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No update for the Mini?
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Anthem
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
 
2008-01-15, 23:59

Shocks me. Not killed off, not brought up to present, just left to languish.

I'd been pretty skeptical of the whole "Mac Nano" thing, but after seeing Air I could actually believe it. Build a simple box with no BTO options... it's just an appliance. Give it decent specs but no optical drive (offer the $99 USB one) and price it at $399 and you're good to go.

So what's the next reasonable place to announce updates? Or are we going to have to wait until summer?
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Eugene
careful with axes
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Hillsborough, CA
 
2008-01-16, 00:46

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthem View Post
Shocks me. Not killed off, not brought up to present, just left to languish.

I'd been pretty skeptical of the whole "Mac Nano" thing, but after seeing Air I could actually believe it. Build a simple box with no BTO options... it's just an appliance. Give it decent specs but no optical drive (offer the $99 USB one) and price it at $399 and you're good to go.

So what's the next reasonable place to announce updates? Or are we going to have to wait until summer?
Uhh...Apple doesn't need to fill the gap between the mini and AppleTV. I mean we've been arguing about how the mini and AppleTV should be merged into one product for months. Now that AppleTV actually has a purpose and a cheaper pricetag, it's clear no merger is going to take place. Why would we want to go through all that again at a lower pricepoint?

The solution isn't to bring the mini down closer to the AppleTV. They should leave it like it is and give it minor updates: Santa Rosa at least, Penryn hopefully, a minor aesthetic refresh, a price drop to the magic $499 people always rant about. I can't think of a good way to up-spec it other than giving it an IGP better than the GMA 950 (or even the X3100), so I'll leave that to your imagination.

Obviously my feelings on desktops are focused elsewhere. Apple needs to offer a full-fledged desktop, but the mini has its place in the $500-$800 'toy' computer range.
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pscates2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2008-01-16, 00:55

I'd get my sister a Mac mini if I felt just a skootch better about it, as though it was created and cared about in 2007/2008 worth a damn.

They always seem happy to just let it hang back, getting about one weak "update" a year (or longer).
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Luca
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Join Date: May 2004
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2008-01-16, 01:33

The mini is just such a horrible deal right now, Apple should save themselves the embarrassment and discontinue it. I mean, if they can't get it down to $400 or so at the same price, what's the point? Every other company that sells a desktop at $600 also includes a decent quality LCD monitor and a full-size (read: much faster and higher capacity) hard drive for that price.

They should just decide if they want to compete in the low end market or not.
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PB PM
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2008-01-16, 02:18

No update to the mini, short of making it more of a tower, could make it able to compete in the low end market, so why bother?
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Luca
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2008-01-16, 02:33

Quote:
Originally Posted by PB PM View Post
No update to the mini, short of making it more of a tower, could make it able to compete in the low end market, so why bother?
That's my point.
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chucker
 
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2008-01-16, 03:15

Anecdotal evidence: a friend of mine has recently bought a Mac. He's a bit of a hardcore gamer, with two custom-built machines with watercooling, modding and all the other crazy stuff. Completely Windows. Having switched careers to design, he got in touch with Macs at his new workplace. Within days, he got interested in Macs, and within weeks, he ordered his first one: a MacBook. I've never heard him praise a computer so much.

Why am I telling this story? Because he's so happy with it that he convinced his parents to get rid of their cheapo PC and buy a Mac mini instead. Now they're down to very few problems – despite it being a wholly new OS and platform for them to deal with – , and he's even happier because he doesn't have to support them any more. The Mac mini just sits there quietly and tinily and does its job. Never once did they complain that it's underpowered, that it's overpriced, that it's overdue for an upgrade, or that they can get a better deal from a different vendor. Because they don't care. Because they've never seen a computer that works so well for them.

