It seems that the theme of this year’s Macworld Expo is going to be affordability . With the keynote speech announcements of the headless iMac, called the Mac mini, as well as the sporty iPod Shuffle; Apple seems to be taking the Target approach to design. That is to say, great design needn’t be expensive. You’ll make up the cost of the design in volume.
There was a great deal of speculation about the "headless" iMac online, leading to some law suits. It appears that the iHome was indeed a hoax, but on the right track when you take into consideration the Mac mini as well as the announcement of Final Cut Express HD. Of course, I’ve yet to play around with one, but a G4 Mac in a small square-ish box (stop me if you’ve heard this one) sounds like a cool little computer. Provided it doesn’t overheat like the cube. Based on what I know about the performance of the new iMac, I’d say it’s safe from overheating. They’re putting little fans in there just for good measure these days. All of that aside, I’m glad to see a well-designed Mac with some decent specs at what seems like a super price. Particularly since most of us already have a monitor, mouse, keyboard, & speakers we can plug into one. While I love the design of the iMac (which is, by the way, a G5 now, instead of a G4), if you already have those things on your desk, buying them again seems wasteful. Just buy a KVMS switch (like the one I have from Belkin for my PC & Linux box).
I am impressed with the iPod shuffle as well. Do I realize it’s just a USB key drive with a speaker jack & music player buttons? Of course I do. However, it’s a nicely priced one that happens to have the über-cool name of iPod attached. Demand greater than supply? Unless they’ve already produced these things buy the 100’s of thousands, than you bet. I bought a 1GB USB key for about $70 a few weeks ago, and I’m already wishing I’d just waited and bought this thing for twice that. I’m happy to pay premium for this kind of cool.