iPod Shuffle and Mac Mini — that’s pretty much this year’s Macworld Expo in a nutshellNone of the other announcements in Jobs’s keynote address compare to the iPod Shuffle or Mac Mini in terms of interest, appeal, or potential to change the industry.
Mac OS X 10.4 looks like a solid upgrade, but we didn’t learn much more than what was revealed last summer at WWDCThe UI has changed a bit, but the features haven’t, and nor has the “first half of 2005” ship dateiLife ’05 looks like a solid update, and the Pages demo made it appear to be a very fine 1.0 productBut, let’s face it, by the time Jobs left the stage, it was obvious to anyone with half a clue that this year’s Macworld Expo will be remembered years from now for two things: the introductions of the Mac Mini and the iPod ShuffleEverything else was periphery.
In several ways, it seems appropriate that the two products were introduced at the same showBoth products are stripped-down siblings to Apple’s mid- and high-end productsBoth products notably lack displays. More importantly, both products are defined by their price tagsThis is not a coincidence.
本周苹果公告的更大消息 - 该公司gut message, if you will — isn’t related to the products themselves, but rather to Apple as a whole, and the Apple brand, and it can’t be stated any better than David Pogue’s summation对于纽约时报：
The iPod Shuffle and the Mac Mini are bold attempts to shatter the common wisdom that Apple makes gorgeous, expensive thingsFor the first time in its history, Apple has begun to make gorgeous, inexpensive things.
First off, props to TheMacMind for their exclusive scoop on the iPod Shuffle form factor他们的呈现的模型was off the mark, but clearly, you can see that description from their source at Apple was spot-onThe real Shuffle is longer, narrower, and thinner than their mock-up, but they were in the ballparkI suspect they just misinterpreted the description from their source.
What they nailed was the lack of any display, and the circular controller with play/pause in the middle, volume on the top and bottom, and previous/next song on the left and rightThey also had the laniard, and the $99 starting price这是一个重要的独家新闻。
Second, anti-props to me, for dismissing TheMacMind’s report as “not very plausible”一世写了：
我只是看不出任何屏幕作为一个可行的设计Without a graphical interface, the only thing left would be an audio interface — some sort of text-to-speech output to read menu items, playlist titles, and so forth through the earphones. This seems like a recipe for a frustrating experience, trying to locate a specific song that isn’t a few spots away from the one you’re currently listening to.
Part of the reason the original iPod was so successful at the outset is that its display was larger than most other competing playersI just don’t see how you could get an even vaguely decent experience without any display at allIf I’m wrong, it’d certainly be a bold decision on Apple’s part, and a hell of a scoop for TheMacMind.
Well, I was right about it being a bold decision, and right about it being a hell of a scoop for TheMacMind — but, otherwise, it looks like I was wrong, in that the iPod Shuffle indeed has no screen.
但从为什么我认为不太可能，我认为我是对的The iPod Shuffle clearly and explicitly offers only a subset of the features offered by the rest of the iPod line-upThings that are easy on a regular iPod — finding one particular song, or all the songs from one particular artist — aren’t even possible on an iPod Shuffle.
Pre-release rumors of a $99 iPod — including TheMacMind’s, for what it’s worth — speculated on 256 MB capacity playersWhy? Because that’s what 99 bucks tends to get you in the current digital music player market为了应对这一情况,我写：
Generous storage capacity is a major factor in the iPod experienceThe idea that Apple would produce an iPod with only, say, 256 MB of storage strikes me as incredibly unlikely. Such a move would almost certainly generate a short-term spike in unit sales — but at the expense of the iPod brand256 MB just isn’t enough storageOnce you start talking about 512 MB or 1 GB of flash-memory storage, you’re looking at prices that bump up against the existing iPod Mini.
Right there is the big mistake I made in my “will there be a flash-based iPod?” analysisI was right that 256 MB just isn’t enough storage, but I was wrong,方式错了, that 512 MB or 1 GB would push prices up into the $200 rangeI based my hypothetical prices-per-megabyte on the current market for flash-memory players.
我的错误并没有意识到低成本的iPod不会带来苹果加盟当前市场对低端玩家,所以苹果重新定义低端玩家的市场Not because the iPod Shuffle has amazing new features (it doesn’t), but because Apple is going to sell so damned many of them, and everyone knows it.
I mean, does anyone doubt that the iPod Shuffle will soon be the best-selling sub-$200 music player in the world? If not by the end of this month, certainly by the end of this quarterThis means Apple is able to purchase components — specifically, flash-memory chipsets — in quantities that their competitors can’tWhich means Apple gets a lower price on components, which means Apple can afford to put 512 MB of memory into a $99 player, a price point where the competition only has 256.
