Apple Mac Mini: Diary of a Mac wannabe

by Todd Ogasawara

Like everyone else I read the
Think Secret $499 Mac rumor article
and looked at the
grainy underexposed iHome photos with a combination of hope and skepticism.

The last time I used an Apple Mac box regularly was in 1989 when I had a Mac II in my office.
I've been a Linux and Microsoft Windows based geek since then.
However, my interest in the Mac was piqued when a friend who worked for Apple at the time dropped by and showed me the Aqua interface shortly before its release.
At the O'Reilly Open Source 2002 Convention, I noticed all the iBooks and Powerbooks around me and decided I really wanted to play with a Mac.
But, I just couldn't justify the $1,500+ entry fee for something that wasn't a part of my core work in the office or the home.

Still, the iLife components
GarageBand) and Xcode
looked really interesting.
If the rumor of a $499 Apple iHome desktop is true,
I suspect I'm not the only Linux/Windows geek who will decide that this new entry fee level is, as Goldilocks said, just right.
Now, I'm not planning on dumping my Fedora, Debian, and Windows XP boxes anytime soon.
The Mac OS X iHome box will have to make peace with the other platforms.
But, I'm looking forward to being able to play with the iLife components and maybe dust off my MIDI keyboards to play with GarageBand.

I've got a desk space, spare external DVD+-RW with Firewire drive, and Mac books all picked out.
Now, to wait and see if this thing is really announced on Tuesday (Jan. 11) and learn when it will actually be available to mere mortals like me.

Calling other Linux and Windows geeks. Are you ready to test the Mac OS X waters too?


2005-01-11 07:22:11
Please be honest

While I don't have the price lists for 2002, there were many routes into the Mac world for less than $1500. Right now you can get a brand new eMac for $799. For $999 you can get an iBook.

I'm certain that in 2002 the eMac was a sub-$1000 option, although a new iBook probably was not, although there's always been at least one version for less than $1500. And there was the used market as well.

Believe it or not, most Mac owners are mere mortals themselves, although they tend to be happier mere mortals.

2005-01-11 08:22:14
Please be honest
Re: My $1500 2002 price. Good points. I should have clarified by saying a Mac configured with hardware near equivalent to a PC running Linux or Microsoft Windows (for 2002) with at least 256MB RAM, larger hard drive, CD-RW burner, etc.. The eMac for sub-$1000 given its configuration and integrated CRT (CRT goes, there goes the whole device) and bulk was not an attractive purchase.

Even a $499 Mac with the rumored specs is half the hardware config of a same priced WinTel/LinTel PC. For example, the eMachines 3256 with Windows XP Home was recently available for $399 (after rebates) with 512MB RAM, 160GB HD, and DVD+-RW. Still, the $500 price mark is a psychological barrier breach that makes the purchase palatable to a non-Mac user like myself despite its perceived hardware shortfall compared to similarly priced WinLinTel boxes.

2005-01-11 10:51:38
$499 Price Would Break the Barrier
I mentioned the possibility of a new sub $500 headless iMac to several of my Windows and Linux (or both) friends and coworkers as soon as I read the rumor. Several showed interest if for no other reason than the author mentions - own a Mac to "play around" without feeling like they've made a major investment.

To Apple, "playing around" translate to a larger user base and some of those sales turning into larger purchases. To users, it means more support and more software. Think of all those gifted programming students who can't dish out $999; but anxious to Aquafy tons of UNIX/Linux source if they had a dev machine.

Apple would also be wise to make it easy to hack the guts on this iMac Mini. Remember how easy it was to crack the lid on the LC pizza-box Macs and toss in a new HD or more memory? Ease of self-upgrade makes buyers feel a litte more confident that their shiny new purchase won't be obsolete next month.