Late 2004/Early 2005: New rumors of a sub-$500 Macintosh surface.
January 11, 2005: The Mac Mini is announced at the Macworld Expo Keynote and will start shipping on January 22. The rumors are correct: the base model is a 1.25 GHz G4 with 256 MB RAM. It also has a 40 GB hard drive and combo drive (DVD-ROM/CD-RW.)
Not included for $499: bluetooth, 802.11, keyboard, mouse, monitor. Don't bother me none--I don't need any of those things. This really is the Mac I've been waiting for. (I've owned several--a 7100, a 7600, a beige G3, a B/W G3, a graphite G4, and a white iBook, but this is the Mac I've always wanted--cheap, powerful, and without a bunch of stuff I don't need.)
January 15: I've been wanting a Mac like this forever. I know I'll buy one, probably two, maybe 3. I spend a little time deciding which to get first. ("Let's see, if I get it for this, but it doesn't work out, I can use it over here, but only if it has...") I make my decision and place my order but I've already missed the first batch--estimated ship date is 3-4 weeks. I had figured that the Mini would be like new iPods--that there would be more people waiting outside the store to buy them than they had units in stock. Oh well. I resign myself to the fact that I won't have one opening day.
January 22, 10:00 am: I go nuts. I thought I had accepted my non-day-one fate, but the idea that I've ordered a Mini, Minis are on store shelves, but I don't have the one I paid for makes me crazy. So, a little after 11:00 am, I call my local Apple store and ask if they have any. I'm told they have a few left. I probably should have asked them to hold one for me, but I figured if the place were packed, the nice lady would have said "There are five left and 10 people in line. Call back in a month." I get there and walk away with the last 1.25 GHz model they have. The rest are gone by noon.
January 22, 11:30 am. I get home with my little $499 base-model. It's pretty great. I start using it as my primary machine and preparing it for its eventual role as a media server. I give it the hostname "mini1." One flaw so far: the 32 MB video card won't do the "rotating cube" transition for Fast User Switching when run at 1600x1200, millions of colors. Thousands, yes. Lower resolution, yes. 1600x1200x24bpp, no. Otherwise it's fine, although you need nimble fingers to plug and unplug USB and FireWire devices on the crowded back panel.
February 3, 2005: My first (second? I don't know) mini shows up. (hostname:mini2) Same as the other but with an 80 GB HD and 512 MB RAM. This will replace mini1 as my main workstation and webserver. Yes, this is the Mac that is running this very site. Mini1 is now in the living room acting as a media player.