For someone who has never before touched a Mac, the Mac mini fulfilled its very intention: to provide a low-end entry to the Mac platform.
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thegeriatric
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Join Date: May 2006
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2008-01-16, 05:58

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucker View Post
Anecdotal evidence: a friend of mine has recently bought a Mac. He's a bit of a hardcore gamer, with two custom-built machines with watercooling, modding and all the other crazy stuff. Completely Windows. Having switched careers to design, he got in touch with Macs at his new workplace. Within days, he got interested in Macs, and within weeks, he ordered his first one: a MacBook. I've never heard him praise a computer so much.

Why am I telling this story? Because he's so happy with it that he convinced his parents to get rid of their cheapo PC and buy a Mac mini instead. Now they're down to very few problems – despite it being a wholly new OS and platform for them to deal with – , and he's even happier because he doesn't have to support them any more. The Mac mini just sits there quietly and tinily and does its job. Never once did they complain that it's underpowered, that it's overpriced, that it's overdue for an upgrade, or that they can get a better deal from a different vendor. Because they don't care. Because they've never seen a computer that works so well for them.

For someone who has never before touched a Mac, the Mac mini fulfilled its very intention: to provide a low-end entry to the Mac platform.
I started my Mac experience on a mini 2 and a bit years ago, recently i bought a new mini top spec. Still loving it . Nuff Said.
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kretara
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2008-01-16, 09:48

I recently bought a refurb mini for $480 or so.
It is my primary desktop for now. For what I do at home (surfing, coding and letting the kids play games) it works fine.
Yes, it is very limiting and sometimes that drives me crazy. I have 9 firewire devices daisy chained right now and that just gets on my nerves (if you need device 8, you have to have devices 1-7 on also or -- ugh).

I bought my mini because I was using my powerbook more than anything else, so why have a powermac sitting under my desk? Overall, I'm not unhappy with the mini but neither am I totally happy with it like I was with my powermac.

You're looking at eons of repression getting purged. If only they'd let us jerk off.

Beware the man of one book. ~ Saint Thomas Aquinas
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Frank777
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2008-01-17, 12:15

I still don't understand why any modern Mac would possibly ship without a SuperDrive.
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PB PM
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2008-01-17, 12:57

That is the question isn't it, then again could you even call the Mac Mini modern, considering how often its updated?

If Apple really wanted to have a lower cost machine that is powerful, but doesn't cut too much into the iMac, they could transform the mini into a mini tower, and sell it for $899. Then again we've been over that at least 100 times around here, so I guess its not even worth talking about anymore.

I honestly still believe, based upon there treatment of it (updated once a year at the most) that the Mini will be phased out. Not because nobody wants it, I would rather have something like the mini on my desk than my Power Mac G4 (space hog), but the Power Mac wins hands down due to its expansion abilities, and having a real GPU.

Last edited by PB PM : 2008-01-17 at 13:40. Reason: Because I suck at proof reading
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Eugene
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Join Date: May 2004
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2008-01-17, 13:37

Quote:
Originally Posted by PB PM View Post
If Apple really wanted to have a lower cost machine that is powerful, but doesn't cut too much into the iMac, they could the mini into a mini tower, and sell it for $899. Then again we've been over that at least 100 times around here, so I guess its not even worth talking about anymore.
No, it's clearly a concept that isn't popular and nobody wants it!

Articles like this have no merit.

>$1000 would be a more likely starting point...
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PB PM
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2008-01-17, 13:44

Of course I want... I mean. I'm sure some people want it, but the likely hood of it happening gets smaller every day we move away from the (now ancient) Power Mac G4 era. The only way to be a Mac "gamer" is to have a Mac Pro, which isn't really designed or at a price point for the task. It shouldn't be that hard for Apple, just stick a Nvidia 8800GT in a headless iMac with 3.5" HD and off we go. Even if they offer lower clock speeds (to keep iMac sales up?) those who are gamers could just crack the thing open and slap in faster CPUs.
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Luca
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2008-01-17, 14:02

Repeat after me: Apple will never even attempt to compete in the gaming market.

