Below $500 Apple Mac Mini ushers in 'Lifestyle Computing' era

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London, UK - 11 January 2005, 22:00 GMT - The new Apple Mac Mini is likely to make a noticeable dent in 2005 in the sales of Windows based new Personal Computers (PCs) according to the mi2g Intelligence Unit, the world leader in digital risk, as it ushers in a new era of Lifestyle Computing. The Mac Mini points the way forward in providing an easy to use and affordable alternative to the familiar but malware attracting Windows environment on the one hand and the less streamlined and sometimes clunky Linux user interface on the other. In the web server market, Linux has already stolen the lead from Windows in many vertical sectors. In the consumer market, if the matching-set of iPod and the Mac Mini becomes a roaring success, this will begin to eat into Windows based PC sales significantly this year and beyond.

Apple's Lifestyle Computing holistic strategy is becoming clearer with its entire compendium of products including the iLife software suite, which includes applications for photo, video and music editing; iWork which packages the company's keynote presentation; the iPod, which is essentially a desirable hard drive to store digitised songs; the iTunes music library; and the Mac Mini.

The average costs including productivity losses from malware proliferation associated with a Windows PC are running at between $275 and $335 per unit according to the latest calculations of the mi2g Intelligence Unit, so it makes perfect sense to consider hassle-free alternatives, from a consumer perspective, that may not face so many malware outbreaks that target specific vulnerabilities just as soon as they are announced. On 2nd November 2004, the results of the most comprehensive study ever undertaken by the mi2g Intelligence Unit over 12 months revealed that the world's safest and most secure 24/7 online mainstream computing environment - operating system plus applications - is proving to be the Open Source platform of BSD (Berkley Software Distribution) and the Mac OS X based on Darwin. The new Mac Mini also runs Mac OS X.

The other key factor which industry pundits ought to watch out for is "fashionability" and "completing the train set mentality" because the consumer market is guided significantly by desirability and brand aura, all other parameters such as price being comparable. It is more likely that a computer user may consider acquiring a Mac Mini after being presented with their first or second stylish iPod over Christmas. The "must have" iPods could act as automatic salesmen for the Mac Mini and there is anecdotal evidence emerging on dedicated blogs and bulletin boards, which shows that consumers are beginning to shift their thinking towards the Apple Mac post the acquisition of their first iPod.

Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple Computer, introduced a new cut-price $499 Macintosh - The Mac Mini - today at the MacWorld conference in San Francisco, ushering in a new era of bargain-price desktop machines bearing the famous Apple logo. A $499 Mac could be the ultimate "switcher" box. Windows PC users may begin to switch to the affordable Mac Mini for use at home as the first step.

"The consumer is aware and thrives on reach and richness of choice. Consumer power is king and not the serf of large vendors. With this new positioning, Apple is definitely on the crest of another wave and is beginning to make other computing players look less imaginative and relatively stodgy," said DK Matai, Executive Chairman, mi2g. "Coupled with the competitive advantage of running a BSD based environment that has proven to be one of the safest in the world, Apple Macs have plenty of positive reasons to encourage computer users to switch allegiance in 2005. We can comfortably predict that the awakening which is now underway - post the runaway success of the iPod and iTunes - is here to stay and it is going to change the face of computing forever. The future is all about Lifestyle Computing and fulfilling the rainbow spectrum of a user's digital aspirations in a holistic way with guaranteed safety and security. This is all heading towards our D2-Banking paradigm which we envisaged very early on and have gone on record to state that this type of solution will be in full swing before this decade is out. Ultimately the PC as we know it will be rendered obsolete."

D2-Banking is holistic and includes the online vaulting of genomic maps and medical records; art, photo, music and video collections; digital messages and personal files including wills, deeds and memoirs; and other intellectual property alongside traditional financial services.

The three-pound two-inch $499 Mac Mini features a 1.25 GHz processor, 256 MBytes of RAM and a 40 GBytes hard disk drive. The higher specification $599 version has a 1.42 GHz processors, similar RAM and a double capacity hard disk. The computers play DVDs and can burn CDs. Both will be available in ten days time and their customers need to supply keyboard (K), Video display (V) and mouse (M). If they buy a cost effective KVM (keyboard/video/mouse) switch, the Mac Mini can share its mouse, keyboard and screen with their PC. This gets users a Mac without a lot of extra investment.

The synergy between a low price Apple Mac and the highly successful iPod is tremendous as digital music afficionados will finally be able to have an affordable Apple Mac to go with their iPod, which has achieved sales of more than 10 million units, nearly 45% of which were achieved in the last quarter of 2004 alone.


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mi2g Research Methodology: The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) List is available from here in pdf. Please note terms and conditions of use listed on www.mi2g.net

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