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Will Mac mini Lead the Charge to Smaller Desktops?

michael posted more than 9 years ago | from the half-a-league-onward dept.

Desktops (Apple) 1084

elecngnr writes "Maybe size doesn't matter. ZDNet has a story about how the Mac mini may shift consumers away from the larger tower style desktops to smaller ones. Other computer makers, such as HP, have so far been unsuccessful in marketing small computers to consumers. However, Apple does have a history of leading the charge in paradigm shifts in certain aspects of consumer products (e.g. GUI's, color changes, the iPod, and the list goes on). It is also important to recognize that they have been wrong at times too (e.g. the Cube, the Newton, and the one button mouse). Time will tell which list the Mini will belong to."

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Form factor had nothing to do with it for me... (5, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492479)

"What we found was, at least at that time (before HP bought Compaq), that people were still concerned about expandability," Anderson said. "It's been an important feature of the PC for the last 20 years, but as the PC has gone mainstream, it's been something that people liked but that they haven't used."

Will it make a shift to smaller sized desktops? Maybe. Most people never need to open their case for a memory upgrade or some other piece of hardware being added but a lot of people do enjoy the ability to do that. As long as these small form factor machines are still able to be upgraded fairly easily I don't see why they wouldn't be popular... Personally I am rearranging my computer desk to accommodate the Mini. Not because of its size but because I want to show off the fact that I have this sleek, little, quiet, box sitting on my desk (BTW - I took Slashdotter advice from yesterday's article about the Mini and hardware upgrades and went with 512MB. I couldn't justify the $210 for 1GB when 512 was only $80). I am not looking forward to using two thin putty knives to open my brand new machine though. Why couldn't they have just made it user serviceable for RAM?

For the first time since I was 12 I am nervous about opening a computer case and swapping out some stuff inside. To me, that's just wrong.

Most buyers tend to purchase PCs based more on price and quality of technical support than on design, analysts said. Yet executives such as HP's Anderson see a market for unobtrusive desktops that consumers would purchase as second or third computers and use in settings such as kitchens, where large desktops are impractical.

Ok, I'm a geek and I love to have the Internet wherever I am but why in the kitchen? Like I don't have enough shit on my crappy counter space... Why not do something like those failed Motorola wireless AIM clients and have a docking station and wlan? Why do we have to have a small form factor machine in the kitchen? Most people here seem to be using this machine in the media room because it's small, quiet, and has DVI. That makes more sense to me.

Building in 120GB, 160GB or higher capacity drives, for example, will mean miniature PCs able to match larger machines in storing large numbers of MP3 files or even digital photos.

Oh come on. Not many people have enough photos and MP3s to fill even 10GB nevermind 120GB or 160GB. I am still using a 10GB HD in my XP machine. Yeah, my music is stored elsewhere but it's still less than 7GB of MP3s and 10GB more for SHN/FLAC (which most people aren't into). I want to know how many regular computer userse have 100GB of music and photos. Geeks are in the minority when it comes to computer purchases from major vendors that would be hurt by this "gamble". I'm sure it won't be anything for them to worry about.

I didn't get the Mini because it was small, quiet, or good looking. I got it because OS X is not Windows, is built on BSD, is now affordable, and isn't as susceptible to all the bullshit that my Windows machines are. If anything the Mini might open the door to more users for Apple which may or may not be a good thing ;)

Re:Form factor had nothing to do with it for me... (5, Insightful)

numbski (515011) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492526)

Firewire and USB2 give the expandability of peripherals, and they're bundling video and sound chipsets that don't suck. RAM and internal drives can be upgraded (although the optical drive would be a trick I'm sure), so that leaves the cpu and mainboard. Non-geeks aren't going to attempt to upgrade those.

Someone needs to just say it: Apple got it really really really right this time.

Re:Form factor had nothing to do with it for me... (0, Flamebait)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492566)

Firewire and USB2 give the expandability of peripherals, and they're bundling video and sound chipsets that don't suck. RAM and internal drives can be upgraded (although the optical drive would be a trick I'm sure), so that leaves the cpu and mainboard. Non-geeks aren't going to attempt to upgrade those.

