January 11, 2005 12:22 PM PST

Apple unveils $499 PC

SAN FRANCISCO--After decades of being criticized for producing luxury items, Apple Computer is aiming squarely at the mass market with a new budget PC unveiled Tuesday.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced the new Mac Mini during his keynote address at the Macworld Expo here, promising the machine would help further expand Apple's audience beyond the Mac faithful.

Jobs also confirmed several other high-profile debuts--including a tiny flash memory iPod--that have been grinding through the Mac rumor mills, prompting the secretive company to sue the alleged source of several information leaks.

Many of the reports turned out to be true, with Jobs beginning the cavalcade of products by announcing the Mac Mini and the flash memory-based iPod.

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 $599 for one with a bigger hard drive. The device marks one of Apple's boldest moves yet to expand PC sales beyond a loyal but limited market of Mac addicts. The iPod and Apple's iTunes music store have been responsible for a dramatic surge in Apple revenue, but to date there has been little evidence that those products have done anything for Apple's PC business.

The Mac Mini will come with Panther, the latest version of Apple's OS X operating system, plus the iLife collection of digital media applications. Like almost all Mac products, it's designed for style as well as function. "This is a very robust computer, but it's very, very tiny," Jobs said.

The new breed of iPod went on sale Tuesday in two versions--a 512MB model (enough memory for about 120 songs) for $99 and a 1GB version for $149.

Both models work with a Mac or PC and have no display screen for navigating through a music library. Instead, Apple expects the players largely will be used in "shuffle" mode that serves up songs in random order.

"iPod users discovered a new way to listen to their music...shuffle," Jobs said. "With shuffle you don't have to find your music; it's shuffled up for you."

The new flash memory-based iPod Shuffle is Apple's latest bid to expand its portable music player business to more downscale consumers, following the wildly successful launch of the iPod Mini early last year.

Related link:
Visit Apple's store.

Jobs earlier derided flash-based music players as toys with limited functionality, but plunging prices for flash memory will allow Apple to produce a capable player at a suitable price.

"We've taken a look at this market, and it's a zoo," Jobs said. "There's a zillion little flash players out there...and the products are all

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Innovation at its best...
In the heat of the annual Mac Expo in San Francisco, Apple has pushed the ante up to another tier. With special kudos to the vast popularity of the Ipod and the Itunes Music Store, they have released yet another innovative product called the "Ipod Shuffle". This is a smaller representation of the original Ipod, but it carries data or stores music on a flash drive memory, rather than a physical hard drive.

Moreover, it is unbelievable that Apple is now targeting the home consumer. I guess there has been some deep synergy going on between them and Hewlitt Packard (HP) in that regards. The bountiful "Mac Mini" is now debuting at $499 and pack great features such as 1.25 GHZ G4 processor, up to 80GB hard drive, 256mb of ram and a slot loading CD-R/DVD-ROM drive.

Last but not least, Apple is renowned for innovation, and there is more to come with the new market share that they have just regained with the "Ipod Phenomenon".

Orane Franklin
Orane Productions Multimedia
(Web Design - Motion Graphics - Flash)
Posted by Orane Productions (12 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Packaging Idea
alright, i read elsewhere that the new ipod is smaller than a pack of gum. since this thing works in shuffle mode, how 'bout making it the same form-factor as an audio cassette, then let me plug it into my truck's cassette player to listen to music? give me one power wire that i can run directly to the power plug (aka the politically incorrect "cigarette lighter) and that would be cool!

mark d.
Posted by markdoiron (1138 comments )
Reply Link Flag
An audio CASSETTE. Get out.
You don't have random access with tape cassettes.
Posted by CharlesRovira (97 comments )
Link Flag
How about an 8-track!
Posted by Thomas, David (1947 comments )
Link Flag
No Gigabit? Odd...
I can't effectively express my displeasure with Apple's decision to release this thing without Gigabit Ethernet. It makes no sense, and would cost them absolutely ZERO to use a Gigabit-based Ethernet ASIC instead of a classic 10/100mbit one.

