Odd. Very odd. It’s the day after a “big” Apple announcement day and I have neither jealousy, buyer’s remorse, or angst of any kind.
Apple is good at keeping secrets. Better than any other technology company that I’ve seen. This gives them the ability to blind side the media and public with new and unexpected products. In fact, it’s sort of annoying as a consumer: there’s a bunch of Mac mini’s in the channel right now… someone walks in off the street and buys a Mac mini at noon yesterday only to find out that there’s already a new one available. It sucks. It happened to me with the first iPod. Apple says “sorry!” Company I bought it from says “sorry!” While everyone was spoodging over the “we got a speed bump for free” with the MacBook, that’s great and all, but Apple’s silence works to screw you more than it does to help you.
Then again, all of that is what makes these “One more thing” moments so interesting to watch. They announce a media event and the tech world runs nutty with rumors and speculation. New on-screen controlled video iPod. Airport Express with video. iPhone anyone?
Over the next year you can pretty much expect a new Intel-based Mac to be released at each one of these things. No surprise that the Mac mini had it’s turn yesterday: according to blogs, Apple started to pull back on mass-unit ordering last week. That it has FrontRow now? No surprise either. Once FrontRow hit the iMac it was obvious that they’d put it into the Mac mini; the form factor is too living room friendly to ignore it. That FrontRow runs with Bonjour now – streaming music, pictures, and video – was nice to see… the surprise there was that you won’t need to get an Airport Express with video: just go all Mac in the house and you don’t need it. The only other surprise were the price points: $599/$799. Sure it’s more speed but it’s also edging away from the “cheaper, for everyone!” price point… especially with the iMac not too far up from the $799 model in power and price.
Beyond that, I dunno what Apple is thinking. Leather cases? Fine idea and they look nice, but $99? I mean, I thought Vaja Cases and Coach were pricy. OK, OK, fine. Maybe for a $399 video iPod, but for a $149 nano? Get a nano a year and skip the case. And then you can’t access any of the controls… which means screen scratches b/c you’ll have to pull it in and out of the case all day. After all, they don’t include the on-the-wire remote anymore: more money if you want that now. I think Jobs went over the edge on this one. I mean it’s great that he chooses to wear a dry clean only mock turtleneck shirt that costs $155, but who else does this? Honestly? This case is a bit excessive, even for me.
iPod Hi-Fi? The 6 D-sized Batteries power option is nice. That there’s no “brick of a power supply”? Interesting feature since my boombox in 1984 did the same. Hurray that we’re re-invented the power supply. I’m pretty sure that it was just a shot at the 360: other Apple products have a honkin’ power supply too, but I could be over sensative about it.
$349? Fuckin’ insane.
I mean, come on. Anyone with an iPod either a) has a “good enough” stereo system already or b) doesn’t wanna bother plugging their iPod into the stereo in the first place. Ya know, the “gym only” people. If it’s in the home, iTunes forces you to have the same music on your hard drive as you would on the iPod. If you have an iPod with music, why not just use Bonjour to stream music to your stereo? Wait, what about the portability, right? Like for parties? Who in the world throws a party and expects someone else to bring music? Better question: who has a party without having a stereo to play music?
So this thingy is more than the Bose speaker thingy… and yeah, I’m biased but I’m willing to bet that Bose knows more about speakers than anyone in Cupertino does. My money would be on Bose, if the whole thing wasn’t so silly in the first place.
I dunno about this one, Apple. I think you fumbled. You might have packed the venue but how many people in the room were scratching their heads saying “I came here for this? A couple of cases, a speaker box, and a ‘new’ Mac mini?” I’d be pissed, if I went. It would certainly make me think twice about paying attention to another “big” announcement.