January 15, 2005

I suspect his pessimism is unjustified...

Bill Palmer, a Mac writer I like, thinks the new Mac Mini is going to be a marketing disaster. People who think a cheap Mac an incentive to switch will end up disgusted...

...Well, wait until they get home with their Mac Mini, only to find that neither their keyboard nor their mouse will work with it, despite Apple's claims to the contrary. Remember that perceived notion of compatibility? Gone. Instantly. Long after that Mac Mini gets taken back for a refund, the disgusted customer is still going around telling everyone that Macs aren't "compatible" after all. Regardless of the fact that it's the PC companies' faults for (still, even here in 2005) shipping PS/2-based peripherals with their many of their low-end models in order to save fourteen cents, the public will still blame Apple. Techincal explanations about the virtues of USB aren't gonna cut it. And should we even address the fact that a Windows-based keyboard has a number of different keys, in different locations, than a Mac-based keyboard? Should we even think about how ugly that's going to get when the poor sap tries to follow directions or get Mac help from a book? Forget about it...

I hope it's not that bad. I rather think it's not. I wasn't even aware they still make non-USB keyboards. Surely even PC manufacturers couldn't be that tacky! Palmer must be exaggerating. Any USB peripherals like keyboards should work fine with any USB Mac, perhaps after downloading a driver. And I'm pretty sure any ordinary monitor will be OK. I use Windows-style keyboards without trouble.

And I for one can see an advantage in buying that cheap Mac Mini precisely so I could afford a fancy expensive monitor. I'm very a visual person, and lust painfully for those big luminous screens. And come to think of it, I've usually replaced our Mac keyboards and mice with Logitech ones. I'm the one who should complain, paying for a bunch of keyboards and mice I don't use.

The recent Mac keyboards are great, by the way, but the ones from a few years ago were too cramped. Mac one-button mice are just for beginners.

I don't know enough to comment, really, except to say that it's sure frustrating when you buy something and then discover you have to buy 3 other things to make it work. Charlene bought one of our boys World of Warcraft for Christmas. It was left to me to install a faster processor in his G-4 to play the game properly. And since it's one of those games where you interact with thousands of other Trolls and Wizards around the globe, you have to subscribe to the service. So the game itself was the cheap part....

But it's a very cool game. I don't play any these days, but I hugely admire the technology. Amazin'.

Posted by John Weidner at January 15, 2005 7:30 PM
Weblog by John Weidner