Bizarre decision, which makes me wonder if a "new" mini Mac will come out in a few months from now -- much like what Apple did with the re-designed iMacs, and their Powerbooks.
Posted by katamari (310 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It does have Ethernet
Dude, read the specs. It DOES have Ethernet built in.
Posted by (274 comments )
Link Flag
Just goes to show you its always something
For a consumer machine 10/100 should be enough for
home users. Wireless is going to take that 100 down to 54

I know I will have one connected wireless to serve iTunes
and iPhotos. to play DVD's on and use my TV for the
monitor should I ever need to access it with a keyboard.
Posted by CitizenX (522 comments )
Link Flag
It's a consumer machine...
The Mac mini is clearly aimed at the consumer market (though it
will find its way into many closets I'm sure) - as such, it has a
10/100 ethernet just like the iBook and iMac. It's one of the
features that isn't available until you move to the pro lineup.

I agree that it would be close to zero cost to implement, but they
use it (and montior spanning, and expandability) as
distinguishing features to move people up-line.


Posted by (1 comment )
Link Flag
Using USB mouse/key input w/ KVM switch?
My KVM switch is PS2, they make USB-to-PS2 converters but not the other way around. USB KVM switches are pretty rare, does anyone have a suggesion to get this thing connected to my KVM switch?
Posted by Dachi (797 comments )
Reply Link Flag
PS2-to-USB are made
Just Google it. There are some manufacturers.
Posted by dejo (182 comments )
Link Flag
Apple's website has one I heard
I heard that when you purchase the Mini Mac at the Apple Online
store, you are presented with a peripherals page, and you can
choose a KVM switch there.
Posted by (2 comments )
Link Flag
How are other Macs better than this...
...besides having more memory or power and being more expensive?
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Besides memory and speed...
iMac G5s have a built-in LCD display along with more USB and
FireWire ports.

PowerMac G5s have a bunch of other I/O ports plus much more
upgradeability (PCI slots, second HD bay, etc.)
Posted by dejo (182 comments )
Link Flag
Cool Design but Still Expensive
Another cool design, but by the time you buy a monitor, keyboard, mouse, etc. It's not a huge bargain.
Posted by (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
This Mac is targeted at consumers who already have those
things (display, keyboard, mouse).
Posted by dejo (182 comments )
Link Flag
On the other hand, Cool Shuffle
On the other hand, I like the price-point of the iPod Shuffle. It makes a good gift and I don't need a screen.

American Report
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://americanreport.blogspot.com" target="_newWindow">http://americanreport.blogspot.com</a>
Posted by (6 comments )
Link Flag
Not much of a bargain...really
Very cool design. I agree that it is not much of a bargain when you add all the needed gear in. I think it is great for Mac lovers, however, one could purchase a more capable PC for the same amount of cash.
Posted by Stan Johnson (322 comments )
Link Flag
So you can use yours
This mac was designed specifically to target those consumers
who want to use their existing monitors. Quite frankly, if you
want a mac with a monitor, keyboard and mouse, then buy one.

With the DVI connector, and include bluetooth and airport, you
can use this mac to work from your HDTV (if it is equpped). I
have a funny feeling this was and is in the minds of many.
However, if you have an expensive monitor already, you don't
have to get a new one anyway.
Posted by Thomas, David (1947 comments )
Link Flag
What if you altready have a monitor...
This is a home box, what if you connect up your TV set via USB or FireWire.

It's a *replacement* machine for people sick of the down-side(s) of Windows. (They already have the peripherals.)

It's a house box, not a PC. Its a Mini Mac.
Posted by CharlesRovira (97 comments )
Link Flag
Some have found a "cheaper" way to get the Mac Mini!! ....
I was so excited with the news of the new Mac Mini. As I searched the web for more information on it, I came accross an old friend.... "gratis-networks" . They're doing it again! Except this time... they're giving away FREE MAC MINI computers! WOW! You HAVE to check this one out!
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.FreeMiniMacs.com/?r=13956630" target="_newWindow">http://www.FreeMiniMacs.com/?r=13956630</a> Pretty cool huh? B-)
Posted by (19 comments )
Link Flag
"Glad to see a new choice in the marketplace"
The Mac mini is good news for all personal computer users, because it increases competition in the mass market.

