I don't think I'll be in the market again for another 2-3 years and by then I may be fully sold on Linux.
I was a hardcore mac enthusiast from 2006-2018... But the past few years have resulted in a lot of disdain for the company.
Your screen can go into the USB-C, so can power. What else are you plugging into a laptop that can't be done over WiFi or Bluetooth?
And the MacBooks have a 3.5mm headphone/microphone adapter.
i3 does make me feel more productive but I don't think it actually made me more productive. The idea that switching between windows in a slightly suboptimal way decreases productivity significantly is just not true in my experience.
What drew me to Gnome was that the font rendering looked better and it's the default option for Fedora and now Ubuntu, so setting up a new workstation is super easy.
I'm on Windows most of the time now. Still have a laptop with Fedora and Gnome for when I need it though.
I agree on the top level that a desktop computer in 2018 is actually probably more niche and pro focused than laptops, which have become the default computers for people.
But Apple has the iMac Pro and the upcoming Mac Pro update. So, what would a pro-focused Mac Mini be? It would need the reliability of a desktop machine, something the laptops have struggled with.
I guess I could see this being useful for someone who wants external displays, but doesn't need that much power.
Which is a completely artificial requirement and it's a shame people are forced to patch VMvare just to run macOS, sometimes just for the final stages before uploading the app to the App Store.
And it could actually be "Mini", which is increasingly a stretch for the current design from 8 years ago. The Apple TV is probably smaller and more powerful if you could run a general purpose OS on it.
I'm excited for the potential here.
If Apple keeps the current chassis, they could either make it more silent, or more powerful. Both would be fantastic for a pro machine.
Edit: I wouldn't even mind a slightly larger machine. The HP Z2 Mini G4 looks like it's going to be a great six-core workstation.
You answered your own question.
I'm sure someone is using them for something, but I've never fretted how big a stationary computer is.
They also have somewhat better cooling than laptops because they're so thick, and you can buy silent passive cooling cases for them.
It's not like Apple's going to make the new Mac Mini three times the size it needs to be and stuff a bunch of 3.5" HDD bays in for people who want to use it as a file server.
Smaller with fewer components and everything soldered/glued together is a cheap way to build smaller and cheaper at the cost or repairability, and Apple clearly doesn't care about repairability. They've said that the Mac Pro redesign will be more modular, but I don't see them doing that here.
At least since it's not a handheld touchscreen device, you can take it apart and replace stuff. It even uses Torx screws! But there's not a lot of discrete parts here, just the power supply,the motherboard, and the fan.
Once upon a time the Mac Minis would have let you replace the RAM or disk, but I'd expect it to look like a similar similar power supply + motherboard + fan in a box.
Minis a few years ago had a quad core processor option and a lot of people have been disappointed by its absence, making the current generation objectively worse than previous ones. I don’t think they’ll pass up the option to put it back in, IIRC it was something to do with their choice of Intel’s processor families that got it dropped in the first place.
The Mac mini is a perfect server: needs little power, it's small and stackable, easy to replace if something fails, doesn't have unnecessary components like big graphic cards or screen.
I'd love to buy a couple Mac minis as build servers and for running unit tests, but the current version is too slow and way to expensive.
Internally we had one used for our company's OSX Server running profile manager before going to Jamf Pro.
Honestly a version of the "trash can" Mac Pro with regular, consumer level internals would suit the Mac mini use-case just fine.
Give it a very good single video card rather than whatever strange 2x Firepro thingy, a regular i7 or i5 instead of a Xeon, and regular memory instead of ECC RAM.
If they can get it in at the $500-$1,500 ranges we'd be good. The cost of the novel industrial design has probably already been paid for by the Mac Pro version of it.
Some sort of novel integration into an eGPU enclosure might be a cool addition. (Although defeats the e in eGPU I guess). But it would certainly meet a lot of peoples' needs for upgradability.
Couple of disks in a RAID, lots of RAM, bring back the quad core. Like the Mac Mini Server of old. They've already built it before, they just need to bring it back in modern form.
