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Apple tables plans for Mac mini iPod dock once again

post #1 of 49
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Apple Computer, for the second time in less than two years, appears to have scrapped plans to include a built-in iPod dock with some of its forthcoming Mac mini desktop computers, AppleInsider has gathered.

According to reports from multiple contacts, including some with ties to the Mac maker's component suppliers, initial plans for the first Intel-based Mac mini computers called for some models to include a built-in docking station for the company's iPod digital music players.

The dock connector, which was rumored to be located at the top of the computer, would effectively turn each Mac mini into an oversized docking station for iPods featuring the company's proprietary dock-connector.

Apple originally planned to add the dock only to its top-of-the-line Mac mini model, which it currently sells for $699, people often familiar with the company's pre-production computer plans said. The feature was scrapped for unknown reasons just weeks before the new computers are slated to hit production in the Far East, these people added.

This isn't the first time that Apple has reportedly skipped on the feature late in the development cycle of its Mac mini computers. In March of last year, a Web posting corroborated reports that Apple had planned to include an iPod dock with its very first Mac mini offering, which made their debut at the 2005 Macworld Expo trade show.

In a posting to his Web site, hardware engineer Leo Bodnar spotted an un-populated connector on a vertical CD/HDD interconnect board when he dissected one of the first Mac minis come off Apple's production lines. He also noticed the connector, which was strangely surrounded by an abundance of empty space, had a full Firewire bus and extra control signals. From his investigation, he derived that Apple had either planned to include an iPod dock in the Mac mini or hoped to add the feature in a future revision.

While there has been no stated explanation for Apple's decision to pull the plug on the feature for a second time, informed speculation points to at least two possible reasons.

"Apple makes good money on the existing docks today -- $40 is what they charge -- and making it part of the Mac mini would eliminate this revenue stream," said an analyst who provides coverage on Apple, but asked not to be named. "But from a more technical standpoint, having it included as standard would make it more difficult for adding future capabilities, such as additional video inputs/outputs and wireless technologies like bluetooth and Wi-Fi."

The analyst went on to suggest that Apple in the future may also choose to alter the iPod dock connector to support higher bandwidth for video, power requirements, and so forth. Hence, building the current connector into Macs could prove to be limiting.

Like Apple's forthcoming line of Intel-based iBook computers, it's expected that new Mac minis will come bundled with Apple's Front Row media software, at least a 1.67GHz Intel Core Solo processor and 512MB of standard DDR2 system memory. A low-end model should continue to sell for sub-$500, while a version with more hard disk space and DVD-burning capabilities should fetch a bit more.

The computers are rumored to hit the manufacturing lines in the next few weeks and make their official debut within a month thereafter.

So far, AppleInsider has been unable to confirm rumors that the new Mac minis will ship with an Apple-branded piece of digital video recording (DVR) software.
post #2 of 49
I would be curious to see how many people would be willing to sacrifice the small size of the Mac mini to allow for a standard 3.5" HDD. I would much rather have a faster, cheaper and larger hard drive in exchange for another inch to to dimensions of the current mini.

For that matter, I would also love to see a dual core option at the higher priced version.
post #3 of 49
Quote:
Originally posted by brettpappas
I would be curious to see how many people would be willing to sacrifice the small size of the Mac mini to allow for a standard 3.5" HDD.

I'd bet a lot. First, Mac mini is tiny. Amazing small actually. Making it a skosh larger will hardly be noticed is my guess and will still make most competitors (even the shuttle cubes) look like a mountain in comparison. Second, they need larger disk drives for video, etc.
post #4 of 49
Gee, I think its kind of obvious why they got rid of it. While the dock port is consistent, the ipods aren't. They vary in dimensions (and the shuffle doesn't even have a connector). Thus if you had a nano, it wouldn't fit snuggly, thus causing issue with breakage.

And let's not forget that it ruins the lines of the machine (apple's main philosophy in producing computers are one's that look good, regardless of limitations, like small hard drives, limited expansion, limited ports, etc).

