Thoughts on the new Mac Mini

The New Mac Mini is a revolution in desktops to be sure.   But here are some observations, some good and bad, on today’s new product:

  • Its new internal power supply means no more brick to worry about…that’s good.  On the bad side, it means if the Mini gets hit with a surge you need to buy a new Mini, not just a new AC adapter.  Also, for the people who put these in cars, they will beed to buy an inverter to go from DC to AC then back to DC internally unless they want to hack it apart.  Very inefficient.  Also, car people won’t be able to mount these in 7-inch standard enclosures.  MacMini co-location people will also have to redesign their systems.
  • The original G4 Mac Mini was $499.  When Apple went to Intel they raised it to $599.  Today, they”ve raised the entry point to $699.  I’m fully aware that they’ve bettered the design and specs in almost every conceivable way, but Apple would absolutely kill if they could get back to their original $499 price point, or go even lower.  This is a reverse of the trend of the entire industry and raises the barrier to entry to the Mac Platform another $100.  In Europe, prices go way higher.
  • Apple is positioning this as a MediaCenter with its new look (and HDMI, check out the art on Apple’s website, it is sitting in from of a HDTV). Why can’t Apple bite the bullet and throw in Blu-Ray?  On a $700 device, it seems like a prerequisite at this point, especially when network connected home players BD start at around $100.
  • Is this Apple’s answer to GoogleTV?  Hopefully not….unless they have a new mediacenter OS planned for this device at a later point.
  • As a desktop computer in idle mode, 10W is unheard of.  Basically six of these would use the power of a 60W light bulb.  Like the Minis before it, the internals are on par with Apple’s MacBooks.
  • This thing isn’t going to be ‘mediacenter quiet’ however, look at that fan on the bottom and outlet on the back.  Decoding 1080P videos might be noisy.
  • With the addition of the SD card slot all of Apple’s consumer products (not MacBooks) now have the ability to read SD cards.  Is this just for convenience or does Apple have some sort of bigger plans for this interface?
  • The new Mac Mini now has an aluminum top with Apple logo – but they don’t use it for Wifi antenna.  The Airport antenna appears to be at the bottom which is a plastic circle.  The back where all of the ports are is also black plastic.  How will this affect Wifi reception?
  • The small business server version of this product ships without a optical disk.  Are small businesses swooping these up as File Servers and mail servers?  Or have most businesses moved to the cloud.  As a File Server, $1000 for 1TB is pretty steep when even Airport Extreme’s seem like a better deal.  2TB NAS can be had for around $200).  Perhaps larger businesses who need Open Directory, DNS, print servers and such are a target?  I don’t see where this fits in personally.
  • The bottom makes memory access a breeze (especially compared to its predecessor!), but will hard drive replacement be as easy?  Can I fit a 1TB drive in there?  Or give me an SSD option to quiet it down and speed it up?

I’d be interested in hearing everyone else’s reactions as well.

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Avatar for Seth Weintraub Seth Weintraub

Publisher and Editorial Director of the 9to5/Electrek sites.

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