I could see a RAID of SSDs like the iMac Pro has. Not in a base model certainly, but that's what I'd put in a pro-focused mini.
Thunderbolt 3 for expansion for sure. Which will be hilarious because the Mac Mini Pro will be a more up-to-date Pro machine than the Mac Pro is. They still have Thunderbolt 2 ports (with the mini DisplayPort connector) on Mac Pro, Macbook Air, and Mac Mini. The latter two are said to be updated soon, the Mac Pro who knows when.
Take a look at the Mini's modern competition: Dell's Optiplex 7060 mini or HP's Prodesk 600 G4 mini, which can use Intel's i7-6700T (6 cores / 12 hyper threads) and hold 32GB of memory and, IIRC, are even slightly smaller than a Mac Mini. Not quite a modern workstation but still a lot of computing power in a small package.
That's how far behind the times the Mac Mini is and Apple would be foolish not to catch up.
SSD options that aren't laughable. Right now Apple charges $600 to upgrade the mac mini's Fusion drive to 1 TB, when the cost of a good non-NVMe 1 TB SSD is around $200. I don't expect Apple to ever offer cheap memory or SSD upgrades but 200% markups vs retail are a joke (and that assumes no value for the fusion drive). 50% markup is better than their phone margins and says they should be able to offer 1 TB for $300 and 2 TB for $600.
An ARM chip running alongside Intel's CPU. Most importantly this will let me run the ARM macOS they are moving to next year. More immediately the ARM chip could (1) be used as GPUs by Mojave, giving the mini pro the performance for games more demanding than puzzle, (2) run iOS/tVOS now, sleeping Intel to save power while I do light tasks and serving as a higher spec Apple TV.
That and adding their hi-speed SSD controller (T2 chip?) would be great.
Really? I wish this were the case. I even invested some serious dollar into getting a decent laptop (Carbon X1, 6th generation), but generally in my experience the smaller it is the more unreliable it is.
It gets hot, it freezes up, all sorts of annoying problems. It is really frustrating, and now at this point I prefer to do all of my serious stuff on a desktop.
For clarification, things I do include: * solidworks design, * aftereffects compositing of things made in cinema4d, * python scripting, * watching movies on vlc, * having a shitload of tabs open in chrome at any given time, * opening very large text files in Notepad++
For reference, my typical workload for my 2018 MBP is:
* At least one Windows VM running
* At least two web browsers running, sometimes three, depending on what I'm doing.
* Python as needed
* At least one large Java application running
* The usual office-y applications - Outlook, Adium, Teams, OneNote, Word, Excel
* Opening large text files in Sublime Text is a regular occurrence.
Even though there's a lot of stuff going on, there's nothing that routinely makes the machine spin up the fans, let alone overheat and crash.
You realize that that's a workload that 99.99% of users do not share, right?
I can't imagine Jony Ive would find a mix of USB A and C ports aesthetically pleasing.
I guess a lot like the 2012s. I have a 2012 mac mini server, i7, 16gb and two internal disks. The only thing I miss is that the built in GPU can't drive a 4k monitor.
The displaylink driver for Mac seemed to take a large leap ahead last year.
It would look a lot like the previous Mac Mini, quad core with upgradable memory and two drive bays. Before they crippled it to try and sell more Mac Pros.
Pretty much an Intel NUC with an i7.
That's exactly what I'm thinking although Apple being Apple, base price will be $1,299 for the i5 version, storage and memory will be soldered on and marked up 200%. It'll still sell like hotcakes because the alternative is a hackintosh and the time of your average HN reader is dear enough it's just easier and arguably more sensible to spend the money unless you really want to spend the time fighting MacOS to run on non-Apple hardware.
I've reached the point where I think maybe the mid-2015 MacBook Pro Retina is the pinnacle of their development. While I could build something that functioned better in some areas, the overall package just wouldn't quite measure up.
Perhaps a minimal setup for compiling stuff for Apple's OSes?
I could go for something like that.
