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Supply Shortages Hint at Possible Mac Mini Refresh

AppleInsider claims that it has received multiple reports of supply shortages in Apple's Mac mini line, suggesting that an update may be approaching. The reports come from both purchasers looking to place volume orders as well as from checks of reseller supplies. MacRumors has heard similar whispers in recent days, although a time frame for a release is currently unknown.

The shortage has been verified four times over by AppleInsider, which has received numerous reports that suggest the constraints are indicative of new models on the horizon, rather than intermittent delays resulting from the onset of the back-to-school buying season, which sometimes sees Apple curb the flow of Macs to its distribution channels in favor of filling large orders to universities.

Rumors of potential updates to the Mac mini have been sparse, in part due to the fact that the line is only just now approaching the end of its usual product cycle, having been revamped last October.

Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) next week might initially appear to be an opportunity for Apple to launch new Mac minis, but the developer focus of the annual event has typically restricted product announcements primarily to the company's professional lines. Consequently, even if a refresh is imminent, it may not appear until a quiet update in the days or weeks following WWDC.

A report from earlier this year suggested that Apple may be planning to replace the Mac mini's existing DVI output with HDMI, making the machine more easily compatible with home theater systems. Sources have been otherwise quiet about what might be included in an update, although the Mac mini may face some of the same issues experienced with the 13" MacBook Pro related to a licensing dispute between Intel and NVIDIA. Those issues, combined with technical constraints in the MacBook Pro's small form factor that may or may not necessarily be shared in the Mac mini, led Apple to continue using Intel's Core 2 Duo processors in its smallest pro notebook in the latest revision rather than switching to the Core i5 or i7 offerings used in the larger MacBook Pros.

Related roundup: Mac mini