They won't just be uncompetitive. I'm saying they're never going to even bother trying.

On the other hand, no computer builder is going to even approach the gaming performance per dollar of homebrew systems. Apple can't compete there no matter what, but neither can Dell or any other company for that matter. There's a limit to how good of a graphics card you can configure in any given Dell machine, and to get the highest end ones, you have to go for an XPS tower, which commands a very high price.

Booting into Windows on a Mac and using that to play Windows games is not Apple being competitive in the gaming market. That's just further driving the point home that the Mac OS is not, and never will be, a gamer's OS. There will never be enough games available for it, the hardware that can run OS X will never be powerful enough to run those games particularly well, and those games that do come out will be released several months late at the original retail price, after the Windows version dropped in price.

Besides, gamers will never, I repeat, never take Macs seriously. But it's clear that Apple doesn't want their business. Most gamers don't take any computer builder seriously, and Apple is especially bad because they'd be paying more than normal for an OS they'll never use and losing upgrade potential in the process.

So, games for OS X. There will always be a few, and they'll run much better now thanks to the Intel switch. But that very switch will prevent OS X gaming from ever being a serious proposition. Those who want to game a lot will just get a Windows machine, or if they do have a Mac, they'll boot into Windows all the time anyway. Those who don't want to game a lot will still have some options, and they'll actually run at a playable framerate now (unlike the PPC days, when you needed a Power Mac G5 just to get lag-free gameplay).
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Mugge
Thunderbolt, fuck yeah!
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
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2008-01-17, 14:06

Despite what some of you guys think, I believe that most Mini buyers don't really care about specs or updates. They are perfectly happy as long as they can run Office, internet and iLife. And that's well within the current Mini's capabilities. It might be a bad deal if you compare it to other non-Mac computers, but then again, they don't have OS X and iLife. And if that's what you want they never qualified for the comparison in the first place. My guess is that if people are opinionated enough to care about specs as well, then Apple would prefer to sell them some of their bigger and more expensive machines.

I personally think the Mini will stick around, until Apple fancies to replace it with something else in the same category. But don't get your hopes up for any mini towers or such. That doesn't seem to be the direction Apple is going in.
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Kickaha
Likes his boobies blue.
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Hell
 
2008-01-17, 14:24

Agreed.

I'm looking at replacing a G4 Cube that's been my server for the last couple of years. (And by 'server', I mean 'running MacOS X Server 10.3, hosting two domains, and running all the mail for our family as well a few other things.') I'm putting the main domain up at .mac, migrating the IMAP over to gmail, and now just need something to serve as a central file repository for the family, basic iLife/iWork station, and be an always-on unit I can Back To My Mac to when on the road.

A mini works nicely.

My other brain is hung like a horse too.
#IRC isn't old school.
Old school is being able to say 'finger me' with a straight face.
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Taskiss
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Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: St. Louis, MO
 
2008-01-17, 14:32

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post
I still don't understand why any modern Mac would possibly ship without a SuperDrive.
Talk to the folks that wanted a small notebook sans optical drive.

Other than a slightly higher price that I am comfortable with, I'd not hesitate to advise someone to purchase a mini. As it is, I'd recommend the entry level iMac to someone converting from the dark side. Keep the Windows box up and running for however long it takes to transfer your digital life from one to the other ... turn it off for 6 months, then donate the whole shebang to some non-profit organization and take the tax write-off.

http://www.globalstewards.org/computers.htm
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Eugene
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Join Date: May 2004
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2008-01-17, 14:33

Quote:
Originally Posted by Luca View Post
Repeat after me: Apple will never even attempt to compete in the gaming market.
You may be right here.

Quote:
Besides, gamers will never, I repeat, never take Macs seriously.
But you are dreadfully wrong here.

