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Apple Announces Wonderful Toys 735

XMilkProject writes "Apple just released 5 new products, all of which should show up on the Apple Store within minutes. You can already see the most interesting new product, the iPod Hi-Fi, a supposed high fidelity boombox for your iPod. Other new products are an iPod Leather Case and three new media-center-style Intel Mac minis which will hit the Apple Store within the hour."
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Apple Announces Wonderful Toys

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  • by Danathar ( 267989 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @03:27PM (#14819406) Journal
    In case anybody cares...the video chipset on this thing was MADE for home theater! It has hardware motion compensation, MPEG-2 hardware decoding, support for native HDTV resolutions and 16x9 aspect displays..among other nice stuff. It's NOT a big 3d gaming platform but definitely has the stuff for decoding video. []
  • by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @03:32PM (#14819490)
    Which independent benchmarks [] confirming that the Intel Core Duo really is about 4x the speed of the G4, I'd say the Mini just got a whole lot more viable. At $800 [] the price is a significant step up, but I guess you gotta pay to play, and it's still the cheapest Duo system I've noticed.
  • Well (Score:3, Informative)

    by rworne ( 538610 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @03:32PM (#14819496) Homepage
    It should be pointed out that the new iMacs are using the Intel graphics that share system memory:
    Intel GMA950 graphics processor with 64MB of DDR2 SDRAM shared with main memory

    Add to that Steve Jobs stating that "Yes you can hook it up to your TV" - well sorta. You can use the Apple DVI-Composite/SVideo adpater cable, but that doesn't necessarily look so hot.

    What this thing has going for it is the integrated FrontRow, remote and it's super small form factor. I was interested in this as an XBMC Media Center replacement. Unfortunately it seems that Frontrow will only play videos that are compatible with Quicktime. This rules out most of what I have on XBMC. When you boil it all down, it's the old Mac mini + Frontrow w/intel inside.

  • by CausticPuppy ( 82139 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @03:32PM (#14819500) Homepage
    From the apple store... which is very slow right now, it took me about 15 minutes to find out this info:

    The new mini uses DDR2 SO-DIMM's. Must be installed in pairs, comes with 2x256 by default but is upgradeable to 2x1024. $188 to upgrade from 512MB to 2GB, which is slightly more than Newegg pricing when you consider you don't get any credit for the original 512-- but still, nowhere near as bad as the old ripoff memory pricing.

    5400rpm SATA drives-- but you can upgrade to a 120GB drive for another $118 vs. the standard 80GB

    64MB **Shared video memory.** Nuts. Intel GMA950 graphics chipset. This chipset is better suited for home A/V use though.

  • Full spec list (Score:2, Informative)

    by swid27 ( 869237 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @03:39PM (#14819591) Homepage
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @03:39PM (#14819600)
    the wireless Mac keyboard has no mouse support, how am I supposed to use a mouse on the couch

    We have these lovely new things called optical mice, that work on nearly any surface. There are even wireless ones. I have never had any trouble using my leg as a mousing surface with an optical, and neither will you unless you have a lot of pleather in your wardrobe.

    Furthermore, the Apple keyboard and mouse are not included with the Mac mini. You are free to use any old wireless input device you choose, even non-Apple ones-- as long as it's USB you should be able to get it to work with the Mac, via Mac drivers from the maker or by using something like USB Overdrive. []
  • Re:PXE boot? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @03:44PM (#14819664)
    It's called NetBoot, and it needs a Mac OS X server (doesn't have to be an Xserve, you can buy the server software and put it on any Mac, but it isn't cheap). See tnetworkinstall.html [] . Apple has had NetBoot of some form since before OS X, since the early teardrop iMacs (or maybe earlier) and it's popular in school lab environments etc. HD's are so cheap that it isn't worth their bother to sell you a computer without one, plus it will use it as swap space, so you may not want to rip out the HD should you do a NetBoot like setup.
  • by greed ( 112493 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @03:44PM (#14819669)
    Don't forget the built-in Bluetooth, for even more keyboards and mice to choose from. Add a program like Salling Clicker, and you can use your Bluetooth PDA or cellphone as a remote.
  • Re:PXE boot? (Score:3, Informative)

    by commonchaos ( 309500 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @03:57PM (#14819841) Homepage Journal
    No PXE boot, but you can do a "diskless NetBoot []". The official way to do NetBoot is to use a Mac OS X Server machine with Apple's imaging tools. The basics are:

    • The client uses an extended version of bootp to get a kernel.
    • Kernel uses HTTP or NFS to mount a read-only DMG on a remote host.
    • Writes back to the DMG are "redirected" to a "shadow file". This shadow file can lives on a local hard drive, or (as of OS X 10.4) on AFP mounted share.

