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View Full Version : HEY... insider info on upcoming new Mac mini availability?




DHart
May 1, 2008, 08:26 PM
I know that some folks here do have connections that can offer fairly reliable info on likely dates for pending refreshes...

I am so itching to get a top-of-the line refreshed mini, max it out with 4 GB of RAM, and hook it up to a high quality 24" wide screen (HP LP2465)...

Does anyone have any info on likely availability of the new mini?



benlee
May 1, 2008, 08:46 PM
Although I have no "insider" information I can say that from past experience the mini's update schedules are quite odd.

The iMac just got updated leaving the mini out in the cold as the only Mac not yet updated with the Penryn chipset. It could get a silent update in the coming weeks but that is mere speculation and I wouldn't be surprised if we didn't see an update until June.

digitalnicotine
May 1, 2008, 08:47 PM
I'm also patiently awaiting the mini update. June would be nice, if not sooner, but I'm willing to wait until September before I'll look for another option. :)

Cave Man
May 1, 2008, 08:48 PM
If AppleInsider is correct, the Mini refresh is a month or two away, at least. They reported its resurrection as "in the development" stage a month or two ago. Considering the testing and manufacturing ramp-up, I think it's most likely going to be around WWDC or later.

But then again, it could be next Tuesday...

David G.
May 1, 2008, 08:50 PM
Although I have no "insider" information I can say that from past experience the mini's update schedules are quite odd.

The iMac just got updated leaving the mini out in the cold as the only Mac not yet updated with the Penryn chipset. It could get a silent update in the coming weeks but that is mere speculation and I wouldn't be surprised if we didn't see an update until June.

Santa Rosa chipset.
Penryn processor.

The Mac mini has neither of these making it at least 2 generations behind any other Mac in production now.

Bubba Satori
May 2, 2008, 07:03 AM
The new mini and Duke Nukem Forever will launch together. But the mini's integrated graphics won't run it. :D

statler
May 2, 2008, 08:28 AM
Processor speed and graphics aside, the current Mini has two glaring limitations:
1) Maxes out at 2GB (unofficially 3GB)
2) No 802.11n
You'd think both of these would be easy to address in a routine update, but apparently that is not the case.

iknowyourider
May 2, 2008, 08:40 AM
Processor speed and graphics aside, the current Mini has two glaring limitations:
1) Maxes out at 2GB (unofficially 3GB)
2) No 802.11n
You'd think both of these would be easy to address in a routine update, but apparently that is not the case.

I think they're both easy to address but we're hoping for more than that, right?

DHart
May 2, 2008, 11:50 AM
It seems likely that the new mini will come in with pretty much the same specs as the current MacBooks, including capacity of 4 GB of RAM, 2.4 GHz C2D processor, and the stepped up graphics chip. And if we're fortunate, we may get more than that.

inkswamp
May 3, 2008, 02:08 AM
There are four significant rumors out there right now. One says the Mini's days are numbered. The other says that an update is in the near future. Another holds that the Apple has assigned a team to completely rework the Mini's internals. Yet another says the Mini is going to get smaller.

At first glance, all that might seem hopelessly irreconcilable but I have a pet theory and it involves the growing calls for a headless Mac more powerful than the existing Mini.

Yeah, I know some of you get very indignant about this topic, but Apple does bow to the will of its users from time-to-time. As evidence, I present... the Mac Mini, which itself came out amidst claims that Macs were too expensive and Apple needed a headless, entry-level machine.

Here's what I imagine could explain those rumors: Apple is going to refresh the existing Minis by bumping the specs and shrinking the case; along with that, they will introduce one or two top-of-the-line Minis with a bigger form factor than the existing line-up. The new large-size case will have enough space to accommodate components more on the par with the iMac. So the Mini as we know it will in fact be discontinued, replaced with this new version of the small Mac (maybe it will receive a name change as it might be sort of silly to call larger boxes "Minis." Mac Nano? Mac?) The new large size case will make room for one PCI slot and will allow users to access a RAM slot without using a putty knife while the smaller case Minis will exist for users who want smaller machines.

And then the displays. Apple is way overdue for a display refresh. I think Apple will simultaneously unveil a major overhaul of their display line-up, introducing some screen sizes suited to home users to sell with the new Minis.

Anyway, that's my theory. Take it or leave it. :cool:

DHart
May 3, 2008, 01:05 PM
inkswamp... I like your theory. A moderately powerful mini is exactly what I want given the display issues with the iMacs. I want to be able to cherry pick my display without having it all wrapped up in one piece with everything else. If the processor were at least 2.4 GHz, memory up to 4 GB, and the graphics processor comparable to what's in the new MacBooks, that would be very good. A little more oomph than that would be fantastic!

