So Apple has done it again, changed the world. And in classic Apple style they’ve changed the world in the “here is some kewl new stuff that no body else does very well, now watch as our competitors scramble to make cheap copies and pretend they came up with the idea first” kind of way. In is not insignificant that the new hardware introduced yesterday is targeted at the low budget user. It is also interesting to remember that a week ago Apple announced lots of new stuff for the enterprise market two, so they are showing that they care for and cater to both ends of the spectrum, with lots of there other computers in-between for everyone else. iPod shuffle At this price this thing is a good deal if you only ever used it as a memory stick. The fact that it can play music to just sweetens it. In my ‘favorites’ playlist there are about 500 songs, so put any 120 of those on an iPod shuffle and it don’t matter to me what order there played it. I think Apple has really hit the mark on this one and in a way stuck its aqua finger up at the rest of the flash MP3 player market by saying “you only need to be able to select which track to listen to when you have LOTS of music with you”. My rating: 5 stars Estimated demand: more popular than sex at the annual convention where the nymphomaniacs and firemen accidentally booked into the same hotel and someone spiked the drinks with viagra. Mac mini Can we say “cube, but better”, or how about “entertainment computer”, or maybe “PC killer” or even “home server”. This thing is the cheapest Macintosh ever. Actually, it is the cheapest Apple computer ever. And it still packs a punch. Let me put it this way, its still better than the computer I’m using. Four and a half years ago Apple released the Cube, it was hailed as all as being a marvel, just a tad to expensive for anyone to actually buy one. The Cube mysteriously still has the same resell value as its original price tag due simply to how well engineered it was. But now in many ways and with many improvements the cube is back, just a little shorter, and a hell of a lot cheaper. PC users that already have a screen, keyboard, mouse, printer and all the other bits needed for modern computer lifestyle can now actually just throw the tower away and put a little mac in instead. The Mac mini can connect with a TV, great for watching your DVD’s, playing your itunes, running games, checking your email and all that stuff, and if your telly is any good then it’ll still look okay. And as for me, I think a Mac mini would plug in nicely to my network and run as a little server for the house. My rating: 5 stars Estimated demand: will be a slow starter, but give it a month and everyone will have one. iLife ‘05 A year ago when Apple moved from calling this product iLife 2 to iLife ‘04 they painted themselves into a corner. Sure they could have gone down the Microsoft path and just not bothered to update iLife for ages, skip straight from 04 to 07 or something, but no one really thought Apple would do they. The entire suite gets an overhaul with this update, and for each up it is a decent and worthy amount of improvements, mixing the boundary between the consumer apps and the professionals ones a little more (don’t worry, the pro apps are still light years ahead of there little brothers). iTunes only gets a small upgrade, but then its the free one and is upgraded all the time anyway and I doubt they could think of something big enough to get away with calling it iTunes 5. As for the other four apps, iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD and GarageBand, they are each well worth the new price tag of $119, but you get all four for that, so very kewl. My rating: 5 stars Estimated demand: not that much, but as it’ll be on all the new computers sold from now on there will end up being a lot of copies out there. iWork Apple last updated AppleWorks in 2000, and it has long since been lacking the aqua/brush metal look, so it is about time Apple got to this. However this does not replace all the functionality of the old AppleWorks, but what it does it does with amazing style. Pages alone is worth the price tag, a simple, fast, elegant, powerful and stylish word processing/page layout program. And Keynote makes PowerPoint look like the 90’s prog it is. My rating: 5 stars Estimated demand: it will take off once people get just how kewl it really is.