The majority of this rant is ripped, bleeding, from the Divine Comedy Bulletin Board
(the only - other? - 'net forum I'm part of), in response to someone slagging Apple Macs. It's one of those things, y'know, I'm a graphic designer who's been working in the print trade for 8 years: I use Macs and, like many of those that do, I love them. They are fantastic machines, and it annoys me when people slag them because they never do so for the right reasons...*
I do get defensive when people slag Apple, because they trot out the same old bollocks that people were saying in the mid 90s, when Apple was going through a particularly bad patch in terms of business management (and much of the stuff about incompatibility and over-pricing wasn't true even then) and that rubbish certainly isn't true now. Macs were
very expensive in the mid 90s (mainly because they were a) pushing their luck and b) they used expensive but far superior components, e.g. SCSI Hard Drives) but they really are comparable to similarly spech'ed PCs these days. What Apple have never done is to make a bargain basement piece of shit that a monkey can type Shakespeare's sonnets on (this has sort of changed with the Mac mini).
I only chose Apple after having used both Macs and PCs, and I chose the better, easier, more flexible and more secure system, machines with better build quality, certified components that would always work and certified peripherals that would always work.
And, like many people, I was - and still am - willing to pay a premium for good-quality, decent machines that - to quote Apple - just work. It's a bit like a friend who likes nice cars; he could just buy a clapped-out old Skoda - it'll get him from A to B: but the man chooses to pay for quality, because then the journey from A to B is going to be considerably nicer, less stressful, and it becomes a pleasure...
Which is why Apple fans are often fanatics; because "driving" their computer is a pleasure, and their Apples become more than just a computer.
So, what to think about the new products, eh? Bit of a gamble, I'd say. The Mac mini
is a nice little machine but, whilst just 1 year ago it would have been a highly desirable piece of kit, the G4 chip renders it... not obsolete, but a little dated. Has Apple sacrificed power for design? Have they used the far cooler-running G4 simply in order to fit it into the small (6.5"x6.5"x2") case?
The same applies to the new iPod Shuffle
. Have they sacrificed features, e.g. a screen, just to make it look cool? Will people be disappointed after the iPod? But it's a different market. Sure, if you want a screen, on-the-go playlists, etc. spend the extra money and get an iPod. Bit the iPod Shuffle offers a lot of space (for a Flash player) - 512MB or 1GB - for rather less money than other competing models, and I think I'd rather have more capacity than a tiny screen. And the point is that they are a bit like an iPod, so they still have the "cool" factor...
And so for the Mac mini; they look cool, and take up very little space. They will more than adequately do anything that anyone, except an insane gamer or (print) graphics boy will ask them to do, and they'll look very good doing it.
Will they take off? I watch with bated breath...
*At some point, I will write about the right
reasons for slagging them...