MacWorld SanFrancisco Aftermath

Apple introduced a lot of stuff today

iPod Mini

A lot of people are knocking the iPod mini because its 4GB and sells for $249. I think a lot of people are approching the unit wrong. Steve Jobs said that Apple is trying to bite into the high-end flash player of the MP3 market. Obviously this is a market that is concerned with purchasing a MP3 player which fits their modest MP3 collection more closely than an iPod buyer who’s looking to get the most space for the buck.

I watched a segment on PBS a little bit before the holiday season that was talking about a study on decision making. The show focused on the subsection of purchasing habits, but it applies to almost any decision you could make in a day. The study postulated that most generally people fall into two categories of decision makers, “Satisfiers” and “Maximizers”.

If I remember correctly, more people are Satisfiers. That means that they have certain “threshholds” for what they want and they’ll purchase the first item that comes along that meets those expectation, almost regardless of price (within reason).

Maximizers will exhaustively search every bargain website, every coupon that comes with the paper, every rebate, every sale in the pursuit of getting the best product for the lowest price.

The show said the study had a more exhaustive survey to determine which type of decision maker a person was, but that it could be determined within a reasonable margin by the simple question, “True or False. I never settle for second best.”

Anyways, my point being. Apple did two things with regards to the iPod line that make me tend to believe that Apple thinks that this high-end flash market is full of Satisfiers.

  1. They bumped up the storage amount of the low-end “Macro” iPod. This puts the unit even further out of the Satisfier’s self-imposed limits. If they were weary about buying a 10G iPod, they’ll be even more weary about buying a 15GB iPod. What does that leave them?
  2. Apple introduced the iPod mini. This iPod holds 4GB and fits much nicer in the range of these “high-end flash mp3 player” users limits. The price is only $50 less than the low-end Macro pod, but these people don’t care. Otherwise they would’ve bought a 10/5GB iPod long ago. Apple’s numbers indicate well over 30% of the MP3 market might be inhabited by these people.

This in effect gives Apple much more leverage in the MP3 market , and I feel that its actually quite a daring move. Many people who will be blogging online will be complaining about the Price/Storage ratio, how it doesn’t compute in their mind. I’d wager that those people are maximizers. People who can’t justify making a purchase unless they’ve come to the conclusion that they’d gotten the best product for their money. Most tech people are Maximizers, I’m a a semi Maximizer, sometimes I just don’t care as long as I get what I want. However, I could never fathom buying a iPod Mini for myself, but I can see how someone like my Aunt would love one.

The study went on to explain that the majority of people considered themselves Satisifiers, and that being a Maximizer is exhaustive to one’s health, mental state, and disposition over the long run.

ANYWAYS :D :D Back to the Apple announcements.

G5 Xserves

These things look like they could suck a hampster in the front end and spit out hampster bits out the back. It was a pretty good guess that Apple would be pushing hard to get these Xserves out the door. I mean, I don’t know who would’ve disputed that Apple wouldn’t announce G5 Xserves today. Poor VA Tech guys are probably lamenting about how they could fit 2220 G5 Xserves into the same space ;)

Final Cut Pro Express 2

This is the video editing app for the prosumers. The app that does more than iMovie but less than FCP 4 Proper. There were a lot of updates concerning Real Time effects, audio scrubbing, etc.

Apple iLife 2004

This was probably the best update of the keynote. Apple has updated a lot of stuff WITHIN the iTunes store, but no explicit changes in the app since they’ve been rolling out updates on iTunes on a pretty regular schedule over the past six months or so.

iDVD, iMovie, and iPhoto all got well needed updates with iPhoto getting the bulk of updates. Supposedly iPhoto now doesn’t choke on big libraries of photos, has received smart albums, more display customizibility and people in other countries (Japan and EU) will be able to make photo books this Spriing.

The biggest addition to iLife was the addition of Garage Band. Its nice to see Apple slowly get away from the ‘i’App craze and start using normal names for their Software (Soundtrack, Garageband, Keynote, etc.) Garage Band is a cool app that allows a user to do three main things. Perform MIDI sequencing with software synths, produced looped tracks ala Soundtrack, and record live audio. They also highlight a feature where you can connect a instrument (Guitar) to the mac and apply live guitar amps with whatever filters you want and record right to the app. You then can mix with synths, loops, whatever.

Apple also talked about how bad ass their iTunes Music Store numbers were (They’re #1), how many iPods they sold last quarter (730,000) and how they’re #1 in MP3 Players.

Apple also previewed XGrid, their clustering technology

Also talked about at the Keynote was Office 2004 and its cool new Notes app which might actually be kinda cool and some excel stuff. Microsoft will also be releasing VPC 7.0 alongside Office 2004 later this year (Spring/Sumer I think)

Overall a great keynote I thought :)