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“pic” Keynote: Mac Mini, iP

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By Jeremy Horwitz

Editor-in-Chief, iLounge
Published: Tuesday, January 11, 2005
News Categories: iPod

On a day in which Apple CEO Steve Jobs promised “a lot of firsts,” the company unquestionably delivered: most importantly, a $499 iPod-matching “Mac mini” was introduced with a January 22 release date, followed by the announcement of “iPod shuffle,” the least expensive and smallest capacity iPod at a $99/512MB configuration. Both products were touted as the cheapest ever introduced by Apple in their respective categories, and offered in modestly upgraded versions at $50 and $100 premiums. Prices for their higher-end brethren were left unchanged, such that iPods now range in price from $99 to $599, and Macintosh computers from $499 to $2999.

For the full story of all of the major announcements at Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ keynote speech in San Francisco, please click on Read More. Today’s major announcements are as follows: the introduction of the iPod shuffle, a $99-$149 flash memory-based iPod, the introduction of the Mac mini, a $499-$599 Macintosh computer to attract ‘switchers’, a collection of new iPod shuffle accessories from Apple, changes to iTunes, a Motorola phone with an ‘iTunes client,” updated sales figures, and new Mac software.

View over 180 photos in the Macworld keynote photo gallery including the purchase of many iPod shuffles.

Mac mini

The new Mac mini was touted as a response to the question Steve Jobs is often asked, “Why doesn’t Apple offer a stripped down Mac that is more affordable?? His answer: “Today, we think we know what they have in mind.” At the physical size of a CD drive, only thicker, the Mac mini features white, rounded edges like the company’s AirPort Express, and is a fully equipped but low-end G4 Macintosh computer - mostly equivalent in horsepower to currently shipping PowerBook notebooks. Each Mac mini comes with Apple’s OS X Panther operating system and the iLife ’05 software suite, described below. “We want to price this Mac to that people who are thinking of switching will have no more excuses,” said Jobs, unveiling the $499 price tag for a 1.25ghz G4 with 256mb of RAM, a 40GB hard disk. An 80gb, 1.42ghz model will sell for $599. Each unit has Ethernet, FireWire, USB 2, DVI, VGA out, a modem, slot loading combo drive for burning and reading DVDs. Apple noted that the unit will be “BYODKM - bring your own display, keyboard and mouse.” Jobs first said, “any display, keyboard or mouse,? but then repeated the phrase, adding “Almost? at the beginning.

Touted as “the most affordable Mac ever,? the Mac mini is the “cheapest computer Apple has ever offered.” It will be available on January 22, in an impressively small carrying box only modestly larger than that of a full-sized iPod, equipped with a hand carry strap.

Apple concurrently announced the release of iLife ‘05, a beautiful update to its existing suite of photo, movie, and music editing applications, which will be included with every Macintosh computer or sold separately for $79, and iWork, which includes applications Pages, an incredible synthesis of word processing and page layout tools that for casual users will destroy Microsoft’s Word (while remaining compatible with Word files), and Keynote 2, Apple’s alternative to Microsoft’s PowerPoint.

iPod

The biggest news of the day was the introduction of the iPod shuffle, which Apple’s Jobs explained was the company’s product to capture the remaining market for flash-based digital audio players. “Let’s go back to January 2004, a year ago,? said Jobs. The iPod’s market share was 31%, flash-based players had 62%, and “iPod wannabes” had 7%. A year ago, Apple introduced the iPod mini to go after the high-end of the flash player market. In January 2005, iPod’s market share is 65%, flash has been cut in half to 29%, and wannabes are down a percent to 6%. The iPod mini worked.

“So, what’s next?” asked Jobs. “Well, we’d like to go after the mainstream flash market.” Showing a variety of the competing options, he noted that “the products are all pretty much the same.” A slide noted that they all featured “a tortured user interface, very small display, no click wheel, and AAA battery (non-rechargeable)? for power, “so you’re going to feed this thing about $100 worth of batteries a year,? said Jobs. And it’s “really hard to find your music.?

iPod shuffle is the company’s solution to that. “We want to make something that’s even easier to use than existing iPods… We had to come up with a new original idea… then we saw it. Something happened in the iPod market with all of our iPod users last year. They discovered a new way to listen to their music, that became the most popular way people listen to their music – shuffle… We decided to base a flash-based player around shuffle.”

The iPod shuffle is a white plastic stick with a play/pause button in its center, plus/minus volume controls, and a set of forward backward buttons. Headphones plug into top, minus the larger iPods’ accessory pins. It is described as “smaller than most packs of gum… Weighs the same as 4 quarters, less than an ounce… It’s so simple.? There’s a hidden green led at top of wheel, and you can shuffle your music using a switch in the back. The switch flips between shuffle, playlist and straight play, each marked with gray text. There’s a cap on bottom, hiding a USB2 port for “fast transfers,” but no FireWire or Dock Connector interface. iPod shuffle includes a 12-hour rechargeable battery, and is PC or Mac compatible. Jobs noted that users can turn it upside down and wear it on a lanyard, which is supplied with it. There’s an iPod logo in grey on back, and it can also be worn on a new Armband accessory.

