On Oct 16, 2014, Apple released its last refresh of the Mac Mini line. Since then a lot of people have been waiting for a newer model.
The 2014 refresh was controversial in so many ways:
First: The quad-core option was removed. No longer was it possible to buy a powerful Mac-Mini, such as the earlier 2012 Mac Mini which had an option of a quad-core I7-3720QM option. Now the Mac-Mini was reduced to only a dual-core CPU.
Second: The RAM was soldered in. No longer was it possible to buy a Mac Mini with the idea of upgrading it later on.
Third: Apple made i more difficult to upgrade the Mac Mini’s storage, starting with an unnecessary second cover plate on the bottom.
Mac Mini aficionados were outraged. Overnight, the price of the older 2012 Mac Mini soared higher than the then new 2014 Mac Mini.
The Mac Mini was a breakthrough with it first came out. It was the “original” NUC (Next Unit of Computing) – a barebones computer where one could add their own RAM and storage – before the word NUC became common among techies.
It was relative easy to repair, and self upgrade with better storage and more RAM. It had earned a cult status among Mac Mini users for just that reason. While Apple usually aimed for the techno-phobic customer, who wanted turnkey products, the Mac Mini actually attracted geeks. It was the one Apple product that could be easily improved by the customer.
One could find videos on the internet on how to turn your 2012 Mac Mini into a powerhouse of a computer with simple improvements.
In 2014, that all ended.
So what should Apple do now?
The trend in the industry is to smaller and smaller desktops called NUCs or small form factor computers. NUCs are coming on board.
- Apple should reconsider issuing the Mac Mini again as it was originally: a NUC.
- Apple should release the Mac Mini with the i7 quad-core 8th generation chip options.
- Apple should consider adding a small dedicated GPU to the Mac Mini. Does not have to be full size. A small mobile GPU – like the NVIDIA GeForce MX150, or a Radeon equivalent – would be acceptable.
- Apple should make the Mac Mini user upgradeable again. Get rid of the second cover on the bottom.
- Apple should stop soldering in the RAM. This is a desktop, not a laptop.
- Apple should not inflate the price of the Mac Mini. A high-end Mac Mini should start at under $1000, with the user deciding if they want to buy all the memory and storage at once, or add it themselves later on.
- No more 5400 RPM HDDs, please. Apple should offer Fusion Drives to start.
If Apple would do that, Apple would have a runaway best seller.
A lot of techies prefer PCs, but would consider an Apple product because they could use it to build Apple apps – something which cannot be done on a PC. Moreover, as Apple’s Bootcamp program allows one to dual boot to either MacOS or Windows, this would be an ideal solution for techies. In fact, a could techie could set up a triple boot, MacOs, Windows, Linux system.
C’mon Apple, release a new Mac Mini! Make it user-upgradeable, and don’t make it atrociously expensive.