Mac mini 2018 Review: Apple's mightiest mini yet

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Comments

  • Reply 41 of 151
    YP101 said:
    NVME speed is good but compare to 2.5' SSD, The price is too much for now. The SSD speed is concern then I rather buy dual bay with raid 0 as 2 1TB 2.5' SSD.
    Would you please explain? I'm looking at Amazon and it seems that an NVMe SSD is less expensive (and faster) than a SATA SSD right now.

    Samsung 850 EVO 1TB 2.5-Inch SATA III Internal SSD: $308
    Samsung 970 EVO 1TB - NVMe PCIe M.2 2280 SSD: $228

    Even when you add the cost of an enclosure, the NVMe SSD seems like the clear winner.
    edited November 6 dewmeargonaut
  • Reply 42 of 151

    ... does the render farm reference explain the high end configurations for those willing to pay a premium for 6 core compactness, along with the lack of a discrete GPU ...?

    The HP Z2 has a P1000 GPU as a proof of concept at $1,529US
    https://store.hp.com/us/en/pdp/hp-z2-mini-g4-workstation-p-5ee62ut-abc-1

    I don’t think I understand your question fully? Is there a question?
    I'm curious to understand why Apple would not offer a discrete GPU (BTO?) and why the pricing seems so high, especially given the Z2 as proof of concept vs any technical limitation...
    The price isn't high. The mini launched at $500 in 2005. With inflation that's at least $650 today...so this new mini is $150 more than it was thirteen years ago, and for that $150 they ditched the laptop components and you get high performing desktop components and controllers. Then we have the documented lower TCO of Macs over PCs. If you can't afford 150 bucks, what can one say? 
    I was thinking of the high end configurations aka rendering farm use, and in comparison to the Z2 as well for price, even without a discrete GPU, or at least options, noting port differences as well with TB3 a valid trade off... The Z2 specs look like a pretty good ultra compact headless pro workstation similar to a top tier macbook pro graphics GPU with the P1000 reporting 61K+ on the Geekbench OpenCL results...
    edited November 6
  • Reply 43 of 151
    FatmanFatman Posts: 174member
    Fatman said:
    I really don't get why Apple refuses to change the external design of their products for years - the internals are completely redesigned on this mini, but it looks identical to models of past. The same can be said for the iMac, Macbook Air. Maybe they need to hire a new enclosure designer to freshen things up?
    Ive has already spoken to this many times, you just weren't paying attention. 

    “It starts with the determination not to fall into the trap of just making things different. Because when a product has been highly regarded there is often a desire from people to see it redesigned. I think one of the most important things is that you change something not to make it different but to make it better.”

    https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/features/jony-ive-interview-apple-ipad-new-macbook-air-mac-tim-cook-event-a8614421.html
    Yes, I agree, redesign to make better - not change for change sake ... they've had YEARS to work it out. Ive also made an awful AppleTV remote (which side is up? Lets add a white circle) - complete fail. A poor first Apple pencil, maybe they got it right on take 2? An iphone with a notch, and rounded screens to cut off content. An iphone case with a hump. An Apple mouse with the lighting port on the bottom. Do I need to go on. Get rid of this guy, his time is up. How about balancing ergonomics with his pretty designs - that's where real genius comes in. One more thing  ... the bad tables at the Apple stores - try sitting at a corner. For those that know my posts - I am extremely invested in Apple, and own an 'irresponsible' number of shares in the company, but bad decisions need to be challenged.
    williamlondonargonaut
  • Reply 44 of 151
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 1,884member
    jimh2 said:
    blastdoor said:
    dewme said:
    This is a worthy upgrade that predictably builds on Apple's reputation of delivering premium products at a premium price. It is now safe to say the Mini is  not going to be Apple's budget or entry level product that some folks were hoping for. It's one thing for us to say "the ecosystem could use a less expensive one, at a $499 or $599 price-point" but quite another to identify what we're willing to give up on the lowest end configuration to hit that price point. By the way, Apple accepting a lower margin is not a viable answer and is not going to happen. This is still a premium engineered, amazingly industrialized, and thoughtfully sourced product that Apple put a tremendous amount of resources into to preserve what Apple values in a product it is proud to present to customers. They are not simply slapping a bunch of off-the-shelf components into an ugly white box that's stuffed with whatever they can get cheapest this week.

