Sunday, June 20, 2010, 06:00 pm PT (09:00 pm ET)
New Mac mini folds in Apple TV features (photos)Apple's new unibody Mac mini takes design cues from Apple TV while introducing innovative new industrial design concepts of its own.
The new Mac mini ships in a box that's about the same size around as the previous model, but much thinner. In fact, the new box is smaller than the box a lot of software media used to ship in.
Despite being a little more than an inch wider and deeper, Apple fits the new Mac mini into the same profile as the previous box by using a snug fit that packs the computer and its single AC power cable, documents, and an HDMI to DVI adapter with little room for dead air.
As detailed in Friday's first look new Mac mini is the same size around as Apple TV and Time Capsule, and like both of those earlier products, packs its power supply inside the case for a brick-free design.
Aimed at easy to use, appliance-like convenience
Also like Apple TV, the new mini trades away a custom mini-DVI port for HDMI, which supplies the same video output with additional support for audio, making the new Mac mini as living room-savvy as Apple TV (although it's considerably more expensive for such an application).
The new design also gives up one of the USB ports the former Mac mini offered, but provides a convenient SD Card slot in its place.
The new aluminum shell of the Mac mini creates a strong, precision design similar to the company's MacBook Pro lineup. It leaves previous Mac mini models feeling and looking plastic and cheap.
Easy to open
Functionally, the new design makes parts easier to access. Rather than having to peel way the rubber backing to access screws (like Apple TV) or use a putty knife to pop off the top case (like earlier minis), the new design uses a twist off plastic lid to expose access to RAM. Full access requires tools, but is still much easier to disassemble than previous minis.
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