Mac Mini RIP?

Gizmodo reports that the Mac Mini has ceased shipping to some retailers and may be cancelled altogether. Does Apple have a replacement in mind, or is it planning to simple let the Mac Mini go the way of the Dodo?

I have a Mac Mini, as do several people I know. All of whom hooked it up to HDTVs in their living rooms. It provides a great fully featured juke box/computer/internet device for the living room at not too high a cost.

The story brings to mind Cringely’s recent musings on the subject of Apple. He talks about the recently released MacBooks and MBPs and then goes onto this:

Back on July 21st in his regular conference call with industry analysts, Apple Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer said that Apple’s profit margin would likely shrink from 34.8 percent in the just-concluded quarter to 31.5 percent in the quarter ending in September. “We’ve got a future product transition that I can’t discuss with you today,” Oppenheimer said as he spelled out the reasons for the anticipated profit reduction. “One of the reasons that we see gross margin being down sequentially is because of a product transition.”

What kind of Apple product could be expected to come along, taking a $244 million profit hit for the company? It certainly isn’t any of the products we’ve discussed so far, nor is it the iPhone 3G or the new iPod Touch, which have both been publicly dissected and found to have gross margins in the 56 percent range.

It’s something else that was probably intended to be announced this week but wasn’t.

Apple has also just released Q4 earnings a few minutes ago.

The Company posted revenue of $7.9 billion and net quarterly profit of $1.14 billion, or $1.26 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $6.22 billion and net quarterly profit of $904 million, or $1.01 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 34.7 percent, up from 33.6 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 41 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

“Apple just reported one of the best quarters in its history, with a spectacular performance by the iPhone — we sold more phones than RIM,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We don’t yet know how this economic downturn will affect Apple. But we’re armed with the strongest product line in our history, the most talented employees and the best customers in our industry. And $25 billion of cash safely in the bank with zero debt.”

What has Apple got in store? Maybe Robert has some thoughts?