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Apple's supply of Mac minis dwindle ahead of new models

post #1 of 85
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Supply of Apple's existing Mac mini lineup has become increasingly constrained over the past two weeks as the company prepares to introduce refreshed models that may serve as a harbinger for some new I/O technology on the Mac.

The shortage has been verified four times over by AppleInsider, which has received numerous reports that suggest the constraints are indicative of new models on the horizon, rather than intermittent delays resulting from the onset of the back-to-school buying season, which sometimes sees Apple curb the flow of Macs to its distribution channels in favor of filling large orders to universities.

For example, one buyer for a higher-ed institution placed a bulk order for Mac minis two weeks ago through the school's Apple rep, noting that receipt of the machines was required by June 1. Although the Apple representative initially indicated that the delivery date would not be a problem, the buyer last week saw his ETA pushed out from 1-3 business days to a definitive date of June 14.

"Every time this has happened in years past, it means that the item we ordered would be revised," the buyer told AppleInsider.

Meanwhile, another Mac consultant serving as a buyer for a separate firm ran into similar problems while attempting to secure some high-end Mac minis. This person was informed by his supplier that the model was completely out of stock at the distributor, which had no ETA from Apple on when restocking would occur.

Similarly, a third person who regularly purchases Mac minis in bulk directly through the Mac maker was advised by his Apple contacts to only submit his latest order for what he absolutely needed "for the next few weeks," serving as yet another hint that the days are numbered for existing models.

Those reports of Mac mini shortages were further corroborated by AppleInsider's own routine checks while updating its Mac Pricing Guide. As of this week, roughly half of the resellers who maintain a seat in the pricing guide began reflecting no inventory of either current Mac mini configuration and are recommending that customers call in to check on availability. Calls to these resellers suggest new orders won't be filled until next week at the earliest.

All of these findings bear all the telltale signs that Apple is ramping down production of existing Mac minis and preparing its distribution for refreshed models. In March, AppleInsider exclusively reported that next-generation Mac minis making their way through the Cupertino-based company's verification tests were seen with an HDMI port in place of the existing model's DVI port.

Apple's existing Mac mini offers users the choice of DVI or mini DisplayPort for video output.

At least one of the Mac mini prototypes described by those privy to the hardware was said to include Nvidia's MCP89 chipset, which is the successor to the existing MCP79 (or GeForce 9400M) chipset found alongside Intel's Core 2 Duo processors across the majority of Apple's 2009 Mac product line. Both tips came by way of the same people who accurately predicted in February that Apple was about to introduce advanced automatic graphics switching on its professional MacBook Pro line -- a prediction which panned out when the company unveiled new models in April.

An unannounced version of the Mac mini has been spotted with an HDMI connector instead of a DVI.

Apple last updated the Mac mini line in late October, introducing models with faster Core 2 Duo processors and adding a third server-oriented configuration that forgoes an optical drive in favor of two 500GB hard drives for a total of 1TB of storage. All three models were billed by the company as "worlds most energy efficient desktops."
post #2 of 85
I'm taking back what I said about Apple TV and... am going to say it'll work for the Mini!

How cool would it be to be able to go into "iPad/iPhone" mode with the included iPod touch-esque touch controller and play games or do whatever else you want. It'd be an interesting way to 1) broaden the reach of the App Store and 2) serve as a demo to what might be a Mac App Store. I know some don't want that but I, for one, know there are apps out there I would like but don't have a way of knowing what or where they are.

With HDMI of course
post #3 of 85
it would be best if newer ones have that new mini display port. a mini hdmi port would be the best.
post #4 of 85
When will they update the monitors? The 30" still has a picture of tiger on the box for goodness sake, that's like 4 years old!
What about a 42" at the same price as the current 30"?
post #5 of 85
Yay!

Looking forward to the new model, my MacBook's days are numbered now.
post #6 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe hs View Post

When will they update the monitors? The 30" still has a picture of tiger on the box for goodness sake, that's like 4 years old!
What about a 42" at the same price as the current 30"?

