Tech writer Thurrott on Apple’s Macworld Expo 2005 announcements

“Although it’s only a fraction of the size and popularity of CES, MacWorld Expo always draws a disproportionate amount of attention because of Apple’s enigmatic and charismatic CEO Steve Jobs and the company’s palpably desirable products. And this year, Jobs and company didn’t disappoint. Apple announced a slew of new products, including a new version of its award-winning iLife suite of applications, a new productivity suite called iWorks that includes the new Pages word processor, and an HDTV version of Final Cut Express called, logically enough, Final Cut HD,” Paul Thurrott writes for Connected Home Media.

“But those weren’t the two biggest announcements Jobs made at the show. No, the two big announcements concerned Apple’s two core products, the iPod and the Macintosh. On the iPod front, Jobs revealed that Apple was going after the 29 percent of the MP3 player market that is based on flash RAM, rather than hard disks. To tackle this market, the company is releasing a new low-end iPod unit, the iPod shuffle, which features 512MB or 1GB of RAM, no screen, and a form factor that’s about as big as a pack of gum. The iPod shuffle, like the iPod before it, will likely be a huge success: It combines the beautiful aesthetics of Apple’s products with the company’s unique needs of the market. Unlike competing flash RAM devices, the iPod shuffle doesn’t feature a screen, so it does away with the ‘tortured’ UI those devices employ. Instead, the iPod shuffle uses a toggle switch on its back to move between shuffle mode and straight play, perfect for the 100 to 250 songs the devices hold,” Thurrott writes.

“On the Mac front, Apple is aggressively targeting the low-end PC market for the first time with the $500 Mac mini, which features an amazingly small chassis, iBook-like internals (including a smaller, laptop-style hard disk), and no mouse or keyboard. Based on the PowerMac G4 platform, the Mac mini is Apple’s cheapest-ever computer, and although it falls short of today’s $500 PCs—which typically feature 17″ screens, printers, more RAM, and bigger hard disks, not to mention keyboards and mice—I expect it to be a big hit. Indeed, don’t be surprised to see the Mac mini reverse Apple’s PC market share slide. Here’s why: Like the iPod, the Mac mini is an affordable luxury, and a relatively inexpensive way for customers to experience the wonders of Mac OS X. Definitely worth a look,” Thurrott writes.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Thurrott has been remarkably consistent about Apple’s iPod shuffle and Mac mini in the various publications for which he writes. Did he really write, “the wonders of Mac OS X?” Spooky, huh? We’ll keep an eye on him to see if this dramatic change is just some short-lived New Year’s resolution about trying to write only the truth or a longer-term objectivity shift.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Tech writer Thurrott: ‘Apple and the Mac are back’ – January 17, 2005
Kiss of death II: Thurrott wants an Apple Mac mini, calls it ‘drool-worthy’ – January 12, 2005

* * * Somewhere between 12/15/2004 and 1/12/2005, Paul receives a severe electrical shock from his Wintel laptop perhaps?

Thurrott: Apple copying Microsoft’s Longhorn search features with Mac OS X ‘Spotlight’ – December 15, 2004
Thurrott: Mac ‘doesn’t offer much value over Wintel-based systems’ – November 01, 2004
Thurrott: ‘Give Microsoft credit for leading the way in digital entertainment’ – October 15, 2004
Thurrott: Apple’s ‘iPod Mini isn’t a sales phenomenon at all’ – March 25, 2004