If it was a “consumer” Mac Mini, you’d complain “Apple has given up on Pro users”.
I recommend waiting until they come out with pricing and the details before writing it off glibly.
Apple has acknowledged that the trashcan design was a mistake.
The original goal of the Mac Mini was meant to be an entry level Mac. Which was perfect at the time for getting your feet wet on iOS/MacOS development, or getting a taste for the OS. That wasn't a problem because there was the iMac and Power Mac to fulfil the Pro/Developer markets.
If Apple released another consumer grade Mac Mini to fulfil the same segment (i.e. entry level) I actually think people would be quite positive. But it won't take away from the fact that the Pro/Developer market remains largely neglected.
A "Pro" Mac Mini might be the worst of both worlds. No longer entry level price, and not powerful enough (due to cooling) for Pros/serious developers.
I agree that in the current context, this is true. But this is primarily because the Mac Pro hasn’t been updated in eons and the current MBPs are so controversial that many pro users are sticking with 5-8 year old MBPs instead of “upgrading”.
If there were current Mac Pros and MBPs that see unequivocally better than older models, people would not jump to this complaint
I don't mind paying a bit of a Mac tax on my hardware. Honestly, I feel that up to perhaps 30-40% is fine. Macs have generally high build quality, contain some bespoke hardware, and I find they have a lower cost of ownership than Windows.
(Also, traditionally, Macbook Pros often priced pretty similarly to high end Windows laptops like Thinkpads anyway)
But, even as somebody that writes software for a living, it's tough to pay astronomical prices for "pro" hardware.
I'd love a nice beefy i7 or i9 Mac with a 512GB SSD on my desktop. On the Windows side I could get one for around $800: https://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N...
I understand why those pro models cost so much; they use Intel's Xeon chipsets (ECC RAM, etc) and bundle very pricey GPUs. Thing is, those features simply aren't that useful for a lot of "pro" buyers like most software developers. Even most design apps don't make much use of the GPU IIRC.
On the Mac side of things, I'd be looking at paying a minimum of $3K (Mac Pro) $5K (iMac Pro) or $2K (iMac) for something comparable. Now obviously, the iMacs include a monitor (duh) but I already own nice monitors.
Now, what will Apple charge for this "Mac Mini Pro?"
If it's a few hundred bucks more than a high-spec Intel NUC that sells for $1K, fine. I'll pay it. If it's $2K, they can go take a hike.
1. Failure rates on computer hardware (particularly things that sit on a desk, and aren't banged around in a laptop) are pretty low these days. The odds of an all-in-one Mac reaching the end of its useful lifespan without a major failure are, I'd think, overwhelmingly good.
2. Look at all the monitor choices out there. HD? Full HD? QXVGA? WXVASDCJndDF? TN? IPS? I mean, it's kind of alphabet soup.
3. Look at all the cable and connector options. DP, HDMI revisions, etc. Again, easy for you and me, but not something everybody wants to figure out.
4. Obviously it happens, but I don't know too many people that have managed to physically destroy a TV or non-laptop computer by accidentally smashing it. Odds of it happening are pretty low.
Now, I'd like to purchase my monitor separately, thanksverymuch. And I think there are enough buyers like you and I to make it worth Apple's while. But, I totally get the need/desire for models that are as integrated as possible.
I think it's when I see the iMac Pro that I start to really balk.
The irony is that Apple's design is pretty much a descendent of Bauhaus' and Braun's form-follows-function design -- and yet at least at the pro level they often appear to be sacrificing function for form.
I'm still a Mac user, though...
I don't mind some "Apple tax", like a few hundred bucks, but the iMac Pro is literally like 3x the cost of its competition.
(Though I'm sure Apple would tell us that there's no direct competitor. That's true, in a way -- I don't know of anybody else selling a Xeon machine with an integrated monitor -- but for the more typical use case of "I just want a really powerful desktop and I don't need/want a Xeon-based system" there are equivalent Windows machines for far under $2K)
I’ve been on the market for a new Air and Mini for ages. But I am still waiting because they won’t refresh or drop prices on old products.
