Mac News Review

Mac mini Overpriced, iMac Outpaces PCs, Switching to Mac a Waste of Time, and More

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2007.09.07

This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News

PowerBook, iBook, MacBook, and other portable computing is covered in The 'Book Review. iPod, iPhone, and Apple TV news is covered in The iNews Review.

All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

News & Opinion

Reviews

Software

iPod Deals

Desktop Mac Deals

News & Opinion

Mac mini Pricing Not Competitive with Windows PCs

Applepeels says:

"I would actually like to replace one of my older Macs with a new Mac. I am on a budget and would buy a Mac mini if the pricing were at all competitive.

"It is hard for me to look at PC prices and give a product like the Mac mini a second thought except that I know the software, especially the operating system is far better on the Mac.

"Still the Mac mini hardware configuration is anemic for the money...."

Add an External SATA Drive to a Mac mini

Hardmac's Lionel reports:

"A report from Alexis:

"Thanks to the news published in April 2006 explaining how to connect an external SATA drive to the internal port of a Mac mini, I could complete the following 'bidouille': design a small but highly performing server....

"The Mac mini is definitely the best Apple model for being modified, since the Apple II."

iMac Outpacing PC Sales

The Manilla Bulletin Online's Melvin G. Calimag reports:

"For the longest time, the number of iMacs sold worldwide has always been dwarfed by PC sales. That trend is no longer true, according to Apple, as the sleeker iMac machines are now growing thrice as much as the PCs.

"Even if the growth difference is based on percentage and that PCs are far larger in numbers, the results still represents a milestone for Apple, who's flying high these days because of the iPod and the iPhone.

"And for that, the Cupertino, California-based computer maker is all pumped up to rollout the all new iMac, with the Philippines being the first stop in the Southeast Asian swing, in order to sustain its hypergrowth momentum."

Switching to Mac Is a Waste of Time

businesspundit.com's rob says:

The fact that there is no right click button on the touch pad has to be the single worst design decision anyone has ever made.

"A few weeks ago I bought a Mac. I know several people that speak highly of them, and they seemed to have some cool features. Three weeks into it, I would say that if you are considering it, don't waste your time. It's all bells and whistles, and functionally, they don't offer any advantages over a PC. For starters, they aren't intuitive at all. Everything is graphics driven and Apple seems to want to avoid using text whenever possible. The fact that there is no right click button on the touch pad has to be the single worst design decision anyone has ever made. My guess is that they did it just to be different, as I can't imagine a scenario that makes it somehow more useful. The delete button is a misnomer, as it's really just a backspace, and the machine runs 3x as hot as my Windows laptop."

Please don't flame poor rob. Instead, take the time to remind him that deliberately Apple chose to use a one-button mouse before the Macintosh and before Windows to eliminate the "which button do I press?" quandary. As for Apple's confusingly labelled Delete key, see 30 Top Mac User Mistakes: How Many Are Apple's Fault? dk

How Much Does It Cost to Replace the New iMac's Front Glass Plate?

Hardmac's Lionel reports:

"Following yesterday's news, many readers asked us the price for replacing the glass plate of the new iMac as we reported it was rather fragile ONCE removed from its location in front of the LCD panel. After contacting our internal sources, owners of the new iMac should not stress so much, as they will be charged USD 35 for the 20" model and USD 30 for the 24" model. One will have to add USD 10 for shipping cost. We were surprised by such low prices, and they were checked twice by our sources on our request."

Hard Drives with 1 GB Cache Coming Soon

Ars Technica's Jeremy Reimer reports:

"Hard drives have long utilized small bits of cache memory to boost performance, and some recent hybrid hard drives already combine up to 256 MB of NAND flash memory with traditional platter-based storage. Now a Japanese company called DTS has taken the idea of hybrid drives in a slightly different direction, having just unleashed a new type of hard drive called Mcell that offers 1 GB of on-drive cache using standard DDR RAM. DTS markets the disc as being a significantly cheaper way to get some of the benefits of solid state drives without the price."

