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Apple Is Planning a New Low-Cost MacBook, Pro-Focused Mac Mini (bloomberg.com)
152 points by minimaxir 8 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 159 comments



Too little, too late. I bought an X1 Carbon earlier this summer and have been pleasantly surprised by Ubuntu.

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.


That’s great but you are a tiny tiny minority.


If this is true, then how do you explain where it says in the article they sold the fewest macs for the quarter since 2010?


Well, I or example am still running my macbook pro late 2013.. I have no reason yet to upgrade. Also, the "worldwide pc shipments effectively flat in Q1 2018"


Same here. At least for the moment I’m happily running Arch on an X1. Not that there aren’t tradeoffs but man, Apple has been killing me the last few years. I can’t do the dongle life.


And I'm running NixOS on P71. More possibilities as a developer than a Mac.


What do you plug in that means you need dongles?

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?


Yes, a screen’s HDMI can go to USB-C… with a dongle. Am I guaranteed the upstairs conference room will have one? Nope, better pack the dongle. USB drives, USB headphone/mic adapter, the list goes on and on. I’m not saying it has to bother you but it does me.


And when the MacBook had HDMI I had to carry dongles for VGA and DisplayPort. One person's native format is another's required adapter.


Sure, but HDMI and mini-DisplayPort covered my needs pretty well without adapters. Was it perfect? No. Was it usually enough? Yes.


You can buy USB-C enclosures off eBay for like $10.

And the MacBooks have a 3.5mm headphone/microphone adapter.


Same, but I went with a Razer Blade 15 which also replaces my gaming desktop machine. Ubuntu has been surprisingly usable for development work.


I went back and forth between a full Linux desktop/laptop, and in the end I moved my environment over to the existing Windows 10 gaming PC with WSL(Windows Subsystem for Linux). Its been awesome. Now I get two full usable environments on the same machine, without missing software that only runs on mac/windows. I just can't deal with my aging 2008 mac pro anymore, and whatever new Mac Pro that comes out will be something so ridiculously priced, that it's not worth it anyhow for most pros.


What's your opinion on the Superfish incident[1]?

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superfish#Lenovo_security_inci...


Give i3wm a shot, you'll be amazed on how your workflow improves.


Eh I used i3 on my personal laptop and work desktop for about two years but eventually traded it in for Gnome and don't miss it.

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.


Dude, twm is all you need.


I really hope the lower cost MacBook is actually just the MacBook Pro without the touchbar.


And with TouchId


Why not FaceID? I'd appreciate that in a laptop.


If they can also get a snazzy notch into the laptop, like on the iPhoneX, they'll earn another customer!

/s


And a new keyboard...


I'm kind of intrigued by what a pro-focused Mac Mini could be.

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.


Apple does have one fairly unusual pro-level use case, which is that you need to have a macOS machine if you want to develop iOS applications. Having a relatively low-cost (i.e. under $1,000) macOS machine you can plug into an existing monitor and keyboard makes iOS development easier to get into for people and companies who aren't already 100% Apple-focused. A reasonably spec'ed updated Mac Mini would fill that niche nicely.


Just a different form factor for the new macbook without a display, maybe $700?


> Apple does have one fairly unusual pro-level use case, which is that you need to have a macOS machine if you want to develop iOS applications.

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.


I assume it'd look at lot like Intel's high end NUC models. Small case, Thunderbolt 3 port. Maybe multiple TB3 ports?

https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIAE4N7YU8...

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.


NUC is all I want out of Apple, and I would definitely (eventually) buy a Pro Mini. I take my "laptop" to work and home every day, but I plug into bigger monitor and better keyboard. However, because the latest gen laptop keyboards are so terrible, even when I want portability I use my older gen and smaller size MacBook Pro. This has led me to realize that my needs for a portable home<->work machine differ from my needs of programming anywhere. I want two machines, and I don't want the other machine to even have a screen.

I'm excited for the potential here.


Perhaps just carring the hdd around will be a interesting option


But why reduce the size? Apple has tvOS for the living room now. The Mini is already tiny enough that you can comfortably carry it around in a backpack, or hide it behind your screen. I find it hard to see any gains beyond that.

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.


>But why reduce the size? Apple

You answered your own question.


Oh, I almost expect Apple to make it too thin to be useful. But I've seen people actively hope for a smaller Mini on Twitter before, and I don't understand that sentiment. What's the market for a tiny $1000 desktop Mac?


