AppleInsider says that the mini, which hasn't been updated as often as the rest of the Mac line, was created to serve the "once-critical" sub-$800 computer market -- a market that CEO Steve Jobs had repeatedly said (almost right up to the mini's debut) didn't interest Apple. The article also says that the diminutive Mac never gained the sales traction of its more fully equipped iMacs and MacBooks.
Most folks actually considering a low end Mac will go ahead and strongly consider the least-expensive iMac, which may be a reason for Apple to keep the 17-inch iMac around (the rumor mill also has it [url=http://www.macsimumnews.com/index.php/archive/imac_updates_next_month]marked for death[/url]). And folks coming over from the dark side identify the iMac and the MacBook with Apple, at least in the consumer space. But some IT guys, including Macsimum's own contributing editor, Don Foy, will really miss the thing if it vanishes.
"No, it's not a killer server," he says. "But for some tasks, it is perfect. I work in newspapers, and for the past year we've been putting two of them in at each site, one to capture feeds from the wire services and the other to run a stand-alone application that doesn't necessarily require a server. Maybe Apple's not selling enough of them. Maybe they want to concentrate on something else. If they're not going to give it the development it needs to remain a viable player in the market, then they may as well kill it."
David Niemeijer of [url=http://www.assistiveware.com]AssistiveWare[/url] would hate to see the Mac mini go. "I think the mini fills an important niche," he told Macsimum News. "It is a nice little headless server computer. It is also a very attractive computer for blind users, who could care less about a monitor. Some blind people get an iMac or macbook, but others see the mini as the perfect low end computer and a reason to switch from PC to Mac."
So does this mean the end of Apple's attempt to hit the "low end" computer niche? Probably not. Niemeijer feels that, considering the company's experiments with the Apple TV and iPhone, they're more capable then ever to device good low end solutions.
"I think the biggest weak point of the Mac mini is that once you started adding options, it can quickly get pretty expensive for a low end computer," he adds. "Strong points are the small size and the relatively silent operation. And, of course, the fact that you are not required to use it with a monitor."
Then there's Macsimum Contributing Editor Frank (Video Sandbox) Petrie who has this to say: "I hate to demise of the mini. but so long as it was the first step of an, oh I don't know, major step forward for Apple TV. If nothing is forthcoming from the project, I'm less amused."