Will the Mac mini Get nano-ed?

by Chris Howard Oct 03, 2007

Apple launched the Mac mini a few years back to much fanfare, but hasn’t really taken it anywhere since. Maybe the time is ripe for a major refresh, and even a new moniker.

You know I get canned from time to time here by readers for being cynical, and rightly so. So this week I thought I’d “think positive” and proffer an exciting future product, the Mac nano. Because one thing we all enjoy in the Apple-verse is a good bit of speculation.

I saw an online banner ad for the Mac mini, and its curves, its texture, and its name made me think of another great mini, the iPod mini.

The iPod mini was cut down in its prime (as demonstrated by the shock and outcry) and replaced by the iPod nano. The nano is now so firmly entrenched, the mini seems eons ago.

The Mac mini, after a brief ride on a good wave, settled back into a bit of the also-ran status among Macs. If it’s ever replaced, there won’t be any shock.

Much speculation this year has been about it being dropped altogether. This seems unlikely. Because of Apple’s success with the iPod, the Intel-based Macs, particularly the iMacs and MacBooks, the iPhone, and even some small wins on the software front, including iLife, iWork, and soon Leopard, Apple can afford to look differently at the Mac mini. In some ways, it can be a bit of a play thing for Apple.

The Mac mini was, in the first place, an experiment. To build such a small device, one reliant on traditionally expensive laptop technology, bent a few rules. It’s not hard to imagine Apple did it, among other things, for the challenge.

It’s not unreasonable, therefore, to consider that Apple could again see what’s possible in the mini market.

And as the iPod mini was replaced by the iPod nano, could the Mac mini get replaced by the Mac nano? And what form would it take?

Another rumor circulating is that Apple is working on this in one form or another.

So Apple, with its recent experience of small devices and getting OS X working on them, could be nicely set for producing a Mac nano.

For instance, Apple, using micro hard drives like in the iPod classic, and with the smaller SODIMM memory, could halve the height of the current Mac mini.

On a tangent, the Mac nano could be a fully fledged Mac but the size of a large handheld, and still with multi-touch screen. It would sit in a cradle when you’re at your desk and connect to a full size screen and keyboard, but away from your desk, it’d be a UMPC that even our James R. Stoup might find useful. wink

Something will happen on the Mac mini front sooner or later. Will it be bigger? Smaller? Portable? Media center? Or just gone altogether?


  • Why would Apple worry about cannibalization between the mini and the iMac? They are clearly two different products. The mini is a compact, small form computer. The iMac is an All-In-One computer. Both computers do not have powerful video cards.

    I wonder why Apple doesn’t think customers deserve great video performance. I’m sure OSX is more efficient than Windows, but that’s no excuse. Ultimately, the application demands better video performance.

    I buy computers to run my programs. Apple is doing a disservice by artificially restricting its hardware. Surely, a good operating system and a nice form are worthy reasons to buy Apple, but it leaves me wondering is this all I can expect from Apple.

    Microsoft Windows is FAR FAR from perfect, but it makes up for its difficiencies over time. You know, Windows Vista is a real problem, but don’t think it’s game over, if you know what I mean.

    Apple games? It isn’t even in the cards.

    TechGuy2 had this to say on Oct 05, 2007 Posts: 12
  • Congrats, Chris!  I guess imitation is the sincerest form of flattery?


    Their source says the Mini will be renamed the Nano.  You been holdin’ out on us?  : )

    Carolina had this to say on Oct 05, 2007 Posts: 5
  • Well, can’t say I have any sources nor had read that piece, Carolina. Was just one of those flukey things where an idea parasite is floating around the ether looking for a host to feed and mutate on.

    And it found me. smile

    Chris Howard had this to say on Oct 06, 2007 Posts: 1209
  • Apple already loses hundreds of dollars when consumers choose a mini over an iMac, and yet they still sell the mini.

    You’re completely ignoring the point in order to appear correct. I never implied Apple would/should stop selling the Mini. Quite the opposite. I stated that they’re not IMPROVING the Mini’s specs in order not to compete with the iMac.

    There are many, many users who buy an iMac becauase the Mini is just slightly underpowered for their needs. They want a slightly more powerful processor, or a better video options or both.

    If Apple created a Mini with theses BTO options, iMac sales would weaken. Sure, there are people that currently choose the Mini anyway and Apple is glad to have them buy any Mac, but Apple really wants those extra $$$ from iMac buyers, or else they would have already provided better BTO options for the Mini.

    The iPod Touch is basically a carbon copy of the iPhone, with a trade-off of phone calls for twice as much storage

    Actually, you’re wrong, Beeb.  Apple disabled email and hobbled calendaring in the iPod Touch for just that very reason—product overlap. The iPhone gives you a little bit more (besides telephony) when the iPod Touch *could* do everything the iPhone does (minus the phone), but it doesn’t. So why doesn’t it?  Because those extra features might push a few buyers to step up to the iPhone.

    vb_baysider had this to say on Oct 08, 2007 Posts: 243
  • Nano, Nano anyone? Bueller Bueller ?


    hrpuffnstuff had this to say on Oct 15, 2007 Posts: 2
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