Originally Posted by macarena
Back in 2008, there was a lot of clamor for an "upgradeable" box from Apple that was cheaper than the Mac Pro. Also, there was a significant delay in releasing the updated Mac Mini. At that time, there was some speculation in the market that Apple would do "upgradeable right" - and come out with a stackable Mac Mini, which would allow components to be purchased and added at any point in time, with a proprietary bus architecture allowing all these components to interface with the main system at extremely high speeds.
However, back then such a bus architecture did not exist - because Intel had not yet released LightPeak. The spec was ready, but the commercial implementation was not ready. So Apple went ahead and released the Mac Mini - smaller, sleeker, and unibody. And Apple backed away from a proprietary standard, because of the costs, and adoption issues with such a standard.
Now that LightPeak is ready, the next iteration of the Mac Mini will be a comprehensive upgrade - should allow Apple to release a stackable Mini, where each component can be upgraded independent of the others - for instance, you can dynamically add hard disk space, graphics cards, audio cards, TV Tuner cards, etc. to the system - without having to open the box.
Apple is likely to license this to interested third party vendors, so that we will see an entire ecosystem of components that can be used to extend the functionality of your computer. Of course, there will be very strict specs on appearance, dimensions, electrical standards, etc - to maintain a streamlined look across all these components.
Intel's implementation of LightPeak would be 10Gbps over cable, while Apple will likely target 100Gbps - because there will not be any long cables - these components will be hardware interlocked to each other, so there wont be the same issues that Intel has to deal with over cables, etc. While the basic LightPeak technology would be licensed from Intel, Apple's proprietary connector would be specifically licensed directly from Apple.
This is also one of the reasons why Apple removed the external power brick and moved it inside the Mac Mini. This would allow AC power to be daisy chained to all the components directly across the same hardware connector - and so there wont be any external power cables, bricks, etc.
Would be the best possible implementation of an upgradeable computer, and even your grandma would find it easy to upgrade such a system. And Apple would still be able to retain its margins because all the components would involve a licensing fee to Apple.
This is the sort of model that can destroy the PC industry as it exists currently! Of course, such an implementation would be massively patent protected by Apple.