Whither the mini?
The tender flowers of the Mac web are all a-twitter (not to be confused with the popular social networking site of the same name) over an Apple Insider report claiming that the Mac mini will soon be pushing daisies (not to be confused with the much-anticipated ABC series of the same name, coming this fall, check your local listings).
The Macalope doesn’t doubt this could be true, but he did find it amusing that in trying to bolster their argument that “Apple just doesn’t like the mini darn it!”, Apple Insider cites as evidence the fact that a rumored enhancement of the mini they pimped failed to materialize. It’s the theory of Apple rumor site infallibility in action.
But on the face of it, it seems unlikely that Apple would completely do away with the mini or, rather, decide to abandon the market it targets.
Now, what is that market? The Macalope doubts anyone outside Apple knows for sure as they don’t release that kind of data. The mini was introduced ostensibly for the switcher (“Bring your own monitor, keyboard and mouse!”) but the Macalope doubts that’s who’s really buying them. It’s anecdotal, of course, but the switchers the Macalope knows have all bought either iMacs or MacBooks. The horny one does hear that the smallest Mac of them all is popular with developers and, possibly just by definition, people who already own a bunch of other Macs. For some it temporarily filled the niche that’s now filled by the Apple TV. And then there are the schools. And the businesses.
There’s two ways of looking at that. Either the low price of the mini is allowing people who already own a Mac to buy another, or it’s eating into sales of Macs with higher margins.
Unlike Apple Insider, the Macalope doesn’t think the mini is analogous to the G4 Cube or the 12-inch PowerBook, both of which, while lovely, probably did not generate sales like the mini. It seems unlikely to this furry Macophile that even if Apple drops the mini it won’t be replaced with something cooler.
So, killing the Mac mini is not to be confused with, well, killing the Mac mini.