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Expo Attendees Like GarageBand, Pan iPod Mini Price

From The Show Floor - Expo Attendees Like GarageBand, Pan iPod Mini Price

by , 9:00 AM EST, January 8th, 2004

For Eric Kitchens of San Diego, Calif., GarageBand is just what he's looking for at a great price. For Renee Fackler of Dallas, Texas, the iPod Mini is too expensive for the price. Just two of the many interests and opinions at Macworld Expo in San Francisco, as attendees peruse over the dozens of new products and wonder, "Is this product right for me?"

Of the largest interests among attendees has been the newly announced iPod Mini, but it's US$249 price tag is leaving many interviewed by The Mac Observer questioning is value. Fackler openly admits she has a small library of music that would easily fit on a iPod Mini, but the price is too much versus competitors. "US$249 is too much," she said. "I can pay US$50 more and get the 15GB iPod, which is more than I need, or pay $150 for another brand with a little less bells and whistles. I'm wondering if it's worth it.

Many others feel the same way about the iPod Mini. Of the 25 people interviewed about the opinions of the new portable device, 17 thought the price was unjustified. The remainder thought the price was worth it, with the device's overall size being a contributing factor in them wanting it. Of the 25, 14 said they would rather pay more for the 15GB, original iPod, priced at US$299.

"I love the size!", said Robin Wright, a graphics designer from Englewood, Calif. "It's perfect for me and I'll be buying one, despite it being a little more than what I wanted to pay...Being able to tie it into my desktop Mac and the functionality with so many other devices and software applications is a real added benefit to me."

"Steve I think deceived keynote watchers by saying the Mini was competing with players only US$50 cheaper," said John Engler of Denver, Colo. "That Rio player I can get for about US$150, not US$199. I know. I've been looking at buying one. I just wonder if this is worth it and I've got to really think about it."

"He's trying to justify the price based on the 4GB capacity," commented Scott McCarthy. "But in his keynote and on the (Apple) Web site, they say little about it being a hard-drive-based player. If you want to play up better features, you need to explain why it's better. They haven't done that to my satisfaction."

McCarthy's comments were interestingly mirrored by others who had the impression that the iPod Mini was a flash-based player and did not use a hard-drive, like its bigger brother. When Susan Page was asked about the Mini, she said she was impressed by the fact that it was a player with no moving parts. But when told it used a hard drive to store and play music files, she said, "Really?! Well I might think twice. I want durability. I think I might look at other flash-based options as well."

While those standing in the Apple booth were curiously interested in GarageBand, Apple's consumer recording studio software application, many thought it was cool, but couldn't see themselves using it. Of 18 people asked about it after seeing a demonstration, 11 said they would not use it, with the rest showing an interest. Of the 18 people, the majority had played a musical instrument sometime in their life.

"I'm going to use this," said Kyle Borders of San Francisco, Calif. "It looks like a very cool product and easy to use. This is going to allow me to do things between myself playing guitar and my friend playing keyboards that we couldn't do before. We can now sound like a big, professional band."

"I'll play around with it, but I don't know if I'll use it that much," commented Janis Wins of Seattle, Wash. "It looks easy to use and learn and that might be something that wouldn't intimidate me. I'll need to spend some more time with."

Others who say GarageBand thought it had great potential, but it needs third-party training books or follow-along CDs or DVDs to get people to think creatively. "Teach me to use it and put all the pieces together and I think I'd feel more comfortable with it," said Diane Morganstern of Los Angeles, Calif.

It was the products that didn't come out at Expo that many talked about, however. No new consumer Macs made Christine Cox disappointed. "I don't want to buy a new Mac and it be out dated in two months. That always happens to me!" When told that Apple announced no new Macs last January at Expo, but came out with new CPUs about two weeks later, Cox said, "Thanks for telling me. I'll wait a little longer."

"I was hoping for a faster laptop to be announced," said Joe Bodley. "I hope we'll see something else soon to fill a void and give me faster speed to edit video."

"I've never seen an Expo with so many small accessories," commented Larry Wakeman. "Lots of iPod accessories and video add-ons. It feels good to know third-party companies are thinking more about making their products available on the Mac and for the iPod."

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