Is the Mac Mini Apple's future 'smart' iPod Dock?

Probe points to integrated player port


Was the Mac Mini originally intended to sport an integrated iPod Dock? That's the suggestion made by one electronics specialist who's taken a closer look than most at the compact Mac's internal workings.

The Apple machine's optical drive connects to the motherboard not by a cable but is attached directly to an Ultra ATA-100 riser card which itself fits into a slot toward the rear of the Mini's mobo. According to Leo Bodnar, the guy who figured out how to overclock the Mini's G4-class CPU, that's not all the riser does.

Apparently, it's got a Firewire bus on there too, though there's no connection beyond the riser card itself. In addition to the ATA-100 lines that feed the optical drive, the riser has a connector pinout that takes the Firewire signal and provides a number of other lines, whose functions remain unknown but are likely to carry extra control signals, Leo believes.

The Mini's Agere FW8028 Firewire controller, mounted on the underside of the motherboard, connects direclty to the riser card slot, itself installed on the top of the mobo.

Website Mini-ITX.com has some good Mini mobo pics here.

Leo's hypothesis: that the riser was designed to feed an iPod Dock connector moulded into the device's top cover. He notes that there's a fair bit of empty space behind the riser and above the Mini's output ports, though this could simply be part of the computer's cooling system.

Whether the Firewire feature was dropped from the first incarnation, or was put in place ready for the Mac's next revision isn't clear. However, early rumours surrounding the so-called "headless iMac" that was to become the Mac Mini, did indeed mention an integrated iPod Dock, fitted to help encourage Windows-using iPod owners to switch to the Mac platform,

Maybe it didn't feel the time was right. Certainly then Apple was still bundling a Dock with most of its iPods. Following the product line's recent update, however, no player now ships with a Dock as standard - they are only offered as optional extras. That now makes an Mini-integrated Dock more attractive to new customers, suggesting to us that a future revision of the computer might well include such a feature. ®

Related stories

Sony Ericsson launches 'Walkman'
Music download prices to rise
Bars hold iPod nights for iDrunk DJs
Apple revs iPod, cuts prices
Moto exec drops AirPod hint
Apple resists mobile MP3 ambush
Sony preps 'iPod killer' - again

Related reviews

Apple Mac Mini
Apple 15in PowerBook G4
Bose SoundDock iPod speakers
Apple iPod Shuffle


Other stories you might like

  • Prisons transcribe private phone calls with inmates using speech-to-text AI

    Plus: A drug designed by machine learning algorithms to treat liver disease reaches human clinical trials and more

    In brief Prisons around the US are installing AI speech-to-text models to automatically transcribe conversations with inmates during their phone calls.

    A series of contracts and emails from eight different states revealed how Verus, an AI application developed by LEO Technologies and based on a speech-to-text system offered by Amazon, was used to eavesdrop on prisoners’ phone calls.

    In a sales pitch, LEO’s CEO James Sexton told officials working for a jail in Cook County, Illinois, that one of its customers in Calhoun County, Alabama, uses the software to protect prisons from getting sued, according to an investigation by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

    Continue reading
  • Battlefield 2042: Please don't be the death knell of the franchise, please don't be the death knell of the franchise

    Another terrible launch, but DICE is already working on improvements

    The RPG Greetings, traveller, and welcome back to The Register Plays Games, our monthly gaming column. Since the last edition on New World, we hit level cap and the "endgame". Around this time, item duping exploits became rife and every attempt Amazon Games made to fix it just broke something else. The post-level 60 "watermark" system for gear drops is also infuriating and tedious, but not something we were able to address in the column. So bear these things in mind if you were ever tempted. On that note, it's time to look at another newly released shit show – Battlefield 2042.

    I wanted to love Battlefield 2042, I really did. After the bum note of the first-person shooter (FPS) franchise's return to Second World War theatres with Battlefield V (2018), I stupidly assumed the next entry from EA-owned Swedish developer DICE would be a return to form. I was wrong.

    The multiplayer military FPS market is dominated by two forces: Activision's Call of Duty (COD) series and EA's Battlefield. Fans of each franchise are loyal to the point of zealotry with little crossover between player bases. Here's where I stand: COD jumped the shark with Modern Warfare 2 in 2009. It's flip-flopped from WW2 to present-day combat and back again, tried sci-fi, and even the Battle Royale trend with the free-to-play Call of Duty: Warzone (2020), which has been thoroughly ruined by hackers and developer inaction.

    Continue reading
  • American diplomats' iPhones reportedly compromised by NSO Group intrusion software

    Reuters claims nine State Department employees outside the US had their devices hacked

    The Apple iPhones of at least nine US State Department officials were compromised by an unidentified entity using NSO Group's Pegasus spyware, according to a report published Friday by Reuters.

    NSO Group in an email to The Register said it has blocked an unnamed customers' access to its system upon receiving an inquiry about the incident but has yet to confirm whether its software was involved.

    "Once the inquiry was received, and before any investigation under our compliance policy, we have decided to immediately terminate relevant customers’ access to the system, due to the severity of the allegations," an NSO spokesperson told The Register in an email. "To this point, we haven’t received any information nor the phone numbers, nor any indication that NSO’s tools were used in this case."

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021