Commentary: An Apple Renaissance…

Just a few quick comments, not exactly genealogy related (well it could be – the number of genealogists using Macs may start to rise)….all concerning the Mac mini.

There has been a lot of talk over the past day or so about Best Buy once again selling Macs (Mac minis specifically) in their brick-and-mortar stores, and not just online (as they had been in the recent past) . Although their website mentions only that they are coming to their retail stores and not an exact date, various rumor sites are reporting within a month or two. Same with Target (which had them online, but halted sales because of supply concerns, which should be addressed within a month or two as well).

It’s been quite a long time since Macs have enjoyed this much visibility. With a $500-$600 pricetag, with problems/concerns people (particularly parents) had with security, popups, spyware, etc. with other platforms, could this be a revival of sorts? Sure, Apple has sold a lot of Power Macs, iMacs, PowerBooks, and iBooks over the past few years, but how much of that was too previous Mac owners? We know a lot of college students picked up PBs and iBooks, but their numbers were spread out over several years.

All I know is, I’ve been reading a lot of forums, and I’ve seen a lot of Windows users ordering these and being very excited (to they point they are counting down in the threads to when it shows up on the doorstep). I’ve also been in two different Apple Stores over the past week, and both have been a lot busier than normal. I happened to be in one last saturday when the Mac minis, iLife ’05, and iWork went on sale, and it was almost as busy as a grand opening of an Apple Store. Some of that can be attributed to interest in the iPod shuffle, and the updates to iLife and the release of iWork, but it appeared that every third person out the door had a Mac mini. More than a few were either Windows users, or had used Macs years ago and came back, going by comments I overheard, and conversations I had.

What to make of all of this? The Mac mini is shaping up to be bigger than I think many of us could have imagined. Once again we heard critics say “it won’t sell, why would somebody buy a computer with a mouse, keyboard, and display, etc.”, and once again the critics were wrong.

Expect to see a lot of new activity very soon, from new users. Many people have their Mac minis already. Many of those who switch to Macs from PCs, aren’t going to be in a hurry to switch back anytime soon. I think at this point, with OS X as stable and mature as it is, that anybody would be hardpressed to move back. It’s fast becoming a cliche, but I’ll go ahead and say it – the Mac mini was twenty years late, but better late than never.