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Apple's next-gen Mac mini to get dual display support

post #1 of 250
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Bringing its least expensive system up to par with features in the rest of its lineup, Apple is due to revamp the Mac mini with multiple video outputs, AppleInsider has learned.

Those familiar with the company's plans say the small form factor desktop will have both the Mini DisplayPort connector first introduced on unibody MacBooks but also a Mini DVI connector.

The reason for the addition is unclear, though it would potentially give the budget Mac dual display support that it has lacked since it was introduced as a PowerPC G4 model in 2005. All other current Macs either already include a built-in display and only need one video output or else use full-size video cards, such as the discontinued Power Mac G5 or today's Mac Pro.

Such an update is helped in part by details that Apple itself has unintentionally confirmed through software leaks, which show the Mac mini using the GeForce 9400M chipset in a significantly new model that would, as a result, have the faster video performance and support for DisplayPort that are both missing in the current model's Intel GMA 950 integrated graphics.

It also indirectly supports notions of a more flexible design that in past leaks has suggested might include the option of replacing the optical drive with a second hard drive.

People aware of the update, however, contradict claims of a partly black plastic enclosure and say that none of the material seems visible on the design, suggesting it won't quite fit the black-and-silver color scheme of the iMac or other current Apple computers.

The new model is widely expected to bow at Macworld and may be accompanied by a new iMac at the same time.
post #2 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Those familiar with the company's plans say the small form factor desktop will have both the Mini DisplayPort connector first introduced on unibody MacBooks but also a Mini DVI connector.

...

This would be a smart move on Apple's part. Would be interesting to see if they decide on using the 9600M as well. Doubtful but who knows.
post #3 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by Outsider View Post

This would be a smart move on Apple's part. Would be interesting to see if they decide on using the 9600M as well. Doubtful but who knows.

I would like to see this, but I also think it won't happen.
post #4 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by Outsider View Post

This would be a smart move on Apple's part. Would be interesting to see if they decide on using the 9600M as well. Doubtful but who knows.

Yeah, sounds like a good idea. But we won't know until Steve...err...Phil...umm...someone at Apple announces the new Mac mini.
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post #5 of 250
That would be a welcome addition to the MacMini, especially for its price. I doubt you'll see the 9600M shipping on it. I doubt you'll even see it as a BTO option for cost reasons (unless the selling price goes up).

If Apple can do these little things like make it optional to add a 2nd HD, install decent graphics on it, dual video out, SuperDrives across the lineup, and maybe integrate AppleTV software into it this will be a killer little Mac for a great price. MUCH better value than it currently is....

I wonder if Apple will switch the power connector to a Magsafe so customers could use the magsafe built into the LED Cinema Display? That would also give customers an iSight cam, more USB ports, and speakers as well.
post #6 of 250
How many mini DisplayPort monitors are on the market? The Mac Mini is targeted to people that have existing displays (and mice and keyboards). The Mini DVI is to serve that need, and the DisplayPort is there to allow use of such a monitor in the future, yielding flexibility in monitor choice. This makes perfect sense. Whether this will support two displays being driven at the same time is a separate feature.
post #7 of 250
That's a deal-sweetener for me!

I'm currently using two flat-panel monitors side-by-side driven by good ol' PowerMac G5. Back in the day, the Dual 2GHz was the powerhouse of all Macs, it is quietly going to become "obsolete" when the Intel-only Snow Leopard comes out.

This could become a very affordable entree into the Intel Mac experience that would maintain continuity of my setup.

I'm keeping my eyes on the new mini.
post #8 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacComas View Post

How many mini DisplayPort monitors are on the market? The Mac Mini is targeted to people that have existing displays (and mice and keyboards). The Mini DVI is to serve that need, and the DisplayPort is there to allow use of such a monitor in the future, yielding flexibility in monitor choice. This makes perfect sense. Whether this will support two displays being driven at the same time is a separate feature.

I think if it is true its a good thing, but even if the Mac Mini had only a Mini DisplayPort, there's still an Apple adaptor for MiniDP to DVI.

Maybe it's cost, forcing everyone to buy the MiniDP to DVI adaptor would negate the attractiveness of the Mini.

I am intrigued but I think we don't have all the details yet. Sounds too good to be true.
post #9 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by macFanDave View Post

That's a deal-sweetener for me!

I'm currently using two flat-panel monitors side-by-side driven by good ol' PowerMac G5. Back in the day, the Dual 2GHz was the powerhouse of all Macs, it is quietly going to become "obsolete" when the Intel-only Snow Leopard comes out.

