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Wednesday, November 05, 2008, 01:30 pm PT (04:30 pm ET)

Apple tells Mac mini fan to hang in there

Apple appears to be taking its policing of the rumor mill to the phones, in one case dialing a customer who expressed concern over Internet reports on the Mac mini's fate to assure him the situation would be addressed in due time.

Having read a blog post speculating that a discontinuation of the current Mac mini line overseas may be indicative of the product's ultimate demise, one advocate of the tiny desktops fired off an email with his concerns to Apple's newly-crowned Mac hardware engineering chief Bob Mansfield.

Although Mansfield didn't issue a personal reply, a colleague in Apple's executive care division did almost immediately, offering no timetable for a Mac mini update but assuring that the company was well aware of system's market value, and suggesting the customer continue to exercise patience.

"I got a prompt reply by phone from an Apple executive care person essentially giving me no new information but assuring me that Apple knew the mini was a popular machine and to be patient," the customer told AppleInsider. "I certainly appreciated the contact, and I think it was a nice way of letting me know that rather than bug their head guys."

Fans of the diminutive desktop have become increasingly restless in recent months, as the mini continues to grow long in the tooth. The 6.5-inch square systems haven't seen significant architectural advancements in years and were last refreshed with component updates over a year ago.

Apple's behind-the-scenes customer guidance appears to back similar reports which have recently stood out in resistance to claims that the mini may again be on the chopping block. Following AppleInsider's report on the beginnings of a Mac mini overhaul earlier this year, an entrepreneur with a vested interest in the prolonged development of the computers spoke out in a report titled "The State of the Mac mini."

He outlined the mini's popularity among businesses, particularly small organizations, as well as those in the hospitality, entertainment, and security sectors. Expressing certainty that a new version of the mini was on the way, he outlined several features expected in future models.

One of those feature revelations, to which AppleInsider can lend a nod, suggests that Apple will offer new options that will allow the systems to better cater to the server and storage markets for which they've become extremely popular.

"In ordering a Mac mini from Apple, there will be an option to have two SATA HDDs and eliminating the optical all together," the report said. "With the new Remote Disc introduced with the Macbook Air, this option will be tempting for many."

Although there's no evidence to make a solid prediction at this time, overdue updates to the Mac Pro and Mac mini, combined with Apple having forgone a once-planned bump of its iMacs ahead of the holiday season, next January's Macworld Expo could be shaping up to be a Mac desktop-tinged affair.