To comment off what randosel said:
|I'm not going to buy a Mac Mini. I would love to get one, but in it's current config, it needs a little more. I've been a BSD, Atari, Amiga, Classic Mac, NeXT and Mac OSX user. Oh, wait I forgot Windows XP! So I don't think it's an issue about platforms. I'm mearly waiting to see what else comes up or what other future revisions of the Mac mini will offer. Other than basic clock/ram/disc increases. What do you expect and what is logical for Apple to do to upgrade the mini so that it will be even more suitable for a HTMac?
Maybe stating the obvious but, as with any technology, you balance the strength of your need/desire for an object with the length of time you will be required to wait until the specs meet your approval. Everyday you wait its a day you don't spend the cash, but its a day you don't get to use the gadget you are eyeballing. For each person the desire/speed bump wait never ends (and thus they never purcahse the item) for some, they were lined up at a local Apple Retail store waiting to buy the Mac mini.
|The one thing I would like is upgrade is for audio with a combo analog/digital out. Audio input, Gigabit Ethernet, maybe... Things like IR are not suitable for typical iPod users.
Keep in mind that the main focus of the Mac mini is to keep the cost low (a close second being size). Those options you mention would be great but that would diminish the main purpose of the Mac mini - low cost bridge for folks to transition to the Mac OS platform (mission as defined by Apple Computer, Inc). Eventually, I am sure these featuers will trickle down to the Mac mini just like option such as the DVD-R "SuperDrive" did in recent years, but as I stated above - its X number of days you don't get to use a mini (where X is a variable date based of parts pricing, Apple upgrade cycle, etc, etc...)
There might come a day where you might see a beefed up Mac mini but keep in mind Apple spends lots of time and brain power thinking about its product matrix, pricing and the target market for its machines.
|I don't think HTMac software is mature enough. Other than that I will need to see what the final Tiger offers.
I agree that the HTMac/HTPC software landscape for the Mac in nowhere near where it needs to be but I think the hole really lies with the lack of quality frontends to put a 10' face on your Mac. The Mac OS platform is a media editing rich platform but without a 10' experience done well (and lots to choose from) the HTMac/HTPC landscape for the Mac OS will remain flat and somewhat aimless. Its hard to watch right now because of my limited experience in Mac OS development, the platform offers lots of very cool API (Quartz Compositor, OpenGL, CoreImage) that could really make the Window Media Centre interface look like ass - but it takes some smart developers some directed time and effort to make it happen.
With regards to Tiger, it will offer the usual 'buckets of features' but the core OS support (and media support, APIs, media support) is easily there to support some amazing finishing touches for a HTMac.
|It will also be kinda cool if a company out there adds a small single stackable box of similar/smaller size and design to add full size HD, IR, media reader, USB/FW hub, etc.. similar to the old side cars or compact Macs of the 1980's.
Agreed, some complementary acessories (storage, audio, remote control) items would be nice and I think there are companies that will step up to the plate (like Griffin Technologies) but there are a couple caveats with the Mac mini is that attempting to stack items:
1. Stacking items on top of the Mac mini (especially heavier items) may flex the top case and cause difficulties in ejecting and operating the optical drive. In other words don't stack your dictionary collection on your Mac mini. Also, stacking items on top will greatly reduce AirPort range and Bluetooth range (if you have other options installed and want to use them).
2. Attempting to stack items below the Mac mini could cause airflow problems (most noteably, acessories shaped to contour to the bottom of the Mac mini). On the bottom of the unit (around the edges) are vents where air is drawn in. Blocking these is just like covering the intake holes on any other PC, internal temp can rise, heat variable fans operate at a higher rate and overall its not good for the machine. Nice flat, smooth, hard surface works everytime to avoid problems. Shag carpets need not apply.
Good post, good thread.