Apple rumor never sleeps. This week, Mark Gurman and Debby Wu at Bloomberg questioned the discussion with their somewhat vague report about a new MacBook and a "professional" update for the Mac mini.
John Gruber has already spent a lot on Daring Fireball. of the time that comes with what said MacBook update may look and where it fits right into Apple's portable selection, I find myself focusing more on the Mac mini news.
I've been a fan of the minimal desktop Mac for a long time, and I've owned two or three of them over the years, last a 2012 model that currently serves as my file and media server. It's a great little computer, especially after I've spent time upgrading it, but it never really looked like a "pro" machine, which made me think: What can a pro Mac mini mean?
Putting "Pro Specifications" in "Prospects"
Mac mini has never been a power plant, but the current version ̵
But the small footprint on the machine has always excluded offering high-end options, such as a video card more powerful than Intel's integrated Iris graphics chipset.
I'm hard to predict that the last part will change significantly in any future Mac mini if Apple actually holds the form factor substantially the same. Even the MacBook Pro uses an upgraded version of the Iris chipset. Apple's solution in the case of pro users who need more power appear to be external GPUs connected via Thunderbolt.
In the case of Thunderbolt, the Mac mini will need to get Thunderbolt 3 / USB-C ports to support the latest peripherals. I hope it will keep the HDMI port as it has had in the latest versions: Media Center is a common use for the mini, and with the most common digital AV connector, it's a more attractive option than dealing with dongles.
In terms of usage cases, this is the real issue for the Mac mini. What "pro" situations does Apple expect this machine to be used in? Media servers are not really a pro scenarios scenario; Most Macs these days have become quite ready to handle even bigger video files.
No, when Apple says "pro" it usually means "creative professional." Tasks like Photoshop, 3D Modeling, Visual Effects, Movie Editing, Music Production, and so on. But a Mac mini, with its relatively limited graphics power, does not seem well suited to almost any of these tasks, certainly not as much as an iMac Pro or the company's future Mac Pro. So how does the company exactly what it used to be the small low-priced machine against the high performance options?
There are some niche-literal and figurative Mac mini is uniquely suited. Headless servers, especially rack mounted options. Other places where space is at a premium, such as connected a TV to a wall-mounted display. Or all the adventurous hackers who will figure out how to fit a Mac mini into their car, for example. It's hard to see a MacBook Pro or an iMac used in any of the cases. Perhaps a skinless Mac is exactly what the server administrator required.
Advantages, no disadvantages
But all this raises a bigger question: How does the "pro" Mac mini fit into a lineup that already contains a powerful desktop (iMac), an even more powerful desktop version (iMac Pro ), and an upcoming update to the freestanding desktop power plant (Mac Pro)? There are many pro machines for a company that only make a relatively small percentage of sales to professionals.
A place Mac mini has traditionally competed at is at the expense; It has traditionally been offered at a $ 499 entry point, albeit for a machine without much power. It's still a viable option, as Apple does not have any other computers that are so cheap. But you're definitely not getting a "pro" machine for $ 499, despite the few hope of somebody.
Finally, it depends largely on what Apple's goals for this machine are. While I, like my colleague Jason Snell, want to see that the company receives a minor form factor, like NUC, I'm skeptical, that's the direction Apple wants or wants to go. While I suppose an update to the computer will add some of the above-mentioned shocks to bringing the machine into line with other modern Macs, I suspect that when we meet new Mac mini … it will see much like old Mac mini.