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The Importance of the Mac Mini

posted by DL Byron on January 12, 2005

Mac Mini I was really bummed out to not watch the Macworld Apple Keynote live (here's a podcast of it). I've done so every year, for like 4 years. About 15 minutes into the keynote, I was hitting various mac fan sites for reports, and my friend Lenn announced in iChat that he was in the press room at Macworld. "Ok, cool!" and he offered to document the keynote as it unfolded, "flippin' awesome." Lenn rules. Highlights from the chat include the often rumored, much discussed, "headless mac," actual name Mac Mini.

Lenn P says: Mac Mini - Shows the hardware, it is simple and beautiful. Has a slot loading optical drive, firewire, USB 2. DVI & VGA output. Size is STAGGERINGLY small and beautiful. Bring your own display, keyboard, and mouse. Comes with Panther and iLife 05. Two models $499 for first one, second is $599. The most affordable Mac ever. Jan 22 in stores and on the Amazon Mac Store

Talking Points

Later in the day, one of my switcher friends asked, "what's a headless mac?" Good point. For the less-than-zealous mac fan, a "headless mac" is a term the press gave to a Mac computer without a monitor attached. Apple has finally entered the $500.00 computer price range. Countless articles about that strategy are being written now, if not already published. While the pundits debate it, what it means is one less barrier to switching to the mac. For the switcher evangelist, a few talking points:

  • It's for the halo effect, targeted at Windows iPod users, and for your PC friends who pop off about Apple's prices, Apple now makes a cheap little PC.
  • While inexpensive, the Mac Mini is good. Fans say, "the mini completely rocks!"
  • A hidden market will emerge from techno-geek-pros who use Windows and Linux and who would spend $500 to have a Mac to test.
  • Go to the Apple Site. They're totally aiming the Mini Macs at switching Windows users.
  • Nobody cares about clock speed. They just want to post photos and mix little home movies and not worry about viruses and spyware.

I think that last point, "not worry about viruses and spyware," is the most important. Earlier this week on NPR, Walt Mossberg, called on the the PC industry to address security issues." He said, "users shouldn't have to be their own IT department." In a demonstration between a PC and Mac, he showed NPR's Steve Inskeep that there's no spyware on the Mac and unlike windows, Macs were written to be a networked computer, with security in mind. Microsoft is hard at work correcting their security problems, but OS X is unix-based and inherently more secure for one simple reason: any application that wants to install prompts you for an account name and pass and has to be verified.

The most recent switcher I've talked to, switched for that exact reason. He was exhausted by spyware and viruses and didn't want to worry about it anymore.

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