Open thread: Is there a market for a ‘Mac mini Pro’ starting at $799?

An earlier article that expressed some users’ disappointment with Apple’s Mac mini’s soldered RAM and lack of quad-core CPU options has prompted us to write a brief open note to Apple:

You are missing something between the Mac mini and the Mac Pro. A Mac minitower — a really short “tower,” let’s call it the “Mac mini Pro” — with user-swappable RAM more processor options starting at $799 would go a looong way here (especially with the Mac’s rejuvenated growth). You are leaving money on the table.

Are we right or wrong? More specifically, is there a significant enough market out there to justify and support Apple’s investment (seems like a minimal bit of R&D to us – most of it is already there in the Mac mini) in a new “Mac mini Pro?”

Should Apple make a "Mac mini Pro?"
A “Mac mini Pro?”

So, is there a market for a ‘Mac mini Pro’ starting at $799?


      1. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to have the option of this type of Mac but Apple has steadfastly avoided this exact kind of MacPro mini you are talking about for over a decade! We thought the Mac mini would fill the gap but it…

        1. Never used 3.5″ HDs–much cheaper, bigger and faster
        2. Never used real video cards
        3. Always had very limited memory slots.

        And forget any kind of PCI card slots. That will NEVER happen again on any Mac.

        1. I am thinking of a Mac Pro, with only one GPU, a lesser variety of the Xeon range and maybe SODIMM instead of the larger sticks. That could reduce the height by half maybe and still be powerful.

    1. I’d vote for a range of more powerful MacMinis.

      I’ve got a great Apple 27″ display that doesn’t need to be replaced. I could use the more powerful MacMini to replace my 21″ iMac from late 2009.

          1. I hope you mean the old 2013 trash can Mac Pro.

            There simply aren’t that many users who think that it’s a great feature to be forced to buy more cables & external boxes to do the upgrades & expansion that used to be simple and internal. And as we all know, Apple continues to completely miss the professional rack-mounted gear market, because mounting Apple’s round cans in a rectangular rack is just stupid packaging. It’s as though Apple is actively trying to push pro mobile users to Linux.

            1. Agreed. I want a new Mac Pro with four drive bays, a video card slot, USB 3.0, the latest killer processors from Intel and a built-in Blu-ray drive.

    2. Me too!!! I just grabbed the previous gen i7 2.6GHz quad AFTER they released the new mini because I thought it was a better machine than any of the new models. I understand the desire to have a low priced entry level Mac, but I want a mini that do some work and has a little room to grow.

      Hopefully they do not do what IBM and other companies have done – cripple products to prevent competition between lines. You should be your own best competition!

    1. Rp, with that config, we’d happily pay more than the new iMacs just to have a properly cooled and internally expandible Mac. Built with proper quality, there’s no reason to start off at $800.

  1. Ability for USER to replace:
    CPU (low on my list honestly, but ability to order preconfigured with multiple CPU choices? yes)

    And i’d buy one.

    My problem, i have a 27″ iMac as my main.. so even with the Mac Pro, i have to add a $1000 to the price to get a great 27″ screen. (will not buy a smaller screen now.. i’m spoiled)

  2. Basically you’re taking the guts of the 27″ iMac / Retina iMac and putting it into a minitower & upgradeable to 32GB RAM. That’s a great idea. For people who value desktops, this minitower in combination with a 5K TB Display would be a more popular option than an iMac, I think.

    That way, when it comes time to upgrade, you only have to change the tower and not the entire display. Plus, you minimize overheating issues.

    1. Even better, if Apple frees itself from its self-imposed constraint of making new devices as thick as a sheet of paper, then a new mid-range desktop Mac could use standard durable well-cooled desktop-class components instead of the mobile components the iMac uses. A new mid-range Mac sans display could offer users better upgradeability and performance while giving Apple better margins. Manufacture and shipping of a new Mac tower could be way more efficient than an all-in-one computer for Apple.

  3. What would be decent sales and money for some companies, would likely be a distraction for Apple. As a shareholder I want them to concentrate on Apple Watch and perhaps Apple TV update rather than a Mac mini pro.

      1. As noted above, i think Apple could price the iMac and a user-upgradeable midrange tower at about the same and the new Mac tower would still sell like hotcakes. Lashing mobile components to the back of a display is simply not what everyone wants. Those who need configurability — not to mention the many aftermarket PCI card makers that Apple has shat on for the last 5 years — would embrace having a machine that they can INTERNALLY tweak to meet their exact needs. No current Mac allows this anymore.

  4. I was going to buy a Mac Mini when they released the update. They basically trashed the ability for me to upgrade it to a great Graphic Design work station that could be easily carried to & from work. If they left it like it was previously, where we could add RAM etc., then i’d be in the market for one…but as the sell them now, well they are at best a expensive weight.

    1. That’s the whole point. I don’t have any hard numbers but I’m sure many people who buy the iMac, especially the 27″ model, would prefer to upgrade only the CPU box as opposed to always having to upgrade the entire computer along with the monitor when they get a new machine.

  5. ABSO-FREAKIN-LUTELY! Nobody likes to buy junk, your computer needs to be able to be “refreshed” after two years. The easiest way to do that is to max out your RAM. If you can’t do that, then you pretty much bought junk.

    Nothing’s worse than updating your OS once and have your computer slow down to a brick.

    Having all Mac mini’s with upgradable RAM–YES.
    Having a Mac mini Pro for more voom–YES YES YES!

  6. I vote no. Just make the current one decent for a decent price like it used to be. Keep the ultra-low end one for those that want it, but give back the upgradeability and quad processors. Boy did they ever screw up.

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