Shuffled

Like the rest of the Faithful, I kept a weather eye on my computer a few days ago during the MacWorld SF expo. The Mac Mini is a friendly little computer which I think will do very well in the next few months, mostly by word of mouth. It has the right balance of features, speed and cost that will be perfectly fine for 90% of users. I was a little mystified by the iPod Shuffle at first – it didn’t seem like a particularly stunning product, but now I’ve thought about it, it makes more sense to view it as a stylish USB key drive that also happens to play music and syncs seamlessly with iTunes. The syncing is an important point – I don’t want to have to muck about dragging files back and forth every time I want to load it up with something new.

Considering that I’ve been meaning to get a USB key for some time, it didn’t take too long for me to convince myself to spend £69 on the 512MB Shuffle (for comparison, a standard 512MB USB key costs about £35). Yes, I already have an iPod 20GB but it’s a bit unwieldy to take to the gym or running, plus I’m not that comfortable taking it with me in places where I think there is a risk of it getting nicked. I expect that the Shuffle will sell by the truckloads. Well done Apple!

I was disappointed by the lack of PowerBook updates though. My iBook G4 800mhz, bought a little over a year ago now, is still soldiering on but it just can’t handle having nine or ten different applications (some quite processor-intensive) open at the same time and run smoothly. It’s apparent that the next PowerBook update will only be a minor speedbump anyway, which is hardly worth getting, so I’ll just have to wait until June when the prophesied PowerBook G5 is said to emerge. Oh well – at least the speed increase will be even more marked.

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