Apple makes max mistake with Mac Mini

I've been covering PCs since 1981 and I like to think that by now I can spot a winner from a loser.

I'm afraid Apple fans, the Mac Mini is, well, not a winner. I'm not the only one. See Rob Pegoraro at the Washington Post. He's not that thrilled either. Nor is Seth Jayson at the Motley Fool, or Jack Kapica at the in Canada.

For $500 you get far less than what you could get with a much better configured PC.

Let's look at the stats and see what you get and don't get.

Mac Mini, $499, 1.2GHz processor, 256MB RAM, 40GB hard drive, DVD-ROM/CD-RW.

For $599 you get a 1.4GHz processor and an 80GB hard drive.

What you don't get are a monitor, mouse keyboard.

Here's two configurations from Dell.

For $399 you get a 2.4GHz processor tower with 512MB RAM, 40GB hard drive, CD or DVD ROM drive, and a 17-inch monitor, a keyboard and a mouse.

For $699 you can get an Inspiron 1000 notebook. It has a 2.2GHz processor, 256MB RAM, a 30GB hard drive, CD ROM/DVD ROM, and a 14.1 inch XGA display. Of course the keyboard and mouse are built in.

It seems to me Apple will have a great deal of difficulty convincing most buyers looking for a solution rather than a nameplate to opt for the Mac Mini.

I know Apple fans will think I'm in the pay of Bill Gates but I'm not. I just don't see value conscious consumers who know how to shop buying a less than complete package for more money.

I predict that you will see Apple lower the price and by next year add a monitor, keyboard and mouse.

Let the hate mail begin.