Yeah it really is about time. If they got a 42" my current 40" HDTV would go the way of the living room. Currently I have a Mac mini and an external FireWire 800 based RAID for a movie server hooked up to the TV but watching movies, while nice, is not optimal due to the fact that most movies do not go "Full Screen" in DVD player and have a lot of space around them (no not the black bar at the top and bottom) but having an actual 42" display I think would take care of that problem.
post #7 of 85
That HDMI photo is poorly photochopped. Don't even need to run it through Curves or anything to see that.
post #8 of 85
This would be a really nice little HTPC if only it had a blu-ray drive. Without one there's no alternative but to rely on 1080p torrents, which you wouldn't imagine is what Apple would approve of.
post #9 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by requieminadream View Post

That HDMI photo is poorly photochopped. Don't even need to run it through Curves or anything to see that.

While they could have done a better job of making it clear this was an artists rendering... AI never claimed to have photographic evidence of this unannounced Mac mini.

In fact, If the photo WAS real they certainly would have said as much... and shortly after been visited by the Apple Goon Squ... errrr CA police department with a battering ram in one hand and a quickly scribbled search warrant in the other and they would now be computer-less and likely missing any random non specific person care items they may have left lying around the office.

Sorry, what were we talking about again?
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post #10 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by kotatsu View Post

This would be a really nice little HTPC if only it had a blu-ray drive. Without one there's no alternative but to rely on 1080p torrents, which you wouldn't imagine is what Apple would approve of.

Yea, but I think its quote clear that Apple has no intention of ever supporting BluRay on their devices...

Interesting question...

What makes BluRay licensing a 'BAG OF HURT' while MPEG-LAs h.264 is fully backed and supported technology? Thats what *I* wanna know.
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post #11 of 85
I would MUCH rather see two miniDP ports, rather than one miniDP and one HDMI. The miniDP to HDMI adapters are only $10 and they work great. Hooking up a second monitor to an HDMI source on the other hand... not so easy. Plus you might only be able to use 720p and 1080p resolutions.
post #12 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by l008com View Post

I would MUCH rather see two miniDP ports, rather than one miniDP and one HDMI. The miniDP to HDMI adapters are only $10 and they work great. Hooking up a second monitor to an HDMI source on the other hand... not so easy. Plus you might only be able to use 720p and 1080p resolutions.

Since mDP can link multiple monitors via one port multiple ports aren't necessary unless you want maximize the bandwidth of each port. On the Mac Mini, I can't see that as being likely.

I think HDMI is an alright option, so long as they keep mDP, too.
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post #13 of 85
Yeah but is monitor daisychaning actually supported by ANY monitors OR GPUs yet? Apple could INCLUDE the miniDP HDMI adapter in the box, if they wanted to advertise the new mini "With HDMI"
post #14 of 85
In 2010, Apple intro "lightpeak" in the new mac mini, signaling the end of FW and USB and eSata, and ...
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post #15 of 85
Hmm... I really had my heart set on one of the newly refreshed MBPs, but it's really tough to squeeze that into the budget. However, since we have an iPad now to cover the portability needs maybe we will just get a Mini to cover the need for a second computer. Really not sure, but I'm definitely interested in seeing the new Mini.
post #16 of 85
HDMI ! At last a Mac that can connect to things I already own.

I could be tempted at last.

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post #17 of 85
I welcome this potential development, and I hope Apple continue to accelerate further improvement of the Mac-mini. Coupled with a good screen at a discount, its form factor, might be ideal for some small business enterprises.

I heard there are server farms also using the high end Macmini as their server of choice.

I plan to have one also as the server/wifi center for a string of iPads for a proposed business. I like the idea that the Mac OS X is more secure. Any tips from those who did this for their small enterprise would be much appreciated.

CGC
post #18 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveGee View Post

Yea, but I think its quote clear that Apple has no intention of ever supporting BluRay on their devices...

Interesting question...

What makes BluRay licensing a 'BAG OF HURT' while MPEG-LAs h.264 is fully backed and supported technology? Thats what *I* wanna know.

