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back to article Apple revamps Mac Mini as skinny HDMI box

Apple has sliced roughly half of the metal off its old Mac Mini and re-released the starter computer as a box that now looks a lot like the Apple TV. And it has an HDMI port. Does this mark the death knell for Apple's "hobby" project, we wonder? Apple Mac Mini Like the Apple TV, the new Mini has an built-in power brick. Yet …

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at last!

The Mini was always the perfect choice for a media PC but it was let down by not having suitable video / audio outputs.

The ATV is nice but doesn't have enough horses to render HD video properly unless you convert it to an ATV friendly CODEC first.

I think I'll be adding this to my Xmas list.

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Connections are fine, if a bit fiddly

The old box had a DVI-D port and mini-TOSLink (combined with a normal 3.5mm headphone socket) for outputting a digital video and sound signal.

HDMI is essentially the same as DVI (from a signaling point of view), only with audio included.

Agree with you on the HD issue though. The ATV can be very picky -- 720p24 only, and at around 5Mbps only. Not great when you 1080p HD DSLR can pump out 17Mbps!

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true but you needed an amp

The DVI output of the old one was fine but obviously had no sound. My TV only had spare HDMI ports and there wasn't a way to take the audio output of the old Mini and get it to play through the telly. With this one I can use the HDMI output which will have the sound and take the separate digital audio output to feed my amp. I can't always be arsed to have the amp on and don't want to be swapping the cables around which is what I would have had to have done with the old one.

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FAIL

Still the same...

.... All the useful interface ports located at the rear -- FAIL

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@ Miek

"All the useful interface ports located at the rear"

Where they should be. D'uh!

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Anonymous Coward

What's more, it's user-upgradable

a panel on the bottom lets you in to fiddle with the RAM, and I imagine it's not a huge leap from there to the hard drive. iFixit's boys will doubtless be revealing all in due course

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WTF?

Just one question...

I've had the lid off an old-style MacMini - and it's fuller than a very full thing.

How in the name of all that's hairy have they managed to squeeze the size down AND put a sodding PSU in there? That's before we even contemplate the pair of HDDs in the "server" version.

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Jobs Halo

Simples.

Revolutionary Magic!

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£650??!

Get stuffed.

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My thoughts exactly

My original Mini recently died and I saw this and thought it might be very well timed - but £650 is just ridiculous, especially considering its price in the US.

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Anonymous Coward

Sad really...

...as the point of the original Mac Mini (on which this is being typed) seemed to be to provide respectable computing power and Mac experience at a budget price. This product features the Mac experience but not the up-to-date processor nor the low price point.

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FAIL

I can't believe how much this costs

Apple, what the hell?

Even after VAT, it should be 550 quid here, but somehow you've managed to gouge the UK by an additional 79 quid. I just don't understand.

Even with the correct pricing, that's still massively overpriced for a machine with an old CPU and a midrange graphics card at best.

Very, very poor.

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Wow!

Very, very nice bit of kit. The revamp certainly slipped under the radar.

Tempted, very tempted...

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Hmmm

It's a nice shiny tiny box that would be great as an HTPC running Plex.. but too costly, considering I paid the same for my imac last year!

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FAIL

That's not an Apple TV replacement

I have an Apple TV, and for £200 as a hackable device to get XMBC onto my TV it was great. But this is three tmes the price of that, so it's not competing in the same space.

If I wanted an Apple TV replacement nowadays I'd probably go for an NVidia ION box (like the Acer revo).

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Paris Hilton

How Much

Are they really worth over £600?

Wow I know I'm not well paid but ... can't be much of a recesion then, what with the cheapest iPhone 4 being well on the way to £2000, when you take into account, network connections and insurance.

Paris another expensive luxury that don't do much, but is fun to have.

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£2000? Hmmm

£599 for the phone unlocked, then your own choice of PAYG plans etc

Or, £189 for the phone on Contract with Vodafone, with 18 months of £25 totally £639, or £35.50 a month including the handset price.

You must be high risk indeed to need £1370 for insurance...

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FAIL

Nice estimating skills

you mean sim-free from apple, Sim only / PAYG tariff & covered under your house insurance.

Yea - thats 2k of anyone's money. Muppet.

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Replace Apple TV?

Not at that price! The Apple TV was the only decently priced thing Apple made.

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Beautiful Job

...another object lesson in integration, miniaturisation and functionality. If only the mini offered am eSATA port it'd be nigh-on perfect.

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FAIL

Spits mouthfull of coffee onto screen

HOW MUCH!!!!!!!

Sorry, but for that price I can get three Acer Revos or build two HTPC mini-itx boxes (with change to spare) which include a slim DVD (maybe even Blueray) reader.

