Mac mini: What we want to see in an update to Apple's low-cost desktop

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  • Reply 61 of 127
    bkkcanuckbkkcanuck Posts: 854member
    How many cores do we want

    Four.

    When do we want them

    Four years ago.
    But now there is a 6 core laptop processor...
  • Reply 62 of 127
    steveausteveau Posts: 242member
    The MacMini refresh and the proposed "Modular" will be the same thing. "Modular" means that it will be rackable or stackable in some way. Like you can already do with a couple of MacMinis with a SuperDrive, a multi-Terabyte drive or two and an Airport Extreme, but with the same form factor and a clever way of connecting them so you can stack or rack them together. Notwithstanding the Xserve, a rack would be very non-Apple, so I expect something much more elegant than that. Better too than the RackMac MacMini product. Also the CPU module might be water or oil cooled. I'll wait 12-15 months for that!
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 63 of 127
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    bkkcanuck said:
    But now there is a 6 core laptop processor...
    Gotta wait two more years for that.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 64 of 127
    Miss MacMiss Mac Posts: 2unconfirmed, member
    Some nice ideas and concepts. I would like to go ‘headless’ with my next Mac (using iMacs since 1999), but I will need cpu, gpu, ram and storage options for design and.eventually video. It would be great to have something like the 2012 Mini, but that is day dreaming. Still fun to speculate and I appreciate these articles.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 65 of 127
    hattighattig Posts: 830member
    I have a mild suspicion that Apple may have intended to go ARM first with the Mac Mini, but delays in the project resulted in having this massive period of time without an update.

    The Mac Mini isn't a Pro machine, and USB Type A is still very useful on a machine - and if you want to differentiate between Thunderbolt Type C and USB ports this is the obvious way to do it.

    So I suspect the box will come with two Type C Thunderbolt/DP/USB 3.1, and two Type A USB 3.1, one mere GigE, and an HDMI.

    TBH I'd quite like to see a Ryzen 2700U in such a box - a decent CPU coupled with a decent eGPU. Far nicer than the Intel option of a decent CPU and a lame-ass eGPU. But I don't see Apple going this route.

    Obviously a discrete GPU would be a nice alternative (Intel's 10nm NUCs will come with discrete Radeon 550s because Intel's 10nm process is horribly broken still and they can barely make dual-core chips, never mind dual-core chips with working eGPUs). Yeah, dual-core, in 2018... I suspect Apple would stick with Intel's 14nm chips to get a quad-core option, and they don't need absolute low-power chips for a Mac Mini - 35W should be fine, but 15-25W will probably be used.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 66 of 127
    nhtnht Posts: 4,494member
    mike54 said:

    I think Apple has lost many macOS sales. Most just want a reasonably priced headless mac with decent specs in which the drive and ram can be easily user replaceable. I don't think that's too difficult to do.

    Apple doesn't sell macOS so zero sales lost.  It provides macOS to sell highly profitable machines.
    watto_cobraargonaut
  • Reply 67 of 127
    bkkcanuckbkkcanuck Posts: 854member
    nht said:
    mike54 said:

    I think Apple has lost many macOS sales. Most just want a reasonably priced headless mac with decent specs in which the drive and ram can be easily user replaceable. I don't think that's too difficult to do.

    Apple doesn't sell macOS so zero sales lost.  It provides macOS to sell highly profitable machines.
    They have lost sales of macOS ... and the machine itself... to HP workstation in many cases for Video production because of the mess.  The reason for pre-announcing so far in advance is because the exodus was becoming a greater issue (and Apple finally decided they want to hang onto the market -- now the Microsoft seems interested in catering to).   When you work all day in one or two applications... the OS is not as big a deal...  (except on if you are dead set on using Final Cut).   If there was not the coming exodus - Apple would have not felt the need to pre-announce so far in advance.
    argonaut
  • Reply 68 of 127
    nhtnht Posts: 4,494member
    bkkcanuck said:
    nht said:
    mike54 said:

    I think Apple has lost many macOS sales. Most just want a reasonably priced headless mac with decent specs in which the drive and ram can be easily user replaceable. I don't think that's too difficult to do.

    Apple doesn't sell macOS so zero sales lost.  It provides macOS to sell highly profitable machines.
    They have lost sales of macOS ... and the machine itself... to HP workstation in many cases for Video production because of the mess.  The reason for pre-announcing so far in advance is because the exodus was becoming a greater issue (and Apple finally decided they want to hang onto the market -- now the Microsoft seems interested in catering to).   When you work all day in one or two applications... the OS is not as big a deal...  (except on if you are dead set on using Final Cut).   If there was not the coming exodus - Apple would have not felt the need to pre-announce so far in advance.
    You guys do video production on Mac Minis?  How freaking awesome!  

