Getting the most out of Apple’s Mac mini, and why Apple is sometimes right

The New Mac mini Macworld Senior Editor Dan Frakes recently upgraded his Mac mini in six minutes…or did he?

Dan took MacNotables behind the scenes of his upgrade project to talk about why accomplishing the task isn’t as bad as it looks, but why you might want to buy the Mac mini with the RAM already installed.

Dan also discusses a superior option to a Mac mini hard drive upgrade, how the mini has evolved into a very viable option for most Mac users, and why there may no longer be a need for the “mythical Mac mini-tower.”

Dan and host Chuck Joiner also offer some thoughts on Apple’s vision, and “why they are sometimes right.” (We think Apple’s right more than just “sometimes” – not always, but oftentimes.)

Link to listen to and/or download MacNotables’ audio MP3 here.


  1. Steve Jobs does make a few decisions I disagree with, like discounting mac desktop gaming, but for the most part he’s dead on. With the latest updates, the mac mini is a very viable machine as a media server, or for playing World of Warcraft (many thanks to Blizzard for showing the rest how proper cross-platform development is done).

  2. The hockey puck mouse was a bad decision, but aside from that, I can’t think of any other huge blunder. Some people say that the glossy iMacs, I don’t have an issue with them personally. The might mouse, well, if it gets dirty, it sucks. Just keep your hands clean.

  3. “What’s mp3?”

    It’s the music compression format that you need to spend 50% more on everything to get the same sound quality as AAC. That means; servers, HD’s, bandwidth, money, food….Great for Apple, bad for competitors.

  4. Mac-Nugget, They have made a few bad decisions that I can think of, but yeah not many.

    1. Giving Microsoft a perpetual license for their poorly copied gui.
    2. Newton (killing it was a bad move)
    3. The Cube
    4. Lisa
    5. Twentieth anniversary mac
    6. Hockey Puck Mouse (sucked then, sucks now)
    7. Believing IBM would get them to and past 3 Ghz with the G5.

  5. a) Apple has made SEVERAL mistakes … the Hockey Puck being the most blatant, but hardly the sole example. The Mac mini-serve is (sort of) another … it really could have been introduced years earlier. Should have been?
    b) Yeah, you maybe want to buy a Mac mini with what you need already installed. It costs more. It’s worth it.
    c) The “mythical Mac mini-tower” is still needed. You don’t need considerably more, but – minimally – you NEED the option of a Graphics Card, rather than the “integrated” system in the mini.
    d) Talking about “easy upgrades”, I recently upgraded my 3GB Mac Pro to a 5GB Mac Pro. It took two tries … the first warned me I’d put the 2GB stick in a less-than-optimal slot. Moved a 1GB stick, then the 2GB stick, then total success! And now my system is very close to maxed out, for RAM. There is nearly NO “free RAM” when going full bore. But nearly NO disk-swapping!
    This works for me. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

  6. Oh one more:

    Letting Ros Ho (sp?) from Microsoft onto the same keynote stage as Steve Jobs. I mean seriously, did anyone else watch that thinking: “My god this woman is a train wreck, no wonder office:mac sucks”.

  7. I forgot about “MP3”. YoYo had it mostly right. It’s an audio compression scheme. It’s cheap and easy to use and saves a lot of space, on HD, CD, and broadband. AAC is not, as was suggested, an Apple-only technology. It is certainly a better compression technology – it creates smaller files that sound “less lossy” – but the only thing Apple owns is the protection system they added on. It is also known as M4A and MP4.

  8. @truth:

    1: Agreed, they should have been more careful.
    2: Killing Newton was the right thing to do at the time – Apple needed to focus on their primary market in order to survive.
    3: The Cube was fine, just overpriced.
    4: The Lisa was fine, just overpriced.
    5: The TAM was fine, just overpriced.
    6. Although I never had a problem with that mouse, I agree that most people hated it.
    7: Yeah, totally agree there. The worst of it is, right after Apple gave up on IBM, they announced variants of the 970 that could go past 3ghz and would be suitable for laptops. On the other hand, Apple made a great move by keeping OS X on x86 “in secret” from day one. This made the Intel transition MUCH smoother than it otherwise would have been.

  9. @truth,

    Letting Roz Ho on stage was one of the most brilliant things Steve Jobs ever did (second only to buying Apple back for -$400 million).

    By giving Roz stage time, he helped boost her career at Microsoft. Guess where she went?

    She became General Manager of the Entertainment and Devices Division Labs at Microsoft (Zunetastic!)

    Then she became in charge of the Premium Mobile Experiences at Microsoft, and was also responsible for integration of Danger Inc. In this role, she pretty much killed 3 different would-be iPhone competing platforms from Microsoft.

    Train wreck or highly successful saboteur?

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Steve Jobs turns down his CEO of the Decade award on grounds that Roz Ho would’ve won if she were only given the chance to be CEO of Microsoft.

  10. Wow, all this talk about the mini tower. Sounds like there is a nitch need for one. But there are two reasons I can think of why Apple hasn’t produced one, yet.

    1. Apple doesn’t want to sell them to consumers. Small, compact, and sleek is the Apple way and what the average person is impressed with once they get their new Mac’s home and start using them. (I’m not talking about geeks like us)
    2. Apple doesn’t want to stock big, bulky towers at their Apple Mall stores.
    3. It’s what the Windows box assemblers are making.

    Okay, that’s three.

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