Image: Mashable composite: Apple
Pity the Mac Mini. It’s not Apple’s most powerful Mac, nor has it ever been a design triumph. A dozen years after Steve Jobs launched it, there’s never been a memorable Mac Mini ad campaign.
It’s the orphan of the Mac ecosystem.
Even during a rare and wide-ranging discussion on all things Mac, (especially the Mac Pro and iMac) at Apple’s Cupertino, California, headquarters on Monday, Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller didn’t mention the Mini until asked directly about it.
To be fair, the discussion was mostly about pro users and their affinity or lack thereof for the current Mac Pro line. Spoiler alert: Mac Pro is getting a major update next year and the iMac line can expect one in 2017.
But what about the Mini?
"We weren’t bringing it up because it’s more of a mix of consumer and some pro use," explained Schiller to the reporter who asked the question.
"And so," he continued, "we’re focusing today, specifically on things that are important to pros. While there are some pro users [for the Mini], there are also a lot of consumer users, so we weren’t covering it today."
Apple executives Phil Schiller and Craig Federighi hold a roundtable conversation with journalists on the Mac inside the machine shop at Apple’s Product Realization Lab. The barely mentioned the Mini.
Then Schiller paused and tried to offer a modicum of reassurance to Mac Mini fans: "The Mac Mini remains a product in our lineup. Nothing more to say about it today."
‘The Mac Mini remains a product in our lineup. Nothing more to say about it today.’
Okay, so that’s not exactly a ringing endorsement for the little computing box that hasn’t seen a significant update since 2014.
The good news is that, as a standalone computing box, the Mac Mini, which starts at $499, offers the kind of product versatility in a single design that Apple prizes. When asked why Apple doesn’t always offer a wide range of hardware options on its Macs, Schiller said, "It’s our job to strike that balance between needing as large a group of users as possible, while making the fewest number of products that enable that. So we can put more energy in making them really great."
The Mac Mini is essentially a computer box that can fit easily in almost any situation. It can also be configured with a pretty powerful Core i7 CPU. To add a further wrinkle, Apple, on Monday, also promised to deliver an Apple Pro display in 2018. Now imagine what that would be like hooked up to a rather affordable, but still powerful, Mac Mini.
Yes, there’s still a road ahead for the neglected little box.