Steve Jobs at MacWorld Expo in San Francisco announced some interesting new products at his keynote speech. Two new hardware; the iPod Shuffle, the Mac Mini. Two new software; iWork, and newly upgraded iLife ’05. To me, the most intriguing products are the iPod Shuffle and the Mac Mini.
My impression of the iPod Shuffle is that it is targeted mainly for the workout crowd. I really do not think that it was meant to compete with the flash based MP3 player market that Creative and RIO have already carved out. In fact, because the iPod Shuffle’s feature set is so miniscule compared to the offerings that Creative and RIO have, those companies actually think that Apple’s announcement will help them, and not hurt them. Let’s face it, having no UI interface on the iPod Shuffle could potentially be a real problem and not a selling point. As far as the Mac Mini, it looks like it is targeted for the low-end PC consumer that has been reluctant to purchase a Mac because of how expensive they are compared to similarly configured Dell PC. If you compare lowend PCs with the Mac Mini, it is still cheaper to get the PC. However, none of the PC makers have the unique style and compactness of the Mac Mini. If you were to get a small form factor PC from Sony or Shuttle, you’d pay a lot more for a similar hardware configuration. Take a look at the link below. They break down my analysis even further.
Despite the initial shortcomings of the two new hardware products, it would be foolish to think that Apple is nuts. They are a brand name and marketing leader and this is all part of an even bigger plan. Here’s looking forward to another year of surprises.