Apple Mac mini as a new Platform

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
A whole industry will arise around the Mac mini as a new platform and paradigm from Apple. Just look at all the accessories and add ons for the iPod. Being a general purpose, low cost OSX machine, it really is an "xMac" with the "x" being whatever you want it to be.



For myself, and I suppose many other semi-geeks, especially those with other Apple products (most importantly iPods) the Mac mini will be an iServe. Serving up music and from iTunes, images from iPhoto, and movies from both iMovie and iDVD. Add a big firewire hard drive and it's a file server too.



Many HD TV enthusiasts will find ways of plugging this Mac mini into their home theater set-ups. There will be people who built home theaters around their version of the xMac.



Apple has brilliantly designed the Mac mini to allow vertical stacking. How long will it take for LaCie, ElGato, and many others to build a "Slice" for the Mac mini?



I'll define slice as an add on designed to stack vertically on top of or under the Mac mini. I'll list some as examples:



Hard Drive Slices ~ including some that are RAID enclosures

Multimedia Slices ~ Everything from breakout boxes to full PVR's

HiFi Audio Slices ~ Power Amps for those Peaveys! Tuners for FM & XM Radio

X-10 type Slices ~ Control just about anything from your Mac mini



An those are just off the top of my head for the consumer space. What about Industrial Slices?



POS Slice ~ Point of sale terminal with touch screens Perhaps with a small LCD panel to show shoppers price totals etc.



Security Slice ~ Run a bunch of security cameras to a 23" Apple display with lots of little windows to monitor. Going high end here include a massive HD capability to record video from the cameras. (imagine iMove fun with this set-up)



Process Control Slice ~ This could be huge! Mac mini controlled robots to build everything from your next car to your next Macintosh.



Developers!, Developers!, Developers! Bring them on!



As a Platform the Mac mini and it's form factor will explode. Apple itself would be wise to start this out (Asteroid?) but whether they, or others, are the first to start cranking out "Slices", they will come.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 123
    zozo Posts: 3,115member
    nice Aphelion.. I like the "slice" name. Very fitting.



    Indeed, as soon as I saw the Mac Mini I already envisioned a port replicator "slice" with more usb, firewire, and maybe even a few more AV ports (RGB/S-video). Heck, bundle it with a bluetooth as well and a bluetooth remote control and you have the foundations for an Apple Media Center.



    Thats what I'm wondering... was Apple's rationale that "we will make the foundation, let the 3rd parties make all the accessories, we will then see what the trend is in the next 12 months and then make a MacMini 2 that will have all the "best of""?



    Look at what Apple has done with the iPod Shuffle. THEY made the top 4 accessories for once: arm band, rugged case, extra power, and extended base station. They have seen the last years what the top accessories for iPod and iPod mini were, and are going for that market as well.



    It is well known that typically, in any market, you make more money off the accessories than the base product itself. Like buying a car or motorcycle. Smart motorcycle resellers will sell you the rain outfit, the swanky helmets, the gloves, scarfy, gps kit, polish, "special" cleaner kit, the extra gurantee, the alarm system, and the branded lollipop. You come out that you spent almost as much on accessories as you did on the damn bike!



    Apple is gonna do the same. Observe. Modify. Bait. Reap.



    Looks like apple is finally getting its act together
  • Reply 2 of 123
    Quote:

    Originally posted by ZO

    nice Aphelion.. I like the "slice" name. Very fitting.



    Indeed, as soon as I saw the Mac Mini I already envisioned a port replicator "slice" with more usb, firewire, and maybe even a few more AV ports (RGB/S-video). Heck, bundle it with a bluetooth as well and a bluetooth remote control and you have the foundations for an Apple Media Center...



    Apple is gonna do the same. Observe. Modify. Bait. Reap.



    Looks like apple is finally getting its act together




    Thanks ZO ~ Everyone in the Industry will want to get a "Slice" of this pie. And I hope Apple itself will lead here, not follow. As appealing as letting others prove markets for add-on Slices to the Mac mini, I just don't see it as Apple's way.



    I'm hoping "Asteroid" will be the first such Slice from Apple. With the NAB show coming up what better place to release a one inch Slice that has all the ports needed for Audio and and Video just think how "cool" this thing could look sitting under a Mac mini or on a Powermac. Even as a stand alone box an "Asteroid" Slice would be awesome.