This could become a very affordable entree into the Intel Mac experience that would maintain continuity of my setup.

I'm keeping my eyes on the new mini.

It's like suddenly in the past week this new Mini could be what I've been looking for 6 months now. Oh, could it be...?

I don't need no laptop, I got mah 17" portable Mac right here... this new Mac Mini + my Sony 17" LCD
post #10 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by Outsider View Post

This would be a smart move on Apple's part. Would be interesting to see if they decide on using the 9600M as well. Doubtful but who knows.

It would be excellent, but I don't think so. Then again, the 9400M and 9600M was a pretty stunning move. It's all this tempting and taunting by Apple. Oh the torment...!
post #11 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

BThe reason for the addition is unclear

The Mini is used in a huge variety of applications and a great number of those require analog video. Putting mini-dp into VGA, component or s-video would be near impossible. However, people will also need to drive high-end Cinema displays so having both covers all options and there is enough room.

There should also still be room for FW800 but no word on that yet.

I don't see the need for black to be honest. It would be best being all aluminium with a white Apple logo - this actually does fit with the lineup. Only the displays are black and the Mini has no display. The Mac Pro similarly shouldn't get black trim.
post #12 of 250
This is a bit of a non-story as far as I'm concerned.

Apple stated that they are putting Mini DisplayPort into every product from now on, so its inclusion is hardly a surprise.

Unlike the other members of the Macintosh family, the Mac mini is explicitly designed to work with a switcher's existing display - hence the need for Mini-DVI. A new mini which could only drive Apples LED Cinema Display wouldn't be much of a switcher machine.

I expect the Mac Pro to go down exactly the same route.
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post #13 of 250
Perhaps 'cause there's no mini-DP to analog TV adapter?
post #14 of 250
DisplayPort supports multiple monitors by means of daisy-chaining, so this is clearly aimed at comforting switchers rather than enabling dual monitor support.
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post #15 of 250
I wouldn't be surprised if FW 400 or 800 missing from the new MacMini. Sure, people will bitch just like they did with the MacBook, but everyone does during a transition. Yes, I think Apple is silently in a transition away from FW, reserving it for only its high end products until its totally dead. I'm sure when Apple went from all local bus and SCSI to all USB people did the very same thing and despised Apple for it as people had all of these different local bus/SCSI peripherals that were now useless. Some being expensive purchases just like todays peripherals.

BTW...I wouldn't mind seeing an all aluminum enclosure with a black Apple logo. You could hide the IR sensor in the logo just like they do with the iMac. The IR sensor doesn't necessarily need to be on the front of the case.
post #16 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

I don't see the need for black to be honest. It would be best being all aluminium with a white Apple logo - this actually does fit with the lineup. Only the displays are black and the Mini has no display. The Mac Pro similarly shouldn't get black trim.

It's interesting that the MacBook Air prototype that was doing the rounds had a black plastic underside. Perhaps early pre-production units feature black plastic components as a stop-gap until the final aluminium parts are perfected?
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post #17 of 250
Dual display would be awesome (assuming it spans... not mirrors). Dual 24" monitors and a MacMini would be sweet!
post #18 of 250
As has been reported elsewhere, the display port on the new Macbook's is DRM "enabled", restricting the ability to play DVDs, or instance, on an external display.

If this is the case on the new Mac Mini, one of the prime uses for the mini as a media center will go away.
post #19 of 250
If all of this turns out to be true, you can be certain I'll be in line to get one.
post #20 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by kirkrr@gmail.com View Post

As has been reported elsewhere, the display port on the new Macbook's is DRM "enabled", restricting the ability to play DVDs, or instance, on an external display.

If this is the case on the new Mac Mini, one of the prime uses for the mini as a media center will go away.


That's my concern. I'm using the current Mini as my media center. It won't even play DVDs, or is it just an HD restriction? How about OTA HD signals?
post #21 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by kirkrr@gmail.com View Post

As has been reported elsewhere, the display port on the new Macbook's is DRM "enabled", restricting the ability to play DVDs, or instance, on an external display.

If this is the case on the new Mac Mini, one of the prime uses for the mini as a media center will go away.

That my friend is what the DVI port is for. I don't know of any TVs that have the Mini Display Port on them.....
post #22 of 250
Hasn't the Mini used the same components as the Macbook?

