Report claims rumored refreshed Mac mini could launch next month

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Following rumors of a possible Mac mini refresh earlier this year and references on Apple’s own website, a new report says Apple could introduce an update to the product as early as next month. MacRumors cites a source that has provided accurate tips in the past claiming the new Mac mini could launch alongside new iPads and OS X Yosemite expected at an event in October. Read more

Mid-2014 Mac mini listed on Apple Support page, but no 2014 Mac mini in sight

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Apple seems to have inadvertently referenced a new model of Mac mini on an Apple Support page. The page was last modified yesterday, presumably to include information on the new MacBook Pro’s but instead lists “Mac mini (Mid 2014)” as a supported machine. There is a possibility that this is simply a human error on Apple’s part, of course, confusing the MacBook Pro and the Mac mini updates. There haven’t really been rumors of a new Mac mini being in the works, but due to the relative unimportance of the product in the Mac lineup, it is not of the question for it to have slid under the radar.

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Apple launches 2014 Back to School promotion: $100 Apple Store gift cards with Macs, $50 with iPad/iPhone

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As we reported two weeks ago and again yesterday, Apple has today launched its Back to School promotion for this school season. Like previous years, qualifying student customers will get a free gift card alongside any purchase of a Mac, iPad or iPhone. While last year Apple gave out Mac App Store/iTunes cards, this year’s cards are for Apple Retail Stores.

Buying any Mac makes the buyer eligible for a $100 Apple Store gift card and $50 cards will be distributed alongside iPads and iPhones.

Interested students can buy any Mac (except for the Mac Mini), or any iPad or iPhone currently on sale at the Apple Store, to be eligible for the promotion. Students can also receive education discount pricing where applicable, alongside the gift card giveaway.

Back to School runs from today until September 9th and available in many regions, including the United States, Canada, the UK and many other countries in Europe. Read more

Rumor: Apple working on ARM-based Mac variants with larger trackpad built into keyboard

Mac mini mid-2011 (Apple Thunderbolt Display, MagicTrackPad)

MacBidouille is the source of an interesting new rumor [translation] that Apple is currently experimenting with new ARM-powered Mac variants that include a Magic trackpad built into the system’s keyboard. The company is also reportedly working on a new version of OS X that will be compatible with these ARM machines.

According to MacBidouille’s sources, Apple is developing three new machines with this configuration: the aforementioned iMac and Mac mini as well as a 13″ MacBook, presumably a MacBook Air. The iMac and notebook are both said to have “4 or 8″ quad-core arm64 processors, while the Mac mini has only four.

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Opinion: Will the next Mac mini be a lot more mini than ever before?

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When it first launched in 2005, the Mac mini was almost unimaginably small. The original aim of the machine was to convert owners of desktop Windows machines. Because those people already owned monitors, keyboards and other peripherals, selling them just the computer itself would enable them to switch to Mac for far less than the cost of buying an iMac.

The typical Windows desktop box of that era looked like this:

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A system unit that measured just 6.5 inches square and only 2-inches thick was an incredible feat of engineering. Today, however, it looks rather less impressive …  Read more

Tired of waiting for Apple to upgrade the Mac mini to Haswell? Make your own …

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If you’ve decided you’ve waited long enough for Apple to update the Mac mini with a Haswell processor, you can always create a Hac mini.

A user posting on the Hacintosh site tonymacx86.com has documented his successful squeezing of an Intel DH61AG motherboard with i3-3225 CPU (55w TDP), 4GB Ram, 128GB mSATA SSD, half mini PCIe Wifi and an external Dell laptop power supply into a 2010 Mac mini case …  Read more

“Small, fast and in a league of its own” – the early Mac Pro verdicts are in

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Audiovisual professionals may have had a very long wait for a new Mac Pro, and that wait may not be quite over, but from the early hands-on reviews it seems they’re unlikely to be disappointed.

The real performance of the machine is currently only being seen with Final Cut Pro, which Apple optimized to take full advantage of the dual GPUs, but it’s a near certainty that Adobe and others will follow this example.

With a price tag of anything up to $14,000 if you completely max it out, this is not a machine that will be seen gracing too many living-rooms, but for those earning their living from audio and video and where time is money, the early hands-on reviews suggest that the Mac Pro lives up to its promise …  Read more

Apple increases Mac mini pricing in multiple countries

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Alongside the new iMacs, Apple has silently raised the prices of all Mac mini models in both Australia and Brazil. In Australia, the prices were formerly A$699 and A$899 for the standard configurations, and the Mac mini Server model was priced at A$ 1,099.00. Now, the machines are priced at A$749, A$999, and A$1249, respectively.

Here are the new prices in Brazil (up R$ 300, 400, and 500 respectively):

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The prices for the Mac mini have also been raised in Portugal and Malaysia, multiple tipsters have noticed.

These are notable price increases, but it is unclear if there is reasoning for the change beyond standard currency fluctuations. The iMacs pricing was also tweaked when it was updated yesterday, but the Mac mini has not been altered. No other Mac prices in Australia nor Brazil have changed.

The Mac mini is presumably due for a hardware update with 802.11ac WiFi, new Fusion Drive options, and Haswell processors to match the new iMacs. Thanks, James and Joao! 

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Intel officially launches 4th gen Haswell processors bound for next-gen Macs just in time for WWDC

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We’ve told you several times in recent months about Intel’s next-generation Haswell processors that are largely expected to replace Apple’s current Ivy Bridge offerings in the next round of Macs. Now, ahead of Apple’s expected WWDC announcements, Intel has just officially launched its next-gen processors. The company confirmed that quad-core versions of the chips are available now with availability of ultrabooks, all-in-ones, laptops and desktops planned for this summer.

