January 14, 2005 4:00 AM PST

How big will the Mini be?

Windows developer Alex Gorbatchev just bought his first Mac.

The Toronto resident said he has long wanted to see how the other side lives, but the iMac was "too expensive a toy."

"I've never had my hands on a Mac and I'm really curious to get my hands on one," Gorbatchev said in an e-mail.

News.context

What's new:
The much-anticipated Mac Mini has arrived, and some Windows users who've toyed with the idea of a Mac are ready to open their wallets.

Bottom line:
Apple figures many Windows users have been interested in a Mac, but were daunted by the price tag. Now that the cheaper Mac Mini has arrived, how many PC users will switch?

More stories on the Mac Mini

Gorbatchev is just the kind of person Apple Computer hoped to appeal to by introducing its $499 Mac Mini. The company reasons that plenty of Windows users have been interested in a Mac but are turned off by the hefty price tag.

The Mac Mini is indeed cheap by Mac standards, though it's still pricier than bottom-of-the-line PCs. That said, analysts say it is just the kind of device that could spur PC-toting iPod owners and others to give the Mac a try--the so called "halo effect" Wall Street has been looking for.

The main question now is just how bright a halo the new machine will shine on its maker.

Needham analyst Charles Wolf said that he now estimates 11 percent of iPod-toting Windows users may buy a Mac now that the Mini is on the market. Before that, he assumed the rate would be closer to 4 percent.

"The iPods only failure has been its inability to stimulate meaningful purchases of Macintoshes," Wolf said in a research note prior to Apple's Wednesday announcement of record sales and earnings. "We believe the Mac Mini will increase the percentage of iPod-toting Windows users who purchase a Mac by almost threefold."

Olly Hodgson is another who says he may switch when the Mini officially goes on sale Jan. 22.

The Cheltenham, England, Web developer says he, too, is considering buying the Mac Mini as a way to try out life as a Mac user.

Special coverage
Mac minions flood S.F.
Mac fans get first look at budget
PC and low-end music player.

"I hear so many good things about Apple's OS X, but I've never actually used it," Hodgson said in an e-mail interview. "With the Mac Mini, I can buy into it cheaply and see if I like it."

If all goes well, Hodgson said, he'll end up with a computer that's just as powerful as his two Windows-based PCs, only smaller and quieter. If not, he says it will still be useful for testing how Web sites he creates look on a Mac.

While Gorbatchev and Hodgson were attracted by the computer's lower price, the Mini's small size also is also drawing attention from potential buyers.

San Francisco production manager Paul Hocker is thinking about getting a Mac Mini for his parents. They spend half the year in Virginia and the other half in Maine and currently have a PC in each place so they don't have to lug a large computer back and forth.

"Since they have a monitor and keyboard already in both locations, they could easily take just the Mini with them," Hocker said. "By only using one computer, they will have all their files, e-mail, games, etc. on the one computer that they have with them."

If Hocker does buy Mom and Dad a Mac Mini, it won't be his first Mini purchase. He already bought one for himself. The machine will probably act as an iTunes music server, replacing an aging G3-based iMac. Hocker said he already has three Macintoshes in his house, not counting

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41 comments

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Why you shouldn't worry about the Mini's power/capabilities
To anyone concerned about the mini's power >

I have a dual 500 mhz G4 tower with 768 mb of Ram and a 32 MB video card. Granted the RAM I have is higher then the mini's, but my processor is much slower and the video card is the same (actually, its a lower model). Here are some of the programs/task that I use/do with this machine:

1) Final Cut Pro (3) editing (including capture and output)
2) iPhoto
3) Photoshop (7), Illustrator (9), and After Effects (4.1)
4) I can also use the rest of the iLife suite, no problem.
5) Watching DVD's
6) Surfing the Web
7) Word processing
8) CD and DVD burning and audio capture (Roxio Toast suite)

As you can see, my Mac may be considered "underpowered" but it is still a very capable and powerful computer.
Posted by jimboman78 (31 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I agree.
I have an 800MHz G3 iBook that is an extremely capable
computer and it only has 384MB of memory in it.

