The Mac Mini looks like a good deal to lure in new users... BUT... when you do the math it's really not that great of a deal.
You're basically getting a repackaged CPU from a current eMac or a previous generation iMac without the required peripherals to actually do anything.
I did as close of a feature for feature comparison as possible on the BTO Apple Canada store and this is what I came up with.
A new Mac Mini at 1.42 Ghz with a 80 GB drive, 256 MB Ram, Superdrive, 20" Cinema Display and a wired Mouse and Keyboard comes out to $2206.
The 20" iMac G5 is $2399. So for an extra $193 I'm getting the same Ram, same Superdrive, same size monitor, and the keyboard and mouse. In addition to that I'm getting an upgraded G5 processor at 1.8 Ghz, double the hard drive space at 160 GB and running as a serial ATA, and a vastly better NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200 Ultra w/64MB video memory. Not to mention the ability to run 64 bit programs, hardware that is not already obsolete, more (and cheaper) Ram upgradeability, stereo speakers (does anyone know if the Mac Mini has a speaker?), more IO ports and less cable clutter on my desktop.
Not sure about you but that sounds like pretty good value for a measly $193!
Just my opinion though. I'm sure it'll make sense to the countless thousands that'll snatch them up like hot cakes. Go Apple! I fully support them offering computers like this to appeal to switchers but to me the math just doesn't add up.
For a product like the mac mini, you really have to look at exactly the target market. It is not for the already mac user.
It is for the average joe PC user that is fed up with all the problems that go along with the Windows world. They want to surf the net, check their email, write documents, etc. without having the stupid thing crash every few minutes/get hundreds of virii.
They heard enough about to mac platform to understand that it is what they want, and they are on the border of switching. But they have already invested money in that newish LCD monitor that they heard would be better to look at for extended periods, or have a CRT monitor that they are happy with. They also have this nice keyboard and mouse. They want to switch, but they don't want to throw down +$1000 and wasting that monitor.
Enter the mac mini. The right performance for average joe, with all the perks of the mac world. And the price to rival the budget computer that they would be looking at as their next computer.
Will existing mac users buy mac minis? Probably not. But it is the perfect solution for the market that Apple has left untapped for so long.
My applause to Apple.
"Windtunnel" - DP867 MDD, 1.25Gig RAM, OS X.5 |
"Hrimfaxi" - White Macbook 2.4Ghz C2D, 4GB RAM, OS X.6 |
"Bragi" - 1st Gen iPod Touch
I agree, it's totally a switcher machine. The "instructional" images even say "hook up your old PC keyboard, mouse and monitor."
I don't even use the mouse or keyboard that came with my mac, but I paid for them... I think they're on to a good little marketing switch here--most macs come with everything, and people say "wow they're expensive," then one comes along with nothing and people say "wow, it's cheap," and they won't realize they have to buy everything until the salesman moves to the "add-ons" section.
Though having DVI and therefore the ability to use the cinema displays is pretty sweet, I don't think that's what most people will do.
"I've been known to have a drink to celebrate falling down."--Carolyn Mark
Even if you did buy it with a 20" display, you'd have bought something that a lot of people value: the ability to replace the computer in a few years without ditching a perfectly good monitor.
This is a good point. What is kind of ironic though is that if I bought a Mac Mini today and wanted to use my current "perfectly good monitor", which is a previous model Cinema Display LCD, I'd also have to buy a $129 Apple DVI to ADC Display Adapter. Too funny!
The purpose is to get those that already have a monitor to purchase the mac mini, to get iPod users who love the "mac" interface on the iPod and are familiar with iTunes over to the mac platform. Those people already have a Windows PC (all personal computers, even macs are PCs, but the name has been synonymous with Windows computers for ages), and so they have a separate monitor, mouse and keyboard ready to go.
If you bought the 2-" Cinema display, you would have what looks to be a larger monitor than on the 20" iMac, and i think if you look at buying that, you will also consider the iMac. Or you won't source your monitor from Apple, you'll go to another vendor for a cheaper LCD, perhaps Formac.
I will be buying a Mac Mini. I presently have an iMac G4. When I first bought it I thought the LCD screen was great, after further use it started to annoy me. I started off doing a little bit of graphic design on it (this being the reason I originally "switched"), I do a lot more now and it is really hard to adjust the LCD to be colour correct. I am happy with the processor speed and hard drive space I have now but I would love a nice 19 inch CRT that can be callobrated easily. I would also like a superdrive.
I'm having a hard time understanding the average Mac user today when they heard the news of the Mac mini.
The most number one requested future from ALL and EVERY Mac bulletin board that exists on the web from last year wanted:
A headless Mac so that they can hook it up to their already available LCD or CTR monitor, keyboard and mouse. This wasn't even big news or that big of a request from PC users. This came from sites like MacNN, Macworld, MacAddict and even here at ehMac and that is only a short list of sites. Then there is ZDnet who also had requests from Mac users and many digital photo sites also talked of a headless Mac and that was the number one request.
The Mac mini is for the person who owns a monitor, keyboard and mouse and is looking for a cheap starter Mac, cheap alternative, cheap add on to a home network etc.. Most likely the PC users will play an important role in the market as they are always looking for a cheap priced computer. That is the bottom line and Apple is not marketing towards those that want to start from scratch, that's why they have the iMac line up or the eMac line up.
The mac mini is not meant for YOU! It's meant for that 80% of computer users who only use it for basic stuff. More specifically the family and friends of mac heads (us) and those who have said the oh so popular phrase "I think i'd get a mac if they were cheaper".
This is the call to those people to keep the display, keyboard and mouse... BYODKM... and buy a sweet mac that they can either lightly use and be happy with, or with any luck, use for the iapps and realize the benefits of the higher end macs, and then of course buy an imac or emac or ibook... whatever..
If marijuana is the gateway drug (which I'm not entirely convinced it is)
Then mac mini is the gateway mac (and I'm glad they've decided to fulfill this niche that, let's face it, wasn't being filled by apple before)