Unreleased prototype Mac mini with iPod nano dock surfaces in photos

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Apple was considering releasing a version of the Mac mini with a built-in dock for an iPod nano, photographs of an unreleased prototype reveal, one that could have enabled synchronization of music and other content with the portable music device without relying on a separate cable or dock.

Posted to Twitter on Saturday, the images by @DongleBookPro show a first-generation Mac mini, complete with a white top, but with a cut-out section to the rear of the computing device. Located at the back and in the center line of the top casing, a gap offers a space for a user to place an iPod nano.

The dock section includes the depreciated 30-pin connector, offset to the left of the unit, designed to match up with the connectors on the iPod nano. The size of the dock space meant it was incompatible with larger hard drive-based models of iPod, suggesting the prototype was meant just for use with the iPod nano.

The poster describes the unit as being a "totally scraped [sic] project that never saw the light of day," and possibly for good reason. The shift towards iPhone and the wide variations in physical design over time, as well as changes in connector to Lightning, would have severely dated the unit shortly after going on sale.

While Apple did not rely on building docks into Macs, it did utilize the concept in the iPod Hi-Fi, a speaker unit that worked by plugging an iPod into the dock section on the top. The device failed to make much headway, and was gone from Apple's online store a mere 18 months after launch.