I also have a 333MHz G3 iMac at work that only has 256MB of
memory and it also is a very usable system, albeit, not the
snappiest computer, but it is definitely good enough for e-mail,
web browsing, and word processing.

So having a cheap GHz+ G4 would be a very nice addition! And I
happen to have an extra Keyboard, Mouse and Display laying
around! :)
Posted by (6 comments )
Link Flag
PC Barebones
I think the Apple's marketing is amazing, there are several iniciatives of barebone PCs (from ASUS and MSI, Shuttle) and they have some features that are better than the Mini (prices are not one of those) like work as a stereo or a DVD player without the need of start the PC, LCD touch screen display
But nobody knows it, I bet the next version of Mac Mini will come with these features and then every body will know it.
Posted by acarlos1000 (12 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Mini Computers
When I was setting up my media computer (used as a audio/video jukebox for movies) I considered buying one of the barebones systems, but they seemed too much of a compromise to me and more suited to LAN parties. The Minis lack of a audio digital out limits the Minis use to switchers and people who want an extra computer which I am surprised at considering Apples supposed music savvy.
Posted by Andrew J Glina (1673 comments )
Link Flag
Mac Mini versus new MSNTV2
This mini sounds interesting. This announcement by Mac comes at a time that I was just about to buy the MSN MSNTV2 for my father. Now I am looking for some opinions about what to purchase. Thanks
Posted by enigma1944 (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Try before you buy
Try the devices out. If you can't then its easier to do it
comparitively on the mini because u can walk into a store and
play round with a G4 mac

My opinion is the mac, and connect it to your TV. The best thing
to do is find out if you can adapt the output from the mini mac
to your existing TV/HDTV/Plasma or LCD. The other thing is a
39. usb bluetooth plug. Of course buying the wireless
keyboard and mouse will be probably 1/4 the cost of the mac.
But that will mean you dad can kick back and enjoy without any
wires to worry about. Full mouse capability, full keyboard, and
the security of the operating system and no limitations to what
he would conceivably want to do on the computer.

You do know that all macs on OSx come with Apache, and a ton
of other software applications and tools. But he won't have to
know anything about apache, smtp, ftp, to even take advantage
of it. When a user on a mac is added, a default web site can be
created too. Its all in the preferences.

Not to mention iDVD, iPhoto, iTunes, GarageBand, iMovie. If
you've ever had the chance to use these integrated product, you
already know what i mean.

Yeah, the mac mini is going to be huge. For the windows
developers who are curious. You will be totally shocked about
XCode hehehe ... a lot of people will smell opportunity from
this, i certainly do.
Posted by Thomas, David (1947 comments )
Link Flag
It is going to be big
so big that even some sites are starting to give them away.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://prize.exfuga.com/index.php?rid=7826" target="_newWindow">http://prize.exfuga.com/index.php?rid=7826</a>
Posted by (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yes this will be big, but .....
I've always wondered why Apple itself hasn't made an OS port for the intel architecture. Being able to run MAC OS on an intel machine would do much more for helping the masses become aware of the benefits of Apples OS.

On topic tho, I am now seriously thinking of purchasing/recommending this new system for my parents. They aren't the most computer savvy, and as such I worry about their internet security. I suppose though, I would have to find a good tax return program on the Mac first, as thats what they use their computer for mostly, other then website access.
Posted by (19 comments )
Link Flag
It's always been a question of price.
When I bought my first computer in 1989, the mail order Northgate 386sx 16mhz cost me $2600 and I could barely afford that at the time and paid it off over two years. An IBM would have put me out $5000 and the Apple was totally out of reach at $7500.