So where's the surprise?
post #23 of 250
i wouldn't doubt if Apple would cripple the dual display capability and only allow you to use DVI or mini DP, not both.
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post #24 of 250
I find this story hard to believe. If Apple were so concerned about letting people use their current monitors, they'd throw in a Mini DisplayPort-to-DVI (or Dual-Link DVI). The Mac mini has never had multiple video outputs and I don't see that changing now.
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post #25 of 250
I am thrilled that the Mac-mini can be used as a door stop in the future, but what about the appearance of the 17" Mac Book Pro at MWSF? I can't believe we haven't heard any rumors about it.
post #26 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by kirkrr@gmail.com View Post

As has been reported elsewhere, the display port on the new Macbook's is DRM "enabled", restricting the ability to play DVDs, or instance, on an external display.

If this is the case on the new Mac Mini, one of the prime uses for the mini as a media center will go away.

The DRM you are talking about is HDCP. It does not (or shouldn't) restrict playing dvd or any other SD media. Having HDCP gives the mini the chance to have a blu-ray drive added, or itunes HD movies to be played, both of which would enhance the mini as an entertainment device.

HDCP may be stupid, but if you want high definition video, your hardware has to support it, as the studios wont let you watch it any other way.
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post #27 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by macxpress View Post

I wonder if Apple will switch the power connector to a Magsafe so customers could use the magsafe built into the LED Cinema Display? That would also give customers an iSight cam, more USB ports, and speakers as well.

This would be my expectation. Otherwise Apple went to a lot of effort on the current display design, if it could not also power the Mini. I would fully expect the new mini to visually complement the new display as well, otherwise Apple is smoking something...
post #28 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacComas View Post

How many mini DisplayPort monitors are on the market? The Mac Mini is targeted to people that have existing displays (and mice and keyboards). The Mini DVI is to serve that need, and the DisplayPort is there to allow use of such a monitor in the future, yielding flexibility in monitor choice. This makes perfect sense. Whether this will support two displays being driven at the same time is a separate feature.

It's a simple cable adapter to get you a DVI-out from mini Display Port. Probably not get you dual-DVI though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

The Mini is used in a huge variety of applications and a great number of those require analog video. Putting mini-dp into VGA, component or s-video would be near impossible. However, people will also need to drive high-end Cinema displays so having both covers all options and there is enough room.

There is also a simple cable adapter to get you analog outputs, at least for VGA. I wouldn't be surprised if the analog circuitry could do analog TV outputs too, it may be a matter of enabling support and getting a cable adapter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mcarling View Post

DisplayPort supports multiple monitors by means of daisy-chaining, so this is clearly aimed at comforting switchers rather than enabling dual monitor support.

I don't know about comforting switchers, though it's one nice side-effect. I wonder how many people that would buy a $600 computer would be going dual-head. I know I would but I'd think I would be in the minority. Apple's current display doesn't support chaining that I can tell, so I wonder what will be done.
post #29 of 250
From what I read - I don't have a new Macbook / Pro - that people that had an external monitor hooked up to prior generation Macbooks/Pros, when they went to the new one, the exact same setup would not allow the playing of DVDs to the external monitor, which worked with the prior, non-DRM enabled DVI port. The display port-DVI adaptor does not go around this "feature.

I have no first hand knowledge of this, however. Does anyone out there have this info? I think it would be a critical issue in moving to a display port enabled computer.
post #30 of 250
Don't bet on dual displays. The Power Mac G4 once had dual connectors but only one could be used at a time.

I think DisplayPort copy protection will allow iTunes to offer HD movies on the Mac, which are currently only on the AppleTV which has copy-protected HDMI. Apple has updated Quicktime to not impose copy protection on standard-definition video output.
post #31 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by macxpress View Post

I wonder if Apple will switch the power connector to a Magsafe so customers could use the magsafe built into the LED Cinema Display? That would also give customers an iSight cam, more USB ports, and speakers as well.

How much power does the current Mac Mini draw? Pairing the new Mac Mini with the new display would be ideal as the current Mac Mini power-brick is external, and will likely still remain external if Apple does wish to keep the size done. It also pushes the combo purchase. I suspect we'll see a smaller and larger display show up at this final MWSF.

Note: If a MagSafe connector (or an adapter for a MagSafe connector) is not included with the new Mac Mini, that the speakers, iSight, Mic, and additional USB port would still work as those are separate plugs.


PS: Is the consensus that FW400 will be dropped from the Mac Mini, left how it is, are we to assume that FW800 will be included instead of FW400?
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post #32 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by kerryn View Post

This would be my expectation. Otherwise Apple went to a lot of effort on the current display design, if it could not also power the Mini. I would fully expect the new mini to visually complement the new display as well, otherwise Apple is smoking something...

