Early complaints about the cost of built-to-order options for memory upgrades and wireless options on the Mac mini have apparently led Apple to slash those prices dramatically. (MacNN originally noticed these changes.)
The 1 GB memory upgrade was originally a fairly ridiculous $475 when name-brand 1 GB cards of the same type can be found in the mid-$200s. The price now is $325, which is low enough that it’s more reasonable to have an Apple-certified technician perform the installation – especially when you consider that Apple will warranty that RAM and replace it if you have problems. (Self-installed RAM is your own problem, a problem that bit me with my PowerBook G4 and Panther.)
The wireless combination of Bluetooth and AirPort Extreme is now $100 instead of $130 when installed together. Upgrading the hard drive to 80 GB now costs $50 instead of $90. (MacNN also noted that the add-on SuperDrive speed jumped from 4x at the time of the announcement to 8x. However, according to MacCentral, Apple said that the speed change was a typographical error and changed the specification back to 4x speed – the drive reads at 8x, but writes at 4x.)
I assumed that because built-to-order units wouldn’t have shipped, early buyers will get this new pricing. However, author and Macworld Senior Writer Dan Frakes wrote in after I’d posted this and noted that he’d received his build-to-order (BTO) unit on 20-Jan-05! He’s contacting Apple about a refund in the difference, and I suggest all early BTO purchasers do the same, as Apple is generally good about this kind of short-term price change.
This dramatically drops the cost of a "high-end" Mac mini in the BTO variety. Take a 1.42 GHz processor, an 80 GB hard drive, a SuperDrive, Bluetooth, AirPort Extreme, a USB keyboard and mouse (the price of which dropped last week), and a full gig of memory, and you’re no longer paying over $1,400, but $1,180 instead .