The Mac mini Is Dead: Why It Missed the Target (from

We've said it before, and here we go again. The Mac mini was not a realistic solution to Apple's problem of expanding into the consumer market. The ideal computer for that market would look at the wants and needs of end users, and for most consumers having as small and pretty a computer as possible wasn't a priority.

The Mac mini languished because it didn't have a single expansion slot. Thus there was no way to add a better video card - and it's built-in GMA 950 graphics sucked in comparison to even the low-end video cards on the market.

I really enjoy, though lately it seems to be dealing less with the low end and more with the reasonably competent last generation (perhaps I'm showing my age), but this assessment is a bunch of bunk. I've heard the Mini is going away, but the reasons why I still don't quite get, unless it's simply not chic enough to be a Mac and is costing Apple profits.

Dan Knight of LEM includes a few more reasons the Mini is dying, but other than the single memory bank (apparently it's bad to have to toss memory when you're adding more, though I bet most consumers aren't even real sure what RAM is when they buy a computer; I've seen pretty savvy folk get RAM and hard drive space confused), let me point out exhibit A: the iMac. The iMac doesn't expand and never has. In fact, the almost expansionless, extremely crippled LC sold awfully well, iirc. Apple's entry level sales or lack thereof have never been about expansion.

Nor is the possible death of the Mini about video. Most end Mac users aren't playing Doom 3. The crappy integrated video drives me crazy, personally, and is a reason I won't be buying the current generation of MacBooks (that and I'm broke), but I like to play 3D games. For most, the Intel 950 2D performance is just fine. Why does iPhoto and iTunes need a GeForce 8800?

So why kill the Mini? I'm betting it's not selling well, and I'm betting its sales cannibalize iMac sales in a way that it'd be a much better move for Apple to get rid of its entry level model, in spite of its low price enticing some buyers in the door for a possible upsell. The Mini was made for Switchers, and if they are buying it, Apple must now feel that each Mini sale is leaving some of that Switcher money on the table. If you're going to be the BMW of PCs, why sell something in the (staying with the car metaphor) $15k range? Out the Mini goes. Now Apple sells folk LCD monitors they can't upgrade nor even use with another computer instead.