    I'm still hopeful that Apple can find a way to justify delivering a true entry level machine. To do this they will need to approach the problem from a different angle. For example, if Apple decided to significantly ramp up its investment in keeping newbie programmers on the professional development path they could consider something like a Mac "Coding Machine" that consisted of a what is basically a scaled down and spec'd down Mac Mini, perhaps in a poly-carbonate case, that is priced say at $299. Perhaps it only has i3 and fewer ports. I'm thinking something that is in the same sphere of focus as the Raspberry Pi but a full Mac OS machine (with XCode) that is more akin to what professional programmers are using compared to an iPad with Swift Playgrounds, which I as more like Lego Mindstorm for early exposure to programming. Apple needs to create an easy and natural path from Playgrounds to XCode, so having an educational focus coupled with an entry level product relieves Apple from having to have the "premium" wick turned up quite so high as what we see with the new Mini. Apple can do it, but needs to redefine the rationale that's driving their engineering and product development machine to make it happen. Education, STEM, robotics, and "everyone can code" may be exactly the rationale they need.

    Of course an entry level Mini won't please the current crowd here at AI, but Apple can't please everyone all of the time and they still have a business to run. We CAN pay for premium, even though we like to complain about it from our thousand dollar phones.

    The "easy" path to an entry level Mac at a lower price point is to dump Intel. Intel's gross margins are over 60%; TSMC's gross margins are just under 50%. Every time Apple ships a product with a processor fabbed by Intel rather than TSMC they are paying an "Intel tax" of sorts. An A12-based Mini would be a very strong entry level machine at a lower price point. An A12X could be offered as a BTO option for higher performance. 
    You have no idea what you are talking about nor any reference point for OS X performance on an A12 or A12X versus that of an Intel processor. Intel's and TSMC's gross margins mean nothing unless you know how much Apple is paying for each processor and that would only be true if they were 100% compatible and exchangeable.
    Here are the ideas I have regarding what I'm talking about:

    1. OSX and iOS are based on the same core OS, same compiler, same developer tools, many shared libraries. Apple's ability to successfully tune iOS for the A12 (and vice versa) absolutely is relevant to the performance of OSX on the A12 (or, more realistically, an A12-like Mac SOC).

    2. Safari, Geekbench, Civilization 6, Photoshop, and Autocad are all examples of complex programs that run on both platforms and indicate that the A12 is a very strong performer

    3. True, gross margins are just a gross indicator. But we also know that Apple has vastly more bargaining power with TSMC than they do with Intel, which only strengthens my point. 

    What ideas do you have about what you're talking about? 
    netmageargonaut
  • Reply 45 of 151

    While I like this product marginally better than the revised MacBook Air, I feel that Apple is still missing the mark with its price point on the Mini. An existing Windows user should be able to unplug their existing box and plug in a Mac mini at a price that doesn't break the bank. You can get a powerful PC desktop for this price.
    When Apple produced a very-cheap mini for switchers, the complainers said it wasn't powerful enough. Now they've gone more powerful, and the complainers say it costs too much. Do you see the catch-22 here? Anyway, I'd argue the mini is no longer a cheap intro product designed for switchers -- that job was fulfilled by iPods, iPads, and iPhones. This is a small Mac.
    It doesn’t have to be a catch 22. 
    Apple decides the price and spec and could have easily accommated an affordable specification in the line up. 
    But that’s not who Apple are. Ultimately they don’t care about low end switchers. By not having one forces people to pay more or go elsewhere.
    The price of these things buys quite a powerful PC in comparison. People have to decide whether the Mac OS is worth the premium over and above a PC (far more expandable no doubt)

    to sum up apple these days - “for people with boat loads of money, or those willing to consider older tech for slightly less money - eg old Air, older 7 iPhone, older mini” 
    williamlondon
  • Reply 46 of 151
    dewmedewme Posts: 1,763member
    blastdoor said:
    dewme said:
    This is a worthy upgrade that predictably builds on Apple's reputation of delivering premium products at a premium price. It is now safe to say the Mini is  not going to be Apple's budget or entry level product that some folks were hoping for. It's one thing for us to say "the ecosystem could use a less expensive one, at a $499 or $599 price-point" but quite another to identify what we're willing to give up on the lowest end configuration to hit that price point. By the way, Apple accepting a lower margin is not a viable answer and is not going to happen. This is still a premium engineered, amazingly industrialized, and thoughtfully sourced product that Apple put a tremendous amount of resources into to preserve what Apple values in a product it is proud to present to customers. They are not simply slapping a bunch of off-the-shelf components into an ugly white box that's stuffed with whatever they can get cheapest this week.

