What’s going on – if anything – with Apple’s Mac mini?

Apple StoreHardMac (MacBidouille in English) contacted their sources “to get information regarding the reason behind the non-evolving Mac mini and three answers were provided,” Lionel reports for HardMac.

• Apple does not like this model, as it was designed under the pressure of shareholders willing to get a cheap entry level Mac hardware.
• A Core 2 Duo-based Mac mini would compete with iMac and MacBook, models for which Apple has larger margins or sale volumes.
• Last answer is probably the most interesting one: a Core 2 Duo Mac mini would kill Apple TV. Indeed, if the minimal GUI of the Apple TV makes it user-friendly and a perfect device for just watching movies, it can not compete with the Mac mini for any further functions, and many Mac users have already chosen the Mac mini to be plugged to their TV even thought it is twice more expensive. If this is true, one will have to expect the Apple TV to become a real business success in order to see the Mac mini being upgraded.

Lionel reports, “Last but not least, R&D resources might have been so much dedicated to the iPhone and Leopard (beside iMac and MacBook revision to come), that Apple could not work on a Core 2 Duo Mac mini and decided to wait for Santa Rosa to bring a Mac mini based on the last Intel mobile platform evolution, together with the new iMac and MacBook models.”

More in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “LinuxGuy and Mac Prodigal Son” for the heads up.]

59 Comments

  1. I’m not suprised by this news, although it’s rather straightforward to turn the mac mini into a 64 bit workstation yourself, just exchange the cpu. I’m planning to just that very soon, just like I exchanged the HDU after 2 weeks to 160 GB.

    It will void your warranty though.

  2. I love my mini, it’s a great second complimentary computer to my iMac. The price is it’s best point of course, so you can’t expect it to compete specs wise with the rest of the line-up.

    I also know 2 switchers who took the plunge with the mini (toes testing the water first while using XP) both now have iMacs!

    Apple don’t drop the mini!

  3. Yeah, the mini certainly needs a refresh. it also needs a decent graphics card instead of the integrated chip it now uses.

    Apple STILL needs a mid-range machine with 2 PCI slots (one for a good graphics card) and 4 RAM slots to fill the gaping VOID between the Mac mini and the Mac Pro. It’s logical and they’d sell a ton of them.

    I know quite few people who would LOVE this kind of machine!

  4. I don’t buy any of the first three reasons. I think it is the last. Why waste R&D on a minor upgrade when better processors are coming? I’m waiting, and waiting and will probably get a mini this summer, upgrade or no upgrade.

  5. I’ll stay with my G4 Mini and just keep waiting for Penryn models, then.

    For something hanging off of an HDTV, the G4 is still quite usable. I still have and use a 550 MHz TiBook, FFS.

    With Ubuntu Linux getting better, my need for OS X is dwindling. I hope Apple devotes some resources to it’s core business, and less to the iPhone.

  6. The other killer for the Mini becoming a success is future sales – with the iMac you purchase a screen, keyboard & mouse (plus more features) every few years, whereas Apple only get a cheap box for a new Mini.

    Solution: add a PCI slot to the iMac and remove the wireless bluetooth/WiFi from the Mini.

    Otherwise drive the prosumer market and create a Mini Pro which is an AppleTV with Mac mode, large drive, 802.11n, HDMI out, digital TV receiver and a BluRay drive for DVDs. This would kill the last of the remaining Media Players.

    To crack the enterprise, Apple still need a cheap secretarial WP machine and the Mini is great for that.

  7. This is from a Hardmac.com test of switching processors on a mini to Core 2 Duo. (http://www.hardmac.com/articles/69/page5/)

    “- The Core Solo did not surpass 59 degrees and dissipated a maximum of 12.8W.
    – The Core Duo did not surpass 70 degrees and dissipated a maximum of 16.2W.
    – The Two Core 2 Duos attained the same maximum temperature, 92 degrees, and both of them consumed a little less than 30W.”

    After playing with the fan speed, they managed to lower the temperature to 80 (having though increased the noise)

    I am sure Apple’s engineers can work things out, but what they really must aim for is a system that behaves like a reliable, stable and quite Mac…

  8. I disagree…I was in an college IT department in Atlanta recently and they were bench testing a mini. Apparantly they have a large amount of keyboards and monitors around the campus. The IT managers logic was why buy 2 computers in a split windows/Mac environment. One computer that would run either was the solution in a cost sensitive situation where all they needed was a CPU for an upgrade. Plus the small form factor of the mini was ideal…I was impressed with the thought he had put into the college’s needs and not sticking with the standard PC formula. My windows centric assistant that was with me was impressed as well. Just my 2 cents..Pete

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