Quote:
So, games for OS X. There will always be a few, and they'll run much better now thanks to the Intel switch. But that very switch will prevent OS X gaming from ever being a serious proposition. Those who want to game a lot will just get a Windows machine, or if they do have a Mac, they'll boot into Windows all the time anyway.
If you only knew how many of my pro-gaming friends don't play on the latest hardware, and just want machines that work outright. If you knew how much they drool over current the Mac Pro and have voiced a desire for something in the $1200-1700 range minus monitor. Even if they did boot into Windows to game (for now), they'd still use OS X for everything else...and Apple still gets the hardware sale. If they really don't want this hardware segment, they should let someone else try.

If Apple ever does decide to build this machine and it flourishes...don't come in here praising it. I expect you to defend your position to the end.

Meanwhile I haven't bought a Mac Pro yet, and if something doesn't change I likely never will buy another Mac desktop again.

And remember, a down-spec'd Mac Pro isn't just a gaming machine. There's a lot of people who need expansion options that don't need the option of 8 cores and 32GB of RAM.

Last edited by Eugene : 2008-01-17 at 14:54.
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Reid
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Minneapolis, MN
 
2008-01-17, 14:36

I have had my finger on the trigger waiting for a good deal on a Mac mini for a couple of months now, to use in a home theater setting. I was hoping for an update at Macworld, but if it didn't come was prepared to get the current low-end model.

Then they came out with this Apple TV update, and suddenly I didn't see a need for the mini anymore. Now that it can do so much more, with rentals, HD, AirTunes, etc., the Mac mini suddenly seems like overkill for my needs. The only thing I feel like I'm giving up is broader codec support (and the fact that I'll have to hang onto my existing DVD player). But when it came down to it, I just couldn't justify an extra $300 for a few extra codecs, when I can always transcode stuff through VisuaHub.

Anyway, now that the Apple TV is so much more appealing than it was, I wonder if Apple will see a dip in Mac mini sales. I've never been clear on how many people are using them in the living room (the only people I know who have a mini are).
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pscates2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2008-01-17, 14:37

I'll just keep my eyes out for a (recent) Mac mini refurb for my sister...I'd like to get a current model (but refurbed and cheaper), because they have 1GB RAM and the Core 2 Duo stuff. Not really interested in a mini from 18 months ago. She'd love it because, yeah...surfing, e-mail, iTunes and digital photos is really it for her...right up the mini's alley! She currently uses iTunes and has an iPod, but she's got nothing comparable to iPhoto (and she's got a nice little Canon digital camera and two kids...she takes gobs of pics), so she's just got JPEGs strewn about all over the place, having to actually open them, individually, to see what anything is, etc.



It would almost be worth $500 just so she'd have iPhoto. All the rest - Leopard, the other iLife apps, no virus worries, etc. - would simply be icing on the cake!
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Luca
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2008-01-17, 17:34

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eugene View Post
If you only knew how many of my pro-gaming friends don't play on the latest hardware, and just want machines that work outright. If you knew how much they drool over current the Mac Pro and have voiced a desire for something in the $1200-1700 range minus monitor. Even if they did boot into Windows to game (for now), they'd still use OS X for everything else...and Apple still gets the hardware sale. If they really don't want this hardware segment, they should let someone else try.

If Apple ever does decide to build this machine and it flourishes...don't come in here praising it. I expect you to defend your position to the end.

Meanwhile I haven't bought a Mac Pro yet, and if something doesn't change I likely never will buy another Mac desktop again.

And remember, a down-spec'd Mac Pro isn't just a gaming machine. There's a lot of people who need expansion options that don't need the option of 8 cores and 32GB of RAM.
We may be more in agreement than you think. I know that a lot of people are fine with just playing recent games at decent framerates. That's something that any current iMac, MacBook Pro, or Mac Pro can do, even when configured with the lowest end graphics card. And a lot of those people could be considered gamers. That also covers people who mostly use their computer for other work, and only play games occasionally.

It's not that Macs are entirely bad for gaming... they used to be, before the Intel switch. But now they're good enough, even if you never boot into Windows, for most casual gamers.

