Wintel box assemblers keeping a close eye on Apple’s new Mac mini

“Apple Computer isn’t the only company with big hopes for small computers. Rival PC makers are hoping Apple’s newly minted Mac Mini, which went on sale last Saturday, helps shift consumer tastes to smaller desktops at a time when most people associate ‘little’ with laptops. ‘I love the product. I think it’s beautiful,’ said Tom Anderson, vice president of marketing for the Consumer PC Global Business Unit at Hewlett-Packard. ‘If it started a trend of small (desktops)…I’d be very happy about that. It would be a reason for someone to consider a desktop.’ Big-name PC makers such as HP have so far had little success with small desktops, but the tiny Apple could well create enough buzz to spark new interest among consumers, some executives said,” John G. Spooner writes for CNET News.

“The diminutive Mac arrives at a time when most Windows-based desktop machines offer the same basic elements, including at least two 5.25-inch bays for CD or DVD drives, a floppy drive, a series of front-mounted ports for headphones and other peripherals, as well as a memory card reader. Currently, designing a desktop has more to do with choosing parts to hit a specific price than creating a thing of beauty,” Spooner writes.

“Changing consumer taste will amount to a monumental task for the tiny Mini. To date, the vast majority of consumers purchasing Windows desktops have shown little desire for anything other than a standard mini tower. Even stylish, all-in-one machines such as the iMac and the Gateway Profile have sold in small numbers compared with the tens of millions of standard desktops purchased by consumers annually,” Spooner writes. “But Apple has paved the way before. Take the company’s iPod music player, which has changed the way many people listen to music. Although it has yet to be determined whether the Mini will be the product that turns around the entire desktop computer market, the machine has arrived at what could be an opportune time.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Let’s get real here, how many cheap Windows boxes actually come with a dedicated graphics processor, a DVI connector, and FireWire like Apple’s Mac mini?

Also, is there no comprehension on the part of the writer that the operating system and the software are different for a Mac mini vs. all other Wintel box assemblers’ PCs? Of course, he must know all about it, but anyone reading his full article wouldn’t be able to find out that critically important information. One cannot look just at the hardware and then write, “most Windows-based desktop machines offer the same basic elements [as the Mac mini].” It just is not a true statement (even if you only did look at the hardware, it’s false). It would be more truthful and useful to the casual reader to write, “most Windows-based desktop machines offer some of the same basic hardware elements as the Mac mini, but no Windows-based desktop machines can offer the extremely secure and powerful Mac OS X operating system or the large amount of excellent software that comes bundled with every new Mac mini.” Again, it’s the software, stupid.

As we’ve said before, to really understand the Mac mini, think of it as a $499 software and operating system bundle that is unprecedented in personal computing history that also comes with a free Macintosh computer.

Here’s an example of a much better article that illustrates exactly we’re talking about:
USA Today: the software loaded on Apple’s Mac Mini gets you more bang for your buck – January 27, 2005

32 Comments

  1. I think they need to break out true consumer purchases from enterprise/corporate purchases. Apple’s market share MUST be higher than 2-3% in the true CONSUMER market. This also goes for windows consumer market share and installed base. I don’t think it’s as high as everyone thinks if only consumers are taken into account.

  2. MDN… you sound like a broken record… a whiney broken record.

    Scour the web for articles to latch on to. If they faithfully praise all things Macintosh, you agree. If they don’t, you blast em.

    Why not write an article of your own, rather than bitching about the writings of others?

  3. MDN… you sound like a broken record… a whiney broken record.

    Scour the web for articles to latch on to. If they faithfully praise all things Macintosh, you agree. If they don’t, you blast em.

    Why not write an article of your own, rather than bitching about the writings of others?

  4. first time here by way of Google News. kewl site! PC user here, but i agree with the criticism of the CNET article. I am looking at the mac mini for my next PC to try out ILIFE, MAC OS X. I get the difference, but anyone reading the CNET article who didn’t know beforehand wouldn’t understand how great deal the mac mini is.

  5. C’mon Mac & PC Guy…this is what MDN does best (point out blind spots and inherent biases in the press) and this is what the site is for. I’d say *you* need to quit “bitching and whining.”

  6. Mac and PC guy,

    “Our mission is to scour the Web for articles that interest Mac and Apple product users, remark on the content of these articles, provide news about Apple Computer, Inc. and their products, and to opine about all things related to Apple and the Mac.

    Most importantly, MacDailyNews exists to provide a place for our readers and the Mac community to discuss these daily news items in their own words with real-time feedback.

