Apple had last updated the Mac Mini back in 2014. Four years have passed since. Time has stood still for the Mac Mini. Four years is a very long time in the world of computing devices. The Q3 2018 numbers released in July, indicated that the Mac line-up of devices is not growing as well as expected. Yes, the company does make most of its money from the iPhones and services, but that doesn’t mean they want to let go of the Mac computing device space anytime soon. The refreshed MacBook line-up for 2018 was just the start, but there are more devices that need attention at the Mac and iPad focused Special Event on October 30.
There is a lot of expectation that the Mac Mini, in addition to the MacBook Air, will complete Apple’s reboot mission in the Mac space. Last year, Phil Schiller, Senior Vice President Worldwide Marketing, Apple had said that the Mac Mini is “an important product”. Apple CEO Tim Cook later reiterated that they plan to keep the Mac Mini around in the product line-up. Clearly, Apple knew they had to do something about the Mac Mini as well.
At this point, we must remember that it took Apple years to reintroduce and reposition the Mac Pro, focusing on the higher-end of the spectrum instead in its new avatar—the professional users. The same timelines would probably apply to the Mac Mini redevelopment process to. And that process could culminate this year. Chances are, the Mac Mini will be more powerful than ever before, and actually appeal to a completely new demographic of users. Souped-up specifications, powerful display connectivity capabilities, and voila—you have a computing device that would appeal to pro users.
The change is mostly necessary too. The last time Apple gave the Mac Mini its refresh, there was very much an audience for the Mac Mini. The home user didn’t mind a compact desktop PC at home, connected to a monitor or even a TV. And the latter also opened up the space for being a media streaming device—remember the Plex and torrents era, and you’ll see the whole picture. That audience has replaced the desktop, with a mix of the smartphones, tablets and laptops.
The audience that does remain loyal to the desktops are the professional users or gamers, who don’t mind paying a pretty penny to get the top of the line specifications. A part of that audience is what Apple positioned the Mac Pro for—the all-in-one computing device. And it’ll probably have to follow the same path with the Mac Mini, in some ways—except that this doesn’t have a display. The variety is what the Mac line-up needs. And variety is what the Mac line-up could get. The updated Intel Core processors, the 8th generation to be specific, will offer significantly better user experience than the 4th generation Intel Core processors which the Mac Mini still soldiers on with. Better graphics, more RAM, faster turbo speeds and more memory bandwidth—and the recipe is in place. Apple could even introduce the T2 security chip (seen in the latest MacBook Pro line-up), and it’ll be as up to date as you need it to be.