I hate to sound like I'm backpedaling, but I think what I meant was that Apple's never going to make gaming a priority, and they'll never design a computer with gaming in mind. That fits with Apple's customer base: they almost never buy Macs mostly for gaming, but do sometimes play games. But I don't think it'll ever go past that. Apple won't ever design a computer specifically for gaming, and their customers won't generally buy a Mac primarily for gaming.
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PB PM
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2008-01-18, 03:05

Your right. Casual gaming is fine for example on my MBP. I just boot into Windows to play, Rome Total War, NHL 07 and a few others. COD2 is the only Mac game I've bought since getting my MBP with dual boot abilities.
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Anthem
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2008-01-19, 09:42

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mugge View Post
Despite what some of you guys think, I believe that most Mini buyers don't really care about specs or updates.
They care about capabilities and price. A Superdrive and a $499 price point will take care of that just fine. Put it in Target next to the iPod, and they'll sell like hotcakes.
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Mugge
Thunderbolt, fuck yeah!
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
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2008-01-19, 09:48

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthem View Post
They care about capabilities and price. A Superdrive and a $499 price point will take care of that just fine. Put it in Target next to the iPod, and they'll sell like hotcakes.
The lack of SuperDrive has me puzzled out as well. I fully agree with you on this one.
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Eugene
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2008-01-19, 13:01

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mugge View Post
Despite what some of you guys think, I believe that most Mini buyers don't really care about specs or updates. They are perfectly happy as long as they can run Office, internet and iLife. And that's well within the current Mini's capabilities. It might be a bad deal if you compare it to other non-Mac computers, but then again, they don't have OS X and iLife.
They don't care outright, but they do care when comparing the mini to its all-in-one equivalents... For $500 more you get a 13.3" screen, a faster CPU, a faster IGP and portability. For $600 more you get a 20" screen, a faster CPU, triple the HDD space, a DVD burner, discrete graphics. Don't forget you also get a keyboard and mouse/trackpad with that too...

The mini should be bumped up to feature parity with at least the MacBook and dropped to $499. I still don't think the DVD burner is critical
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copland
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Join Date: Nov 2005
 
2008-01-20, 12:34

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eugene View Post
They don't care outright, but they do care when comparing the mini to its all-in-one equivalents... For $500 more you get a 13.3" screen, a faster CPU, a faster IGP and portability. For $600 more you get a 20" screen, a faster CPU, triple the HDD space, a DVD burner, discrete graphics. Don't forget you also get a keyboard and mouse/trackpad with that too...

The mini should be bumped up to feature parity with at least the MacBook and dropped to $499. I still don't think the DVD burner is critical
I second that totally!

Last edited by copland : 2008-01-20 at 12:36. Reason: edited for typos
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Mugge
Thunderbolt, fuck yeah!
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
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2008-01-20, 12:58

Indeed, Eugene.

Let's hope it's on Apple's list.
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turtle
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Join Date: Mar 2005
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2008-01-20, 14:23

I would love to see the Mini updated. It would be awesome to have a little more available to me for some of the things I do until I can get/build a Mac Pro.

A price drop would make it more appealing and I'd likely jump on it before I even thought more about it.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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Anthem
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2008-01-20, 22:29

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eugene View Post
I still don't think the DVD burner is critical
iMovie/iDVD is Apple's killer app. iTunes plays on Windows, and iPhoto is no better than Picasa. But the simplicity and power of iMovie/iDVD is simply unparalleled in the home consumer market, even if you're spending hundreds of dollars. Not allowing people to use those apps without buying a whole new system is completely crazy. Plus, the price differential is negligible these days.

Superdrive needs to be standard across all product lines.
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turtle
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2008-01-20, 23:41

At this point it should be standard only because Apple would probably get the saving in buying more SDs over CDs price savings. They really are just about one in the same right now. Heck, the retail place I'm working now even has nothing but the PC version of SDs. Some of these things are only $450!

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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