The Mac mini was announced on January 11, 2005 (Initial Ship Date: January 22*) at the annual Macworld Conference & Expo in San Francisco, California. It is the most affordable Macintosh ever produced by Apple. Positioned clearly to appeal to the Microsoft Windows users who have shied away from the Macintosh because of the higher price — it lacks a display, mouse, and keyboard, or as Steve Jobs stated it's BYODKM (Bring Your Own Display, Keyboard, and Mouse).

The launch of this minimalist appearing computer was heralded by flurries of pre-Macworld rumors of a such a product from Mac rumor sites to mainstream media. It is a clear attempt by Apple to take advantage of the runaway success of the iPod and its subsequent halo effect. On a price comparison with the flagship iMac G5 the Mac mini does not stand up; it appears that the main goal of the Mac mini is not for current Mac users, but in effect a "gateway Mac"--dropping the price of the Macintosh down so that buyers will be convinced to purchase a better Mac in the future.

However, some have commented that the Mac mini harks back to the (in)famous Power Mac G4 Cube, which was praised for its style and decried for its mediocre power. The Mac mini looks, on a technical level, to be little more than a souped-up PowerBook, and perhaps could be interpreted as a reborn iMac G4. However, with the Mac mini, the price is clearly not as outrageous as the Cube's was at a power per price comparison. It remains to be seen if the Mac mini will help woo more people over to Apple — Mac OS X — Apple's market-share has sunk to a rather low 2%.

First and Second Generation* Specifications

  • CPU: 1.25 GHz (Models M9686LL/A and M9686LL/B)/1.42 GHz (Models M9687LL/A and M9687LL/B) G4
  • Memory: 256 MB PC3200U-30330 (the "A" model) or 512 MB PC3200U-30330 (the "B" model) DDR SDRAM, expandable to 1 GB in either the first or second generation models
  • Graphics: ATI Radeon 9200 -- 32 MB DDR SDRAM; AGP 4x
  • Hard Drive: Seagate 40 GB (default on 1.25 GHz model)/80 GB Ultra ATA/100 (default on 1.42 GHz model)
  • Optical Drive: MatshitaCD slot-loading combo drive (DVD-ROM/CD-RW), upgradable to a SuperDrive (DVD-RW/CD-RW) on either model
  • Ports: One FireWire 400 port; Two Apple USB 2.0 ports; DVI display output; VGA output too (via an included DVI-to-D-Sub adapter)
  • Connectivity: Unspecified brand of built-in 10/100BASE-T ethernet adapter and a Motorola SM56K V.92 modem. AirPort Extreme optional; a Bluetooth internal module is also optional
  • Audio: Headphone/audio line out (unspecified brand of sound card); PC speaker

  • Dimensions & Weight:
    • Height: 2 inches (5.08 cm)
    • Width: 6.5 inches (16.51 cm)
    • Depth: 6.5 inches (16.51 cm)
    • Weight: 2.9 pounds (1.32 kg)

* As of 2006, six additional Mac mini models have been introduced, with 6th and 7th generation models utilizing Intel duo core processors.