I would LOVE a new 3.06 iMac but what blocks the road for me are three things:

1) glossy surface not so good for image editing
2) rampant reports of display issues (light leaks and screen gradients)
3) replacement iMacs given on return due to screen problems tend to be no better

I may take a chance on the display issues and try out an iMac 3.06, but I really prefer a mini with specs comparable to or even a little better than the current MacBooks and pick my own 24" display. (HP LP2465)

I'd pay really good money for a Mac Mini with the internals of a 3.06 GHz iMac!

marbles
May 3, 2008, 02:46 PM
This is total sense imo
Apple , please listen to inkswamp ....... speaks for me (and I'm sure many others too)



There are four significant rumors out there right now. One says the Mini's days are numbered. The other says that an update is in the near future. Another holds that the Apple has assigned a team to completely rework the Mini's internals. Yet another says the Mini is going to get smaller.

At first glance, all that might seem hopelessly irreconcilable but I have a pet theory and it involves the growing calls for a headless Mac more powerful than the existing Mini.

Yeah, I know some of you get very indignant about this topic, but Apple does bow to the will of its users from time-to-time. As evidence, I present... the Mac Mini, which itself came out amidst claims that Macs were too expensive and Apple needed a headless, entry-level machine.

Here's what I imagine could explain those rumors: Apple is going to refresh the existing Minis by bumping the specs and shrinking the case; along with that, they will introduce one or two top-of-the-line Minis with a bigger form factor than the existing line-up. The new large-size case will have enough space to accommodate components more on the par with the iMac. So the Mini as we know it will in fact be discontinued, replaced with this new version of the small Mac (maybe it will receive a name change as it might be sort of silly to call larger boxes "Minis." Mac Nano? Mac?) The new large size case will make room for one PCI slot and will allow users to access a RAM slot without using a putty knife while the smaller case Minis will exist for users who want smaller machines.

And then the displays. Apple is way overdue for a display refresh. I think Apple will simultaneously unveil a major overhaul of their display line-up, introducing some screen sizes suited to home users to sell with the new Minis.

Anyway, that's my theory. Take it or leave it. :cool:

CWallace
May 3, 2008, 04:22 PM
I still remain skeptical about a more powerful "headless" system.

One of the advantages of Apple's current desktop line-up to Apple is that there is not a lot of overlap with PC desktop product lines.

PC makers have never had much luck selling all-in-one machines, so the iMac has essentially no competition from PC makers. And the Mac Pro is cheaper then an equivalent PC workstation from a "Tier One" manufacturer.

As for the Mini, most PCs that small use the VIA CPU for HTPC usage and are anemic in comparison to the Mini in terms of CPU and memory performance.

If Apple released an expandable mini-tower they'd be just like every PC on the market, except with a higher price point. And even if Apple comes out with the coolest...case...ever...for the machine, the Chinese will have copies in the stores inside of two months that you can stuff with standard PC parts so DIYers can have something that looks just as cool and costs a boatload less.

Also, let's face it. If demand within the Mac community for an expandable mini-tower was as overwhelmingly strong as some portray, the Hackintosh developer and user community would be much larger and stronger because we'd have tens of millions of people building and using them. And when Apple saw they could sell another million or more units a quarter if they sold one, too, they'd do so.

Psystar will likely show whether or not there is a true, sustainable market for such a machine beyond the DIYers who like to build and tinker with their own boxes - something Apple discourages with their current and recent product lines.

inkswamp
May 3, 2008, 05:18 PM
I still remain skeptical about a more powerful "headless" system.

One of the advantages of Apple's current desktop line-up to Apple is that there is not a lot of overlap with PC desktop product lines.

I think that's actually a huge disadvantage for Apple.

PC makers have never had much luck selling all-in-one machines, so the iMac has essentially no competition from PC makers. And the Mac Pro is cheaper then an equivalent PC workstation from a "Tier One" manufacturer.

Maybe PC makers haven't had much luck selling all-in-ones because people generally don't like the concept and prefer a headless or tower machine. So logically Apple should branch out, right? Why stick with consumer-oriented machines that history shows most consumers don't want?

If Apple released an expandable mini-tower they'd be just like every PC on the market, except with a higher price point.

A moderately powerful headless Mac would not be just like every PC on the market. It would run OS X.