Firewire and USB external DVD writers are not supported natively by iDVD and you have to use a third party "patch" to get it to work. Doesn't seem very useful there.

As far as RAM and internal drives being upgraded... Yeah, you can, but you void your warranty and it takes two putty knives and some good luck to open the case. Not exactly what I would call easy.

Re:Form factor had nothing to do with it for me... (2, Interesting)

moonbender (547943) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492686)

you void your warranty

No, you don't. Or at least that was the predominant interpretation last time I looked. Got any reference to back that up?

Re:Form factor had nothing to do with it for me... (1)

elrick_the_brave (160509) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492658)

Oddly enough that sounds like an Amiga! Lol.

Re:Form factor had nothing to do with it for me... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11492556)


fuck yeah

Billy Roehl got F157 pr0s7 again! pro0ps to Bill from GNAA!

What the FUCK is this SHIT?!!?!?!?!?!

HDD sizes (1)

PeteDotNu (689884) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492586)

A lot of people rip their entire CD collection to MP3 so that they can use it throughout the house. I managed to munch my way through 30GB of disk space this way. If I had used FLAC instead of MP3, then it would be more than 100GB.

Re:Form factor had nothing to do with it for me... (1, Interesting)

elrick_the_brave (160509) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492603)

I must say that in my old age.. (32 years and counting - over half of it in computers).. I am finding I prefer simpler.. I want to separate my gaming machine from my e-mail, communicationsm, and entertainment... I have an ipod... perhaps I want someone to make it simple.. and I'll pay.

Yes.. I'll pay.. I'll pay until I am blue in the face for a great product, great service, and great support. Something missing from most offerings and businesses these days.

WHOA.. stop there.. that's innovation.. getting something you would like for a reasonable cost. You should be milked for all your money instead of getting what you want.

Re:Form factor had nothing to do with it for me... (1)

thefirelane (586885) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492653)

(BTW - I took Slashdotter advice from yesterday's article about the Mini and hardware upgrades and went with 512MB. I couldn't justify the $210 for 1GB when 512 was only $80). I am not looking forward to using two thin putty knives to open my brand new machine though

Isn't there only 1 RAM slot? Why are you upgrading the RAM through Apple only to open it up and throw it out? (to eBay presumably). Why not just save the cost of the upgrade, and sell off the 256?

Re:Form factor had nothing to do with it for me... (1)

Bret540 (794463) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492664)

This is what I want for my kitchen:

Take a nice flat panel that basically has components that will allow a keyboard, mouse and OS to be installed/plugged into it. (Wireless capabilities needed too)

On this flat panel/computer, install an OS (I don't care which) that is able to remote connect to a central PC in the house.

This way, I have access to just about any program I would want to use in the kitchen (namely music files, Internet, etc.) with only taking the space of a flat panel monitor, small keyboard and a mouse. Maybe this keyboard is wireless as well and it just stores in a drawer or something, so then the only countertop space is a monitor and mouse.

So the question is, why hasn't anyone invented this yet? (Some smart person should post if it has...) Granted there could be work arounds, like building a mini PC that stores efficiently, but I have more money than spare time.

--

Ugh, I've got tones of ideas like this, I think technology is moving VERY slowly right now. (Possibly due to legal and/or economic issues plaguing the world today)

Re:Form factor had nothing to do with it for me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11492670)

Mod parent up...

Typical of slashdot, of 20 some comments, the parent to this reply is the only one with any real substance so far...

The rest are trolls, people responsing to trolls, and people who think they're being funny. (Think being the operative word in that sentence).

First Post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11492481)

And it's anonymous! ha!

Re:First Post (1)

milohanrahan (787011) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492490)

Wrong on both counts. We know where you live!

Re:First Post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11492510)

Sorry, garcia [slashdot.org] 0wn3d u again.

Re:First Post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11492628)

Sorry, but a karma-whoring cheating subscriber got it instead.

Cheap Electronics (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11492485)

The only thing the Mac Mini is going to lead the way in is cheap pyramid scams, much like the iPod.

Let the Newton Flamewars begin! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11492487)

kvetch

NO, BUT IT WILL LEAD TO SMALLER PENISES (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11492489)

(gnaa)

But! (0)

numbski (515011) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492491)

They weren't wrong about the cube!

