I've read many reviews in recent days about Malcom Gladwell's new book, "Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking." But after covering all the rosy news from Apple Computer last week, I keep thinking about Gladwell's last book: "Tipping Point". Maybe I'm still feeling the effects of the reality distortion field from Steve Jobs' Macworld keynote last Tuesday, but something is happening that goes beyond Apple's introduction of new low-priced products at the show, or the boffo earnings that were announced a day later. Remarkably, after years of failing to dent the common perception that Macs are overpriced products for someone else to buy, it may be becoming okay to buy a Mac.
I'm not saying Apple is going to threaten Microsoft's dominance in PC marketshare, now or ever. Even the most bullish Wall St. analysts are saying that Apple will pick up only a point or two of market share. But I'm getting anecdotal evidence that Apple has put itself on the map with even the most unlikely PC owners. The other day, my bargain-hunting sister--who has never given a millisecond of thought to buying from Apple--called to get my thoughts on the $499 Mac mini. Then, I spoke with a fellow reporter. After years of wondering what could possibly make him consider a jump to the Mac, he’s thinking of buying this newest, cheapest Mac for his kid. Again, Apple will never threaten Wintel's dominance. But if this new mood takes root, Jobs & Co. could close the gap more than some think.