The latest grist from the Apple rumor mill comes with some believable specifications about new iMacs and Mac Minis, as well as a potential timescale: Today.
The Mac Mini rumors have been going for months. And with good reason: Apple last updated the diminutive machine in August 2007. Recently an image and then a video popped up that showed a new Mini with five USB ports, a modified selection of video outs (one miniDVI, one Display port) and a Firewire 800 port—both were often considered fakes. To me, they were convincing, and the argument one "expert" had that the ports didn't align with a circuit board was specious—hasn't he heard of components with legs to align them at the right height from a motherboard? The packaging picture that surfaced the other day seals the deal. New Mac Minis are coming.
Apparently they'll have an Nvidia chipset that aligns them with the new MacBooks, and they'll start at a Core 2 Duo 2.0 GHz CPU with 1GB of RAM and a 120GB hard drive. Looks like the form factor will remain much the same—but then the Mini's been aluminum for a while.
Strong rumors are also circulating about the iMac. It was last refreshed in April of 2008, so it's about time (given the machine's previous update history) that it got an overhaul. Word is that the line is having a slight rethink: There will now be one "entry level" model with a 20-inch screen, and three 24-inch models. All will have one Display port socket and Core 2 Duo CPUs running from 2.66 GHz up to a steaming 3.06 GHz. The starter machine will get 2GB of DDR3 memory, while the big boys will have 4GB. Its not known whether the machines will also get the Nvidia treatment, but Apple's pretty consistent so it's likely—expect a few style changes perhaps, though like the Mini the iMac has been aluminum for ages.
Also apparently due for a refresh are the Airport Extreme and Time Capsule, with a simultaneous-broadcast 802.11 b/g and n mode—good for syncing Macs and iPhones at the same time without compromising overall performance.
And the Mac Pro's are getting some Apple love—they'll get a neat ATI Radeon HD 4870 graphics setup, and come in 2.26 GHz and 2.66 GHz flavors. The 2.26 GHz machine is a bit of an oddity—it doesn't quite tally with known processor specs for the Nehalem CPUs Apple's expected to adopt. I guess we'll see.
There are part numbers for these devices too, and some Apple stores are down so expect news later. It's possible we won't be seeing all of these today—or any, of course, since they are just rumors—as there's also a strong suggestion that a big Apple event is due March 24th.
And my guess for a "one more thing" surprise? Apple recently ditched its 20-inch Cinema Display, leaving only a refreshed 24-inch screen and an aging 30-inch model that doesn't come with LED lighting. I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest the 20-inch will remain dead—the restructuring of the iMac line towards bigger screens aligns with this—and the 30-inch will get a refresh. With a built-in Apple TV. Oh go on—you'd buy one, wouldn't you?