Apple: Small Toys, Big Excitement
Apple has released some new products, as expected, and I'm really excited. There's the tiny iPod Shuffle, that I'm almost certain to acquire, since at $99 for the smaller capacity one, it's pretty damn affordable. I haven't previously thought the iPods were worth the money for me, but this is perfect.
There's also a new productivity suite, iWork, which includes Pages, a new word processor. I'm itching to get my hands on it and put it through its paces. The Macintosh hasn't had a really good word processor since MS Word 5.1 stopped working properly. The Microsoft Word for OS X that I'm using now is adequate, but only barely, and it does crash from time to time. I don't know if Pages will suffice, but if it even comes close, that'll be a pretty exciting development.
But I'm most excited by the Mac Mini. In part I'm excited because it's a computer that I can comfortably recommend to a lot of people I know that already have some stuff, like monitors and keyboards, but need a new computer. It's a computer that I can envision using to replace just about any old and ailing macintosh at a really low price point. In short, it's both physically and economically convienent, and that's awesome. What's really got me excited, however, is a feature of the device that's not even referenced in any of the press releases or ads I've seen.
You can hook it up to a TV. It supports the Apple DVI to Video Adapter.
While you can do this with some bigger computers, it's usually not very practical to put them near your TV. But the Mac Mini is nearly the size of a Nintendo GameCube. You can take it and put it right into your entertainment center. For someone like me, who uses a laptop for many tasks, this opens up worlds of possibility, since I can remote control it from my computer via Airport wireless. I can put movies and audio on it, and play them through my speaker. I can use my firewire video tools to capture, edit, and display video on the TV. Hell, I envision setting it up so that it's a server, video player, and jukebox, all in one, that can be used to do computing tasks on the TV when needed, or moved (it's really small) and hooked up to a real monitor if needed.
Give the thing a decent game controller, and it's like a Mac OS-based X-box that you can put your own software on. This excites me greatly. People have spent hundreds of hours trying to put thier own software onto the X-box, despite Microsoft's serious obstacles and objections. This is a more general purpose box without all the barriers. In short, I think it's time for us to sell our old G4 Tower and get one of these instead.