I always wanted a toaster on my desk. ;)

That, and the one button mouse rocks. ....and I *don't* hear you dissing the Newton. I know many a fan sites that would come whuppin' your azz for talking like that! :P

Spoken (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11492701)

Like a true iFanBoy. Congrats.

No (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11492492)

People like big things. Big TVs, big SUVs, big houses... big computers. Size still matters. I bet if they started selling room-size computers again, people would be buying them.

Re:No (1)

milohanrahan (787011) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492525)

Yes, size does matter. I'm so over 'small'. Bigger is ALWAYS better.

Re:No (1)

damian cosmas (853143) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492608)

...kinda like that old joke about the Soviet Union developing the world's largest microchip?

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11492659)

Yes, but we're not talking about women. We're talking about computers.

Re:No (1)

eln (21727) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492581)

While miniaturization is a big factor in computing, I don't think the "war for desk space" that led to such things as all-in-one printers really extends to the desktop computer. Most people want big monitors, and will usually put the actual computer either under the monitor or under the desk, so the size of the machine makes little difference.

While I don't think that most people would buy room-sized computers (look at how small a segment of the market full-tower cases have), I don't think people are willing to sacrifice speed or price for a smaller machine, especially one that's intended to stay on the same desk for its entire existence. People want small size and light weight for laptops. People don't really care that much about size of weight dor desktop systems.

When technology allows for smaller machines to be made with the same capabilities and at roughly the same price point as larger desktop machines, they will begin to dominate the market. Few people will spend hundreds of dollars more for a smaller, less capable machine though.

Re:No (1)

mccalli (323026) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492595)

People like big things. Big TVs, big SUVs, big houses... big computers. Size still matters. I bet if they started selling room-size computers again, people would be buying them.

Looked at cell phones recently? Or the 'super slimline' DVD players?

Cheers,
Ian

Re:No (1)

bmxbandit (608873) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492599)

No, small minds like big things like SUV's, Big TV's and anything else that they think will impress people. Sadly all of this stuff has the opposite effect towards anyone with an intellect. You know what they say: Big Car, Small D$@*!

Re:No (1)

mccalli (323026) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492663)

You know what they say: Big Car, Small D$@*!

They do indeed. I drive a Jaguar and an original Mini. So what do they say about that combination...?

Cheres,
Ian

Re:No (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492619)

Americans like these things to be big. In Europe and Japan, people only care about size if it actually matters. Big TVs perhaps, but rarely big cars, and certainly not big lumps of hardware. Small is sexy.

This is why the personal stereo was invented in Japan. Americans can't think small.

Re:No (4, Insightful)

tbone1 (309237) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492642)

People like big things. Big TVs, big SUVs, big houses... big computers. Size still matters. I bet if they started selling room-size computers again, people would be buying them.

It all depends, really. People like some things bigger. Pizzas, for instance, because it means more bready-cheesy-tomato-saucy goodness. Bigger homes mean more space AND a (perceived or true) better return on investment. Big SUVs are great in the winter weather, and they have a lot of room for hauling stuff.

However, they don't always prefer bigger. People love the small size of the iPod. They love smaller, slimmer cell phones. They prefer babies to teenagers. You don't see too many huge women as centerfolds. Huge bazooms, yes; land whales, no. Middle-aged-crazy men prefer sports cars to minivans. I myself prefer women who require small maintenance to those who require a lot. And you can bet that taxpayers prefer small government to big. People love laptops that are smaller and lighter.

So maybe there is a market for this, which will be helped along by the Mac mini being stylish and from a company that's considered cool. Maybe it won't start a trend. The market will decide, as the market always does.

No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11492494)

The Mac Mini rocks.

First post!

Newton? (5, Insightful)

Cutriss (262920) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492497)

How was the Newton wrong? It may not have taken off, but it definitely had an impact. Palm would likely never have existed if Apple hadn't tried the Newton.

Re:Newton? (1)

RocketJeff (46275) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492596)

How was the Newton wrong? It may not have taken off, but it definitely had an impact.
Agreed. The only thing 'wrong' with the Newton was the timing of Job's return to Apple.

