Mac mini Missing Built-In iPod Dock?

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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News site The Register reports that the Mac mini may be hiding a few features, such as a future built-in iPod dock.
The Apple machine's optical drive connects to the motherboard not by a cable but is attached directly to an Ultra ATA-100 riser card which itself fits into a slot toward the rear of the Mini's mobo. According to Leo Bodnar, the guy who figured out how to overclock the Mini's G4-class CPU, that's not all the riser does.

Apparently, it's got a Firewire bus on there too, though there's no connection beyond the riser card itself. In addition to the ATA-100 lines that feed the optical drive, the riser has a connector pinout that takes the Firewire signal and provides a number of other lines, whose functions remain unknown but are likely to carry extra control signals, Leo believes.

The Mini's Agere FW8028 Firewire controller, mounted on the underside of the motherboard, connects direclty to the riser card slot, itself installed on the top of the mobo.
The linked story within The Register's report shows clear pictures of the riser board in question, and the available connectivity in each of the unpopulated connectors.
 

johnnyjibbs

macrumors 68030
Sep 18, 2003
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London, UK
Having an iPod dock on there would be a great feature and nicely ties in with the switchers it is trying to attract - those with PCs and iPods.

But then, these secret features never seem to make it... just look at the wifi iPod, etc...
 

jsw

Moderator emeritus
Mar 16, 2004
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I also don't see it as "proof" of a future iPod dock (maybe an aborted possibility). A dock would accommodate only one type of iPod and would be limiting. Unless, of course, the pod in question is a larger-screened Photo, and, when docked, it could be used as a display.

*** licks lips in anticipation ***

;)
 

killmoms

macrumors 68040
Jun 23, 2003
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Washington, DC
I don't think it's an iPod dock connector. There's only 20 pinouts in this unknown J7 connector, but there's 30 pins inside the dock connector cable and sockets. This is something else involving FireWire.
 

AtHomeBoy_2000

macrumors 6502a
Feb 3, 2005
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ANyone else think this is not intended for an iPod? I am thinking something that people have suggested before..... Media Center.
 

0098386

Suspended
Jan 18, 2005
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hmm this is quite a nice story. ill be getting a Rev B mini too methinks.
 

Porchland

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Apr 26, 2004
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AtHomeBoy_2000 said:
ANyone else think this is not intended for an iPod? I am thinking something that people have suggested before..... Media Center.
I expected that if there were a media center in the works that the Mac mini would BE the media center and not connect to one.

OMG, I'm getting vision of one of those horribly complicated diagrams you see in TV and cable manuals. The coax goes into the cable box, which connects to the HDTV through component jacks which connects to the hypotenuse of the square root of... If there's a media center in the future, Apple will do it without a lot of leg-bone-connected-to-the-hip-bone crap.
 

dongmin

macrumors 68000
Jan 3, 2002
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My vote is for wireless firewire. The internal connector is for a wireless firewire module that can be added later, like the bluetooth-airport module.
 

jtgotsjets

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May 20, 2004
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Cless said:
I don't think it's an iPod dock connector. There's only 20 pinouts in this unknown J7 connector, but there's 30 pins inside the dock connector cable and sockets. This is something else involving FireWire.
Yea, but the part of the dock that goes into a computer is condensed down to a 6 pin firewire plug. All you would NEED for an iPod dock is the firewire connection. I can't think of anything of anything else that uses the dock (remote control, audio out, etc) that you need in a computer based dock.
 

wordmunger

macrumors 603
Sep 3, 2003
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North Carolina
Porchland said:
I expected that if there were a media center in the works that the Mac mini would BE the media center and not connect to one.

OMG, I'm getting vision of one of those horribly complicated diagrams you see in TV and cable manuals. The coax goes into the cable box, which connects to the HDTV through component jacks which connects to the hypotenuse of the square root of... If there's a media center in the future, Apple will do it without a lot of leg-bone-connected-to-the-hip-bone crap.
No, that's not how it would work. The media center edition would be just an inch or so thicker, with all the extra inputs and outputs you need built right into it. The firewire stump in the existing mini is how all the data would get from the main computer to the "extra" media center stuff.
 

Zaty

macrumors 65816
Mar 14, 2004
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200paul said:
since the iPods all went to usb 2.0 I think this is a great find but wrong directions. Think DVR/Tivo/Netflix and I think you have it!
Not necessarily. At the time the Mac mini's mobo was being designed, all iPods still came with a FW cable. What I'm saying is, the decission to omit the FW cable could have been taken only recently. Anyway since all HD iPods still support FW, the shift to USB 2.0 as the default connection doesn't mean anything in relation to whether the Mac mini was/is going to get an iPod dock or not.
 

ogun7

macrumors regular
Sep 20, 2001
188
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I read this last night on Leo Bodnar's site. He's a MacGenius of the highest order. It was probably one of those proof of concept things that never get used after the marketing doofus' get through with it, ala original iMac mezzanine slot
here's the slot .jpg from Leo's site:
 

trrosen

macrumors regular
Apr 29, 2003
169
0
Yes its an iPod Dock

Cless said:
I don't think it's an iPod dock connector. There's only 20 pinouts in this unknown J7 connector, but there's 30 pins inside the dock connector cable and sockets. This is something else involving FireWire.
Actually a standard dock has both USB and Firewire connections and several unused connections and of course the other end of the cable only has a max of six connectors anyway so this is not a factor.

as far as the media center thing theres not really enough room there for the needed components and connectors. And then theres the fact that the mini would make a HORRIBLE media center (2.5 inch drive and video storage just dont go together people)

Apple could and should use the mini as the basis for a media center by intergrating the PSU and moving to a 3.5 inch drive (and maybe room for another) and a much larger case (read scaled to match audio equipment) 16x2x9

NOTE what Apple would save on the switch to 3.5 HDs and a standard superdrive should cover most the cost of the added components for video in and Mpeg encoding allowing such a machine to compete quite well on price with the Tivo enabled DVD Recorders. Not to mention they would cream the other media center PC's on Price and Features ($1400 for an HP media center they must be on drugs)
 

dguisinger

macrumors 6502a
Jul 25, 2002
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Is it just me, or doesn't that J7 connector look more like a horizontal mount memory connector? Like a low-pincount SODIMM? I'm not saying it would be used for memory, but looks like something other than a cable would plug into that.
 

gmed

macrumors newbie
May 11, 2003
23
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I bet its a Media Center attachment with all the connections. Why would you put an iPod dock on the computer when you can easily connect one via a cable? doesnt make sense. You can already have that.

G