As a Mac lover, the news that 2022 will end with new Mac announcements was disappointing. But what’s even more troubling is that we’ll have to keep waiting – probably until March 2023 – to see a rumored update to Apple’s most affordable Mac, the Mac mini.
But even before this news, I was ready for more disappointment. This unofficial delay only proves the sad fact that the Mac mini gets no respect from Apple. It’s a shame, because Apple’s smallest computer was once the most interesting Mac, and it doesn’t deserve to be so neglected.
The Mac mini was born in 2005, and at that time Apple was much more aggressive in increasing its share of the PC market. The Mac mini was marketed as an affordable Mac for users switching from a Windows PC. To convince skeptics that the switch could be made easily, Steve Jobs christened the Mac mini as Apple’s new BYODKM Mac: bring your own screen, keyboard, and mouse from your old computer and attach it to the Mac mini.
Two years later, Apple released the iPhone, which eventually became the device that would convince Windows PC users to switch to Macs (not necessarily as a direct marketing point, but a subtle one). The toggle angle for the Mac mini (and all Macs, essentially) is gone. But Apple still focused on its smallest Mac, with updates every 12 to 18 months (2006, 2007, 2009), which was updated in 2010 to update the form factor that Apple still uses today (minus the optical drive). Updates followed in 2011, 2012 and 2014.
That’s when Apple started to pay attention. After October 2014, which brought fourth-generation Intel Core processors and a lower price – then it will be four years Until the next update in October 2018.
Where is the love?
Finally, in 2020, the Mac mini received a signal from Apple that it was still an important member of its line. The Mac mini was one of three Macs to receive the first Apple silicon M1 processor. It was a major change that shook up the industry, and the fact that the Mac mini was part of it made it feel like a viable Mac again. It was also a chance to put the Mac mini in the spotlight by advertising its small footprint, brilliant performance, and affordable price.
But since Apple sells more laptops than desktops, the M1 Mac mini was still something of an afterthought. It didn’t get a redesign or any new features and actually lost two Thunderbolt ports. Then there’s the inexplicable move that Apple didn’t update the high-end $1,099 Mac mini — it still has the same 3.0GHz 6-core Intel Core i5 processor that arrived. in 2018That makes it the oldest processor in Apple’s Mac line.
So what’s another five or six months for Mac, who turned four last month? Well, the fact that any company (let alone Apple) is selling a four-year-old computer at its original price is ridiculous. Perhaps Apple’s reasoning is that virtually no one buys a $1,099 Mac mini, so there’s no harm in keeping it around. But there is a downside – taking advantage of people who may not know better by selling them extremely outdated technology. It’s a bad look for the Mac mini and Apple.
A fan favorite
Apple puts almost no effort into the Mac mini, whether it’s in terms of hardware development or marketing. In Apple’s rich line of Macs, the Mini seems to be an often overlooked model. That’s a shame, because it plays a vital role in Apple’s Mac line.
At $699, the Mac mini is Apple’s most affordable Mac, though it comes with the caveat that the price doesn’t include a display, keyboard, or mouse/trackpad. But you can easily find components at prices that keep the Mac mini under $1,000, making it still cheaper than the entry-level iMac.
Its small size means you don’t have to think twice about where it goes on the table. In my house, we have a work space setup that’s really tight and there’s no room for a tower computer, and even the 24-inch iMac screen is too big. But the Mac mini fits perfectly with the 19-inch screen.
What’s also overlooked is that the Mac mini’s size lends itself to some creative uses. I have a Mac mini connected to my TV in my entertainment center and it houses my digital DVD/Blu-ray collection. The Mac mini is also used as a network server, in cars and robots, by mobile DJs, in kiosks, and in art installations. It’s not as small as the Raspberry Pi, but since it runs on macOS, it’s more accessible to users who are hesitant to program the Pi.
Why can’t Apple take these aspects of the Mac mini and play with them? Apple doesn’t need to go on an all-out marketing blitz – it would be nice to see that any It’s an effort by the company to acknowledge that the Mac mini is just as important as the iMac and Mac Studio in its desktop lineup.
That may change next year, when a new Mac mini (or two) is finally rumored. But the show isn’t enough – I hope there will be a sustained effort to promote the Mac mini for a long time, accompanied by regular hardware updates. Even a little attention goes a long way toward showing your Mac mini some love—before it’s too late. We’ve seen plenty of Apple products die unceremoniously, and it would be a shame to see that happen on the Mac mini, too.