I think it's all the licensing fees for HDCP that are a "BAG OF HURT".
post #19 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe hs View Post

When will they update the monitors? The 30" still has a picture of tiger on the box for goodness sake, that's like 4 years old!
What about a 42" at the same price as the current 30"?

Yep, I used to want the largest Apple iMac and the largest Apple Monitor available...You know, 'you can never have enough screen real estate!'

But now, the last thing I want to do is sit indoors working on my iMac. I much prefer sitting in a restaurant or somewhere, anywhere and working....so now I want an iPad and new and improved MBA along with my iPhone 3Gs. And be good to go!

Best!
post #20 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by cgc0202 View Post

I welcome this potential development, and I hope Apple continue to accelerate further improvement of the Mac-mini. Coupled with a good screen at a discount, its form factor, might be ideal for some small business enterprises.

I heard there are server farms also using the high end Macmini as their server of choice.

I plan to have one also as the server/wifi center for a string of iPads for a proposed business. I like the idea that the Mac OS X is more secure. Any tips from those who did this for their small enterprise would be much appreciated.

CGC

I agree, this would be a welcome change, i'm hoping that apple would also update the processor of the mini.
post #21 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leonard View Post

I think it's all the licensing fees for HDCP that are a "BAG OF HURT".

The excuse Jobs gave about Blu-ray licensing being a "bag of hurt" was true, but it was also a misdirect. I say that Apple is waiting to purge optical drives from their systems as they are slow, power hungry, and expensive. I think a 9.5mm slot-loading Blu-ray writer would cost an extra $600 per unit.

Note, that Macs include HDCP support, it's AACS that Apple doesn't support, which makes protected Blu-ray movie playback possible.
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post #22 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveGee View Post

While they could have done a better job of making it clear this was an artists rendering... AI never claimed to have photographic evidence of this unannounced Mac mini.

In fact, If the photo WAS real they certainly would have said as much... and shortly after been visited by the Apple Goon Squ... errrr CA police department with a battering ram in one hand and a quickly scribbled search warrant in the other and they would now be computer-less and likely missing any random non specific person care items they may have left lying around the office.

Sorry, what were we talking about again?

post #23 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveGee View Post

What makes BluRay licensing a 'BAG OF HURT' while MPEG-LAs h.264 is fully backed and supported technology? Thats what *I* wanna know.

Apple is in the MPEG-LA patent pool. Only painful downstream of their offerings.
post #24 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

The excuse Jobs gave about Blu-ray licensing being a "bag of hurt" was true, but it was also a misdirect. I say that Apple is waiting to purge optical drives from their systems as they are slow, power hungry, and expensive. I think a 9.5mm slot-loading Blu-ray writer would cost an extra $600 per unit.

Note, that Macs include HDCP support, it's AACS that Apple doesn't support, which makes protected Blu-ray movie playback possible.

Agreed! that's a good way to describe it...'Apple is waiting to purge optical drives from their systems as they are slow, power hungry, and expensive.'

I think the last time I used my optical drive was to load Snow Leopard months ago and yet I 'lug' it around everywhere I go with my MacBook!
post #25 of 85
I'm desperately hoping for a Gamer's Edition of the Mac Mini.

ATI HD4870
no optical drive
$1000

It could go along so well with the recent release of Steam for Mac OS X.
post #26 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

The excuse Jobs gave about Blu-ray licensing being a "bag of hurt" was true, but it was also a misdirect. I say that Apple is waiting to purge optical drives from their systems as they are slow, power hungry, and expensive. I think a 9.5mm slot-loading Blu-ray writer would cost an extra $600 per unit.

I am forced to agree. Apple has given every indication that 1) they would love to axe optical drives from their computers, and 2) that they would rather redirect customers to online video from the iTunes Store.

Blu-Ray is the unfortunate victim of this crusade of Apple's, which is especially ironic since Apple sits on the Board of Directors for the Blu-Ray Disc Association. I can't help but see a clear conflict of interest.
post #27 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post

Agreed! that's a good way to describe it...'Apple is waiting to purge optical drives from their systems as they are slow, power hungry, and expensive.'

I think the last time I used my optical drive was to load Snow Leopard months ago and yet I 'lug' it around everywhere I go with my MacBook!

I don't think many realize how little they actually use their optical drive these days. Takes up 25% of the 13" MB/MBP internal space. I recently removed mine and installed OptiBay to allow a 2nd SATA II HDD. Along with making an SSD my boot drive it's the best decision I've made in computing.
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post #28 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I don't think many realize how little they actually use their optical drive these days. Takes up 25% of the 13" MB/MBP internal space. I recently removed mine and installed OptiBay to allow a 2nd SATA II HDD. Along with making an SSD my boot drive it's the best decision I've made in computing.

This to me is the way to go on a MBP if you can afford it. If I end up being able to squeeze it into the budget this is exactly my plan. Personally, I'll get the hi end 15" MBP with a 500GB hard drive. Once I can squirrel away the cash again, I'll get a 256GB SSD and re-install the OS on it and put the 500GB HD in the place of the optical. This is of course all assuming that I don't simply give up on the idea of getting a MBP all together.

It's probably more likely that a second iPad is in my future next year when they have their first hardware refresh. Really hoping for an SD card reader of some kind for media storage. That and Flash support would make the iPad pretty much the perfect device in my mind.
post #29 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I don't think many realize how little they actually use their optical drive these days. Takes up 25% of the 13" MB/MBP internal space. I recently removed mine and installed OptiBay to allow a 2nd SATA II HDD. Along with making an SSD my boot drive it's the best decision I've made in computing.

Pretty cool and OPtiBay gives you a free USB enclosure for your optical drive! Thanks
post #30 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by svnipp View Post

This to me is the way to go on a MBP if you can afford it. If I end up being able to squeeze it into the budget this is exactly my plan. Personally, I'll get the hi end 15" MBP with a 500GB hard drive. Once I can squirrel away the cash again, I'll get a 256GB SSD and re-install the OS on it and put the 500GB HD in the place of the optical. This is of course all assuming that I don't simply give up on the idea of getting a MBP all together.

It's probably more likely that a second iPad is in my future next year when they have their first hardware refresh. Really hoping for an SD card reader of some kind for media storage. That and Flash support would make the iPad pretty much the perfect device in my mind.

$1,100 - 13" MBP w/ student discount
$99 - OptiBay w/ external enclosure for optical drive
$230 - Intel X25 0GB MLC SSD

I already had a 500GB HDD to use as 2nd HDD. I had ordered a 1TB HDD, which fits fine in the unibody MBPs, but there is some EFI issue that makes it wonky right now so I canceled that. I am down to about 10GB left the 500GB HDD so I'll have to buy a 750GB soon if I don't see that resolved soon with 1TB drives.

My system boots in about 12 seconds. Pretty much every app opens in about 1 second (one bounce in the Dock). I moved my User folder to the 500GB HDD using the built-in GUI option in System Preferences ยป Accounts.

I made a partition on the 500GB HDD, the external drive I use for Time Machine backups, and a 16GB card. Then I used Disk Utility to copy the Mac OS X Restore Disc to those drives. I can now hold down the Option key and boot into any of them to fix the disc or restore without ever having to use the optical drive again.

Even with Xcode installed I am still only using less than 20GB on that 80GB HDD, which i first thought might be too small.

I couldn't be happier with my purchases. The only caveats are that I still don't get those 5 inches of space back on the side for ports, that is technically voids the warranty to remove the optical drive even though it's easy to install, and there is plenty of space left inside for a 3G card, GPS chip, extra battery, discrete GPU and fan, or what have you.
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post #31 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post

Agreed! that's a good way to describe it...'Apple is waiting to purge optical drives from their systems as they are slow, power hungry, and expensive.'

I think the last time I used my optical drive was to load Snow Leopard months ago and yet I 'lug' it around everywhere I go with my MacBook!

