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Apple Mac mini gets a thorough redesign

When it comes to Apple's computing products, there are a few that seem to not get much attention. The Mac Pro is one of them, and the other is the Mac mini. Today, however, Apple is showing a little bit of love for its tiny little desktop machine.

The Mac mini is now sporting an all new design, which looks to be both flatter and wider. The body is now only 1" thick and is carved from a single piece of aluminum. On the bottom of the device is a circular access panel that allows you to gain access to the memory modules.

The Mac mini now sports either a 2.4GHz or 2.66GHz Core 2 Duo processor and 2GB of RAM (up to 8GB is supported). Graphics duties are handled by an NVIDIA GeForce 320M integrated GPU with 256MB of DDR3 memory.

Storage duties are handled by either a 320GB or 500GB SATA hard drive. An 8x slot-loading SuperDrive soldiers on for your DVD and CD media.

Port selection includes one Firewire 800 port, four USB 2.0 ports, GbE, HDMI, mini DisplayPort, and an SD slot. Wireless connectivity includes Bluetooth 2.1+EDR and 802.11n.

“The sleek, aluminum Mac mini packs great features, versatility and value into an elegant, amazingly compact design,” said Apple's Philip Schiller. “With twice the graphics performance, HDMI support and industry-leading energy efficiency, customers are going to love the new Mac mini.”

While Apple's new Mac mini is no doubt stylish, you will pay through the nose to get one. Pricing starts at a a whopping $699 (a $100 increase over the previous model) and it is available now from

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TAC rules
By Tony Swash on 6/15/2010 1:40:30 PM , Rating: 0
The responses here seem another fine example of TAC (see below for explanation of TAC) - keep it up chaps - its like watching bald men fighting over a comb.

The Techie Apple Conundrum (TAC)

The TAC arises often on sites such as Daily Tech because the attraction of Apple products, and hence Apple's huge success as a company, is dependent on features and aspects of product design invisible to almost all Techies. Thus Apples success is mysterious, vexing and ultimately challenging.

Techies for example often focus on feature lists and technical specifications and compare one such list to another and look at comparative prices and cannot understand that someone would pay more for an "inferior" spec.

This of course misses a critical aspect of Apple product design, one of the keys to the success of Apple in the consumer market, which is that for many (perhaps most) consumers having fewer technical features is a positive thing. This seems paradoxical to Techies but this is because they fail to comprehend what the actual experience for the vast majority of consumers of hi-tech products actually is - which is bad.

Consumers constantly encounter products that don't work as advertised, products that squeeze so many functions into an item that using it for its main purposes is dreadfully complex, products that even when their function should be simple (i.e. to play music, to play a DVD, to surf the web, to write emails) require a thick user manual (many of which which are often written by engineers and are thus unhelpful).

Most hi-tec products are user-unfriendly for most consumers. But not to Techies because they have technical knowledge and so can cope with poor/arcane design. In fact Techies like such products because they find technical challenges fun and because it makes them useful (they are always helping people solve their technical problems) and thus boosts their self esteem.

Some kit, almost all non-Apple desktop computers for example, are not just difficult and poorly designed but are positively scary for almost all consumers. Many non-Apple desktop computers seem very complex to operate, go wrong for no clearly understood reasons and worst of all seem to be under constant attack. Watching someone move from a non-Apple desktop computer to a Mac you can often see them slowly losing their awful, and a lot of the times paralysing, fear of infection and attack. As the fear fades the pleasure of using their computer increases dramatically and people start to love their computers rather than secretly hating them. Thus another mac-head is born.

The emblematic product for TAC is the iPad. Here is a product that comes on instantly, looks and feels gorgeous, feels fast, is easy to operate and does (in a fantastically convenient form factor) most of what most people do most of the time on their computer (ie browse the web, send emails, watch movies, read stuff and look at and share photos). Plus it has two huge benefits for most consumers. First it doesn't feel like a computer - this is a good thing for most people because most people's experience of using computers has been bad. Secondly it feels very safe because of Apple's curated computing model, and most users of computers have previously felt unsafe most of the time.

The very reasons that make the iPad such a huge success are the very reasons that Techies don't get it. If one product above all induces TAC its the iPad. Techies say "but Apple has an iron grip and is killing our freedoms" (people want safety much more than some obscure technical freedom), "the iPad don't have [insert any number of features that consumers don't care about]", "its not a real computer" (exactly).

So the continuing, relentless and accelerating success of Apple seems almost inexplicable to most Techies, "how could such products be so successful?"

The answer Techies come up are fairly predictable:

- Apple's voodoo marketing: Apple is pulling the wool over the consumer eyes (sometimes this is blamed on media hype).

- Apple's evil lock in: Apple has a locked down and closed platform, once sucked in people can't leave.

- Apple consumers and users are idiots: Fooled by marketing and glitzy packaging the sheep can be sold everything.

Because Techies believe that these are the real reason people buy Apple products (other than the more obvious reason which is that they actually like them a lot) Techies also believe that this state of affairs cannot possibly last and therefore the final piece of the Techie response to Apple falls into place. Deranged by TAC Techies often come up with the most delusional statement of all - Apple is doomed.

RE: TAC rules
By Pirks on 6/15/2010 2:08:25 PM , Rating: 2
Is this John Gruber's piece? Sounds very much like him.

Very good analysis. I as a Techie definitely agree with this ;)

Still don't like iPad for forcing me to recode my videos in Apple format. That's why I don't have iPad and not going to get one.

That's stupid, Tony, that's just insane, compared to my ultraportable Asus notebook (14 hours of battery life on ONE battery, not bad huh?) where I just simply drag/drop videos to it without any recoding.

