Apple Computer's "low end" below $800.00 desktop computer, the Mac Mini, appears to have died alone and unloved. At least according to AppleInsider, who declared it dead yesterday. And according to AppleInsider, it's only dead because Apple never really cared about an inexpensive line of computers in the first place.
Since then, the Mac mini has been treated to a rather mundane life-cycle. It has seen just four updates since inception, one of which was so insignificant in Apple's own eyes that the company didn't even bother to draft a press release. Even now, the current minis' 1.66GHz and 1.83GHz Core Duo processors are a far cry from the silicon offered in the rest of Apple's PC offerings. And rightfully so, as the company has seen lower margins from the units, which never gained the sales traction of its more fully equipped iMacs and MacBooks.
Some have gone so far as to call the mini Apple's bastard child; the neglected Mac that never was. At the same time, the history behind its creation and the reasons for its seeming abandonment are comparatively fuzzy. There is some speculation that Apple conceived the Mac mini under pressure from shareholders who wanted a sub-$800 Mac, but never really saw much in the design itself. It's almost as if the mini stood in direct contrast to Apple's fundamentals from the get-go.
Oh those nasty shareholders. I bet they dumped their stock right after that on e*trade using a Windows based computer, too.