Now that it's focused more on releasing new iPhone models every year and upgrading its MacBook lineup at roughly over the same period, Apple seems to have largely forgotten about its most entry-level computer: Mac mini.
Current State Of The Apple Mac Mini
The Mac mini is perhaps the cheapest and easiest way to own and use a legitimate Mac, but its last upgrade was over three years ago. Right now, the standard $499 Mac mini model has a 1.4 GHz Intel Core i5 processor, 4 GB of RAM, Intel HD Graphics 5000, and 500 GB of storage.
Those aren't terrible specs at all — but they're in dire need of an update. That chip, for starters, is still based on Intel's Haswell architecture, and 4 GB of RAM is only decent for a flagship phone nowadays. So, what is Apple planning to do with the Mac? Is it going to abandon it like the iPod?
Is Apple Planning A Mac Mini Upgrade?
Not quite. In an email to an Apple customer, Apple CEO Tim Cook hinted about the company's plans for Mac mini — and it looks like it won't be abandoned for much longer.
The customer emailed Cook to remind him that the Mac mini hasn't gotten an upgrade in over three years. The author wanted to know if customers are going to see anything in the pipeline anytime soon. Cook's response, as MacRumors reports, went like this:
"I'm glad you love the Mac mini. We love it too. Our customers have found so many creative and interesting uses for the Mac mini. While it is not time to share any details, we do plan for Mac mini to be an important part of our product line going forward."
This isn't an exact confirmation per se that Apple is planning big things for the teensy Mac model. It could very well be just plain indication that it'll remain in the Mac lineup despite having outdated specs. In a way, this makes the MacBook Air and Mac mini kind of similar: they're both outdated little machines commingling with more powerful devices in their category. To be fair, the MacBook Air was updated this past June with a faster processor — but its screen is still awfully low-resolution and its design is really getting old.
Cook's comments echo what Apple's Marketing VP, Phil Schiller, said earlier this year when pressed for details about the future of Mac Mini. Like Cook, he also said it remains an "important product" in Apple's lineup, though he failed to share any more details about possible plans for an upgrade.
At $499, the Mac mini is still the cheapest way to experience macOS — the latest version, at that. All users need is a keyboard, a monitor, and a mouse, and they're good to go. Schiller regards the Mac mini as a machine that offers a mix of capabilities fit for the "consumer" and "pro" category of users, which seems fair enough for its asking price.
Thoughts about the Mac mini? Would you like to see an upgrade soon? As always, feel free to sound off in the comments section below!