Yeah laptops I understand, I travel for work and the thinner and lighter is all the better for my specific use case. For desktops, I've never even understood the case for the Intel NUC. Isn't it just a headless laptop? And they don't seem to be substantially cheaper than a laptop, and a laptop is easy to just tuck away on/under your desk if you want it out of sight, so what's the point?

I'm sure someone is using them for something, but I've never fretted how big a stationary computer is.


All the relevant ports are on the back instead of split between the left and the right. Plus, they're purchased bare bones so you can add in however much storage and RAM you want which is an increasingly hard to find option on a laptop.

They also have somewhat better cooling than laptops because they're so thick, and you can buy silent passive cooling cases for them.


I have a 2013 NUC that I used as a desktop PC for a few years. What I found nice is that it came with its own VESA bracket, so I could mount it on the back side of my monitor to produce something that looks like an all-in-one PC or iMac.


Actually a tiny Mac Mini which could plug into an iPad as a screen is an interesting work "machine." That would be pluggable into a real setup at home.


Why would it not get smaller? Intel makes their NUCs the size that they are because that's the size of the components these days.

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.


Agreed about repairability. What we don't know is whether Apple cares about noise. Powerful laptops and Intel's high-end NUCs suffer from fan noise under load[1]. One of the advantages of non-tiny desktop machines is that they can afford better cooling solutions.

[1] https://www.reddit.com/r/intelnuc/comments/7ga2q9/skull_cany...


I'd bet on the cooling looking something like the Apple TV 4K's does:

https://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/Apple+TV+4K+Teardown/97511#s...

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.


The Apple TV that came before it didn’t have a fan. I’m more inclined to think this was an exception rather than the rule.


Right, but we’re including a potential “pro-focused” Mini which will quite possibly use the same quad core processors available in the 13” MBP. Can you cool that passively in a small case?

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.


A lot of people need Mac servers (eg. for building and testing macOS and iOS apps). Right now, the best computer for that use case is an iMac. iMacs are really inconvenient as servers.

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.


Why are you surprised a Mac Mini is too slow as a build server? It's just a low-end laptop chip in a box. I don't get the server use case.


The server use case for Mac Mini is a huge compromise. Sonnet Tech [1] makes a 1U rack enclosure with a PCIe riser connected internally to the Mini's Thunderbolt port.

Internally we had one used for our company's OSX Server running profile manager before going to Jamf Pro.

[1] https://www.sonnettech.com/product/xmacminiserver.html


Ok. But then, which Mac would you use as a build server? Mac servers no longer seem to exist, iMacs and Mac Pros are not stackable, you can't build iOS/OSX apps on a standard linux box, and laptops have the same issue as the Mini. That's why a Pro-focused Mac Mini, with even a mid-end desktop CPU and reasonable RAM would be ideal here, and a Mini with a modern laptop CPU would still be a vast improvement of the current situation.


I'd say this use case is ideally suited to the Hackintosh but I haven't attempted it. I mean there's all that server grade hardware out there just waiting to be hacked to work with OS X.


>I'm kind of intrigued by what a pro-focused Mac Mini could be.

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.


I'm kind of intrigued by what a pro-focused Mac Mini could be.

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.


Quad core is believable, probably the same Coffee Lake parts that just got them to quad core on the 13" Macbook Pro.

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.


I would guess they move from a 28W TDP part to a 45W TDP part, but remain in the mobile line. That means an H series instead of a U series. Something like the i5-8300H (4 cores, 8 threads) and the i7-8850 (6 cores, 12 threads), with up to 64 GB of RAM, and the same ridiculously fast SSD as in the macbook pro line-up. Prices will go up by a significant chunk in keeping with Tim Cook's policy to keep pushing up the average selling price, but you'll get proportionately more hardware so it will probably be a pretty reasonable deal.


> I'm kind of intrigued by what a pro-focused Mac Mini could be.

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.


Mac Mini is still the only mini desktop with internal power supply. All the photos of NUC or that HP Prodesk never show the ugly power brick.


Realistically I want:

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.


With a little luck the mini pro will be something like the Hades Canyon NUC.


Kaby Lake G (I7 + Radeon Vega) seems like the perfect processor for a Mini "Pro".

That and adding their hi-speed SSD controller (T2 chip?) would be great.


