I wanted to note three thoughts following Apple's big announcements today:
The sub-$500 Mac mini
Apple has once again crossed a major threshold and introduced a Mac that starts at under $500. The Mac mini is the perfect second Mac, a great media server or iOS device companion, a good cheap Mac if all you need to do is a little word processing. It's also the Mac to get if you simply want to test Apple's ecosystem -- and will be the computer many more aspirational Mac users choose while struggling through the battered macroeconomic situation.
And it costs under $500.
I've been watching Apple a really long time and I've lost track of the number of industry folks who've said Apple should ship a Mac for under $500. Some said they thought doing so would detract from the appeal of its higher end products. The demarcation is much clearer now -- at the higher end you have Macs with 5K displays, amazing processors, lightweight and portable…. Mac mini doesn't compete, instead it's a nice robust and affordable box that runs OS X Yosemite. Millions will buy these and I'd be very, very surprised if we don't see Apple take a permanent place in the top 5 PC makers as a result. Applause.
Look at Apple's line-up
Have you noticed what Apple is doing as it introduces new products? It is keeping some older models available and dropping entry-level and the high-end prices. This means Apple is widening its addressable market year-by-year, while never tarnishing the value of its brand. Think about the iPad range, which now starts at c.$249. What you get at that price isn't just some wannabe second-rate product that tries to emulate what's at the top of the market for a cut price; what you get is a product that was the high end just 18-24 months ago and still offers more than most of what's available from anyone else, except Apple.
What does this mean?
Apple is basically taking the fight right back against its competitors while still offering a strong and untarnished product message. After all, last year's iPad was still the best tablet available until earlier on today, and the device previous to that still beats many of the competing tablets you can still buy (brand new) right now.