这值得重申：Megabyte-for-megabyte, the iPod Shuffle is cheaper than its competition.To my memory, this is the first product in Apple’s history where this is soWith the iPod, the tables have turned and Apple is on the right side of the volume discounts that come with majority market share.
这是一个高端玩家以低廉的价格They’re going to sell zillions.
Jobs announced during the keynote that Apple sold about 4.5 million iPod during the holiday quarter, and Apple reiterated this figure in its季度财务报表上周发布For competitive reasons, however, Apple does not break down iPod sales by model; we know they sold 4.5 million total, but not how many of each model.
But they do publish the total revenue from iPods, which we can divide by unit sales to derive the average selling price (ASP), which for last quarter was $264The ASP is based on the price Apple charges per unit; for products sold via Apple stores (including their online store), this is the retail priceBut for for products sold through resellers, the ASP is based on the wholesale price resellers pay to Apple — which is obviously less than retail.
Because we don’t know Apple’s wholesale prices (and I’m guessing those wholesale prices vary depending on the size of the reseller), we can’t use this $264 ASP as the basis for any sort of conclusive derivation of iPod sales per model但是我认为我们可以做一些非常粗略的猜测。
For example, only considering retail prices, and only considering sales conducted in U.Sdollars, for every $599 iPod Photo, Apple would need to sell24售价$ 249 iPod Minis，平均售价264美元That is not to say that we know that the iPod Mini sold 24 times better than the 60 GB iPod Photo, but I think it’s a fair guessGiven that the iPod Mini was the only iPod model whose retail price was below $264, I think it’s fair to assume they sold well over the holidaysThe $299 20 GB iPod is close to the $264 ASP, and its wholesale price is probably非常关闭The remaining iPods in the line-up, however, cost quite a bit more than $264.
I suspect the high-end iPods are selling well, but the lower-priced iPods are selling greatPrice is a huge factor in mass market consumer electronics, so, display-be-damned, expect to see next quarter’s iPod ASP dip way below $200As the saying goes, they’ll make it up on volume.
The cost to Apple for this bold move? Well, without question, it comes at a price of diminishing the iPod brandWhat it means to be an iPod is less now than it was a week agoAll previous iPods had three things the iPod Shuffle lacks:
This isn’t criticism; there’s just no such thing as a free lunchA big part of the iPod Shuffle’s appeal in the mass market is that it says “iPod”There’s a reason Apple waited until now to enter the low-end market — and don’t forget that many people expected to see $100-150 iPods at去年的Macworld博览会2004 was the year when the iPod reached the phenomenon statusThe “iPod” brand is now so strong and so well known that I think there’s very little risk in the fact that the Shuffle is much less of a player than all previous iPods.
Even if the iPod Shuffle becomes the best-selling player in the iPod line-up (and, hence, the best-selling player in the world), the word “iPod” is already firmly established in the public consciousness as a high-quality, high-capacity playerApple has cashed in a bit of the iPod brand value in exchange for a shot to dominate the entire digital music player spectrum, from top to bottom.
The short version of the entire Expo keynote is “Pretty muchexactly what Think Secret reported”This includes the blockbuster new Mac Mini, about which Think Secret accurately reported both the specs and the starting price ($499).
The one surprise Jobs still had for the keynote was the astonishing Mac Mini form factor: a 6.5-inch square, 2-inch-high box with a finish very much similar to the iPod Mini (echoing the similarities of the iMac G5 to the white iPods)How small is the Mini? It’s about the same footprint as the PowerMac G4 Cube — but it’s about五分之一the height这是彻头彻尾的小(Although it is worth noting that the power supply is in an external brick.)
(Also, in the midst of pointing out all the things I was wrong about pre-Expo, I’d like to just point out here that I做了 toss out the name “iMac Mini”一周前If you conveniently forget the leading ‘i’ — and I have — I correctly guessed the name.)
What’s to like about the Mac Mini, other than the price and adorable form factor? For one thing, it’s a nice computerSpec-wise it’s pretty much an eMac, but $300 cheaperIt stands up well compared against any single-processor G4 Mac Apple has ever made.
一个性能抱怨是硬盘 -according to Jason Snell’s first-look report for MacCentral, the Mini uses 2.5-inch 4,200 RPM laptop drives, which are relatively slow.
The eMac, in fact, which up until this week was the lowest-cost Mac in Apple’s line-up, suddenly looks overpricedYou can get a Mac Mini and a brand-new standalone 17-inch CRT display (not from Apple, mind you, but, say,从亚马逊) for over $100 less than the cost of an eMac. You could even get a19英寸CRT显示屏and still come out $100 aheadThere’s still something to be said for the all-in-one form factor, but there’s no way the eMac’s built-in display is worth $300.