I'd bet big bucks they'll be pushing eGPUs with this model. They've invested so much developer time and hardware R&D into them for Macbooks and for the form factor they're shooting for, it'll make sense to have a powerful external TB3 GPU instead of a Radeon 560X or something. It'll let them get away with a small case without extreme cooling/noise.


What would be the odds that it could be an "eGPU built-in", ie: ability to easily swap.


> 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.

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++


SolidWorks and AfterEffects are probably the heavy hitters as far as workload goes. Everything else you mention is (or should be) very lightweight for a modern computer.

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.


>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++

You realize that that's a workload that 99.99% of users do not share, right?


My workload is also unique, but interestingly has a lot of similarities.


Ideally the RAM wont be soldered on.


While we're dreaming, how about ports in the front! Miss my aluminum tower.


Still running a 2008 vintage aluminum tower at home. True story.


What software do you run on it? I'm wondering about the browser in particular.


Hopefully one standard USB 3.0 and one USB-C port on the front.


If Apple added ports to the front of the new Mac mini, they would all have to be USB-C ports (either USB 3.2 or Thunderbolt 3).

I can't imagine Jony Ive would find a mix of USB A and C ports aesthetically pleasing.


I'd welcome 32 gb of ram


> But Apple has the iMac Pro and the upcoming Mac Pro update. So, what would a pro-focused Mac Mini be?

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.


I have the same. Depending on your use case a USB 3 to 4k HD adapter might work for you.

The displaylink driver for Mac seemed to take a large leap ahead last year.


I'm kind of intrigued by what a pro-focused Mac Mini could be.

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.


I would say something with configurable memory (8, 16, 32, 64) and storage (m.2) and a basic GPU. If you need more powerful graphics, then get an outboard GPU.

Pretty much an Intel NUC with an i7.


>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.


It's easy to find out which kit works these days. All that's left after that is half an hour's reading about MultiBeast and you're off to the races. I've been running a pair of Hackies as my main workstations for the last decade. Solid as a rock on a couple of Gigabyte EX58-UD5s.


I've thought about building a Hackintosh, but the issues around having to put up with non-working hardware (sometimes WiFi, sometimes Bluetooth, etc.) is off-putting to me.

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.


I think it's useful to distinguish between desktop/workstation and laptop. I use a Macbook Pro alongside my Hackintosh workstations because there's a world of difference between Hackintosh laptops and workstations. The workstation hardware compatibility was nailed a long time ago but with laptops there was usually something you had to either replace or go without.


Do you install updates regularly? Do you use iMessage, Handoff, etc.? I've noticed that people who gave up their Hackintoshes often mention problems with those things. It seems like people who have had good experiences rarely mention them at all.


I'll admit I don't use some of the more esoteric features of OS X but, yes, I do install updates regularly. I test these on a cloned disk first but usually all that's required is to simply run the original MultiBeast configuration after installing the update and everything is back to normal. I will concede one thing I had to go without - sleep - but I don't find it matters on a workstation like it does on a laptop.


I would like a Mini Pro with a 65-95 watt 6 core CPU and Thunderbolt 3.


Plus an AMD Vega GPU and dual NICs.


It means they'll put a touch bar on it for selecting emojis


> I'm kind of intrigued by what a pro-focused Mac Mini could be.

Perhaps a minimal setup for compiling stuff for Apple's OSes?

I could go for something like that.


Put an i9 in a shortened 2013 Mac Pro case and I think that would work well as a pro-focused Mac Mini.


Would an i9 be able to stay cool in such a small case?


I think they will call it Pro is more mark of how much it will cost, then anything else.


I just wanted an updated mac mini...not a "pro" model. Whenever Apple attaches the word 'pro' on a product it usually means "a fuck ton more expensive".


I feel like no matter what Apple does, people will never be happy.

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.


You know what would have made developers happy? Regular refreshes on the cheese grater tower. THAT IS ALL ANYONE HAS EVER WANTED. Nope, we get a trashcan that is over priced, can't be upgraded, and also still gets zero updates.


The cheese grater mac was really incredibly designed. it's a shame they decided to limit things with the trashcan one. apple if you are listening please let people upgrade or at least replace parts when something goes bad in the desktop line. don't make the desktop a huge ipad.


Agree - Looks like Apple has listened and they are working on a new modular Mac Pro machine : https://techcrunch.com/2018/04/05/apples-2019-imac-pro-will-...


“Modular” might mean “you can plug in a bunch of things with Thunderbolt”, mind you.


They already did that with the "can" pro design and they said this will be different and more upgradable.


