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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  • elvisizer - Tuesday, January 25, 2005 - link

    stylex, the mini uses regular pc2700 ddr ram. nothing special about it.
  • egilDOTnet - Tuesday, January 25, 2005 - link

    And one more thing - regarding Office compability - I thought that the Appleworks package still was included with the Mac mini?? Is this not so anymore, Anand, or did you just forget about that?
  • elvisizer - Tuesday, January 25, 2005 - link

    #16 and #12- yes, it's true that if you don't have those items already you'll have to spend money to buy them. So what? if you don't have them sitting around, then the mini isn't as good a deal for you. The point is, for the vast majority of people buying one, a mini will not end up costing $1000. it'll end up costing $499+ 1 memory upgrade.

    also, there's one error in the article- anand says that TextEdit can't open Word documents. that's not true. TextEdit has been able to open and edit Word documents since 10.3 came out.
  • egilDOTnet - Tuesday, January 25, 2005 - link

    Just wanted to chime in on one thing - exporting images from iPhoto - you know that you can just select images, and then drag them out on the desktop or wherever you want them to be copied??

    Good article!
  • bupkus - Tuesday, January 25, 2005 - link

    I'd like one just to take it for a ride. I wholely support the idea of SFF and this certainly takes the "S" seriously. As to using less energy, 85W is probably as good as it gets.
    This is the first I've heard of AMD's mini-itx which uses Windows CE. I wonder if that means it's much more vulnerable to malware than the "mini". Sure it costs more than something like the Biostar IDEQ 210V, but if the "mini" means less free tech support to relatives who just web surf, I'd recommend it.
  • miketheidiot - Tuesday, January 25, 2005 - link

    #30 most people are still very computer illiterate. They also don't buy them because of their compatability or upgradability. They buy on cost alone and name. Apple has a name (whether a good or bad name is a matter of opinion) and now they have the price. I see no reason why these won't sell.
  • bigpow - Tuesday, January 25, 2005 - link

    >2) Sure you get better graphics with the mini and a better optical drive, but you get more memory and a faster hard drive with the Dell.

    Oh yeah... riiiight!
    Better graphics because you're imagining the picture! Dell comes with 15" LCD, Mac comes with your imagination.

    Nice comparison, duh!
  • Jeff7181 - Tuesday, January 25, 2005 - link

    I still think these titles that suggest the MiniMac will steal marketshare from the PC is rediculous. People don't use PC's because they're they come in the smallest form factors. They use them because of their compatability, upgradability, and cost. Apple has only scratched the cost issue with the MiniMac... but most PC users will avoid a Mac simply so they don't want to learn to use a computer all over again... for some people that's not an easy thing to do.
  • ehanneken - Tuesday, January 25, 2005 - link

    Stylex, Crucial's Mac page is

    You would actually pay more to buy a 512 MB DIMM from Crucial than you would to upgrade the Mac Mini to 512 MB when you purchase it. On the other hand, you would end up with two DIMMs instead of one.

  • jasonsRX7 - Tuesday, January 25, 2005 - link

    #23 - Nail on the head :)

    #25 - Apples prices to add ram to the mini are reasonable. $75 to upgrade to 512mb, less if you're a student.

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