More detailed post to follow, but here are some initial comments:
1) Intel Mac Mini – I am very pleased to see a Core Duo in one of these – it will make for a VERY powerful little computer. I am also glad to see the existing form factor was not sacrificed. The price hike was a shame, but considering the additional functionality was possibly unavoidable – remote controls do not grow on trees. The move to expensive laptop RAM is a real bummer, but is slightly offset by the move to two sockets which will at least make any user upgrades easier to swallow financially. Finally, I was dismayed to see the departure from a dedicated graphics card to Intel’s on-board and usually below-par shared memory graphics controller technology.
Mac Mini review unit is coming THIS THURSDAY!!! So expect to see a review soon.
2) iPod Hi-Fi – In short – Oh Dear! Popped into the Regent Street Apple Slum to check this out the day after it was announced – plenty of stock and the total lack of buyers was very clear to see. Most were put off by the audio quality, the rest by the very high price for a very poor speaker system. The store had one set up by the front door – at moderate-to-high volume it distorted to the point of being inaudible, at lower levels, sound was flat and almost muffled regardless of equaliser setting. I tested with both the demo Nano wedged in it and my own music from my 60Gig iPod Video. at $349 US and £249 UK it is the same price as the Bose SoundDock and cheaper than the Altec Lansing iM7 – two far better options based on my early experience with the product.
And finally – currently having fun with a MacBook Pro – very impressed with this first attempt at a Intel-based laptop. While it is basically the same design as a Powerbook, under the bonnet you notice a real difference. Faster, more stable, although there may be some heat issues to contend with going forward.