唯一的其他重要抱怨是记忆The Mini ships with only 256 MB of RAM by default — which everyone knows simply isn’t enough RAM to run Mac OS X comfortablyApple has been selling Macs with too little memory ever since the original model rolled out with a mere 128 KB. Today, 256 MB is the default memory allotment across the lower end of Apple’s entire Mac product line — but 512 MB is the baseline for a reasonable Mac OS X experience(The Mac Mini’s slow hard disk makes the prospect of virtual memory swapping even more dreadful.)
Most experienced and semi-experienced Mac users buy their Macs with the minimum allotment of memory from Apple, and buy upgrades from third party dealers — because factory-installed memory upgrades from Apple will cost you upwards of two or even three times the going market rate for RAM chips如with the Mini, an upgrade to 1 GB costs about $425 from Apple, almost doubling the price of a $499 MiniWhereas 1 GB chips from third party dealers价格低于200美元。
挂钩是安装The level of difficulty of installing your own RAM in Apple hardware generally ranges from “really easy” to “somewhat easy”(The hardest part, especially the first time you do it, is working up the gumption to apply sufficient force to snap the chip into place; the clips that hold the chips in place are generally a bit stiff, in my experience.) But as I第一次看到指出通过Nat熨斗, footnote 5 on Apple’sMac Mini技术规格页面状态：
Memory, AirPort Extreme and internal Bluetooth upgrades must be performed by an Apple Authorized Service provider; fees may apply.
The reason for this restriction is that the Mac Mini case is not easily opened亨利诺尔，报告MacInTouch, asked an Apple representative at the show about the upgradability of the Mini:
Apple “does not recommend” that users upgrade the memory themselves — you’re supposed to have a service provider do it if you want to add more after purchase — but doing it yourself does not void the warranty unless you damage somethingA booth person told me the memory slot is easily accessible once you get the case open.
由此判断Mac Mini的内部的照片, the RAM slot is indeed easily accessible once the case is opened.
As for opening the case, someone who has seen one opened sent the following report via email:
I had the pleasure of watching one be disassembled tonight. There are six clips on three sides (none in the back) that latch onto a lip in the top coverA standard issue putty knife and some assistance from a jack knife were all that was needed to crack the case内存插槽在一边I counted 12 screws removed to get to the Airport and Bluetooth modules on the very bottomIt looks like you have to remove the fan to swap the hard drive but we did not try thatNo visible signs of entry were evident.
Once Mac Minis start shipping, I’m looking forward to seeing more field reports on getting the case apart — hopefully including photos.
Everyone — from Wall Street analysts to long-time Apple customers — has been badgering Apple to create a low-cost Mac for yearsApple’s stated reason for not having done so was not that they didn’t think there was demand for such a machineRather, they didn’t think they could turn a profit by doing so.
For all the hand-wringing over Apple’s market share, what’s notable about Apple’s computer business over the past five or six years is that it’s been fairly consistently profitableWhereas most PC manufacturers have been taking regular baths in red ink, with the lone exception being Dell(And it’s a big exception, because Dell has been quite profitable indeed during this period.)
For example, despite its five percent market share and world-famous brand name, IBM lost money on its PC unit three years in a row, prompting the company tosell its PC business to the Chinese company Lenovo。
It’s clear that Apple used the design and engineering skills that have crammed lots of computer power into the iMac G5, Apple’s laptops, and the iPod to make the Mac Mini a solid block of a systemBut to hear Apple representatives tell it, the company’s real goal was not just to make a tiny Mac, or a low-cost MacIt was, to paraphrase one Apple executive, to solve the problem of how to make a $499 computer without it being a piece of junk.
为了实现如此低的价格，需要削减角落Most PC manufacturers cut corners内the box, selling low-end PCs that generally lack such niceties as DVD-playing/CD-burning combo drives, FireWire, and high-speed networking portsWhat Apple has done, rather ingeniously, is cut corners外the box: no display, no keyboard, no mouse.
This is clever because many prospective Mac Mini purchasers really do have spare keyboards, mice, and displaysAnd if they don’t, they can be purchased cheaply(Apple, in fact, quietly cut the prices of their own standard keyboards and mice to $29 each.) Plus, these are things anyone can easily plug in; as opposed to say, upgrading from a plain-jane CD-ROM to a combo drive, which is way beyond the ken of a typical user.
The margins on the Mac Mini may well be so tight that leaving off the keyboard and mouse is the difference that allows Apple to turn a profit. In addition to saving on the cost of those components, Apple also saves on packaging and shipping — the Mac Mini package is小。
The Mac Mini is exactly what everyone hoped it would be: a pretty good Mac for only $499 — hundreds of dollars lower than any previous computer Apple has ever soldThat it comes in an astonishingly small, elegant case is the icing on the cake.
