It might not be the sexiest Apple computer, but the Mac Mini is pound-for-pound one of the best computers Apple sells.
Unlike most Apple computers, the Mac Mini lacks a screen. You just plug it into any computer monitor you have lying around the house, plug it into power, add a keyboard and mouse, and boom, you’ve just built yourself an affordable Mac computer.
Starting at $US500, the Mac Mini is a great option for people who don’t want to spend $US1,000+ on a MacBook or iMac, or people who want to simply run MacOS on a monitor they already own.
Yet, sadly it’s been neglected. Apple last updated the Mac Mini in October 2014. We’re coming up on the three-year anniversary of the last Mac Mini update.
Keep in mind: Apple spent much of this year apologizing to pro users after neglecting the iMac and Mac Pro lines last year, choosing its October event to focus solely on the new MacBook Pros (which were initially slammed by critics for various reasons — the battery life, the new Touch Bar, limited RAM, the comparatively high price, you name it). So in April, Apple made an unusual move by inviting journalists to its campus to tell them about new iMac and Mac Pro computers coming later in the year, as a away to assuage anyone considering jumping ship from Mac to Windows.
At that April meeting with journalists, Buzzfeed’s John Paczkowski asked Apple’s marketing VP Phil Schiller about the Mac Mini. Schiller’s response (via Daring Fireball): “On that I’ll say the Mac Mini is an important product in our lineup and we weren’t bringing it up because it’s more of a mix of consumer with some pro use. … The Mac Mini remains a product in our lineup, but nothing more to say about it today.”
Two more chances this year
At WWDC in June, Apple announced much-needed updates to the iMac and Mac Pro (now called the iMac Pro), two of the three computers it hinted at during that April meeting with journalists — but made no mention of the Mac Mini.
Considering there are likely two more Apple events coming before the end of 2017, there’s a good chance Apple will at least make some update to the Mac Mini.
If there are any updates at all, we’d have to imagine most of them are internal, since the Mac Mini is not really known for any kind of radical form factor — it’s a simple block of aluminium with ports and an Apple logo. That said, if you want to believe an Apple blog called Pike’s Universum, “The next Mac Mini won’t be so Mini anymore. Well. The top model that is.” Perhaps this means the new Mac Mini is physically much larger than its predecessor (in the same way the current Apple TV is older than post models); or, perhaps it just means the Mac Mini is much more powerful than before. This is only a rumour coming from a hobby blog, so take it with a grain of salt.
Still, one has to hope Apple actually gives the Mac Mini an update. It’s already an excellent computer despite its ageing hardware — many of us at Business Insider rely on them to do work every day — but it could use faster processors, more RAM, and more, faster ports, and that’s likely what it will get. For most people, that will be enough. Personally, I just want a Mac computer to use with this monitor.
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