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Apple debuts new Mac mini, Thunderbolt Display

updated 09:35 am EDT, Wed July 20, 2011

New Mini drops optical drive from design

Apple today introduced an updated Mac mini, representing its smallest and cheapest desktop system. Configurations are based primarily on dual-core Core i5 or Core i7 processors, paired with either integrated or AMD Radeon HD 6630M graphics; the CPU in a server configuration is a quad-core Core i7. Custom orders can further include options like a 7200rpm hard drive, a 256GB SSD, and/or up to 8GB of RAM. All models now include a Thunderbolt port, which can be used to connect compatible monitors and/or storage peripherals.

While Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections are built into each model, Apple has also taken the step of removing the optical drive, previously built into all non-server Minis. The only options for reading or writing from CD/DVD are now limited to remote access on a Mac or Windows system, or connecting an external peripheral such as a SuperDrive.

OS X Lion comes pre-installed on each computer. Prices for the three stock configurations are $599, $799 and $999; these can be ordered online today, but will only show up in retail stores tomorrow.

To go with new Macs Apple has announced the Thunderbolt Display, an upgrade of the Cinema Display. While usable with video adapters the monitor is mainly intended for the Thunderbolt or DisplayPort connections on supporting Macs. It measures 27 inches, and further incorporates USB 2.0, FireWire 800 and gigabit Ethernet ports along with a FaceTime HD camera and integrated speakers. A MagSafe power connector on the included Thunderbolt cable allows MacBooks to charge without a separate cord.

The Thunderbolt Display will cost $999, and ship sometime within the next 60 days. Apple warns that taking advantage of features beyond the screen requires a Thunderbolt-capable Mac.

By Electronista Staff


  1. lamewing

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Aug 2004


    No optical

    So they removed the optical drive and don't include install DVDs, but are charging the same price? Does it come with Lion on a flash drive?

  1. bjojade

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2007


    No CD Drive????

    The mac mini was a great home theater system because of the DVD drive in it. Yeah, I still use DVDs from time to time to watch movies. I have a mac mini and an Apple TV attached to my TV in the living room, and was hoping for an upgrade. Looks like that's not an option. CD and DVD sharing is great for files, but doesn't work to share movies. What a shame.

  1. bobolicious

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Aug 2002


    No security slot?

    This I don't understand?

  1. Grendelmon

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Dec 2007



    The lack of an optical drive is going to seriously dent sales of this thing. I've been holding out to replace my Core Duo 1.66ghz Mini media PC (w/ Plex), so I guess I'll have to buy a refurb yesteryear Mini. Sigh.

  1. lamewing

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Aug 2004




    Be quick. I ordered my refurb this morning after reading this article. $429.00! They sold out 5 minutes later.!!!

  1. Foxypaco

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2010



    Once I bought an external DVD-RW DL drive a few years ago, I've since removed the optical drive from all my macs. If you have one external one, you don't need 3 internal ones.

  1. Jonathan-Tanya

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2004


    it will dent sales

    When the iMac - that old bondiblue semi-translucent model from years ago, came out without a floppy drive - it was too soon and it hurt sales.

    Oh don't get me wrong, it was a bestseller, but sales would've been greater still with a floppy drive.

    Now sales are going to be muted by the lack of optical drive - and the continuing lack of keyboard and mouse.

    People just *do* make decisions on things - like - hey this windows pc comes with a keyboard and mouse. They'll count that as a feature - and guess what, it is a feature.

    I wish apple would stop playing the weird game.

    This mac mini is beautiful - that will help.
    It runs Lion - that will help.
    The cpu's have been updated - that will help.
    Adding memory is a snap - that's a feature.

    But no optical drive, and no keyboard and mouse, mute sales - basically for no reason, they could easily overcome this issue. And they've got the margin to do it.

  1. Jonathan-Tanya

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2004


    no monitor either

    just to be fair - it also doesn't come with a monitor - and in the case of not having a monitor - this doesn't shock anyone.

    So you say, I can bring my own external optical drive (most people don't have one), I can bring my own keyboard and mouse - just like you bring your own monitor.

    But its not the same, if for no other reason, then just people's habits. Most non-laptops are not bundled with monitors, the market gets that - most people just don't get why you didn't include an optical drive/mouse and keyboard.

  1. facebook_Kevin

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Jul 2011


    Is this the proper time to pimp my "we rip your mo

    All legal too. DVDs and Blurays. Helping Americans kicking and screaming in to the digital streaming era.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001



    This is why I bought a mini over the weekend. Make sure I had another computer that can run Rosetta. Now I know I can also play discs on it.

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