Plus its really a stupid idea.
post #5 of 49
Quote:
Originally posted by brettpappas
I would be curious to see how many people would be willing to sacrifice the small size of the Mac mini to allow for a standard 3.5" HDD. I would much rather have a faster, cheaper and larger hard drive in exchange for another inch to to dimensions of the current mini.

For that matter, I would also love to see a dual core option at the higher priced version.

Funny you should say that. Just this evening I created a quick mockup off what my mini replacement would look like- marginally taller to allow for a bigger disk.

Glad they dropped the iPod dock - it would look silly I think, and cause more complications than anything. I say that as a man with an iPod and a mac mini, so if it doesn't appeal to me, who will it appeal to?!
post #6 of 49
i may just be naive, but why don't they just include the universal ipod dock in each mac mini box, with an assortment of ipod-holder pieces o' plastic?
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post #7 of 49
Quote:
Originally posted by Louzer
Gee, I think its kind of obvious why they got rid of it. While the dock port is consistent, the ipods aren't. They vary in dimensions (and the shuffle doesn't even have a connector). Thus if you had a nano, it wouldn't fit snuggly, thus causing issue with breakage.

And let's not forget that it ruins the lines of the machine (apple's main philosophy in producing computers are one's that look good, regardless of limitations, like small hard drives, limited expansion, limited ports, etc).

Plus its really a stupid idea.

The newer iPods come with a dock adapter that snaps into the dock and has the correct sized opening for that iPod.
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post #8 of 49
Put the extra ports on the side. The way they are out of the way. The cable mess can be better controlled that way.
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post #9 of 49
A dock on top would be cool, but also a little weird.

Re port access, I think they should keep the clean look they have now, all ports in back, but make the Mini small and light enough that you could turn it to see the ports easily when you want.
post #10 of 49
They don't even bundle docks with iPods anymore, so why do it with Mac Minis. The idea seems to be that not everyone might need a dock so if they leave it out they can bring down the headline price on the iPod, plus probably get higher margins on the accessories when sold seperately. I'd have thought this approach holds true even moreso for the Mac Mini. Why charge a higher overall price to include something a lot of buyers might not need (they dont have an iPod or already have a perfectly good dock already). They don't even include a keyboard or mouse with the Mac Mini, following this 'use what you've already got/keep the price low' appraoch, so it doesn't make much sense to go adding an iPod dock really...whether integrated or bundled.
post #11 of 49
Quote:
Originally posted by mcloki
Put the extra ports on the side.



Whew! That was a good one...ohhhmygosh...

( don't you know that things like convenience never ever get in the way of aesthetics on Apple computers! )
post #12 of 49
Quote:
Originally posted by G_Warren
Funny you should say that. Just this evening I created a quick mockup off what my mini replacement would look like- marginally taller to allow for a bigger disk.

Wouldn't the MacMini have to be wider/deeper, not just taller, to fit a 3.5" drive?

And if you're going to make it a little taller, why not a lot taller and add a second hard drive.
post #13 of 49
Quote:
Originally posted by Louzer
Wouldn't the MacMini have to be wider/deeper, not just taller, to fit a 3.5" drive?

And if you're going to make it a little taller, why not a lot taller and add a second hard drive.

By making it slightly taller you could probably move things around so that a 3.5in drive could sit on top of or underneath the DVD drive quite easily. Sure, making it taller alone wouldn't work with the current internal design, but moving other bits and bobs would help. I think such a design is possible. I don't see the benefit of two drives for the mini's target market.
post #14 of 49
What about possible anti-competition lawsuits. Apple, by selling a Mac mini with an iPod dock is disadvantaging the competition. At 5% market share this would be ok but if they get too large this move could be heavily criticised. Also people put computers in different places an included iPod dock seems unnecessary to say the least.