Apple computer might be better, but they have always cost more not because they had to, but because that's the way Apple wanted it. In the 1980's they could have gone the same exact route as Microsoft and licensed out their operating system to other computer manufacturers. Had they done that I'd put money on it they would control 2/3 of the personal computer market right now maybe more. They wouldn't at long last be touting some inexpensive Apple computer, they'd be dominating the field. Can you imagine if they had, that Bill Gates would be putting Quality Control before Greed to keep his 1/3 share of the market.

I will probably will purchase a mini later this year or in 2006, maybe get it cheap as a refurbished model for $200 to $300.
Posted by Foggy (32 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The Art of Parlay
For an interesting take on what might've happened had Apple
licensed the Mac back in the '80s, check out this article from
Daring Fireball:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://daringfireball.net/2004/08/parlay" target="_newWindow">http://daringfireball.net/2004/08/parlay</a>
Posted by dejo (182 comments )
Link Flag
Mini Mac to Increase iPod Sales?
Ummmm... It's possible, but I think it's a stretch.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://allwaysmusic.modblog.com/" target="_newWindow">http://allwaysmusic.modblog.com/</a>

---
Posted by (59 comments )
Reply Link Flag
"yeah, pc's are just for graphics"
What's with this stuff with St. Louis graphic designer Sharon
Heisel in this story??
She's a graphic designer and is going to get a MacMini to use for
email and internet? Although I don't care for the sterotype of
Macs being good only for their graphic abilities, why is she using
a peecee for her graphic work? Use the mac for everything!!!
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
What the?
I agree!
Use the Mac for everything!
Why? Because it is better for everything!
No, I am not a Mac only person...used PC's for more than 8 years
, I bought my Powerbook two years ago (and I am extremely
happy) and continue to use PC's (unfortunately) at work and
other places; I can assure you that the Mac beats the hell out of
any PC in whatever you want to do.
Why on earth would this woman use the Mini for web and e-mail
and use the PC (Piece of Crap) for graphics? Seems awkward to
me! Maybe she doesn't want to spend money on graphics
programs for the Mac; that is the only reasonable possibility.

People talk about the Mini's capabilities as if it were an incapable
machine. I can assure you the Mini can perform heavy video,
graphics and sound editing a million times better then equally
priced and more expensive PC's.

If you already have a PC with a keyboard, mouse and monitor,
go ahead, treat yourself to something nice...buy a Mini and fall
in love again.
Posted by (27 comments )
Link Flag
Every year
The Mac faithful proclaim that this is the year that Apple will kill off the MS domination of the desktop. Every year ( well, the past 5 or so), Apple loses ground, loses market share, and cant quite seem to come through on the promises Steve and Co. make. At best, Apple will triple their market share; wow. 6%. So MS will be at what, 87%? Still nothing but a footnote.
Posted by catchall (245 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What are you talking about?
I have never met anyone that predicted that Apple would take back the desktop. But even the Apple skeptics like me have to admit, for having only 2% desktop market share they make some impressive products.

mini is a strong product for techies that like the power of Linux but not the GUI or compatibility quirks. Software developers that would be willing to port to OSX if not for the $1,600 entry price point of Power Mac.

The people that are impressed by having a UNIX desktop OS that "just works" generally have not been able to afford Macs in the past.

With the upcomming launch of Tiger, the mini, and the continued success of iPod, I believe it will be a strong year for Apple.

Oh yes, and Apple makes as much software as Microsoft. Because of their 2% market share they are able to offer new products without fear of being fined for running a monopoly.

Apple is going to be around for a long time.
Posted by Dachi (797 comments )
Link Flag
MS Doesn't Need to be Killed by Apple...
... Windows will kill itself.

Every year the impact of virus distribution, worms, etc. has gone
to a new level.