    I'm still hopeful that Apple can find a way to justify delivering a true entry level machine. To do this they will need to approach the problem from a different angle. For example, if Apple decided to significantly ramp up its investment in keeping newbie programmers on the professional development path they could consider something like a Mac "Coding Machine" that consisted of a what is basically a scaled down and spec'd down Mac Mini, perhaps in a poly-carbonate case, that is priced say at $299. Perhaps it only has i3 and fewer ports. I'm thinking something that is in the same sphere of focus as the Raspberry Pi but a full Mac OS machine (with XCode) that is more akin to what professional programmers are using compared to an iPad with Swift Playgrounds, which I as more like Lego Mindstorm for early exposure to programming. Apple needs to create an easy and natural path from Playgrounds to XCode, so having an educational focus coupled with an entry level product relieves Apple from having to have the "premium" wick turned up quite so high as what we see with the new Mini. Apple can do it, but needs to redefine the rationale that's driving their engineering and product development machine to make it happen. Education, STEM, robotics, and "everyone can code" may be exactly the rationale they need.

    Of course an entry level Mini won't please the current crowd here at AI, but Apple can't please everyone all of the time and they still have a business to run. We CAN pay for premium, even though we like to complain about it from our thousand dollar phones.

    The "easy" path to an entry level Mac at a lower price point is to dump Intel. Intel's gross margins are over 60%; TSMC's gross margins are just under 50%. Every time Apple ships a product with a processor fabbed by Intel rather than TSMC they are paying an "Intel tax" of sorts. An A12-based Mini would be a very strong entry level machine at a lower price point. An A12X could be offered as a BTO option for higher performance. 
    I could not agree less that the "easy" path for a high performance low-cost Mini involves a transition to an A-series (ARM) architecture, unless of course you want the Mini to be a headless version of the iPad Pro. There's a high level of Benchmark Fallacy going on right now around Apple's A-series chips. They are amazing components in their own right but don't fall into the trap of believing that just because an A12X can run benchmarks that run circles around the majority of consumer grade Intel based systems that they are a drop-in replacement for Intel x86 chips. Not so.

    Where these benchmark fueled fantasies and marketing "stretches" blow up miserably is in the domain of Software Reality. Moving a very large number of beefy line-of-business applications, not to mention core OS and machine bound services, and third part apps from x86 to ARM is very non-trivial, ridiculously expensive, and very time consuming - like they would have already had to have started 5 years ago to have a shot at hitting dates before the mid-2020s. Perhaps Apple actually started the train rolling 5 years ago, but we don't know. What about partners in the ecosystem? Do you want to rely on warmed-up iOS versions of critical business apps until the ecosystem finally catches up?

    Software developments costs can and often do dwarf hardware development costs for systems. There is no software TSMC fab-for-hire equivalent for Apple to lean on and throw bucketfuls of cash at to expedite software development progress and unburden its in-house development resources from having to do everything themselves. While there have been gains in software development maturity over the past decade, software development in general is still one of the easiest ways to annihilate vast quantities of time and money and have little to show for it. Not to beat a dead horse, but where there are significant software development and integration risks involved things like gross margins between chip/chipset suppliers and Intel taxes are secondary considerations that only come into play once the costliest contributor to overall system costs are brought under control and you have a system that can actually be built before you burn through all of your R&D resources.

    Benchmarks are meaningless until you solve the software problem.


    urashid
  • Reply 47 of 151
    jcs2305jcs2305 Posts: 523member
    Fatman said:
    I really don't get why Apple refuses to change the external design of their products for years - the internals are completely redesigned on this mini, but it looks identical to models of past. The same can be said for the iMac, Macbook Air. Maybe they need to hire a new enclosure designer to freshen things up?
    Why does the design need to be changed? Personally I love the design and think the new space grey color is killer. Why change for the sake of change?
    anomenetmagewilliamlondonargonautStrangeDays
  • Reply 48 of 151
    jcs2305jcs2305 Posts: 523member
    Fatman said:
    Fatman said:
    I really don't get why Apple refuses to change the external design of their products for years - the internals are completely redesigned on this mini, but it looks identical to models of past. The same can be said for the iMac, Macbook Air. Maybe they need to hire a new enclosure designer to freshen things up?
    Ive has already spoken to this many times, you just weren't paying attention. 

