Using Intel’s Latest Spec, Apple Could Shrink The Mac Mini To The Size Of The Second-Gen Apple TV

Using Intel’s Latest Spec, Apple Could Shrink The Mac Mini To The Size Of The Second-Gen Apple TV

The next Mac mini could be this small if Apple adopts Intel's NUC.

Think that Apple is already making Macs as tiny and tightly-packed as they possibly can? Think again. Intel is showing off a new demo spec that could shrink down Thunderbolt-compatible, Sandy Bridge Mac minis to the size of the current Apple TV.

Intel’s calling their new spec the NUC, or “Next Unit of Computing,” a bold name for such a tiny PC.

The NUC is primarily aimed at challenging ARM’s dominance in the living room with set-top boxes like the Boxee Box, Apple TV and the Roku box, or homebrew newcomers like the Raspberry Pi.

The distinction is one of power. Inside the NUC is a complete Core i3 or i5 Sandy Bridge computer, including Thunderbolt, HDMI, USB connectivity, laptop memory ports, mini PCIe connectors, and HD3000 graphics. In other words, basically everything that’s in the existing Mac mini, except a lot smaller.

The great thing about the NUC is that depending on the chip you drop into the machine, it can either be a budget HTPC, a la the Apple TV, and sell for under $99, or a more powerful Mac mini-type PC. Or both!

Theoretically, Apple could adopt something like this for the Mac mini to shrink the size of the machine down to about the size of a pack of coasters. It’s unlikely though that Cupertino would ever consider Intel to power the Apple TV: they seem perfectly happy letting repurposed A-series ARM chips and iOS do double-duty there.

Related
  • Lane Jasper

    This would be amazing!!! an entire Mac in your pocket! I’m in!

  • Kutjara

    Mac Nano, anyone?

  • Kutjara

    Mac Nano, anyone?

  • Srose428

    What size of HDD or SSD are we talking about? I would prefer the current form factor to become as powerful as possible before shrinking the size any more.

  • drblank

    I think this might be stuffed inside a TV set.

  • Tommy Anderson

    That’s NUCking futs! ha…

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his girlfriend and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

(sorry, you need Javascript to see this e-mail address)| Read more posts by .

Posted in News, Top stories | Tagged: , , , , , , , |