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  • Apple's powerful new Mac mini perfectly suits the 'Pro' market, yet the complaints have al...

    philotech said:
    I think the new mini is a fine machine and probably worth the money (in Apple categories of course - no doubt that you will get away with less in the Windows PC world). However, what people are complaining about ist that the entry level bar to an Apple PC has been raised considerably over time: The initial mini was USD 500 IIRC and now we are at USD 800, even taking into account inflation that's a lot more.
    Nope. $600 in 2005 at launch, stayed at $600 until 2014 (with a brief period at $700 in 2010), when it dropped to $500 with all upgradeability removed.

    The $500 cheap mini only existed in the crippled 2014 edition.

    US $600 in 2005 dollars is about $775 in 2018 dollars. So the $800 price is a course correction. $700 would have been better, but if it stays at $800 for the next ten years, the low end will be a bargain in 2028!

    [TLDR: The 2018 mini is not an upgrade of the mini. It is Apple’s response to calls for a mid-range, mini-tower class computer (with the upgrades on the outside, thus the large number of Thunderbolt ports that someone was questioning earlier in this thread). Now the complaints are that the lower-end purposes for the mini have been abandoned via the price increases.]

    Before you tell somebody they are wrong, you should make sure you are right. You are not.

    The original 2005 Mac mini (PPC) had a base price of $499. I believe the $599 base price came with the upgrade to Intel CPUs. Inflation should be partially offset by the general trend of technology getting cheaper, but even still I wouldn’t argue that Apple should still have a $499 offering. A $599 offering I think was expected by most folks.

    For pro users, the new Mac mini is probably an OK deal. But where I disagree with the article’s argument (for argument’s sake?) was that the mini was primarily aimed at the pro market and that pros were the only ones complaining about the lack of better options. The 2018 model has shifted the mini to being a pro machine in lieu of the non-existent mid-range headless Mac people have also been asking for. Yes, pros used the mini before that. Server farms used it. And the 2018 model most certainly addresses those markets.

    But it comes at the cost of dismissing the hobbiest/prosumer market and the switchers (although I always had doubts how big that market was). Those who maybe didn’t need the power all of the time but wanted it for occasional heavy tasks. Folks using it for home automation, HTPC, personal/home server. And folks who had a monitor already or preferred to purchase one separately for much less than the incremental cost of getting a monitor built into an iMac.

    I have three Mac minis: 2005, 2009, 2012 (which I bought from Apple refurb after the downgraded 2014 came out). None of them were purchased because I necessarily needed a new computer. None have ever been my primary computer. At the prices offered at the time, they were as much impulse purchases as anything else. Getting the most CPU I felt reasonable knowing I could upgrade RAM and storage (which I did on every single one of them). If the only option would have been to predict what my future needs would be and buy that much RAM/storage from Apple at the time of purchase, I probably would have never purchased a single mini (and certainly not three!).

    It’s too bad Apple couldn’t have come up with a way to also have a $599 option. I don’t know where the cost savings would come from, but I’m sure they could have come up with something if they had wanted to. Less expensive SSD (if not for the “true pro” use case, is the blazing fast SSDs Apple is using necessary)? Fewer TB ports (non-pros certainly don’t need four)? Options for 4-core i5 and i7 processors?

    It’s not necessarily that the 2018 Mac mini isn’t a fair value for the prices offered, but that it’s no longer desirable for at least a portion of the classic target customer for the mini. A $799 base price is no longer an enticing entry point into considering getting a mini. The cost of internal storage is my biggest complaint. I need more storage, but it doesn’t all have to be expensive, top of the line SSDs. Yes, easy enough to add external storage, but that costs more compared to internal and is unappealing for some applications such as HTPC or wherever space is limited. My 2012 mini has 3 TB of internal storage (1 TB SSD + 2 TB HD) which can hold all the files I want on the mini (SSD) plus the Time Machine backups for our laptops (HD) without cluttering my space with cables and external drives.

    That’s why I believe what they were really trying to do with the 2018 mini was address the complaints about the lack of an expandable mini-tower class computer. Again, look at all those TB ports! And that’s fine. The new mini fits the bill. The new target audience can upgrade their minis with external GPUs, fast storage, and other expensive TB accessories. But the cost of entry has gone up considerably, and in so doing Apple has abandoned the mini’s original purpose in life, which is why you are still hearing complaints.

    avon b7
  • Amazon continues to claim top spot in Harris reputation poll, Apple plummets to 29th

    Rayz2016 said:
    So what this survey tells us is that Apple gets bad press. 

