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Mac Mini and iPod Hi-Fi Over-Hyped? 317

RX8 writes "Analyst Michael Greeson takes a look at Apple's new products, the Mac Mini (Intel based) and iPod Hi-Fi and explains why they were over-hyped and how that can damage Apple. Michael explains that when you are 'an industry innovator - when your products fall short of being truly original, your own success becomes your worst enemy.'" Update: 03/04 00:07 GMT by Z : As many posters have pointed out, the article here has little to do with the synopsis. This article is mostly about the design for the mac mini and its remote, which is a fairly interesting topic. Mea culpa, folks.
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Mac Mini and iPod Hi-Fi Over-Hyped?

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  • by vought (160908) on Friday March 03, 2006 @04:26PM (#14845364)
    So, he seems to be saying that like the "gifted" children that show higher interest and aptitude in certain areas, Apple must do better because they're clearly capable of it.

    I've seen lots of kids drop out of college because of reasoning like that from their parents. They get discouraged and stop trying, because they are capable of doing better, even when they aren't interested in "doing better" at the time.

    Just seems counter productive to expect something groundbreaking from Apple everytime there's an annoucement. Apple didn't overhype it - the press did. The rumors sites did. Apple will display innovation when they have something innovative to ship - they never promised that the Intel-based machines would be anything groundbreaking - just Macs with Intel processors - which is exactly what they are, and more (Front Row).

    So don't expect the gifted child of the computer industry to display brilliance in every assignment. That's not what being "gifted" about - even Ansel Adams made more average-level work than masterpieces.
  • by ImaNihilist (889325) on Friday March 03, 2006 @04:27PM (#14845376)
    But not for us "normies." For the first time I'm really looking at Apple products. It's like I want them all. I don't own a single Apple product, and yet I spend forever on their store.

    I'm thinking about taking out my school loans just to buy something cool. I think both the Mac mini and the iPod Hi-Fi are totally sweet.
  • by andyring (100627) on Friday March 03, 2006 @04:29PM (#14845389) Homepage
    Apple screwed the pooch on the iPod Hi-Fi. Sure, it looks all sleek and such, but it's priced WAY too high. $349 will get you a "home theater in a box" that will sound quite a bit better and give you a ton more flexibility, not to mention the ever-elusive AM/FM radio (not that people listen to it anyway). This thing is really no different from a $99 "boom box" type stereo with an AUX input, except that it charges your iPod, and costs $250 more.

    It's my belief that if Apple TRULY wanted market share, they'd follow Microsoft's lead on the Xbox and sell it at a loss but then make it up in other ways. If they sold the Mac Mini for $299 or even $349, they'd sell millions overnight, still make money on dot-Mac, iWork, keyboards, iTunes songs, iPods, etc. And they'd get a hugely larger share of the market. Then, when mom and dad send junior off to college, give him the mini and buy an iMac for at home, or buy junior an iBook, etc.

  • Remote Controls (Score:5, Interesting)

    by soft_guy (534437) on Friday March 03, 2006 @04:38PM (#14845485)
    I used to work for a consumer electronics manufacturer in product design. I learned several things about remote controls. The thing that I learned that is relevant to this conversation is that there is a "regional trend" on how remote controls are designed.

    In the European market things like design and elegance and simplicity are percieved to be important. Therefore a "good" remote control for the european market has very few buttons.

    In the US, a remote control with a button for every feature and not as much software menus/interactions is more normal.

    In Japan/Asia/Pacific, a remote control is considered to be "macho" if it has lots and lots of buttons. The more buttons, the better. A "lady's" remote control will be a little bit smaller and have a few less buttons. According to the folks who I learned this from, the average family would have a remote for the man of the house and a smaller lady's remote.

    In the US, there would just be one remote and no one would think of it as a "macho" thing to have more buttons.

