with no random shuffle and an LCD screen to boot. Woe is me.
posted by Mach3avelli at 1:36 PM on January 11, 2005


The Creative Nomad MuVo has been out for about 2 years now, same concept as the Shuffle except the flash drive unplugs from the battery (one AAA) so it's more likely to fit in USB ports without a cable.

128MB MuVo = $40.
128MB MuVo NX (with LCD display) = $60.
256MB MuVo TX (LCD & builtin microphone) = $90.
512MB Muvo TXFM (LCD, builtin microphone, FM tuner, equalizer) = $120.

I've got the first of those (bought it when they first came out). 128MB is enough for a trip to the gym or whatever, but with more capacity I'd definitely want a display.
posted by Foosnark at 1:36 PM on January 11, 2005


I was interested in the Mini until I saw that you can't even upgrade the RAM without voiding the warranty. Ugh.
posted by dirigibleman at 1:37 PM on January 11, 2005


Man, I got a 256K TDK Mojo with a 256K SD card for $60.

A who? A what? You think your parents or that dumb person down the hall are gonna do that?

I was interested in the Mini until I saw that you can't even upgrade the RAM without voiding the warranty. Ugh.

You can buy more RAM at the time of purchase. The mini is a sealed box for dummies, not meant to be upgradable.
posted by mkultra at 1:44 PM on January 11, 2005


Mini buyers who aren't familiar with Macs: assuming they put a door in the bottom to replace RAM, like they've done on other models, you can save alot on the RAM upgrade by getting it aftermarket from a dealer like crucial.com. Adding a 512 chip should make this a decent machine for home music recording and home movie editing. My similarly spec'd eMac does such stuff.
posted by bendybendy at 1:44 PM on January 11, 2005


ack, the post above voids my suggestion!
posted by bendybendy at 1:45 PM on January 11, 2005


bendybendy: As long as you get your third-party RAM installed by an Apple-certified tech -- which is what I had a friend do with her PowerBook last summer -- you're in the clear. Third-party RAM is generally cheaper than Apple, but, especially in this case, it's more of a hassle to install. The non-user-installable RAM is the only flaw I can think of with this box, which is as powerful or better than the year-old iMac I'm using right now.
posted by mcwetboy at 1:49 PM on January 11, 2005


Macs are for boys.
posted by ColdChef at 1:50 PM on January 11, 2005


A who? A what? You think your parents or that dumb person down the hall are gonna do that?

How so true.

Question for all the Macheads out there: in your opinion, what are the disadvantages of Macs?
posted by Mach3avelli at 1:51 PM on January 11, 2005


You can buy more RAM at the time of purchase

more who? you think your parents or that dumb person down the hall are gonna do that?
posted by mr.marx at 1:52 PM on January 11, 2005


Question for all the Macheads out there: in your opinion, what are the disadvantages of Macs?

Less software and hardware add-ons available than Windows, is all I can think of.
posted by gwint at 1:55 PM on January 11, 2005


I think the Mini will sell like hotcakes, but when you do the math, the surprise is what a good deal the iMac G5 is. I don't have a spare LCD laying around, so my next Mac will be an iMac. I'm also surprised they're not offering larger HDD's on the mini: 80 gigs would hold my tunes, but what about the OS, apps, and photos?

On preview, Mach3avelli, some disadvantages are:
-hostility from corporate IT folks when you bring one to work
-one-button mice (the Mini thankfully doesn't force one to pay for this)
-lack of video card upgradability on anything but the most expensive models, along with an insistence on using underpowered graphics subsystems in the Mini and iMac (this is huge)
posted by stonerose at 1:56 PM on January 11, 2005


vorfeed: yes, you should be able to dual-boot. As long as you have separate partitions for your operating systems, holding down the option key on boot will show you your bootable volumes (including any CD/DVD media you currently have in the machine). You can set your default boot volume in OS X. I'm not sure what the deal is with that OS recognizing non-apple operating systems though, but I'll probably be finding out ;)

Oh, and here's a list of boot shortcuts [pdf] that you can use.
posted by lowlife at 1:56 PM on January 11, 2005


exactly. and when they get the box and see there's no mouse or keyboard...
posted by amberglow at 1:56 PM on January 11, 2005


Mach3avelli, I think there are two reasons not to get a Mac: you want to play a lot of computer games, or you want to run AutoCad. That's it. Otherwise they are perfect.
posted by chunking express at 1:56 PM on January 11, 2005


You also got half the song capacity, Mach3avelli -- and the pleasure of feeding your MP3 player AAA batteries for the rest of its life.
posted by fleacircus at 1:56 PM on January 11, 2005


amberglow: most people already own a keyboard and mouse, and if they don't, they can either buy one from Apple, or buy a cheapie (or a not-so-cheapie, if they prefer). This gives people freedom of choice. Much better than forcing them to buy something they already have and don't want, no?
posted by stonerose at 1:59 PM on January 11, 2005


My department at work is moving to a smaller space, and trying to get our overworked IT department to upgrade our G3s running OS 9. The Mac mini could be great for us (at least our writers and editors), and being able to use the keyboards and mice and not having to buy monitors will be a selling point.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:01 PM on January 11, 2005


When d'yall think the iPod shuffle will appear on Amazon? Will iBooks purchased from Amazon come with iLife v2?
posted by keswick at 2:04 PM on January 11, 2005


How is that you people have trouble running with a normal iPod? Are you lacking arms?
posted by xmutex at 2:06 PM on January 11, 2005


I'm absolutely not a mac guy - I've got an old blue g3 collecting dust in the closet, last turned on to play Escape Velocity - but these look great to me. The iShuffle 1gb is exactly what I've been looking for, at a decent enough price. I've been wanting to play around with OSX development, but I haven't been able to justify the cost - the mini is also just about ideal for me, there. I've got no end of old peripherals lying around, so a cheap headless new mac is great for me. Once the initial flurry dies down, I reckon I'll be getting myself one of each - my first Apple purchases in, say, six or seven years. Good job guys, you got an old grump like me to give you a second shot.
posted by majcher at 2:07 PM on January 11, 2005


How well would the dev tools run on the mini? I'm a PC/Windows guy, but I've always wanted to explore OS X. The mini is right up my alley price-wise, but if the dev tools are unusable then I'll probably pass.