This is the first time in years that Apple has offered a computer at a price that the average consumer is willing to pay. The old iMac (with the conventional, not flat panel, monitor) was the last example. Its price hovered around $1000, which was appropriate for a basic personal computer in the late 1990's. Later iMac designs -- and even the eMac -- were too expensive to be a factor in the mass market. As companies like Dell were driving entry-level PC prices down, Apple was adding new features and raising the price of its entry-level offering. But at $500, the all-new Mac mini meets discount PC's head-on.

Obviously, current and future Macintosh users will benefit from this new, low-cost option. I predict that PC users will also benefit.

Now that Apple's iLife suite is available with a $500 Mac mini, PC manufacturers will put pressure on their operating system supplier (Microsoft) and their utility software suppliers (various). There's no feature deficit in the software that comes with a typical multimedia PC (media player utility, DVD/CD burner utility, audio editor utility, video editor utility, TV recording utility), but the software components don't have consistent user interfaces and don't always work well together. This will change.

And now that Apple's well-regarded technical support is available with a $500 Mac mini, PC manufacturers will have to improve their own support services. However, Apple's consumer satisfaction ratings will decline a bit, as the company begins serving users who lack the computer experience, the self-help financial resources, and the brand allegiance common in people who today spend $1500+ on a typical Macintosh. Apple has no recent experience with mass market computer support.

I do see one longterm drawback for consumers: the entry of the Mac mini will encourage them to worry even more about form and even less about function. Apple's promotional literature (<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.apple.com/macmini/design.html" target="_newWindow">http://www.apple.com/macmini/design.html</a>)criticizes the "Frankenstein machines" that PC manufacturers "slap together". Small, pretty components cost more, don't perform as well, and are harder to upgrade. For example, the Mac mini is built around a laptop DVD/CD drive ("'slim' form factor"). The desktop DVD/CD drives ("5.25-inch half-height form factor") found in discount PCs are faster and cheaper. When it's time to upgrade, replacements are also much easier to come by.

Overall I'm impressed with the Mac mini and glad to see a new choice in the personal computer marketplace.

Paul Marcelin-Sampson
Santa Cruz, California, USA

Note: When I use the abbreviation "PC", I'm referring specifically to IBM PC-compatible personal computers. When I use "personal computer", spelled out, I'm referring to all types, including the Apple Macintosh.
Posted by rpms (96 comments )
Reply Link Flag
NOT for the OFFICE.
The current majority of PCs and used at work or for work.

Apple has realized that people don't want to be at work or working 24/7. (Actually, they were never really interested in being the office PC exscept for a few years when Scully was there and they were losing their way.)

This is big and potentially bigger.
Posted by CharlesRovira (97 comments )
Link Flag
Where is the innovation? All i see are products that have been released to the market already. Can't apple come up with something new?
Posted by (30 comments )
Reply Link Flag
"Where is the innovation? All i see are products that have been
released to the market already. Can't apple come up with
something new?"

The innovation is making poor products in market better. They
are kind of like the BASF of the computer world, except the do
make the product. By the way, Apple has come up with many
many new things. Heck just look at the iPod's scroll wheel.
They were the first on a music player.
Posted by escatoy (7 comments )
Link Flag
Yes Innovation
You can only be lead to water, but no one can make you drink.

Apple has led the way for innovations in this market place since
its inception. I find it totally incredible that someone could think
they have been doing less. Perhaps you do not have the ability
to see the road ahead, and the steps that it takes to make the
journey. That's OK.

