Road to Expo: Reborn Mac mini set to take over the living room
By Ryan Katz, Senior Editor
November 29, 2005 - Apple's Mac mini will be reborn as the digital hub centerpiece it was originally conceived to be, Think Secret sources have disclosed. The new Mac mini project, code-named Kaleidoscope, will feature an Intel processor and include both Front Row 2.0 and TiVo-like DVR functionality.
While the specific model and speed of the Intel processor in the new Mac mini is unknown, sources are confident the system will be ready for roll-out at Macworld Expo San Francisco, in line with other reports Think Secret has received that Intel-based Macs will be ready some six months sooner than originally expected.
The new Mac mini is also said to sport a built-in iPod dock, a feature that was scrapped from the Mac mini Apple first introduced one year ago. Other hardware specifics are unknown, such as whether the Mac mini will feature video recording out of the box or whether an add-on will be offered for those looking to employ the Mac mini not as a second computer but as their living room command center.
It is similarly unknown whether Apple will scrap the 2.5-inch hard drive currently featured in the Mac mini in favor a standard 3.5-inch hard drive, both to boost storage capacity that heavy media users demand and to trim costs; such a move would undoubtedly result in a larger Mac mini.
Specifics surrounding Front Row 2.0 and Apple's DVR application are limited at this point, although sources with knowledge of the project have dubbed the latter a "TiVo-killer." The moniker might not be without some bias, however, as sources report that talks of an Apple-TiVo deal recently fizzled, prompting TiVo to independently announce this month that it will soon offer customers the ability to copy stored content to a video iPod.
While Apple surprised watchers when the company delivered Front Row alongside updated iMac G5s recently, Apple's media center intentions have become startlingly clear in the past year since Apple first delivered the Mac mini and customers first started connecting the system to home theaters and installing it in automobiles. Sources have hinted that additional media announcements will further propel Apple's strategy, and with the hardware, software, and iPod sales behind it, Apple now seems poised to firmly plant its footprint in living rooms.