Linked by Kroc Camen on Tue 15th Jun 2010 10:03 UTC
Apple Apple have updated the Mac Mini. It now sports an aluminium (no, I am not going to spell it "aluminum") enclosure, an HDMI port, an internal PSU (no power-brick!) and oddly, an SD card slot in the back. There's also an access hole on the bottom to change the RAM easily.
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RE[7]: UK Price
by Tony Swash on Tue 15th Jun 2010 21:05 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: UK Price"
Tony Swash
Member since:
2009-08-22

Ah, finally some explanation above the "interesting" level ;)
The rest of the comment was trimmed for brevity


"And yet it moves" (that's a Galileo quote by the way)

And yet Apple products are bought by millions and millions and millions of people. Apple will sell millions of the new mac mini. Why?

All that you say may be true: if so why do Apple products sell so well? Why has Apple been so successful? Why, when asked in so many end user surveys, do Apple's customers express so much happiness about their products?

Those are genuine questions I am pitching at you. Your challenge is to answer them with out slipping into the archetypal techie responses I quoted (its the marketing, the Apple customers are stupid etc).

Answering the challenge of explaining Apples success whilst also claiming their products are inferior is a good challenge for you to try - its the sort of exercise that broadens the mind. Back in the (in technological terms) ghastly 1990s when Apple seemed to be dying and the horrible Windows 95/98 was taking the world by storm I had to face that sort of challenge. I could have said that all those people buying an operating system that was so obviously inferior to the Mac's must be stupid, I could have offered a similar critique of Microsoft's success as that offered by techies to "explain" Apple's success.

But in the end I had to face the facts, that whilst being technically inferior (from my point of view) Windows PCs did what most people wanted their computers to do better than Macs (they were compatible with work, they were cheap, they played more games - whatever).

The customer is always right. And it seems as if Apple, and Steve Jobs knows just how to please them. Odd isn't?

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[8]: UK Price
by tupp on Tue 15th Jun 2010 22:11 in reply to "RE[7]: UK Price"
tupp Member since:
2006-11-12

And yet Apple products are bought by millions and millions and millions of people. Apple will sell millions of the new mac mini. Why?

All that you say may be true: if so why do Apple products sell so well? Why has Apple been so successful? Why, when asked in so many end user surveys, do Apple's customers express so much happiness about their products?

The same questions could be asked of other popular things.

Why do so many people buy Windows -- many more millions than those who buy OSX?

Why do Miley Cyrus records sell so well? Why has she been so successful?

Why, when asked in so many fan surveys, do Justin Bieber's followers express so much happiness about his performances?

Perhaps the answer to these questions about Apple products, Windows, Miley Cyrus and Justin Beiber has nothing to do with the quality of what is being sold.


...it seems as if Apple, and Steve Jobs knows just how to please them.

As do Steve Ballmer and the managers of Miley Cyrus and Justin Beiber


Odd, isn't [ it ]?

Not really.

Us "techies" have watched zillions of rabid, over-enthusiastic fans getting fleeced.

Edited 2010-06-15 22:20 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[9]: UK Price
by mrhasbean on Tue 15th Jun 2010 23:29 in reply to "RE[8]: UK Price"
mrhasbean Member since:
2006-04-03

Us "techies" have watched zillions of rabid, over-enthusiastic fans getting fleeced.


The reality of our consumerist society is that those who make desirable products can and do charge a premium for them. By your definition you are being fleeced if you drink any of the popular brands of drinks, or drive any kind of luxury car or fit an up-market stereo system to that car or ... the list goes on. In every one of these cases the components that are used to manufacture the final product are at best marginally more expensive and slightly better quality than those used in their much cheaper counterparts, yet the premium on the final product is significant. That's what building a brand is all about.

Coke is no better than some generic brand Cola, but they have a brand presence and they have educated consumers that theirs is the "real" taste of Cola. In my country a 2l bottle of Coke is nearly three times the price of a generic shopping centre brand, and once you've had half a dozen "scotch and coke"'s you won't taste the difference anyway, yet there are millions of people who will drink nothing but Coke. They too are being fleeced - by your definition - yet they are no different to Apple customers in that they are happy to pay a premium for something that they believe is better. Whether it is or not is a topic of much debate, but it's also irrelevant, because the consumer believes it is, and at the end of the day if they're happy, they're not being fleeced...

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[8]: UK Price
by tylerdurden on Tue 15th Jun 2010 23:56 in reply to "RE[7]: UK Price"
tylerdurden Member since:
2009-03-17

Most nerds do not understand they are a very very tiny fraction of the market (how much traction linux has a mainstream desktop?), they also don't understand the cocept of value proposition.

