Apple updates Mac Mini with HDTV-friendly design
Apple has an interesting new product for sale today--not the upcoming iPhone 4, which became available for pre-order this morning and has since apparently caused Apple and AT&T's online stores to crumple from the demand. No, the device in question is an updated version of its Mac Mini computer.
Note that I didn't write "its Mac Mini desktop computer." More than any earlier version, the new $699-and-up model announced this morning seems made for a spot underneath a high-definition television. At 1.3 inches high, it's only two-tenths of an inch taller than Apple's $229, older, less capable and largely-abandoned Apple TV. It includes the same simple HDMI digital audio/video connection as the Apple TV. And unlike the Apple TV, it features a CD/DVD burner and SD Card slot and, since it's a Mac, can run any program and visit any site open to its larger siblings.
(Jeff Carlson's write-up at TidBits highlights some other notable changes: Its processor, memory and graphics are all considerably more powerful; its bottom panel pops open for easy memory upgrades; and its AC adapter now lives inside the computer instead of in a separate power brick.)
In other words, the new Mac Mini suggests that Apple isn't content to cede the Web-media-on-your-TV market to the likes of Dell's Inspiron Zino HD (which also offers a Blu-ray drive) or to such experiments in Internet-enabled television as Google's upcoming Google TV software, due on some Sony models this fall.
At the same time, the days of the Mac Mini being sold as Apple's low-cost choice for Windows refugees seem to be over. Not only do the new machine's features constitute overkill for the original target market of PC owners bringing their own display, keyboard and mouse, but the updated Mini costs $100 more than its predecessor, which itself sold for $100 more than the first Mini.
Is that an acceptable trade-off? Let me know in the comments.
June 15, 2010; 10:50 AM ET
Categories: Computers , TV , Video
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