A bigger hard drive is needed but not a second one - that's just silly.
post #15 of 49
Quote:
Originally posted by MacCrazy
What about possible anti-competition lawsuits. Apple, by selling a Mac mini with an iPod dock is disadvantaging the competition. At 5% market share this would be ok but if they get too large this move could be heavily criticised. Also people put computers in different places an included iPod dock seems unnecessary to say the least.

I am glad they didn't include an iPod dock on the Mac Mini. It'd be pointless if you can just have the dock externally.

My creative speakers has a Creative M-Port for Creative MP3 players. It's basically a USB port that will just play the song from the mp3 player. So I don't think this is disadvantaging competition. It's not like it's limiting you from using another mp3 player.
This m-port on the other hand, It think it's stupid. I don't have a Creative MP3 Player, I have an iPod, so WTF do I need an m-port for? the same goes for the iPod dock on the Mac Mini. What if you don't have an iPod? What if you are just fine with hooking it up seperately? What if you usually have something on top of your MacMini, so your new iPod port will be covered?
post #16 of 49
Quote:
Originally posted by jasondotcom
They don't even bundle docks with iPods anymore, so why do it with Mac Minis. The idea seems to be that not everyone might need a dock so if they leave it out they can bring down the headline price on the iPod, plus probably get higher margins on the accessories when sold seperately. I'd have thought this approach holds true even moreso for the Mac Mini. Why charge a higher overall price to include something a lot of buyers might not need (they dont have an iPod or already have a perfectly good dock already). They don't even include a keyboard or mouse with the Mac Mini, following this 'use what you've already got/keep the price low' appraoch, so it doesn't make much sense to go adding an iPod dock really...whether integrated or bundled.

okay, how about an ipod docking cable? i mean, they DO include a cable (power) with the mac mini, so there is precedent. (okay, i'm being somewhat facetious there... somewhat). i guess my point it, rather than wasting all this R&D on the perfect, adaptable dock thing for ipod, if that's what they really want, just throw in a cable for now and be done with it until they can figure something better out. i mean, compared to today's ipod, the 1st gen is downright clunky, but they used what they had to get it out the door for the market they wanted to hit immediately before others did. so, yes, occassionally, apple will take the "just get it done" approach. not often, but they do.
When you're lovers in a dangerous time,
You're made to feel as if your love's a crime.
Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight.
Gotta kick at the darkness 'til it bleeds daylight.

-...
Reply
When you're lovers in a dangerous time,
You're made to feel as if your love's a crime.
Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight.
Gotta kick at the darkness 'til it bleeds daylight.

-...
Reply
post #17 of 49
Quote:
Originally posted by brettpappas
I would be curious to see how many people would be willing to sacrifice the small size of the Mac mini to allow for a standard 3.5" HDD. I would much rather have a faster, cheaper and larger hard drive in exchange for another inch to to dimensions of the current mini.

For that matter, I would also love to see a dual core option at the higher priced version.

Amen to all of that.

Small is good, but I'd much rather see one a bit bigger that could handle the bigger/cheaper hard drives.

Same with the dual core. At least make it available on the "best" config for this box. There are no excuses like with the G5, the dual cores don't run that hot, and the same mobo design could handle either a solo or duo.
post #18 of 49
So it seems all this talk of an Apple DVR was just a fantasy. Not surprising. A 1.5 GHz core duo would have been so much better. Perfect for the high-end model while still less than the iMac or MacBook Pro. With just a 1.67 GHz core solo I wonder what ATI GPU is needed for decent HDTV playback?

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     197619842014  

     Where were you when the hammer flew?  

 

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post #19 of 49
Possibly a dumb question here, but wdo larger HDs run any hotter? Could they be sticking to the small enclosure for heat reasons?

The reason I ask is my LaCie HD inclusures sound like a hair dryer compared to my Powerbook & Mac Mini.
post #20 of 49
I wish apple would just keep the current mini form factor but just add front row with remote, and digital audio output. Reduce the price slightly.