But if you think that them producing a more affordable
computer, that still has the quality of their typical product line
isn't innovative, then it may never be possible for you

Hmmm, so why am i responding? I must be bored.
Posted by Thomas, David (1947 comments )
Link Flag
Yep, no more excuses...
About two months ago, I was so sick &#38; tired of the constant attacks, phishing schemes,etc., that I went to look at an Apple. I always liked the look &#38; feel of the OS, Browser, etc. The only thing that was holding me back were two things:
1. The price, &#38;
2. Eating crow. I have in the past blasted those
who slammed M$ users as
"Appleheads" {To those whom I may have
insulted, I appologize}.
Now that I've had my share of eatin' crow &#38; humble pie, I have been planning to purchase a Mac. The problem for me was the price. I was considering a pre-owned model {ok, USED}.

Now I can get a full-featured NEW Mac for under $500!
I wanted Apple to do something like this when the first PC's were offered @ under $800.

I guess now is as good a time as any, &#38; I have no where to go, except my nearest Apple reseller.
Posted by Jon N. (182 comments )
Reply Link Flag
excellent product with a few shortages
First I must say i was REALLY impressed with the looks of this little boy wonder.
After a closer look if it would fit my use (which is pretty general) there were a few shortcomings that came to my attention that I'd like to mention:
- Only 2 USB connections. Although you have the option of Bluetooth, for people who still like to plug the old-fashioned way 2 connections seems a bit little, three as with the iMac would have been more appropriate
- No Audio in!! if you want to record audio with your miniMac (why didnt they call it that way?) you have to add (and pay for) a special USB plug (there goes one extra USB...)
- the power supply is external. No wonder it's that small with the power supply almost as large as the miniMac itself. If they had made it a bit larger they could have integrated the supply, making it a much more mobile piece of equipment
- video RAM is a bit on the small side with 32MB, but alas, they can upgrade that in the future.

Ok, I'll shut up now and look at those spunky pictures again, no need for adult material...
Posted by (9 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Mostly comparable to the competition
At least in terms of hardware specs.

Re: 2 USB connections) Yeah, that seems a little on the skimpy
side. Would've liked to see another one or two USB ports on the
front (or side, I suppose). Maybe another FW port too.

Re: No Audio in) Most PCs in that price range don't have audio in
standard either. Usually have to add a sound card.

Re: Video RAM) Better 32MB than integrated graphics which
steals memory from the main RAM. 64MB would've been nicer
but maybe more cost and the average user wouldn't necessarily
need it anyways. More VRAM is more for 3D games than web
surfing, email, and such.

But it does come with iLife '05 free, which has no real
comparable product in the Windows world.
Posted by dejo (182 comments )
Link Flag
USB hubs takes care of that.
Audio in is taken care of by USB or FireWire devices.
Posted by CharlesRovira (97 comments )
Link Flag
Get a KVM switch and try it for yourself.
This is going to be awesome for people curious to try a Mac. They just made the price point for overall conversion so much lower. KVM switches are only 40-80 bucks.
Posted by jamie.p.walsh (288 comments )
Reply Link Flag
To answer a few questions...
Someone asked "why not call it a MiniMac?" Well, because they have the iPod mini, and now the Mac mini.

For more ports. If you have an apple keyboard, it has a USB por on the left and right of it (for whichever hand you use of ryour mouse) to plug the mouse into. That leaves one USB port open, and even then you can put a four port USB hub on that.

One firewire port because there aren't many devices that use firwire, and again, you can always put a $20 firewire hub on there.

This thing is smaller than Nintendo's Gamecube for God's sake. Which means more desktop or floor psace for you to have to work with. Audio in? Most audio in devices are now firewire or USB compatible (or both)

The iPod Shuffle can play in shuffle or in regular modes, and the price point is cheaper, with double the memory and it also has a rechargeable battery inside of it. Not bad my friends. Not bad at all.
Posted by (461 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Another Apple Ripoff.
Mac Mini, what a hoot!

You pay $500 for 1.25ghz, 256meg RAM and 40 gig harddrive and no sound in.

Too slow to do anything. Not enough room to store anything. And you can't even do voice commands. On top of that, you still have to buy a monitor, keyboard and mouse.

But it "looks" cool. oooh....

