Apple's Mini Update Hooks Users Up -- Even To TV

The Mini still looks like a headless computer: It's all body, no screen. It is simply a computing device, which comes in upper and entry-level versions, but the Mini now boasts an attractive aluminum case and some solid hardware improvements. It's also slightly smaller overall than the last rendition.

The idea behind the Mini is that with four USB 2.0 ports and one FireWire 800 port, a user can attach any peripheral to it -- keyboard, mouse, iPod, iPhone, iPad, digital camera, DV camcorder, external hard drive, printer, and, now, thanks to a built-in HDMI port, a TV. Some Apple fans are buzzing that Apple is prepping to replace Apple TV with the Mini, due to the HDMI development and the Mini's evolving similarity in size, though the company has made no announcement to that effect.

The Mini has updated graphics, too. It uses the NVIDIA GeForce 320M graphics processor with 48 processing cores and 256MB of shared video memory, and DDR3 memory. The device comes with either 2 GB or 4 GB of memory, although that can ramp up to 8 GB with available custom order options. For those craving memory, the bottom panel of the Mini is removable to add more to the SO-DIMM slot.

Mini enthusiasts will note one item is missing: the power brick that had been almost the same size as the device itself has been integrated into the unit.

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The upper-end, 4-GB model is $999, while the entry-level, 2-GB Mini costs $699.