eXtra Notes

Blue Apple

Graham K. Rogers

Unpublished ideas that are not going to make it into print

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And one more thing. . . .

I woke up this morning (Wednesday 12 January) to a list of announcements from Steve Jobs about all those new products which the rumour sites had got 99.9% right this year. The iPod shuffle (flash drive) exists. The Mac Mini exists, Keynote 2 exists, iWorks exists. And a whole lot more, details can be found on the Apple site.

Rather than stay up overnight -- I am not a fanatic -- I left the Mac Daily News feed running and the pages were refreshed every few minutes. When I awoke, I printed the page and read it over the cornflakes.

The order of presentation was significant.

After the reports on how good Apple is (typical company stuff) and the state of the Art, Jobs had a talk about Tiger (10.4) and some of the features to be included, and included updated iPhoto 05, iMovie 05, iLife 05 ($79), iDVD 05, and Final Cut Express HD video editing suite ($299).

Then, iWork which replaces the long-in-the-tooth Appleworks and has a new application, Pages (a word processor with footnotes -- I have only seen that in Word and Mellel), and includes Keynote; thus pitching this firmly againt M$ Office.

. . . and then, the iMac Mini. It is actually smaller than I had anticipated as it fits in the palm of the hand: about the size of a CDROM. There are two versions and the full details are on the Apple site from whence I have borrowed this picture using Appe's own screen capture technology.


According to the basic information I have the two versions are 1.25GHz (G4) with 40G hard disk and 1.42GHz with 80G hard disk. Both have 256MB RAM (expandable up to 1G). They are priced respectively at $499 and $599, so I would anticipate Bangkok (initial) prices of 23,000 and 27,000 baht. That, of course, is pure guesswork.

The machines apparently come with DVD drives and can be upgraed to Superdrive. Other upgrades include Airport and Bluetooth. There are neither monitors (it has an adapter) nor keyboards, but if someone has a PC, they will already have the monitor, eh?

What else does it have? Firewire 400, USB, Ethernet (10/100), internal modem. Of course it comes with OSX Panther and that includes Mail, iChat AV, Safari, Sherlock, Address Book, QuickTime, iSync, iCal. Other software on board is iLife 05 (includes iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD and GarageBand), AppleWorks, Quicken 2005 for Mac, Nanosaur 2, Marble Blast Gold and also the Apple Hardware Test. All this information comes from the Tech Specs; and there is more.

My take on this is that, if this does not push the PC/Windows waverers over the edge, then nothing will. I tink I might get one just for a way to run a home network and as an entertainment module. Oh, it also has a place to fix a cable and lock: these will walk if owners are not vigilant.

Steve Jobs then switched to the iPod and did the company talk about the sales (iPods and iTunes) and told the aurdience that Apple was working with BMW on a generation 2 adapter. And also that Alpha-Romero, Ferrari, Mercedez, Volvo, Scion, and Nissan will offer iPod adapters. let us hope they do not develop one for the Bangkok bus.

And then, "One more thing..."

iPod shuffleThe crowds love it when he says that as this is the apex. I am surprised that the iMac Mini was not the "one more thing" but this does seem to confirm that Apple is shifting, or re-aligning; or even expanding in two directions at once. Napoleon and Hitler both came to grief this way.

It is called the iPod shuffle (with a small "s") and is for Mac and Windows. There are also two versions of this: 512MB with 120 song capacity and 1G for 240 songs. The prices are $99 and $149 respectively. With the 30% import duty here, this may not be so favourable and I anticipate local (start) prices of 5,500 and 8,000 baht (again, I am guessing).

The shuffle has no screen and is controlled with a special Autofill button in iTunes. It can also be loaded manually with iTunes too. You know if it is on when the LED is lit. Useful, eh? It can also be used as a USB thumb drive, but I bet I would be hard pushed to put OSX on there.

At less than an ounce, it has a lanyard (round your neck) and a battery that apprently lasts for 12 hours. On the notes at the bottom of the shuffle page, there is a reference to the idea that it is the size of a packet of gum. Note #2 says "Do not eat iPod shuffle".

Locally, the Sony 128 is 6900 baht and iRiver 128 is 4600 baht. The iRiver 512 is more expensive at about 12,000. I just looked at those figures again and wonder just what the local market will take. We shall see on 25 January when there is a Thai press release of new products planned.

The morning after. . . .

After the intial euphoria of new product announcements, the cold, hard light of day has given me 24 hours of analysis. I love the iPod range and the iPod shuffle is a good addition, especially with its price: it compares favourably with devices of the same type. here, I think, Apple has done the right thing.

The iMac mini looks, on the face of things, like the belle of the ball, but a closer examination shows that there may be some flaws in the makeup. It depends who buys it and what it is used for.

There are a few possible problem areas:

I hope that the memory price is either an error or that it will quickly come down as this alone would almost double the price of what should be an entry-level Mac and put it far above the eMac which does have a screen, keyboard and mouse.

All materials ©copyright G.K. Rogers. Free for individual use.

Other links:

Bangkok Post, Database
Mac Center: Thailand
OSX Faq Mac Dr Smoke's X Lab Site George Mann
Applelinks MacNightOwl MacNightOwl

Phuket Mac User Group

For further information, e-mail to Graham K. Rogers.

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