At January’s Macworld Expo in San Francisco, Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled one of the most exciting new machines in years. With a footprint barely bigger than a CD case and standing just 5cm tall, the Mac Mini is no doubt one of the smallest computers on the market. Despite its tiny dimensions, even the entry level model packs a fairly powerful punch for a more than reasonable price. For £339 (inc. VAT) users get a 1.25Ghz PowerPC G4 processor, a 40Gb hard drive high end ATI RadeoN 9200 3D graphics system, DVD Rom drive, and built in Ethernet network adapter and dial up modem. A higher specification model is available for £399 (inc. VAT).

The device is intended primarily for the consumer market and as such is supplied without a monitor, since it is expected that many people will use it in their living room where it can be connected to a flat-panel TV screen. However, the machine’s tiny footprint and low price also make it ideal for small businesses where both space and IT budgets are in often in short supply.

Apple computers have traditionally occupied small niche markets such as publishing and graphic design, and the company has long struggled to make inroads into Microsoft’s dominance of the mainstream computing market. We think the Mac Mini’s combination of high technology, low price and superb design gives it the best chance any Apple machine has ever had of winning the public over.

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