At the Calgary branch of WestWorld Computers, Jim Dzaman was rushing the renovations late last month for a special occasion.
He was hoping to tie in the grand opening of the store with the Jan. 29 Canadian release of Apple’s tiny Mac Mini.
The interest from would-be buyers has been “”fantastic,””
said Dzaman, general manager of the store, which is one of four in the Western Canada-based chain.
“”We’re going to have trouble meeting demand in the first few weeks, he said.
“”We’ve ordered more of this Mac than we’ve ordered of any Mac in history.””
“”The market has been waiting for this,”” agreed Sara Meurling, general manager of Carbon Computing in Toronto.
“”We think the Mac Mini will move well. A sub-$800 Mac is certainly something that’s been hoped for, for a long time.””
List prices for the two models are $629 and $749. To get that low, the machine comes without a keyboard or monitor.
However, Meurling doesn’t see that as a disadvantage. Many full-size Mac buyers are opting for wireless keyboards and monitors, she pointed out.
But for the Mac Mini that requires buying an optional Bluetooth module. Adding more memory to the base 256Mb of DDR RAM will drive the price up more, unless the buyer has a spare monitor and keyboard.
In a research note Gartner analyst Martin Reynolds said the Mini “”signals a resurgence in interest in the truly small form factor computer.”” But, he added, to be widely adopted by business it will need more software. He also doubts the Mini will cause a significant shift away from PCs.
However, he said it will allow Apple to re-enter homes of consumers who only own PCs.
He also believes third parties will start marketing USB peripheral boxes that fully integrate the Mini into a home theatre.
The all-white Mac Mini is a mere 16.5 cm square (6.5 inches) by 5 cm (2 inches) tall.
The base model comes with a 1.25GHz PowerPC G4 processor, 256Mb of DDR RAM (expandable to 1GB), a 40GB hard drive, an ATI Radeon 9200 graphics chip with 32MB of DDR SDRAM and
a DVD/CD-RW combo drive. It also has one FireWire 400 port, two USB 2.0 ports, a DVI output and a VGA output.
There’s also built-in 10/100Base-T Ethernet and a 56K V.92 modem.
A more powerful version comes with a 1.42GHz CPU and an 80GB hard drive.
Both models come with OS-X version 10.3, multimedia software, 90 days free telephone support and a one-year limited warranty.
Also hitting stores is the latest in the iPod line, the Shuffle, a flash-memory version of the music player the size of a package of gum.
The Shuffle, to come in 512MB and 1GB versions starting at $129, can be loaded by plugging into a USB port or the optional PC dock. It can hold up to 240 songs, depending on the size of player and music.
Apple says its rechargeable battery is good for up to 12 hours continuous playback.
“”Both (the Shuffle and the Mini) are going to be good opportunities,”” said Dzaman.