Paul Nixon has a very interesting graph showing the targeting of Apple’s product lineup and how the iPod Shuffle and Mac mini fit into their larger product lineup.
I see this is a big shift for Apple. Apples have always been the BMW’s of the computing world – luxurious, exceptionall well-crafted, and out of the price range of the average consumer. The phenomenal success of the iPod tought them that there’s a market out there that they can now reach. I think John Gruber has it right – this is a very daring move by Apple, probably the most daring thing they’ve ever done. Then again, knowing Apple, I think they’ll pull it off. I don’t think the Mac mini will necessarily sell like hotcakes, although it will do very well. On the other hand, the iPod Shuffle is guaranteed to give Apple the majority of the flash-based MP3 player market. Given that the typical $99 MP3 player is a piece of crap, the iPod Shuffle hits exactly the right price point to take the market by storm.