I run Xcode just fine on my dinky G3 333. The dev tools seem pretty light weight and compiling is no big deal. The only thing that really slows it down is lots of widgets/windows. I think the Mini will handle development just fine.
posted by PantsOfSCIENCE at 2:10 PM on January 11, 2005


How 'bout those new iLife upgrades, eh, Mac users? Sha-weeet!
It's like they fixed every little niggling thing about iPhoto, iMovie, & Garage Band and covered it with sweet, sweet honey. Ahhhh, lickable honey…
posted by designbot at 2:12 PM on January 11, 2005


How is that you people have trouble running with a normal iPod? Are you lacking arms?

It's not the weight of it so much as the moving parts inside. I'd hate to have that hard drive rattling around for a half-hour while I went for a run, considering I would have spent a month's rent on the damn thing. The Shuffle is attractive for the gym rats, for sure.
posted by Succa at 2:21 PM on January 11, 2005


Grrrrr... after hearing y'all go on and on and on about the power and glory of iPods and how they've changed your life, I felt safe in my stance that I absolutely would not get one until one was available for under $100.

Damn.
posted by soyjoy at 2:22 PM on January 11, 2005


The mini looks pretty cool and thanks to the good exchange rates $500 is only £266 in the UK.

Unfortunatley Apple UK is selling it for £339 ($637). It's still a good deal anyway, but if it had been at £266 I would probably have bought one.
posted by comraderaoul at 2:26 PM on January 11, 2005


So, why was their stock down by 6% today?
posted by ParisParamus at 2:28 PM on January 11, 2005


The Mac Mini is pleasantly similar to the old SparcStation IPX.

The RAM upgrade probably requires little more than this.
posted by b1tr0t at 2:30 PM on January 11, 2005


PP: Buy the rumor, sell the news
posted by smackfu at 2:32 PM on January 11, 2005


Just think, for $500 an email / web user can have a cute little computer...which is basically immune to every virus out there. No scumware, no spyware, no viruses.

Do you think this could possibly lead to the creation of Mac viruses? More people have them, and sooner or later, someone is going to figure it out. Maybe that's crazy, but I looooove not having to worry about all that junk.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:32 PM on January 11, 2005 [1 favorite]


I'm very, very serious about my music.

and that's why you knowingly listen to something that significantly munches your sound quality?
posted by hellbient at 2:53 PM on January 11, 2005


now wheres my 500 buck laptop!!
posted by c at 3:00 PM on January 11, 2005


PinkSuperhero, I doubt you'll have to worry until Apple gets a little more than its current 2-3% market share up. And even then, the system's inherently more secure than Windows so don't sweat it too much yet.
posted by fenriq at 3:01 PM on January 11, 2005


hellbient , are you referring to the use of sampling-down, or the inherent limitations of MP3 compression? I've never understood how MP3 can do anything but diminish musicality.
posted by ParisParamus at 3:04 PM on January 11, 2005


Best thing: PC Weenies can't scream about the one button mouse. :)

Aaaah! The new Mac has no mouse buttons!
posted by sidb at 3:07 PM on January 11, 2005


Again, does anyone know when this stuff might show up on Amazon?
posted by keswick at 3:09 PM on January 11, 2005


I'm very, very serious about my music.

and that's why you knowingly listen to something that significantly munches your sound quality?


I'm very serious about working out, but that doesn't mean I have to train in the Himalayas.
posted by Mach3avelli at 3:09 PM on January 11, 2005


why is it so important that this appear on Amazon (two have asked that question)
posted by ParisParamus at 3:10 PM on January 11, 2005


Mach3avelli, that's a good question. I've used both for years, and there are only three reasons:

1) price.
2) you need some very specific application.
3) you are a hardware-oriented gearhead, rather than a software- or design-oriented one.

That's it. Otherwise they can't be beat.
posted by josh at 3:10 PM on January 11, 2005


My favorite part of each Apple launch is reading the ridiculously over the top product pages:

Welcome to a life less orderly. As official soundtrack to the random revolution, the iPod Shuffle Songs setting takes you on a unique journey through your music collection — you never know what’s around the next tune.

Who else could make a "shuffle" button sound like such a groundbreaking new feature?
posted by punishinglemur at 3:15 PM on January 11, 2005


Apple didn't provide a live stream of the event this time, but it's up now (QT).
posted by emelenjr at 3:15 PM on January 11, 2005


ParisParamus - I was referring to MP3 compression.
What is sampling-down?
posted by hellbient at 3:16 PM on January 11, 2005


...what are the disadvantages of Macs?

Advantages or disadvantages are rather subjective. I have consistently found them far too sluggish for my taste and less easy to use (which is of course, very subjective). As a result the price seems outrageous to me.

I design for screen, video, and print without any problems on my PC. Use what you like to use. It's you that's important, not the computer. I can use both and do (Macs on freelance gigs). Of course I have to familiar with the software.
posted by juiceCake at 3:23 PM on January 11, 2005


ipod shuffle is the only thing that 1. I can run with and 2. I can finally play my damn music on.

Your music. Our way.

This has been out for a while now, and it lets you use playlists. Wow.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:32 PM on January 11, 2005


I really wish people would stop using the acronym PC to refer to a Windows machine. A Macintosh is a personal computer as well.
posted by xmutex at 3:35 PM on January 11, 2005


The RAM upgrade probably requires little more than this.

Well, that and a willingness to void the warranty. Anybody know what AASPs generally charge for installing 3rd party RAM?
posted by rorycberger at 3:36 PM on January 11, 2005


I'm really surprised to see how so many people here are ready to buy this stuff, day one, without knowing much at all about it.
But I guess that's a good thing, as I'll be able to read their e-pinions about the limitations of all this fresh iStuff in a couple of months ("replacement part costs $300!", "can't use underwater! WTF?!", etc.). It is Apple, after all (I love them, but in the same way I loved John Kerry).

