I’d just like to say right off the top that I like Apple a lot, and they make some great products – in fact, product design and marketing are really the company’s stand-out skills in many ways, I think. But given the obsessive, almost fetishistic, love that some geeks have for Apple and anything that comes out of the head office in Cupertino or out of Steve Jobs’ mouth, it’s nice to see them fall flat now and then too. And as far as I can tell they have done just that with the Hi-Fi accessory for the iPod.
Yes, it has the iconic Apple white sheen, but even with the iPod attached to the top it’s still just a giant, squarish speaker box. As more than one person has pointed out, it makes no sense as a “boombox,” even if people still wanted such a thing, since it has no radio, no CD player and if you tried to carry it your iPod would fall off. Here’s a selection of comments from the more than 200 that are attached to a post on the new product at Engadget – more than 90 per cent of which I would say are negative. And remember that these are from gadget lovers:
“Umm… I’m not sure it’s large enough. I mean, make it 2, maybe 3 times bigger and it could also replace my sofa.”
“How can this bring music to the masses. It is expensive, large, and ugly. Disappointing…”
“Watch as Apple’s design team hits a boombox with an ugly-stick. only $349 per ticket!!!”
“This is the dumbest idea ever.”
“I am a total mac fanboy and this made me die on the inside.”
“Wow, hideous. Absolutely terrible. Looks like a toaster oven.”
And what about the Mac Mini with the souped-up processor and digital outputs – a glimpse of the much-anticipated Apple digital entertainment hub? Definitely closer than the first version, since it now has enough guts to be a media server, and has DVI and digital audio outs as well as Front Row – but Thomas Hawk makes a good point: it’s missing PVR functionality, which would easily make it a killer product. But let’s put it this way – it’s a heck of a lot better than that gigantic monstrosity called the iPod Hi-Fi.