Today in Apple history: Aluminum Mac mini arrives

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10macmini_hero
Good things come in small packages!
Photo: Apple

wednesday15 While Apple originally introduced the diminutive Mac mini in 2005, it was on June 15, 2010, that it launched the sleek, unibody aluminum Mac mini redesign that persists to this day.

Starting at $699, the mid-2010 era Mac mini gave users a 2.4-GHz Core 2 Duo CPU, 2 GB of RAM, and a 320 GB hard drive. It also boasted an HDMI-out port for the first time, an SD card reader, a dazzling new NVIDIA GeForce 320M graphics chip and — very excitingly — no power brick, since all the power circuitry was housed inside the minimalist device, which stood at a not-so-imposing 1.4 inches tall.

The week’s best Apple deals: free classes, free headphones and more

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Update your fancy wrist computer to the latest watchOS.
Update your fancy wrist computer to the latest watchOS.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac
With WWDC 2016 just days away, you’d be right to hesitate at buying new Apple gadgets this week. But with experts expecting more new software than hardware, rest assured that these great deals and freebies will still look good next week. Read on for free headphones, free classes at the Apple Store, and more in this week’s best Apple deals.

How to build a gaming Hackintosh on the cheap: hardware

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More power, less money, runs OS X. Winning! Photo: Killian Bell
Want more power for your money? Build a Hackintosh. Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

I recently decided it was time to get a proper desktop computer. I needed it predominantly for work, but I wanted it to be powerful enough to play the latest games in 1080p without worrying about stuttering or terrible frame rates.

The new Mac lineup didn’t offer a perfect fit — the Retina 5K iMac was too expensive, and the new Mac mini simply wasn’t powerful enough — so I set myself a goal: To build a gaming machine with a dedicated video card, capable of running OS X, for around the price of a Mac mini.

I set a budget of $650 for my build. That’s $150 more than the base model Mac mini, but $50 less than the midrange model. In this piece, I’ll take you through the components I purchased and why I chose them, and how I put them all together. Next week, I’ll show you how I installed OS X to turn my DIY gaming rig into a Hackintosh.

The 12 biggest takeaways from Apple’s iPad event

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Tim Cook gets ready to show off some new Apple products at the iPad Air 2 event. Photo: Apple
Tim Cook gets ready to show off some new Apple products at the iPad Air 2 event. Photo: Apple

It’s been way too long, joked Apple, since any groundbreaking announcements like the Apple Watch and iPhone 6 Plus. While the product refreshes announced at today’s iPad-centric event aren’t as high on “wow” as the revelations during last month’s big show, these are solid updates to product lines that continue to make Apple great.

Here are the top 12 things you need to know from today’s Apple event.

What to expect from tomorrow’s Apple event

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oct event invite

Until September, 2014 was a pretty quiet year for new Apple products. But the drought is over.

After announcing new iPhones and the Apple Watch last month, another media event is being held October 16th at Apple’s Town Hall auditorium on its Cupertino campus. “It’s been way too long,” joked Apple in its invitation to select members of the press. For those itching to see new iPad and Mac hardware, indeed.

While Town Hall is only a fraction of The Flint Center’s size, October 16th’s event shouldn’t be viewed as any less important. iPad sales are stagnant, and Apple’s desktop displays have been needing an upgrade for years. Apple Pay, an entirely new venture for the company, is expected to come out any day now. And then there’s always the chance that Apple still has at least one surprise up its sleeve.

‘It’s been way too long’ since Apple updated these products

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Apple's new improved TV could be coming as early as this fall.
Will there be a new Apple TV next week? If so, it's been a long time coming. Photo: Robert S. Donovan/Flickr CC
Photo: Robert S. DonovanFlickr CC

The tagline for next week’s Apple media event is “It’s been way too long.” While that might be nothing more than a sarcastic nod to the fact that Cupertino announced the Apple Watch and iPhone 6 just last month, it could be a cryptic indication that we’ll see updates to some of the company’s neglected products.

Rumors suggest new iPads and Macs will share the stage at Apple’s October 16 event, and we’ll probably get OS X Yosemite’s release date and more talk about iOS 8 and Apple Pay, but what about the rest of the product lineup?

Here’s a look at Apple products currently languishing in update hell, along with some rumors and speculation about what the future might hold.

Crystal Baller: New iMacs, NFC madness, and other crazy Apple rumors

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Five juicy new rumors await you behind the crystal ball.

We get slammed 24/7 with new Apple rumors. Some are accurate, most are not. To give you a clue about what’s really coming out of Cupertino in the future, we’re busting out our rumor debunker each week to blow up the nonsense.

This week the rumor mill has been busy spitting out new details on practically every Apple product. From delays with the Apple TV revamp, to clues a new Mac Minis and 27-inch iMacs waiting for launch. Of course there are also some new iWatch rumors and a possible launch date for the iPhone 6, but you’ll have to slide up to crystal ball to see which of these rumors has what it takes to go all the way, and which ones about to fade away like ghosts.

Apple TV revamp delayed

The Rumor; The huge Apple TV revamp has been delayed again thanks to stalled negotiations with cable companies.

The Verdict:This looks promising. We’ve heard about Apple’s supposed redesign of the Apple TV for two years now, but the cable companies keep getting in the way, and it looks like this year the Time Warner-Comcast merger is making some executives drag their feet on inking the deals Apple needs to create the service it wants.

If a new Apple TV doesn’t come by the end of 2014, expect to hear about it at the beginning of 2015. Maybe that will give Apple enough time to add third-party apps and a SDK. Pretty please?

Illustration: Martin Hajek

More NFC madness

The Rumor:Bare iPhone 6 logic board hints at upcoming NFC support.

The Verdict: Don’t get your hopes up, yet. We’ve seen the NFC rumor pop up quite a few times already during this year’s iPhone rumor season, and even though these bare logic boards provide the most convincing evidence yet, until we see an actual NFC chip, or hear the words “near field communication support” stumble from Tim Cooks lips, we just can’t find any hope in our hearts that 2014 is really going to be the year the iPhone gets NFC. And at this point, I’m pretty sure no one wants it - unless it’s all tied into Apple’s incredible mobile payments service.

Genius spills the beans

The Rumor: Apple retail employees think the iPhone 6 will launch on October 14th.

The Verdict: Probably not. Apple Store employees are kept completely in the dark on new product launches until they’re announced. It’s rumored that the iPhone 6 announcement will happen in mid-September, putting its launch date about two weeks later if Apple follows it normal routine. The company also prefers to launch new iPhones on Fridays to take advantage of sales over the weekend, but October 14th is a Tuesday, making it horribly unsuitable for a launch date.

Sapphire-less iWatches

The Rumor: At least half of finished iWatch products will ship with glass covers instead of sapphire.

The Verdict: Too early to tell. Along with lowering his estimate of iWatch sales for 2014 down to 3 million, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims that not all iWatches will get a sapphire glass display because of production issues with the ultra durable glass.

We’ve heard for months that sapphire production issues have plagued both the iWatch and iPhone 6. It seems that GT Advanced Technologies has finally come up with a solution to make a sapphire protective film, but it might not be ready for mass production until early 2015.

iMacs and Mac Minis enroute

The Rumor:New 27-inch iMacs and a Mac Mini will be released in “mid-2014.”

The Verdict:Believe it. Apple left a smoking gun on its support forums that it plans to release a new Mac Mini and 27-inch iMac by the end of the year. Both will probably just be modest hardware upgrades, though we wouldn’t mind seeing a sleeker Mac Mini and Retina iMac if Jony’s got them ready in the design lab.