Possibly, but I doubt it.

Apple has acknowledged that the trashcan design was a mistake.


It depends.

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.


> If it was a “consumer” Mac Mini, you’d complain “Apple has given up on Pro users”

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


As a long-time Mac owner (just bought a refurb one from Apple) I agree with the parent poster... their "pro" stuff is just too expensive.

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.


Beyond a clean look on a desk, what's the advantage of having the computer and the monitor in the same device? It seems a bit barbaric to me, like sacrificially killing and burying the slave when their master dies but in a (shallow) sense worse because with iMac the master must also die when the slave does, by which I mean that if either computer or monitor craps out, you get to trash them both. What happens when it falls off of the desk or is dropped when moving or hit by a baseball or your clumsy girlfriend/boyfriend/kid/coworker/neighbor or falls during the earthquake and on and on? You've automatically doubled your sorrows? Yes this is true of laptops but why import the weakness to desktops?


Surely there are many purchases in your life where you trade some money for convenience!

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.


Yeah, I can see the convenience, and in fact I've used iMacs and enjoyed them. They're dead simple to set up, they look great, and importantly for the company they keep the Apple logo on the desk instead of under it while keeping the screen manufacturer's logo away.

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...


Yeah the iMac Pro is one of the most ridiculous products I've seen in ages, from any company in any market.

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 think a lot of people just want the models they have to be kept up to date.

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.


Well, considering the original Mac Mini was about $500 and sat alongside a $3k+ Mac Pro, both of those complaints seem pretty reasonable...


> If it was a “consumer” Mac Mini, you’d complain “Apple has given up on Pro users”.

Eh, the Mini was never for pros to begin with.


They did offer a server version for a while. Not pro, I suppose, but definitely not consumer either.


I was perfectly happy with the Macbook Pro line until they introduced he touch bar/removed magsafe.


same here. Touch Bar is something I have no need or desire for, and I wish that it was a BTO option instead. And if you're in a house with a dog, magsafe is an absolute lifesaver. I was shocked that they eliminated it.


Here's the video where Jobs introduces MagSafe: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VeqF7zcBOVA

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.


>I just wanted an updated mac mini...not a "pro" model.

Yeah, and then you'd complain it's not spec'ed up enough.


It hasn't been updated in 4 years. Any update will be spec'd enough.


I still have a Late 2012 Mac Mini i7 and it runs great. Upgraded the RAM to 16GB and put in an SSD, runs like a dream. Would definitely look at upgrading if the newer ones were compelling enough.


Same here - I've been running a 2012 Mini as my media center since it came out. I actually purchased a 2014 Mini the day it came out, found out it couldn't be upgraded, and returned it the next day.


Yeah, the only thing i'm missing from my well beloved quad core mini is the ability to use a HiDPI display.


Are you developing for iOS 11 with it?


It handles everything I throw at it (Scala/Akka/Node, Docker, Discord, Slack, Million Chrome Tabs, ect etc etc)


I've been developing on my Mini 2012 for five years: native iOS and macOS, Unity3d, Xamarin.


Note that this has been rumored for awhile, but since this post is by Mark Gurman, it has much more weight.


Dated Mac Minis were the thing that pushed me over the edge with Apple, and back to Windows. Then multiple reasons lead me back to Linux, and finally back to Mac :P.

Much too late to save me from trying every other OS again, but I'll still be happy to finally have a modern Mini.


Back in around 2012, when I was working at at consultancy, they had slowly started replacing MacBook Pros for Mac Minis.

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.


There is an almost 100% chance of me buying one of those when they come out.

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.


Owning a unicorn 2012 quad-core i7 Mac mini for use as a server.. (more horsepower than the current i7 dual-core Mac mini) ..

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.


I'm strongly suspecting this new "low cost" MacBook will be the first to have an Arm chip


I think if the options are a Macbook running ARM or an iPad being used like a Mac, I'd prefer the iPad used as a Mac. If we had mouse support and a way to set up a new sandbox to run arbitrary code temporarily (but still securely) like spinning up a Docker instance, we'd be there already. Meanwhile a Macbook running on ARM needs all new software and will necessarily have things it can't run, with the extra negative of not having 10 years of apps built specifically for the platform.

Basically, use the platform they already have to its full potential, rather than creating a new platform in a slowing niche.


