Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Truth in the rumours

So the rumours were true – Apple were going to release a sub-$500 Mac, a flash-based basic iPod and a new productivity suite called iWork. No wonder Apple’s legal department were so incensed.
So, we have the Mac Mini – sure, it’s basic but very competitively priced in my opinion. Brits can get their hands on one for £339, which unlike Apple products in the past doesn’t have a huge ‘non-US tax’ – the US price of $499, plus VAT and £10 for shipping translates to £320. Although I’d need to get myself a screen and a USB keyboard first, I have to say I’m somewhat tempted by this one. An iBook would be more convinient but even the most basic model is more than double the price at £699, and spec-wise the two are very similar. Students can get the Mac Mini for £319.
Update: Apple isn’t the first company to release a computer called the “Mac mini“.
Then there’s the iPod Shuffle at £69 for 512MB of storage (no student discount, unfortunately). To put that into context, Dixons/PC World/Curry’s are selling a 1GB MPMan flash player for £99. Feature-wise, it’s a toss-up – the MPMan has a LCD display and only takes one AAA battery, along with voice recording, equalizer presets and support for WMA and MP3, and has no bundled software – whereas the iPod Shuffle takes two AAA batteries, has no display or voice recording, supports MP3 and AAC and uses iTunes. But on style the Shuffle wins hands-down and I’m sure the build quality will be much better too. Overall, a very welcome addition to the iPod family, I think.
In other news, there’s a new minor update to iTunes – 4.7.1.
Update: Don’t upgrade if you have de-authorised any songs using hymn or iOpener as those files will no longer play. Yay for Apple letting me do less with music that I’ve legally bought :-/ .

8 Comments

  1. You won’t believe the semi-exciting at Casa Rob. ‘W00h, a Mac Mini!’ ‘Darn, the new PowerBooks will be delayed then.’

  2. DAMN DAMN DAMN. That is exactly what i Didn’t want them to do. I wanted that Mac Mini with a G5 for say 550 quid. Basicaly because i want a G5 but don’t need a new screen 🙁 Idiots.
    Well think about it, that screen on the iMac G5 is very high quality, it must add at least 250 quid to the price.

  3. Mac Mini

    I’m probably the last person on Earth to blog about the new Apple Mac Mini that was released today.
    This has to be simply the most interesting “cheap” computer on the market. Not a cheap white box, but so stylish you are proud to display it anywher…

  4. Watch out, apparently there’s a nasty surprise in that “minor update” to iTunes. It deletes and blocks any files which have had their DRM information stripped.

  5. “Yay for Apple letting me do less with music that I’ve legally bought”
    On the face of it this seems like they’re trying to make enemies of their few customers. But to be fair, apple have got to look like they are responsible to the major record labels, if the labels lost faith that would be the end of the iTunes Store.
    Oh and watch out for them ins tags, one of them seems to have got loose and is running amock.

  6. Hmm, where can you get the mac mini with educational discount? The education store seems to have the same price tag?

  7. The iPod Shuffle does not need batteries, it’s got a lithium ion battery built in. You can get an attachment to extend the 12 hours play time to 32 which does take batteries, however.
    I don’t understand the problem with Apple refusing to play files with the DRM stripped. If you are running iTunes and using an iPod, what’s the reason for stripping the DRM in the first place? If you are stripping it for conversion to be played on other devices, it will still work there won’t it? I’m as against DRM as the next guy (for “future-proofing” my purchases), but Apple has to keep the music labels happy, and their method of doing so seems less intrusive than others I’ve seen.
    I still think the most remarkable thing about Mac Mini is not the price… it’s the size. Unix hackers are going to do some frighteningly cool stuff with this box.

  8. Dan: That’s strange – for me, the Education store gave me that discount.
    Dave2: Because I don’t always use iTunes 🙂 . Occasionally Winamp is more convinient, and my parents’ computer doesn’t have iTunes installed so I have to use Winamp and ml_ipod. I could install iTunes but it’s an awfully big app so there’s not much point if only I use it.
    As for the labels loosing faith, any major label that pulled out of iTMS would be shooting itself in the foot. But then I suppose the labels have been doing that a lot over the years so I guess it wouldn’t be so surprising… :-/