    With regards to the Front Row remote, Steve Jobs (as usual) takes his queus from european sophisticates on his notions of design, simplicity, etc.
  • Re:New revision (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jest3r (458429) on Friday March 03, 2006 @04:57PM (#14845663)
    The video card in the new Mini is weak. I have the same chipset in my HP S7320 slimline PC and it gets horrible framerates. Major chopfest with Doom3 ... even gets choppy with WoW ... Most people want to play games at home so I wonder why Appleisn;t using something a bit better?
  • by pilkul (667659) on Friday March 03, 2006 @05:11PM (#14845806)
    I've seen lots of kids drop out of college because of reasoning like that from their parents.

    I'm reminded of this this study [nagc.org] estimating that perhaps 18 to 25% of American gifted and talented students drop out of high school.

  • by mmkkbb (816035) on Friday March 03, 2006 @05:11PM (#14845817) Homepage Journal
    The concept of Channels is for when there is so much content that anyone who is not 100% dedicated to evaluating it is overwhelmed.
  • Re:Amateur Hour (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Firehed (942385) on Friday March 03, 2006 @06:02PM (#14846280) Homepage
    That's only because the summary was totally contrary to what actually made sense. This is probably the first time in a month I've RTFA. Apple's secretive nature got us talking, and they released more simple-to-use and fairly elegant products (the "hi-fi" stereo is definately up in the air on that one I suppose). Summary: New mini and hi-fi overhyped. Article: simple remotes are perfect for humanity; no mention of the hi-fi.

    The Mini revamp, anyways, adds those necessary yet simplistic features to make it something you could use as a media center, and almost has me ready to buy one. Of course that's mostly because I can't get iTunes to work well with my Remote Wonder for the life of me, but the five buttons plus scrolling on my iPod has never left me with a "man, I wish I had a button to do x" feeling, but I do actually use all of the buttons. In essence, a perfect execution - not too much, not too little, and very simple and intuitive. I'm no Apple fanboy, but their products do exactly what I want, and do it easily. I've tried MCE, and hated it. While I was bashing iTunes for the longest time, I finally switched after wanting video support on my iPod, and I now can't figure out why I hated it. While it definately does have some quirks, it - for the most part - "just works". Everything is integrated nicely, and while it does have a few featres missing, it's nothing driving me up a wall.

    Don't get me wrong - I love being able to tweak stuff into oblivion, and have as much control over everything as possible. I should run for office... *evil cackle* BUT, there are some things where there's a logical way things should work, the first time, every time. Playing music is one of those. Pop in a CD, one click ripping, hit play and the music starts. I can change the rip settings if I need to, but it's rarely necessary. What else could I want?

  • What hype? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Wallslide (544078) on Friday March 03, 2006 @08:16PM (#14847183)

    Some people get too caught up in their own world. Just because everybody is talking about the Mac Mini on the few Apple fansites that the submitter visits daily doesn't mean that it has reached anybody else's collective conciousness. Aside from a mention on Slashdot, I haven't heard much of anything of the Mac Mini, and I certainly know next to nothing about the Ipod Hi-Fi that the submitter refers to.

    The submitter talks about "over-hype", I say what hype?

  • by Michalson (638911) on Friday March 03, 2006 @09:37PM (#14847636)
    The iPod line, up to and including the Nano, are powered by various versions of PortalPlayer's system on a chip technology. However the iPod Shuffle, released only a few months after Steve Jobs declared flash based players where useless, marks the single deviantion for the iPod line.

    Instead of the PortalPlayer chipset, it switches to the SigmaTel 3500 series, the chipset that powers many no-brand "memory stick" style flash mp3 players (most end up getting stamped with a generic brand name by whatever company buys them in bulk, so you may have a "mercury" player that is 100% identical except for the paintjob to a "powermp3" player).

    A few names of SigmaTel based player include models from Xelo, Curtis and Lenco. Note that most of these players are not 100% identical to the Shuffle. In the name of making something so fast, most features the chipset supports where ignored: it can support a basic 1/2 line LCD screens, it can use a microphone, it can support an FM tuner, it can work with FAT filesystems on memory cards, it can even play wma files, and ogg files with the right firmware version. The main difference between the Shuffle and the players that choose to throw out even a screen in the pursuit of a low retail price, is that the Shuffle is one of the few that uses the 3500's abiliy to regulate li-ion battery charging (the chipset can be run off a AAA battery or a li-ion pack, most generic players use a AAA battery)

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