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The State of the Mac mini
Friday, October 24, 2008 - 6:06 AM EST
Posted by: Brian

Our old friends over at Macminicolo have published a report titled "The State of the Mac mini", which basically takes on some of the misconceptions out there about the Mac mini. You know, like how it's selling so poorly these days (see picture at bottom of page). The report also speculates about the future of the Mac mini, and goes on to say that new models are on the way. Here's an excerpt from the report:

So how about the future of the mini? Is it nearing the end of life or just waiting out the refresh cycle? (Surely this is the reason many of you are reading this article no matter how highly I think of my above opinions.)

Macminicolo is certain there is another mini on the way. Here are some changes we expect to see:

  The Mac mini will use the new Mini DisplayPort that was recently showcased on the Macbook line. This will save considerable port real estate on the back of the Mac mini.

  The Mac mini will join all other Macs in being able to address 4GB of RAM. Currently, they are officially sold with up to 2GB of RAM, but can also support 3GB of RAM. (Though the latter configuration loses the minor dual channel benefits.)

  Like the new Macbook, the Mac mini optical drive will be changed to a SATA connection. (It is currently a standard ATA/IDE cable.) This will obviously increase performance. But this change offers even more benefit for those who use the Mac mini as a server. (I have hundreds of Mac mini servers in here that have never once used their optical drive.) In ordering a Mac mini from Apple, there will be an option to have two SATA HDDs and eliminating the optical all together. With the new Remote Disc introduced with the Macbook Air, this option will be tempting for many.

In this list above, we have 100% confirmed two of these upgrades. The other is just a 99% educated guess.

There will likely be other changes. Below is a list of other changes we'd hope for, but have no confirmation like the three listed above.

  The Mac mini will likely join the rest of the line with the black and aluminum. I wouldn't expect the desktop Mac to use the new unibody aluminum casing as that would surely push it out of the Mac mini price range. (And probably isn't as useful for desktop computers anyway.)

  Without the higher cost of unibody casing, and more space with the switch to Mini DisplayPort, we'd expect FireWire to stay on the Mac mini.

  Our hopeful nature would point to a move from integrated graphics to NVIDIA GPUs though I'm not sure how close they'll want to bridge the performance with the iMac and Macbooks.

  Surely the Mac mini will see an upgrade to 802.11n. At this point, I assume it'd be more expensive to continue to produce the non-n card solely for the Mac mini than use the same card that is in every other Mac. Plus, with some if the new minis relying on Remote Disc, that extra speed would be essential.

As many of you know, we normally don't post rumor-based news. But Macminicolo is an established and reputable company. Plus, they have been right about predicting Mac mini updates in the past. That's why we decided to run the story.

The screenshot above was taken from Amazon.com right before this article was posted. It shows their bestselling desktop computers. The 1.83GHz Mac mini is currently in the number #2 slot.

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