On the software side, Jobs said that “where we’ve really brought new value is the integration between the device and the jukebox. We’ve invented something new for iTunes – ‘autofill.’ You can push this button and it will go through your music library in any way you want.” The feature lets you pull songs onto the iPod shuffle randomly, or only higher-rated songs, and so on. You can use iPod shuffle as USB storage device, too. A screen shows a music-to-data ratio of 200 songs + 170 MB of data,

In the existing flash player market, Apple notes, the most popular size is 256 Megabytes, which holds 60 songs. Prices of these devices range from $99 to $149. To compete against them, the iPod shuffle is available in 2 models. First is 512MB at 120 songs, $99. Second is 1GB at 240 songs, $149. It comes in a green box, and they’re shipping out of Apple’s factory starting today. Apple’s randomized shuffle icon appears on box, and the slogan “240 songs. A million different ways.” is the marketing angle for the shuffle unit.

There are four new accessories introduced with the iPod shuffle. Apple has a new Armband for athletes. There’s an iPod shuffle Dock. There’s also a sport case with a new lanyard, and a Battery Extender pack with 2 replaceable AAAs for 20 extra hours. Each of the four accessories is priced at $29.00. They’ll roll out in the next 4 weeks, said Jobs. iPod shuffle hardware would be available in limited quantities at the Apple retail store in San Francisco immediately.

iPod Sales

Apple reported that 733,000 iPods were sold in the holiday 2003 season, but for the same season in 2004, 4.5 million sold, a 500% rate of growth year over year.

The iPod crossed the 10 million sold mark as of the end of 2004. Eight point two million were sold in calendar year 2004. The 10 millionth unit was made on December 16, 2004. “I’m going to keep it rather than sell it,” said Jobs. And Amazon’s top 5 consumer electronics products included three from Apple. Number one was the 20gb iPod, followed by the mini. Number four was the iTunes $15 gift card.

Accessories, and Certification?

Apple briefly flashed a “Made for iPod” logo on screen during its display, and noted that over 400 accessory products. Whether Apple intends to use this as a seal of quality is as yet unknown.

On car adapters: Apple noted that BMW has sold out of the ones they’ve made. Now Apple is working on a next-generation version with BMW for this year. Other companies will join the in-car adapter market with Apple: Mercedez Benz, Nissan, Volvo and Scion. “These companies are going to be rolling out their adapters in 2005,? while Alfa Romeo and Ferrari will roll out in Europe. Mercedes has brought two cars to Macworld with iPod adapters controlled from steering wheel: the SLK Roadster and a “super-hot CLS” are on the show floor.

On cell phones: Apple developed what Jobs called an “iTunes client” for Motorola their cell phones. He flashed a shot of Motorola’s E398 (see our separate article on pricing and features of this phone), and noted that a Spring 2005 rollout would see the phones that support the client. Motorola appears poised to take the lead on releasing the phones and developing them, without direct Apple participation in their exterior design.

« iTunes, iPod software updates released

Macworld: iPod grabs passenger »

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Comments

21

I have an Apple 3g and only about 500 songs. I was hoping for something with better battery life. I would buy the mini but isn’t the battery life the same as my 3g?

Not sure the Ipod shuffle will meet my needs but unless somebody suggests something else, it’s the best alternative for more battery life. Better than the mini or $300 on a new all white ipod 4g yes?
Carly

Posted by carly7189 in NY on January 12, 2005 at 6:43 AM (PDT)

22

I love how this thread started with yet another “The Mac is doomed!!!” comment….

People may not like Mac’s for a variety of reasons, but to say the whole companies future is dependent on a $500 machine is just ignorant. The problem with this logic is that a person’s personal beliefs cloud their ability objectionably look at an issue. 

Marketshare is only important if you have it.  If you are the marketshare leader, then you’ll use to boost your superiority.  Steve did this in the Keynote when talking about the iMac. 

If you’re a company like Apple, you’re concerned about two things:  Increasing number of units sold and remaining profitable.  Marketshare is a measure, but not the only one.  Again, ignorance on part of poster who mentioned this.  (Do yourself a favor and take a business class.)

Posted by ipod21 on January 12, 2005 at 8:26 AM (PDT)

23

Mac mini is a good little box, but by no means is it a good deal compared to other brands.

Configure it so that is IMHO usable (512mb RAM, Super Drive & 80gb HDD) and the price jumps up to $750.  And, you’re still minus the monitor, keyboard & mouse.

Did anyone notice that when you configure a Mac mini, the option to buy an Apple display is not on the page?  Is this because Apple’s least expensive display ($999) is twice the cost of the base Mac mini.  It’s a tough sell have your monitor double the price of the computer.

Having said all that, this may be the thing Apple needed to do to get me to try out a Mac…not switch for sure, but at least buy one and give it a shot.

One step forward and two steps back, or is it two steps forward and one back?  Guess it depends on if your cup is half-empty or half-full.

Posted by BigSid in Los Angeles on January 12, 2005 at 8:48 AM (PDT)

24

Mac Mini….hell, it sounds like a Mcdonalds donut to me.

anybody considering buying one????