If Job's would have waited a couple of months, the Newton spin-off to its own company would have been complete and he would have had a harder time killing it.

Newton was a victim of Job's return to Apple and his removing of everything from his predecessor's regime.

Re:Newton? (1)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492630)

You are right. In fact, I recall that the the premature announcement of the Newton was the thing that kick started the whole PDA business. Immediately devices like the EO, the Zoomer, the MagicCap, etc. started hitting the market. Newton was scrambling to beat the Palm Zoomer to market.

nt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11492498)

first post

One button mouse flamage here (4, Funny)

rjrjr (28310) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492502)

Let's get this out of the way right now. Please make all your valuable n-button-mouse replies to this post.

Re:One button mouse flamage here (1)

vasqzr (619165) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492562)

I don't mind the one button mouse. I hate walking through someone over the phone and they'll ask things like, "Which button?" "The left button?"

It's just easier with ONE. The only thing I use my right mouse button for is 'open page in new tab'. Which could be done by hold the first button on the link, and waiting for the pop up menu.

Re:One button mouse flamage here (5, Funny)

geoffspear (692508) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492570)

I don't see how anyone can possibly operate a computer with only 3 buttons, 1 of which is a tiny clickable scroll wheel. My mouse has 18 buttons, and I couldn't possibly do without any of them.

Size DOES Matter (2, Insightful)

cyngus (753668) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492506)

Perhaps the title should be that size does matter. Rather, being small is becoming more important. Perhaps we can think of this as Maslow's Hierarchy of Computer Needs. First we just want a machine that has enough power to do what we want. Then we want a machine that is small and unobtrusive and with enough power to do what we want.

Re:Size DOES Matter (1)

savagedome (742194) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492602)

Then we want a machine that is small and unobtrusive.

Then we just want a machine.

Then we want.

Then.

I finally reached the self-actualization stage. I don't need a machine and WTF am I doing here?

Re:Size DOES Matter (1)

Carthag (643047) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492683)

I agree. Size does matter. While the submitter was referring to the ages old "size does not matter" line, he was trying to make the point in the opposite direction. Where it was once "bigger is better", it's now "smaller is better". I works pretty bad in the summary, though.

Cost (1)

metlin (258108) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492512)

It would be a cost vs. other factors at work.

As long as Walmart would be selling $400 mammoth computers, it would be hard.

Re:Cost (5, Insightful)

DevilHoops (852624) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492676)

I think cost will be a huge part of this equation. Clearly Jonathan Ive's design team at Apple has been incredible fitting powerful components into minute packages. I doubt Dell and HP will be nearly as successful, and furthermore doubt that it is in their interests to attempt this. Dell has always found success through fitting inexpensive components together to market towards the masses. Focusing on design can only increase costs and reduce profitability.

Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11492513)

This paradigm shift cannot succeed without Apple lowering their users' TCO, of course.

arg (1)

grub (11606) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492514)


paradigm shifts

-5, Idiotic Catch Phrase

Apple wasn't wrong with the Newton (0, Offtopic)

quigonn (80360) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492515)

They were just too early and the right hardware wasn't available yet (i.e. the 20 MHz or so ARM CPU they used was too slow), but the user experience was superb, e.g. the way of deleting text (simply cross it out) or setting the current time (draw the watch hands on a clock).

Apple's mouse (0, Offtopic)

TraxNet (809118) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492521)

I'm quite happy by using Apple's one button mouse :P

TraxNet
http://traxnet.asidesoft.com/ [asidesoft.com]

Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11492560)

That's because you are an iTool.

When will I (0)

biophysics (798365) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492524)

get my G4-Ipod-OSX-dualboot-Linux-fingertop machine

that reminds me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11492529)

I have to clean my oven today

one button mouse a failure? (1, Insightful)

vena (318873) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492533)

what, do they just not realise it or something? the cube and newton are certainly failures and are discontinued, but Apple continues to bundle one-button mice with their computers. what's more, a lot of mac users seem to be perfectly happy with it.

i can understand it as a personal preference, of course, but what you like or dislike doesn't define failure, does it?

Re:one button mouse a failure? (1)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492667)

Perhaps failure has been defined as anything the PC bigots chronically complaign about.

