Macworld online readers voting in the latest poll think Apple has hit the right price spot with the Mac mini and the iPod shuffle.

A massive 65 per cent expect that "Apple will sell tons of both". Another 17 per cent think that the Mac mini will be the star, and 9 per cent think that the iPod shuffle will "cream the market".

Just 3 per cent think that "no one will want the Mac mini" and 3 per cent assume that no one will want an iPod shuffle. Another 3 per cent of the 2811 voters are undecided about the pricing of the products.

Macworld forum users predict that the Mac mini will be a hit. One states: "The Mac Mini is going to fly out of the door. The more I think about it the more compelling a product it seems to be.

Another predicts: "The Mini is priced low-enough so that somebody who is curious about a Mac might be tempted to try one, while experienced Mac users will find that they want additional Macs."

The right switch

Many forum writers are confident that the Mac mini will encourage Windows users to switch to the Mac.

"It will be absolutely huge for switchers," says one, "anyone even half contemplating making the move must now see any barriers to that dissolving."

One Windows user has already been won over: "I am currently a Windows PC user," he writes, "the price of the Mac has always been what has put me off mainly because of the investment I had already made in my PC equipment. So... along comes the Mac mini and boy what a brilliant product for the many people like me who would love to have a Mac but simply haven't been able to justify it up until now. Steve Jobs said there would no longer be any excuse for people in my position, and he's spot on there!"

Second Mac

Another writer predicts that not only will the Mac mini encourage switchers, it will also be a must have machine for those who already own a Mac: "It will be a hit with Mac users wanting a second Mac or a server."

This view is echoed by another writer: "Existing Mac fans are probably going to be tempted to acquire additional machines for specific functions or just to have them dotted around the house - kid's bedroom/kitchen whatever.

Another use for the Mac mini could be as a media centre predicts one. "I think that the Mac mini will make the perfect media centre. It's tiny and very cheap, so will easily fit into any home cinema setup. It's only slightly more expensive than a Roku or Elgato media box, but is an entire Mac."

One writes: "The Mac mini could make a good network server." Another that: "You could have router, firewall, network disk server, network print server, iTunes server all in one and probably save money."

Tiny temptations

Size is a selling point for some. "The tiny form factor is going to be heaven sent for people who'd like to surf iTunes and iPhoto without a large intrusive box," says one.

Another comments: "Just the size and form of this thing has had me hovering over the "Buy it now" button all day!"

One reader writes that when the cost of the software included with the Mac mini is considered, the price of the machine is a real bargain. He notes: "When Tiger's eventually released you'll be able to get a new operating system, iLife Suite and handy additional disc space for little more than the cost of those things combined, with an extra Mac thrown in 'for free'."

Not so simple

Some are critical of the need to buy a separate screen, mouse and keyboard. "Some parts of the concept have not been thought through. The idea that a PC user will use their existing monitor, keyboard and mouse is feasible, but many of these devices aren't USB. To assume that the switcher will have their own monitor, or will buy a cheaper monitor elsewhere, just complicates the buying experience and faced with this dilemma, they are more likely to just buy another Dell," writes one.

He adds: "Overall it leaves far too much for the PC switcher to do in terms of buying the product and setting it up, and that degrades the Mac's ease-of-use experience."

Another writes: "The Mac mini is a complete waste of space and a silly gimmick. Why? It comes without a keyboard, mouse or monitor - so that will more than double the price."

Choice cuts

But many readers think that it is good that Apple leaves the customer with the choice of supplying their own peripherals. "It is true that the cheapest Apple monitor is £700, but there are plenty of other manufactures, and the point of this unit is that you are not restricted. You don't have to buy an Apple mouse or keyboard. You buy what you want," writes one.

"Resellers will have a field day dreaming up various bundle packages with different monitors and peripherals and competing with each other on price to entice all those switchers," notes another.

However, one writer predicts that the Mac mini is only going to compete with Apple's own products. "The iMac is far better value for money. It is time Apple stopped competing with itself and started to compete with Windows, and it won't start doing that until it knocks at least one third of the price off its kit."

iPod shuffle

Readers pick up on the lack of screen as the main issue with regards to the iPod shuffle. One writes: "I think the shuffle may be compromised as a product by its inability to navigate and select."

Another writes: "The lack of a screen is a disappointment for me," but notes: "CD players don't have a screen, so putting a CD and pressing play, and listening to whatever song is next, is the same.

Others are less concerned about the lack of screen. One writes: "The screen is a sacrifice worth making."

Another notes: "Lacking certain features allows the product to find it's own market, without cannibalising the other iPod's sales."

Must have

The lack of a screen is more than made up by the Apple branding, according to one reader who writes: "You just have to compare the iPod mini with the competition to see that it has that little Apple bit extra that will make it a must have. Oh, and it has the white ear phones..."

Another writes that the iPod shuffle is more attractive to him than other iPods. "The other iPods are too pricey for me and I cannot see the attraction of carrying my entire music collection with me all the time." He adds: "It's a really, really bad name though."

The price is a hit with other readers: "When you consider that a 512MB USB2 memory stick is going to cost around £50 and 1GB is about £100, the iPod shuffle is virtually a give-away."


Others predict that the iPod shuffle will be attractive to joggers. One writes: "My biggest complaint about the iPod was that it can't be used by all runners. Simply put if you expose a hard drive to constant bouncing as a runner would you are going to have problems."

Another adds: "Runners can't use a screen to read songs while running only switch songs."

Macworld readers expect that Apple will have a hit on its hands with these two new products, as long as the company is able to meet demand. One writes: "Both products will be a huge success in my opinion. But that in itself will cause a problem. Supply and demand. What has been an incredibly good trading quarter for Apple could have been so much better. The problem lies in lack of stock."