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Why Apple Won't Need to Launch a New Mac mini After All  

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John Martellaro
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June 12, 2018 4:20 EDT PM  

The assumptions we've been making about the market positions for the Mac mini and the future Mac Pro may all wrong. The legendary Mac mini. How to make it more expandable? The assumption I, and I think many others, have made is that the 2019 Mac Pro is going to be very expensive. Accordingly, those…


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geoduck
(@geoduck)
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June 12, 2018 6:46 EDT PM  

Love the idea. It's logical, and would solve thew problem exceedingly elegantly.
I think it's unlikely. Apple, and most of the computer industry seems to be heading down the computer-as-appliance model where you buy it, use it, and then get something better. I'd LOVE an upgradeable Mac. I have significant doubts as to weather we'll see one. Love the idea though.


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mactoid
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June 12, 2018 7:05 EDT PM  

I've been waiting for a new Mac Mini for the last two years, and frankly I've about given up hope. The 13 inch Mac Pro (two years old) that lives under the monitor stand and is NEVER used as a laptop is starting to show its age, and I'd REALLY like to upgrade. That said I am skeptical of your theory that there is going to be some "affordable" configuration of the Mac Pro. Not sure WHAT my next move is going to be...


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eolake
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June 12, 2018 7:30 EDT PM  

I don’t think it would replace the Mini, since the raison d’etre of the Mini is Simple And Small. But I do like the idea, there’s no reason a Mac Pro should not be highly configurable and start at resonable prices.
Or they could just call it “Macintosh” again, covering both middle and high.


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iGrouch
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June 13, 2018 3:14 EDT AM  

It all seems like common sense and would simplify the Mac lineup.

There is one caveat. Apple, in the last eight years, really only caters for upper-middle class computing, epitomised by what Angela Ahrendts said when she joined Apple. Apple only make luxury products. Apple were always a bit like this but I think they have discovered in the last decade that this is their niche.

I got a good eight years out of my 2006 Mac Pro 1.1. well worth the €2,100. These days I work with a Hackintosh. Just can't justify the high prices for something decent.


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cubefan
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June 13, 2018 4:13 EDT AM  

Hmmm, @geoduck - one thing Apple doesn't do is throwaway computing - its bad for the Environment, bad for people and bad for the World..

Look at John's suggestion another way - one which is classically Apple - giving extended life to products - that intangible value that makes it worth spending 50 -> 400% more on your computer than buying a £300 rapidly depreciating plastic box.

An expandable, flexible, scalable compute architecture, exploiting the latest technology to deliver a machine that you buy today, upgrade next year, upgrade again in two years - instead of binning [or selling on eBay] - remember computer recycling is BAD for the environment, computer REUSE and redeployment is GOOD.

So you don't buy another entire computer for years - just CPU boards, SSD, graphics - its not like they aren't fast enough - maybe Apple won't do that - but its more future proof than a sealed box - which isn't necessarily sealed to keep you out, its sealed because its the result of pushing the performance envelope which means the only solution to heat dissipation is elegant engineering.... something Apple excel at.


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(@eddychik)
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June 13, 2018 5:28 EDT AM  

The problem with this thesis is that it is not making Mac mini and Mac Pro together, it is forgetting about the Mac mini and make a "Mac" and Mac Pro. Mac mini is about BYODKM AND the cheapest Mac Iineup. I doubt a "Mac" will be cheap enough even at its lowest config. The Mac mini starts at $499, i.e Apple only has less then $300 of BOM cost to play with. Not a lot.

On one hand, it sort of fits the direction Apple is heading. Apple want 80% of the consumer's work to be done on iPad. Whatever that still best fits a mouse and keyboard would be consider as niche, and those would require lots more computing power then iPad. It is a little silly to sell a Mac mini that is less powerful then the iPad.

On the other hand, I still believe there is another 10 years to go before the dismiss of Desktop, if it ever come. Business sitting near the desk will continue to be using Desktop for word processing, email, or many other simple creative jobs. Unless Apple allows the iPad to Dock with a larger monitor or keyboard may be Enterprise will continue to stick with Desktop PC. And Mac mini still has huge opportunity in this area.


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Old UNIX Guy
(@kevinbuterbaugh)
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June 13, 2018 12:42 EDT PM  

John,

It's a neat idea, but I doubt it'll ever happen. There are too many little details that stand in the way, IMHO. For one example, given that the iMac Pro has a built-in 10 GbE NIC, the Mac Pro has to have one. But a Mac mini with a 10 GbE NIC? Too expensive...

Old UNIX Guy


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geoduck
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June 13, 2018 1:57 EDT PM  

Really? Apple doesn't do throwaway computing? MacBooks with everything including the SSD and RAM soldered in place making then un upgradeable? IiMac's where you can't upgrade anything? Same with the current MacMini? iPhones and iPads which as great as they are, are sealed devices with no chance of repair? Admittedly this modular approach had helped reliability. We don't notice that things aren't upgradeable because they last so long. but that doesn't change the devices true nature. All up and down the line apple products are devices designed to be very capable, very solid, very long lived, but not to be serviceable or upgradeable. They are throwaway devices. Not that I'm blaming Apple. All computer manufacturers have gone to this.


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wab95
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June 13, 2018 5:01 EDT PM  

John:

This is a practical and utilitarian vision that is almost Teutonic in its simplicity in service to functionality. Its most compelling feature is its nod to SJ’s and Sir Jony’s minimalism, but of itself is no guarantor of correctness. Going against it is its break with the demarcation, functionally correct or not, between consumer and pro machines, the iPhone and Apple Watch being two notable exceptions to this device demarcation. One can take those exceptions as favourable to your proposal. Perhaps the desktop PC has matured to the point of such exceptionalism.

Time will tell.


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(@calion)
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June 13, 2018 5:37 EDT PM  

Isn't cooling going to be a major issue? How are you going to fit a high-powered GPU into a Mini-sized case, and cool it properly? Are you thinking that the GPU would be external? Isn't that exactly why people don't like the existing Mac Pro—the expectation that upgrades will be external?


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John Martellaro
(@john-martellaro)
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June 13, 2018 8:30 EDT PM  

Our Kelly Guimont has a great idea, Stackable chassis. Add the high performance stack component on top then stack the next component which is nothing but fans on top of that. You'd get fan cooling plus convection.


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Frank Carlet
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June 15, 2018 9:43 EDT AM  

One of the charms of the Mac Mini in its current form factor is its compact, space efficient footprint. If Apple eliminates the Mini in favor of a "budget" Mac Pro, i don't see how they can reconcile compactness of the current Mini with the expandability needs of the large Pro audience.


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geneking7320
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June 15, 2018 12:06 EDT PM  

The concept of a 'headless iMac' has been discussed for while. If Apple can produce an iMac on sterioids [iMac Pro] why can't it produce a Macintosh which would have the equivalent computing power of the iMac to beyond that of the iMac Pro without a display?


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KoderKev
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July 12, 2018 2:43 EDT AM  

Using T-bolt as the “spine” of that configuration would make the whole thing work. You start with a base of a cpu & mb, then add a drive unit, a unit with the ports you want, and a graphics unit if you need better than the Intel graphics. By God, that’s damned brilliant. I WANT THIS TO BE TRUE!


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