Maybe (4, Insightful)

geoffspear (692508) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492535)

If the Mac Mini sells well, everyone will copy the idea. If not, it will disappear like the Cube and no one will ever build anything like it again.

Of course, the cube's problem wasn't the design, it was the price tag. If they'd sold the cube for $500, it would have been a big hit, and you'd see grey cubes everywhere, from other computer manufacturers to George Foreman CubeGrills.

Re:Maybe (4, Insightful)

tji (74570) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492700)

> If the Mac Mini sells well, everyone will copy the idea. If not, it will disappear like the Cube and no one will ever build anything like it again.

The PowerMac G4 Cube kicked off a whole industry of PCs. It was the reason the Small Form Factor (SFF) PCs, the most successful of which are from Shuttle. When they first came out (not too long after the Mac Cube) people were calling them PC Cubes.

Of course the SFF PCs are nothing like the G4 Cube in its simple, quiet, elegant design. I guess the SFF box was the best they could do when accomodating PC requirements (HOT running CPU needed a huge heat sink + fan, internal ATX power supply to meet the high wattage requirements, and PCI/AGP slots to satisfy PC tweakers).

If the PC manufacturers do copy the mini, expect it to be another design full of compromises and lacking the style of a Mac.

xbox and pcmini (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11492543)

What strikes me is how similar the mac mini is to the xbox.
I can see no differences except the xbox is restricted to use for games.

Re:xbox and pcmini (1)

DavidLeblond (267211) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492594)

Don't forget, the Mac Mini is small and the X Box is probably big enough to be considered a deadly weapon.

Re:xbox and pcmini (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11492666)


I can see no differences except the xbox is restricted to use for games.

Not if you install a mod chip [teamxecutor.com]
The xbox makes a pretty neat entertainment center, as far as having a good media player goes. Mine has trouble with CDR but plays movies over the LAN just fine.

One button mice... (3, Insightful)

DavidLeblond (267211) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492550)

It is also important to recognize that they have been wrong at times too (e.g. The Cube, the Newton, and the one button mouse)

God will you people PLEASE come up with something more original to pick at Apple with than the One Button Mouse. They obviously weren't THAT wrong about the one button mouse, they still use them. And they like it!

eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11492609)

What's 'unoriginal' about it? OS X may be great but the one button mouse is a serious misjudgment in interface design. They should *at least* give you the option of using a scroll wheel multibutton mouse, instead of giving only one offering. Granted this is changing with their crossover-enticing Mini, but it should have happened long ago.

Re:One button mice... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11492624)

God will you people PLEASE come up with something more original to pick at Apple with than the One Button Mouse. They obviously weren't THAT wrong about the one button mouse, they still use them. And they like it!

God, will you people PLEASE come up with something more original to pick at Microsoft with than the poor security implementation of Internet Explorer. They obviously weren't THAT wrong about the poor security implementation of Internet Explorer, they still use it. And they like it!

Re:One button mice... (2, Insightful)

DavidLeblond (267211) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492674)

Right, thats why everyone is flocking to Firefox.

Re:One button mice... (1)

i_should_be_working (720372) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492646)

but they don't come with the mini. i think. maybe this is their way to stop pushing them without admitting defeat. maybe i'm reading to much into it. anyway, i have a 3 button + scrollwheel on my mac as can anyone.

Re:One button mice... (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492654)

I really should pick on Windows for two button mice - because event hat isn't enough for basic CAD. Since then, the scroll wheel has somewhat replaced the third button, but if you can press the scroll wheel without scrolling it, it acts as a third button.

I think it is time to give up the one button mouse anyway. Even my Dad can handle and use a right click and a scroll wheel.

To be fair, MacOS accepted third party multi-button mice.

Dell offers some (1)

greechneb (574646) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492555)

We've used a lot of the smaller dell pc's such as the optiplex SX270. http://www1.us.dell.com/content/products/productde tails.aspx/optix_sx270?c=us&cs=28&l=en&s=dfb [dell.com]

They don't seem to be too bad, but they aren't marketed very much by dell, and they probably aren't as high of quality as the Mac's. The only bad thing is the external power supply is rather large.

shhhh (3, Insightful)

.Spyder78. (453998) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492559)

Smaller is cool. Saves you having to buy a desk with one of those PC tower compartments.

