Real or fake, the case of the 5 (USB) port Mini

Now that Macworld 2009 has come and gone with no Mini, rumor sites and Mini lovers have been waiting patiently (or not) for some news on the new Mini. What will it look like? Will it adopt a new style to match the iMac and Unibody Macbook lines? Previous rumors about the Mini included talk of dual monitor ports (one Mini DVI and one Mini DisplayPort), a removed optical drive, no firewire (ala Unibody Macbook), 2 internal hard drives, and a complete merging of the Mini with the AppleTV. We previously covered these details and speculation on Apples plans.

In the past few days some details, a picture and a short video have surfaced that appear to show a Mini with the old style, the aluminum sides with the plastic top, sporting 5 USB ports, 2 video ports, Firewire 800, and an optical drive slot, but otherwise no major changes. The current style still looks good and fits in well with the other aluminum models, however Apple likes to move things forward in the style department. Is this Apples way of ushering in the new model by slightly updating the old model and retaining the old case? This is exactly what they did with the Macbook when the Unibody was released, the older style can still be had albeit lacking the newer trackpad and aluminum case. Rumor has it that this machine does have an SATA optical drive, just like the newer Macbooks.

While it is possible this is all fake (it wouldn’t be the first time), the inclusion of a video raises the level of effort required substantially compared to a simple photoshop job.

This is the picture:


Note the 5 USB ports, Firewire 800 and dual monitor ports of different types. Is Apple planning to include both a mini version of the last generations DVI connection AND a Mini DisplayPort to work with their new monitors? Apple already sells adapters for Mini DisplayPort to VGA and to DVI, so including a Mini DVI port is not necessary to enable compatibility with the monitor a user already owns (one of the BYODKM goals Apple touts for the Mini). Dual displays would be nice in the mini, but does it make sense to include 2 DIFFERENT ports? We don’t think so, given that Apple already makes and sells adapters to convert displayport to both VGA and DVI, it would make much more sense to include 2 Mini DisplayPorts.

There was some suspicion that the above photo might be faked, which is certainly possible, however a video also surfaced. This one would be much harder to fake without building a physical object to match the look and size of the machine in the photo. It could however be simply a custom made box resembling a Mini, or it could be a current generation mini altered to look like it has these new ports. As always users will have to decide for themselves what exactly is real or fake, but it does look very convincing, and we hope this is the real deal and coming out soon.

The video:

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  • Chris

    Then again all these desktop model may be delayed or greatly modified until the Intel/Nvidia chipset legal battle is resolved.

  • Oh Blah Dee Blah Dah

    This could be the real deal.

    Or, it could be ONE of a number of Apple prototypes that never sees the light of day.

    Jobs, in an interview, said that the MacBook Air had over 100 design models before the final version was released.

  • admin

    Absolutely right….even though we see lots of prototypes, when we’re lucky, that paint a fairly broad picture….we still only see the units that our particular sources have access to — and even those tend to be skewed in the direction of the units that most excite our sources and ourselves alike.

    We’ve always been a site on the hopeful side….something that is amplified by the fact that we’ve also always been a “go out on a limb” type of site rather than focusing on “regurgitation” which is at best, a form of analysis and at worst, a game of Telephone.

    After all this time, standing in the proverbial firehose of reader (and source!) feedback, we’d be pretty foolish to do something that would give us an undue risk of being stuck with a legacy of predictions that were off the mark. We’re not interested in being one of those sites that deliberately publishes hyperbole for temporary traffic….that would hardly have gotten us to 15 years and will most definitely not get us through the next 15 in a style that we’d be happy with.

    That said, being wrong goes with the territory….and quite frankly, in this business, it burns almost as much to have never gotten around to publishing (or not been able to, for whatever reason) something fascinating that hit the market almost exactly as we thought it would — or at a minimum, close enough to still burn — than it does to have gone out on a limb, and have Apple eventually go a different way with their public announcements & products.

    Right now, there is a device floating around — which has been confirmed by multiple App Store developers detecting it in their Analytics, as well as the references in iPhone firmware 2.2.1 — called “iPhone 2,1.”

    2.1 might be an accurate description of its differences over the current iPhone 3G….but there are also far more impressive devices that would easily justify the name iDevice 3.0, not just because they would run the soon-to-to-be-previewed 3.0 Firmware, but because they offer huge advancements over current hardware yet retain essentially 100% compatibility with any App Store IPA compiled against Firmware 3.0 (which requires very few code changes to simply recompile from 2.2.x).

    Who can say for sure what marketing, economic, component-supplier, and internal testing based decisions could affect which of these devices making the rounds inside Infinite Loop & Silicon Valley (only rarely are these devices confirmed to have been detected in IPs terribly far from Cupertino) we’ll actually see in the next few weeks, or even this Summer….but we are definitely hearing about some very exciting stuff connected with Firmware 3.0’s new capabilities, powerful/energy-saving CPU/GPU/coprocessor chips from Apple’s acquisition last year of PA Semiconductor, and generally impressive things.

    We’ll see almost all of them eventually. The thing that we think readers should always take with the largest grain of salt is any predictions we make about *when* these things will be actually released in a form consumers can buy.