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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 mzs ( 595629 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @03:29PM (#14819440)
    Graphics and Video Support
    Intel GMA950 graphics processor with 64MB of DDR2 SDRAM shared with main memory

    Memory available to Mac OS X may vary depending on graphics needs. Minimum graphics memory usage is 80MB, resulting in 432MB of system memory available.

    How capable is this Intel integrated graphics? How does it compare to that in the old ($100 cheaper) PPC mini or the new Duo iMac?
  • by Inoshiro ( 71693 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @03:30PM (#14819451) Homepage
    Not three.

    Standard features: Tiger + iLife '06, Apple Remote + Front Row, Airport Extreme + Bluetooth, DVI Video Out, USB, FireWire, Gigabit Ethernet. This is nice because you don't have to get an upgrade to get Airport Extreme and bluetooth.

    "All Mac mini models also include an integrated Intel GMA950 graphics processor with 64MB of shared DDR2 SDRAM(1), 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet, four external USB 2.0 ports, FireWire 400 port, optical digital and analog audio in/out, and built-in mono speaker."

    Optical out is a nice thing to have standard now, although I'm not sure about the video processor. The GMA950 is not capable of running games (see this Extremetech review [extremetech.com]). It uses a minimum of 80mb of the memory in the Mac Mini, further reducing what you can use for applications. In short, it's a major step down from the old Mac Minis, and not useful for those who liked running WoW on their Minis.

    Low-end model: 1.5Ghz Core Solo 667 mhz fsb, 512mb memory, integrated graphics, 60GB drive, combo drive - $599 US, 699$ CDN reg.

    High-end model with Core Duo - 1.67Ghz, 80GB drive + SuperDrive 8x (dual-layer capable) - $799 US, 949$ CDN reg.

    They've also updated the iTunes and Frontrow capabilities; now you can stream any movies or music from any computer running iTunes, and it interfaces with the Frontrow software that is included (with a nice little remote).

    A bettel looking option is the new universal dock + remote (about 100$) that lets you use a video iPod like a little media device attached to speakers or a TV. Very portable!
  • PXE boot? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by chill ( 34294 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @03:33PM (#14819512) Journal
    Can the Mac Mini boot via PXE? I'd love to be able to rip out the hard drive and just have a couple of these boot and run via GigE...
  • by Tumbleweed ( 3706 ) * on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @03:39PM (#14819589)
    I'm disappointed in the graphics - I was hoping for something along the lines of an X1300 or X1600 (the MacBook Pro has an X1600, I think).

    I like that it has optical in and out, now, plus the remote control, wifi, and bluetooth are all now included. The superdrive is a dual layer drive (though certainly not as fast as the one in my current machine (NEC-3550A).

    Here's what's really "interesting": memory. It's using DDR2-667. The price to upgrade from the default 512 Meg to 2 Gig is $300. So, search Newegg, and you'll find only ONE 2 Gig DDR2 stick at that speed (by Corsair), and it costs $999! All the other 2 Gig DDR2 sticks are at slower speeds.

    So, how much you wanna bet if you buy Apple's 2 Gig DDR2 stick, it won't be running at 667? Tricky, tricky.

    The video output should support my 1600x1200 resolution (it goes up to 1920x1080, which is the same # of pixels as 1600x1200), but I'm wondering at what refresh rate.

    I dunno about this; this isn't a slam-dunk, "Yeah, it's time to get an Apple" product. Hmmm.

    I think I want a Mac Mini Pro:

    a) slightly larger to accomodate the use of a normal 3.5" harddrive, not the slow-as-hell 2.5" laptop class drive used here

    b) big enough to fit a real graphics card in it

    c) eSATA connector for fast external storage. FW400 won't cut it - even FW800 isn't as fast as an internal drive

    d) full-speed tray-loading optical drive (16x, plus 8x burning for DL media, like my lovely NEC drive)

    e) they could even ditch the FireWire entirely if I get my eSATA; this isn't a video production machine, ya know?

    f) just large enough for 2 memory slots; fast 2 Gig DDR2 sticks are effin pricey, as mentioned above

    I think something about 2x the size of the current Mac Mini would probably be able to fit all that in it; maybe 2.5x, though I'm not sure about the depth necessary for the decent optical drive.

