On the Mac Mini: living room trojan horse

First impressions on the Mac Mini—brilliant. As others (including Glenn Fleishman) have noted, it’s essentially a slimmed down Cube, unapologetically at the bottom of the feature scale for a modern Mac but also at the rock bottom of the price scale.

Of course, the “bottom of the feature scale” for a modern Mac isn’t such a bad place to be. With a 1.25 or 1.42 GHz G4 it can run pretty much anything you can throw at it.

Limitations? Memory and disk space. The former may not be such a bad thing; the latter…

For PC switchers or someone looking to use this machine as a primary PC, I would definitely recommend upgrading the RAM to 512 MB. But for a lot of us, including me, the 256 that the base machine comes with would be just fine—to run iTunes and iPhoto as a headless appliance hooked into my network and my audiovisual system. And with that 6.5″ square footprint, it’s small enough to truly live in the living room.

What limits that scenario is hard disk space. If the disk maxes out at 80GB—and can’t be replaced—it’s too small to hold my music. And it looks like it does—check out the images on the Design page and the TidBITS note on the Mini. But, as Glenn points out, you can always plug in outboard storage.

Conclusion: Apple may have a winner here—not by addressing the spec heads but by paying attention to the Wife Acceptance Factor in the design of the product.