Intel says the processors provide up to a 50 percent improvement in battery life (the biggest gain in the history of Intel’s processors), and double the graphics performance of previous generation chips thanks to its ‘Iris’ technology.

Delivering Intel’s largest generation-over-generation gain in battery life enablement in company history, 4th generation Intel Core processors can bring an 50 percent improvement in battery life over the previous generation in active workloads when watching movies or surfing the Internet, and two to three times improvement in standby battery life. For some systems coming to market this year, over 9 hours of active use battery life or 10 to 13 days of standby with fresh data on a single charge is expected.

Earlier this year we saw stats from early performance tests showing Haswell will provide some notable performance boosts for MacBooks, and we’ve also heard reports that the 4th-gen Intel processors will be headed to iMacs and Mac minis towards the end of the year.

In a more recent report, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed Apple will introduce new MacBook Pro and Air updates next week at WWDC that will include an upgrade to Haswell. Yesterday, we posted even more evidence with SKUs showing that Apple is likely planning a MacBook refresh. Read more

Add a portable Blu-ray player to your Mac (including playback software) for less than a SuperDrive

tl;dr: Buy a $40 Portable USB Blu-ray/DVD-R drive and $30 Blu-ray player MacGo for $10 less than an Apple SuperDrive and you get to watch/rip Blu-ray movies as a bonus.

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With Apple having eliminated optical media from just about every product it makes, including the redesigned iMacs, Mac Minis, and Retina MacBook Pros, many readers will be considering whether they need to procure a separate external DVD reader for emergencies. Some folks store archives, have software installers, backups, or have vast movie collection on DVD – and then there is Blu-ray…

Apple’s remedy is the DVD SuperDrive that costs $79 (well, $70/$50 used if you know where to shop). The SuperDrive is an Apple-quality product and can be used as a boot drive for many Macs that need to be upgraded or repaired via DVD.

But perhaps we can get a little more for our $80?

Steve Jobs viewed Blu-ray as a “bag of hurt” from the “mafia,” and Apple would frankly rather you stick to the iTunes ecosystem for video watching. But there are many nice Blu-ray titles out there, and iTunes’ compressed 1080p content still doesn’t come close the video and sound quality of Blu-ray. So, for those thinking of dropping $80 on a SuperDrive, we think we have a better option:

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27-inch iMac with 3TB Fusion Drive can’t yet do Boot Camp, early adopters frustrated

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As customers begin receiving the new iMac this month, business-end users and gamers may find one issue when booting up their new machine. As reader Michael Verde first shared with us, the built-to-order 27-inch iMac configuration with a 3TB Fusion Drive (an extra $400) will not allow any Boot Camp use. This essentially cuts off access to a full Windows experience that some Mac users may want to benefit from. Many might consider this a bummer, as a sizable amount of users turn to Boot Camp to access necessary Windows programs or just simply enjoy Windows paired with Mac hardware.

Apple highlighted the issue on both its iMac configuration and Fusion Drive explanation page. “Boot Camp Assistant is not supported at this time on 3TB hard drive configurations,” Apple said in buried text. “At this time,” could mean the feature is enabled down the road in a software update, but it is non-existent as of now.

There are virtualization solutions, such as Parelles and VM Ware, that provide a Windows experience, but they do not offer a full experience that many may want. Boot Camp users include gamers who want to run games at full settings and business users looking to use specific business apps in a full Windows environment.

Right now it is not clear what the cause is, or if it has anything to do with Apple’s new Fusion Drive technology, but it seems that Boot Camp is limited to hard drive with less than 2TB of space (PC World has a good explanation for this). Announced in October and shipping in the new Mac Mini and iMacs, the top Fusion Drive configuration provides 128GB of flash storage coupled with 3TB of HDD space. The cheaper configuration, 128GB Flash Storage + 1TB HDD, supports Boot Camp. So, we have to wonder: what is holding back the more expensive configuration? We reached out to Apple for comment.

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Best Buy ratchets up the Apple sales with dedicated Apple ad against increased pricing competition [video]

The above ad has entered heavy rotation this weekend, while Best Buy has new deals on Apple- and Apple-related products (including $25 off $250+ purchases):

Best Buy takes 15 percent off all iTunes Gift Cards, both physical and digital, with free shipping.

Best Buy also continues to have significant discounts on iPod Touches, Nanos and Shuffles, as well as the rest of Apple products (including refurbished Airports starting at $39).

The competition is also moving, as MacMall continues to have big savings with its Cyber Monday sale and impressive “Door busters”:

11.6″ MacBook Air dual-core Intel Core i5 1.7GHz, 4GB & 64GB Flash Storage $849.99 ($150 off)
13.3″ MacBook Air dual-core Intel Core i5 1.8GHz, 4GB & 128GB Flash Storage $1,019.99 ($180 off)
iPad 2 16GB Wifi: $329 ($70 off and the lowest price we’ve ever seen new)

…while Amazon continues to match many competitive prices.

Of note, MacConnection’s Tech Holiday sale has some pretty remarkable prices, including: MacBook Airs starting at $699Retina MacBook Pros starting at $1,559  ($140 off Apple’s Price), and Mac Minis starting at $549.

As always, check our Apple product pages for the latest best prices on iPadsiPad MinisiPod TouchNanoShuffleMacBook ProsAirsiMacsMac Minis, and Apple TVs. More of our holiday shopping coverage below: Read more