-Captain Bringdown
posted by hellbient at 3:43 PM on January 11, 2005


C_D: That player only comes with 128MB of memory.
posted by josh at 3:45 PM on January 11, 2005


Creative MuVo« TX FM 512mb. With an FM tuner, records from FM so when you are running and want to remember a tune, you have it. No need for iTunes, and it has an LCD screen. Honestly, you would think by the reaction in this thread that Flash based players were just invented today.
posted by jonah at 3:51 PM on January 11, 2005


PC is short for IBM PC which morphed into a modern Windows machine. Don't fight it.
posted by smackfu at 3:52 PM on January 11, 2005


Josh - True that. Clearly aimed at the beginner jogger, not the marathon runner. :)

I was just pointing out that there are players out there that are players out there that are small enough and designed with the intention of exercising. Of course, they might not come in Blinding White (tm). Personally, I don't see the inability to choose what order your songs are in to be a feature. That's like selling a car that only goes 15 mph and dubbing it "Built For Safety!"

Can you imagine how much Dark Side of the Moon would suck on one of these? (cue criticisms of the music and not my actual point).
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:56 PM on January 11, 2005


A cheap Mac, finally skriptkiddiez can afford one, and unleash virii and trojans made for Mac.

That being said, I wish I had money to spare, I'd get a Mac mini with the bluetooth and airport extreme options... that's what $630 plus tax? Ok adding options makes it creep into the not so cheap territory. I still want one.
posted by riffola at 4:01 PM on January 11, 2005


Can you imagine how much Dark Side of the Moon would suck on one of these? (cue criticisms of the music and not my actual point).

Would sound just fine, if you flipped the switch to play songs in order (an instantly overlooked feature of the iPod Shuffle).
posted by rorycberger at 4:05 PM on January 11, 2005


Personally, I don't see the inability to choose what order your songs are in to be a feature.

You can set up a playlist and just let it play in order. You just can't see what's playing on a screen, which probably isn't too much of an issue for joggers...
posted by saintsguy at 4:11 PM on January 11, 2005


Cue the 86 (?) Chicago Bears doing that awful "SuperBowl Shuffle" song and video.

'We didn't want to start no trouble
We just here to do the iPod Shuffle!

Ok, it was funnier in my head where the cackling sounds like laughter.

And xmutex, we finally agree on something, I wish people would quit co-opting PC for a Windows based machine too. But I just generally replace the PC with Pure Crap and I don't mind so much.
posted by fenriq at 4:13 PM on January 11, 2005


I've never owned a Mac (not counting the Apple IIe), but this definitely making me think very seriously about getting one. The Mac Mini - dominates. It's what the Cube should've been in the first place, for half the price or less. Apple is going low budget, and it's going to be good to see the Porsche-vs-Mopar analogy get its ass kicked. Bravo. Plus, for those considering a dual-boot with Linux, keep in mind the fact that OSX is built on FreeBSD. You have to seriously question the need to go to that length.

On the other hand, the iPod Shuffle is pretty weak. It's basically an expensive usb drive with mp3-player capability, with the added feature which lets you not use it without iTunes. Any mention of how you replace the battery? Color me not surprised when I find out it works for 18 months then fails.
posted by mullingitover at 4:20 PM on January 11, 2005


Wow, it's like 1998 all over again.
posted by euphorb at 4:20 PM on January 11, 2005


Yeah, the Mac vs. PC thing gets on my nerves too, but I agree it's a losing battle. (Though, arguably, a Mac is more personal than other alternatives.)
posted by emelenjr at 4:29 PM on January 11, 2005


That link was awesome, euphorb. Hard to believe people were shelling out $200 for an audio casette-sized MP3 player that held a whopping 32MB. Good times.
posted by turaho at 4:52 PM on January 11, 2005


if you flipped the switch to play songs in order (an instantly overlooked feature of the iPod Shuffle)

Color me instantly overlooked. :)
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:58 PM on January 11, 2005


That being said, I wish I had money to spare, I'd get a Mac mini with the bluetooth and airport extreme options... that's what $630 plus tax? Ok adding options makes it creep into the not so cheap territory. I still want one.

For what you're getting, $630 still isn't that bad.
posted by eyeballkid at 4:59 PM on January 11, 2005


OSX is a slick, but its not immune

Given its based on FreeBSD - its damn close to immune.
posted by rough ashlar at 4:59 PM on January 11, 2005


At $500 the Mac mini is still a bit pricy for what you get, but that's just Mac hardware, they've never been after anyone in my income bracket's money. Unless you are pretty financially comfortable a Mac is like a BMW, nice but obviously not built with you in mind.

I can build an equivilant Intel/AMD box for around $250, drop on any of the Linux variants, and have a computer that runs just as fast for half the money (and runs about as much of the available software too). I'd like to try a Mac Mini, but I just can't justify spending an extra $250 just because I like their version of FreeBSD.
posted by sotonohito at 5:07 PM on January 11, 2005


mac evangelists scare me

They should. The Mac evangelist of the 1980's and 1990's spent time damming command lines and UNIX, and now have embraced BOTH in OS X.

If there was steaming bowls of crap (oh, Windows 2.0) and Jobs said "this is good" - the Mac Evangelists would be repeating the "this is good" manta. Kinda like the core Microsoft supporters - a confused bunch.

Raw consumerism at the feet of an appointed "leader" is amusing, have a good hardy laugh at the expense of 'the scary ones'.
posted by rough ashlar at 5:12 PM on January 11, 2005


I really wish people would stop using the acronym PC to refer to a Windows machine. A Macintosh is a personal computer as well.

Marketing and common use have come to equate PC with a Windows box. How do you feel about the use of "mp3" to describe these players that are not just mp3 players?

Talk to Apple's marketing department about personal computers as opposed to workstations. I wonder when Apple will release a workstation class system...
posted by juiceCake at 5:15 PM on January 11, 2005


I am just disappointed that they didn't announce the yellow curved cylindrical form factor: The MacRoni.

The shuffle seems like a waste - other comparable flash players offer far more functionality - for me an lcd and playlists are pretty critical in a player.
posted by srboisvert at 5:18 PM on January 11, 2005


I'd like to try a Mac Mini

Reminds me of a Mac Cube (the aborted product of Jobs-vision past) and that reminded me of the NeXT cube.

