Introducing the Mac mini

Before we get to the mini itself, let's have a quick rundown of the specs of the Mac mini:

   Apple Mac mini 1.25GHz  Apple Mac mini 1.42GHz
CPU: PowerPC G4 1.25GHz PowerPC G4 1.42GHz
Memory: 256MB DDR333
Graphics: ATI Radeon 9200
Hard Drive: 40GB 2.5" HDD 80GB 2.5" HDD
Optical Drive: Slot-loading Combo Drive (DVD-ROM/CD-RW)
Ports: One FireWire 400; two USB 2.0; DVI (VGA adapter included); 1/8" headphones/line-out; 10/100 Ethernet; 56K modem
Monitor: None
Keyboard/Mouse: None
Software: Mac OS X 10.3 (Panther), iLife '05
Price: $499 $599

First Encounter with the Mac mini

The box is small:

If you need a carrying case for your Mac mini, just save the box and it will serve perfectly.  Remember that the mini measures 6.5" on each side and is only 2" high, so the box is pretty small. The box is slighty longer and wider than the mini itself, but about twice as deep. 


A Mac mini box compared to a regular sized ATI Radeon 9800 Mac Edition video card. 

What's interesting about the box is that on the back face of it, you have instructions on how to set up the computer.  As you can expect, it's not too difficult, but helpful for the first-time computer user.

The Mac mini box itself is representative of Apple's simple design philosophy, but what truly sums up Apple's intentions with the Mac mini is the side of the box:

The side of the box simply states that iLife is included, and below that, it says that you can organize photos, compose music, create playlists, make movies and watch DVDs.  This isn't the side of a computer box. This is the side of a consumer electronics device box; it's the side of a multifunction iPod's box.  And this is where it hit me - what I was holding in the mini's box didn't feel like a computer. In fact, it didn't feel like I was unpacking a computer either.  Apple has effectively made their computer into something that doesn't seem like one at all, perfect for those who are intimidated by computers, but definitely leaves those of us who aren't feeling somewhat strange - not in a bad way, and not in a good way, but just in a different way.  If every other computer manufacturer in the world made their computers and boxes look like the mini's, then I'm sure that the feeling wouldn't be so strange; but the fact of the matter is, they don't, and the Mac mini is different - and you know that before you even hit the power button.

Inside the Mac mini box, there are already indications that Apple was working as quickly as possible to get these things out and shipped.  The best example of this is that the Mac mini comes with iLife '04 installed (meaning that the master image for the mini's hard drive was made before iLife '05 was ready to be put on it), and stuck to the top of the inside of the box is an iLife '05 DVD.

You have your handful of users guides, warranty information and the usual paperwork that comes with any computer, but with the mini, it all seems a lot "cooler" for some reason.  Everything is well made, well put together, and well, mini.  Once again, I wasn't reminded of a computer; I was reminded of buying something from Bose or Mercedes.

Index First Encounter with the mini
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  • pitdog - Wednesday, February 02, 2005 - link

    I am a computer guy and PC user for the past 20 years. I have worked in the industry for a little while (20 years). When I heard that MicroRedmond was going to sell anti-virus software it got my blood hopped up. Then I saw on Slashdot that Apple was going to sell stripped down versions of their Mac. Interesting, I said.

    Welp I went ahead and bought one. WOW...definately interesting. I was a mechanic doing data acquisition for CART teams. All Windows based. I have also worked on motorcycles for years.

    I boil it down to one thing. I have worked on Harley's for years. They hold their value and most people want them. There are more aftermarket parts for them than any other brand. But, I wanted a bike that worked. So I bought a Yamaha R1.

    The Mac Mini is the same darn thing.....it just works. I will be using Linux or my new Mac Mini from now on. Good stuff...

    p.s. of course when I want to hack a file or test a new game....the windows pc is still around...
    Reply
  • pitdog - Wednesday, February 02, 2005 - link

    I am a computer guy and PC user for the past 20 years. I have worked in the industry for a little while (20 years). When I heard that MicroRedmond was going to sell anti-virus software it got my blood hopped up. Then I saw on Slashdot that Apple was going to sell stripped down versions of their Mac. Interesting, I said.