    “It starts with the determination not to fall into the trap of just making things different. Because when a product has been highly regarded there is often a desire from people to see it redesigned. I think one of the most important things is that you change something not to make it different but to make it better.”

    https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/features/jony-ive-interview-apple-ipad-new-macbook-air-mac-tim-cook-event-a8614421.html
    Yes, I agree, redesign to make better - not change for change sake ... they've had YEARS to work it out. Ive also made an awful AppleTV remote (which side is up? Lets add a white circle) - complete fail. A poor first Apple pencil, maybe they got it right on take 2? An iphone with a notch, and rounded screens to cut off content. An iphone case with a hump. An Apple mouse with the lighting port on the bottom. Do I need to go on. Get rid of this guy, his time is up. How about balancing ergonomics with his pretty designs - that's where real genius comes in. One more thing  ... the bad tables at the Apple stores - try sitting at a corner. For those that know my posts - I am extremely invested in Apple, and own an 'irresponsible' number of shares in the company, but bad decisions need to be challenged.
    Is this a joke?  I can't tell anymore..who is joking and who is trolling?
    edited November 6 entropysnetmagewilliamlondonargonautStrangeDays
  • Reply 49 of 151
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,195member
    eightzero said:
    Thanks for the review. What monitor did you test it on? A TB3 monitor? 
    So far, Apple's Thunderbolt display. More are coming.
    Thanks. 

    While this is out of place on a comment about displays for the mac mini, I can't stop thinking about a docking display for iOS devices. The new iPad Pros now do this with USB-C, but I can see a display made by Apple that is also a docking station: you slide your iOS device in and you've got a desktop. The only real challenge I think is a persistent cursor and mouse on iOS; something I think is necessary. All the display needs is external ports for storage and perhaps an Ethernet plug. You could even ditch the cameras since that could all go by BT that iOS devices have on board.

    Yes, this means the death of the consumer mac desktop. Maybe it is time. 
  • Reply 50 of 151
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,289member
    Fatman said:
    Yes, I agree, redesign to make better - not change for change sake ... they've had YEARS to work it out. Ive also made an awful AppleTV remote (which side is up? Lets add a white circle) - complete fail. A poor first Apple pencil, maybe they got it right on take 2? An iphone with a notch, and rounded screens to cut off content. An iphone case with a hump. An Apple mouse with the lighting port on the bottom. Do I need to go on. Get rid of this guy, his time is up. How about balancing ergonomics with his pretty designs - that's where real genius comes in. One more thing  ... the bad tables at the Apple stores - try sitting at a corner. For those that know my posts - I am extremely invested in Apple, and own an 'irresponsible' number of shares in the company, but bad decisions need to be challenged.
    A classic example of someone that may be an AAPL investor, but is still a few cans short of a six pack.

    Presuming you do own AAPL, you should be thanking Tim Cook for Apple's share price increase. 
    macplusplusnetmageStrangeDays
  • Reply 51 of 151
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,352member
    Fatman said:
    Yes, I agree, redesign to make better - not change for change sake ... they've had YEARS to work it out. Ive also made an awful AppleTV remote (which side is up? Lets add a white circle) - complete fail. A poor first Apple pencil, maybe they got it right on take 2? An iphone with a notch, and rounded screens to cut off content. An iphone case with a hump. An Apple mouse with the lighting port on the bottom. Do I need to go on. Get rid of this guy, his time is up. How about balancing ergonomics with his pretty designs - that's where real genius comes in. One more thing  ... the bad tables at the Apple stores - try sitting at a corner. For those that know my posts - I am extremely invested in Apple, and own an 'irresponsible' number of shares in the company, but bad decisions need to be challenged.

    The Apple TV remote. Right, you're the second person on this forum who seems to be foxed by this, so here's a quick cheatsheet.

    If you can feel the smooth bit at the top, you have it the right way up. 
    If you feel the glossy bit at top, you haven't
    If you can't feel the buttons at all, then you have it face down.
    If you can't feel the remote at all, then you've dropped it.
    If the remote feels bent, then you're holding a banana.

    Hope that helps.

    The first Apple Pencil was good. The second one was better. That's how product development works.

    The iPhone has a notch because Apple knew that the only people who'd be bothered by it are fake design expert wannabes.

    The iPhone case had a hump because no one has come up with a battery with Tardis functionality

    The Apple Mouse has the lightning port on the bottom because a mouse with a hole you can see would look like crap (the inconsistency in your thinking is beyond astonishing).

    Oh, and as for the tables at the Apple Store? Don't try sitting at the corner; try sitting at one of the flat sides where you're supposed to sit.

    Christ on a bicycle … 
    roundaboutnowmacplusplusnetmageargonautStrangeDaysrazorpit
  • Reply 52 of 151
    AFAIK, there are two SODIMM slots so where can I get 32Gb Ram cards from other than Apple?