Instead of quality Magnesium metal (like the cube) it's made of emasculating plastic (see bisphenol A references), and its 1/2 the product of the cube - what with the 1/2 the height of the Apple Mac Cube.

(ok, ok, the NeXTSTEP software is what make the cube the darling it was.....now with GnuSTEP - you can have that NeXT feeling with Windowmaker and GNUSTeP in non-cube form.)

Want the "apple" experence? Run FreeBSD, use Windowmaker on xorg, develop in GNUSTeP, and take the loose dollar bills you have and set them on fire so you don't have them anymore.
posted by rough ashlar at 5:23 PM on January 11, 2005


When they really offer a comparably-priced system at a PC price is the day their market share will explode--something they're only making a half-assed gesture toward with the mini. Why they aren't using the ipod profits to subsidize a real cheap machine that millions will buy is beyond me.

And i still say not including a keyboard and mouse is stupid and not-at-all consumer friendly. And if they intend for people to use tvs as monitors, it should have been black or gray to match those.
posted by amberglow at 5:30 PM on January 11, 2005


Want the "apple" experence? Run FreeBSD, use Windowmaker on xorg, develop in GNUSTeP, and take the loose dollar bills you have and set them on fire so you don't have them anymore.

X11 is pretty much the antithesis of the "apple" experience, no matter how much lipstick you put on that pig.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 5:37 PM on January 11, 2005


X11 is pretty much the antithesis of the "apple" experience

Yea, that "Apple Experience" - seperating you from your money. Compare pineapple VS Apple ][ prices, or Power Computing VS Mac prices.

No wonder an open standard like X11 is in opposition of the Apple POV.
posted by rough ashlar at 5:52 PM on January 11, 2005


Want the "apple" experence? Run FreeBSD, use Windowmaker on xorg, develop in GNUSTeP, and take the loose dollar bills you have and set them on fire so you don't have them anymore.

Sorry, charley, it ain't so -- and I'm speaking as a hardcore BSD user, been using FreeBSD since the 3.x series, been using Unix since, well, I gave up on VMS 4.3. Hell, I'm using FreeBSD right now, in particular, FreeBSD 4.10-RELEASE-p5. Over there is the 5.3-RELEASE-p4. I don't run -CURRENT, I do work.

And that's why my desktops are migrating to the Mac. I don't want to run an OS. I want to get work done. The Mac is better at that.

X only wishes it had an interface as quarter as slick or effective as OS X. Or, for that matter, NeXTStep. Hell, you have any idea how nice it is to simply have paste always work correctly?

Yes, KDE and Gnome have done miracles to make X only suck. But compare to even OS 9, X is a bloated mass of poorly implemented and documented interfaces. OS X leaves it in the dust.

There's so much more to the MacOS interface than the gumdrop buttons. And it's worth every penny to me to get that. I paid more for my bikes. They're still rolling. I paid more for my tent and backpack. They're still solid. I paid more for my Macs -- and they're all running like a champ, and I'm getting tons of work done on them.

There are lots of times that cheap is expensive, and the stingy man spends the most. If you want to fight with X and lowball hardware to save a few bucks, good on you.

I've got better things to do.
posted by eriko at 6:12 PM on January 11, 2005


I'm still puzzled about what display Apple will sell to folks who walk into the Apple store wanting to get a Mini Mac as their first computer. Apple's displays start at $999. Will they start stocking CRTs in the store? Or just direct potential customers to CompUSA? It seems like a terrible plan. Yes, I hear the business about hooking it up to your TV, but still, that's not what lots of folks want. My dad's in the market for another desktop in my parents' house, but he has to go to two stores to get all the parts? I don't buy it.
posted by rustcellar at 6:31 PM on January 11, 2005


I'm very serious about my music...

and that's why you knowingly listen to something that significantly munches your sound quality?

A fair question: I'm serious about having my music with me, and which music that happens to be at a given time. As long as I get some bass and the highs aren't too murky, I'm more or less happy. I don't have enough time or money to be an audiophile.
posted by jalexei at 6:35 PM on January 11, 2005


With all that 'densely-packed power', you have to wonder how long it might be before the Mac Mini starts to suffer heat-generated part failure a la the old G3 iBook. It looks like a little desk-top oven for cooking components in.
posted by Sonny Jim at 6:47 PM on January 11, 2005


But it grills cheese!
posted by ColdChef at 6:52 PM on January 11, 2005


Rearrange the Furniture, Anytime...
Believe it or not, all this technology weighs just 2.9 pounds. Imagine… a desktop computer you can easily move from your study to the kitchen on a whim.


They're onto you...
posted by Sonny Jim at 7:06 PM on January 11, 2005


No wonder an open standard like X11 is in opposition of the Apple POV.

Yeah, the important thing is that you're not all religious about it like all those Apple nuts.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 7:13 PM on January 11, 2005


rough ashlar: I understand your passion for free software. I contribute to some open-source projects myself. I also ran KDE for years. So please give me some credit when I say there is NO COMPARISON between OS X and any linux desktop.

For reference, check out Apple's OS 10.4 (Tiger) preview site (updated today). The videos should run fine under mplayer. It's like the OS group sat down in front of CSI, or Minority Report and said "say, that software looked sweet. Let's build it!"
posted by Popular Ethics at 7:58 PM on January 11, 2005


They should. The Mac evangelist of the 1980's and 1990's spent time damming command lines and UNIX, and now have embraced BOTH in OS X.

I don't think this is accurate. What Apple enthusiasts in the 1980s and early 1990s did was tout the work Apple had put into user experience, and especially the GUI. Not a lot of hating the command line for the sake of hating the command line, especially among the computer literate crowd -- and it's worth noting that even Apple created products with command line like interfaces -- the Apple development environment had a command shell and then there's AU/X.

