Keynote Attendees Positive On Mac mini, Unsure Of iPod Shuffle

SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- Steve Jobs delivered another killer keynote Tuesday at Macworld San Francisco. TMO was out in the halls following the keynote, and as always, attendees had a lot to say.

"Perfect," said Michael, who is a corporate research director. "Well done, well prepared, good reception, and amazing new products."

Bill, an IT Manager, summed up the prevailing opinion: "All of the products that they introduced were exactly what they needed, and at exactly the right price point. Particularly the Mac mini and the iPod shuffle." John, who works for a computer networking company said simply, "I thought it was better than last year!"

Not everyone was fully pleased. One attending IT technician explained: "It was okay. He didnit speak to the things corporate users are looking for. Iid love to see them get into switches and things like that."

Mini Mac, Big Reaction

Bill expressed the most common type of approval for the Mac mini: itis the right computer at the right price point to get people to switch. But many attendees saw other reasons to buy. Michael, a long time Mac user, will get one for himself. "The only thing [I own] to be replaced is a bare-bones PC, which will be replaced with a Mac mini in the next couple of months."

Tor, software programmer: I think a lot of people are going to find a use for a second Mac if itis that small and that cheap. I know I will, and I know a lot of people that I think will as well."

Brian and Sean, Mac sales and support representatives for an Apple specialist, were also pleased with the Mac mini. Sean explained, "I can buy that for my parents, and never have to worry about having to fix it from viruses or anything else. I can config it and ship it off to them, and theyill be set."

Delmar, a systems engineer, hopes to find a use for the Mac mini as a terminal computer in the corporate environment. "Iim interested to see the new mini Mac. Itill make my job, which is to integrate Macs into Windows-based [enterprise systems] possibly more complicated or more easy."

Unsure about the Shuffle

Despite full faith that Apple will sell gobs of the iPod shuffle, the reaction to that device was more mixed. Bill was certain that his kids "are going to want the iPod shuffle." John, meanwhile, "thought it was cool for people that donit have one [already]. Iill probably buy one; I have three iPods, so Iill probably get one of those too.

Michael expects the product to sell well: "Itis fairly straightforward to develop the market from [the] top down and that will get a high level of customersi attention buying cheap stuff." Clarise, a graphic designer agrees: "I think the iPod will really help Apple expand their market share."

But Delmar voiced a common concern with the display-less player: "Iim a little apprehensive about the iPod shuffle. Now, if folks are comfortable with the fact that what they configure on the desktop is there [on the iPod], then thatis fine. But Iim a little more feedback oriented." Kumiko, likewise, thinks a player without an LCD would have limited use.

No one, however, complained about the price. As Brian said, "I was happy with the price. The US$100 price mark and the US$150 price mark were perfect."

Software Delights

Few people mentioned software without any prompting, but a few were particularly excited about the new Pages application. Bill explained, "Iim excited about the new iWorks. I think pages could be a [Microsoft] Word killer. The key is itis compatibility with Word. I think it could also be a replacement for [Adobeis desktop publishing software] Frame Maker."

Delmar agreed: "Pages seemed to be very similar to Microsoftis Publisher and some of the other publisher applications. For the price, iWorks would be an excellent addition to the Mac product line."

Brian was also excited about Appleis new HD focus. "I think iMovie HD is going to have a great impact. People are just starting to get to know HD. This year, I think weire going to start seeing [HD cameras] go below US$1,000."

All in all, the keynote seemed to produce solidly positive reviews.