“If your gig is writing computer columns, then you pretty much have to write about Apple’s new $499 Mac mini–the stripped-down desktop Macintosh meant to compete with the ultra-low prices at the bottom of the Microsoft Windows-compatible food chain,” James Coates writes for The Chicago Tribune. “To paraphrase the late Rodney Dangerfield, you don’t get no keyboard; you don’t get no mouse; you don’t get no monitor. You also don’t get no Windows XP worms, PC viruses, Trojan horses, browser hijackers or key-loggers, either.”

“This half-foot wide wonder makes it clear that Apple isn’t really targeting its traditional customers with the Mac mini. The idea is to win over Windows users tempted to take a bite out of the Apple because they already lust after their iPod digital music players,” Coates writes. “Here’s the genius behind it all: If I hand you a Mac mini while you’re sitting in front of your Windows-powered computer, you can simply unplug your mouse, your keyboard and your monitor and plug them into the Mac instead. Ditto with the PC’s speakers. When I tested a sample equipped with wireless networking AirPort Express, it quickly found my Windows-based D-Link network and logged on. Bye-bye PC World and hello Mac Addict.”

“For $499, you get the G4 chip at 1.25 gigahertz, 256 megabytes of RAM and a 40 gigabyte hard drive. A companion $599 model has a 1.42 gHz microprocessor, an 80 gb hard drive and 256 megabytes of RAM. Serious Mac users will want to fork over an extra $75 to upgrade to 512 mb of RAM. Huge differences in performance are at stake. If one wants to get a Mac mini with a top complement of Apple peripherals, figure on a $100 upgrade for Bluetooth and an AirPort wireless card, plus $100 for a wireless mouse and keyboard. Next you can pay $100 more for a DVD writing SuperDrive instead of the included DVD player/CD recorder drive,” Coates writes. “Adding these features on the Apple Web site makes the $599 Mac mini cost $972 and the $499 model cost $872. And that’s still without a monitor. That’s the kind of serious money that makes it far more tempting to set your sights on the more powerful and faster G5 flat-screen iMacs that were the previous red-hot Apple offering. They start at $1,299. But for we Windows users, Mac mini with Panther is a great way to change our spots.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Despite Coates’ failed attempt to propagate the “Security Via Obscurity Myth” by writing, “with market penetration south of 5 percent, Apple’s operating systems so far have escaped the kinds of attacks that have made spyware, worms and viruses a daily concern for the rest of the world that uses Windows” and ignoring that Mac OS X’s rock-solid Unix underpinning deserves credit for being simply more secure than the porous Windows, this is a decent article that shows why the Mac mini will be a success for Apple.

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