AU/X and NeXT were pretty much my dream systems and those of a number of Apple fans I knew... up until Linux became available, and then, finally, Mac OS X.
posted by weston at 8:18 PM on January 11, 2005


Rough Ashlar, if you think GNUStep is anywhere near a replacement for OS X I've got some shiny swampland I'd love to sell you...
posted by Space Coyote at 8:24 PM on January 11, 2005


I just don't get it. Where's the Kool Aid? I should drink some, because this still doesn't seem like much of a deal to me. Sure, the Mac Mini is shiny shiny, and nice and small -- but since when does someone get away with saying they're selling a low-priced computer when it has no monitor, keyboard or mouse? When I walk into a store and ask for a computer, I sure as heck want one with all those things included -- what kind of stink would be raised if PC sellers were using prices for a computer with no monitor, keyboard or mouse to compare to Apple products? As for the Shuffle, you can get something smaller and cheaper with a display - why does Apple get props for selling something larger and more expensive without a display? I had no idea the Steve Jobs "reality distortion field" extended so far...
posted by mathewi at 8:37 PM on January 11, 2005


maybe i'm just nutty, but last time I upgraded, I didn't see a need to upgrade my keyboard, swap my MS 5-button mouse for an el cheapo 2 button, and shell out some more money for a suckass monitor. I just bought a new box from ABS. ooh, it's cherry Kool-Aid!
posted by keswick at 8:50 PM on January 11, 2005


I guess I came in on this kinda late. ;)

I just recently got a 20" iMac G5 (I love typing that) so I'm not too interested in the mini, though it does look like a nice machine that might give Apple a real switcher campaign.

I like the iPod shuffle. It's much more my price and capacity range. I could never justify all the space on the larger iPods; I just don't have that much music and don't transfer files a lot. The lack of a display doesn't bother me.

Wasn't too impressed with iWork. I guess I'll wait to see what Pages is like.

Thanks for the Tiger preview link, Popular Ethics. I probably wouldn't have visited if you hadn't mentioned it was updated. They've done a lot with Tiger since the last preview. Looks much better, much more compelling (though I hate those new buttons in Mail).

As far as some of the stuff raised in the thread, I too think OSX dev tools are awesome. I think Cocoa is a great programming language, though before that I only knew AppleScript, so what do I know.

And I think X11 sucks ass compared to OSX. As far as Apple being in opposition to X, haven't they contributed to X11? Didn't they also contribute a bunch to open source with Safari? I agree with weston, too. I had always hated the fact that Mac had no command line. The GUI was great but often it was inadequate. And I seriously hated OS 9 and below more than I loved them. Prepress and design systems tended to make them crash half a dozen times a day. Very frustrating. And troubleshooting was mostly twiddling your thumbs waiting for reboot. OSX is GUI heaven in comparison.
posted by effwerd at 8:53 PM on January 11, 2005


I think the market Apple is trying to target are iPod owners who want to switch from a PC to a Mac. They already have a keyboard, mouse, and monitor so Apple would rather lower the price than make them buy peripherals they already have.

Of course Apple used to be criticized for not including a keyboard and mice with their computers...
posted by gyc at 8:54 PM on January 11, 2005


With all that 'densely-packed power', you have to wonder how long it might be before the Mac Mini starts to suffer heat-generated part failure a la the old G3 iBook. It looks like a little desk-top oven for cooking components in.

That's why the mini's power supply is on the outside, a la the old G3 iBook.
posted by AlexReynolds at 9:07 PM on January 11, 2005


If I'm reading the iPod Shuffle right, I think I'm pregnant.
posted by mazola at 9:12 PM on January 11, 2005


maybe i'm just nutty, but last time I upgraded [...]

Well, let's be honest. 256 Mb isn't going to cut it, so add another hundred or so to upgrade the RAM (and I believe there's only one DIMM slot, so choose wisely). Of course, if you go through Apple, you can probably double the price. If you want built-in WiFi, tack on another hundred. A little here and there adds up to not-so-great a value, but it's still a cute little box, and does what it does very well.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:39 PM on January 11, 2005



I can build an equivilant Intel/AMD box for around $250, drop
Given that the closest thing, form factor wise, available is via's eden which runs at about 1/2 the price just for the mobo+cpu and is much slower than the G4.....

on any of the Linux variants, and have a computer that runs just as fast for half the money (and runs about as much of the available software too).
Except that linux, or free bsd, really doesn't compete with OSX. The machine I'm typing on runs gentoo and the other boxes in the cavement run an assortment of win2k, freeBSD and mandrake and none of them achieve the kind of polish the two iBooks running OSX do. Oh and yeah it's the only unix available that has anything resembling a half decent radeon driver.
posted by mce at 9:41 PM on January 11, 2005


I don't get why people are so fixated on the lack of a display. How often do you hear a song you intentionally put on your player and think to yourself "Hrm, I wonder what that is?"
Here in Japan, my coworkers are crazy about this new Shuffle thing because you can't get plain old 1G usb thumbdrives for that price...and this thing also plays music.
posted by nightchrome at 10:21 PM on January 11, 2005


"Do not eat iPod shuffle"??
posted by TwelveTwo at 11:11 PM on January 11, 2005


But it grills cheese!

Wait a minute, that changes everything! I like cheese!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:47 PM on January 11, 2005


I just don't get it.

/lebowski: obviously, you're not a golfer.
posted by pmbuko at 12:14 AM on January 12, 2005


I'm still puzzled about what display Apple will sell to folks who walk into the Apple store wanting to get a Mini Mac as their first computer.

rustcellar, this is only a concern for people who don't already own a computer (PC or Mac). They can plug their existing monitors into the Mac mini. It comes with a VGA to DVI adapter.
posted by pmbuko at 12:20 AM on January 12, 2005


I'm still puzzled about what display Apple will sell to folks who walk into the Apple store wanting to get a Mini Mac as their first computer.

rustcellar, this is only a concern for people who don't already own a computer (PC or Mac). They can plug their existing monitors into the Mac mini. It comes with a VGA to DVI adapter.


