Related link: http://www.apple.com/macmini
It occurred to me that “Apple Sauce” would be a great way to title my two recent quarrels with Apple, but only after I realized that my wife’s shiny new Mac Mini, which turned her 2.2. GHz Windows PC into eBay fodder, was not really “Mini” in price after all.
Now, before the rabid IADL (Irrational Apple Defense League) springs to opposition to this post, hear me out. Let’s get the obligatory Apple compliments out the of the way first.
One: A consumer Mac that sells for what consumer PCs sell for is, by and large, a fantastic idea. Those of us who like Apple’s products are glad that Steve finally got close to it. I say close because, by the time you add ample RAM, a keyboard, and a mouse to the 1.42 GHz model, you’re into the $700-$800 neighborhood anyway.
Two: The Mac Mini’s form factor alone makes it super-cool. The coolest thing about looking at the Mac Mini, sexy though it may be, is that I can tuck it away and NOT have to look at it. ‘Nuff said.
Now, on to the complaining.
Stingy on Memory
Why, oh why, doesn’t Apple use some of that good-old American purchasing power, call up a buddy over at Micron or Viking, and put a realistic 512 MB of RAM in the Mac Mini instead of shipping it with a crippled 256 MB? I do most of my research on a G4 Powerbook with 256 MB of RAM, flipping back and forth between Safari, Microsoft Word, Terminal, and Skype. So I know about the pain associated with low RAM (Yes, I’ll soon be adding more RAM to my Powerbook!). The last thing Apple wants is Joe Six Pack saying, “This Mac Mini is way slower than my PC” because his PC came with 1 GB of RAM.
You just can’t cope with OS X and 3 or 4 applications running at once with so little RAM–especially the “bread and butter” apps like iPhoto and Garageband. Not to mention World of Warcraft, the fastest selling Mac/PC game of all time, which was introduced nearly 2 months before the Mac Mini, requires exactly double the amount of RAM the Mini ships with. Take a queue from Blizzard, Apple. You can’t appeal to the digital lifestyle without addressing the original digital lifestyle activity: video games. The answer is simple–more RAM.
And don’t give me all the “shipping more RAM will raise the price” stuff. If the Mac Mini isn’t a loss leader, it should be. Even still, it could have plenty of margin with 512 MB of RAM. How much does a stick of Viking 512 MB cost, wholesale–30 bucks? With a big contract from Apple to buy down the cost of RAM, the price of the Mini could stay right where it’s at.
Now then, don’t even get me started on the paltry 32 MB of video memory. The argument is basically the same anyway.
No Audio Line In on the Mini!!
This one has already been beaten to death, so I’ll keep it short. How are you going to use Apple’s bread and butter apps iChat and Garageband without an Audio Line In or Microphone, without which both are gimpy? Combine that with the fact that 3 or 4 dozen pre-existing PCB assemblies exist with 1 Mic, 1 Line In, and 1 Line Out. All Apple has to do is pick an assembly, poke 2 more holes in the back of the Mini, and voila! I’m just scratching my head on this one.
Now, last, and probably least:
Why Can’t Apple Add new Products to their Online Store Without Downtime?
With all the staging and content management solutions on the market, why does it always seem to take Apple anywhere of 4 to 12 hours of downtime to get a new product online?
I’ll let you answer this one, cause I’m not a web expert. Rather, I’m just a casual observer who thinks, “If we can put a man on the moon,” why can’t Apple put a new Powerbook on their store without an embarrassing Under Construction logo?
What’s your best conspiracy theory regarding the lack of a line in on the Mac Mini?