In addition to that, release a new machine that is twice as wide as the mini and add a bunch of wishlists from people. Make the price $999. It will still sell!! I have looked at the HP z556 Entertainment Center. It is awesome except for the fact it uses Windows MCE. If Apple were to release hardware like this, they can even charge $1500 for it. However, I don't know how much market there is for that.
post #21 of 49
The problem is people were asking for a cut-down affordable Mac - if Apple start adding these features it will no longer fit any of the original market requirements. Maybe a new entertainment Mac is needed for the market that seems to be in this thread.
post #22 of 49
I think its a wise move to not include the built-in doc. Sure, some people would use it, but they can also buy a dock or just use the iPod cable they already have.

Switching to desktop drives has a few other pluses including reduced costs and increased performance. If the revamped mini uses standard SATA drives I'd be more inclined to pick one up as a central file/dev server. With decent RAM and the Core Duo its a fantastic MAMP server (Mac OS / Apache / MySQL / PHP).

Then again, this might be a reason to not use desktop drives. If a $600 mini can takeover for a $2000 desktop you know Apple will lose some sales.
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post #23 of 49
If you look at LaCie's Mac Mini hard drive stacking case and Newer Tech's Ministack you will see the width of Mini itself will be fine for the 3.5" HD but the height will have to increase by like 1.5"

I say even with a taller case the new Mini will still be tiny
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post #24 of 49
Quote:
Originally posted by Leonis
If you look at LaCie's Mac Mini hard drive stacking case and Newer Tech's Ministack you will see the width of Mini itself will be fine for the 3.5" HD but the height will have to increase by like 1.5"

I say even with a taller case the new Mini will still be tiny

I was actually surprised by how small it was when I saw it in person. The photos online made it look quite big (comparatively). Even with a 3.5" HDD, it's still tiny.

Now for that extra RAM slot...
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post #25 of 49
No mayor changes in design will come to the mini... More of everything maybe.. and it can only get smaler not bigger.. The "Mini" is a portable MAC looking for any type of screen you have, TV, LCD, Plasma you name it... Home entertaintment comes to mind, as simple as that, well that, and also the fact that you have a beauty of a machine to do all the stuff you do in the confort of your bed (if you like) and enjoy!

All I want is a 11 or 13" Mac Book pro or not & voila!!!

Love my iMac!!!
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post #26 of 49
There is a news bulletin from our own Appleinsider:

http://appleinsider.com/article.php?id=1524

wouldn't it be possible that they scraped the dock in favor of another kind of connection?
post #27 of 49
yes....i know....scrapped...typo
post #28 of 49
<rant>
What is everyone's deal with Front Row? Front Row is awful...just awful. The remote is not responsive, the GUI is just an iPod interface blown up, and 320 x 240 [iTMS videos] looks like crap at full screen. While I don't care for CenterStage much either, I'd use it before Front Row.

My God [check my stats folks b4U trip], this goes beyond the 'fanboy' crap I read over at Engadget. Front Row is not good. Please, lets move on.

Besides, if it's 'marginally' responsive on a Core Duo iMac, why would anyone be salivating over this running in a Mini with half the power?
</rant>

That being said--never mind, I'm done.
post #29 of 49
I think an iPod dock would ruin some of the 'stackability' of the mac mini.
post #30 of 49
You wouldn't have to raise the enclosure 1.5", more like 1" IF you used a thinner drive.

Normal 3.5" hard drives are "1/3"-height, but when I upgraded my Replay, I noticed the 40GB drive in there was significantly thinner, more like "1/4"-height, that 1/3-height.

Obviously, those thinner drives are sold for media centers, so Apple could spec those - even if it might be to our advantage to have a standard 3.5" hard drive for upgraders.

Without a 3.5" drive, the mini will never be a media center, Intel Core or G4.
post #31 of 49
(about side ports on a mini)

Quote:
Originally posted by Chris Cuilla


Whew! That was a good one...ohhhmygosh...

( don't you know that things like convenience never ever get in the way of aesthetics on Apple computers! )

Tell that to their laptop designers. They could hide the ports in the back, but they don't.
post #32 of 49
Quote:
Originally posted by Bulky Cranium
Possibly a dumb question here, but wdo larger HDs run any hotter? Could they be sticking to the small enclosure for heat reasons?