    I'm looking for El Gato and La Cie to jump to this form factor rather quickly, putting key pieces in play rapidly.
  • Reply 3 of 123
    othelloothello Posts: 1,053member
    could not agree more!



    i wonder how quickly people will get 'slices' (loving the name) out? a video/audio slice will fill the gap which is causing a lot of the AI moans at the moment.



    i do think apple will do an ipod photo with the mini -- take the original idea and extend it. in this case by adding in the extra video/audio ports. it will be a rev b but it will come.
  • Reply 4 of 123
    jasenj1jasenj1 Posts: 912member
    Yes, peripheral makers should be falling over themselves to make stackable add-ons that match the Mac mini. Apple may have done a very good thing by informally creating a new size standard for external devices. This will even help out all Apple's other CPUs - peripherals designed to match the Mac mini will look very nice stacked next to any of the other CPUs or laptops.



    And case makers should make a killing. Who wouldn't want to pull any external drive they have out of its current enclosure and put it in a nice mini enclosure?



    - Jasen.
  • Reply 5 of 123
    Its like everyone seen the mac mini and thought the same thing instantly. I know I though the exact same thing. Kind of a no brainer for third party developers.
  • Reply 6 of 123
    perfect form factor for an HD projector as well......
  • Reply 7 of 123
    vinney57vinney57 Posts: 1,162member
    absolutely, totally on the money...
  • Reply 8 of 123
    Quote:

    Originally posted by ZO

    nice Aphelion.. I like the "slice" name. Very fitting.



    ...




    This is exactly that what i was dreaming on

    short after the advent of Mac mini.



    "mini HD's from LaCie"

    "the miniTuner from Elgato"

    and so on.



    What a phantastic world of "mini"...



    Apple is going to create a whole new

    "mini" world of gadgets an' gear.



    Remember the Advent of iMac Bondi,

    the original iMac. The entire IT Industry

    introduced colored devices - suddenly.



    Btw, technically spoken you do describe a

    "Pile", don't you?



    BTW2: You do ask: "Apple Mac mini as a new Platform?"

    No, Apple Mac mini as a new state, of course. I'd reply



    best
  • Reply 9 of 123
    amorphamorph Posts: 7,112member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Aphelion



    Apple has brilliantly designed the Mac mini to allow vertical stacking. How long will it take for LaCie, ElGato, and many others to build a "Slice" for the Mac mini?



    I'll define slice as an add on designed to stack vertically on top of or under the Mac mini.




    Brilliant!



    I'm sure some enterprising person will come up with a case for clustering them, just like those FireWire RAID cases that came out a few years ago.



    Imagine borrowing all their hard drives for scratch space to edit video, all their CPUs to render it, and then all their SuperDrives to burn the DVDs! Whee!



    But it is true that the absolute minimalism of the Mac mini should spark a whole ecology of accessories. I note that resellers already love the thing, and they're taking the opportunity to bundle everything they can think of with the little guy.



    I'm looking forward to seeing other, perhaps less geeky examples. Great thread!
  • Reply 10 of 123
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Aphelion

    ...



    I'll define slice as an add on designed to stack vertically on top of or under the Mac mini. I'll list some as examples:



    Hard Drive Slices ~ including some that are RAID enclosures

    Multimedia Slices ~ Everything from breakout boxes to full PVR's

    HiFi Audio Slices ~ Power Amps for those Peaveys! Tuners for FM & XM Radio

    X-10 type Slices ~ Control just about anything from your Mac mini

    ...





    Yeah, now, i think this piece has have to be reconsidered,

    designwise



    Oh man i've got hooked - huge pay offs for apple.
  • Reply 11 of 123
    I hope someone makes a 6.5X6.5 inch display to sit on top of this thing. So it looks like a super modern Macintosh classic ][ - that'd be WICKED!



  • Reply 12 of 123
    sunilramansunilraman Posts: 8,133member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by ZO

    nice Aphelion.. I like the "slice" name. Very fitting.

    Thats what I'm wondering... was Apple's rationale that "we will make the foundation, let the 3rd parties make all the accessories, we will then see what the trend is in the next 12 months and then make a MacMini 2 that will have all the "best of""?




    Zo, exactly Infact, that was Job's attitude... he was like, okay kids, you've all wanted this toy for a long while, here it is. Enjoy...!



    You know, he just spoke about its specs and size and finally giving an affordable bait for switchers...



    Definitely Apple will be keeping a close eye on how its baby grows up :-)
  • Reply 13 of 123
    sunilramansunilraman Posts: 8,133member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Vox Barbara

    Yeah, now, i think this piece has have to be reconsidered,

    designwise




    yes yes yes oh yes... everyone herald the new "mac mini" form factor. tech vocab update: to mini eg. "i've mini-ed this device"
  • Reply 14 of 123
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Amorph

    But it is true that the absolute minimalism of the Mac mini...



