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:

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 1 year, 1 month, 14 days ago

Mac Mini November 26

AAPL: 118.03

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Mac Mini November 25

AAPL: 118.03

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Mac Mini October 19

AAPL: 111.73

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Earlier in the year, a small-but-not-insignificant number of Apple customers complained about screen issues with their new Retina MacBooks and Retina MacBook Pros, specifically cases where the anti-reflective display coating leaves marks and stains on the screen, ranging from small corner blobs to large patches.

Several months later, Apple seems to have acknowledged the issue and launched a Quality Program to replace affected users’  hardware. The Staingate Facebook page now includes many reports of people successfully sending their MacBooks in for repair at Apple Stores. The existence of the program was first reported by MacRumors.

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Mac Mini October 15

AAPL: 111.86

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Following the corresponding update to Pixelmator for iOS 9, the company has released the latest version of Pixelmator for the Mac ($29.99) with full support for El Capitan. This includes compatibility with changes to the OS as well as an overhaul in the Pixelmator user interface to feature San Fransisco, Apple’s new system font. The update, version 3.4, also includes official full-screen Split View support on El Capitan, so users can dock Pixelmator next to any other app on the system filling the display.

Perhaps most interestingly, the app now includes a editing extension …

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Mac Mini September 30

AAPL: 110.30

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Apple has officially released OS X El Capitan for the Mac, adding some new improvements as well as bringing parity with changes in iOS 9, released two weeks ago. OS X El Capitan (version 10.11), can be installed on any Mac that runs OS X Yosemite: simply download the free update from the Mac App Store. The release does not feature anything radically new — like the major visual overhaul that came last year — but there are new features as well as a strong focus on overall performance and stability improvements.

Here’s what’s new in Apple’s latest version of the Mac operating system …

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Mac Mini September 7

AAPL: 109.27

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