Apple tables plans for Mac mini iPod dock once again

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 48
    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.
  • Reply 2 of 48
    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.
  • Reply 3 of 48
    louzerlouzer Posts: 1,054member
    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.
  • Reply 4 of 48
    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?!
  • Reply 5 of 48
    rokrok Posts: 3,519member
    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?
  • Reply 6 of 48
    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.
  • Reply 7 of 48
    Put the extra ports on the side. The way they are out of the way. The cable mess can be better controlled that way.
  • Reply 8 of 48
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    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.
  • Reply 9 of 48
    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.
  • Reply 10 of 48
    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! )
  • Reply 11 of 48
    louzerlouzer Posts: 1,054member
    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.
  • Reply 12 of 48
    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.
  • Reply 13 of 48
    maccrazymaccrazy Posts: 2,657member
    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.
  • Reply 14 of 48
    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?
  • Reply 15 of 48
    rokrok Posts: 3,519member
    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.
  • Reply 16 of 48
    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.
  • Reply 17 of 48
    19841984 Posts: 955member
    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?
  • Reply 18 of 48
    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.
  • Reply 19 of 48
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 48
    maccrazymaccrazy Posts: 2,657member
    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.
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