Apple New What?

24 Comments

Are you feeling a little let down by this morning’s big song and dance at the Infinite Loop down in Cupertino? I know I am! A $599 Mac Mini with Intel, when tricked out to play the role of a media center costs roughly $1000, which makes it simply too expensive for just exclusive “entertainment” purposes. And no, doing email on a giant LCD screen with a bluetooth keyboard is not a good idea.

What else – a $99 leather pouch? (It is as naked an attempt to pad the profit margins if there was any, not that there is anything wrong with it.) For crying out loud, this makes me wonder why is Apple wasting its resources on frivolous stuff and not focusing instead on more basic but more important issues like — getting enough shipments of their Mac Book Pros in the stores? What’s up with that? I fear that Apple is ignoring the pent-up demand for new lighter computers from increasingly mobile workers.

On the iPod HiFi, well I will reserve judgment till I hear it. Nevertheless, it is still a boom-box which reminds me of “break dancing” on the street corners, and Flash Dance. Those were the days when I was actually mega-om.

24 Comments

chy

And as more software moves to Web standards, this becomes less and less of a issue

mark

Paramvir asks why? Well:

  1. They work better. Macs might not crunch bits faster anymore, but they more or less crunch them fast enough for 80% of the people. So hardware differentiation (internal hardware) is less important, as system integration and software have become the key differentiators in creating computers that save the user’s time. Both in less time to maintain, and in less time needed to use the tool to accomplish the user’s real objective.

  2. They are smaller/lighter for the same level of computing power. People want smaller systems, both for mobility and for space in the house. (Apple hasn’t release a subnotebook because the market hasn’t shown a real need for a smaller (but not pocketable) device with less computing-power and with a cramped UI for general computing needs.)

  3. They look better.

Macs do have a lesser collection of software, but the software it does have is some of the best. And as more software moves to Web standards, this becomes less and less of a issue. But if you’re in some small niche market, the Mac is not for you.

Paramvir Singh

apple is a funny company. for years on end they convinced us that its own PPC chips were better than the intels. today they are trying to convince us of the other way round.

dont get me wrong. i am a die-hard apple loyalist, ever since the first computer i touched was an LC475.

but i find it silly (although apple had little choice) to go with intel in the first place. and sacrifice Firewire 800 (where is it now) and Firewire on iPods (there, another win for Intel). One of the key things that had excited me once was the ability to use iPods as Firewire drives. i will never be able to love a Mac as much as I have till now. there is little difference in today’s mac hardware from one from Dell. or Sony. Or Toshiba. Why should any new convert try an Apple notebook versus a Windows one, especially since Windows has more choic e of available software and better compatibility with PDAs, Mobile phones, wired as well as unwired? why should Apple’s technology map be dependent on Intel’s own plans, which will be common with the windows one.

why should i buy (apart from the fact that i am a loyalist) a USD 800 Mac Mini for a media device vs a Windows solution? especially since Windows is getting surprisingly better by the day…

i know i still would. but i do hope apple finds more computing customers as well as consumer electronics customers.

all the best for apple’s plans.

Aaron Johnson

Hello mark,

I was outlining the lack of innovation in the mini compared to pricing. It shows that Apples waits to suck every penny from a product. Then sluggishly add another extended product with a small feature set difference when the hardware in fact already supports the business structure, in which a large community would want as a host of options that is worth the money.

As I said before Apple is complacent with the revenue and love the proprietary business structure. With their lead and plan they will put up a good fight in this market and will only grow as the number shows. Let’s not however forget that “we” the consumers… the cows to the Apple milkers, if we aren’t fed good hay (products), we naturally will pump Apple the exploiters shit, in other words rants and negativity. These are the things which make you lose a crowd easily as a company, so with the new products like the mummifying leather case and the doombox this is on the road where not everyone will hate. But the word spreads as fast as a tornado wind and breezes negative gossip, and just as fast as Apple gained the note for innovation they could lose the edge to someone quickly. So let’s hope they make that “i” for innovation in the next show.

I for one would love to run my own company and expand my vision, I just turned 22 so I have a lot of time, but vision is all about dreams. Patience is not passive, it is actively holding in concentrated strength which is the companion of wisdom. I have been into the business field for young a 4 years, 2 years professionally. From a techie hobby kid to a mature business nature minded person as my peers may add. But that is neither here nor there, I just love to hear you guy’s comment, it really is good conversation. Hope to hear from you again mark and Om, later!!