But you know what I'd like to see more of? Quieter PC's. Everything seems to be getting faster and/or smaller, but quieter would be nice.

Comforting... (1)

iJames (846620) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492567)

While I do think the Mac mini is a great idea, it's nice to have confirmation that multi-billion dollar industries are just as fad-conscious as the average middle school.

odddly enough (-1, Troll)

XO (250276) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492568)

The iPod is pretty much a failure outside of geek circles, from what I've seen. We sell them where I work, didn't sell a single one for Christmas. People generally think they are really lame.

Re:odddly enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11492614)

Where the heck do you live?

Re:odddly enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11492635)

Where do you work? I know that lots of businesses didn't sell any iPods over the holidays, e.g. McDonald's. Perhaps you work in that sector?

Re:odddly enough (1)

iJames (846620) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492636)

That is odd. I work in a major corporate office, most of the people around me are accounting people rather than programming people, and the iPod is very hot among them.

Re:odddly enough (1)

generic-man (33649) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492669)

With no wireless [slimdevices.com] and less space than a Nomad [nomadworld.com] , I'm not surprised that most geeks consider the iPod to be "lame."

Re:odddly enough (4, Insightful)

damian cosmas (853143) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492702)

Surely you jest. They moved 4.5 million iPods just during the Holiday Season. The "geek circle" can't be that big. Go to a gym sometime; tell me that all the women working out with their shiny pink iPods are geeks.

Bloomingdales sells iPods; Nieman Marcus sells insanely expensive iPod cases. You can't possible believe that these are typical geek shopping venues.

It certainly will...laptops look out (1)

gearmonger (672422) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492572)

The trend has been towards laptops outselling desktops. Personally, I think that's in large part due to the "simpler" nature of a laptop -- no wires and unconnected parts to confuse the n00b -- but also to the size issue. When many homes don't have extra space for a full tower, allocating a little bit of space is easier, and that's why small form factor PCs will continue to thrive.

Just look at the success Shuttle has had, and their products aren't even all that superlative.

Yes! (1)

NivenHuH (579871) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492574)

I don't know why you'd take a large desktop over a smaller form factor machine if you can get equivalent power out of the smaller machine.. As we start to get higher and higher performance out of smaller equipment (eg. laptop drives, etc..) I think smaller machines will be the norm.

I live in SF, so I'm anxious to have machines that take up less space =)

not size, rather, application (2, Insightful)

jockeys (753885) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492576)

I tend to think of it as more an issue of intended use, rather than size. This is the ultimate iteration of the iMac... the Console Computer. Now it just LOOKS more like a console. I remember the first iMac. When I looked at the side of the box, there were 3 steps listed for setup: step 1) take iMac out of the box. step 2) plug in power and keyboard. step 3) there is no step 3. this is just the next logical step. A small, unobtrusive computer that anyone can set up and use. As to the poster above saying he/she dislikes the inability to open this and modify it... that's the point. Like a console, it is intended to be "perfect" from the factory and never need modification. Just plug it in and turn it on.

What?! this is madness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11492579)

You mean I have to give up my 2foot tower PC with 7 fans and a heat sink the size of my fist?! This is proposterous! How will I be able to achieve the ultimate in PC Cooling for no apparent reason?!

Disagree about the Cube (4, Insightful)

duffbeer703 (177751) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492583)

The cube was a brilliant design, and people I know that have it love it.

Only problem was that it was too frickin expensive.

Re:Disagree about the Cube (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11492660)

I'm sure you could find people to love anything, doesn't make it successful.

i'm not sure that i'd want a smaller desktop (1)

m2bord (781676) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492591)

think about this for a minute.

years ago the at chassis was built to sit on the desk and under the monitor (i'm sure that wasn't the design scheme but it worked out that way).

then came the upright boxes and the stands to turn your desktop box into a standup case to get it off of your desk.

and now it looks like we've come full circle and are going back to having a pc we can put on top of the desk again.

small HP PCs?? (1)

powermung (780700) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492593)

HP did not come close to having a 6"x6"x2" desktop pc. Also, their "small" pcs cost typically hundreds of dollars more than their normal-sized ones, whereas the Minimacs are of entry-level costs among the Mac lineup.

I think (3, Interesting)

computerme (655703) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492605)

I think its important to point out that size is lower on the list of reasons why the mini has been selling like hot cakes to all users (mac and pc)

For the simple fact that had the mini been 6x6 inches or 66x66 inches, the mini does not get infected with ad-ware spyware etc...

I think we are at a point in history, when a large number of people are finnaly just "getting sick" of dealing with windows... its almost that some have forgotten that they bought a computer to DO stuff with it NOT maintain it....

currently, support of windows is spiraling out of control..hatred of its inefficiencies is at an all time high.

people (especially that have bought ipods) are now realizing there is a better way. a way that simply let's them DO the things they really want to do with a computer...

Wrong? (2, Insightful)

Damek (515688) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492610)

Just because a product flops or isn't the mainstream flagship product of its type doesn't mean it's wrong.

Arguably, Apple was right with the Newton and the Cube - they were just a few years early on both counts. Arguably, Apple is right with the one-button mouse; just not right for everybody.

Within the context of pushing paradigm shifts, you could argue that these three were unsuccessful, but you can hardly argue they were "wrong."

Dell (1)

kc0re (739168) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492611)

Dell already has a small profile desktop. RTFA, it says will it increase the popularity of it? Maybe.

Time will tell? (1)

ceeam (39911) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492612)

Well, Newton? They jumped their time, true. One-button mouse? Don't forget that there was one-button mouse when 99% of PCs had zero-button mouse (none) before Win 3.0. Anyway - anyone have any idea how many units have they _already_ sold?

The Cube only bombed for one reason ... (1)

tschak (90399) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492615)

Price.

When the Cube was announced, it was $200 more than the comparable G4 tower. If it had been priced like the Mini to begin with (or at least $100 less than the desktop) it would have had wider appeal.

(ex-Cube owner)

The Mac Mini looks like the future to me (2, Interesting)

NatteringNabob (829042) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492618)

When it came out, the only thing that was keeping me from buying one is that Apple was gouging for upgrades that would make the system minimally usable and that it isn't dual head. Since Apple has rethought their upgrade pricing, it is only the lack of dual head support. That said, I'd be happy to buy a mobile AMD64/Linux box in the similar form factor, so I hope Shuttle and some of the other micro PC vendors are paying attention. You would certainly need a fan for the AMD, but I could live with that is it was quite enough.

My Computer Design (1)

greysky (136732) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492625)

I actually built a small-form-factor computer [carrell.us] a year ago that (somewhat) resembles the new Mac mini in layout. I did it more for the challenge of trying to squeeze components into a small space, but it ended up being a pretty cool design. The only problem that I have with the mac mini is that is has to be using a laptop-type hard disk, which I've always found to be noticeably slower than standard drives.

MacMini, Japan, and Trend (1)

reporter (666905) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492626)

There has been a trend towards smaller, space-saving computers. One sign of the trend is moving from heavy 17" CRT monitors to lightweight LCD monitors. Another sign is the popularity of notebooks. Still another sign is the popularity of deskbooks (?), notebooks that essentially cannot be run on battery power and must be constantly plugged into the war although they are equipped with batteries. These deskbooks are essentially desktops crammed into the space of a notebook and use the high-performance, power-hungry versions of processors instead of the mobile, energy-efficient ones.

MacMini is just another part of the trend. Steve Jobs must have 9 lives or something like that; he always seems to know the fashion trend in technology.

One thing that most people have not mentioned is that the MacMini will be a smashing success in Japan. There, space is a premium, and small-form-factor computers and peripherals are a must.

It will be a change.... (1)

Electric Eye (5518) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492637)

I think the size is what people are looking for. Just like with flat panel screens. It's going to change the landscape dramatically. And I suspect, as always, Dell and the like will try to copy the Mini, but will come out with something inferior.
Me, however? I prefer to geek around and I can't wait to get my hands on a nice manly G5 tower in a few months. The Mini is just way too limited for my tastes.

