What is it with Apple that causes the press to gush? It’s embarrassing. Well, nothing embarrasses the press these days, but is a sense of perspective too much to ask for when Steve Jobs says something?

The Mac Mini caused gushing about its cheap price. Why? For $499, you get a system with a 40GB hard drive, 256MB of DDR333 memory and an ATI Radeon 9200 with an execrable 32MB of video memory. No keyboard, no mouse, no display.

For $399, you can get a Dell 2400 with a 2.4GHz Celeron, 256MB of RAM, 40GB hard drive – and a 17-inch monitor, and a keyboard, and a mouse. Gateway has something similar, except it comes with an 80GB hard drive and speakers, and $399 is a post-$100 rebate price.

The hardware on the Mac Mini is insufficient for playing games, but that doesn’t matter because there aren’t any games for Macs anyway.

The Mac Mini looks adequate. In these odd times, Apple might sell a boatload of them. But let’s not pretend it’s a showstopper that redefines Apple’s place in the market.

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