Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Jan 11. A Day in the History of "Small" and "Cheap"

Apple Computer had been on the high end, and high-mid range market of the consumer computers. I will not be talking about supercomputer or high-performance computing, or server here, OK? They are well-known for making expensive, high-end computers, like PowerMac and PowerBook. Their cheaper, more consumer-level products are described at the mid-level of the market at best, like iMac and iBook, as their prices are about the mid-level in the entire computer market.

iPod, even though very popular, also the iPod mini which, according to Steve's iPod mini worked statement, which helped the iPod family in taking over the market from the high-end flash player (recall that Steve said "we want to go after the high-end flash market", as he introduced iPod mini last year?) .... they are relatively expensive compared to the products with comparable technical spec. (Nothing will ever come close to the user-experience of the iPod, so the technical is really emphasized here).

Not any more.

Last year, Steve announced Apple Cinema Display 30", and said the day will go down in the History of Big.

Jan 11. It is the day that will go down in the History of Cheap and Small. It might also mark Apple's full-scale coming back to the real consumer-level market, the lower-end majority.

First off, Mac mini (which, I supposed named to match the iPod mini, as the iMac G5 was designed to match the iPod), a headless computer. Notably, it is very very small. I was surprised when I see Steve holding it. It is even smaller even than the AC power adapter of some laptop! The pricing is remarkably low for Apple, starting just at $499. The machine will be equipped with G4 processor, with speed of 1.25 or 1.42 GHz, and Harddrisk space of 40GB and 80GB, respectively. The memory will be just 256MB, though. However, this is very entry level computer, which should not be expect any higher spec anyway. You usually get machines with lower specs from other makers anyway.

Second, you thought iPod mini was small? Rethink. iPod shuffle will just change your mind. Pricing at $99 for 512 MB model and $149 for 1GB model. This iPod shuffle has no display, and it has a very easy to use interface and mode, that is shuffle-only. Life is Random, or so they say. The size if also remarkably small as well, and has the typical Apple-designed touch.

What? Shuffle-only? Well, 512 will contain just about 120-125 songs. So, taking your top-rated songs, songs you moved listened to, songs that you just love, etc. And I think it's OK regardless of how you shuffle it, it might just find you a new way of rearranging those songs.

So, Jan 11. The Day that will definitely go into the History of "Small" and "Cheap", at least in Apple's book.

[Will comment more on iLife and iWork later].