Should Apple change the Mac Mini case?

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
I think Apple should give up the whole idea with the clips. They are dumb and pointless. Most people can't open the case without damaging the plastic.



I see the solution as pretty simple. Put a hinge above the fan slots and have 2-4 screws on the bottom. Then the lid would just flip right over and be extremely easy to both open and set back into place. If they want to discourage average users getting into it then use those screws that need allen keys like they use on other Mac products.



I don't know about the manufacturing cost but wouldn't having some screws be cheaper than making all those moulded clips?



What I find odd is that my powerbook has screws all over it. Is there a reason for this? Do Apple assume that powerbook owners are more likely to be able to service their own machines?



The bottom line is that most Mac hardware problems will be sorted by Mac service centres and by making the machines awkward to open, it will affect them most.



I'll paint a picture of a service rep installing RAM:



Current design:

turn mini over and carefully wedge special tool into the small gap.

use some force to get the clips to open but not break and raise innards out completely.

install RAM

try to position the lid over the components and drop it into place, then clipping it down.



New design:

flip Mini, remove 2-4 screws, flip lid, install ram, flip lid back, screw back in.



The hinge means no more messing about trying to fit the lid into place.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 10
    Similiar design ... but just a little bigger.



    Makes room for a standard size HDD - cheaper and higher capacity, maybe even standard size RAM... everyone's going to want upgraded ram if they stick with integrated graphics. ... maybe even component video output to connect to my TV.



    I don't care if it's hinged ... but corner screws would be easier than the hidden clips. After all, we don't open it up that often.



    (and yes, the current design is cheaper to manufature/assemble than screws would be ... so bump the price UP by $1.25 ... )
  • Reply 2 of 10
    akheron01akheron01 Posts: 152member
    I don't really care what they do as long as they do something! The entire lineup hasn't seen a major case design change for a long time, they're starting to get a little... stale.
  • Reply 3 of 10
    xoolxool Posts: 2,460member
    Making the case easily serviceable will raise costs. You don't think Apple would just stick a hinge on there do you? Remember the G4 Cube and its reactor core that slid out with the plunger handle?



    With everyone complaining about the Mini's price increase and wanting to connect them to TVs in their entertainment, I don't think accessibility is this units top priority.
  • Reply 4 of 10
    kim kap solkim kap sol Posts: 2,987member
    Accessibility and a larger form factor defeats the purpose of the Mac mini...it's never gonna happen. Sorry. End of thread.
  • Reply 5 of 10
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,660member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by kim kap sol

    Accessibility and a larger form factor defeats the purpose of the Mac mini...it's never gonna happen. Sorry. End of thread.



    Accessibility, I can see. Making it hard to upgrade protects iMac sales.



    But form factor? How much larger would a mini have to be to accept desk top HDD and memory? And how would that inch or so defeat its purpose?
  • Reply 6 of 10
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,430moderator
    Yeah, using standard hard drives is cheaper than using laptop drives. They are also easier to get hold of. I agree with addabox.



    I think Apple still make a decent profit on the Mini though. I don't think they needed to design it in such a way as to protect imac sales.



    If the Mini was designed a bit better then although Apple have around a 20% profit margin on the Mini compared with a 50% margin on the imac, they'd probably sell much more of them.



    I also agree with KingOfSomewhereHot, I suppose I could go without the hinge - it was just to make it easier to put lid in place again - but people are going to need to upgrade the Mini Ram because of integrated graphics so why not design the Mini so that it's cheapest for peopple to do that? It's not like Apple are making the Ram.



    akheron01 has a good point too. Apple are supposed to be among the best designers around but all the new Intel products so far have the same cases. I'd like to see a Mini with an all metal case with a white Apple logo. That might push the price up though.



    I really wish they'd change the imac design though.
  • Reply 7 of 10
    msanttimsantti Posts: 1,377member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by akheron01

    I don't really care what they do as long as they do something! The entire lineup hasn't seen a major case design change for a long time, they're starting to get a little... stale.



    Speaking of case designs.



    How about the iBook. Its been May of 2001 since that has seen a redesign.



    Thats almost 5 years ago.



    The mini has just been out for 14 months.



    There is something to chew on.
  • Reply 8 of 10
    dfilerdfiler Posts: 3,420member
    I vote: make it more accessible but keep the notebook harddrive.



    Being so small, they tend to get moved or knocked about more than your average hunk of metal tower. The Mac Mini's smaller, more durable notebook harddrive has likely already prevented hundreds if not thousands of HD failures. Don't underestimate the danger posed by the jostling of a running 3.5" HD.
  • Reply 9 of 10
    mynameheremynamehere Posts: 560member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Marvin

    I also agree with KingOfSomewhereHot, I suppose I could go without the hinge - it was just to make it easier to put lid in place again - but people are going to need to upgrade the Mini Ram because of integrated graphics so why not design the Mini so that it's cheapest for peopple to do that? It's not like Apple are making the Ram.





    Actually, buying RAM from Apple is significantly more expensive than buying a stick from, say, crucial.com. Apple makes a massive profit from it.

    It may also be (part of) the reason why the ram in the mini comes in pairs (ie: 512MB = 256x2, 1GB = 512MB x 2), to discourage consumers from going out and just buying RAM and dropping it in; this way, some RAM has to be thrown out before the new RAM can be used.
  • Reply 10 of 10
    peharripeharri Posts: 169member
    I would make the minimum accessable. There should be a removable panel giving access to the RAM, and an external expansion port on the bottom (essentially a miniPCI or similar thing with other channels such as USB and Firewire also exposed. This'll make it easier to produce "stacking" peripherals without there being a maze of cables on the back.)



    I don't mind the rest being largely inaccessable. External boxes can add storage space, for example. If Apple's smart, a whole industry will built-up around Mac mini peripherals, which will make it possible for them to expand the platform in the future.
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