Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

In the Apple Store

I managed to find a free Mac Mini in the Apple Store on Regent Street so here I am. It’s the first time I’ve been in an Apple Store, what with Apple only opening this, their first UK store, last year. It’s bigger than I expected it to be, and also busier – it’s nearly 6pm and it’s still pretty busy; certainly almost all of the computers are taken.
This Mac I’m using now is plugged into a rather delicious 20″ Apple Cinema Display – very nice, but at £549 totally out of my price range. It also has a slightly annoying American-esque keyboard – the @ and ” characters are swapped around and other keys are in different locations which would take some getting used to if I used one regularly (and where are the Home and End keys?). Fortunately the keyboard I’ve just bought, which is Mac-compatible, uses a standard British layout. The lack of a scroll wheel on the mosue is also a little annoying but again I should be able to bring my own mouse to the party.
Mac OS X looks gorgeous – it’s the first time I’ve really used it and I’m almost sold solely on how it looks. And the Mac Mini itself is really as small as I thought – I could easily find space on my desk for one. It does take a little time to get used to the window controls being on the left and not the right though, especially as there’s sometimes a button on the right which does weird stuff.
Okay, I’m rambling, but I do definietly feel more confident about investing in one of these machines soon – one this month’s credit card bill is paid off, I’ll put an order in.


  1. End and Home are Ctrl-E and Ctrl-A, respectively. The window controls aren’t hard to get used to, really. The button on the right just kills the toolbar section. But yes, the mini is nice.

  2. It depends on which Apple keyboard you use… mine has “home” and “end” on it. The thing that really freaks “switchers” are the delete forward key… most Apple keyboards (and all Apple laptops) don’t have one. As mentioned, there are shortcuts for everything, but it’s a bit jarring for some Windows users. Of course, you can use whatever USB compatible keyboard you want (and I haven’t found one yet that doesn’t work) so it’s pretty easy to fix this if you don’t want to re-learn.
    The Regent Street store looks amazing but, sadly, was not open when I was last in London.

  3. The mini is a beautiful object and i’d love one but i’m repelled by 2 factors…
    I can’t use a semi-pro audio card and.. well maybe i’m old fashioned but a desktop computer really shouldn’t have a 4200rpm notebook HD.
    I guess its designed for ppl who only surf the web and type letters. But it still annoys me that to do the things i want i have to waste money on a top-end spec pm when i don’t need a top-end spec.

  4. I just visited my first Apple Store too…last Saturday when I bought my iPod Mini.
    Those Apple Stores are spectacular. It was the first time I really got to sit down and try out a Mac for an extended period of time and I almost bought one right there…until I noticed the dent that AND an iPod would make on my Credit Card. Decided the iPod was by far the better route to go for the moment.
    Note the “for the moment” part 😉

  5. I saw my first real life Mac-Mini last night, I was told off by the Mac fans for not being excited enough about it.
    The last time I got to play on a Mac was in San Francisco a few years ago – and that was more of a “look how big our monitors are” than a real demonstration. It sounds like I should visit the Apple Store next time I’m in London – if only to read my emails.

  6. I went in the Apple store too. Was very sleak. It was packed, all the computers were being used. Except one with double 30″ flatscreens, oh my! However, the mouse didn’t work. Tried some good old fashioned Windows shortcut keys, but they didn’t do anything 😉
    Found a really small powerbook upstairs that was free. I had a little play but got confused. Safari wouldn’t “full-screen” for me, and minimising / moving something on top got confusing.
    The amusing part was two full-clad Police officiers were wandering around… buying an iPod Shuffle! Followed by about 5 staff helping them.
    The Genius Bar was packed. But tell me this: If Macs are so easy to use, why was there a huge queue?
    There was also a conference going on upstairs. And almost everyone in the audience was typing on their Mac laptop. Insane.