This week's retracted Mac mini test drive offer brings to mind a few things I've been wondering about Apple's affordable computer. My hunch is that the mini might be a tad too spartan for everyone.
You see, the thing I like about Macs is that I order one, it arrives, I turn it on, it works. I'm a huge PowerBook fan for that very reason. I have everything I need in that single stylish box. It's like dining at a four star restaurant where attention is paid to every detail.
The mini is experience is more like a church potluck. You can join the party, but you have to bring your own keyboard and monitor. And let's face it, you're not bringing sirloin steaks.
The mini misses on the very thing that Apple is good at -- the total satisfying experience. Who wants to plug a crappy VGA monitor in to a brand new mini work of art? I don't. Instead, I want a mini kit.
My mini kit would include one of those cool Apple displays, but a 17" version that was mini friendly. I'd want a mini keyboard that's real thin and stylish, and of course a mini mouse. The whole kit would be packed up in one of those outstanding Apple boxes and sell for as little as $799 working upward to $999 depending on the configuration.
Now you have the true Apple experience, but at a competitive price. There's nothing wrong with the mini. It's a tasteful entree, and for some people, that's all they want. But others, such as myself, would also like a fresh salad, glass of wine, and a little dessert.
One final note totally unrelated to computing, this weblog, or anything in my normal working life... My heart goes out to those on the gulf coast suffering from Katrina's devastation. I've sent a donation through the Red Cross. It's a small thing, but our collective contributions will help people who need it. Please consider giving through the organization of your choice.
Derrick Story is the author of The Photoshop CS4 Companion for Photographers, The Digital Photography Companion, and Digital Photography Hacks, and coauthor of iPhoto: The Missing Manual, with David Pogue. You can follow him on Twitter or visit www.thedigitalstory.com.
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