Motley Fool Take on the Mac Mini

Check out this article by Seth Jayson at The Fool. In the intro to the article he claims that Steve Jobs and Apple have officially jumped the shark with the introduction of the iPod Shuffle and the Mac Mini. Now, coming from a straight stock analysis viewpoint, it’s hard to argue: Apple is ridiculously overpriced both before and after MacWorld 2005. Anyone considering a purchase would do well to smack their head against the wall repeatedly.

However, after some cogent monetary analysis, he veers off into hazardous territory for even tech stock analysts: Real technical evaluation of a product. Here, he comes up way short:

The Mac Mini — I’m pretty sure Minimac is something you get from Kraft — is a cute little device. Yes, it cribs mercilessly from PC-based mini-ITX designs that have been around for over a year now, but it does put low-end Mac guts into a smaller, stylish little Mac package.

Well, let’s forget for the moment that not only is it ridiculously smaller than nearly all mini-ITX machines out there, it’s also for the most part cheaper – especially once you consider the thing has a 40GB drive and a slick slot loading DVD player/CD-RW built in. He goes on to say:

Mac fans who’ve been sipping Steve’s Kool-Aid have often claimed that price — in addition to various Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) conspiracies — is the only thing keeping the masses from switching to their favorite brand, but take heed. Even if that were true, a quick online check shows you can get a comparable, full Dell (Nasdaq: DELL) system for $450.

Comparable? While puffing on the crack pipe, Seth seems to have forgotten that his $450 Dell is:

  • In a full tower case
  • Doesn’t come with photo and video editing software (iPhoto and iMovie)
  • Doesn’t have a complete office suite (Appleworks)
  • Doesn’t have a functional browser (Safari – no, IE doesn’t count)
  • Missing email with full SPAM filtering.
  • Comes with XP home

This last point, the OS, is probably the best thing that sells the Mac Mini the most besides the price. Sure, if this were a PC for $500 running XP, it wouldn’t be worth a damn. But when you have an OS that actually doesn’t require some poor sod to spend hours fixing his parents computer every few weeks, that’s worth something, and apparently is totally lost on Seth. He completely misses the boat on who this thing is targeted towards: those that were thinking of switching, but price was a factor; for those who already have machines, that this could be a viable drop-in replacement. He dismisses this with one quick brain-dead sentence: “I think it’s ludicrous to expect that someone buying a Mac — and looking for Apple style, after all — is going to want to plug in a pizza-stained, three-year-old keyboard and a mouse chock full of desk scum.”

It’s not about simply style, you moron – as a programmer and R&D manager, I switched two years ago because I can do things with my machines instead of spending countless hours keeping the machines themselves functional. It’s about getting things done, period. If there’s some style there, big bonus.

Well, we’ll have to see how the Mac Mini fairs- by all accounts, Apple is selling a zillion of the things and they’re already backordered for weeks. Seth, stick to stock analysis. Without some sort of lame-ass insight-less product “review”, you can convince people to not buy Apple stock. I mean Seth – don’t buy Apple stock because they came out with some new long-awaited products. Buy the products instead. You’ll be much happier.