  • Reply 53 of 151
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 1,884member
    dewme said:
    blastdoor said:
    dewme said:
    This is a worthy upgrade that predictably builds on Apple's reputation of delivering premium products at a premium price. It is now safe to say the Mini is  not going to be Apple's budget or entry level product that some folks were hoping for. It's one thing for us to say "the ecosystem could use a less expensive one, at a $499 or $599 price-point" but quite another to identify what we're willing to give up on the lowest end configuration to hit that price point. By the way, Apple accepting a lower margin is not a viable answer and is not going to happen. This is still a premium engineered, amazingly industrialized, and thoughtfully sourced product that Apple put a tremendous amount of resources into to preserve what Apple values in a product it is proud to present to customers. They are not simply slapping a bunch of off-the-shelf components into an ugly white box that's stuffed with whatever they can get cheapest this week.

    I'm still hopeful that Apple can find a way to justify delivering a true entry level machine. To do this they will need to approach the problem from a different angle. For example, if Apple decided to significantly ramp up its investment in keeping newbie programmers on the professional development path they could consider something like a Mac "Coding Machine" that consisted of a what is basically a scaled down and spec'd down Mac Mini, perhaps in a poly-carbonate case, that is priced say at $299. Perhaps it only has i3 and fewer ports. I'm thinking something that is in the same sphere of focus as the Raspberry Pi but a full Mac OS machine (with XCode) that is more akin to what professional programmers are using compared to an iPad with Swift Playgrounds, which I as more like Lego Mindstorm for early exposure to programming. Apple needs to create an easy and natural path from Playgrounds to XCode, so having an educational focus coupled with an entry level product relieves Apple from having to have the "premium" wick turned up quite so high as what we see with the new Mini. Apple can do it, but needs to redefine the rationale that's driving their engineering and product development machine to make it happen. Education, STEM, robotics, and "everyone can code" may be exactly the rationale they need.

    Of course an entry level Mini won't please the current crowd here at AI, but Apple can't please everyone all of the time and they still have a business to run. We CAN pay for premium, even though we like to complain about it from our thousand dollar phones.

    The "easy" path to an entry level Mac at a lower price point is to dump Intel. Intel's gross margins are over 60%; TSMC's gross margins are just under 50%. Every time Apple ships a product with a processor fabbed by Intel rather than TSMC they are paying an "Intel tax" of sorts. An A12-based Mini would be a very strong entry level machine at a lower price point. An A12X could be offered as a BTO option for higher performance. 
    I could not agree less that the "easy" path for a high performance low-cost Mini involves a transition to an A-series (ARM) architecture, unless of course you want the Mini to be a headless version of the iPad Pro. There's a high level of Benchmark Fallacy going on right now around Apple's A-series chips. They are amazing components in their own right but don't fall into the trap of believing that just because an A12X can run benchmarks that run circles around the majority of consumer grade Intel based systems that they are a drop-in replacement for Intel x86 chips. Not so.

    Where these benchmark fueled fantasies and marketing "stretches" blow up miserably is in the domain of Software Reality. Moving a very large number of beefy line-of-business applications, not to mention core OS and machine bound services, and third part apps from x86 to ARM is very non-trivial, ridiculously expensive, and very time consuming - like they would have already had to have started 5 years ago to have a shot at hitting dates before the mid-2020s. Perhaps Apple actually started the train rolling 5 years ago, but we don't know. What about partners in the ecosystem? Do you want to rely on warmed-up iOS versions of critical business apps until the ecosystem finally catches up?

    Software developments costs can and often do dwarf hardware development costs for systems. There is no software TSMC fab-for-hire equivalent for Apple to lean on and throw bucketfuls of cash at to expedite software development progress and unburden its in-house development resources from having to do everything themselves. While there have been gains in software development maturity over the past decade, software development in general is still one of the easiest ways to annihilate vast quantities of time and money and have little to show for it. Not to beat a dead horse, but where there are significant software development and integration risks involved things like gross margins between chip/chipset suppliers and Intel taxes are secondary considerations that only come into play once the costliest contributor to overall system costs are brought under control and you have a system that can actually be built before you burn through all of your R&D resources.

    Benchmarks are meaningless until you solve the software problem.


    Apple was a tiny fraction of its current self when it made the transition from PPC to Intel, and tinier still when it made the transition from 68k to PPC. And yet they did it, quite successfully. 

