Apple’s new Mac mini creates concern about upcoming Mac Pro

“Compared to the prior generation, the new Mac mini is a veritable powerhouse packed in the same diminutive square. You can even upgrade the RAM after you buy it, a rarity among Apple products,” Michael Simon writes for Macworld. “But in 2018, the new Mac mini feels like more of a concession than an innovation.”

“After four years, Apple basically gave us the barest minimum Mac mini upgrade to get us through the next four years. I have little hope that Apple will pay any attention to the Mac mini until sometime in 2022, if it ever does,” Simon writes. “With the exception of the MacBook Pro, Apple tends to upgrade its Macs just enough so it can safely ignore it for a few years.”

“Who’s to say the new Mac Pro won’t be just as disappointing? I have no doubt that it’ll be loaded with the latest Xeon processors, gobs of RAM, and loads of storage, but will it deliver the innovation and ease of use that professionals really want?” Simon writes. “While I was once confident that the extra time Apple is taking means it is tweaking, fine-tuning, and refining the design, the Mac mini makes me skeptical… What if Apple merely tweaks the case and adds a few Thunderbolt 3 ports?”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The current Mac Pro (trashcan) design is dead. Apple cannot simply tweak that design (à la Mac mini) and deliver a salable upgrade, much less one that’ll have long-suffering pros lining up to buy them.

For us, the new Mac mini doesn’t create any more concern over the next-gen Mac Pro than wasn’t already there in spades (due to the extreme lateness in replacing the current Mac Pro’s dead-end design).

43 Comments

  1. This guy, Michael Simon, is an idiot. Instead of appreciating the Mac Mini as a great little computer, he’s bitching about what MAY happen in the future with nothing to backup his conspiracy theories.

    1. The problem with the new MM is not its specs or form factor. It’s that by raising it’s price by $300 it just pivoted from being Apple’s only budget headless Mac (remember BYO KVM?) originally marketed to PC switchers, SOHO, and education markets to a less defined audience (Pro users not needing pro graphics card? xServe replacement?). To Apple,the desktop is fading away, replaced by portables. But it’s unclear who is the target market for the new Mini.

      1. I really, really, really wanted to like the Mac mini and the $800 starting price point is good (not great, but very good).

        The $800 option to upgrade to 1TB storage, however, is HORRIBLE. At that point, I might as well buy an iMac and get a discrete GPU, a mouse, a keyboard, and a 5K monitor for $200 more.

        There should be a clear and significant price differential between an iMac 5K and a Mac mini which has no monitor (or keyboard or mouse or discrete GPU) of any kind. But because Apple insists on way-overpriced SSDs, the Mac mini instantly looses it’s appeal as soon as you try to spec it out with a modest amount of storage.

        Apple should offer standard HDs and/or Fusion HDs as an option on the MacMini for people who just want
        1. a basic home computer
        2. a multi-media computer to hook into my surround sound system (do NOT need SSDs for that)
        3. A second computer for the kids/vacation/den/home server, etc.
        4. School computer labs–don’t need SSDs
        5. Light office/receptionist/bookkeeping/administrator computer, etc.

        I still do not understand why they can’t take the innards of the iMac (including the discrete GPU) and put it in a nice little box with a user serviceable HD. It is extremely frustrating. This new Mac mini is not “pro-oriented,” it is simply a updated Mac-mini with overpriced storage options.

    2. Maxed out Mac mini: $4,199 (no monitor, no KB, integrated GPU, no mouse)

      Similar iMac: $3999 (27″ 5K monitor, 8GB GPU, 4.2GHz quad-core 7th-generation Intel Core i7, 64 GB RAM, 3TB Fusion Drive, mouse, and KB.

      Does anyone at Apple even stop to think how ridiculous the Mac mini looks with this price comparison?

  2. Pipeline’s total hatred of the Mac is reason enough to be very wary of the hypothetical upcoming Mac Pro. Pipeline has ignored Mac products for YEARS, causing them to become the laughing stock of the industry. Sure, today the Mac Mini looks great, but as the author states, it will now be relegated for another 4 years. Apple under Pipeline will not update the Mac regularly. Most pros have long since dropped using the Mac because they know that Pipeline does not have any priorities when it comes to the Mac.

    Pipeline only cares about phones.

    Pipeline spends no time at all thinking about the future of the Mac.

    Pipeline has virtually crushed the Mac and macOS under his watch.

    1. Hopefully, you’ve been releasing all your blind frustration.

      The Mac, in the industry I work in, is outpacing the PC on a ratio of 9 to 1.

      Also, you have to understand that Apple as created its own economics. With iOS and its Appstore, every developpers are on Mac. Did you know? Did you know the Appstore made 240 millions in one day in 2016. Talk about a market!

      Did you know you can’t develop for iOS but on mac?

      Everything is tied together.

      When the refresh Mac pro will come, it will be for AR, VR, AI and ML. Apple have to craft those fields first…

        1. more like 1000 wintels per Mac. Very few major project or products designed on Macs. Solidworks, CATIA, ProE, etc don’t play with Macs. Analysis, >90% wintels too.

          No wonder it takes so long for Apple to update its Macs. They have to find somebody with macCAD.

      1. Just because you get paid for your work it does not define you as a “Pro”. (Lawyers might disagree, but in the vernacular, it’s just not true.)

        I can do iOS app development in a five year old MacBook Air (and have!). Does that make that machine a “Pro” machine? Hardly.

        As some of you may recall from my posts over the past few decades, I’ve negotiated the purchase of several thousand Macs. The lack of a true “Pro” machine over the past five years has caused that purchase stream to go to nearly zero with the most recent years being only several MacBook Pros.

        Unless Apple comes out with a true pro machine in 2019, even those purchase could go to zero.

