Thursday, January 20, 2005

Mac Mini Madness Goes Mobile: The PC Becomes the Latest Moving Appliance

The initial consumer electronics hubbub surrounding the launch of Apple's new Mac Mini has died down but the rumble from enthusiasts is just beginning to take off, with interesting implications for how content is consumed. As noted in CNET News, a car restoration buff who also is a Mac buff is studying the feasibility of installing the new Mini computer in auto dashboards, providing a wide range of information services. In theory his goal is to provide 21st century content and navigation capabilities, such as digital music (natch), GPS-driven maps and such, but also potentially access to hotspots in a parking lot. To complement the desires of car buffs Slashdot also notes that Mac enthusiasts are already learning how to perform surgery on the new computer to hop up its performance - 21st century hot-rodders, if you will. This all points to an important step for the Mac platform as a device that consumers embrace as a personal device much the way that they embrace an iPod or a PDA - something that Microsoft's multi-headed PC/server/PDA/xBox strategy has yet to achieve with equal consumer enthusiasm. The Mac Mini bridges the gap between desktop paperweight and a content machine on the go that can configure itself into the kind of content appliance that people need at a given moment. The ability to allow enthusiasts to adapt content appliances to their immediate needs will doubtless accelerate the universal acceptance of rights-protected content objects in consumers' minds, allowing both technologists and content creators to consider new ways in which to reach their audiences with high-end content products and services. If you've been ignoring the world of portable content until now, please listen to your alarm clock - the time for taking content objects on the go seriously has arrived officially.
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