Eh, the Mini was never for pros to begin with.
It's amazing that they're getting rid of it given how it clearly solves an actual problem. Personally I've had to re-solder two laptop power supply connections on older non-Mac laptops.
Yeah, and then you'd complain it's not spec'ed up enough.
Much too late to save me from trying every other OS again, but I'll still be happy to finally have a modern Mini.
The case was simple: greatly reduced cost for IT and the same, if not better, performance than the MacBook Pros.
I think Apple saw this pattern. If they'd carried on matching the laptop chips in core counts and with eGPUs on the horizon, you would have been able to build a desktop computer, with a faster graphics card than the Mac Pro with and a great monitor with spare change left over.
On benchmarks it would beat the Mac Pro in single core performance and have a better GPU.
It makes sense they crippled it until now.
They've realigned it into their line up with an expected very powerful Mac Pro, which if this is anything to go by may indicate they are not worried about GPU performance being close to the Mac Pro. Expect it to be priced similar to a MacBook Pro, minus screen, with similar performance.
I already have a Windows desktop and I'd love a small Mac desktop for iOS development and Unix stuff to keep on my desk too.
If the laptop is cheap and fast enough, I might instead replace my Thinkpad x220 running Fedora because I do occasionally want to do some computing away from my desk.
Either way, good on Apple for expanding the product line. That's what everyone's been asking for, but I'm sure that because it's Apple were talking about a vocal minority will be out in force to tell us why this decision sucks.
The Mac mini love might be a little late:
- Intel NUC is a compelling option especially the high end ones with GPU. Ubuntu is excellent on this. So is docker. And on and on.
- Mac minis were the Original NUCs in a lot of ways in terms of performance/watt. If current Mac minis hit $1200, a $2000 touch point wouldn't be out of the question.
- Still it would be interesting might be the ability to stack and connect multiple Mac mini pros to create a new Xserve...?
One can hope, I suppose.
Basically, use the platform they already have to its full potential, rather than creating a new platform in a slowing niche.
Still, would be interesting to see that. I think that's more a 2020, 2021 thing.
*: I mean of course some will. Apple sells things and people buy a ton of it. But a lot of people I know personally waited for years for a real Air refresh. Also many won't buy new MBP (like me) cause of reliability and usability concerns. So there is a market there for an updated product that doesn't have these issues.
- mac mini (for most of it's life)
- mac pro (G5, dustbin variant)
- both low and high end laptops at different times
Basically you can't buy Apple and expect to stay up to date by the looks of things.
Releasing the $329 dollar 2017 iPad was a direct response to Chromebooks in the educational market. It was actually a rather unusual product for Apple. It replaced the iPad Air 2 and did have a newer processor, but saved on cost by being thicker than the Air 2 and lacking a laminated screen. For reference, the Air 2 was the first iPad to have a laminated screen and the current iPad Pro models still do.
It will be very disappointing to me if yet another laptop comes out of Apple with no useful ports, an unreliable keyboard, and the goofy Touch Bar.
Second: Honestly until you show me real things, I am not seriously counting on such news reports. Apple failed to show interest in laptop and desktop machines and is fully focused on phones. I am looking for Intel's Canyon Hades Nuc as a replacement for my old iMac.
Well they overhauled the laptops not too long ago, and the Mac Pro is receiving a complete overhaul and is due out sometime next year, I think. (They're also working on a new pro display, they mentioned.)
I'm not saying all their updates have been phenomenal, but they are definitely spending some non-zero time on these things.
It really burns that most reporters turn to Apple products, a brand for which I have SEVERAL criticisms. My main complaint being that people purchase their products as fashion statements/status symbols first, and as tools second.
The situation is compounded by the fact that journalism schools like Columbia swear by Apple stuff, and only mention Android/Windows as an afterthought.
(And to be clear, I value what Apple brings to the table, but I see too much of this sort of complaint not to recognize its origin.)
Some people have such a need to be unhappy or offended constantly. It's really not healthy.