I’m starting to think that I’ll finally get my wish and that Apple will consolidate both the Mac Mini and iMac lines at WWDC and introduce a new system called the Mac. The Mac will be a headless mini-tower, or “cube” that will be the desktop equivalent of the MacBook. I’m basing this prediction partly on recent rumors and Apple’s current branding pattern with the Mac line.
First, the rumors: If you take a look at MacRumors excellent buying guide, you’ll see that both of these models have not been updated since September 2006. AppleInsider recently ran an piece recently predicting the death of the Mac Mini. Next, there is ThinkSecret’s prediction that the 17-inch iMac will also get the axe. But why stop at 17? Additionally, no rumor site has any word on what’s in store for next Mac mini and some have indicated that the next iMac would have a “striking new design“. Such a bold new design may also mean that it could be also be a completely new model. This is something I believe to be true. Additionally, there has also been long running rumors about Apple refreshing it’s display line with built-in iSight cameras. Displays with built-in iSights would fill the void left by a system without an integrated display and iSight.
Next up is Apple’s current branding strategy. With the exception of the iMac and and Mac mini, Apple has chosen to drop the “i” and “Power” designations from it’s laptop line leaving the MacBook (replacing the iBook) and the MacBook Pro (replacing the PowerBook). The desktop lineup has the Mac mini, iMac, and Mac Pro. From a branding perspective, it’s not inconceivable that Apple could consolidate the Mac mini and iMac into simply, the Mac. This would simplify the entire Mac line up considerably with just 4 basic models.
So what would the specs for the “Mac” be like? As mentioned earlier, the Mac will not have an integrated display like the iMac but would be larger than the Mac mini, yet significantly smaller than the Mac Pro. As for specs, here’s what I think Apple could do: On the low end, we’d see at least a 2.0GHz Core 2 Duo with an integrated Intel GMA 950 graphics processor and at lest 1GB of RAM and at least 160GB hard drive. The mid-range systems would be sporting a 2.2 to 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo with varying nVidia graphics processors and 1 – 2GB standard and a 250GB drive. On the high-end, we could even see a quad-core system (not a Xeon however) with a high-end nVidia graphics processor.
I’m only basing this on all on rumors and have no inside information to based this on, so keep that in mind.