Reviews

Core 2 Mac mini: 'An Impressive Performance Boost'

Macworld's James Galbraith reports:

"With its low price and small size, the Mac mini has always offered a versatile and economical Mac experience. But, while Apple has regularly updated its line of consumer laptops and desktops, this year the Mac mini seemed to have been all but forgotten by the company. In fact, many industry pundits predicted that the mini would be eliminated from Apple's product line. So it was a welcome surprise when Apple quietly updated the Mac mini to include Intel Core 2 Duo processors, the same processors the MacBook, MacBook Pro, and iMac have been using since the end of 2006. The good news for those remaining loyal to the Mac mini, or for people just looking for the least expensive Mac available, is that this under-hyped upgrade gives the Mac mini an impressive performance boost in several applications."

Hands-on Review: 24" 2.8 GHz iMac Core 2 Duo

Macs Only's Dana Baggett says:

"We ordered the 24" aluminum iMac from The Apple Store online on April 7, the day it was presented by Steve Jobs at a Special Event meeting at One Infinite Loop, Apple's headquarters. We opted for the 2.8 GHz Intel Core 2 Extreme processor and the 500 GB Serial ATA hard disk drive which The Apple Store online offers as a package including the ATI Radeon HD 2600 PRO with 256 MB of GDDR3 memory standard. (Later we realized that we could have started with the 2.3 GHz Core 2 Duo model and added options while leaving the hard drive at the 320 GB base and saved $80.) We also opted for 2 MB of Apple-installed memory."

New Apple Keyboard: Fine Hardware, but the Software Side Still Needs Work

Betalogue's Pierre Igot reports:

"The other day, for some reason I felt that typing with my older white Apple keyboard (the one that does not cause spurious double keystrokes for me) was particularly slow and hard. It might just have been the mood or the physical state that I was in, but since I had seen positive reports about the new (wired) keyboard recently launched by Apple, I figured I would order one and give it a try....

"Well, I have been using the new keyboard for 24 hours now and, on the whole, I am really pleased with it.

"There are absolutely no problems with double keystrokes. In fact, I occasionally would get double keystrokes even with the older white keyboard that I was using, especially with the Return key. So far, I haven't had a single occurrence with the new keyboard."

Software

One Finger Snap: A Right Mouse Button for 1-Button Mice

PR: Don't throw away that 1-button mouse:

Many new Mac buyers find that the first purchase they make is for a 2-button mouse so they can have quick access to the contextual menu. Sure, you can hold down the control key when you click, but let's face it, a two button mouse makes the contextual menu so much easier to get to. Now with One Finger Snap, you can just click and hold down that one button to get to the contextual menu. And that way you can hold onto that beautiful Apple mouse, too.

Great for PowerBook users:

At the office, you have a nice two-button mouse, and you use it every day. Now you take your PowerBook on the road, and your right mouse button finger is just twitching. You get things done so much faster with the contextual menu. Don't you wish there was an easy way to get to it from the track pad? One Finger Snap works as well with a one-button track pad as it does with a one-button mouse. So you can click and hold the trackpad button rather than carry along another piece of equipment.

For ex-Windows users:

So you took the plunge and switched to the Mac. Good for you. While you like Mac OS X on your new Mac mini, you can't help but miss that old 2-button mouse. Don't go back to Windows, just try One Finger Snap. It's much cheaper, and it has fewer viruses.

But I already have a 7-button, wireless mouse with a scroll wheel:

Oh, you ubergeek you. One Finger Snap can still help you. Wouldn't it be nice to have just one more button? Turn on One Finger Snap, and you no longer need that right mouse button for the contextual menu. Now you can reassign it to something more useful.

System Requirements: One Finger Snap will work on Mac OS X 10.3 Panther or 10.4 Tiger.

New with One Finger Snap 1.4: One Finger Snap is now an open source project. Appropriate changes were made to make it more accessible to other developers.

While it was once a shareware product, One Finger Snap is now open source as of version 1.4. It is offered under the MIT license:

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