The last several days have been particularly busy because Apple finally released a new model Mac Mini (after 14 months, thank you so very much Apple for your attention to the machine that launched thousands of PC switchers). Since my old Mini is a month or so shy of its fourth birthday and my husband has been chomping at the bit to get a new media PC hooked up to our television, we bought one as soon as possible.
For those who don't live in Japan, I'll say that you have few options when it comes to pricing on Apple products. I've heard that this is much the same in the United States. We had the choice of paying 89,800 yen ($912) for the high end model at either the Apple Store or paying the same price at any of a number of electronics shops. Note that the same model costs $799 in the United States so we're forking over $113 more for the privilege of buying it in Japan. That's not quite enough of a difference to have someone buy it in the U.S. and airmail it over, but it's enough to make me feel ripped off.
Since the price was the same everywhere, we bought it at Yodobashi Camera because they give you "points" for purchases. That means we got about $45 worth of store credit for buying it from them whereas we'd get nothing but the smug satisfaction of walking out of an Apple Store with an Apple Store shopping bag if we bought it there. We used the money for the exciting purchase of rechargeable batteries. Still, free batteries (and a little more credit leftover) is better than an Apple Store shopping bag, though there may be some fanatical types out there who may feel otherwise (I'm looking at you, Joseph).
For the first day or so, I had to use my old keyboard and the new and old Minis look exactly the same so it didn't feel very new except for the increased speed and less yellowed-looking white top. I haven't had much of a chance to take advantage of the speed though since I've spent the two days since getting it loaded with software and fighting with getting Windows installed on a dual boot. I gave up on that eventually, but am reconsidering now, though I will say the issue was not related to my lack of ability to do it as I've done it before on my husband's MacBook. When a spiffy flat aluminum keyboard arrived from Amazon, it finally started to seem like a real new computer.
I'll confess to growing pains with Safari and a crash when trying to update the system to use the newest version of Safari. I'm thinking Firefox is looking like an old friend that I'm not quite willing to abandon at this point, but I want to give Safari 4 a shot once I can install the security update that is necessary to install the beta. Right now, it's driving me crazy that opening a link from Google Reader opens in a new window instead of a new tab despite my setting preferences to open links in tabs. Why won't you listen to me Safari? Are you punishing me for ignoring you and using Firefox for all these years?
At any rate, buying the Mini has set us off on a bit of a spending spree. Part of the reason is simply necessity, but perhaps once the purse strings have been loosened, it's easy to keep dipping in for more. It's not really a big deal for us though since we have no debt and aren't going into debt for new purchases, but it does feel like wild abandon when we buy both a new computer and an iPod stereo dock (to be delivered today) in close proximity to one another. I'm sure the strange sense of being a slave to materialism will pass after a year or so of frugality. ;-)
(Note: And to Joseph, who raved about the new Apple keyboards months ago and has been carrying one around the office like a precious child for quite some time, you were right about how good it is. It is a superior keyboard.)