Posted by >nATHAN in UK on January 12, 2005 at 9:51 AM (PDT)

25

It kinda reminds me of the Cube model from a couple years ago.  Only a bit faster and much smaller, and much cheaper.  Hope this one sticks though.  I think its very cool, hey and if you can deck it out for under 1K?  Whats the big deal then huh?  Everyone seems to forget, this runs OSX! 

It comes loaded with cool software.  Those who already have a mac, are just going to put their software on it anyway.  And I don’t care how cheap you can find a comparable PC, its not a MAC, it doesn’t LOOK like a mac, and it sure as hell doesn’t WORK like a mac!  So bring it on with the PC’s.  You get what you pay for.  You want bargain basement?  Get a cheapo-pc, and stay in the basement while your at it.  What PC can you buy for 500 bucks that you actually WANT to show people?

Posted by apple juice in USA on January 12, 2005 at 10:11 AM (PDT)

26

It kinda reminds me of the Cube model from a couple years ago.  Only a bit faster and much smaller, and much cheaper.  Hope this one sticks though.  I think its very cool, hey and if you can deck it out for under 1K?  Whats the big deal then huh?  Everyone seems to forget, this runs OSX! 

It comes loaded with cool software.  Those who already have a mac, are just going to put their software on it anyway.  And I don’t care how cheap you can find a comparable PC, its not a MAC, it doesn’t LOOK like a mac, and it sure as hell doesn’t WORK like a mac!  So bring it on with the PC’s.  You get what you pay for.  You want bargain basement?  Get a cheapo-pc, and stay in the basement while your at it.  What PC can you buy for 500 bucks that you actually WANT to show people?

Posted by apple juice in USA on January 12, 2005 at 10:52 AM (PDT)

27

it’s the best alternative for more battery life

Not all batteries are created equal. You get what you pay for. Apple probably shaved a dollar or so off their manufacturing cost by paying for a lower-capacity, cheaper battery. I wonder what the “20-hour battery extender” will look like. I predict in a year or so that’ll be the standard shuffle battery.

You can get AAAs in mAH ranges from 700 to 1050. The price differential between the low-capacity and the high-capacity AAAs is over 100%. There’s even the possibility that instead of NiMH Apple went with NiCd (although this seems unlikely) and in that case the power storage drops to around 500 mAH! You could probably do very well buying a high-capacity 1000 mAH from something like Thomas Batteries and dropping it into the shuffle - that should increase the playtime.

Having finally had the chance to play around with the shuffle I can say that it has a nice heft but *damn* this thing is huge! (for a flash player with no screen). I mean, “smaller than a pack of gum”? What kind of weird gum do they chew in Apple?

I guess the shuffle’s large (relative) size size comes from being determined to incorporate the wheel motif - as I predicted all along. Without the wheel, they could have halved the size of the shuffle.

Posted by Demosthenes on January 12, 2005 at 11:01 AM (PDT)

28

wow, can you like-  see dead people and stuff too?

Posted by apple juice in USA on January 12, 2005 at 1:18 PM (PDT)

29

YOU ALL ARE ####### MORONS, JESUS CHRIST!!!


THE MAC MINI IS USEABLE WITH ANY DISPLAY, AND KEYBOARD, AND ANY MOUSE.

THE GODDAMN ####### REASON THEY DONT PUT THE OPTIONS TO BUY THE #### WITH IT IS BECAUSE IT IS GEARED TOWARDS PEOPLE WHO ALREADY ####### HAVE THEM….. I SWEAR YOU PEOPLE MUST HAVE DOG #### FOR BRAINS, BECAUSE YOU ARE ALL ####### RETARDED.


IT WORKS WITH ANY MOUSE!!!!!!!! ANY KEYBOARD!!!!!!!!! ANY DISPLAY!!!!!!!

GOT IT?!!?!  GOOD

###### retards

Posted by Youre a moron on January 12, 2005 at 3:40 PM (PDT)

30

#####-

What are you yelling about?  Apple says the Mac mini is an affordable computer, and that’s simply not true.

It’s a $750 machine by the time you get it up to spec to be able to do anything with it.  Who here thinks 256mb is enough?  Who wants a computer with a hard drive only equal to their iPod?

Yes, it makes a great replacement if you want you’re new Mac sitting next to an old Dell monitor and a banged up Logitech keyboard.

Isn’t the whole point of going to Apple to get the whole package?  Jobs said as much during his keynote, but buying a Mac mini and just dropping it into the rest of the stuff you have isn’t quite the same.

Mac mini with the cheepest Apple display is $1500.  Bump the RAM up to 512mb, a bigger hard drive 80gb (which is still small), get a keyboard and a DVD-R and you’re at ~ $1775.

Far from being affordable.

You’re point is taken, but stop yelling, please.

Posted by Talking Madness in Los Angeles on January 12, 2005 at 6:42 PM (PDT)

31

can you like- see dead people

Yes. Look behind you!

Posted by Demosthenes on January 12, 2005 at 7:31 PM (PDT)

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