Also, let's face it. If demand within the Mac community for an expandable mini-tower was as overwhelmingly strong as some portray,

Your logic is circular here. If Apple doesn't offer a mini-tower, then of course there won't be strong demand for it amongst the people drawn to be part of the Mac community. If they wanted that, they wouldn't have bought a Mac to begin with. That's a self-selecting group, and it means nothing.

I know this is anecdotal, but I know many people who won't go near Macs right now precisely because Apple doesn't offer some kind of consumer-oriented tower. These same people are sick to death of Windows and have an interest in OS X but they want a box that makes sense to them. It seems a lot of folks on the PC side are interested in OS X, but don't want the built-in limits of the Mini or the all-in-one iMac. Likewise, they are in sticker shock at the thought of spending $3000 for a Mac Pro.

the Hackintosh developer and user community would be much larger and stronger because we'd have tens of millions of people building and using them. And when Apple saw they could sell another million or more units a quarter if they sold one, too, they'd do so.

The Hackintosh community suffers from the same problem that Linux does--it's just slightly too much hassle for the average user. Citing its apparent lack of popularity doesn't necessarily mean there isn't a demand for a Mac mini-tower.

marbles
May 3, 2008, 06:23 PM
again I agree with inkswap ..I couldn't have said it better myself

but



Psystar will likely show whether or not there is a true, sustainable market for such a machine beyond the DIYers who like to build and tinker with their own boxes - something Apple discourages with their current and recent product lines.

..... Steve (imo) doesn't like people opening up 'his' computers ( unless of course you shell out the big macpro money of course ), that point is the only thing holding back me throwing myself 100% into believing in the 'nanotowermini' becoming a reality

I wish it wasn't so

CWallace
May 3, 2008, 08:13 PM
I know this is anecdotal, but I know many people who won't go near Macs right now precisely because Apple doesn't offer some kind of consumer-oriented tower. These same people are sick to death of Windows and have an interest in OS X but they want a box that makes sense to them. It seems a lot of folks on the PC side are interested in OS X, but don't want the built-in limits of the Mini or the all-in-one iMac. Likewise, they are in sticker shock at the thought of spending $3000 for a Mac Pro.

And yet, would a mini-tower make them happy? Especially one that is only upgraded every six to twelve months?

Let us say Apple released a Core 2 Duo Mini-Tower last summer at 2.4GHz and 2.8Ghz with an ATI 2600. And that was it until last week, when they added the nVidia 8x000 and the 3.06GHz Core 2 Duo. Okay, so you saved the cost of the 23" ACD because you can use something cheaper (in cost and quality), but other than that, you effectively have an iMac.

I believe some folks expect a Mac MiniTower would be just like a PC minitower. A new CPU comes out? Slap it in. nVidia or ATI release a new video card? Slap it in. But can you do that? It appears not, since folks are not slapping nVidia 9x00-series PC cards into their Mac Pros and motoring along under OS X. And as we saw with the first-gen 8-way Mac Pros, it is not just lack of drivers that are a stumbling block - the EFI could prevent upgrades. The EFI could also prevent upgrades to the CPUs, as well.

Those buying Mac MiniTowers may find themselves just as much at the (relative lack of) mercy that iMac users and even MacPro users are...


The Hackintosh community suffers from the same problem that Linux does--it's just slightly too much hassle for the average user.

And I believe that same...hassle...is why Apple is not to keen to refresh their product line every three months or so with new CPUs, GPUs, and system platforms. Yes, they have the resources to develop and support more options, but it still brings complexity to the operating environment and that can lead to ...Windows. :D

inkswamp
May 3, 2008, 08:24 PM
And yet, would a mini-tower make them happy? Especially one that is only upgraded every six to twelve months?

Judging by the people I've talked to and the chatter I've seen around Internet forums not as Mac-biased as MacRumors, then the answer is yes. It's the same kind of thing I saw prior to the release of the Mini. The demand is there.

And I don't think upgradability is necessarily the linchpin of why people prefer headless computers. I think it really comes down to the fact that a majority of the computer buying populace out there is just accustomed to it being that way and the all-in-one just looks too different.

You know, there are televisions out there with built-in DVD players and VCRs but I don't know anyone who owns one. Do you? Most people I know buy the components separately. Why is that? Well, it's what they're used to. There might also be some sense of the complexity of all this stuff and not wanting to have too many components in one box. If my DVD player dies, it doesn't bring down the whole works. If my all-in-one TV dies, then my VCR and DVD players are gone too. I suspect there is an analog there to the response people have to the all-in-one computer. People want these things separate when it comes to the desktop machines.

