Digital Audio-In Dilemma

in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
I know this is relatively minor, but:

Intel iMac, $1299+

? Headphone/optical digital audio output

? Audio line input

Intel Mac mini, $599+

? Combined optical digital audio output/headphone out

? Combined optical digital audio input/audio line in

Can anyone suggest a sound reason for this seemingly strange state of affairs?


  • Reply 1 of 3
    beigeuserbeigeuser Posts: 371member
    Out of curiosity, what type of applications will show significant benefits from having a digital audio input vs. analog audio input?
  • Reply 2 of 3
    dglowdglow Posts: 147member
    Benefits: Mini-Disc recording, for one. My SO has a signifiant collection of mixes, and I've offered to rip them. The Toslink is much cleaner than line-in.

    Granted, this is a relatively minor nitpick. For my immediate need I've borrowed a friend's USB SPDIF in/out box; it works as advertised, and without an additonal driver install. (Thank you, IOKit - you always put Windoze to shame.

    But still, Apple puzzles me on this one. I received the 17" core duo to replace my DTK. No digital in. Tuesday they introduce a system costing $700 less that includes this feature. Haven't seen a take-apart of the mini (yet), but my understanding is it's built around the same Intel chipset as the iMac and MacBook.

    So what gives, Apple? Simple cost savings? Is customer research saying mini users are more likely to use digital in?
  • Reply 3 of 3
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    The mini is geared towards being a digital hub in the living room, while the iMac is designed to be a stand-alone consumer computer. Pros needing digital audio for their work will go up to a PowerMac, but the mini benefits from such things for a home theatre experience.
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