updated 12:50 pm EST, Mon March 1, 2010
Move could be needed to catch up with industry
Apple will at last start adding HDMI ports to Macs later this year, sources claim. Prototypes of a new Mac mini are said to be circulating with an HDMI connection in place of the earlier DVI port. Next to this is a mini DisplayPort connection, meant for use with the Cinema Display or another DP-compatible monitor. The new Mini is otherwise cosmetically identical to the current model, according to an AppleInsider report.
The swap could be a recognition of the Mini's popularity as a media center PC, since it is roughly the same size of a dedicated media set-top while, unlike the Apple TV, supporting full Mac functions. The computer is also capable of 1080p video, greater storage and operating without DRM or interface limitations. HDMI could alternately be used to connect to monitors without DisplayPort.
One of the prototypes is said by AppleInsider to use NVIDIA's MCP89 chipset, which would replace the MCP79 (GeForce 9400M), included in many Core 2 Duo-based Macs. Core i3-, i5- and i7-series processors would have to be excluded from Minis however, as Intel and NVIDIA remain in a squabble over licensing matters. Switching to Intel integrated graphics could solve this problem.
For other Macs Apple is said to be working on a mini DisplayPort-to-HDMI adapter, which may in fact have been intended to ship alongside the most recent iMacs. Blu-ray drives were expected to be an option for the systems, but may have been stripped at the last moment because of technical hurdles, and an Apple management decision that the license for Blu-ray would be too expensive relative to the longevity of the platform. The company is pushing to make the iTunes Store a prime delivery vehicle for movies and TV shows.