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Unlike expected, Macintosh computers with Intel processors inside are not only to get a new processor, but also to acquire new functionality, which is aimed to transform the Mac mini into a center of living room entertainment.

A fresh news-story from ThinkSecret web-site claims that the new Mac mini computers will acquire a built-in iPod dock, Front Row 2.0 software and Apple’s digital video recorder (DVR) application, which is described as “TiVo killer”. Other hardware specifics are unknown, such as whether the Mac mini will feature video recording out of the box or whether an add-on will be offered for those looking to employ the Mac mini not as a second computer but as their living room command center.

Apple’s current Front Row 1 software suite uses the Apple Remote to let users enjoy the content they have on their Macintosh, including songs from their iTunes music library, slideshows of their photo albums in iPhoto, videos including Podcasts, iMovies and DVDs, and popular movie trailers streamed from Apple’s web-site.

It is unclear whether Apple’s Mac mini which is set to get Intel processor and to be unveiled in early February will sustain exactly the same form-factor, as Apple may want to get rid of the 2.5” hard disk drive (HDD) in favour of 3.5” HDD in order to increase capacity and shrink costs.

Apple announced plans to deliver models of its Macintosh computers using Intel microprocessors by mid-2006, and to transition all of its Macs to using Intel microprocessors by the end of 2007. The computer maker did not comment on the news-story.

Apple Computer did not comment on the news-story.

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