No wander Apple isn't even bothering to expand their market. They know enough to concentrate on the 3% of the population that are borned stupid. It's their niche market.
Posted by (75 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Who is stupid?
I am sorry, but when you write:

"No wander Apple isn't even bothering to expand their market.
They know enough to concentrate on the 3% of the population
that are borned stupid. "

You shoot yourself in the foot. I wasn't "borned stupid". Maybe
born stupid. If you, on the other hand, were "borned" smart, I
feel really sad for us stupid types...
Posted by zarathustra911 (35 comments )
Link Flag
It is NOT a pc.
It maybe able to be a PC but its NOT a PC. Its is Apple's bid for space in your living room next to your TiVo, your cable box, your game console and your remote.

It is Apple's way of differentiating in design and by design in a way thet Microsoft can only dream of. Think of selling X-Box on steroids. Microsoft may have won the battle for the office (and made Bill Gates the richest man on the planet, [proof that he overcharged,] :-) but the Mac will win the battle for the living room.

After all most home probably have an apple or two in their 'fridge already. Apple's is pro-active and pro-design.

With wireless networking, CD/DVD playing, CD burning for iTunes playlists, conectivity out the wazoo with other Macs and with all the devices out there, this things looks to become AWESOME.
Posted by CharlesRovira (97 comments )
Reply Link Flag
not a PC - but not a living room addition either
You say that this new Apple is meant to go next to my Tivo and cable box? What, exactly, does it bring to the table that's worth $500? Can't initiate audio/video apps to play on my plasma and/or audio equipment (keyboard/mouse optional - and who wants those 'ugly' PC keyboards/mice in their living room: the whole point behind buying an Apple over a PC is style!) Can't surf the web - unless your audio/video setup happens to be in front of an ethernet jack (wireless is optional.)
Doesn't have a built-in dock for an iPod so you could play your iPod music on the stereo (the one feature I'm interested in!)

So, unless you spend an additional arm and leg, you pretty much have a zero-capability (it isn't even a good door stop!) piece of equipment in your living room. But at least it looks cool.
Posted by (4 comments )
Link Flag
Microsoft can't reply. They're foist on their own petard.
By commoditizing the PC there's only two or three case makers left on the entire planet, mostly in Taiwan.

Unless Microsoft can shift the production facilities which churn out X-Boxes to churn out some competitive product, they may have to sit this one out.

In fact, "The Innovator's Dilemma" applies here and they may need a response outside of Microsoft.
Posted by CharlesRovira (97 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Reply to what?
Microsoft is a software maker. Why would they care about the form factor of your computer? What do they have to reply to?
Posted by (79 comments )
Link Flag
Why I would buy a Mac mini
Personally, I wouldn't buy this for myself, but I would buy it for my relatives, who are much older and don't use their computers for anything but the Internet and storing pictures. A linux system would work too, but the Mac mini looks way better.
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Recently, I tried to buy the newest iMac that Apple offers. They use Juniper Bank to finance sales. Juniper turned me down for whatever reasons so I bought an 8400 series PC from Dell. Apple just lost a loyal user. Thank you.
Posted by torresricardov (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Maybe you should find out why
Being lapse on the health of your own credit rating is very, very
serious. Using at as an excuse to find a reason to blame a
corporation is not only negligent on your part, but just plain
being ... well, you know the rest of that.

Seriously, if you don't know why you were turned down, you
NEED to investigate it. It could be erroneous information being
filed about you, or even identity theft. This is a serious matter,
not a computer coporation being "mean" to you.
Posted by Thomas, David (1947 comments )
Link Flag
Mac Mini .... for FREE??? Yes!!
I was so excited with the news of the new Mac Mini. As I searched the web for more information on it, I came accross an old friend.... "gratis-networks" . They're doing it again! Except this time... they're giving away FREE MAC MINI computers! WOW! You HAVE to check this one out!
<br> <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.FreeMiniMacs.com/?r=13956630" target="_newWindow">http://www.FreeMiniMacs.com/?r=13956630</a> <br> Pretty cool huh? B-)
Posted by (19 comments )
Reply Link Flag

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