Dan Knight at Low End Mac has written an obituary for the Mac mini, basing his assumption of its death on the lack of updates since September 2006.
Dan’s theory boils down to this:
If Apple still considered the Mac mini a viable model, at the very least they would have upgraded it to 1.66 and 1.83 GHz Core2 CPUs or 1.83 and 2.0 GHz Core Duos by now. The fact that they have allowed the Mac mini to languish when an upgrade requires nothing more than plugging in a better CPU tells us that the Mac mini really has reached the end of its road.
The mini’s lack of easy expandability was the main thing that made people hesitate, Dan asserts.
I’m inclined to think that the reason was even simpler than that. Dan writes:
All the Mac mini really had going for it was offering a decent amount of power in a very compact package. It wasn’t enough.
Right, because there was another Apple computer offering the more power, in an even more compact package: the MacBook. Yes, it costs a bit more, but as many reviewers have said, it represents superb value for money. As demonstrated by rocketing sales. I suspect that the MacBook has ended up taking a lot of sales from the Mac mini.
I rather hope that Dan’s wrong, and that the Mac mini has years of life left. I think it’s a great little machine, well-suited to use as a basic family PC, or a geek’s tinkering playground, or even a dedicated server. For the time being, I hope that reports of its death are greatly exaggerated.