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Goodnight, Mac Mini — Apple Stops Mac Mini Shipments to Retailers

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In what is sure to be devastating news to those who who’ve been holding off on a new Mac purchase for the long-awaited Mini update, Gizmodo is reporting that Apple has ceased shipping new units to retailers. Two major European retailers are cited as the source for the news, both of which claim they’ve also been told not to expect any future shipments, either, dousing hopes that this might signal the arrival of a refreshed version.

We mentioned in an earlier post that the Mini hasn’t seen an update since November of 2007, and it shows its age in hardware specs. Slower processor, slower wireless networking, and dismal integrated Intel 945GM graphics all stand as signs of an old work-horse put out to pasture. Or was it more of a pony?

Sales of the Mini exceeded expectations early on, but have tapered off more recently, to the point where the bare bones computer is the weakest link in Apple’s chain of Mac offerings. When introduced at Macworld 2005, it was positioned as a key weapon in the battle to convert Windows users, since it was affordable and could easily be swapped into an existing PC set up in place of a Windows-based tower.

Many users have found a place for the Mini as an effective home theatre PC, since it offers similar functionality to the Apple TV while providing the expanded feature set of a computer, with a nearly identical physical footprint. The potential for the device to cannibalize Apple TV sales may have figured in the rumored decision to axe it.

Gizmodo’s Jesus Diaz suggests the product line’s demise could be announced as early as the Q4 Earnings conference call happening today at 2:00 PT/5:00 ET, so if you’re interested in the fate the once mighty box, tune in here for the webcast.

18 Responses to “Goodnight, Mac Mini — Apple Stops Mac Mini Shipments to Retailers”

  1. A 2 year old dell tower died in my girlfriends office. Motherboard failures and hard drive
    failures meant that the machine needed to be replaced. These failure may have nothing to do with Dell and may have been caused by a power surge from a lightning strike. So I’m not bashing Dell. I convinced her boss to get a Mac mini. The Mac Mini is now plugged into the leftover dell components lcd screen usb keyboard and mouse. Two people share the Mini one uses OSX the other Windows XP with the aid of Parallels Desktop for Mac. Each user is happy with there OS of choice. What shocked them was It’s small size and addition of bluetooth and wifi. Their two complaints solved one by clicking a few configuration boxes to properly configure mouse response in Parallels and the other adding ram to remedy sluggishness. The sluggishness was due to the fact that they tended to leave so many apps open and running now with little fear of taking down the whole system if one crashes.
    The Mini has been such a hit that it has lead to the purchase of an iMac to replace a retired HP and it’s crt monitor. Once again it was the design factor and it’s ability to run the operating system of choice that won them over. If not for there positive experience with the Mini and it’s introduction to Macs price point they never would have risked getting the iMac.

  2. Hmmm. Lets look at the facts. The expected major announcement that never turned up at the Macbook launch. The ‘Brick’ which may or may not have been the aluminum milled macbook. The expected low entry price macbook. The possible launch of a refreshed iMac line. The discontunuation of the entry level Mac Mini.

    Does this mean, maybe, just maybe there IS a new product coming? Maybe a very low cost iMac? How about one with a smaller screen, laptop size, all in one unit like the iMac appealing to entry level AND business users? Continuing the courting of the business world on the back of the iPhone success? Now that would be interesting would it not?

    Now that is one exciting ‘and one more thing’, just you wait and see :-)

  3. All that is great as far as product roadmap goes, but how about something even simpler in the short-term? Just add a DVD drive to the AppleTV. I guess it should probably be Blu-Ray (ugh, Sony, spit, feh), but definitely add one! It kills me to have to literally dust off the dvd player to play stuff from netflix or the library when the appletv is already on, ready to go, and so much nicer all the way around.

  4. Bob Forsberg

    Apple TV wasn’t the answer, nor was the mini. Combine the two and allow expandability… chips, ram & drives with existing Front Row, using bluetooth keyboard/mouse & N wireless speeds…..they will come.

    Forget the Mini & Apple TV names and call the new improved device the Apple Home System and combine it with an Apple branded HDTV. Apple TV capability built into the circuitry of a 36″ Apple Display is even easier and cost efficient.

    Make it happen Apple. Steve is slowing down on good new ideas and my Apple stock is dropping in value.

  5. Funny…you said, “Many users have found a place for the Mini as an effective home theatre PC, since it offers similar functionality to the Apple TV while providing the expanded feature set of a computer, with a nearly identical physical footprint”….this is the EXACT reason I bought it. Although I bought a refurbished one. It sits behind my plasma tv and acts as a media computer.

  6. Too bad. I’ve always thought that the Mini was the ideal machine for a Windows developer who wanted try out OS X. If you’ve used Windows for any length of time, you’re going to have lots of spare displays, keyboards, and mice lying around.