Think Different
A Stay of Execution for the Mac mini

On Tuesday, August 7th, 2007, the Mac world was all abuzz with the announcements at the recent Mac event. One item of importance bears mentioning… First, I’ll tell you what item of importance was NOT, at least to me…

The iMac finally got a complete overhaul. An aluminum body with a glass surface, oh and it’s glossy too. Yeah, it’s cool, yawn… big whoop… Let’s see, what else… Oh yeah, iWork ’08 with Numbers! Wow, an office suite that finally has a spreadsheet called Numbers! Who’d of thunk it? To quote a line used in an advertisement from Apple in 1995 in which Apple pointed out that Windows has the Recycle Bin, “Imagine that.” Please… Oh and who could forget the rousing upgrade to iLife ’08. This sort of peaked my interest, but this isn’t quite what I had in mind in regards to the importance of this event. Which leaves one other announcement. The Mac mini was given a stay of execution with bump in specs. This is a bittersweet day for fans of the bottom end Mac of the lineup…

I for one am glad the mini was spared. The mini represents not only a great entry level Mac in terms of getting Windows users to switch and practicality, but most of all, it’s still the cheapest way to join the Mac world. Then why is it a bittersweet day for fans of the mini? Three words… No price drop. ‘Nuff said.

Sure, they bumped the guts of the mini… The switch from Core Duo to Core Duo 2 is nothing to sneeze at, 1.83 and 2 GHz respectively. The RAM upgrade from 512 MB to 1 GB though shouldn’t be looked at as a bonus, but rather, as something that should’ve been offered even on the low end from the beginning. But this is Apple we’re talking about here… Hard drive space gets bumped from 60 to 80 GB… A little gain, but not much in the scheme of things. Everything else remains unchanged, with the exception of iLife ’08 bundled with the mini. Two things bother me here:

1) The mini has lost the middle ground… Now, you have a $599 model and a $799 model. It doesn’t make sense to me… If anything, if one of the models had to go, it should’ve been the $799 model. A $200 jump between models won’t jive with people very well…

2) No price cuts… Apple missed the boat here… They could’ve dropped the price $100 on at least the entry model mini. $500 is a sweet spot for many buyers. Apple had it right to begin with. Even with the upgraded specs, the mini could still be priced at $500.

The mini has two distinct advantages up its sleeve… For one, it’s the only affordable way to get that “headless Mac” goodness without having to extort money from Donald Trump for the Mac Pro. Steve Jobs, if you’re reading this (which if you are then there’s hope for you yet), read my lips… NOT EVERYONE WANTS AN iMAC! (Regaining composure)… It’s not inconceivable to think there’s people in the world who are everyday users that don’t want an all-in-one such as the iMac. There are advantages out the wazoo to not having the display built-in. Get your head out of your posterior for once if your ego can stop swelling for 5 seconds…

The other advantage is in the name… mini… This thing can go anywhere you can think of… Putting it in a car is extremely cool and useful. Shove these suckers in a closet and have a cluster of mini’s for serious web server goodness! The possibilities are endless.

Look, I’m not saying the iMac, new keyboard and new software isn’t important… In a lot of ways, they’re important in the grand scheme of Macdom… But to see the mini get a last minute reprieve from the death chamber is truly something to break out the bubbly for! Cheers!

Remember… Don’t just think… think outside the box… Think Different.

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