“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