While the Mac Mini may have been left out of recent Apple announcements, the small, book-sized computer will see a refresh sometime in the very near future, according to AppleInsider sources.
For the past several weeks, the spotlight has been on Apple’s notebook line. With brand new MacBooks and MacBook Pros, as well as a MacBook Air refresh, nary a word was spoken about the Cupertino-based company’s desktops. While that is sure to change before the holiday season gets under way, many are asking: What about the Mac Mini?
The Mini, which introduced many to the world of small computing back in 2005, has not had a spec refresh since August of 2007. With rumors swirling about the dissolution of the Minis development team, many assumed that the little desktop that could was destined to be discontinued.
According to sources at AppleInsider’s disposal, the Mac Mini is far from dead. In its "State of the Mac Mini" report, Las Vegas-based Macminicolo, who uses over 400 Minis in its server farm, states that the Mini is far from dead. Furthermore, it clears the air regarding Mini sales, saying that the Mini is sold to businesses over consumers at a 2:1 ratio. "For instance, here in Las Vegas, I know there are at least 10,000 Mac minis running in the different hotels and casinos on the strip," said Brian Stucki, owner of Macminicolo. "Certain casino companies use Mac minis in each of the slot islands on a casino floor to manage the back end. I know of one nationwide salon franchise that uses two Mac minis for each one of their stores."
While business customers may be loving the Mini, the lack of any update in over a year has left many consumers turning to alternative options. However, Stucki claims several significant updates are on the way. Along with upping the total usable memory to 4GB, Apple will also add the mini DisplayPort on the back. Because current Mini’s offer a DVI connection, the introduction of a smaller display solution will clear out the clutter and potentially offer room for other improvements, like extra USB ports. Stucki also claims that the optical drive in the Mini, which is currently an IDE drive, will be replaced by a SATA optical drive, allowing for better performance. Furthermore, Apple will offer an optical-free version of the Mini, allowing consumers to get two hard drives and utilize the Remote Disc option in Leopard, similar to the MacBook Air.
These new features, coupled with the new Intel processors and the possibility of a new graphics solution (perhaps an X4500 or the Nvidia 9300), would make for a completely redone Mini, and could boost popularity to 2005-2006 levels. Also, with the new style and color scheme, it wouldn’t be a complete surprise to see the Mini adorned in aluminum, depending on manufacturing costs.