Mac mini madness

Ok, time for me to weigh in on the Mac mini.

I think the Mac mini will be a success. I'm not convinced it will be a massive success (yet), but it will be a success. Why?

- It has a face. It has a name. That means it has an identity. I think Apple's focused product line is a good thing. Can you name Dell's product line? Can you name Sony's or IBM's? I bet you can name a good portion of Apple's. That's important. People like to feel like they are part of something. Now it takes just $499 to be part of the next computer world shake up.

That shakeup is the switchers, the virgins, and the bis. No, you didn't accidently browse to one of "those" sites. I'll explain the terms, be patient. Apple already has switchers. I think the Mac mini will draw even more. The virgins are those kids that got iPods and love them. As they age, they'll need a first computer. The Mac mini is that computer. The parents already have a spare monitor sitting around from when they upgraded to an LCD. Shell out $500 and that kid is rocking. The parents are happy because they got their PC back and the kid is happy because they'll have the hippest computer on the block.

- Media center - This is for the Bis. I guess this is me. I'm a Windows guy at home, but I so long to be something else. I "grew up" on Unix, but I've never really cared for Linux. I've dabbled off and on with Linux, but it was far too do-it-yourself to ever penetrate my free time enough to get a foot hold. I first started looking at Apple again with OSX. I loved that it had a command line. I loved that vi came installed. I loved that it looked and felt nicer than Windows. I started to covet it. I got an iPod and I adore it. I use it for hours every day. I often tell people it is the 2nd best piece of technology I ever bought (my ReplayTV is the 1st). I'm ready to buy a Mac. I will buy a Mac mini and become a bi, meaning I won't turn off my Windows PC...yet. Who knows? Maybe I will end up a switcher, but my job will keep me a bi for quite some time.

The Mac mini will become my media center. It will house all of my purchased iTMS songs. I hope to make it serve up ripped DVDs (my own collection MPAA!) If I can add on DVR on the cheap, it will be that too. I know a few other guys that will pick up a Mac mini for these same purposes. I'd imagine there are others like us.

- iLife - Apple needs to push this more. Any PC moron can convince someone to not buy a Mac mini when they start talking about Mhz and RAM quantites. The Mac mini isn't about specs. It's about an experience. It's about a small shape. It's about quiet operation. It's about fewer wires. It's about software that works and software that works together! iLife is an incredible assortment. To buy comparable apps on the Windows side would cost a mint. Conveniently, the PC morons ignore this. Buy the Mac mini for what you see, keep it for what you don't :)


- The Mac mini will do well its first year. I'm going to guess 3 million units, which is quite a bit more than Apple is selling in any current computer product.
- An accessories market will take off, just like it did for the iPod. Get ready for Mac mini shaped peripherals like big harddrives, HDTV tuners, digial audio break out boxes, add-on burners, and multi-port power cables to connect it all.
Get ready for wall-mounts, hardcases, and Mac mini sweaters.
- The case modders from the PC world will try their hand at the Mac mini. We'll see a glowing Apple logo (like the notebook computers) in no time. We'll see installation in cars, walls, and PCs. We'll see a terrabyte setup, and we'll see clusters of these installed, just for the hell of it.
- OSS for OSX will grow. More and more of the "linux guys" will migrate to Apple and they'll want their software there. Expect more ports and more new products.
- Libraries and schools everywhere will pair the Mac mini with whatever cheap monitor they can buy in bulk. Again, the software included with the Mac mini is just about all a school would ever need. Maybe they'll add the iWork suite, or even Photoshop CS, but outside of that, they have quite a bit to keep the kids productive, and happy.

One last thing. Put Bluetooth in when you buy a Mac mini. It isn't a bad technology. It's a good technology. In fact, Apple makes Bluetooth work better than anybody. Even if you don't use it now, you will find uses for it in the future.

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