Apple to kill off Mac Mini?

October 22, 2008 | 11:47

Tags: #macbook #mac-mini #macos-x #mac-os-x #mac-pro

Companies: #apple

If you've always wanted to get your hands on one of those oh-so-cute Mac Minis, you'd better get a move on: they might not be around for much longer.

According to a post on Gizmodo yesterday at least two major European retailers have been denied any more stock of the diminutive MacOS X-based machine, which means one of two things: a new version is due to ship real-soon-now, or the system is to be discontinued in favour of its more popular MacBook and Mac Pro brethren.

Hopes for the former are likely dashed with the further news that Apple is warning customers to expect “no more” of the Mac Mini – at all, ever.

While the box was launched to critical acclaim, and represented a surprisingly affordable entry into the world of Macs, it has certainly never been a great seller for the company. The current generation of the Mac Mini – last refreshed in 2007 – is pretty poor compared to the rest of the Apple stable, with no support for the faster 802.11n wireless networking standard and an older Intel 945GM chipset powering it all. If it's not due to die a death, then it is in sore need of a serious overhaul if it is ever to challenge its more expensive counterparts in sales figures.

Therein lies Apple's dichotomy: if it improves the performance of the Mac Mini with a hardware refresh, will it detract from sales of the more expensive – and therefore profitable – MacBook hardware? It could well be that Apple would profit by removing the lower-priced entry point, forcing users who want to “think different” to shell out on higher-end hardware.

That said, I'll be disappointed to see the Mac Mini go. It was an Eee Box before Asus had even consider the notion, and the performance from such a dinky device was nothing short of outstanding. Perhaps a hardware refresh isn't so unlikely after all - especially when you consider that this isn't the first time that the demise of the Mini has been predicted.

Do you believe that the world still needs a teeny-tiny MacOS-based system, or is that niche filled by the smaller MacBook systems? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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