CyKiller

mark

Hey, Aaron, maybe you should start your own company, since you seem to have your own vision and some sort of feel for good pricing.

That said, Apple’s vision does not include a PVR – at least not one that records from the TV. So don’t expect it. And why would anyone criticize the low-end product for lack of innovation and lack of features – where does that ever happen – and the mini already is innovative in its small footprint. Criticize the MacBook Pro or the Mac Pro (when it’s released) for those reasons.

Finally, the mini is not intended to be a server or even mobile; yeah, some people might use it that way, but that’s not Apple’s intent or vision for it. Did Steve mention either of those words in the context of the mini? If it’s not Apple’s intent, then why would they provide options along those lines? Read between the lines of all of Apple’s product line and all that Jobs says. Apple’s vision is that “the server” is not in the living room – it might not even be in your house. That’s the reason for Bonjour. And when the time is right, for a future version of iTMS and .Mac (or whatever it will be called at the time).

Stu

We need that next wow thing from Steve, where he shows up on stage, with something that is gotta have and talked about.

It gets tough being Steve;) He speaks, and people hang on to his “every word,”…and even SNL makes a parody of these product introds.

The only other person who gets so much attention from their every utterance is the Federal Reserve Chairman.

Personally, I’d like to see the standalone DVR. Nah, a DMR, with a name cool enough for the Earl of Elegance.

Henry

He’s playing the expectation game. Now that everyone’s expectations are lower, it will be that much easier to surpass them at the next event.

Flux Amm

I agree that 128 kbps MP3s aren’t hi-fi, and know that Apple deliberately weakens iTunes MP3 codecs to enhance their not-so-common AAC style (guess who sells those!) But AAC at 192 kbps is mighty darn good…
This TV stuff leaves me cold. Surely the thing to do is to enable legal bit torrent downloads of XviD or X264 -encoded programs and movies. I’d guess Americans might enjoy ITV shows downloaded while they sleep and Brits might like “Lost” on the same day telecast in US.

Aaron Johnson

Firstly I would like to comment on the excellent way that the blog was urbanly written for the boom-box, I loved it Om (like all of your blogs) and get that standoff going!! Go Mega-Om!! On the comment I believe the MAC Intel is a wonderful product, though it has its ups and downs from what the techies would want and what the average consumer (computer uninformed) needs. On one side we as techies see the light under the pricing scheme but that is just natural business and marketing in the field of technology these days and for some time to come. They are targeting the average consumer in which they want there product to have the friendly featured home entertainment system but to me they missed not only that but also what is hot for this year, mobility.

Let’s go with the pricing, we have 2 Intel versions respectively priced at $599 and $799 which is quite sad. Just to note the Mac mini ships without a keyboard or mouse and the upgrades are over costly offered in wired or wireless keyboard and mouse sets with a small difference between the 2 versions. Yet again another price scheme, “hey why get the wired for $78 when I can get the wireless for $99?” My point is everything that Apple sells is just outrageous in pricing. They are collecting 52% from the iPOD video hardware for example, and you still have a proprietary service oriented applications that simply is killing the competition in downloadable media. This should be nothing neither new to anyone nor surprising of that matter from the pricing standpoint. We should criticize Apple on the lack options and innovation in design other than the processor before price matters.

It would have been simple enough to add a lot of needed or wanted features which brings options (accessories). It makes us ask, where are? – – the PVR and the server feel to make the home entertainment complete and the ability to be integrated with already home owned devices, and I am talking about capable devices not proprietary. – – the mobile feel to it for even business purposes, where I can go on a trip and I can slide a wireless WAN card in it and use my integrated wireless to share access to my co-workers, this supplies multiple team on the road for a cheaper method and places the mini in a business fashion as well. This makes me ask Jobs and Apple “WHERE ARE” these optional features, where are the resources going if you’re not providing us with innovative useful products. People are simply sick of this and it needs to change.

But I guess now the next questions to be asked is, where are the competitors?

Jacob Varghese

More importantly… MEGA-OM???

Dude, you need to hold a Tech blogger dance-off.

Jeff

“For crying out loud, this makes me wonder why is Apple wasting its resources on frivolous stuff and not focusing instead on more basic but more important issues like — getting enough shipments of their Mac Book Pros in the stores?”

That’s kind of a silly thing to ask. You act as if they can’t do both at the same time, or that they have something to do with each other.

mark

So a simple announcement of “fun new products” at a small venue for a small number of people (less than 150) is overhyping? And Jobs knew that others were overhyping so he starts out by saying this is “medium-scale”. No matter, Apple is gonna put on a show for each new Intel Mac that it puts out. Count on it. April for the iBook-MacBook. June/WWDC for the 17″ MacBook Pro. And still another one for the Mac Pro.

All the hype was fixated on the iTunes movies/iPod video/living room video/TV aspect, which was always more likely to be 30th Anniversary (big thing!) or Sept/Oct (Christmas thing!). But, today Apple put into place the next step: photos and video can now be wirelessly sent to Front Row. And the Hi-Fi increases the likelihood that there will be an Apple TV in the future.

met

Apple wants people to stop waiting and go and order those imacs and intelpowerbooks… That could be the only reason for today’s show.

Chauka

Actually, the Mac Mini Dual Core Intel is about the same feature wise as the MacBook Pro except for the shared graphics memory and of course no monitor, no keyboard, no mouse (who will really notice the difference between 2 GhZ and 1.6 GhZ?). Otherwise, the guts are the same (frontside bus speed, DDR2 RAM, internal Serial ATA hard drive, etc.). Thus, Om Malik, you pay about $1500 premium for the MacBook Pro (that’s a lot of money for a glass screen, keyboard, extra video RAM / video card and a PC Card slot).

This Mac Mini a killer for someone who wants to try a Mac for the first time (this is Apple’s target audience), or, ironically, for someone who wants to run server based applications without the cost of an Xserve. Did you know that Apple blesses the Mac Mini to run Mac OS X Server but they do not bless the iBook or Powerbook or MacBook to do the same?

Matt

The intel Mac Mini was expect…at one point or another, and the hifi was pretty much “uncovered” around saturday.

I don’t know if I would classify this as “fun stuff”…fun stuff would be a tablet that everyone has rumored they are working on. Now, that is fun stuff.

Jackson West

Steve Jobs says he’s an audiophile! Bollocks. If he was, he’d be listening to vinyl on a tube amp and some decent speakers, not 128kbps MP3s from an overpriced plastic box. I think Apple may be reaching way too far into the consumer electronics space with this one.

Jesse Kopelman

Om, one think you’re overlooking is that iPod HiFi’s have a much higher profit margin than laptops. I would guess it costs about $100 to make a HiFi — that $250 margin is probably the same as for a $2,000 notebook.

Om Malik

frankly, weave, the fact is that there is a one month wait for a laptop tells me something is seriously broken.

i don’t care much about the coolness of the new gadgets – get me shit which i want to pay good money for.

6 ipod hifis = 1 mac book pro 2 ghz. i think they need to focus on that. the stock price will take care of itself.

Weave

Om, don’t you think it might be assumptive to say that they’re not focusing on fulfillment issues? Apple seems to do the big announcements the first of every quarter…today just seemed like a drug dealer trying to keep their investors hooked until April 1. You know, a waving of the hands, a “look over here while we keep working on innovating and meeting demand” announcement. Their problem is that the pressure to keep the stock price high must be intense…making them think the extra hoopla is necessary.

Dunno. Just thinkin’.

Om Malik

yeah, still, i think they could have not made such a big song and dance about the whole thing. it is a bit of a let down. me – i wanted a new ibook with intel.

Patrick Bennett

I have to admit that the mac mini announced is 90% exactly what I was hoping for today.

Currently, I don’t have cable/satellite etc and find myself watching the vast majority of my video from my Powerbook, which I have to go through the process of plugging into my TV every time I want to watch something, then control the video from my laptop keyboard and touchpad. It’s not a good setup. Also, the sound isn’t the best due to the interference from the harddrive and other internal bits.

I’ve been putting off replacing the ad-hock setup with a mac mini for a while waiting for them to update it and this was, like I said, 90% of what I wanted. The whole bit with the shared video ram is annoying (very), but not a deal breaker.

I purchased one already and await it’s arrival to take it’s rightful place as the center of my television and living room sound system set-up.

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