    I've heard rumor that people have been able to get this to work using Open Source. But I've never seen any evidence of anybody actually doing Mac OS X NetBoot using Open Source.

    I would guess that without modifying the Mac mini's firmware, you could NetBoot Linux on a Mac mini by using the extended version of bootp [] that Apple uses.
  • by adam1101 ( 805240 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @04:16PM (#14820069)
    > It's amazing when you consider the previous model did'nt have those features.

    From ATIs 9200 specs []: VIDEO FEATURES
    • FullStream Hardware accelerated de-blocking of Internet video streams
    • Video Immersion II delivers industry-leading DVD playback
    • Integrated MPEG-2 decode including iDCT and motion compensation for top quality DVD with lowest CPU usage
    • Unique Adaptive per-pixel de-interlacing feature combines the best elements of the "bob" and "add-field" (weave) techniques
    • YUV to RGB color space conversion
    • Back-end scaler delivers top quality playback
    • 4-tap horizontal and vertical filtering
    • Upscaling and downscaling
    • Filtered display of images up to 1920 pixels wide
    • Hardware mirroring for flipping video images in video conferencing systems
    • Supports 8-bit alpha blending and video keying for effective overlay of video and graphics
    If you read the manufacturers specs every graphics card is the best out there. Heck, even the crappy VIA Unichrome has hardware MPEG2 acceleration and motion compensation. The problem is not the hardware support in the 9200, the problem is that Apple's DVD Player didn't use the hardware features (nor does any other Mac DVD app AFAIK). I don't see why that would change with the Intel GMA. They even have less incentive, now that the CPU is much more powerful.
  • by tji ( 74570 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @04:17PM (#14820085)
    Actually, the previous model had superior MPEG2 capabilities.

    'Hardware Motion Compensation' is one part of the MPEG2 acceleration capabilities available in GPU hardware (same as used with DxVA in Windows and XvMC in Linux). But, MC actually provides relatively little CPU offload.

    The other portion, iDCT (inverse Discrete Cosine Transform) offloads a LOT more CPU.

    The Radeon in the old Mini could do both iDCT and MC (as can all Radeons, dating way back to when, the early 90's?).

    But, neither matter anyway.. Apple does not expose an open API to use the video acceleration capabilities in GPU hardware. Only their DVD player can use it. So, all video decoding is done on the CPU -- which makes the new Mini a big improvement with a faster CPU & optional dual core.
  • by jcr ( 53032 ) <> on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @04:26PM (#14820209) Journal
    It runs Quartz Extreme. I don't think Apple will ever introduce another machine that doesn't.

  • Mac mini (Score:3, Informative)

    by jmorris42 ( 1458 ) * <`gro.uaeb' `ta' `sirromj'> on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @04:32PM (#14820283)
    The new Mac Mini is ok. At least they finally fixed the fatal flaw of the original and got optical audio on the rear panel like they should have done first time. Whoever thought selling a 'media center' machine without digital audio should have been sacked.

    Still way overpriced though. Yes it is tiny, but laptops face the same issues and you can buy a laptop with similar specs just about anywhere for the same prices Apple is getting for a mini. Seriously, go price a laptop with 1.5Ghz Mobile Pentium (about the same as the 'Core Solo') a puny (for a media center) 60G laptop hard drive, 512MB memory shared with a crap Intel integrated video and a DVD/CD-RW drive. Bet you don't have much trouble finding some for $599 and that gets you a head, while the mini is sold headless.

