Macworld Expo Survey: The Readers Speak

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Apple"s new iPod mini may win raves from Mac fans for its eye-catching design and slender size, but its $249 price tag seems awfully steep to many Mac users -- even those planning on buying the slimmed-down music player.

Those results stem from a < > Reader Panel survey of 502 < > readers selected at random. The survey, conducted by market-research firm Karlin Associates a few weeks after January"s Macworld Expo, measured panelists" reactions to the products unveiled by Apple at the biannual trade show.

According to the survey, 45 percent of the panelists cited the iPod mini"s small size as its best feature -- far and away the most popular response. However, nearly two-thirds -- 64 percent -- said the price was the iPod mini"s worst feature. Among respondents who said they were likely to buy the iPod mini, small size remained the favorite feature of 37 percent, but another 31 percent cited the iPod mini"s overall design. However, even among likely iPod mini buyers, the $249 price tag remains the least liked feature.

Will that deter Mac users from buying the new music player? iPods remain the most popular type of music player: 22 percent plan to buy an iPod in the next 6 months while 11 percent plan to buy an iPod mini. (Thirty-four percent of the panelists already own an iPod.)

Apple"s other big Macworld Expo announcement was GarageBand, and the music-creation program has made a strong impression among the < > Reader panelists. Two-thirds of the readers we surveyed had a positive reaction to GarageBand, with 40 percent describing their reaction as "very positive." Only 2 percent reacted negatively to the software.

Panelists were split on whether they planned to upgrade to iLife "04, the $49 suite that includes GarageBand. More than one-third -- 38 percent -- plan on upgrading while 29 percent say they might upgrade. Among the 33 percent of respondents who aren"t planning on upgrading, with the most frequently cited reason being that they don"t use the iLife applications.

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