Yes, I know. But I figure anybody who doesn't have a computer or for whatever reason doesn't have an appropriate monitor (previously owning only an integrated unit, for instance) will be in for a very rude shock when the Apple Store can only provide monitors which triple the price of the package. That's a terrible thing to do to a customer, in my opinion. If apple started selling cheap CRTs, then they could provide for that circumstance, but otherwise I imagine they'll get some seriously bad press from folks realizing that $500 will still not get you anything close to a full setup. I love Apple, don't get me wrong, and that prospect just saddens me.
posted by rustcellar at 12:26 AM on January 12, 2005


rustcellar, nobody at the Apple Store is going to sell a mini to a first-time computer buyer (if there really are any such creatures left). That's what the iMacs are for. Don't fret so.
posted by obloquy at 1:21 AM on January 12, 2005


I say there is NO COMPARISON between OS X and any linux desktop.

My goal is to display information. Text - then edit that text.

X11 is just as good as OS X for that job. Windows works for that task, so long as the box is not infected or crashed.

And displaying graphics (like CAD) - again, X11 does fine. Many fine $20,000+ packages show that X11 works fine.

So from where I sit, X11, Windows, Quartz - all do a fine job of displaying information. X11 may be bletcherous and Windows may be a fetid, rotting corpse, but that doesn't mean Quartz is by default godly. Apple doesn't add enough value for me to acually BUY thier crap.



(Now I recommend in a either or choice of Windows or Apple's Mac a choice of the Mac. But I don't trust Apple or Microsoft any father than I can throw Jobs OR Gates. Both men are not trustworthy, and both companies are not worthy of trust. Apple has chosen to use a UNIX base, and UNIX is the only OS to survive market forces of the 1970's, 1980's and 1990's.)
posted by rough ashlar at 1:28 AM on January 12, 2005


It reminds me of the cube - what ever happened to that thing? I thought it was a wonderful little idea.

That wonderful idea bombed. It should be noted that when the cube came out apple fans everywhere said it would be "huge", just as someone said earlier in this thread.

Time will tell.
posted by justgary at 1:34 AM on January 12, 2005


Rough Ashlar, if you think GNUStep is anywhere near a replacement for OS X

Lets see, OS X - are you talking about the OS X 'branding' of:
And operating system
The way the display is presented
The API

GNUStep is ment to be a clone of NeXTSTEP. And the YellowBox API -> Mac OS X API shares alot with GNUStep.

So from an API standpoint, if one develops with GNUStep, the code ports well over to the latest Mac OS X API. At least better than to the Windows API or the Qt API.

Now if you are talking about the CD ROM Apple sells that is called "OS X" then yea, GNUStep != Mac OS X as one is an API branding, the other is an entire OS.
posted by rough ashlar at 1:39 AM on January 12, 2005


The interesting thing about apple's design and marketing of their music players is that they've stepped away from the make everything as ultrafuturistic as possible mindset.

The ipods do look futuristic, but that's not the most important thing: the most important thing is that they don't have a lot of exess styling on them. They're iconic (in the Scott McCloud sense), allowing people to project what the music makes them feel onto the device itself.

They're also beautiful little Things, though; here apple's pricing and feature set make sense. In fashion, few make desicions based on product specs.
posted by Tlogmer at 1:45 AM on January 12, 2005


another awesome product announced at the show!!!

i'm sure you'll all agree!!

...
posted by jimjam at 1:58 AM on January 12, 2005


"How often do you hear a song you intentionally put on your player and think to yourself "Hrm, I wonder what that is?""

A few times an hour. Much more if other people are listening and asking. Because having an mp3 player has changed the way I listen to music - I just get new stuff, and drop it into a playlist rather than listening to the CD over and over again while staring at the sleeve and figuring out which tracks I love and which I'm not so keen on. So there's lots of stuff on my player that I don't immediately recognise.

That said, I think the 'shuffle' player is dumb but will probably be a moderate success. And I think the Mac Mini is a good thing, but Apple need to bring out a cheap little TFT display to sell with it if necessary.
posted by cell at 2:09 AM on January 12, 2005


jimjam's link wins.

I am an Apple user, as it suits all of my audio recording/post production and graphics editing needs as well, but I still have a Windows machine for the project management tools I use every day (none of which are available on the OS X platform).

But I do not like the mindless product hawking machine that Apple has become in the last couple of years. Not that they have every been really restrained, they just seem to be in overdrive these days. They seem to release a new iPod about every six months. Also, the Shuffle? Give me a break, they are selling a complete lack of features as a features. 1984 indeed.

More stuff for tomorrow's landfills.
posted by psmealey at 5:08 AM on January 12, 2005


wow yet another thread full of apple users talking interestedly about new kit and a bunch of extraverted non-mac users letting everyone know what they think about an os and a platform that they don't use.... the former being interesting if you use macs and the latter being pretty boring.

in my pro-pc workplace everyone was talking about the mini. The buzz was that they were tired of spyware and viruses and their 1-year old pcs needing to be wiped and reinstalled and that they were sorely tempted to throw them out and spend $500 to have a mac instead. They were excited to 'learn unix' and didn't care about the processor speed, etc, because they use their machines to surf, do mail, etc. They also seemed really interested in iPhoto and how easy it is to manage and email photos with it. Seemed to me that the tide had turned with these folks, at least in the wake of the announcement.
posted by n9 at 5:18 AM on January 12, 2005


217 posts! C'mon people, if we double that we're only 58 away from beating the post for that little World Trade Center thing a few years back!
posted by Stonewall Jackson at 6:04 AM on January 12, 2005


The buzz was that they were tired of spyware and viruses and their 1-year old pcs needing to be wiped and reinstalled and that they were sorely tempted to throw them out and spend $500 to have a mac instead.

Tired of viruses and spyware on PC's?

Step 1: Eliminate Internet Explorer from your vocabulary. Replace with just about anything else.

Step 2: Disable HTML-enabled emails.

There you go. 99.9% of your problems are solved, and it doesn't have to cost you a penny. This has, naturally, been said before, but then, I still keep seeing posts complaining about something that really shouldn't be a problem, so like a club to a baby seal, the beating goes on.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:31 AM on January 12, 2005


rough ashlar, I'm sure you know that you are entirely missing the point. For most people computers are more than ways to 'display information.' Everyone has different needs and comes to technology with a different set of expectations. Obviously, many people have needs and expectations that are drastically different from yours.

