Thursday, May 24, 2007

Death of the Mac Mini - Is it true?

I was reading a post on AppleInsider claiming that we are about to see the demise of the Mac Mini. I believe that the Mac Mini is the most under rated device in the entire Apple product range. I use one at home as a home server. It works magnificently. The AppleTV does not replace the Mac Mini. They are two different beast. One is a computer. The other is a peripheral. They both have a place. The Mac Mini is an incredibly versatile machine. I have had one of the original G4 Minis with an external firewire drive as a server for about 2 years now. It has been a solid dependable machine. It's small size makes it easy to hide (perfect as a server). I use it to store the family music and photo collections. As Laptops become dominant there is an increasing role for a home server. This is a market Microsoft has recognized and is targeting. Having a machine as a central shared device for the family is really useful, especially when storage space on laptops continues to be an issue. The AppleTV is not this central shared device. It is a semi-dumb peripheral. That makes sense in Apples Digital media strategy. However, I contend that their is an emerging role for a home server that can store our digital lifestyle artifacts and allow them to be shared amongst household members. Come on Apple, keep the Mini and beef up this shared capability. AppleTV provides a great digital media peripheral that allows you to liberate your media to the big screen. Now let's see some developments to allow the centralization and sharing of shared albums. I want features in iTunes and iPhoto that allow me to seamlessly break my library in to multiple locations. ie. Have a core of music on my laptop, have a mush larger family library on a shared machine and be able to sync them both seamlessly to my iPod. This is doable now with some behind the scenes file sharing but Apple could do a much better job if they set their minds to the challenge.

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