    Unless those 28,500 people have all worked at, read the financial statements from, and studied the environmental reports from every company in the survey. 
    Or it tells us that vastly more people care more about getting pretty much anything the might need delivered to their door in two days than a $1000 phone than can 3D scan their face. Most people don't care about bleeding edge technology or how well some company they don't work for does financially or tackles environmental responsibility. They just want to make their day-to-day lives more convenient. Amazon excels at that.

    Doesn't mean Apple is bad or is hated. Just not as relevant to their lives as Amazon is.

  • Chicago flagship Apple Retail store roof not well suited for snow, ice

    This is absolutely a non-story.  Warning signs and precautionary roped off areas are (and have been) incredibly common around the Chicago area during the winter, almost anywhere where there is a roof and heavy pedestrian traffic.  Here in Chicago, we call this problem “winter”.
    Yes, but no.

    Yes, there are signs like that all over Chicago in the winter. But no, they are not for snow and ice falling off the roofs of buildings. Every person here who has stated or implied that need to rethink their conclusions.

    Those signs are because of the snow and ice that accumulates on the facades (ie, the sides, window frames, and architectural elements) of the buildings. Not the roofs (at least not the flat roofs of larger buildings which is what we are talking about here). Chicago has only gotten a few inches of snow so far this winter. How many of these signs are you seeing around other than the Apple Store? I've seen none on my 15 minute daily walk across the Loop each morning and afternoon. If the Apple Store is already having this problem after such light snow, what on Earth are they going to do when it really snows?!?

    Absolutely an architectural design failure. And a failure of the city to not catch this when they reviewed the building permit (too many $$ in their eyes, perhaps). Living and working in this city you come to expect this when walking past the high-rise building during the deep winter and especially the spring thaw when all the accumulated ice and snow starts melting and detaching from the sides of the buildings. You wouldn't expect this from a relatively low building like the Apple Store and so early in the winter when there as been very little snow.
    GeorgeBMacking editor the grate
  • Apple opens up HomeKit development with software authentication & looser licensing

    igorsky said:
    Not sure how I feel about this. I thought the proprietary chip is what made HomeKit so secure.  Without it, don't see how HomeKit is any more secure than any other standard. 
    You don't need a proprietary chip in your computer to make a secure https connection to your bank. So clearly there are methods for making secure connections without special hardware. Would the chip make it even more secure? Sure. But if the cost of being 5% more secure results in a doubling of the cost (just making up numbers for illustrative purposes), then perhaps the cost/benefit argument doesn't support the special chip. Perhaps Apple will offer different levels of certification so the consumer knows if the HomeKit device uses the chip or not, and if you are hyper-paranoid then you can make sure you only buy chipped devices.

    Besides, Homebrew already allowed you to include a Raspberry Pi on your HomeKit network to provide interactions between HomeKit and non-Homekit devices, which always led me to wonder about this proprietary chip in the first place. Clearly there were ways around that requirement already.

    What I wonder if this would allow 3rd party hubs like Wink or SmartThings to update their firmware and provide a bridge between HomeKit and other protocols such as Zwave and Zigbee. If so, I will gladly eat my previous words that that would never happen.
  • First look: Apple's HomePod speaker

    avon b7 said:
    Soli said:
    tzeshan said:
    tzeshan said:
    It needs battery like most BT speakers to make it really wroth a buy. 
    HopePod isn't supposed to be a portable speaker. 
    Why?  Isn't it a speaker?  Does it have BT? Does Apple want to get rid of wires? Even in a home this thing should be easy to move around.  Without battery this convenience is missing.
    :sigh: This product is large and costly enough without adding in batteries so you can take it to the beach. If you need a portable speaker, not a home speaker, then get one or the many other products that are on the market, but don't make claims about what Apple "needs" to do.
    You are splitting hairs. A home speaker can be portable too and I would bet my grandmother that that is one of Apple's future goals. The power cord breaks the entire aesthetic of the device and Mr. I've probably hasn't slept for months due to that simple fact (and that it's not thin, ha!).

    There will be reasons it has a cord right now but 'not being portable' is not one of them.
    You seem to be confusing a Bluetooth speaker with a smart speaker. A Bluetooth speaker has a relatively easy job to do and doesn't need to be prepared to do it 24x7. It can monitor for an incoming BT signal without expending very much energy until called upon to play music. Smart speakers primarily use wifi, not Bluetooth, which requires more energy. They have to keep microphones powered on constantly and monitor for voice commands, and have the power to process those commands when called about. I don't imagine the energy use between the BT speaker and a smart speaker are anywhere in the same ball park. Having a smart speaker that you need to carry back to it's charging cable every night pretty much defeats the purpose of a device who's entire purpose is centered around convenience.

    If you want a portable BT speaker, Apple will sell you one under the Beats brand.