Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Paul Thurrott's Internet Nexus: Mac mini, meet the competition

Paul Thurrott's Internet Nexus: Mac mini, meet the competition: "So, what do these deals show us? First, you can get a lot of PC--indeed, a whole PC system including a large CRT screen and a printer--for the same price, or less, than the Mac mini. Second, these PC systems are far more expandable than the Mac mini, thanks to their comparatively voluminous tower cases, with readily available RAM slots, room for more hard drives and optical drives, and various add-in cards: You can even get integrated 9-in-1 (or 8-in-1) media readers, which is a huge plus.
Third, and perhaps most important, none of this matters. Put simply, the people who buy $300 to $500 PC systems at Best Buy are never, ever going to be Apple customers. The people who will be attracted to the Mac mini are people who already have expensive PCs but are looking for a second machine. They are into digital media and are perhaps taken with the style of the iPod. They can afford a $500 second machine, just like they can afford an iPod. And they number in the millions. They will not be buying either of the PCs shown above, not ever.
When it comes to this kind of purchase, the $500 price tag of the Mac mini means just one thing. Like the iPod, the Mac mini is an affordable luxury and it will, in my opinion, open up Mac OS X to a much wider audience. The Mac mini, however, does not compete feature-for-feature or price-for-price with the PC. And you know what? Neither does the iPod, when compared to its competition. Just look what happened there. People aren't buying these things based on features. There's something intangible happening here.
My prediction is that the Mac mini will reverse Apple's market share slide. And one year from now, if not sooner, all of us--even the detractors, begrudgingly--will credit this product with turning around the Macs fortunes. Comparing apples to oranges, or in this case, Apples to eMachines, just doesn't make sense."
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