Apple updated it's line of desktops today, continuing to focus on high-performance, high-efficiency professional machines. Unfortunately, the only model that even gave me pause was their newly lower-priced 20" iMac ($1199), which might have a place in a multimedia lab.
Unfortunately, even the new Mac Mini, although sporting a new graphics chip, is base-priced at $599 for a configuration with a mere gig of RAM and no monitor. Jumping up to their upgraded "entry-level" desktop sets you back $799 without a monitor.
Obviously, I could leverage academic discounts and probably take $100 off these prices, but once again, Apple has gone further off my educational radar. For that matter, they're a long ways off my home purchase radar. I wish iLife didn't work so easily and well; the software suite is the only compelling reason to shell out this sort of money, especially in a home setting.
However, even iLife has its drawbacks in an educational setting. It simply hands so much to the students that they struggle with software (whether Windows, Linux, or even pro-level software on the Mac) that isn't so brilliantly plug and play. Yes, iLife rocks in many ways, but the level of spoonfeeding it encourages actually makes me think twice about using it widely, especially at the high school level.
So now Apple is offering a range of desktops from $599 to $3299 (low-end Mini to high-end Mac Pro) and not a single one of them makes sense here in Ed Tech land (with the possible exceptions of a pro studio or lab in a university or possibly a high-end lab in a high school setting). I keep hoping that Apple will come through with a truly entry-level desktop or a server product that supports thin clients (like an uber-cheap Mini that automatically configures itself when it's on a network with a terminal-serving X-Serve). I'm afraid it just isn't going to happen.