    I'm on the fence on this one until I see some independent tests and more technical details (does this one support all of the CoreImage functionality? VGA refresh rate at 1600x1200?). I may have to wait for the PowerMac replacement, unfortunately. Grr.
  • by SilentChris ( 452960 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @03:40PM (#14819612) Homepage
    Ever since the Mac Mini came out, I considered using it as a media PC in my living room. I currently have a stylish Shuttle box I built myself for $800 that, while not the quietest thing in the world, looks good amongst the receiver and other electronics equipment. I use it to dish out ripped DVDs to a 40" HDTV with Windows Media Center 2005 (not a bad OS, although lately I've had a few issues with crashing).

    Once I saw Front Row, I always said, if Apple were to release a version for Mac Mini, I'd buy the little box immediately. Just did.

    To me, this fits perfectly with what I want: quiet, small, cheap, able to play a large DVD collection. I'll have to save them as MPEG4s, but that's no big deal. The fact that it can play videos across the network from both Mac and PCs pretty much seals the deal.

    With a wireless keyboard and 1 GB of RAM my box came out to $750 (employee discount). The video card is pretty crappy, but otherwise it fits perfectly with what I want. I'm not a Apple fanboy by any stretch of the imagination (I like all machines, and run a ton of different boxes/OSes in my home), but this is a very nice product for what I need to do.
  • by SilentJ_PDX ( 559136 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @03:40PM (#14819625) Homepage
    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. Even the product page [apple.com], doesn't do it any favors.

    If you ask me, that's not the kind of innovation or design that we're used to from Apple.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @03:50PM (#14819743)
    The invitation mentioned some "fun new products," so I wasn't expecting much, and that's about what showed up. Sure, the Intel Mac Mini was a nice addition, but Apple has yet to do the obvious:

    1. A Home Media Center Mac. Something that would either replace a TiVo, or actually complement one, or both. It would need to get stuff from your video source (cable/satellite/antenna/whatever) a la TiVo, and allow you to either view it on your Mac monitor or output it to your TV. iTunes-esque organization, FrontRow-esque viewing interface, and capability to output to the video iPod and burn to DVD would all be an obvious benefit.

    2. The capability to download movies and everything else video from iTMS. Sell every TV series, movie, direct-to-video, made-for-TV special and music video ever made. Figure out a way to encode some semblence of 5.1 surround into a compressed file that looks nice on a TV screen and halfway decent on a computer monitor.

    The stumbling blocks to this are not technological, but political. But Apple did it with iTMS and they have the mark of cool.

    This wouldn't be a "fun new product," this would be an "fundamental shift of paradigm." It's so obviously the next step, though, and surely Apple knows it. Everything else they do until then is merely a sideshow.
  • by davez0r ( 717539 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @04:19PM (#14820109)
    i have a gen 1 mac mini doing 1920 x 1080 on an HDTV. of course i have no actual HD video at that res to test it with, but i feel cool doing it. regular HDTV scaled up looks fabu.

    there are some jumps in the video at the higher resolutions, but i'd be willing to bet they're due to the HDD not being able to keep up.
  • Re:oxymoron... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by djpenguin808 ( 896946 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @04:21PM (#14820129)
    Incorrect. MP3 compression affects all parts of the audible frequency spectrum. If you are careful when you encode them, and you set the quality settings to high enough values, you will get compressed audio that sounds good on consumer-level equipment, but I gaurantee you that if you put that MP3 on a pair of $50K-a-pop Meyer studio mains, you [b]will[/b] hear the difference between the compressed MP3 and the uncompressed PCM audio (.wav) I know this for a fact, because I have performed this comparison more than once.

