UPDATED 4:20pm: Apple has denied that new systems are on the way. See new story, "Apple debunks Mac Mini, iMac rumor"
Apple may clear up the confusion regarding the future of the Mac Mini a week from Tuesday.
That's what MacNN thinks, reporting Monday that Apple will have refreshed versions of the Mac Mini and iMac desktops to announce next Tuesday, Apple's traditional day of the week for product launches. Both systems could be in line for refreshes with new Intel hardware, but it doesn't sound like any drastic changes will be made to either system.
A few weeks ago it seemed Apple was getting ready to kill the Mac Mini, with reports that European retailers had been told not to expect further shipments of Apple's cheapest Mac. But U.S. customers expect Apple to keep the product line alive, perhaps with tweaks such as the new Mini DisplayPorts added to Apple's new MacBooks. And it sounds like the iMac, Apple's main desktop product, could receive similar treatment with the additional inclusion of the new Nvidia graphics chipsets introduced to Mac customers with the new notebooks.
MacNN's report didn't have specific details on the configurations or pricing that might arrive with the systems. Given the gap between Apple's last major hardware event in October and its yearly Macworld extravaganza in January, it would make sense for Apple to tweak its desktops ahead of Macworld. That would free up space in January to talk about things like Snow Leopard and the iPhone and allow Apple to take advantage of the usual increase in demand during the holiday shopping season.