And I believe that same...hassle...is why Apple is not to keen to refresh their product line every three months or so with new CPUs, GPUs, and system platforms. Yes, they have the resources to develop and support more options, but it still brings complexity to the operating environment and that can lead to ...Windows. :D

Nonsense! Windows is the mess it is because it has to support every flippin' thing that comes down the pipeline and every configuration of those things and has to load drivers and crappy software for each of them. Even if Apple were introduce one more mix of components into their line-up, that's not exactly a lot to maintain. What would that be, 6 different computers with minor configuration differences in each model? If Apple can't handle that, they need to get out of the computer business.

However, they could skate through that issue by simply repackaging the components in the iMac into a headless machine. Then, no further maintenance would be required. From the point of view of the OS, it's just another iMac.

ADent
May 4, 2008, 01:30 AM
Does anyone have any info on likely availability of the new mini?There is a reliable source about 2-4 times a month that the mini is getting upgraded "Next Tuesday"

Two weeks ago a thread "CONFIRMED" the death of the existing mini - but it is still here.

Zygon Gambit
May 4, 2008, 02:46 AM
There is a reliable source about 2-4 times a month that the mini is getting upgraded "Next Tuesday"

Two weeks ago a thread "CONFIRMED" the death of the existing mini - but it is still here.
That thread 'confirmed' the death of the Mini because John Lewis had stopped selling them. When questioned why they'd stopped, they said because the product had been discontinued, and they were expecting a replacement 'soon'. (Note that John Lewis are still selling the old models of the iMac on their website: another discontinued product.)

This implies that when they tried to get more inventory from Apple, they were told they couldn't have any more: i.e. that no more Minis (of that model) were available. As Apple are still selling them on their own website it suggests that they are nearly at the end of their stock.

The big question is: are Apple keeping going with the mini until the stock has gone, and that's the end of the Mini - or have they a replacement already standing by?

My guess is that the replacement isn't quite ready yet. I don't think Apple want a shop like John Lewis to run out of stock, but have no choice. Or, it could be that something more interesting will be launched at the WWDC in June. Either way, the longer delay suggests that it will be more than just an ordinary update. But, of course, we just don't know for sure.

zedsdead
May 4, 2008, 06:33 AM
Since the Mini was not updated with the iMac, I think of really only two scenarios:

(1) It is being discontinued (which I doubt)
(2) A new case design is going to emerge at WWDC.

iTattoo
May 4, 2008, 06:42 AM
I believe some folks expect a Mac MiniTower would be just like a PC minitower. A new CPU comes out? Slap it in. nVidia or ATI release a new video card? Slap it in. But can you do that? It appears not, since folks are not slapping nVidia 9x00-series PC cards into their Mac Pros and motoring along under OS X. And as we saw with the first-gen 8-way Mac Pros, it is not just lack of drivers that are a stumbling block - the EFI could prevent upgrades. The EFI could also prevent upgrades to the CPUs, as well.

@CWallace, I often read your thoughtful and well presented points in your posts, and find them to be well balanced and informative, on this occasion I find that I have to respectfully disagree with you point above. There will always be a segment of users that have to have the latest and greatest, and yes they will want to slap in the new CPU, or nVidia release etc., however, the vast majority of users outside of forums like this one buy their computer, hook it up, and are very happy with it for a number of years as is.

I for one would prefer to have a separate monitor from the computer primarily because I find it incredibly wasteful (not to mention environmental terrorism) to replace a perfectly functioning monitor every 3ish years because my computer is lagging, whereas a new computer every 3ish years is the norm for me at least. I currently have a 24" aluminum iMac 2.8G (mid 2007), and don't anticipate replacing it for quite some time to come. I don't have any of the display issues that I read about on the forum that others are having. Perhaps there will be something that comes along that would be a order of magnitude improvement on my current screen, but at this point most updates are small evolutionary changes and not worthy of replacing what would otherwise be a fine monitor screen. It will be a shame to waste this monitor - unless of course I could plug it into a headless Mac and use it as a monitor only?

Steve - if you or one of your team is reading this - bring on the headless Mac.

Cheers,

BT

CWallace
May 4, 2008, 10:25 AM
I for one would prefer to have a separate monitor from the computer primarily because I find it incredibly wasteful (not to mention environmental terrorism) to replace a perfectly functioning monitor every 3ish years because my computer is lagging, whereas a new computer every 3ish years is the norm for me at least.