    Just because your MP3s sound good to you with your settings on your audio equipment do not mean that they have not lost any audio quality, it merely means that you cannot hear the lost quality. If you want to reduce file size and retain full quality, you either need to use lossless compression, or a packing scheme such as shorten (.shn)

  • by dfghjk ( 711126 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @04:32PM (#14820282)
    FW800 was created becaue they could, not because there was a specific application that required it.

    There are no hard drives that are firewire native. Internal drives or SATA attached drives will always outperform firewire ones, 400 or 800 doesn't matter. If you take a SATA or ATA drive and put a firewire translator board on it, you think it will yield I/O rates better than native attachment? It doesn't.
  • by mjm75 ( 140275 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @04:40PM (#14820377)

    Looks to me like the iPod HiFi has an interesting iPod-less application. Connect an iPod HiFi to an Airport Express using a fiber optic cable, and you have digital remote speakers wherever you want.

    All for only $480 per node...
  • A box of speakers for Three HUNDRED fifty dollars.
    A leather ENVELOPE for ONE HUNDRED dollars.
    Mac Minis for one hundred extra bucks, and a neutered video card.

    This is just CRAP. Why was there even a show? This stuff should just appear on the Apple store, not have a friggin' party.

    Ugh. Is this what the Intel Transition is bringing me? Is Apple delirious?

    Apple needs to leave the accessories market to the little companies and crappy eBay sellers, and stick to what it was good at.

    Why did Steve even show for this one? Has he lost immunity to his own Reality Distortion Field?

    This is truly disappointing - I expect weak crap like this from someone who's copying Apple, not Apple themselves.

    I hope anyone who buys the iMoBviouslyaNiDiot box starves, because I really don't want that in the gene pool.

    Before an Apple Zealot mods this down, please note. I have more Macs than you.

  • by Doctor Memory ( 6336 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @06:26PM (#14821650)
    Well, let's look at the specs!

    Apple iPod Hi-Fi (from Apple [apple.com]):
    * Class D amp
    * Two 180mm midrange drivers (acoustically suspended)
    * One 130mm woofer (ported)
    * Frequency response: 53Hz to 16kHz ± 3 dB
    * Maximum peak sound pressure level: 108 dB at 1 m (AC); 102 dB at 1 m (DC)

    Bose SoundDock (from Bose [bose.com]):
    * 6.65" H x 11.91" W x 6.48" D 16.89 x 30.26 x 16.47 cm 4.56 lb (2.1 kg)

    Can you show specs that demonstrate the Bose product to be superior? To anything? Can you even find specs for the SoundDock on Bose's site (beyond those shown here)? If so, trot 'em out, Bose-tool.
  • Max memory too low! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Cadallin ( 863437 ) on Wednesday March 01, 2006 @12:13AM (#14823945)
    That's the one thing that really hurts about the intel transition. We lost 64-bit addressing. My G5 could hold up to 16GB of RAM, all of it usable by the system. While I suspect the pro-systems will use Xeons and their hacked on 48-bit addressing to get around this. If they don't their will be an unholy ruckus from the pro-users. The G5's are used for Pro HD A/V, and high resolution still camera work, and there are many working systems out there USING 4+GB of RAM. Of course, we probably won't see a replacement for the G5 tower until ALL the pro-apps are fully ported anyway, which should still be awhile, although I'm sure they're working furiously on it now.

    I can see replacing my G5 tower with a decendent of the current dual core mini in a few years, I just hope they increase the ram ceiling by then. Realistically my computing needs could be met by a maxed out dual-core mini with a couple of mini-stack 3.5in HD enclosures connected by FW.

    My one plea: Ever since I've switched from windows, the ONE(!) app I miss dearly is Irfanview. My now fellow macheads don't understand, because showing it run under emulation cripples it horribly, but I'd pay a LOT for a Mac port of Irfanview.

No problem is so large it can't be fit in somewhere.