Mac Mini

Launched in 2005 as the first sub-$500 Mac — a key in attracting “switchers” from Windows PCs — the Mac mini ($499 and up from the Apple Store) was most recently redesigned in 2011. Made from aluminum with a black plastic bottom and back, the mini is internally akin to a MacBook Air or low-end MacBook Pro without a screen. The base $499 model has an Air-like 1.4GHz Core i5 processor with a 500GB hard drive and 4GB of RAM, while the $699 step up roughly doubles the CPU speed, hard drive space, and RAM. Measuring 7.7″ by 7.7″ by 1.4″ tall, it has four USB 3 ports, an Ethernet port, HDMI port, and twin Thunderbolt 2 ports, plus a SDXC card reader.

You supply the monitor, keyboard, and mouse/trackpad yourself, but it’s built to work with any of your existing peripherals. Many people use Mac minis in their home entertainment centers, which is possible thanks to the HDMI port for HDTV connectivty. The Mac mini was last updated in October 2014 with faster processors and new storage options. Around the Christmas holiday, Apple restored a 2TB storage option found on the previous generation of the computer. A completely new look could debut in the next couple of years, though Apple historically has left the Mac mini to age a bit, as it doesn’t want to distract attention from its higher-end computers.

Read our full coverage for details.

Our recommendation:

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Apple juiced up the Minis with more configurable RAM, a faster, more effecient processor and nice little things like USB3 ports while keeping the same prices. Unless you need a faster processor or iMac-style screen, what's not to like?

All Mac Mini Generations

Release Date Age
October 16, 2014 10 months, 20 days ago

Mac Mini ▪ July 14

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Pixelmator for iPhone and iPad has today been updated to version 2.0.2 bringing even more features to the popular image editor for iOS and Mac. This update adds a new kind of brush stroke called Dynamic Touch, which simulates pressure sensitivity by examining the size of the finger input that touches the screen. Larger surface area produces thicker strokes on the canvas. Similarly, using just the tip of a finger results in fine lines in the app.

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Mac Mini ▪ June 24

Like Apple Watches, home offices are “personal” — the look and furniture that work well for one person might not seem “right” to another. But the unified metal and glass aesthetic of Apple products works really well with modern office furniture, and there are also some iconic decor items Apple lovers can incorporate into a home office.

I spend a lot of time working from my home office, and have considered it a work in progress ever since I started building it around an aluminum PowerBook many years ago. Below, you’ll find a collection of items that will help you build a beautiful, practical home office that really spotlights your Apple gear, based on a mix of affordable and small investment-worthy choices…

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Mac Mini ▪ May 27

Over the past six months, I’ve published quite a few tutorials to help Mac users improve the performance of older computers, as well as some great guides to the best Mac accessories across a variety of categories. Today, I’m tying them all together in this handy, one-stop roundup of the best Mac accessories and upgrades.

This guide walks you through everything: in one place, you can learn about the best Mac hard drives, RAM upgrades, docks, keyboards, trackpads, stands, bags, and travel accessories out there. And you can also get free apps to improve your Mac’s storage and responsiveness, find plain English explanations of your Mac’s technical specs, and learn about the little security screws Apple uses to tamper-proof its machines. There’s a lot inside, so you may want to bookmark this piece for future reference!…

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Mac Mini ▪ April 29

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The developers behind Pixelmator have just released another free update to the Mac app, available in the Mac App Store ($29.99). Despite the bug-fix identifier, Version 3.3.2 packs some cool enhancements to support Apple’s latest technologies and hardware.

For one, as demoed in the screenshot above, Pixelmator brushes now support Force Touch so you can draw with multiple levels of pressure by pressing harder on the touchpad of your new Retina MacBook (or early 2015 13 inch Retina MacBook Pro). This is useful for quick adjustments although serious painters will still want to use dedicated drawing tablets. The update also adds support for the Photos app and a revamped Repair Tool …

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Mac Mini ▪ April 6

Apple currently sells more “laptop” than “desktop” Macs, but in reality, most Macs will be used substantially on flat surfaces — desks, tables, and sometimes nightstands. iPads are more lap-friendly, but also tend to get used upright, particularly for watching videos and access in the kitchen. Since I’ve spent a lot of time testing Apple device stands and mounts, I wanted to share what I’ve learned with you, so you can choose the solution that best suits your Mac, iPad, or both at the same time.

Below, I’ve hand-picked options for different types of users, starting with passive MacBook stands such as Twelve South’s BookArc for MacBook Pro ($50). Made from Mac-matching aluminum with gray rubber inserts, BookArc is designed to safely hold a MacBook Pro upright so that its ports and SD card reader are easily accessible. Twelve South also sells a smaller version of BookArc for the MacBook Air, a bigger BookArc for the Mac Pro, and an earthy version called BookArc mod for fans of wood. That’s a rarity, as most Mac and iPad stands are designed to match Apple’s products, as you’ll see inside…

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Mac Mini ▪ March 26

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As I noted in Part 1 of How-To: Decode Apple’s Tech Specs pages before buying a new Mac, Apple has designed the Mac purchasing process to be easy: pick a model, pick the good, better, or best configuration, hand over your cash, and enjoy your computer. Since most people get confused by tech specs — bullet points filled with numbers and acronyms — Apple downplays them in its marketing materials, leaving customers to sort through the details and figure out what most of them mean.

But these specs are really important when you’re shopping for the right Mac for your current and future needs. So I’ve created this How-To guide to walk you through each of Apple’s Tech Specs pages using clear explanations, hopefully enabling you to properly understand what you’re about to buy. Part 1 focused on the “big 5″ Mac specs you really need to know about, and this Part 2 looks at the rest — generally things that remain the same in a given model, regardless of the configuration you choose…

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