    Welp I went ahead and bought one. WOW...definately interesting. I was a mechanic doing data acquisition for CART teams. All Windows based. I have also worked on motorcycles for years.

    I boil it down to one thing. I have worked on Harley's for years. They hold their value and most people want them. There are more aftermarket parts for them than any other brand. But, I wanted a bike that worked. So I bought a Yamaha R1.

    The Mac Mini is the same darn thing.....it just works. I will be using Linux or my new Mac Mini from now on. Good stuff...

    p.s. of course when I want to hack a file or test a new game....the windows pc is still around...

    pitters
    Reply
  • janmorren - Tuesday, February 01, 2005 - link

    Very good article Anand. It's objective, and I think (although I haven't touched a Mac mini yet) you hit the sweet spot with your article. I do think that not only the Mac mini is badly equipped with memory, it applies for every Mac running Mac OS X. Once you have the minimum of 512 MB RAM, you're in for a very credible platform. I'm working on an older (4 years) dual PM G4 500MHz, and 1GB RAM, and I'm not complaining (yet). Everything goes smoothly enough (I'm the IT guy here, and have to run everything).
    Also the comments on Pages, KeyNote and iLife '05 seem fair. Thanks for not being prejudiced.
    Reply
  • bjakuc - Monday, January 31, 2005 - link

    Two quick comments:

    1) Thanks for the straight forward, even keeled, unbiased look minus any religous overtones.

    2) As for iPhoto 5 not having built in ftp support, you could always create a folder hierarchy that matches your web site structure and attach a 'Folder Actions' script to each subdirectory (written in Applescript, perl , python, shell etc...) that will ftp anything dropped into it up to the corresponding subdirectory on your site. just type 'Folder Actions' into Apple help for a discussion on how to set them up.

    Cheers!
    Bob Jakuc
    Reply
  • bjakuc - Monday, January 31, 2005 - link

    Reply
  • hopejr - Sunday, January 30, 2005 - link

    #176, I never said that it was secure, just that MS has made such a fuss about how much work they put into SP2 to make it "secure" and the stuff they put on the packaging, that would make the novice user think it was true.
    I also have a Windows box that has none of that stuff, and it's fine too, but, it sits behind a hardware firewall. If I put it in the DMZ, it would get hit like hell. I am a responsible user, and don't go downloading anything malicious (trust me, I know what to look for - I've been using PC's for long enough to know) and that is effortless. The only problem is that many people are noobs and don't know what to look for. BTW, that guy I was talking about is no noob, it was just that someone/bot had cracked into his computer through the "enhanced" firewall that MS built into SP2.
    I agree that OS X would have vulnerabilities, but at this time, who really cares? I'd only start to consider getting any AV software for my mac if I didn't have it behind the firewall and the percentage of users increased to 50% instead of the 3% it is at. Will that happen? I don't think so with the general mentality of much of the public these days toward anything "mac".
    I also agree that arguments such as these are absolutely pointless. So many people have their minds set a certain way, and are very difficult to change.
    Reply
  • matteh99 - Sunday, January 30, 2005 - link

    #178

    The Celeron isn't one of "featured" dimension 3000 desktops. Instead of clicking on the featured 3000 desktops you have to click on the link above it that says "start shopping desktops". (great set up for the site eh?)

    http://www1.us.dell.com/content/products/compare.a...

    I would like to test a 3000 with a P4 but I don't have one. :-P. I might try to find a few other pc's to put it up against.. Also maybe test the 1.25 ghz mini.
    Reply
  • mino - Sunday, January 30, 2005 - link

    #134 Actually I searched their home site www.grisoft.cz before posting.
    So, I'm happy You corrected me since I had no idea there is running such a project from Your link.
    Reply
  • RMSistight - Sunday, January 30, 2005 - link

    #158

    SUPER LMAO
    Reply
  • msva124 - Sunday, January 30, 2005 - link

    Impressive results for the mini, but you might want to test it against a dell with a 2.8Ghz pentium 4. Looking at the dell website it doesn't seem like it is possible to buy a Dimension 3000 with a celeron processor anymore. Although, I could have sworn I went there a few days ago and I was able to. Reply

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