It looks like Apple came up with a new way to keep the Mac Mini from cannibalizing iMac sales, they raised the entry level price point to $700. But it looks like they redesigned the enclosure so that it is easier to get inside to swap out memory DIMMs.
It's interesting to see that they gave it the all aluminum enclosure treatment and, with the HDMI port, it looks like it is now a better media server for someone's TV/family room.
The Mini is an interesting product to watch in it's slow evolution. My mac support friend shared with me these thoughts about about the new Mini:
"From an engineering perspective, there are two flaws with the new mini:
1 - The aluminum case will likely attenuate the wireless signal and people will complain about the limited range compared to the plastic mini. Any metal enclosure surrounding an antenna presents a Faraday shield and as demonstrated with the aluminum laptops, G5 and Mac Pro, reception range is quite limited when compared with the MacBook and prior plastic laptops.
2 - The 5400 RPM hard drives cannot move data as quickly as 7200 RPM hard drives. At $700, there's no excuse. The days of the under-performing Performa are long gone.
Why Apple insists on handicapping the mini's performance, I don't know. In my not so humble opinion, the mini should be the equivalent of an iMac without the LCD panel. Their fear of cannibalizing iMac sales is unfounded until they try. The industrial design aesthetics of an aluminum enclosure do look good and I give them credit for making the mini service friendly.
I'll be keeping an eye out for the early adopters' reports on the reduced wireless range... – JGT"