Apple Introduces: iPod Shuffle and Mac Mini

Yesterday night Apple introduced a couple of new products. Most interestingly the “iPod Shuffle”: and the “Mac Mini”:

The “iPod Shuffle”: is a flash-based MP3/AAC player with either 512MB or 1GB of space, quite a lot for an flash-based MP3 player. It’ll be priced at $99 (for the 512MB version) and $149 (for the 1GB version). I don’t think there currently that many comparable players at that price. You can plug it right into an USB 2.0 port, like this:

Why it is called the iPod Shuffle? Because Apple “observed” that many people use their MP3 players like that. They like to be surprised about what song will come next. This gives Apple the excuse to not to have built in a display. Personally I find that excuse kind-of lame. I think it’s actually a money or space issue. It would be a deal-breaker for me, I do want to know what song comes next and want to be able to quickly browse through my tracks. But it doesn’t matter, I already own a regular iPod. You can switch the shuffling off by the way. Although I’m not so fond of it, I’m pretty sure that it’ll sell well. For one because it’s iPod branded and iPods are hot. If you don’t have an iPod, you’re not cool. And second because it’s easy to use (beside the screen) and as always, stylish looking.

The second, more exciting announcement Apple made is that there will be a cheaper Mac available. The “Mac Mini”: And Mini is the right word; it’s tiny:
* Height: 2 inches (5.08 cm)
* Width: 6.5 inches (16.51 cm)
* Depth: 6.5 inches (16.51 cm)
* Weight: 2.9 pounds (1.32 kg)

It would almost fit in your back pocket. But not really. The Mac Mini is just the computer, there’s no screen, mouse or keyboard included. There are two basic setups:
* The $499 version: 1.25Ghz G4/256MB RAM/40GB HD
* The $599 version: 1.42Ghz G4/256MB RAM/80GB HD

Both come with a CD-RW/DVD combodrive by default. You can upgrade that to a superdrive, which also burns DVD-Rs. They both have a ATI Radeon 9200 with 32MB of DDR SDRAM with AGP 4X support video card. Which is not top-notch, but it’s enough (I think my iBook has that card). There are a lot of upgrades available (you can bump up the RAM to 1GB max. for example). The Mac Mini looks like this:

I like it. I wouldn’t buy it, but it’s a great computer for people who just need a computer and don’t want too much fuss. The nice thing about Apples is that they just work out of the box. If you’re someone who just types a letter occasionally, reads e-mail and surfs the internet, the Mac Mini is very much enough for you. I think the main drawback of the Mac Mini is that it has only two USB 2.0 ports. That’s too little. If USB is the way that you’re supposed to plug in your mouse and keyboard, then there are no ports left for your iPod Shuffle or digital camera, unless you buy one of these USB-split plugs.

In general: good stuff, but not for me.