People talk about 'Mac freaks'--but of course, this thread wasn't exactly going out and evangelizing the universe. It's mostly a bunch of people who like Apple products talking about them. No one is coming into your house or office, reaching into your wallet, taking out your money, and forcing you to buy a Mac. It's a consumer choice. Everyone is being excited inside their own very queit, very tiny, very virtual thread on MetaFilter. There does not have to be only one kind of computer for everyone in the whole world.

The fact is that some of us have different priorities than you do. Obviously, for you, your environment is the best possible one. For me, it's not. The same goes for the oft-made, and obviously stupid, argument that for $X I could build my own computer running Linux. I have no interest in doing so. I could build my own furniture with some basic carpentry tools, too. I am not a carpenter. As a result, I have to pay someone else to design and build it. Luckily, building computers is not really a vital skill in this world. So in what way are the facts that I could build my own furniture or computer relevant to me? Why should I care, to quote from upthread, that

I can build an equivilant Intel/AMD box for around $250, drop on any of the Linux variants, and have a computer that runs just as fast for half the money....

Well, good, but I can't build such a box and have no interest in learning how . . . EVER.

This Mac vs. PC debate is endlessly, endlessly, endlessly tiresome. There are obviously people who know nothing about computers on either side who can be preyed upon as know-nothings who are victims of marketing. But there are also plenty of people who chose their platform for good reasons that make sense to them. I'm glad that you like your work environment. Now I'd like to enthuse about the iPod shuffle in peace, please.
posted by josh at 7:11 AM on January 12, 2005


Followup: Apple Haters Unite!
posted by josh at 7:12 AM on January 12, 2005


(The point being--both of those parodies are equally dumbass and aggravating.)
posted by josh at 7:14 AM on January 12, 2005


The only good thing I see in the shuffle is the price. My MPIO 512 MB flash player cost $200, but includes a display and FM tuner and recorder. My primitive playlist method consists of putting songs in different directories, then selecting the directory I want to play. I couldn't do that without a display. This also worked on my previous flash player, a Nexx IIe (which died after a year). I would also much rather use AAA batteries than have to charge an internal battery - it's easy to find cheap AAA's and the rechargable battey always seems to be the first thing to fail in consumer electronics.
posted by rfs at 7:20 AM on January 12, 2005


C_D, now you just have to know that there is more to it than that. If your machine is already hit you're looking at a long haul (a potentially *very* long haul) to get it out and, *and* unless you take measures your typical home machine connected to a cable modem or DSL is vulnerable to a lot more than IE and email related worms. If you have a fresh machine, you should install adaware and spybot *and* get a firewall product or use a router with all the incoming ports closed, and this will possibly eliminate 99% percent of problems. For now.

For now OSX has no such problems and it has a lot of obviously cool things going for it for your average user. My mom for instance thinks that the ease with which she can load photos into iphoto and email them so that they are scaled to screen size all in one step is the greatest achievement in the history of computers. I wouldn't go that far, but for me Apple's software takes a raw feature (I can take pictures, load them onto my computer, scale them down one at a time, attach them to email and send them to people) and delivers a humane interface that allows one to use the feature all the time with the greatest ease possible: take picture, load into computer with 2 clicks, attach to email with one click, send email with 1 click. The fact that it does this at an incremental greater expense per measure of hardware (clock speed, ram) is easy for me to swallow, at least, because I view the time/pain associated with accomplishing things on a computer as much more valuable than the $/Ghz gap between a PC and a mac.
posted by n9 at 8:14 AM on January 12, 2005


I was very excited about this, as I was strongly considering (after having a great experience with my iBook) getting an Apple desktop whenever the time comes. And yes, the mini will be a lot cheaper than the other Mac systems out there, since I have umpteen keyboards and nice, and a nice monitor I could use, too.

But the price is still a tad high for me. There are a number of places near here that can build a fairly decent system (certainly powerful enough for Apple's ostensible target market with this) for under $500CDN. To get the Mac Mini up to speed with the customizations I want (increased RAM, bigger hard drive, wireless networking) I'd be looking at significantly more.
posted by synecdoche at 9:17 AM on January 12, 2005


Wugh, I don't know what I was doing with that last sentence in the first paragraph.
posted by synecdoche at 9:25 AM on January 12, 2005


With an academic discount, my ideal Mac mini would cost me $852. Quite a bit extra for a $500 computer.

The graphics card is underwhelming, and the fact that you can't swap the memory out is severely disappointing.

I'd love to have one of these, but can't merit the cost for what I would do with it.

My main applications I would want would be:

iPhoto --> Adobe Photoshop Elements
iMovie --> Adobe Premier Elements
iTunes --> iTunes

I love OSX, and I used to have a G4 tower. But I can't merit the purchase of an overpriced machine to do things that I can do on my Windows machine. It may not be as pretty, but compatibility is important to me, and the Windows machine offers the most compatibility.
posted by benjh at 9:36 AM on January 12, 2005


Whatever happend to the cube? Well, it was a terrible idea, so it bombed. It was a terrible idea because: In short, it was a terrible idea because it confused "design" with "industrial design", which Apple has made a great habit of in the last 10 years or so. (Examples: The Dove Bar mouse, the original iMac, the zooming launch bar on OS X [it was dumb on KDE, it's dumb on OS X].)

Not that I ever thought they were all that good at industrial design, either. They were mostly harder to maintain and ended up having a higher carrying cost due to the combination of integrated monitors and high component failure-rates.

Apple is, and has been since the early 90s, primarily a status brand: There's no thing that it does enough better than Windows (well, prior to XP) to make it worth switching. If I could count on Windows working at least as well as Windows 2000, going forward, I wouldn't consider switching. But Windows already doesn't work as well as Windows 2000, and Microsoft seems hell-bent on pursuing their ridiculous plan to rent you all your software instead of letting you own it, and I will continue to need to use Macromedia applications for the near future, so.... I'm switching.

Just bought a Mini, yesterday.

