January 17, 2005

Mini thoughts...

If anyone's interested, John Gruber has some interesting thoughts on the Mac Mini and the iPod Shuffle. (One detail I was pleased to learn; it's recommended that a technician install memory in the Mini, but apparently it's not hard to crack the case and install it yourself.)

....My mistake was not realizing that a low-cost iPod wouldn’t entail Apple joining the current market for low-end players, so much as Apple redefining the market for low-end players. Not because the iPod Shuffle has amazing new features (it doesn’t), but because Apple is going to sell so damned many of them, and everyone knows it.

I mean, does anyone doubt that the iPod Shuffle will soon be the best-selling sub-$200 music player in the world? If not by the end of this month, certainly by the end of this quarter. This means Apple is able to purchase components — specifically, flash-memory chipsets — in quantities that their competitors can’t. Which means Apple gets a lower price on components, which means Apple can afford to put 512 MB of memory into a $99 player, a price point where the competition only has 256.

This is worth restating:
Megabyte-for-megabyte, the iPod Shuffle is cheaper than its competition. To my memory, this is the first product in Apple’s history where this is so. With the iPod, the tables have turned and Apple is on the right side of the volume discounts that come with majority market share....

The dangers with Apple introducing inexpensive products are both diluting the brand and, of course, not making any money. (Critics of Apple praise the makers of those cheap PC's but never mention how often they end up in or near bankruptcy.) The current pizzaz and trendiness of the iPod may have given Apple an opportunity to make mass-market products without becoming a "low-end" company.

* Update: By the way, if you are thinking of buying peripherals for your Mini, here are some amazin' cheap prices...I had no idea. A GEM LCD for $169? Whoa. Gotta look into them.

Posted by John Weidner at January 17, 2005 10:39 AM
Weblog by John Weidner