The current Mac mini is three years old
It’s been three years since the current Mac mini was released on Oct 16, 2014. “All About That Bass” was the number one song in the land. Four hundred million humans have been born since that day and have never known a new Mac mini. My daughter is one of them. She already walks and talks and just moved to her big-girl bed. Three years is a long time.
Even as a new machine in 2014, the size was unchanged. With every other Apple product shrinking, the Mac mini has kept the same shape for 7 years, despite losing options like optical drives, dual drives, and port variations. Keeping this same shape has been great for our data center rack plans, but I wouldn't mind seeing the next version...
When the 2014 machine was released, my tweet was quoted far and wide having confirmed that the Mac mini had soldered RAM this time. Some people would twitter-yell at me for the change. I especially liked the forum comments asking “who is this random internet guy that says it’s soldered?” having no idea what a huge part of my career has been dependent on this great little machine. For those wondering: Apple puts out the repair manuals for the new Macs even before the machines start arriving in the homes of the customers. Lots of info to be found there.
I also heard from a number of engineers from the Mac mini team at Apple who wanted to be sure the benefits of the new build were made known as well, including better GPU performance and single core performance. Both true. Also, it was nice to have a $499 Mac mini option for the first time in years. (By the way Mac mini engineers: I’m happy to hear from you anytime still. DMs are wide open…)
Three years since the last refresh(!), the 2012 quad-core Mac mini remains a very popular option for dedicated Mac mini servers here. Customers like Litmus, Browserstack, and Uber run thousands of Mac minis with us. It’s generally a mix of 2012 and 2014 builds. The minis can run with a number of different cores, operating systems and RAM amounts so they are perfect test machines. Rather than buying this hardware, customers use our inventory now and then upgrade or add-to their collection later when a new one is released. We can add them as fast as you need them.
While our Mac Pro Private Cloud growth has put us on the Inc 500 for two years in a row, it’s been interesting to see new tools come along that are perfect for minis and keep them very, very relevant in CI/CD.
Veertu has introduced another tool that shines on the Mac mini for iOS testing. If you like working with Docker, you’ll love working with Anka and macOS. (We’re going to be publishing a lot on this new tool. Keep an eye on our twitter account for future updates.)
It’s been a fun few years with this current Mac mini. It’ll be interesting to see what comes next.
Update: Speaking of "what comes next," a few days after posting this article, the CEO of Apple responded about the future of the Mac mini.