The Mac mini isn’t dead yet, says Tim Cook
More than 1,000 days have passed since Apple updated its Mac mini hardware. Since then, Apple has launched the Apple Watch, AirPods, the retina MacBook, and the Touch Bar MacBook Pro. Meanwhile, the Mac mini has existed in a state of arrested development. You’d be forgiven for considering the possibility that the product has been living its last days. But in an e-mail to an Apple customer today, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the Mac mini isn’t going anywhere.
The customer, who goes by the name Krar, e-mailed Cook to note that the Mac mini hasn’t seen an update in three years. Krar wanted to know, “Are we are going to see anything in the pipeline any time soon?” Cook’s response, which was shared on MacRumors, said:
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.
He’s not saying much, but even confirmation that this product has a future is in some ways surprising. The entry-level Mac mini still runs on Haswell processors and Intel HD 5000 integrated graphics. It comes with only 4GB of RAM. It starts at $499, but other compact desktops offer much more current specs at that price point. The mini is clearly long overdue for an update, but because it’s unclear which direction Apple might take the device with future iterations, it seemed like a safe bet that its time on the market was drawing to a close.
The Mac mini was notably the first computer from the company to feature an HDMI port, suggesting that Apple may have at one time seen it as a home theater PC—but the Apple TV 4K currently occupies that role in the product lineup, and the latter product better fits most users’ home theater viewing habits. Apple used to offer a viable server configuration of the Mac mini, but that came to a stop with the 2014 update. It just hasn’t been clear where the Mac mini fits in Apple’s offerings or the marketplace at large. It’s still not clear.
An ultra-cheap Mac with more updated specs could have some very niche prospects—in classrooms, for example. And the mini has long had a very small but passionate fanbase, like the customer who e-mailed Cook about it. Those fans will be eager to see what Apple has planned, but they probably have no idea what to expect.