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Anonymous Coward

Plastic fantastic PCs

Would your Acer Revos have the build quality and quietness of the mini though (-in addition to HDMI, FW800 and mini-DP)?

Unlikely.

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Grenade

Acer Revo FTW for < 1/3 Price

>Would your Acer Revos have the build quality and quietness of the mini though (-in addition to HDMI, FW800 and mini-DP)?

The Acer Revo is whisper quiet (too quiet... the only way I can tell it is on is by its LED). The ION GPU spits at 720p and 1080p H264 videos. XBMC runs flawlessly on it allowing me to watch all manner of video formats and containers... this includes SSA/ASS subtitled anime in all their 720p glory.

Yes, includes HDMI (and VGA out), four USB ports and a couple of eSTATA connectors.... all for about 179 inclusive VAT (obviously for the non Windows version).

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A bit expensive for a media player, even for fanbois

"Does this mark the death knell for Apple's "hobby" project, we wonder?"

Is that the same "we wonder" as this one?

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/05/28/apple_tv_rumor/

Gotta hand it to Apple - they get the coverage even when there's nothing to report.

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FAIL

BluRay Drive

stick in a BR drive I'd buy one tomorrow.

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Jobs Horns

85W?

85 watts? Something retarded going on there.

Built myself a nice dual-core Atom box last year (based on the Zotac Ion ITX board). Slimline DVD drive, 250GB 2.5" HDD, idles at 35W and jumps to 65W when playing 1080p content (thanks to nVidia CUDA support in MPC-HC).

Has eSATA, HDMI, VGA, integrated wifi etc. Nabbed a Wiimote and sensors so I can control the mouse without using a mouse... Works great from the armchair.

Cost? £300

People will buy this though... but those people would buy a turd so long as it had an Apple logo and was multi-touch

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WTF?

It was only £300...

...if you consider your own time utterly worthless. Which you clearly do.

For Mr. J. Public, who is famously unfamiliar with IT components and lacking in the skills to build small PCs from scratch, this is actually a pretty good deal. Sure, you can buy something cheaper from the competition, but Apple clearly don't appear to be suffering from being seen as the Rolls-Royce of the IT industry.

As another poster pointed out, this new Mac mini is a major work of miniaturisation on Apple's part—have a look at some of the strip-down pieces on the older Mac mini models if you don't believe me—so good luck building a £300 clone of using off-the-shelf components and cases. This new model is *tiny*, and that's worth money in itself.

Apparently, many members of the general public really do appreciate good user experience design, and are willing to pay for it. Who knew?

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apple turds

People will buy this though... but those people would buy a turd so long as it had an Apple logo and was multi-touch

rofl :--D

I don't know why I'm laughing though, coz I'm getting one.

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Jobs Horns

Correct

Yes, you're right.

Apple products are of course designed for simpletons. Designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator. Of course people will buy it!

Just saying there are many alternatives that are: far cheaper, far more powerful, far more efficient and far more customiseable. Might add a Bluray drive within the next couple of months.

My time worthless? Correct, I don't charge my spare time out to myself at my freelance rate.

Took a couple of hours of digging on the internet and to order the parts, then another couple bolting it together and installing the multiple operating systems.

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Jobs Halo

If only

it had Blu-Ray it might be viable (and the price SLIGHTLY less ridiculous)

It's starting to look like we're going to have to wait until Steve returns to the mothership before Apple admits that they didn't win that particular format war, and dammit, I don't want that to happen any time soon...

(doncha just know they've got a team working on the iHalo, in shiny aluminium, of course)

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FAIL

What!

Far too expensive and no e-sata!

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Depends on what you want..

£50 - connects your SD TV to your network (PC or NAS) can take a HDD or external USB device to show AVI/movies/music pictures:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B001T0HEY0/ref=s9_simh_gw_p23_i1?pf_rd_m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&pf_rd_s=center-1&pf_rd_r=0M5ZB0KW1B6RTKVKA7RP&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=467198433&pf_rd_i=468294

There are similar boxes with SCART or HDMI - but the Mac Mini is a computer rather than just a media player.

ttfn

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Grenade

Recession? I see no recession.

To echo other comments, HOW MUCH?! I can buy 3 Revo's for less.

OK, the Revo's wouldn't have the Apple OS but is Job's Jizz worth that much?

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FAIL

£650??

£650?? For a Core 2 with 2Gb and 320Gb disc? They're having a laugh!!

For £450 it would be "maybe", but £650? Absolutely no effing way!

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Anonymous Coward

@Alan Edwards

It does sound a bit expensive, doesn't it?! I've got an ATV and love it and this might have pushed me to move off it, but not at that price.