    Today, changing processors would be far easier than in the past. The code base is so much more modular and Apple has vastly more resources. Everything in tech is "hard" in the sense that it costs money, takes time, and requires qualified people. But a transition to ARM is not the herculean task you make it out to be. 
    thtnetmageargonaut
  • Reply 54 of 151
    You buy on the cheap but pair it up with an absurdly overpriced Intel external SSD. Yeah, that's normal. The average person will be beefing their systems to 32GB of DDR4 Ram. You can bank on that one. If and when I choose this option it'll be 64GB and i7/256GB SSD. eGPU later on and add a disk array.
  • Reply 55 of 151
    What is the word on the Thunderbolt 3 controller? Is there only ONE TB3 controller for all the TB3 ports or does each port have its own TB3 controller?

    This is an important consideration given that one TB3 controller for all ports can become a bandwidth bottleneck when you have multiple heavy bandwidth hardware (eg. eGPU and externals NVME SSD and 5K monitor) connected to the Mac Mini at the same time.  
  • Reply 56 of 151
    vulpine said:
    Memory is always less expensive to add afterward than to get through Apple.

    And adding an external SSD is a *lot* less expensive than upgrading it through Apple. Apple charges $600 or $800 for a 1TB SSD (depending on which of the two minis you buy). From Amazon, a 1TB NVMe SSD is $228 (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07BN217QG/) and a USB 3.1 enclosure for it is $76 (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07F9VQ4XC/), bringing the total to just over $300 - plus you keep the original SSD that Apple provided inside the Mac.

    So you will run 16 GBps NVMe over 10 Gbps USB 3.1? Get a 6 Gbps SATA and pay even less if the price is the issue.
    edited November 6 williamlondon
  • Reply 57 of 151
    dewmedewme Posts: 1,763member
    blastdoor said:
    dewme said:
    blastdoor said:
    dewme said:
    This is a worthy upgrade that predictably builds on Apple's reputation of delivering premium products at a premium price. It is now safe to say the Mini is  not going to be Apple's budget or entry level product that some folks were hoping for. It's one thing for us to say "the ecosystem could use a less expensive one, at a $499 or $599 price-point" but quite another to identify what we're willing to give up on the lowest end configuration to hit that price point. By the way, Apple accepting a lower margin is not a viable answer and is not going to happen. This is still a premium engineered, amazingly industrialized, and thoughtfully sourced product that Apple put a tremendous amount of resources into to preserve what Apple values in a product it is proud to present to customers. They are not simply slapping a bunch of off-the-shelf components into an ugly white box that's stuffed with whatever they can get cheapest this week.

    I'm still hopeful that Apple can find a way to justify delivering a true entry level machine. To do this they will need to approach the problem from a different angle. For example, if Apple decided to significantly ramp up its investment in keeping newbie programmers on the professional development path they could consider something like a Mac "Coding Machine" that consisted of a what is basically a scaled down and spec'd down Mac Mini, perhaps in a poly-carbonate case, that is priced say at $299. Perhaps it only has i3 and fewer ports. I'm thinking something that is in the same sphere of focus as the Raspberry Pi but a full Mac OS machine (with XCode) that is more akin to what professional programmers are using compared to an iPad with Swift Playgrounds, which I as more like Lego Mindstorm for early exposure to programming. Apple needs to create an easy and natural path from Playgrounds to XCode, so having an educational focus coupled with an entry level product relieves Apple from having to have the "premium" wick turned up quite so high as what we see with the new Mini. Apple can do it, but needs to redefine the rationale that's driving their engineering and product development machine to make it happen. Education, STEM, robotics, and "everyone can code" may be exactly the rationale they need.

    Of course an entry level Mini won't please the current crowd here at AI, but Apple can't please everyone all of the time and they still have a business to run. We CAN pay for premium, even though we like to complain about it from our thousand dollar phones.

    The "easy" path to an entry level Mac at a lower price point is to dump Intel. Intel's gross margins are over 60%; TSMC's gross margins are just under 50%. Every time Apple ships a product with a processor fabbed by Intel rather than TSMC they are paying an "Intel tax" of sorts. An A12-based Mini would be a very strong entry level machine at a lower price point. An A12X could be offered as a BTO option for higher performance. 
    I could not agree less that the "easy" path for a high performance low-cost Mini involves a transition to an A-series (ARM) architecture, unless of course you want the Mini to be a headless version of the iPad Pro. There's a high level of Benchmark Fallacy going on right now around Apple's A-series chips. They are amazing components in their own right but don't fall into the trap of believing that just because an A12X can run benchmarks that run circles around the majority of consumer grade Intel based systems that they are a drop-in replacement for Intel x86 chips. Not so.

