I Wanna Be a Snowflake!

March 14th, 2006  |  Published in old and busted

The Apple Blog: Commoditisation:

> In the Mac mini we see the confirmation of a trend, confirmation of the emergence of a new era of Apple hardware, made by Intel and packaged up by Apple. It works, and it may mean that we have fewer iBook-logic-board-failure-like issues, because Intel’s hardware is generally pretty good, if not adventurous. But we are left with the realisation that there is now so little that differentiates the Mac from a soulless black box from the likes of Dell, and – for me at least – that leaves a rather bitter taste in the mouth. All in all I can’t help but feel that yet another little bit of the Apple difference has died this week.

I think I’m gonna hurl.


The real beef here isn’t the hardware specs: The Mac mini wasn’t a graphics powerhouse when it was a PPC machine. To the extent it existed and I was able to continue feeling good about my eMac ought to be comment on just how little the G4 minis advanced the low end consumer line. The real beef is the idea that owning a Mac won’t signify as much for the person owning it now that the relatively well-documented and widely understood design tradeoffs involved in Intel-based gear are part of the Mac hardware experience.

In other words, the mini was kind of a dog in absolute terms. Anyone who’s dealt with the low end of Apple’s line knows it. Minis weren’t a machine I’d have recommended to anyone but the mythical Aunt-Tilliesque word processing/web surfing/mail sending Mac neophyte. When it was a PPC-powered dog, however, it was possible to get away with the bullshit hand-waving about “the megahertz myth” and gigafrinks, vectorized gaggle-spot infraction stoppages and Jobs-juice magical healing wonder powers. Now that it’s an Intel-powered dog with a paltry little processor and graphics up to little more than pushing windows around the screen, the gig is up, and owning one makes you about as much of a special snowflake as that loser with an eMachine he got on the sale table in the back at Office Depot.

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