Much faster and much more comfortable than iPad hours-long recoding process. And I like comfort! Just like you and any other Machead.

THIS is the part that Gruber wants you to skip but don't you fall for this Tony! :P

RE: TAC rules
By gcor on 6/15/2010 7:49:46 PM , Rating: 2
Tony, I totally agree.

I'm a Techie by nature and by profession. For fun I've built PC's for years, including gaming rigs and HTPC's. Professionally, I've built and administered networking plus unix and Windows systems for customers. I've also been a s/w engineer architecting and developing bleeding edge stuff, such as distributed multi-tiered transaction processing systems and on a highly successful 3G mobile network implementation.

I think I can say hand on heart I'm pretty Techie.

Personally, due to time constraints (family and career) I simply can no longer afford the time required to make Windows and Linux systems do what I want them to. When I can charge easily over $400 per hour, I can't justify spending my limited time on monkeying about with clunky stuff anymore.

In fact, if you can put a dollar value on your time and if you don't love playing with tech stuff and it is a chore, then the cost of making stuff work quickly becomes enormous.

As you've probably guessed, I've swapped over the Apple gear at home and it's achieved exactly what I needed. It's saved me a ton of time and hence money and reduced the hassle of getting stuff done. Honestly, as a Techie, it's a breath of fresh air.

RE: TAC rules
By fsardis on 6/16/2010 1:28:36 AM , Rating: 2
And a techie such as yourself cannot get a Windows box from Dell and set it up to do whatever functions you want it to do?
I'm sorry but your post is contradictory. Windows 7 is capable of doing more things out of the box than any Mac that has ever existed. It is also far easier to set up and gives the user much more control.
I have a Mac and a PC and I am having problems getting the Mac to act as anything other than an oversized internet browser/media player.
Windows 7 has shadow copies for backup. No user action or extra expenses necessary in contrast to time machine.
Windows 7 has a far easier to use GUI that is not a remnant of the single processing days. Can you tell me how many windows an application has open in a Mac at a glance without right clicking on the bar? Can you drag and drop to a non-visible window on the Mac? The list about GUI problems on the Mac is huge. Heck, there is no cut/paste on Finder. Good job, Apple, this alone would drive any real techie insane.
Windows 7 networking is up and running easily and securely. The Mac needs to be set up for networking out of the box and comes with the firewall disabled.
Windows 7 gives access to latest hardware and software. Apple is still years behind on both accounts.
Windows 7 does NOT come with autologin turned on by default. I wanted to get a gun and shoot Mum-ra for this when I first got my Mac.
Windows 7 does not take 70 pixels just to provide me with a basic interface of which applications are running.
Windows 7 can run decent games and 99% of the software out there is made for Windows. Surely as a techie who values time, you can appreciate that much at least. Or do you save time from Windows installations and then dedicate that time as a s/w engineer to make apps that do what you want your Mac to do?

It seems people fail to realise that the reason Apple is still at the rock bottom of market share when it comes to desktop, is not because the price is high. Come on, let's face it, a basic iMac is not too expensive despite being a ripoff. It's not like you are buying a Zonda or an F430. Anybody with a decent income can buy one in some way or another and yet still people opt for Windows.

As for the perpetual argument about the Mac experience:

Some words on the matter by the man who created the Mac experience for Apple. In summary: it sucks.

RE: TAC rules
By gcor on 6/16/2010 5:07:12 AM , Rating: 2
I didn't say I couldn't get Windows to do what I wanted it to, just that it takes vastly more time and in my opinion the solution tends to be inferior.

My MAIN point is that in taking more time, it costs me money. This extra dollar cost in time vastly outweighs the additional dollar cost of Apple kit.

By the way, I disagree about the merits of the Windows OS vs. the OS-X OS. I've been a part of OS design for platforms (all real time embedded on telecoms switch, so definitely NOT directly applicable) and I was heavily involved in AT&T V4 back in the day when it had 90%+ market share of Unix systems. So, with my biases well declared, I think Windows as a platform has always been a dog's breakfast of an OS. Quality and stability are definitely not things I expect to find the Windows platform. It's certainly good enough if you don't mind the occasional BSOD, but it's definitely only "good enough" and nothing more.

RE: TAC rules
By hexxthalion on 6/16/2010 6:53:05 AM , Rating: 2
exactly the same reason for me - too much time spent on tweaking it and keeping it up and running, it's like a tamagochi, you don't feed it and it dies.

that's why i switched to apple - i don't need to care about it, it does exactly what i want it to do

RE: TAC rules
By fsardis on 6/16/2010 1:34:27 AM , Rating: 2
By the way, I wish to add that I have dedicated large amounts of time on GUI research and have done multiple projects on GUIs.
Based on everything I learned from those projects, the Mac GUI is a monstrosity and my experience with OSX tells me the same. It's like they made the GUI with the sole purpose of using screen space as inefficiently as possible with as many user errors as possible and as less informative as possible. Quite a feat really but in the wrong direction.

RE: TAC rules
By DCstewieG on 6/16/2010 12:12:53 AM , Rating: 2
Dead on. DailyTech completely shows its roots in the PC enthusiasm of AnandTech. Ironically, Anand can't really say enough good things about Macs now. It was actually his first article about trying the Mac for a month and loving it that made me seriously consider the platform after the terrible experiences I had in high school with the fruity iMacs and the awful puck mouse.

For gamers there's no argument, building a Windows machine is the way to go. But for anyone else, a Mac should be a serious consideration.

"I'm an Internet expert too. It's all right to wire the industrial zone only, but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired." -- North Korean Supreme Commander Kim Jong-il

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