    Still, once Linux gets up and running stable on em they would make really sweet MythTV frontends. And with the new Plextor USB capture having supported drivers you could even use it for a backend/frontend setup.
  • by ericdano ( 113424 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @04:35PM (#14820313) Homepage
    Size. They are laptop drive. But if you are going to buy one, and want the faster drive, why not give the option of adding it inplace of the 5200RPM drive?
  • Re:PXE boot? (Score:3, Informative)

    by anagama ( 611277 ) <> on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @05:11PM (#14820765) Homepage
    I've netbooted linux on macs equiped w/ openfirmware (I know the g3 and g4 laptops use this). cmd-opt-o-f on power up to do installs. As you surmised, bootp is necessary as well as nfs and tftp -- just make yaboot available on the linux side, and on the mac at the openfirmware prompt:

    boot enet:XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX,yaboot

    assuming yaboot (or whatever image) is the document root -- use back slashes between directories if it isn't. The XXXs denote the ip of the server.

    Anyway, googling for "open firmware" is pretty informative, although open firmware isn't a well advertised feature and thus an unlikely to be used search term.

    All I ever loaded was a linux installer. It would be interesting to put other images in the document root and see how things went.
  • Re:iPod hi-fi? (Score:3, Informative)

    by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @05:15PM (#14820820) Journal
    The iPod supports AIFF (uncompressed) and Apple Lossless audio, so it's possible to listen to CD-quality (which may or may not be high fidelity, depending on your viewpoint) audio on the iPod. Actually, the hardware supports 24-bit 96KHz audio (not sure if the software does, but Linux on the iPod does), so if you have a source for high quality digital audio then you might be in luck.

    With 60GB of space, I could fit my entire music collection in lossless format.

  • by pjcreath ( 513472 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @05:36PM (#14821038)
    According to the Apple Store []:
    Mac mini contains 667MHz (PC2-5300) double data rate, synchronous dynamic random-access memory (DDR2-SDRAM), one of the fastest memory technologies available today. Your Mac mini comes standard with two 256MB SO-DIMM chips for a total of 512 megabytes (MB) of memory... You can upgrade your memory later by taking your system to an Apple Authorized Service Provider or doing it yourself.
    This sounds like you no longer have to tear the thing apart [] simply to upgrade the RAM.
  • by ZzzzSleep ( 606571 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @06:15PM (#14821509) Homepage Journal
    Quoth SilentJ_PDX:
    The Hi-Fi is a bit of a stretch. It's basically a big box with little iPod jutting out of the top. It would look much better if the iPod sat between the speakers.
    Do you mean something like this [] or this []?
  • by MCSEBear ( 907831 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @09:37PM (#14823199)
    Looking over Apple's specs for both versions here is a comparison of the old PPC Mac Mini specs [] and the new Intel Mac Mini specs []

    Things That Are Changed:

    An Intel Core Solo at 1.5GHz with 2MB of L2 Cache onboard and a 667 Mhz Frontside Bus. (was a PowerPC G4 processor at 1.25GHz with 512K of L2 Cache onboard and a 167 Mhz Frontside Bus.)

    A larger hard disk 60GB (was 40GB)

    Bluetooth 2.0 built in (was optional)

    WiFi G built in (was optional)

    Gigabit Ethernet (was 100Mbit)

    512 Meg RAM (was 256 Megs)

    4 USB 2 ports (was 2)

    Digital Audio Out(was headphone jack)

    Digital Audio In (Was totally missing)

    Remote Control

    Support for up to 2 Gigs of 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM (PC2-5300) instead of 1 Gig of 333MHz DDR SDRAM (PC2700)

    Things You give up:

    ATI's Radeon 9200 with 32MB of DDR SDRAM for Intel's GMA950 graphics processor with 64MB of DDR2 SDRAM shared with main memory

    A built in 56K V.92 modem

    Things You Keep:

    400 Mbps Firewire

    Slot Loading Combo Drive DVD-ROM/CD-RW

    VGA adapter
  • by megan_of_wutai ( 649071 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @11:00PM (#14823630) Homepage
    Er... the 9200 is an almost direct descendent of the former top of the line 8500 part.

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982