I can literally feel the 10oz difference.
post #32 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I don't think many realize how little they actually use their optical drive these days. Takes up 25% of the 13" MB/MBP internal space. I recently removed mine and installed OptiBay to allow a 2nd SATA II HDD. Along with making an SSD my boot drive it's the best decision I've made in computing.

Thanks for the link to Optibay - I'd never heard of that, and it's definitely the solution to my current storage woes on my Macbook Pro.

Last time I used the optical drive was to install SL. I assume if/when I do need to use an optical drive with the Macbook Pro, I can actually map to the drive that's in my iMac and use that?
post #33 of 85
Just wait ... the new Mac Mini will be the size of an iPhone with an A4 chip.
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post #34 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leonard View Post

I think it's all the licensing fees for HDCP that are a "BAG OF HURT".

Yes, the bag of hurt is HDCP, but not just licensing fees. You have technical issues as well. They'd have to roll draconian DRM controls into the Mac, and not just in a player app. It would most likely have to be done at the OS, and hardware level.

To comply, you can't allow any app to be able to rip a data stream pre or post processing, and on the hardware side you have to guarantee that someone can't attach the video out connector of the computer to the input of a video capture card of some kind and record the picture. It's really a mess. And the funny thing is that it's pointless.

The cat's out of the bag. Blu-ray has already been broken, and rips of all movies are already out on the 'net. Yet the studios still insist on the charade. They still haven't learned (as should be evident from iTunes' success) that honest folks pay for content, and folks who steal will steal regardless of what studios try to do. They're only alienating legit customers. It's precisely this kind of crap that's made me decide to skip Blu-ray altogether. DVD is good enough for me until they get their act together and forget about DRM. Hollywood makes very little of anything worth watching anymore anyway.
post #35 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulMJohnson View Post

I assume if/when I do need to use an optical drive with the Macbook Pro, I can actually map to the drive that's in my iMac and use that?

OptiBay does offer a case to make your internal optical drive an external drive as part of the kit at no extra charge. However, you can always just turn on DVD sharing from System Preferences.
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post #36 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

OptiBay does offer a case to make your internal optical drive and external drive as part of the kit at no extra charge. However, you can always just turn on DVD sharing from System Preferences.

Thanks for the reply. I'm only just getting used to sharing over the network (I've not owned two Macs before), and didn't know for sure that I could share the DVD drive.

I saw on the website that they include a USB case for the optical drive, but I can guarantee I'll have lost that within 1 day of getting it!!!
post #37 of 85
More likely it will continue to have Mini DisplayPort, and perhaps Apple will produce its own Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter.

I don't see Apple selling one of its few headless Mac models without a Mini DisplayPort for compatibility with an Apple display, even if most customers don't buy that combo.
post #38 of 85
Just saying it's about time the Mac Mini got the black plastic treatment like its cousin the iMac.
post #39 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post

Agreed! that's a good way to describe it...'Apple is waiting to purge optical drives from their systems as they are slow, power hungry, and expensive.'

I think the last time I used my optical drive was to load Snow Leopard months ago and yet I 'lug' it around everywhere I go with my MacBook!

Just out of curiosity, what does one do for major OS upgrades, or full reinstalls (well, I haven't had to do that on a Mac since... since I can't remember) if you have a MBA and no other computer to share the disk from?

I'm assuming you have to have an external optical drive available to plug in? I would think Apple can't really get rid of the optical drive until they solve this problem and I'm not sure the world is ready for OS installs over the Internet. I suppose they could throw it on a little USB drive, but that wouldn't be the cheapest solution, especially for upgrades.
post #40 of 85
I ordered a single Mac mini Leopard server, w/2 500GB HD's. I placed the order on April 20, through my Education Rep and was told it was in stock and ready for shipment. I have been notified 4 times that it is backordered and will ship at a later date. The latest E-Mail came yesterday and promised to ship it by June 9th.

Something is certainly happening in the supply chain.

If they ship on the 9th of June, it will have taken them 49 days to ship a single order for 1 Mac mini. I've never waited this long for any Apple Product.

I hope they are upgrading. That would certainly make the wait worthwhile.
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