Soon enough something so massive will happen that Windows
will become a physical security threat. That's the type of thing
that happens when all the proverbial eggs are in one basket.
Posted by (2 comments )
Link Flag
It made me finally do it
I bought a Mac mini a few hours ago and I can't wait for it to get here. Were it not for the price of the mini (which ended up being about $925 when I configured it to be a bit more beefy) I wouldn't have bought a Mac for probably quite a while to come, cause I simply couldn't afford it. Between the Mac mini price and the instant same-as-cash financing, though, I went for it.
Posted by tubedogg (31 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Welcome aboard
Be sure to visit the Apple Discussions in the support section of
apple.com. It is a wonderful community that has (and shares)
answers to the most obscure questions.
Posted by (2 comments )
Link Flag
The Whole Widget
The reason Apple hasn't released an OS port, is for several
reasons.

1. They make money off of hardware, not software. They make
software to sell the hardware, not the other way around.

2. Part of the benefit of owning a mac is that Apple controls "the
whole widget" Compatibility &#38; plug-and-play features are very
strong on a mac, and a key feature. It's funny, though, many
times I can even get unsupported PC hardware to run on a mac.

I bought a Mac for my very computer illiterate mom, and she's
doing great, sending digital pics to us, occasionally burning
CDs. I also gave a Mac to my Grandmother-in-law and she
immediately started scanning and uploading pics, and
reasearching on the web... then one of her kids (who's a
bonafide windows lemming) bought her a "good" computer... a
Dell. Now it won't scan, won't print, can't view our family web
site, oh and it has viruses, and pop-ups. As soon as she got it, I
told her I could never help her fix it. She thought I was joking.
Now every time she sees me she asks me to fix it, and I just
can't. Even her pc kids can't fix it. Meanwhile the 10 year old
Mac I gave her still works just fine.

Mac has had its share (more than its share) of fumbles over the
years. An immature Steve Jobs did some really, really dumb stuff
in the early days, and it was very badly managed in the middle.
Since his return, however, they have been very aggressively
pursuing quality and customer service, and their products are
WAY better than they EVER have been. Despite the perceived lack
of "power" in the mini, I think most PC users will be pleasantly
surprised with the amount of time they can actually spend using
a Mac versus repairing it.
Posted by mahuti (24 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It about the software...duh...pc folks don't get it
I use macs and pc's. PC folks keep comparing entry PCs to Macs
on a dollar to dollar basis and miss the mark every time. IT'S
ABOUT THE SOFTWARE! The software that ships with all Macs is
what makes the Mac "experience" something folks with the
resources have been willing to pay a premium for the last 20
years.

If you have never made a slide show on IDVD while pulling
photos out of IPHOTO and making your own background music
in Garage Band....you just don't know...period

If you never surfed using Safari...you dont know!

If you never had your G5 Imac crash since the day you plugged it
in...you dont know!

The seamless intergration of the software with the hardware is
an apple hallmark...and elegance...duh...all the goods to roll out
of Cuppertino in the last 3 years have been downright elegant
tools.

These same folks who are blathering about pc vs. mac "value"
are the same clowns who shrugged of the ipod and an
overpriced gadget doomed to failure.

At any price, the software has a value that transcendes the cost
of the hardware...$499 for the box and the software...It's a steal.

Regards
mark
Posted by (4 comments )
Link Flag
One can always try Mac in store.
That's precisely what I was doing for some time.

What I have found that Mac sellers were (in my case) much more
helpful about technical detail, more interested in showing me
the iBook in action without asking me first buying it.

PC-notebook resellers in my town were rather disappointing. All
of my questions - "Can I have notebook with ANSI keyboard?",
"Can I buy notebook with other version of M$ Windows?", "Can I
buy notebook without M$ Windows?", "Can I first try notebook
before ordering it?" - were answered negatively. They have tried
to sell me notebook two price classes higher, than I asked, and
even being
unable to explain why what I'm asking costs 1.2k and what
they offer costs 2.5k. And they tried to ensure me that both
notebooks in question have /same/ configuration.

I have visited Mac store about three times. I have tried Finder, I
have found Preview, I have found Terminal - and bunch of other
little but rather useful apps.

Profanity of PC-notebook resellers just pushed me to choose
Apple's iBook.

My God, I've being loyal PC user for more that 11 years: starting
with MS-DOS 3.3 I didn't missed any M$ OS, you name it.

