No joke, its been almost four years since Apple updated the Mac Mini on Oct. 14, 2014. Since then, we’ve gotten new MacBook Pros, iMacs, and several iterations of macOS. But Apple’s entry-level Mac remains the same?
It’s about time for Apple to update the Mac Mini with more powerful hardware, better graphics, and a slimmer design that keeps the ports. Currently, the 2014 model has a slow Intel Haswell processor with integrated graphics, a basic hard drive, and a compact yet boxy design.
With no monitor or included accessories, the Mini has always been the most affordable Mac. It was the first one I had in my house growing up amongst a sea of PCs. With the tagline “Just connect your own display, keyboard, and mouse,” it’s plug-and-play out of the box, but in 2018 the experience out of that box is an obsolete one.
There’s reason to hope for an upgrade. Last October, Tim Cook replied to a customers email with a hint:
While it is not time to share any details, we do plan for Mac mini to be an important part of our product line going forward.
He provided hope, and fingers crossed Apple is getting ready to share those details.
Apple is likely announcing new iPhones, Apple Watches, and iPads at its Sept. 12 event, so why not tack on a new Mac Mini as well? A quick mention and a run-through of new specs is all that’s needed. It doesn’t necessarily need the latest and greatest chips — a generation or two back would still be a big improvement. As long as it runs macOS Mojave well, it’ll be fine.
Apple should keep the upgradeable aspect of the Mac Mini, with a simple, pop-out bottom cover. I wouldn’t mind if they no longer solder the RAM — the current model does this, making it hard to upgrade — but at this point users shouldn’t be picky.
I know USB-C is in on Apple computers, but you know what would be really courageous? Keeping the ports. As long as Apple upgrades the USB-A ports to USB 3.0 ports. An SD card reader, Thunderbolt, HDMI, and more would give the folks who haven’t caught up with Apple’s USB-C world a nice, affordable option.
The most recent model from 2014 comes measures just 1.5-inches high but has a large footprint at 7.7-inches diagonally. If Apple keeps the ports, I don’t see a reason to shrink the design, but taking an inch off probably wouldn’t hurt. Silver finish is fine; the space gray is mostly for Apple’s “pro” products anyway.
Most important: The Mac Mini still has a place. It’s a unique device in that works well as an entry-level computer, a media server, or even a device for web hosting. I could see a small businesses could using it as a souped-up cash register.
The time is now for Apple to move the Mac Mini off of life support, give it a proper refresh, and keep it an affordable starting price.
Who knows? It might just inspire the next generation of users to find creative uses for it.
P.S. Apple, it would be nice to offer a bundle option, with a mouse and keyboard in the box. Just saying.