Friday, October 24, 2008

‘rumors...greatly exaggerated’

AppleInsider has published an article which adds substance to the hope that the Mac mini may simply be approaching a refresh, instead of its untimely demise. Their piece appears to be based mainly upon an article published on the website of a company which provides colocation services for Mac minis, and which arguably has more experience with them than anyone else.

In that article, claims to be “certain” that a refreshed Mac mini is on the way.

One detail they seem far less certain about, is whether it will include an NVIDIA GPU/chipset, or an Intel chipset with integrated graphics.

I can see that going either way. On the one hand, using their chipset would help placate Intel, while at the same time helping to differentiate the Mac mini as a low-end machine, rather than a MacBook without the built-in screen. It would also leave more room for a premium version of the Apple TV including an NVIDIA GPU/chipset.

On the other hand, that scenario makes the lower end of Apple's product line look rather cluttered. To me it seems more elegant to tie the Mac mini more closely to the MacBook, marketing it as essentially the stationary version of the same machine, which can be priced lower not only because it doesn't include a display, keyboard, touchpad, or battery, but also because it doesn't need to be both light and strong enough for portable use.

Design it to take advantage of the same 3-port cable the new 24" Cinema Display uses to connect to the MacBook, and the chances of selling both together rise dramatically. Such a combined sale would surely be more profitable for Apple than the sale of a MacBook alone.

The biggest stickler is sorting out the overlap between the Apple TV and the Mac mini, but I'm sure Apple already has a plan for that.

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