Most consumers really don't know much about what's under the hood, and they really do not care. The value proposition from a mac mini, is not that it offers a better performance per dollar than other systems. But that it offers a better integrated cheap computer than almost any other system at that price range.

Wintel boxes and OSX boxes at that price range try to compete with two different approaches: wintels offer more bang for the buck, while mac minis offer better user experience. Neither is better than the other. If people request that Apple offer the same value than no-name cheapo boxes, how come the same people do not request the same level of integration and attention to detail from those cheapo wintel boxes?

Each serve a different purpose, and to each their own I guess.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[9]: UK Price
by tupp on Wed 16th Jun 2010 02:16 in reply to "RE[8]: UK Price"
tupp Member since:
2006-11-12

Most nerds do not understand they are a very very tiny fraction of the market (how much traction linux has a mainstream desktop?)

Of course, Mac users know and understand all of these statistics.

Please enlighten us as to how much of the "market" is made up of "nerds", and, also, please tell us the figure for Linux "traction" in the "mainstream desktop." Keep in mind that there are no registrations of Linux installations, and that entire national governments occasionally convert all their machines to Linux.


they also don't understand the cocept of value proposition.

A "value proposition!" I don't know what that means, but I sure want to learn. Please explain!


Most consumers really don't know much about what's under the hood, and they really do not care.

Aww... and all along I thought that they were programming in assembly.


The value proposition from a mac mini, is not that it offers a better performance per dollar than other systems. But that it offers a better integrated cheap computer than almost any other system at that price range.

No. It doesn't. There are numerous non-Apple computers that give the same or better "user experience" with the same footprint for less money.


Wintel boxes and OSX boxes at that price range try to compete with two different approaches: wintels offer more bang for the buck, while mac minis offer better user experience.

No. They compete with the same approach in regards to user experience -- make it as dumb simple as possible(to the detriment of computer literacy and speed).

Not that the way in which manufacturers compete has anything to do with the actual quality of a product.


If people request that Apple offer the same value than no-name cheapo boxes, how come the same people do not request the same level of integration and attention to detail from those cheapo wintel boxes?

Probably due to the fact that Apple's "integration" and "attention to detail" is complete BS. Those false concepts likely originated with Apple marketing and are incessantly parroted by the fanboys.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[8]: UK Price
by Neolander on Wed 16th Jun 2010 08:36 in reply to "RE[7]: UK Price"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

"And yet it moves" (that's a Galileo quote by the way)

Here in France, this quote is known as "Et pourtant elle tourne", which I'd spontaneously translate as "And yet it spins". Learned something today ;)

And yet Apple products are bought by millions and millions and millions of people. Apple will sell millions of the new mac mini. Why?

Hmmm... I could argue, like somebody else, that much, much more PCs will be sold in the same amount of time, but why would someone buy a mac mini ? If it was around $400, I'd say "because it small enough to be used as a nicer TV recorder, given some good software for the job is installed and an IR remote is added" (let's face it, modern HDD recorders suck). But at such a high price tag, the pricing of TV recorders largely overcome their horrible usability. Especially considering that they work out of the box, contrary to a mac mini which you must set up manually.

I could also argue that it's a conveniently low-priced and small desktop computer for those who only have little computing-related needs (usual web browsing stuff) and don't want to get their desk full of junk. However, again, competitors have moved on, and things like Eeetop now are up to the same job, work just as well, and cost much less. Moreover, as laptops get cheaper and lighter, they'll probably totally crush this kind of product, because they do the job just as well and have the additional advantage of high portability. As an example, apple's own macbook is a serious competitor for the MacMini. And the screen is bundled, you don't have to get a hdmi-ready screen which will cost you a leg.

Under this price tag, however, I think that this macmini will only sell for the following reasons.
-Poorly informed consumers who believe in the magic effect of Apple hardware on usability, especially if they are lured into doing so by people who profess this magic effect.
-People who just buy it because it looks cool and they have a lot of money. Just like you buy a Rolex : it doesn't have an advantage over other less expensive watches, except that it's expensive and you can show off how rich you are through the use of it.
-Apple fans which will buy whatever the brand creates because they think that "at least it's better than a PC" (their last PC dating back from 1998 and running Windows 3 for Workgroups).