嗯，几乎是每个人都希望的，就是这样In what can only be described as one of the most wrong-headed pieces of Mac commentary ever written — which is saying a lot —比尔帕尔默宣称the Mac Mini “groundbreakingly stupid”先生Palmer spent the entirety of early January adamantly arguing against rumors of a $499 Mac, not on the basis that Apple couldn’t produce such a box, but that they shouldn’tWhen Apple did just that, MrPalmer came unhinged, going so far as to argue that the Mac Mini is in fact a “barrier” to switching:
But regardless of whether today’s debacle is the result of Steve’s absence from the company or the absense [原文如此] of Steve’s brain from his body, the result will be the same: egg all over Apple’s face, public embarrassment, bad PR for the brand, and opportunity wastedPeople were getting ready to line up around the block to Switch [原文如此] to the Mac in 2005, and up until today Apple was ready to embrace them with a product line that was understandable, honest, and made senseBut instead they’ll be greeted with a train-wreck of a line-up that’s going to make them less likely, not more likely, to actually buy a Mac.
这足以让一个愿望Palmer were accepting wagers on Mac Mini unit sales for 2005Although the prospect of that seems akin to placing “end-of-the-world-coming-soon” bets with a street-corner lunatic.
即使是保罗Thurrott喜欢迷你, which shows you how far out in left field Mr帕尔默是瑟罗特的反应：
So does it suck? Oh no它并不糟透了It does not suck at allThe Mac Mini is a revolutionary product, one whose ramifications will be felt around the PC industry for months to come我喜欢它我喜欢他们这样做。
Mac Mini是令人羡慕的Mac Mini很漂亮The Mac Mini is affordableThe Mac Mini is small, quiet, and elegantLike an iPod, it has trade-offs when compared to similarly-priced PC productsBut you know what? I don’t care. They’re going to sell millions of these thingsPC people will be able to get into a Mac for next to nothingAnd Mac market share will grow记住我的话这很重要。
iPod Shuffle和Mac Mini是由他们的价格点。What kind of iPod can we do for $99? What kind of Mac for $499?
With the iPod Shuffle, they seem almost certain to succeed at all three. It’s hard to imagine a scenario in which the iPod Shuffle won’t sell like hotcakesWith their current momentum and pop culture status, anything labeled “iPod” and sold for only $99 is likely to succeed.
Rather than offer a player with a display that’s too small and navigation controls that don’t work well, Apple has produced a player with the bare minimum of functionality: play/pause, volume, next/previousThe thinking being that it’s better not to offer a feature at all than to offer a frustrating implementationThey come out ahead by packing in double the storage capacity of competing players at the same prices.
As for bringing in customers new to the Apple brand, the consumer equation clearly favors Apple:What would you rather buy for a hundred bucks: an elegant 512 MB iPod, or a 256 MB Brand-X player?
Mac Mini, # 1和# 2似乎确定下注#3, however, is uncertain.
Mac Mini是肯定要卖The G4 Cube redux this is not, although a few surface similarities are apparentBut the differences are vast: the Cube offered mid-range performance at high-end prices; customers rejected the Cube simply because it was too expensiveFor the same $1,600, you could get a PowerMac that was significantly faster.
The Mac Mini, on the other hand, offers mid-range performance (lower-end of mid-range, admittedly) at low-end pricesYou simply can’t get more Mac than this for $500.
A few years ago, when the G4 was Apple’s processor for the flagship PowerMac line, the chip was a huge disappointmentThis was Motorola’s fault, but Apple paid the price, with top-of-the-line hardware that stayed at the same MHz for an entire year, while the rest of industry continued to follow Moore’s LawNow that the G4 has become Apple’s lower-power-consumption, lower-cost processor, however, the chip is serving Apple very well.
While offering adequate performance for its price, the Mac Mini strikes me as very unlikely to steal away sales that would have otherwise gone to high-end Apple products such as PowerMacs, PowerBooks, or iMac G5s. Apple is going to sell plenty of Mac Minis to existing Mac users, but I think they’re usually going to serve as second or even third computers, not primary workstations.
The uncertainty is whether the Mac Mini is enough to sway switchers. Apple’s original “Switch” campaign, backed by a series of high-profile TV and magazine advertisements, fizzled out without making a dent in Apple’s overall market share.
But for all Apple’s previous failed attempts to gain significant market share against the Wintel duopoly — and for Apple, even just a one or two percent gain in the overall PC market would be quite significant — they’ve never before made a concerted push by releasing a machine that’s within everyone’s budget.
With millions of happy iPod users new to the Apple brand, and millions of unhappy Windows users fed up with crapware security issues, there’s never been a better time for Apple to make a move into the low end of the market.
The one-two punch of the Mac Mini and iPod Shuffle comprise the most aggressive, boldest venture in the Jobs 2.0 era at Apple.