Intel Mac Mini, iPod Hi-Fi

Today, Apple announced a new Mac Mini line with Intel processors and a new iPod speaker system, the iPod Hi-Fi.

Initial thoughts on the new Mac Mini:

  • It’s more expensive than its G4-based predecessor: US$599/C$699 for the 1.5-GHz Core Solo model; US$799/C$949 for the 1.67-GHZ Core Duo model.
  • But it’s arguably better equipped: each model comes with wireless standard, more USB ports, Gigabit Ethernet, and digital audio in/out. It gains a microphone port and loses its modem.
  • In a first for a Mac, the Mini uses Intel Integrated Graphics and shared memory instead of an ATI or Nvidia graphics chipset with dedicated memory. What are the implications for Quartz Extreme and Core Graphics? (Update: It might still be better than the Radeon 9200 in the G4 Mini. Update #2: Apparently it’s a GPU for video playback rather than 3D gaming.)
  • The Mini ships without a keyboard and mouse, as usual, but comes with a remote. (It’s got Front Row, but, as you might expect, no iSight.) There’s something strange about that.

As for the Hi-Fi, it’s definitely aimed at the high end of the iPod speaker market, at US$349/C$429. You have to plug in an iPod (or another audio source), but it’s being positioned on Apple’s web pages as another iPod, which may cause some confusion:


Me, I’d been hoping for a component unit with a hard drive that synced like an iPod wirelessly, but I imagine that the AirPort Express already fills that niche. So does a cable from an iPod to the back of your amplifier, for that matter.

But it doesn’t look like Apple means to complement your existing home stereo; it means to replace it.