No, not the Cooper Mini, although Laura and I would love to play with one. The Mac Mini. Steve Jobs brought his portable Reality Distortion Field to MacWorld last week and put on an as-always great keynote, his first since a scare with pancreatic cancer last year, and the crowd went wild, and the press went wild and Slashdot went wild. Inevitably, a few naysayers trotted out the usual tired arguments against Apple. Reviews were either Apple Fan-tastic or Apple hater-mean. Let’s get real.
Laura asked me at lunch just who they were trying to sell to. Great question! The Mac Mini is a little too mini for those of us who push our machines really hard: the CPU, RAM and disk aren’t much upgradable. the video too weak for gamers. If you buy into the all-Apple thing, and buy the Apple keybaord and mouse, Apple Airport card, RAM and HD upgrade and a 21″ Cinema display, the price comes out pretty close to what I paid last year for a loaded iMac (the “Luxo Lamp” model). However, this can make an ideal office desktop machine for someone who needs mail, web browsing and routine office work (using Apple Works, OpenOffice.org, NeoOffice/J or Apple’s new iWork).
For those who already have the peripherals (or can buy them at a bargain), I suspect the Mac Mini can make a great desktop machine or second machine. But beware! Once you’ve experienced the Apple trademark “It Just Works!” experience, don’t be surprised at finding yourself pricing out a dual-proc PowerMac or a slick PowerBook.
Tim Bray thinks about whether a “Mini for Mom” is a good choice.
OSNews has an interesting article comparing a home-brew mini-PC vs. the Mac Mini.
If you’ve got the time and you’re really intrigued by the entire Apple phenomenon (I am!), Daring Fireball has an insightful Mac Mini analysis with an interesting conclusion.