    Where these benchmark fueled fantasies and marketing "stretches" blow up miserably is in the domain of Software Reality. Moving a very large number of beefy line-of-business applications, not to mention core OS and machine bound services, and third part apps from x86 to ARM is very non-trivial, ridiculously expensive, and very time consuming - like they would have already had to have started 5 years ago to have a shot at hitting dates before the mid-2020s. Perhaps Apple actually started the train rolling 5 years ago, but we don't know. What about partners in the ecosystem? Do you want to rely on warmed-up iOS versions of critical business apps until the ecosystem finally catches up?

    Software developments costs can and often do dwarf hardware development costs for systems. There is no software TSMC fab-for-hire equivalent for Apple to lean on and throw bucketfuls of cash at to expedite software development progress and unburden its in-house development resources from having to do everything themselves. While there have been gains in software development maturity over the past decade, software development in general is still one of the easiest ways to annihilate vast quantities of time and money and have little to show for it. Not to beat a dead horse, but where there are significant software development and integration risks involved things like gross margins between chip/chipset suppliers and Intel taxes are secondary considerations that only come into play once the costliest contributor to overall system costs are brought under control and you have a system that can actually be built before you burn through all of your R&D resources.

    Benchmarks are meaningless until you solve the software problem.


    Apple was a tiny fraction of its current self when it made the transition from PPC to Intel, and tinier still when it made the transition from 68k to PPC. And yet they did it, quite successfully. 

    Today, changing processors would be far easier than in the past. The code base is so much more modular and Apple has vastly more resources. Everything in tech is "hard" in the sense that it costs money, takes time, and requires qualified people. But a transition to ARM is not the herculean task you make it out to be. 
    Are saying you are willing to fund this transition with your money?
  • Reply 58 of 151
    canukstormcanukstorm Posts: 1,647member
    dewme said:
    blastdoor said:
    dewme said:
    This is a worthy upgrade that predictably builds on Apple's reputation of delivering premium products at a premium price. It is now safe to say the Mini is  not going to be Apple's budget or entry level product that some folks were hoping for. It's one thing for us to say "the ecosystem could use a less expensive one, at a $499 or $599 price-point" but quite another to identify what we're willing to give up on the lowest end configuration to hit that price point. By the way, Apple accepting a lower margin is not a viable answer and is not going to happen. This is still a premium engineered, amazingly industrialized, and thoughtfully sourced product that Apple put a tremendous amount of resources into to preserve what Apple values in a product it is proud to present to customers. They are not simply slapping a bunch of off-the-shelf components into an ugly white box that's stuffed with whatever they can get cheapest this week.

    I'm still hopeful that Apple can find a way to justify delivering a true entry level machine. To do this they will need to approach the problem from a different angle. For example, if Apple decided to significantly ramp up its investment in keeping newbie programmers on the professional development path they could consider something like a Mac "Coding Machine" that consisted of a what is basically a scaled down and spec'd down Mac Mini, perhaps in a poly-carbonate case, that is priced say at $299. Perhaps it only has i3 and fewer ports. I'm thinking something that is in the same sphere of focus as the Raspberry Pi but a full Mac OS machine (with XCode) that is more akin to what professional programmers are using compared to an iPad with Swift Playgrounds, which I as more like Lego Mindstorm for early exposure to programming. Apple needs to create an easy and natural path from Playgrounds to XCode, so having an educational focus coupled with an entry level product relieves Apple from having to have the "premium" wick turned up quite so high as what we see with the new Mini. Apple can do it, but needs to redefine the rationale that's driving their engineering and product development machine to make it happen. Education, STEM, robotics, and "everyone can code" may be exactly the rationale they need.

    Of course an entry level Mini won't please the current crowd here at AI, but Apple can't please everyone all of the time and they still have a business to run. We CAN pay for premium, even though we like to complain about it from our thousand dollar phones.

    The "easy" path to an entry level Mac at a lower price point is to dump Intel. Intel's gross margins are over 60%; TSMC's gross margins are just under 50%. Every time Apple ships a product with a processor fabbed by Intel rather than TSMC they are paying an "Intel tax" of sorts. An A12-based Mini would be a very strong entry level machine at a lower price point. An A12X could be offered as a BTO option for higher performance. 
    I could not agree less that the "easy" path for a high performance low-cost Mini involves a transition to an A-series (ARM) architecture, unless of course you want the Mini to be a headless version of the iPad Pro. There's a high level of Benchmark Fallacy going on right now around Apple's A-series chips. They are amazing components in their own right but don't fall into the trap of believing that just because an A12X can run benchmarks that run circles around the majority of consumer grade Intel based systems that they are a drop-in replacement for Intel x86 chips. Not so.