    Or maybe you're just injecting your needs into every thread regardless of whether it's relevant.

    mike54 isn't asking for a new Mac Pro but a cheap Mac Pro aka xMac which folks have been whining about for well over a decade.  

    If OS is not a big deal then why you whining in a mini thread?  Just buy a HP and move on.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 69 of 127
    It's taken me a while to think of something constructive to add to this discussion...

    There is an important gap between the Apple's current (as opposed to not-current but still available) mobile devices, meaning the MacBook and MacBook Pro, and its current (as opposed to not-current but still available) desktop devices, meaning the iMac and iMac Pro.

    Intel makes hardware for that gap, both Core and Xeon, and most PC makers use it in "gaming laptops/notebooks." Apple doesn't make that kind of machine, but the same hardware is perfect for inside a Mac mini -- indeed, Intel uses it in their 8th-generation NUC.

    https://www.anandtech.com/show/12572/the-intel-hades-canyon-nuc8i7hvk-review-kaby-lakeg-benchmarked

    I find it hard to imagine Apple using anything other than this class of hardware in the new mini. This is still quite new (less than a month since Intel began shipping the NUC), so it's not too late to introduce it at, say, WWDC 2018. Although Intel is using older Thunderbolt 3 controllers (Alpine Ridge) in the rush to bring their NUC to market -- I would think Apple would wait for Titan Ridge, which supports DisplayPort 1.4. That alone could explain the delay. See the last paragraph here:

    https://www.anandtech.com/show/12228/intel-titan-ridge-thunderbolt-3

    Apple is coming out with new displays sooner or later, and it's essential any new Mac mini support them when they do. DisplayPort 1.4 is likely needed for that.
    edited April 2018 watto_cobraargonaut
  • Reply 70 of 127
    TomETomE Posts: 141member
    Save the MacMini style of Apple Computer or come up with a much better box that meets our needs.  
    I am not very concerned about the price.
    A Great Keyboard is a must.
    A Trackpad & a Mouse are a Must.
    Ports are a Must
    Graphics , Ram, Great Chips are a must.
    No Fan or Moving Parts.
    Stackable on the top corner of my desk or table.
    We all have the picture.
    Put something in it the "Others" cannot do.  Perhaps an A Series Chip and we can use it for Apps and OS X.
    I do not want too much - just made to fast for Apple, but I do not think so.
    Horribly, sometime Cannibals have eaten their young.
    The Butterfly Keyboard is one of the dumbest ideas that Apple has come up with to Advance Keyboard Technology , especially w my 71 yr hands.  Especially on a 12" MacBook Pro - It makes me think about buying an Old Mac Pro , dismantling it, & upgrading everything to get an acceptable computer, or Apple could just save me some time and do it for a StockHolder since 1984.  Duh.

  • Reply 71 of 127
    As long as we are thinking outside the box, why not forget about a video card completely and just use some web service like GEForce Now for video (which Apple could build or buy)? Yeah, yeah, I fully realize the issues with that. But this idea might actually work better for the Apple TV where cost is more important than performance.
  • Reply 72 of 127
    macguimacgui Posts: 1,362member
    TomE said:
    Save the MacMini style of Apple Computer or come up with a much better box that meets our needs.  
     
    Graphics 
    No Fan or Moving Parts.
     
    I do not want too much 
    Yeah, ya do. You won't get that from a mini.

    No fan is a non-starter. It works for some laptops because they have a completely different architecture and a lot more surface area, especially compared to a mini.

    You want a high-performance mini, you need a fan. Good graphics? Good luck.

    I think the closest we'll get may be the rumored modular Mac. That means no mini form factor. Decent graphics? Possibly the same. Apple suffered with the 2013 Mac Pro, thinking third-parties would make cards for it, but they didn't. 

    I don't think a mini Pro would sell nearly well enough to please Apple. If they keep the mini as a mini, an entry level Mac, it will be lucky to get spec updates, and not more glue. Real, serious performance will come from other Macs, not the mini.
  • Reply 73 of 127
    dmwinsddmwinsd Posts: 1member
    I'm just looking to do some first-time ios development, and have a desk full of PC stuff.  A Mac Mini would be perfect for me - play with ios dev on the side while getting my work done with the PC, and sharing peripherals while I do that.  I'm not interested in a four-year-old design, but as soon as an updated Mini appears I'll be putting in my order.
  • Reply 74 of 127
    I think the Mini is going away. Add wireless mouse compatibility and the ability to screen mirror by plugging straight into a USB capable monitor and iPhones will do everything a Mini will do in a smaller package.

