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iPod HiFi (?)


March 1, 2006 09:04 AM PST

This post is mostly for your comments. I'm pretty unimpressed by the iPod HiFi from a strategy standpoint. Why is Apple spending engineering resources for something that could (and is) readily available in the iPod ecosystem? Greed? Hubris? Apparently there's no one out there who can design mp3 players like Apple, so why aren't they sticking to their core strengths? Leave the stereos and leather iPod skins to the 3rd parties. How about a sweet controller/faceplate/voice navigation system for using your iPod in the car?

New Intel based mac-mini was announced. It's pretty impressive that they got this built already. They're moving fast and executing well on the transition (although let's see how the benchmarks look). The achillies heel of the new mini seems to be the built in Intel graphics processor. I suppose it could be OK for "the market" it's in - will have to wait for benchmarks on this. I would hope it can at least do the Quartz UI and play 3d games (all 3 of them on the mac) decently at perhaps lower resolution. This is actually an issue with PC based platforms too - Intel seems to be taking control over more of the chips on the motherboard, and they really can't compete in some areas. They probably provide good pricebreaks for buying the whole solution from them, and the manufacturers have no problem using this junk for the baseline specs and charging upgrade prices to get the graphics that really should be included. I suppose it makes sense, but is frustrating - it's the core competency thing again, this time with Intel.

Also, the price raise is I hope just a premium for the new mini machines vs. an actual component cost increase. Otherwise this bodes poorly for a potential iBook line, and also the trend of Apple going after a lower price point consumer market to increase market share.

Your thoughts?

Comments (3)

Paul, March 1, 2006 12:25 PM:

I generally disagree with the "core competency" arguments when companies move into new areas. Often, the first moves aren't that impressive. I remember looking at the original 5 GB iPod and not being impressed, but now the iPod is a huge component of Apple's success and I've bought several. If you don't try to launch new things, people will accuse you of not diversifying your revenue stream.

I like it when companies try new things and introduce new products. I don't think that I'll be buying any of the products announced yesterday though. The speaker thing is just to big and blocky.

I think that the whole Intel transition timeline was bogus: they initially said that the entire Mac line would go Intel by the end of 2006, and now it looks like it will really be mid-2006. I'll bet that was the plan all along, since it makes them look good (to investors, especially).

The Mac-Mini doesn't really have an Achilles Heel in the graphics space, since anyone buying one isn't really looking for performance. You'll need the iMac or Desktop for that. People buying Minis will be playing solitaire or mahjong.

John, March 1, 2006 10:43 PM:

While I agree that graphics performance is not the top scenario for the mini, it is a shame to take a big step backwards (shared video memory??) from the previous version while increasing the price. I like that they added the remote and optical in / out. Good move.

John, March 2, 2006 09:25 AM:

The Inquirer as a few things to say about Apple's new, uh hum, hifi.

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