    Why do we do this? Because long ago we received the most important advice a computer user can ever receive, “buy a Mac.” We want to help spread that valuable advice.”

    http://macdailynews.com/index.php/weblog/contact/

    If you don’t like it, why not go on over to MacCentral or any number of other “Mac Web” sites and watch the paint dry?

  7. Wouldn’t it be more correct to say that those “tens of millions of standard desktops purchased by consumers annually” were really bought by enterprise.

    Somehow, I think “consumers” will really be flocking to the Mac mini. Outside of periperal-rich tech people and power-users, few people have use for PCI slots and many of the other things that force big towers on people.

    (I’ve got 3 available…anybody want to rent them?)

  8. Got another switcher today ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />

    That mini sure is a great little box. It’s getting too easy to snare new Mac users.

  9. Spooner writes, “Currently, designing a desktop has more to do with choosing parts to hit a specific price than creating a thing of beauty.”

    This is exactly why the PC market will always be filled with ugly beige boxes. Even when pc manufacturers were playing with micro pc designs they were still the same shape and the same color as their larger counterparts. So, what was the point? They can’t seem to grasp the concept of “form” and apply it to “function”.

    It’s the same problem American car manufacturers have. There is no reason our cars have to look so crappy, but they do, because the designers can’t seem to break the paradigm.

  10. I’d say again, PC manufacture’s are overlooking the users, as well as their past marketing hype. For years, the Mac was degraded by PC users as not upgradeable, non-customizable. even when it was. They made this a selling point, and now they’re dismayed to see that the people who believed them don’t want a hard to upgrade, barely customizable all-in one or small form PC system. (Sigh)

    The issue is three-fold:

    1) Upgradeability
    It doesn’t matter that something like 80% will never upgrade anything more than memory or hard drive. They all feel like they will sometime in the future, even though they can’t get the machine to start

    2) Small-chasis PC System’s Components Blow
    I rarely recommend them to my clients. They burn out up to 2-3 times faster than a mini-tower. Apple has solved this issue (mostly), but the PC world hasn’t

    3) Legacy
    Years of being told bigger is better, will always have some effect. Including those who think bigger is better. Paint yourself in a corner? Sit down and enjoy waiting for the paint to dry.

    Apple can do small, because people trust that Apple will take care to make sure heat dissipates properly, and that the components, will last a reasonable length of time. When your doing small, design matters a lot.

  11. ^

    Years of being told bigger is better, will always have some effect. Including those who think bigger is better. Paint yourself in a corner? Sit down and enjoy waiting for the paint to dry.”

    You’re talking about computers, right?

  12. effword: $100 disposable pc’s only means the price has gone down. I would consider most of the sub $600 pc’s disposable already. I know several people who burn through them every couple of years because when they bought them they didn’t understand what integrated video was, or they bought a Compaq and couldn’t upgrade anything on it.

    Mac & PC Guy: I understand your complaint, but like ROTFLMFAO said, this is the point of MDN (to point out the writings of others and give their take while giving a forum for others to share). I know I like being able to interact with other Mac users and I’ve read enough of your posts to know you seem to feel a need to vent on occasion, too.

    sam: Good luck with the mini quest. Glad to have you aboard. You won’t regret a Mac purchase. I switched about a year ago and cannot imagine ever going back. Of course, I game on a PS2 so the game issue is nonexistent for me. If you like gaming, more are on the way for Mac.

    Dave H: Great job on the switcher! I’m busy trying to convert some of my coworkers with Mac mini as well. They seem interested (finally). I’ve gotten a couple in the last year and it would have easily been half a dozen but price gave them cold feet. Maybe Mac mini can change that.

    ~M

    PS: I got two “first posts” last night back-to back. From the way I have seen some crow about just getting one, I kind of expected my life to change. Nothing so far (sort of disappointed) and I’m tired of waiting for my “MDN First Post Prize” in the mail. Of course the congratulatory call from Steve was a nice touch, but he woke me up (stupid time zones). ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

  13. “……..’If it started a trend of small (desktops)…I’d be very happy about that….”

    Where has this guy been??

    Every “trend” in the computer biz …has been started by… guess who… none other than Apple !!

    Of course, I see this as a mostly positive take in this article… but, sometimes, something like this is akin to fingernails scraping across a chalkboard !!

    Sam…
    Welcome to the MDN forums… Hopefully, you’ll finally come over from the Dark Side, and get yourself a Mac Mini… For sure, it will be a great introduction to the world of hassle-free computing !!

    Remember… contrary to some of the back n forth you may read in these threads and others… (its all in good fun) …the Mac community really is a fun place to belong to !!..

    “….. Apple is a Company … but, Macintosh is our Community !….”

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