Since the introduction of the Mini in 2005, one of Apples main pushes for the machine was to be your first Mac, the one that swept you away from the PC world without breaking the bank. To that end one of the marketing slogans for the mini was BYODKM: bring your own display, keyboard, and mouse. The mini includes none of these things in the box, it is simply the machine, with a power cord, and in the past a DVI to VGA adapter to enable connection to the monitor a user already has. In the past that monitor was probably VGA, however now with the introduction of the new Mini, not only is Apple moving half way to Mini Display port as all the rumors predicted, they are shrinking the remaining DVI port to Mini DVI. In addition they are no longer including a DVI to VGA adapter in the box, instead including a Mini DVI to DVI adapter, betting that most users now have a DVI monitor.
With the introduction of Mini Displayport on the other machines in Apples lineup, users have been waiting impatiently for Apple to do the same for the Mini, and today they followed through with their original stated goal of standardizing on Mini Displayport. But wait, if they are moving to Mini Displayport why include a Mini DVI port too? The answer is a combination of a number of factors.
First, we go straight to the source of the chip in this new machine. Nvidias own documentation states that the 9400M chip, an integrated graphics solution, supports the following connections:
Since this is an OEM part, it has to support a variety of connections, so it is no surprise to still see VGA listed, nor HDMI. DVI is still the default for most new machines and new monitors, and Displayport is the future according to a variety of industry players. In short, the chip does not support 2 Displayports, so any system builder wishing to include multiple outputs on a machine must use 2 different port types to accomplish their goals, and this is what Apple has done.
Apples new store page for the Mini states that they are including a Mini DVI to DVI adapter in the box instead of a Mini Displayport to DVI adapter, which may indicate part of the reason this Mini DVI connector was necessary. There have been some complaints about the Mini Displayport to DVI adapter being incompatible with some monitors, though admittedly not as many problems as the Mini Displayport to Dual link DVI fiasco. So Apple may have 2 reasons for including 2 different kinds of ports, after all they could have just stuck with Mini Displayport.
Apple could be making a push to make the Mini more attractive to users who desire to use 2 monitors, the 2 ports regardless of type do enable this sort of setup so many users will be happy with this move. However they also may be looking to avoid some of the inevitable problems users may have had with a Mini Displayport to DVI adapter, which is likely why they include the Mini DVI to DVI adapter in the box by default.
Stay tuned for more coverage on this and other Apple release info on twitter: