With the announcement of the new iPhone 4G and wide praise for the iPad, it would seem that Apple has been shifting all of their production over to portable devices. Today, however, Apple has released and started shipping its new Mac mini to provide a little something for their desktop users. Apple has taken into account complaints of the previous model to heart and have made some changes to make the best mini PC they can.Apple claims the new Mac mini is significantly better than its predecessor because it has “twice the graphics performance, a new HDMI port and a new SD card slot” and adopts the unibody design. Moreover, it argues that the new Mac mini is the most energy efficient mini computer, which seems true enough considering it does not use any power cables. In addition, the device runs cleaner and more efficiently reducing power consumption by 25 percent and requiring less than 10W at idle, which is pretty impressive considering it is still a fully functional computer. Finally, like all Apple devices, the new version of the Mac mini is thinner and sleeker than the previous design, measuring in at 1.4 inches.
The low power consumption and smaller size are the only actual “pros” in a many list of “cons”. Apple says the Mac mini will have such an amazing graphics card making it “ideal for graphics intensive applications or visually rich games”, but this is a complete and utter farce. The folks over at Notebookcheck tested the Geforce 320M, and although decent, the card clearly will not handle as many graphically demanding games as Apple is touting. In fact, the best game it can run is Sims 3, and if Mac users want to play the Sims, more power to them. However, when it claims that the new Mac mini can run “visually rich games”, Apple really needs to get their facts straight, especially when trying entice PC gamers to invest in its new product.
In addition to the Mac mini receiving a faster, sleeker, slimmer design there is also a simultaneous release of the Mac mini server. The server model, priced at $999, is designed to serve small businesses and office while the regular model, priced at $699, is targeting average consumers. The two models are virtually identical, except a few differences in specs; the server model has dual 500GB HDD (1TB total) running at 7200RPM versus the consumer model which has a 320GB HDD that runs at 5400RPM. Additionally, the server model lacks the optical drive, but has two RAM slots than the consumer model. Both versions have 4 USB 2.0 ports and 1 Firewire 800 port for faster file transfers.
My other qualm with Apple is that they are celebrating the inclusion of an HDMI port and SD card slot when they are now market standards. In fact, many Mac mini owners use the device as a home theater computer connecting it to their television, so to not include an HDMI port would be irresponsible. Finally, almost every desktop and laptop have SD card slots readily available so I congratulate Apple not for innovation but for making the device more like its competitor. However, Apple has a strong grasp of its market, and everything they release will become cash cows except the failed Mac Air. It’s not to say that the new Mac Mini will be the next Mac Air, but I doubt it’ll reach the success of Apple’s ever expanding portable electronics market.