And that is a very valid point. I certainly expect my 30" LCD to last me "forever" (until it physically fails). Then again, one of the reasons I want to buy a Nehalem-based 8-way Mac Pro is because I reasonably expect it to last "forever" (six years, minimum), as well, with in-service life upgrades to the video card and HDDs/optical drives.

It's difficult to know why Apple is resistant to releasing an upgradeable mini-tower model. Part of it could be profits on the Mac Pro line (though it is cheaper then what the PC makers want). Part of it could be that a Mac Pro is so much computer that buying it means you don't need to replace it in three years (many folks to this day use MP G4s and G5s and find them plenty powerful) so the "amortized cost" is lower and Apple is trying to sell it based on that standard. And it could just be another case of Steve knowing what's best for us, even if we don't know it ourselves. :rolleyes:

JG271
May 4, 2008, 10:35 AM
Besides processor, wireless and max ram It would seem logical to up the hard drive on the next revision... the base model has been 80gb for so long!

gnasher729
May 4, 2008, 10:58 AM
I know that some folks here do have connections that can offer fairly reliable info on likely dates for pending refreshes...

I am so itching to get a top-of-the line refreshed mini, max it out with 4 GB of RAM, and hook it up to a high quality 24" wide screen (HP LP2465)...

Does anyone have any info on likely availability of the new mini?

I don't know if you realise that any such "connections" would lose their job if any information were traced back to them. And a court has recently told Apple that if there are any leaks, Apple can and must take statements under oath from anyone who could have possibly leaked that information, so any leak would then have the choice of either losing their job or committing a crime that is punished with jail time.

So don't expect any information from insiders.

snberk103
May 4, 2008, 11:05 AM
... I for one would prefer to have a separate monitor from the computer primarily because I find it incredibly wasteful (not to mention environmental terrorism) to replace a perfectly functioning monitor every 3ish years because my computer is lagging, whereas a new computer every 3ish years is the norm for me at least.

Steve - if you or one of your team is reading this - bring on the headless Mac.

Cheers,

BT

I think that the issue of waste is the best reason why Apple will, at least eventually, introduce a broader range of headless Macs. Apple has committed itself to being more environmentally friendly - removing mecury and lead, using aluminum instead of plastic, etc etc. At some point they will either figure it themselves, or the green movement will point it out, that AIOs create more waste than non-AIOs.

However, we should not just assume this means a mini-tower with user replaceable parts. This is Apple after all. Imagine a monitor with a mounting system that you slide a "mini-like" system into. This allows you to upgrade either the monitor or system separately, without messing up the combination of parts that Apple has tested and sold.

I'm not saying this is a good thing, but we have seen that Apple is not happy with the idea that people may be combining different parts.

But the environment is now a key component in their future thinking... how that will play out, only Apple knows.

CWallace
May 4, 2008, 11:41 AM
The Mac Mini may very well have served it's purpose - especially once the move to the Intel platform happened.

One of the stated goals was to allow Windows and Linux users to "try" the Mac OS in a more cost-effective form without having to go "all-in" with an iMac or Mac Pro. I myself hemmed and hawed for some time about adding a Mini and a KVM to my existing PC system to experiment with OS X before I decided to replace my 17" HP laptop with a 13" MacBook when the latter was first released. I was the only person in my circle of friends who did not use a Mac as their daily machine and I wanted something smaller for travel (as well as figuring it would be more helpful to have a Mac when I visited them), so the MacBook made sense.

We're now into the third year of the "Intel era" at Apple and two years into the Mac Mini with the Intel CPU and Boot Camp. While I fully expect there is still a market for the current Mac Mini amongst those who wish to "experiment", over time the market for such a machine should continue to diminish as folks either stay with Windows/Linux or they commit to OS X fully and buy an iMac, a MacBook (Pro), or Mac Pro.

IDC and Gartner both note that computer sales (especially notebook sales) continue to strengthen worldwide and Apple's 37% increase in desktop sales and 61% increase in notebook sales last quarter reflect this growth. So perhaps it is becoming time for Apple to branch out and add new models.

Zygon Gambit
May 4, 2008, 12:13 PM
When is Mr Jobs' speech at the WWDC? Is it at the beginning of the conference?

inkswamp
May 4, 2008, 01:55 PM
I'm not saying this is a good thing, but we have seen that Apple is not happy with the idea that people may be combining different parts..

What do you base that statement on? The Mini is marketed as "bring your own keyboard, display and mouse." The Mac Pros are designed to work with a wide range of third-party hardware.