    Where these benchmark fueled fantasies and marketing "stretches" blow up miserably is in the domain of Software Reality. Moving a very large number of beefy line-of-business applications, not to mention core OS and machine bound services, and third part apps from x86 to ARM is very non-trivial, ridiculously expensive, and very time consuming - like they would have already had to have started 5 years ago to have a shot at hitting dates before the mid-2020s. Perhaps Apple actually started the train rolling 5 years ago, but we don't know. What about partners in the ecosystem? Do you want to rely on warmed-up iOS versions of critical business apps until the ecosystem finally catches up?

    Software developments costs can and often do dwarf hardware development costs for systems. There is no software TSMC fab-for-hire equivalent for Apple to lean on and throw bucketfuls of cash at to expedite software development progress and unburden its in-house development resources from having to do everything themselves. While there have been gains in software development maturity over the past decade, software development in general is still one of the easiest ways to annihilate vast quantities of time and money and have little to show for it. Not to beat a dead horse, but where there are significant software development and integration risks involved things like gross margins between chip/chipset suppliers and Intel taxes are secondary considerations that only come into play once the costliest contributor to overall system costs are brought under control and you have a system that can actually be built before you burn through all of your R&D resources.

    Benchmarks are meaningless until you solve the software problem.


    During the keynote, Apple barely mentioned Intel at all. I think only once.  I heard a speculation on one of the tech podcasts that this is Apple signalling that they're not happy with Intel's lagging performance and implies a switch to Apple's own custom ARM processors on the Mac.  Guess, we'll have to wait and see.
  • Reply 59 of 151
    entropys said:
    you know, all apple had to do was have both the RAM and the SSD in slots, and I think that would be a worthy Mac Mini. RAM only is only half way there.  Apple should be ashamed of what they charge for SSD upgrades. Ashamed.

    So, if I was to pick a configuration, I would probably go for an i5, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD, then add an extra 8GB RAM myself and have a decent sized thunderbolt 3 external drive to boot off cabled under the desk.
    No external drive would match the internal NVMe speed, even on Thunderbolt 3. So it is understandable that Apple reasonably fix their prices according to “competition” from external devices. Show me an external TB3 drive faster than the internal SSD then I’ll agree with you.
  • Reply 60 of 151
    FatmanFatman Posts: 174member
    Rayz2016 said:
    Fatman said:
    Yes, I agree, redesign to make better - not change for change sake ... they've had YEARS to work it out. Ive also made an awful AppleTV remote (which side is up? Lets add a white circle) - complete fail. A poor first Apple pencil, maybe they got it right on take 2? An iphone with a notch, and rounded screens to cut off content. An iphone case with a hump. An Apple mouse with the lighting port on the bottom. Do I need to go on. Get rid of this guy, his time is up. How about balancing ergonomics with his pretty designs - that's where real genius comes in. One more thing  ... the bad tables at the Apple stores - try sitting at a corner. For those that know my posts - I am extremely invested in Apple, and own an 'irresponsible' number of shares in the company, but bad decisions need to be challenged.

    The Apple TV remote. Right, you're the second person on this forum who seems to be foxed by this, so here's a quick cheatsheet.

    If you can feel the smooth bit at the top, you have it the right way up. 
    If you feel the glossy bit at top, you haven't
    If you can't feel the buttons at all, then you have it face down.
    If you can't feel the remote at all, then you've dropped it.
    If the remote feels bent, then you're holding a banana.

    Hope that helps.

    The first Apple Pencil was good. The second one was better. That's how product development works.

    The iPhone has a notch because Apple knew that the only people who'd be bothered by it are fake design expert wannabes.

    The iPhone case had a hump because no one has come up with a battery with Tardis functionality

    The Apple Mouse has the lightning port on the bottom because a mouse with a hole you can see would look like crap (the inconsistency in your thinking is beyond astonishing).

    Oh, and as for the tables at the Apple Store? Don't try sitting at the corner; try sitting at one of the flat sides where you're supposed to sit.

    Christ on a bicycle … 
    Ray, how do you get the remote out from between the couch cushions? Oh .. feel around for thirty minutes in frustration - got it. How do you charge the mouse ahlf way through a project when the battery dies - turn it upside down and plug it in... Great.

    Get rid of Ive. He's getting sloppy and he's going unchecked. There are students creating better design concepts than his. Hey,

    As an Apple fanboy it is OK to also have an opinion of what works and what doesn't. Along with the great design there are unbelievably crappy ones that should never have left the testing stage. Hey and don't get me started on the Apple Watch ... :-) 
    williamlondon
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