One thing I wonder, though, is how much is the price driven by the rumoured ATV? What I mean is if the new ATV comes out at £400+ price tag, how could the Mac Mini be priced in that region? Also, they just released a phone today (for pre-order) with a £599 price tag!

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Never Underestimate Apple's Potential

"Same size as the Apple TV, has an HDMI port like the Apple TV - will the Mac Mini replace that machine? Well, it's telling that the current verision of the Apple TV has been dropped from the front page of the online Apple Store."

Was the Apple TV EVER on the front page of the online Apple Store? I always had to look for it via the iPod section, and it's STILL THERE.

Even so, this squashed-Mini introduction must have some implications for Home Theatre and the Apple TV. Apple could, for example, strip it down to bare bones and sell it as a NEW Apple TV. Or they could sell an even-more stripped down $100 box that has been rumoured recently.

I personally think that a combination of "Mac Mini X-Serve Home Server plugged into Hi-def TV plus iPads" will eventually replace the combination of "iMac or desktop Win PC plus MacBooks or laptops" combo of the typical household. Maybe within 3 years.

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Christ, enough "How Much" already.

My word I am outraged, and I feel the entirely predictable urge to point out that for less money I could purchase something which is superfically similar but that, on closer inspection, is louder and larger and somewhat less stylish.

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Optical output

I'm still looking for a decent media player, I love the WMC interface, combined with something like MyMovies to get film/tv episode synopsis and cover art but I don't want another full blown PC running!

So, any ideas? Nice interface, got to handle tv series properly, HDMI and optical out and .MKV support?

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Unhappy

Painful choice

It's *exactly* the machine I always wanted it to be -especially the server version. It's lovely, gorgeous, it'll replace three boxes under my tv and free up a hdmi port; xbmc, iTunes/front row, eyetv all in one, brilliant form-factor, even the external power brick is gone. It would be a no-brainer, instant purchase...

... But the price, my god. I mean, I have a lot of apple stuff, I'm a fan, I'm typing *this* on my shiny new iPad... But I'm not totally blind to price gouging. It's made an easy choice into a very difficult one, and I'm very likely to end up holding off. It's just too much. It's taking the piss. Really annoying, I really wanted this. :-(

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Title? call me sir.

I love the way people say £650! I could build that for a tenner out of my spares box, they seem to forget the couple of hours to put it all together and the rest of the day searching for drivers to make it all work, yeah right add a days pay to that. anyway wait a month or two and it'll be 500 quid.

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Wow, Uk gets jipped (again)

Just did some conversions using x-rates.com (yes it is family safe!) and even compared to Canada, the UK users are getting jipped to the tune of $300 (either US or CAD).

Import duty doesn't even begin to cover that amount, so yeah. I feel for you guys I really do. On current rates Canadians get a 29CAD premium.

Sucks eh?

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Ted
Boffin

It has FireWire 800, eSATA not needed...

Some people are not understanding it also has FireWire 800, so needing eSATA is rather pointless. FireWire is a far more useful bus, supports up to 63 devices, and no extra power... sweet!

Check out the back and bottom of it here:

http://www.apple.com/macmini/design.html

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Jobs Horns

Don't you mean i.LINK?

Wow. Just, wow.

Thought IEEE 1394 was on its way out due to Apple's comparitively large licensing fee vs USB.

IEEE 1394b (800) has been around for a few years now and I'm still yet to have a pair of devices at any of our clients where I can test it.

Doesn't exactly sound like a future killer interface to me.

USB 3's just around the corner and to not support eSATA is mental.

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Troll

(Cough) How Much!?

Yes it has all the right features to replace my Apple TV / Mac Mini combo, I'm hoping there is a 5.1 optical output embedded in that headphone socket. Price is rather painful even by Apple standards as a MacBook is only £850 and for that you get a screen and keyboard too! Might pick one up when I next go to the US (or at least check prices in mainland Europe).

On the plus side, the price of the new machine will keep second hand prices of the older Mini from collapsing, I can see myself selling the two boxes I have and replacing them with one. Steam games on the telly - plus Boxee, Front row... fantastic!

Could really do with a third 'thumb' icon here - one halfway between up and down...

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FAIL

No sense in the pricing

I bought my mac mini last october for 550 EUR, now it's 790 EUR for the new low end model, the price hike is so large that the new mini is no longer competitive in the market.

550 EUR was not so much more than you'd have to pay for an equivalent PC with windows so it was quite an obvious choice for me, seems like I won't be upgrading and it will be the same for many customers.

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Go

Xen Server

Very interesting. I'll have to look into the details of it as I've been wanting to build a very small Xen Server for dev work for some time....

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