    Actually I don't think that it is "absolute minimalism". I'd be perfectly happy if they removed the optical drive -- I have no need for it, especially if the thing could boot from a shared network drive. If it could VM page across the network then they could pull the hard disk too as I've got an Ethernet line to it from my primary Mac. I wonder how many dollars that could shave off the price?
  • Reply 15 of 123
    amorphamorph Posts: 7,112member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Programmer

    Actually I don't think that it is "absolute minimalism".



    For a desktop PC for use by home users, it is. And I did mean "absolute minimalism" relative to its target audience.



    Sure, they could strip everything but the CPU, RAM and ethernet off and sell the board bare, but that's not really a switcher machine.



    Quote:

    I'd be perfectly happy if they removed the optical drive -- I have no need for it, especially if the thing could boot from a shared network drive. If it could VM page across the network then they could pull the hard disk too as I've got an Ethernet line to it from my primary Mac. I wonder how many dollars that could shave off the price?



    When Apple releases the Mac blade, we'll find out.
  • Reply 16 of 123
    Here's something not so geeky but more trendy... Anyone wanna join me on a business venture?



  • Reply 17 of 123
    gsxrboygsxrboy Posts: 565member
    With the low power freescale chips hitting one day, the mini has a decent upgrade path as well, does it ever really need a G5 if a dual core freescale drops into the space.. wouldnt think so, keep it cool, small and quiet..



    So once people kit themselves out with htdv, pvr, fw hdds slices etc, the mini will be a cheap upgrade while keeping all the peripherals ready for the next rev of powermini ... so easy ...



    What would be really funky is a hifi type stand with a common firewire bus running up and down it and people stack the slices on top of each other and plug into the shared fw & usb bus(es) and power rails.. even have a major power supply in the bottom (hidden in the stand) and feeding all the units, so no need for individual power bricks... clean and easy !



    Bugger I cant remember the power amp company that does the little rack thingies.. they are related to mission speakers.. must find for piccy of what I mean..



    Edit - Aha! like this Cyrus equipment ...







    First thing I thought of when I saw mini.
  • Reply 18 of 123
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Amorph

    ...

    Sure, they could strip everything but the CPU, RAM and ethernet off and sell the board bare, but that's not really a switcher machine.

    ...




    Also i wouldn't consider this "thing"

    as a "Mac" like we know Macs.



    There is a difference between "Minimalism"

    (which i really appreciate very much)

    and "Uncomplete" (which most PCs feel like

    because of their lack of "Integration").



    I think "Integration" is key here. The Mac mini

    can be easily integrated in any possible idea.

    Think mini, get maxi
  • Reply 19 of 123
    Great thread!



    Anyone see the new Mac Mini KB Articles Apple released? Here's one:

    http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=300577



    Quote:

    Don't put anything on top of your Mac mini or stack Mac minis on top of each other either.



    Of course I don't think this will keep 3rd parties from making slices, or keep the consumer from stacking the slices on top of the mini. If heat is an issue, maybe there will be a "cooling" slice for under the mini. Just interesting. I wonder what else is in these KBs. this one is almost reminiscent of the "How to carry your iMac G5" article.
  • Reply 20 of 123
    I don't think Apple madde the Mac mini to be the foundation of a modular shelving project.



    I'm sure its just a nice little cheap Mac so that Aunt Darryl and Uncle Flab son't have to buy an eMachines or a Dull.



    However, making addons will work. I like the projector idea best. Throw all those old 3M projectors out...spend a meer...er..a meer $1500...anyways.



    The only thing I DONT LIKE HERE, is the idea of modding an Apple case...not because I'm pent-up purest ready to blow..well...but because PC users mod their PCs because PCs look like my feces after too much Sezchuan.





    What I'd like to see is a device that is similar to a Duo dock that would fit perfectly on top or underneath the mini and accep an iPod photo or whatever Apple has planned next for the iPod.









    I don't know if anyone remembers but what Vox Barbara is talking about is essentially what there were rumours about some longtime ago about; the network mac. The network mac, which Jobs was rumoured to have been carrying into a school inside a mysterious silver and SMALL box some 7 years ago, was a hard disk and mobo with an ethernet port.



    I think we need to discuss this in more detail because I'm not sure it's consistent with what's happening in the Apple world.
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