Small Isn't Really New... (1)

IdJit (78604) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492638)

If the size of the mini is such a bit innovative hit, then I can't understand why more XPC small form factor PCs haven't been sold. Me? I'd take a small PC case over a tower anyday, as long as there was no loss of performance.

It wasn't just form factor for me (1)

cybrthng (22291) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492643)

But price and functionality. For 500-700 bucks you get more software, more power and more functionality then a $900.00 dell in an ugly large blue case could ever give you.

Form factor has its pluses but design and functionality wins.

I'm also Biased since i know Apple represents a better company than the other players in the market. Sure they all work you hard, but in return to what the corporations stand for with society i'll buy an Apple anyday. The fact Apple oozes design, functionality, thought, consistency and creativeness just screams liberal

It's not just how big it is (1)

TVC15 (518429) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492647)

After buying a 1 bedroom condo for over half million in a larger city in the US, or $1.2 million in manhattan, or even more than that in tokyo and other places, the miniature size for rather full sized functionality is worth every penny. Not to mention the relative silence.

I will help lead the charge! (-1, Redundant)

jmcmunn (307798) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492648)

If you help me get my first Mac!

http://www.freeminimacs.com/?r=14101826 [freeminimacs.com]

On another note, these things are pretty neat, but small form factor PC's have been around a long time and since market share on Macs is pretty low, I doubt a SFF mac is going to lead to any real changes...just a thought. But I do still want one, I have always had Mac-envy, just no money.

Cue the detractors (0)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492661)

Fewer drive bays than a Dell, no PCI. Lame.

I have to say they aren't... (1)

cnelzie (451984) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492675)

...small formfactor PCs may not be well advertised and sold by the larger PC Manufacturers. However, small form factor PCs have been available for a handful of years.

Some of these units are designed with 'portablity' in mind for use at LAN Parties. These compact systems often ave impressive stats for being as small as they are.

The only kind of 'paradigm shift' that could arise from the MacMini is the one regarding small form factor PCs now being on the radar for 'traditional' PC users/consumers.

It's not entirely innovative, it's not entirely ground breaking, unless you only see the world of Computers as being Apple Computers. (That's not meant to be a burn or a flamebait, it's the honest truth of the matter.)

All the MacMini really does is take small form factor PCs into a slightly smaller package then previously available and applies the Apple aestetics, internal hardware and Operating System to the design as well as brings such small units into the conscience of PC users.

size doent matter, at least no on a desk (1)

scenestar (828656) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492680)

I dont think desktop sizes shall see a sudden change soon. Small cases have been available for years but for the avarege workstation the ease of upgrading is more important then the slim design.

besides, most designs have liked like big ugley pieces of shiny plastic.

i still prefer my good old matte black case

Don't get worked up over the word "failure" (3, Informative)

renderhead (206057) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492689)

Although it wasn't well worded, I don't think the OP was trying to say that all of those ideas from Apple were failures in the sense that they don't work or are bad ideas, but rather that they failed to inspire industry-wide trends. The one-button mouse works just fine for the Mac because it was designed with a one-button mouse in mind, so they continue to use it. Nobody else picked up on it, though.

This small form factor could turn out the same way, but I doubt it. Small seems to be the way to go, especially now that upgrades are getting less and less significant to most users (is 4 GHz really going to be better than 3.5?) If you can't make them faster, or if the consumers stop caring whether or not their computer is faster, form factor is a reasonable direction to push research.

The one button mouse never made sense (1)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492693)

The one button mouse never made sense because you need two: one to select a noun and the other to select a verb. Fitt's law says that you want the verb button to pop up a pie menu [piemenus.com] in place. So, pick with the left, and act on it using the right.
-russ

They've been wrong? (1)

jdavidb (449077) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492706)

I won't argue that Apple's been wrong, but the three issues listed are debatable:

  • the one button mouse: some people still swear by it (and that's still all they sell, last I checked)
  • the Newton: I think the success of Palm shows they were right, although they might have been a little too early
  • The Cube: The Mac Mini is basically the Cube revisited. If Mini is successful, it would seem they were right about the Cube, too, although again maybe just too early

Obligatory (1)

mkop (714476) | more than 9 years ago | (#11492707)

Help me find out, get me a....
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