updated 07:20 am EDT, Tue June 15, 2010
Mac mini rises in price for speed, expansion
Apple in a surprise early morning update unveiled a completely redesigned Mac mini. The new version is shorter but wider and is targeted at home theaters: an HDMI output next to the Mini DisplayPort jack provides a single cable for audio and video to a TV. Upgrades are also easier, as a panel on the bottom lets owners swap memory without having to tear open the entire system.
The design is now fully integrated and doesn't even need an external power brick.
Apple has made some concessions to expansion with an SD card slot for photos. Four USB ports, gigabit Ethernet, a FireWire 800 port, and separate analog/digital combo inputs and outputs make up the expansion outside of video. An HDMI to DVI adapter is always bundled in the box for legacy displays.
The base system rises in price from $599 to $699, but in return is promised to be much faster with a GeForce 320M providing graphics up to twice as fast as on its predecessor. The base system still has 2GB of DDR3 memory but boasts a faster 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo and a minimum 320GB hard drive along with typical 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1 for wireless.
Custom-ordering the Mac Mini brings it up to as much as 8GB of RAM across two memory slots and a 500GB hard drive. The server edition returns and at $999 still has Mac OS X Snow Leopard Server, scrapping the optical drive in favor of a second 500GB hard drive for a total 1TB of space. It speeds up slightly with a 2.66GHz Core 2 Duo and 4GB of RAM as the base.
The system should be available to order today from the online Apple Store.