I don't like Jobs or Apple any more today than I did yesterday, and this time next month I'll probably hate them with a passion [platform switches are always maddening for anybody trying to get anything serious accomplished]. But I'm switching. I'll keep my Win2K PictureBook to do Windows apps as needed and because I've got it working really well, now, and totally rebuild my desktop as a Linux system (probably Mandrake 10.x, but maybe SuSE). (Unless someone wants to offer me more than it's worth for a 2 year old Shuttle XPC with 512MB....)
posted by lodurr at 9:53 AM on January 12, 2005


because I view the time/pain associated with accomplishing things on a computer as much more valuable than the $/Ghz gap between a PC and a mac.

Someone said earlier that Apple almost wants to keep its users n00bs, and I tend to agree with that sentiment. For instance, you extoll the virtues of iPhoto, but I just don't see it, but maybe that's because I shoot for a living. I need to be able to tinker a bit with my photos, I need to organize them in folders because they're just going to end up on DVD. I don't want a third-party piece of software acting as a go-between database because I don't anticipate the software will last more than a couple of years. Same thing goes with iTunes.

But for someone who doesn't want to futz around tinkering, I can see the appeal. Unfortunately that's not me. As for security, I have to wonder if the reason PC's are more susceptible is that virus writers et. al. are simply targetting the larger demographic. Yes, Microsoft does make it easy for them to take advantage of someone who hasn't secured their machine, but it doesn't take a great leap from n00b to learn the basics (don't run files you don't trust, don't use IE, etc.)
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:52 AM on January 12, 2005


This is second-hand, but according to this Macintouch write-up (my emphasis):
Apple "does not recommend" that users upgrade the memory themselves - you're supposed to have a service provider do it if you want to add more after purchase - but doing it yourself does not void the warranty unless you damage something. A booth person told me the memory slot is easily accessible once you get the case open.
The Cube was beautiful, but it started at $1,799, which was the main reason it flopped, IMO.

iPhoto --> Adobe Photoshop Elements
iMovie --> Adobe Premier Elements


If you buy them together, Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements are $150. iPhoto and iMovie are free with a new Mac (along with iDVD and GarageBand) .
posted by kirkaracha at 10:57 AM on January 12, 2005


If you buy them together, Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements are $150. iPhoto and iMovie are free with a new Mac (along with iDVD and GarageBand).

Adobe Premier has iDVD equiv built in. And $150 to run on my existing computer, vs. $700 for Mac mini with Superdrive, that's a big jump. And Garageband is useless to me, as well as I would imagine 95% of all people.
posted by benjh at 11:18 AM on January 12, 2005


My goal is to display information. Text - then edit that text.

Could you be more neck-bearded if you tried? Your computer needs were obviously solved somewhere around 1970. Why do you even care about what the generations since then would like to do with one?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 11:18 AM on January 12, 2005


" ParisParamus - I was referring to MP3 compression.
What is sampling-down?
posted by hellbient at 3:16 PM PST on January 11"

I don't understand to what extent, if any MP3 compression can retain music fidelity; I don't understand what you lose. Similarly, I'm one of those loons who think LPs sound better than CDs.
posted by ParisParamus at 1:22 PM on January 12, 2005


*shaking head*

Let me try and sum up the anti-mac mini comments in one sentence:

"It is nothing I use or would use, so why the heck are all of you getting excited about it?"
posted by terrapin at 1:47 PM on January 12, 2005


MP3 compression isn't lossless (compression codecs such as FLAC or Ape are), but it can be considered sonically transparent depending on which codec and bitrate you choose.

IIRC double blind tests indicate that using the LAME MP3 encoder with the standard preset will be give results difficiult to distinguish from the CD original with bitrates below 192kbps. Also IIRC, the Ogg encoder is indistinguishable at even lower bitrates.

Standard disclaimer: YMMV, especially if you're a hi-fi type.
posted by turbodog at 2:01 PM on January 12, 2005


bitrates below, or above 192? Huh?
posted by ParisParamus at 2:03 PM on January 12, 2005


My music may vary? Yep.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:03 PM on January 12, 2005


Above 192.

And fwiw, I don't consider myself any sort of audiophile, but I certainly noticed a difference between the MP3s I snagged off BT, and the CDs I bought as a result of that. A lot of it sounds remarkably better: less "grainy" or "bitty" or "higher resolution" or whatever term would convey the sort of digitized sound of MP3 versus the smoother, crisper, more-detailed sound of CD.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:39 PM on January 12, 2005


Thanks, FFF.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:37 PM on January 12, 2005


Below 192kbps.

Like I tried to say above, IF you use the right encoder with the right settings, you can get very high quality.

If, you d/l random files encoded at 128kbps with who knows what encoder, you get what you deserve.

Point is: results vary wildly, but don't completely disregard lossy compression.
posted by turbodog at 4:40 PM on January 12, 2005


Use LAME with variable bit-rate encoding. Sounds just about as good as a CD.
posted by Tlogmer at 5:37 PM on January 12, 2005


So has anyone gotten their mitts on an iPod shuffle? Is it cool?

C_D: That is definitely true about iPhoto--it works great for me, but obviously wouldn't work so great for a professional. At the same time, it's not as though there aren't professional-grade media management apps galore for the Mac. And in general, Apple is doing something in particular: bringing good design values and high quality products to non-professionals. To my mind, iPhoto is and was pretty great for its price and was way above what I, anyway, was expecting as a completely amateur photographer.

*shaking head*
Let me try and sum up the anti-mac mini comments in one sentence:
"It is nothing I use or would use, so why the heck are all of you getting excited about it?"

Terrapin OTM.
posted by josh at 11:21 AM on January 13, 2005


They are selling to the Walmart crowd. This is not for music lovers, its for people who listen to top40, lightFM, and wouldnt mind a cheap mp3 player in their lives.

You're basing love of music on how much someone is willing to pay for an ipod? Or, for many, how much ipod they can afford? And people who shop at walmart can't be music lovers? Or only listen to top 40?

My God, I've heard it all now.

I love music, I want a shuffle. There goes your theory skallas. Back to the drawing board.
posted by justgary at 2:34 AM on January 14, 2005


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