After all this time, Apple's Mac OS X (initially designated to be
wiped out by prepared Yellow Dog Linux) surprised me not less
than Linux when I seen it first time: it is simple and it just works.
Without all those big-name-technologies M$ sells you all the
time. It just works. Simple as that. Just works.

I believe M$, been driven by huge sales and enormous profits,
has forgotten that its users in the end need to do simple things:
listen to music, manage files, view pictures, etc. "Simple" being a
keyword here.
Posted by Philips (400 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I think this was a good move for Mac.... check this out....
Mac made a very good business move with their new creation of the Mac Mini. Think about it... price/performance to what you can currently get?? AND... they have PLENTY of room to grow with the Mini Mac....

I also found this... check it out!
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.FreeMiniMacs.com/?r=13956630" target="_newWindow">http://www.FreeMiniMacs.com/?r=13956630</a>
Posted by (19 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Hey, I did this for an iPod...
And it worked, too. I was amazed. My free iPod actually arrived last week and I'm loving it so far.

How many friends do you need to get to sign up? Is it a lot more than you needed for the free iPod?
Posted by Christopher Hall (1205 comments )
Link Flag
Ten Million Users (if Steve had the cajones)
If Steve Jobs was not afraid of Microsoft and Dell, he would dramtically lower the price of the basic MiniMac to $249.00. Why sell at a hundred dollar loss instead of a hundred dollar profit? $249 gets your foot in the door of ten million potential users. Ten million add-ons (memory upgrades, OS X upgrades, speakers, iWorks, iLife). Ten million new customers and not a bit of Microsoft code skimming the profit. Ten million new users making it the number one PC on the planet. Ten million people junking their Wintels. Ten million hooked and spreading the word to ... another fifty million ... to a hundred million ... what is Steve Jobs afraid of?
Posted by kakman1 (50 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Deja Vu
Sound like your have been reading Cringley...
Posted by Andrew J Glina (1673 comments )
Link Flag
As cheap as Linux, but no administration
The Mini is comparable to Walmart's cheap linux box, in terms of specs. Except with the Mini, you don't have to spend a quarter of your time playing sysadmin.

-----------------------
More talk at <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://loudboard.com" target="_newWindow">http://loudboard.com</a>
Posted by (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Funny you mention the G4 and G5's
These machines have the most resemblance to a PC case, yet again it seems only Apple is able to make these boxes look classy.

As for the look of the iMacs... When the 2CV came out in '49 nobody liked it. Yet it is one of the few (or even the only one, but I cannot verify it, so I leave it to a few) cars that is part of the permanent exhibition of the London Design Museum.

I mean Apple has had and is still having its part in history of industrial design. It is ignorant of claiming otherwise. (By which I don't say YOU have to find it pretty)
Posted by Steven N (487 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Re: Apple savvy in strategy for Mini
The Apple detractors on the thread have a couple of misconceptions that bear examining.

First, one of them says Apple should sell the Mini for $250. Why stop there? Let him take it a step further and say Apple should give the Mini away. That would surely attract 'users,' if not buyers. However, buyers are the goal. By setting a low price point for the computer, Apple encourages those with at least some interest to buy one. $500 for a Mac is an excellent deal to anyone with an interest in being a switcher from Windows, since those people know the norms for computer pricing. Apple isn't "afraid," it is savvy.

Second, Apple is not interested in supplanting Microsoft. (Though, if that were to happen, Steve Jobs would just welcome it to his reality distortion zone.) Its goal is to be a more viable boutique computer (and software and music) seller. Yes, boutique. Not the 800-pound guerilla, but the company the industry looks to for innovation and elegance. Apple has achieved that in the past, and does so now. The problem it has is erosion of market share in computers, mainly because of low-pricing by Dell and others. With the Mac Mini, that weakness may be overcome. Meanwhile, with the iPod accounting for 23 percent of its profit, Apple is one of the most succesful businesses in the industry.
Posted by J.G. (837 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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