Mac Mini Prototype?

Another clear copy from the Computex trade show in Taiwan, this is AOpen’s mini PC. While it clearly looks very much like an Apple Mac Mini, the company claims it is not competing with the Mac Mini. The specs are very similar to what one might expect from a Intel based Mac Mini, and it is claimed that the device was created at Intel’s request. Could this be a prototype for the new Intel-based Mac Mini? There is an intriguing quote from IDC analyst Roger Kay towards the end of the press release (which came out before the big Apple-Intel announcement at WWDC):

“I don’t think the two – Mac mini and whatever Intel puts out – are really in the same market; that is, of course, unless Apple starts running OS X on x86 hardware.”

Now we know that Apple will be using Intel chips, could this be the prototype for a Pentium M based Mac Mini? Or maybe it was a proof-of-concept that Apple asked Intel for to prove that a Pentium M system that small could be made? It is not quite the same layout on that rear panel, but it has most of the same ports, including a Firewire port.

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