Apple’s rapt attention to Mac mini’s design is evident inside and outside the box

“Apple has long been known for paying more attention to the design of its hardware than most other computer manufacturers,” Ian Austen writes for The New York Times. “The simplest way today to create a computer as small as the Mac mini would be piecing it together with miniaturized parts designed for laptop computers. But Philip Schiller, senior vice president for worldwide product marketing at Apple, says that despite the decline in the costs of such components, many of them remain too expensive for a $500 computer.”

“So the Mac mini uses less costly memory chips intended for desktop computers even though the slot required to hold them is so large that it effectively defined one of the computer’s overall dimensions,” Austen writes. “The design is based on the idea that if buyers want to add features or devices they will plug them into the Mac mini’s FireWire or U.S.B. 2.0 jacks rather than install them within the computer itself. ‘What’s changed over the last 5 to 10 years is that U.S.B. and FireWire allow you to expand your computer from the outside,’ Mr. Schiller said.”

Austen writes, “Another design compromise, in this case mostly brought about by cost concerns, is that the Mac mini does not offer an easy way for users to add memory chips. Mr. Schiller said that was driven in part by company research showing that most customers upgraded memory only when they purchased a computer and generally had it installed by the retailer. But he confirms that do-it-yourselfers who open the Mac mini’s shell (a process that involves the careful manipulation of putty knives) will not violate their computer warranties provided they do not damage anything in the process.”

Full article here.

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  1. I am waiting for my Mac mini to arrive after switching my mum and getting rid of her PC. In a few days we will officially be a PC-free household!

    Saying that I have £3000 sitting idly in a bank account waiting for the next Powermac G5 update. My Powerbook is feeling cramped and slow and I really want a desktop again. It’s long overdue…

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