What, there’s no “i” in front of it?

Thursday, February 17th, 2005 @ 12:50 am | Tech

I’m not a big fan of Apple (I’m chuffed at my “Crapple Macintrash iSuck” joke), but I have to admit that the $500 Mac Mini is pretty sweet. (Monitor, keyboard and mouse not included). Yes, it’s that small. Not long after the launch of the $99 iPod Shuffle, Apple steps up with another miniature, low-priced product. I’m amazed they were able to do it. Finally, they got their heads out of their asses and started making products for the consumers that don’t want to spend an extra $500+ for shiny hardware.

The specs are modest, but sufficient. Apparently, there’s no room for a sound card in that small case. And just like replacing the battery in an iPod, upgrading it isn’t cheap and easy. Want wireless, a DVD burner or extra RAM? Gotta send it in for service. The required accessories probably aren’t cheap either. But still, it’s an impressive and affordable piece of engineering. With the new Shuffle and this piece of machinery, it won’t be surprising if Apple increases it’s desktop computer market share and tightens it’s already firm dominance on the portable digital audio market.

As an aside, Apple has a problem with not opening up their hardware or software. Your iPod only works with iTunes, and vice versa. Unlike the PC (what they used to call “IBM compatible”), Apple never licensed the hardware for other companies to manufacture, which means they got buried in the market when the PC rose to dominance (along with a little company called Microsoft). This means that you can buy PC hardware that’s cheaper, bigger and more powerful than just about anything Apple makes (the Power Mac G5 excepted). The iPod and iTunes will continue to dominate the portable digital audio market, but for how long?

On a related note, check out my article on the Napster to Go service.

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