All that you say may be true: if so why do Apple products sell so well?

iPod : Initially because it was simpler to use than early multimedia players and just did the job. Now, this advantage doesn't exist anymore, to the contrary iPods are harder to use due to the need to go through that piece of shit called iTunes, however 1/reputation has a great inertia, 2/if you only see a friend of yours using an iPod which is already full of music, you don't know about hidden defects such as iTunes, and 3/everybody has an iPod, you just must buy one if you want to look cool.
Mac : Initially because it was simpler to use than equivalent computers. Now mostly because of misinformation (like extensive anti-Windows FUD based on now-invalid arguments) which leads into believing that the product is somehow better than competition for average computing tasks, and a bit because of things like look and good brand reputation. A few informed people actually buy a mac because of the following reasons :
-They absolutely need a very long battery life on their laptops, no matter the price (AFAIK, the competition is still lacking in this area)
-As Apple targeted artists a long time ago, some multimedia creation software is only available on the Mac. And you get better support from the old guys who lived in the days where *most* creation software was only available on the mac.
-Geeks who want a nice GUI on top of UNIX, spend most of their times in a shell anyway, and don't care about the extreme lack of free software on the mac, or use obscure tools like Fink to get it installed in an unsupported and buggy way because they really need it.
iPhone/iTouch : This one initially sold well because it was the first phone to sport a finger-controlled touch interface. Though it is intrinsically an inferior, poorly-performing HID which is good at nothing on such a small screen except showing off, it creates a good psychological feeling for some people, which feel more in touch (heh heh) with the device. No objective benefit otherwise, in fact globally inferior hardware. Now, almost every new low-end samsung phone implements finger touch just as well, do not require iTunes crap for photo and music transfer, and it's not a so-called app store full of gadget apps which are not good at anything better than farting which will help, so why do the iPhone ecosystem still work ? Same as for the iPod : reputation, properly hidden defects, and the "social object" status of the thing.
iPad : This one currently sells well because it's a beautiful piece of hardware with an attractive form factor and size for most use. Equivalents from Archos and Asus start to appear, but it will take some years before they manage to put a good touch-optimized interface on top of Windows 7 (though I heard that Asus was doing quite good). That's the sole benefit of using iOS : Apple benefit from their previous touch device experience in short term. However, as a long-term strategy, a touch-optimized windows 7 is better, because it will allow people to do serious work (with a stylus) *and* play (with their finger) on the same device. Laptop manufacturers had to painfully learn that in the end, it's all-in-one devices like this that win, because people don't want to carry around lots of stuff.

Why has Apple been so successful? Why, when asked in so many end user surveys, do Apple's customers express so much happiness about their products?

1/What do we know about who conducted such surveys ?
2/What do we know about the people interrogated (e.g. conducting such a survey on mac*.com or to a lesser extent engadget is maybe a bit unfair)
3/What about the self-blinding effect which I mentioned earlier ? The higher the price, the harder it is to admit that you made a mistake, and the higher the chances that you'll try to get used to the thing in spite of its defects.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[9]: UK Price
by Neolander on Wed 16th Jun 2010 08:48 in reply to "RE[8]: UK Price"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Those are genuine questions I am pitching at you. Your challenge is to answer them with out slipping into the archetypal techie responses I quoted (its the marketing, the Apple customers are stupid etc).

Tried my best, hope you'll be satisfied with the result ;)

Answering the challenge of explaining Apples success whilst also claiming their products are inferior is a good challenge for you to try - its the sort of exercise that broadens the mind.

I totally agree. Pretending to be objective is just hiding his opinions as much as possible. You still keep them, and for someone which thinks the opposite, your way of thinking is obvious when reading your work. The sole way to truly get an open mind is constructively argue with some serious arguments with one who thinks the opposite, it's the only way to get to know your "enemies" better (and eventually either become one of them or decide that you still think you're right while taking the new knowledge into account).

Back in the (in technological terms) ghastly 1990s when Apple seemed to be dying and the horrible Windows 95/98 was taking the world by storm I had to face that sort of challenge. I could have said that all those people buying an operating system that was so obviously inferior to the Mac's must be stupid, I could have offered a similar critique of Microsoft's success as that offered by techies to "explain" Apple's success.

But in the end I had to face the facts, that whilst being technically inferior (from my point of view) Windows PCs did what most people wanted their computers to do better than Macs (they were compatible with work, they were cheap, they played more games - whatever).

True. Windows is technically a piece of crap, from my point of view. But it's an empowering piece of crap, and power is something priceless. The "user likes to stay in control" mantra that Microsoft applied when designing Win7 somehow illustrates this competitive advantage of windows (as opposed to anti-competitive advantages like having manufacturers write better drivers for you)

The customer is always right. And it seems as if Apple, and Steve Jobs knows just how to please them. Odd isn't?

Not certain about that one. Sometimes, customers are obviously wrong. As a trivial example, I often see some young girls wearing extremely thin outfit in winter and spring because there's no trendy warm clothes at the moment. Things like fashion can be decisive elements, but I think we both agree that they're close to purely random and hence not always right.

Edited 2010-06-16 08:51 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2