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Many people were surprised when the Mac mini was a no-show at last month’s Macworld event. After all, in contrast to Apple’s usual way of doing things, its miniature computer has gone a long time without a refresh of any kind. But that refresh may finally be drawing near, if a new spy shot obtained by AppleInsider is legitimate.

The shot shows the back of a new Mac mini, complete with 5 USB (presumably 2.0) ports, a FireWire 800 port and both a mini DVI and Mini DisplayPort. The real keys here are the lack of a FireWire 400 port (which Apple has been phasing out) and the addition of the Mini Display port, which all new Macs have been getting recently and which Apple’s new Cinema Display monitors use. All of these ports are also in line with earlier reports AppleInsider received of what the new Mac mini would contain.

While this picture isn’t confirmed, AppleInsider says it received a separate picture previously (but was asked not to publish for some reason) that had the same port layout. This certainly looks much more real than previous Mac mini photos, which circulated in December but to me looked like a new MacBook that had been Photoshopped.

Apple’s neglect of the Mac mini led some to speculate last year that the product was on its last legs. But later reports confirmed that the product was still very much alive and due for a refresh. The major change in these new Mac minis besides the standard spec bump is expected to be a move to newer NVIDIA graphics, which Apple’s products have been getting recently. Again, this seems likely given the presence of the Mini DisplayPort.

One thing you’ll note that is missing from the back of this Mac mini is an HDMI port. If these pictures are legit, that means you can also kiss goodbye the idea of Apple merging the Mac mini and the Apple TV for now. That is a popular idea among Apple enthusiasts who want a fuller computing experience incorporated into the Apple TV.

Update: A forum member at MacRumors who also posted the picture there, claims to have some specs on the new Mac mini:

– Intel Core 2 Duo
– 2GHz
– 3MB L2 cache
– 2GB RAM DDR III, 1066MHz
– Super Drive is SATA

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