Would you really want a MagSafe adapter on your Mini though? The laptops are battery powered - if the power cable comes out they keep going. If your Mini's power cable is disconnected, you lose what you're working on and potentially fry your hard disk.

(on a side note: now that MagSafe has been invented, I don't trip over my power cable like I used to. I always trip over USB and Ethernet cables instead, meaning the machine still ends up crashing to the ground)
post #33 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magic_Al View Post

Don't bet on dual displays. The Power Mac G4 once had dual connectors but only one could be used at a time.

I have 2 Powermac G4 mirror door machines - one single, one dual processor, with the ATI video card with 2 connectors, the ADC, and a DVI. Both of these machines are hooked up to dual displays - and Apple studio monitor, and a 19 inch LCD. It works perfectly.
post #34 of 250
Seriously? No way!
Apple is not one for doing such a thing. If they were to do anything like this, it would be 2 mini-display ports for maximum accessory add-on.
post #35 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by wobegon View Post

I find this story hard to believe. If Apple were so concerned about letting people use their current monitors, they'd throw in a Mini DisplayPort-to-DVI (or Dual-Link DVI). The Mac mini has never had multiple video outputs and I don't see that changing now.

While they might want their cheapest Mac to be more transitional with other monitors, an adapter is all that is needed and Apple is not a company that encourages you to use to old hat equipment. DisplayPort supports multiple monitors so even a single port on the back of the Mini could be used for dual displays.

The only way this rings true for me is if Apple is repositioning the Mac Mini to target a separate market segment. That would probably mean that the price would go up considerably if they are really focusing on customers who want small desktops that can run 2x30" displays, but I can't think of any that would be big enough to warrant Apple's attention.
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post #36 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shookster View Post

(on a side note: now that MagSafe has been invented, I don't trip over my power cable like I used to. I always trip over USB and Ethernet cables instead, meaning the machine still ends up crashing to the ground)

You must have long USB cables. Why are you using Ethernet when you have WiFi?
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post #37 of 250
If Firewire goes away, has anyone come up with an alternative to Target Disk Mode? I have had to use target disk mode many times, particularly on development machines, to recover from some screw up. Time machine is a poor substitute, as you can't boot from TM. Carbon Copy Cloner, Superduper and iBackup, all allow the creation of bootable backups, but can you keep these bootable images current? I guess you would need to do both TM and a disk image to account for lack of Firewire. Target disk mode is just such a powerful tool, it is a shame that it does away with Firewire, and has no replacement.

As the Macbook sans Firewire has been out there a couple months, has anyone addressed this limitation??
post #38 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shookster View Post

Would you really want a MagSafe adapter on your Mini though? The laptops are battery powered - if the power cable comes out they keep going. If your Mini's power cable is disconnected, you lose what you're working on and potentially fry your hard disk.

(on a side note: now that MagSafe has been invented, I don't trip over my power cable like I used to. I always trip over USB and Ethernet cables instead, meaning the machine still ends up crashing to the ground)

It would only a very simple clip over the MagSafe to keep it firmly attached. The use of the MagSafe would be to encourage more ADC sales to simplfy setup; the use of the actual magnet is irrelevant. However, I think Apple would be more likely to use a normal power connector port and then offer or include an adapter that would secure the Magsafe connector to the adapter, which is attached to the Mac Mini.
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post #39 of 250
One other note: USB is NOT a fully functional replacement for Firewire. It is kinda like the difference between ATA and SCSI drive interfaces - they both allow data transfer, but one is dumb, and the other has a great deal of intelligence.

USB is a non-intelligent interface - compared to Firewire. The control capabilities of a Firewire interface are why that almost every camcorder has a FW interface, that works, regardless of the software. USB camcorders require specific software written for the camcorder to deal with the lack of intelligence in the interface.

Users look at basic specs. USB specs faster, but real world testing always show Firewire to support faster data transfer. Intelligence counts, in both Firewire and SCSI, and the decline of both will be a step backwards for technology flexibility and usability.
post #40 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by kirkrr View Post

As the Macbook sans Firewire has been out there a couple months, has anyone addressed this limitation??

While nowhere near as simple, all you need is to remove the now very easy HDDs from the new Mac notebooks, sans the MBA and then mount the drives on a working machine. I think the MB has one screw and the MBP four screws. More tedious and you need to have both the cable and an external enclosure or connector.
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