Would be interesting. We see they're going that direction, but I somehow doubt that'll be the case. People won't buy MacBooks* and a lot of them want something like an Air. Not quite a pro, but still a full laptop without strong compromises.

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.


For about 2 years and then it'll abandon it again.

Witness: - 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.


Any predictions on the price of the rumored "low-cost" MacBook?


Sounds like it is replacing the Macbook Air, so I'd guess it will start around $999.


The previous low cost entry was the MacBook Air 11", I think the base model was $899. I would like to see them start around there. Small is nice.


Still soldiering on with my 2012 Macbook Air 11″. A bit more horsepower would be nice as would 16Gb rather than 8Gb, but I don’t want the extra weight or size (or Touchbar) of the Pro. An i5 MacBook with 16Gb memory is over £1500 and feels like only a moderate upgrade over my current laptop. Hoping that whatever Apple release is 11″ or 12″, although I’m pretty certain it won’t be.


It's still my favourite machine ever. Mine has dual core i7, the MacBooks don't look like an upgrade in any way.


If you adjust for inflation since 2010 when the 11" Air was released, $1000 is just about right.


Depending on specs this might work for me. I'm on a 2013 iMac but I don't want to replace it with another iMac because I need (and already have) a second monitor to connect my work laptop to. I'd love something with the power of a current (non-pro) iMac. Don't know if that means a top of line mac mini or a bottom of line mac pro.


Just posted this, but what if the Mac Mini could be paired with an iPad for screen/keyboard and portable use?

https://ckluis.com/rumored-mac-mini-pro-7feed0cc38b2


Will the new Mini have a T2 processor for secure boot and disk encryption?


All future Macs will have T chips; why wouldn't they?


That would be my guess as well.


The Mini doesn't include a touch bar that requires a T2.


Neither does the iMac Pro; the T2 is a security device first, touch input controller second.


It does all kinds of stuff. It is also the SSD/Flash controller running Apple's own software for it.


Not does the iMac Pro, but that has the T2.


The T2 provides full-speed AES 256 encryption to a pair of PCIe SSDs in a RAID 0 configuration on the iMac Pro.


It would be very strange for Apple not to considering the functions of the T2 chip.

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208862


No mention of the Macbook Pro then. My eyesight can't cope with the 13/12" models and the only alternative right now is a Macbook Pro which can't handle the heat generated by its processor. I thought Mac Mini and Pro were opposite ends of the spectrum? Sounds like a bit of "creative" marketing to me.


The MacBook Pro overheating problem was completely fixed with a software update a month or so back if I remember correctly.


I have a 2013 Air. I wish the ram was extendable :/


Chromebook competitor?


I doubt it would be cheap enough to compete with most Chromebooks, and the depending on how you spec it the 12" MacBook and the 13" MacBook pro without touchbar already compete with the high end Chromebooks like the Pixelbook


You might be right about the first part.... but I don't think if Apple were worried about Chromebooks that they'd be concerned with the Pixelbook... more so the educational market eating up the low cost Chromebooks.


Apple is hugely concerned about low cost Chromebooks eating the educational market, but it's because they want them to be using iPads not Macs.

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.


Makes sense thanks


Normally I would be excited, but now when I hear about Apple updating any Mac hardware I get worried about what will be removed or broken next.

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.


First: Apple, take my money.

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.


> Apple failed to show interest in laptop and desktop machines and is fully focused on phones.

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.


I've been hunting around for a new netbook that would bridge the gap between portable and durable. This isn't it.

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.

https://journalism.columbia.edu/technology-guide-2016-2017


Your main criticism of Apple products is other users' motivation for buying them?


Seeing other people happy for seemingly inexplicable reasons is maddening.


The only time you should worry about someone's happiness is when they're unhappy. Their reasons for being happy are their own and no one else's.


I didn’t say it was rational, but who hasn’t complained at some point that the music their (kids/parents/neighbors) love is garbage?

(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.)


In reality, it's just gatekeeping. Those people can't possibly appreciate the thing they have, so they don't deserve to have it. I see the same thing with so many other things: that "soccer mom" doesn't use that Jeep for off-roading, so she's not a real Jeep owner. That old man can't drive his Corvette the way it should be driven so it's a waste. That amateur guitarist doesn't deserve that Gibson Les Paul, he should have the Epiphone Les Paul Jr.

Some people have such a need to be unhappy or offended constantly. It's really not healthy.


I was trying to be generous, but yes. As a card-carrying member of the Jeep and IT communities, yes.




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