The reason I ask is my LaCie HD inclusures sound like a hair dryer compared to my Powerbook & Mac Mini.

Some LaCie enclosures are fanless. I have an external fanless WD drive too. It is possible to design a fan cooling system that is pretty quiet, it seems to be one of those shortcuts that everyone takes.

Quote:
Originally posted by starwxrwx
I think an iPod dock would ruin some of the 'stackability' of the mac mini.

Apple didn't design the mini to have anything stacked on top of it. There is barely any structure on the top face and it could press the optical drive. Metal objects on the top would block the wireless signals.

That said, I don't think it makes sense for a dock to be there, the mini would just look like an oversized dock for those that use it for iPods, or just be a very large empty hole for those that don't.
post #33 of 49
Quote:
Originally posted by 1984
So it seems all this talk of an Apple DVR was just a fantasy.

No, not a fantasy. I don't believe this "talk" is just talk. I personally believe it WILL be a reality, just not as soon as some people suggest. If you look at the pieces that Apple has available currently (Mac Mini, Front Row, remote, etc.) you'd be hard pressed not to think that there will be an Apple DVR. Whether it is just a glorified Mac Mini or not is irrelevant.
post #34 of 49
Quote:
Originally posted by G_Warren



Nice mockup, i prefer the ports on the right hand side and power as well something similar to Cinema Display power button

oh yeah i like to see a mini APPLE logo in front of Mac mini something similar to logo in the Cinema display, and remove the Big logo on top of the machine which is going to be covered by External HDD or something else

that will be clever marketing ....

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post #35 of 49
Single core in the mini is fine. The target audience is not buying this computer for performance.

Apple should create a small tower with dual core. Something larger than the mini but smaller than the Power Mac. No monitor and at least two exansion slots.
post #36 of 49
may be over the period of time, small tower could eventually replace PowerMacs ... if Heat and power consumption of CPUs/Pheripherals keep going down ... RETURN of CUBE then?

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post #37 of 49
Quote:
Originally posted by initiator
If you look at the pieces that Apple has available currently (Mac Mini, Front Row, remote, etc.) you'd be hard pressed not to think that there will be an Apple DVR.

A critical component you (and others) have omitted is the tuner. Elgato's EyeTV has over a half-dozen different products that support:

Analog
DVB-C
DVB-S
DVB-T
ATSC/Clear QAM

How do you propose Apple would handle the different signals for an international DVR product?

Personally, I'm glad to keep the tuner component external like with EyeTV. That makes it's portable and upgradable.

Another little-discussed issue is the program guide (from different providers). Elgato finally integrated one with its recent EyeTV 2 software release but there's limited provider support so not every customer can use it.

I'm still not convinced Apple intends to delve directly into the DVR market even if it has solutions for those and other issues.
post #38 of 49
Originally posted by TenoBell
Single core in the mini is fine. The target audience is not buying this computer for performance....Apple should create a small tower with dual core. Something larger than the mini but smaller than the Power Mac. No monitor and at least two exansion slots.


And the ability to BYO graphic card!!!!!!!
post #39 of 49
Quote:
Originally posted by JeffDM
(about side ports on a mini)

Tell that to their laptop designers. They could hide the ports in the back, but they don't.

Actually, if you look closely, the screen covers the back when its open, so putting ports there isn't an option unless they redesign the screen. picture

I still want a docking station connector on the bottom ala IBM Thinkpad.
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post #40 of 49
If I remember rightly the rumours of the Mac Mini iPod dock came about because of the unused firewire connections on the riser card inside.

It's a good job they didn't include the dock - a firewire connection would be next to useless with the 5G and iPod nano! Perhaps this is why they're shying away from the idea - if they keep the connector external they can still change it about when they need to (or when they just feel like getting everyone to pay up a bit more money).

Neil.
a.k.a. Arnel
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