    Hopefully Apple will figure out how to multi-thread processors for all of your networked Apple devices and then we are really rocking!!!
  • Reply 75 of 127
    majorslmajorsl Posts: 119unconfirmed, member
    I'm in IT at a small College. One of the things we use the Mac minis for are to offer a people a choice between Windows and Mac for the lower-end tier of users. We can standardize on displays with both platforms and, because of the lower cost of the mini, it allows the users choice which we believe in.  The price is on par with similar Windows systems and the budget conscious administration gives it a "pass".  The target user is typically using Word, Excel, PowerPoint and some low end desktop publishing.

    We literally have 100s of minis deployed this way, our IT workload is almost non-existent with them, we manage them with free, open source tools, and (again) our users get choice.

    If Apple abandons this line, there is no way we can justify much more expensive iMacs in this use case. It'd be a pity because I know Apple has gained a lot of home "switchers" with us doing this.
    edited May 2018 randominternetpersonwelshdog
  • Reply 76 of 127
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,188member
    Personally, I love for Apple to make the a Mac mini more serviceable. I have an SSD I want to install in place of the HDD but you literally have to dismantle the entire thing. This includes sliding the power supply and port assembly out of the back before you can access it. Because of the cramped space it’s more difficult than the first flatscreen iMac with the round base.

    Upon mentioning it inthink any future Mac mini will have NAND soldered to the logic board which renders my previous paragraph moot. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 
  • Reply 77 of 127
    dewmedewme Posts: 2,124member
    I like the renderings of the keyboard with touch bar. The US Navy actually had a very similar type of variable legend user interface control panel that provided the same basic functionality way back in the late 1950s and early 1960s that had little film chips and backlite bulbs. It's been updated many times over the decades but still serves the same function as the Apple touch bar.

    I doubt Jony Ive would sign off on the black sausage form factor depicted in the first Mini concept. It just doesn't fit the Apple aesthetic and it's not stackable.

    If Apple is going to do a Mini it should be very inexpensive and designed such that it can be stacked to form a compute cluster based on the number of stacked units. Low cost (education) applications could get by with one unit for $250 and if additional computing or IO capability is needed you simply add more units for $250 each. The biggest challenge for Apple would be figuring out how to distribute processing and IO across multiple discrete units with the current macOS kernel so each unit extends the OS in a symmetric multiprocessing manner rather than simply acting like 'n' independent computers. Perhaps the symmetric version becomes the basis for the new Mac Pro while single units (slices) become the Mini. I'd imagine that a stack of Minis, each with hefty CPUs and dedicated memory and IO would be a beast of a modular machine if a version of macOS was available to utilize the slices appropriately. Crazy idea, but maybe Apple can solve its Mini problem and its Pro problem using a complementary modular and scalable architectural approach and some beast mode changes to macOS.
    raoulduke42
  • Reply 78 of 127
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,767administrator
    dewme said:
    I like the renderings of the keyboard with touch bar. The US Navy actually had a very similar type of variable legend user interface control panel that provided the same basic functionality way back in the late 1950s and early 1960s that had little film chips and backlite bulbs. It's been updated many times over the decades but still serves the same function as the Apple touch bar.

    I doubt Jony Ive would sign off on the black sausage form factor depicted in the first Mini concept. It just doesn't fit the Apple aesthetic and it's not stackable.

    If Apple is going to do a Mini it should be very inexpensive and designed such that it can be stacked to form a compute cluster based on the number of stacked units. Low cost (education) applications could get by with one unit for $250 and if additional computing or IO capability is needed you simply add more units for $250 each. The biggest challenge for Apple would be figuring out how to distribute processing and IO across multiple discrete units with the current macOS kernel so each unit extends the OS in a symmetric multiprocessing manner rather than simply acting like 'n' independent computers. Perhaps the symmetric version becomes the basis for the new Mac Pro while single units (slices) become the Mini. I'd imagine that a stack of Minis, each with hefty CPUs and dedicated memory and IO would be a beast of a modular machine if a version of macOS was available to utilize the slices appropriately. Crazy idea, but maybe Apple can solve its Mini problem and its Pro problem using a complementary modular and scalable architectural approach and some beast mode changes to macOS.
    Stackable? Neither was the Cube, or the 6,1 Mac Pro. I don't think stackable is on his list of priorities, and it's been a happy coincidence.
  • Reply 79 of 127
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    I don't think stackable is on his list of priorities
    I wonder why they moved the Apple TV and AirPort (even the Express, which people liked for its wall plugability) to the same footprint, then. I’m really curious about them moving the Mac Mini to that same footprint, maybe by just taking the AirPort Extreme case and making new ones out of aluminum.
  • Reply 80 of 127
    rweiserrweiser Posts: 6member
    I wonder if the Mac mini is also due for a rebranding. 
    When it comes to computing, Apple has the:
    * iPad and iPad Pro
    * MacBook and MacBook Pro
    * iMac and iMac Pro
    * Mac mini
    * Mac Pro

    Why not change the Mac mini to just be the “Mac”, as the Mac Pro’s counterpart?
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