Among tech companies, Apple has always been seen as the most innovative manufacturer when it comes to consumer electronics. Over the years, it has been overshadowed by Android OEMs, who are now offering better specifications, performance, and features among others. In an effort to stand out from the rest, some have considered tweaks that often end up unused or neglected. However, it seems at one point, the Cupertino-based tech outfit likewise had something similar in the form of a Mac Mini with an iPod dock.

The Mac Mini has been Apple's take on compact home entertainment which can be hooked up to a TV. At the time, portable music players have been the manufacturer's most popular platforms and might have been why it considered mixing the two. Images of the device were shared on Twitter by the user called@DongleBookPro. Those who have been following the account know that it regularly information about prototypes and projects that never made it to production.

At first glance, the device looks exactly like a regular Mac Mini, but a closer look reveals a notch toward the top of the rear section. A peek into this cutout reveals a proprietary 30-pin connector used by older-generation iPods before the company shifted to its Lightning connector. 9to5Mac notes that this was a "totally scrapped project that never saw the light of day." Apparently, the photos provided were taken while it was still in the Engineering Validation Test phase of development.

So far, it appears that this was designed to only accommodate several models under the iPod Nano lineup. The source did not indicate if there was an adapter that would allow users to dock other 30-pin iPod units. Meanwhile, some tech pundits found that this might have not been approved due to several reasons. Unless owners keep their Mac Minis somewhere with enough clearance on top, it would be difficult to attach and remove the supported device.

Apple's flagship store in Beijing
People queue up to enter a new Apple flagship store that opened in Beijing in July 2020. Photo: AFP / WANG Zhao

On the other hand, there are some who believe that this could be reworked with more modern features such as wireless charging. The Mac Mini with iPod dock might have presented an interesting combination, but it looks like Apple's strict product review process suggests that it did not meet the executive's approval.