January 31, 2005 11:25 AM PST

Race is on to accessorize Mac Mini

As initial interest in Apple Computer's new Mac Mini surges, accessory makers are rushing to come up with a host of add-ons to the petite desktop PC.

Accessorizing the Macintosh is a long-held tradition in the Apple market, and it's one that has flourished with the iPod. With little advance notice, companies hurry out with a line of gear, hoping to make a bundle before the next new thing, or a change in color schemes, renders their products out of date.

The $499 Mac Mini is an ideal candidate for companion products. With so little on the inside, a lot of possibilities exist for beefing up the machine, including external hard drives and TV tuners.

Among the first out of the gate with Mini-specific products is a tiny San Carlos, Calif.-based company called Plasticsmith. On Monday, it announced three stands for the computer.

Kathi Beerbohm, vice president of the three-person company, said the idea came from her son, a college student and long-time Mac user. In the past, Plasticsmith has made products that were sold by other companies. The company grabbed one of the first Mac Minis when they went on sale Jan. 22 and quickly got its designs into production.

"This is really our only proprietary thing," Beerbohm said in an interview. "It's kind of exciting to have our own products."

The company's Mac Mini products include the Grandstand, a monitor stand that comes in clear plastic and steel and sits above the Mini to hold the display; the Mini Tower, a stand that positions the Mini vertically on its side; and the Mini Skirt (groans understandable), a plastic pedestal that raises the Mac Mini slightly from a desk surface. The products range in price from $20 to $40.

Another popular add-on to the Mac Mini is the KVM switch, which has actually been around for some time. KVM, which stands for Keyboard Video and Mouse, allows a computer owner to use a single keyboard, pointing device and monitor with two PCs. Because the Mac Mini doesn't come with its own set of those accessories, users might want to split time with an existing PC.

Iogear, for example, has a page on its Web site devoted to KVM switches, external hard drives and other products for the Mac Mini.

"If you are Mac Mini-minded, you've come to the right place," Iogear says on its site.

The Mini's small size is already inspiring a variety of uses beyond the entry-level PC market that Apple has discussed. One company, for example, plans to install Mac Minis into automobiles.

Another talked-about use for the Mini is as a living room media-oriented PC. However, because neither the Mac Mini nor any other Mac has built-in TV tuning abilities, one needs an add-on such as the EyeTV series of products from Elgato Systems.

12 comments

Join the conversation!
Add your comment
For other potential ideas, here's a thread
I started a thread on the MacRumors Forums about just such a
potential market and some mocked-up images of the
possibilities, some more out-there than others.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?" target="_newWindow">http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?</a>
t=105254&#38;highlight=mac+mini+add-ons

(P.S. Hope this link doesn't get line-broken. I always have
problems with pasted long links in these comments.)
Posted by dejo (182 comments )
Reply Link Flag
For other potential ideas, here's a thread
I started a thread on the MacRumors Forums about just such a
potential market and some mocked-up images of the
possibilities, some more out-there than others.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?" target="_newWindow">http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?</a>
t=105254&#38;highlight=mac+mini+add-ons

(P.S. Hope this link doesn't get line-broken. I always have
problems with pasted long links in these comments.)
Posted by dejo (182 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Link to other ideas..working link
Use *******.com its a godsend.


Here is a link to your macrumors thread:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://*******.com/4yeyy" target="_newWindow">http://*******.com/4yeyy</a>
Posted by Jonathan (832 comments )
Reply Link Flag
tinyurl.com? Cool.
Thanks for the tip. I'll have to use this in the future.
Posted by dejo (182 comments )
Link Flag
FireWire / USB hub please.
Someone NEEDS to come out with a USB/ Firewire hub that sits under the mini. 2USB ports is just too few.
Posted by Jonathan (832 comments )
Reply Link Flag
A hub (artist's concept)
I agree. A FW/USB hub would be a welcome addition. If only I
had the money and manufacturing skills, I would start producing
something like this right away:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://*******.com/4njbs" target="_newWindow">http://*******.com/4njbs</a>
Posted by dejo (182 comments )
Link Flag
UFO iMac FW&USB Hub for Mac Mini
Remember the UFO round USB/FW hub that sat under the
"sunflower/iLuxo" flat panel G4 Mac?
That was cool &#38; that's the type of device needed for the Mac
Mini.
(I am sure they are being designed &#38; massed produced as we
speak)
Mac Mini IS EXPANDABLE, but mostly externally via Firewire 400/
800 and USB 2.0 devices. This is something that PC to Mac
Adopters/Switchers will need to get use to.

Also, with any new Apple product, comes a storm of third party
applications &#38; accessories. (look at the iPod alone...)
Posted by Llib Setag (951 comments )
Link Flag
FireWire / USB hub please.
Someone NEEDS to come out with a USB/ Firewire hub that sits under the mini. 2USB ports is just too few.
Posted by Jonathan (832 comments )
Reply Link Flag
A hub (artist's concept)
I agree. A FW/USB hub would be a welcome addition. If only I
had the money and manufacturing skills, I would start producing
something like this right away:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://*******.com/4njbs" target="_newWindow">http://*******.com/4njbs</a>
Posted by dejo (182 comments )
Link Flag
UFO iMac FW&USB Hub for Mac Mini
Remember the UFO round USB/FW hub that sat under the
"sunflower/iLuxo" flat panel G4 Mac?
That was cool &#38; that's the type of device needed for the Mac
Mini.
(I am sure they are being designed &#38; massed produced as we
speak)
Mac Mini IS EXPANDABLE, but mostly externally via Firewire 400/
800 and USB 2.0 devices. This is something that PC to Mac
Adopters/Switchers will need to get use to.

Also, with any new Apple product, comes a storm of third party
applications &#38; accessories. (look at the iPod alone...)
Posted by Llib Setag (951 comments )
Link Flag
Link to other ideas..working link
Use *******.com its a godsend.


Here is a link to your macrumors thread:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://*******.com/4yeyy" target="_newWindow">http://*******.com/4yeyy</a>
Posted by Jonathan (832 comments )
Reply Link Flag
tinyurl.com? Cool.
Thanks for the tip. I'll have to use this in the future.
Posted by dejo (182 comments )
Link Flag
 

Join the conversation

Add your comment

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Click here to review our Terms of Use.

What's Hot

Discussions

Shared

RSS Feeds

Add headlines from CNET News to your homepage or feedreader.