The Mac mini needed a refresh. It needed some love. It got it, a bit, with Apple putting the update details right at the end of its MacBook Air announcement.
Mac Mini Makes Big Steps Forward…
The position on the press release perfectly sums up how Apple approaches the Mac mini. It’s always been a bit forgotten, left at the bottom of the pile. Which is a shame, because its a great device.
There were though real steps forward with the Mac mini with this update. Notably, memory has now been doubled to 256GB as standard, for $799. The memory upgrade was really needed, and it comes at a very enticing price point. However, it also comes with a quad-core i3 chip, presumably to help keep the price down. A 256GB device with a 6-core i7 processor will set you back another $300, making it the same as the standard 512GB model, which comes with an i5 processor. To get that storage and an i7 processor (with 6-cores) costs $1,299. Personally, I think even for that machine is still pretty compelling. It’s a really flexible device that packs a punch (and produces a lot of heat!).
…But Still Needs More Love
However, the update probably didn’t go quite as far as I would like. The form factor does not need a major overhaul – the space grey box looks great, but some changes would not go amiss. One small example – the Mac mini supports two 4K displays but only has one HDMI port. Other displays can be added using the Thunderbolt 3 ports. However, I can definitely see circumstances in which an additional HDMI would be useful. Perhaps also some of the ports (particularly the headphone jack,) could be moved from being hidden around the back. I’m sure Apple could make the device look slick and improve accessibility at the same time.
The Mac mini is a really good, versatile machine. With a bit more love from Apple it could become a great one.