The Economist, my newspaper (their term for themselves) of choice, in an article on the (frankly obvious) joys of netbooks reported, "Steve Jobs says Apple does not know how to make a $500 computer 'that’s not a piece of junk'."
Yet the original Mac Mini, released in early 2005 with a 1.25GHz PowerPC CPU, 256MB RAM, and a combo drive retailed for $499 and was actively positioned as an OS X rival to cheapo boxes from Wintel makers. As Jobs himself proclaimed, "This is the most affordable Mac ever. People who are thinking of switching will have no more excuses."
Today, it boasts a Core 2 Duo CPU and 1GB RAM for $599. But for education customers (a significant chunk of Apple's sales), it's only $499.
Of course, the Apple TV is a computer and Colo companies such as Mythic Beasts use them as dedicated servers. And that's only $199. Which is a lot for an itunes shill though not much for a server.
And so it appears Jobs only wants you to buy fancy laptops...
Disclaimer: I've had a Mac Mini since April, 2005 and, using Seamonkey, it comfortably runs multiple tabs and iPlayer. It's not total junk.
2nd Disclaimer: The Aleutia H1 (pictured) is also $599, runs the same Core 2 Duo 1.83GHz CPU, but it has 2GB RAM, a 250GB 7200RPM Drive, is completely sealed and is passively cooled through a custom heatsink.
This new PC from Fujitsu is so much more expensive ($1000+) than the E2 and has a power consumption listed in its datasheet as TBD, that it hardly competes with us and is thus open grounds for discussion. First, I know "E2" is not the most inspired name but what kind of title is Esprimo Q5030 E-Star4, or even Q5030? This isn't some anonymous manufacturer from Guangzhou with a product on Alibaba, this is Fujitsu Siemens, icons of Germany and Japan, whose ads bombard me from the pages of the Economist! And their product page promises, "This full fledge, next generation PC has a volume of just 1.4 liters." Since I always think of computers (especially full fledge ones) in liters.
Disappointing marketing aside, this seems to be the first attempt by a Wintel assembler to challenge the Mac Mini in specs - up to 2.26GHz Intel Core Duo, DVI output, 2GB RAM, 250GB drive, and DVD-RW drive. Weighs 1.5kg (compared to Aleutia's 505g) but a massive improvement over "Small Form Factor" PCs (that regularly come in over 10kg).
Of course, we're (eventually) heading this direction as well, though with optional Blu-ray and integrated Zigbee.