        This latest Mac mini in it’s maxed out form is a beast of a machine FOR WHAT IT IS.
        The latest iMac Pro in it’s maxed out form is a beast of a machine FOR WHAT IT IS.
        NEITHER is a true pro machine.

        And, this is from a guy who has negotiated for thousands of Macs. Can you say the same?

      2. In this age many decades in from the start of cross-platform development the only reason every iOS developer is on a Mac is because that is the only platform you are allowed to use to develop for iOS. For practically any other platform you can use multiple ‘foreign’ platforms to develop for your target platform/device. You could safely say one of the reasons Macs are still selling is so iOS Apps can be developed.

    2. …and yet it continues to grow if slowly market share, not bad for a laughing stock is it? Keystone Cops rants like yours are actually an upgrade on the original who were only marginally amusing. And the most amusing thing of all, and it’s not by any means restricted to you, is this imaginary concept of what a pro is. It’s always an assessment undefined and one dimensional and rarely comes within a boomerang throw of reality even if you keep coming back for more. Most amusing of all is that those like you despite your lack of definition all seem to occupy their very own pro singular dimension usually unrelated to others singular pro dimension other than agreeing pro users are deserting the platform in droves. If I had believed that BS over years there would have been well into the negative column a decade ago, it is so boring listening to this repetitive mantra. Thanks to Cook I am sure some are, particularly in the 5% class that you guys think is 100% of the pro business, but truth is wherever I look in the true widespread pro market Macs prevail in the very areas they always did well in and that’s because only your 5% use these imaginary machines that you get orgasms over.

      1. “…and yet it continues to grow if slowly market share…”

        Not true. The last two quarters the Mac line has LOST market share. Why? It’s because of Apple’s late to the party upgrades and even then offering old technology. The top of the heap CPU that Apple is offering in the new Mac mini has been shipping in quantity for about a year. That’s not even close to the state of the art. In fact, Apple could have shipped this new Mac Mini 10 months ago with the exact same hardware!

        Plus, as the article describes, it may be years before the next upgrade.

    3. Yes, what you say is TRUE. You got the Apple fanboys in a total tizzy over it, but that’s to be expected. I wish it were otherwise, but under fashionista iPad Cook it is what it is..,

  3. We must accept that Apple sees itself as a phone company, the Mac, both iMac and Pro versions are just a side line. I have had Apples and Macs for nearly 40 years, (just missed out on an Apple 1) I have everything Apple from shares to printers but they are testing my loyalty over needing to replace an aging iMac with an updated computer.

  4. I completely agree with chefpastr. The Mac mini’s design is classic Apple, just like the iPad, and just like the iMac. I would dare say the mini’s enclosure is far more beautiful than the currently dead trashcan ever was. I would actually like the Mac Pro to simply be this same enclosure with even more beefed up internals…to include multi SSD drives, dual NICS, and move the headphone jack to the front. Why hate a design that works? Even pros should realize the future when it’s staring them in the face.

    1. And how many Nvidia 2080 cards can I put into this hypothetical “Mac mini Pro” you suggest? I’d like to put a minimum of two in there (maybe even three) to do some decent number crunching.

      And don’t try to sell me on the TB3 interface being enough for an eGPU box. I’m not trying to run a couple of UHDTV monitors. I’m trying to do real simulations and real work. Plus a PCIe 16 lane interface is about 126 Gbps far outstripping the 40 Gbps of TB3.

      (Further, I hope the 2019 Mac Pro will implement PCIe 4.0 — officially approved in June 2017 — which will double that to over 252 Gbps, effectively leaving TB3 in the dust.)

  5. Until Apple actually ships a new Mac Pro, there isn’t one..

    Tim I don’t think dislikes the Mac, it still makes the company Billions every year.. They just need to figure out how to be more pro-active in upgrading the Mac Line on a more routine basis…

    It is perfectly clear though that the iPhone is the top attention getter and probably will continue to be for a long time..

    Though I think its going to be harder and harder to intro new things and designs. At the end of the day now, the iPhone X is very fast, the screens and features are excellent, while they can continue to improve the camera though IOS, it’s still a Phone with a powerful computer inside

    1. Abject nonsense. You think upgrading the Mac, keeping it current, is a challenge for Apple? Fsck no! Pipeline is the reason why the Mac has virtually been abandoned the past 4 years. If Pipeline were committed to the Mac, we would have had an awesome Mac Mini YEARS ago.

      He’s not so we didnt.

      Pipeline has done nothing but milk the Mac until it’s a laughing stock.

      1. Mac is Jobs’ baby, not Tim’s, so the latter may be getting rid of one part of Mac, the trashcan, just as a sports coach gets rid of even good players because they don’t fit the coach’s scheme.

  6. I read the article. It does not help me one bit. What I need to know is should I wait for an iMac upgrade or just replace my aging iMac with a Mac Mini and assorted extras like a new monitor etc. ??? Any thoughts.

    1. You might as well take some time to research what you need. Look for promotions on the peripherals that you may need. Then the day Pipeline announces the 2019? Mac Pro, you will be ready to choose whether to get a mini + externals, the new Pro, or a new wintel box. Right now, a used 2012 Mac Pro looks like a better option for me.

    2. Sit down and write out what you need your new computer to do for the next 5 years. Then look to see if anything Apple provides fits. If you find PCs would be a better fit buy that to use for 5 years or till Apple gets it’s act together to fit your needs.

    3. I too am looking to upgrade my iMac. I might consider the mac mini except of its graphics capability. It uses system memory! If external GPUs weren’t so expensive…

      Plus the fact that Apple over-over-charges for the SSD. Who would use a 256GB SSD drive as their main/only internal drive???

    1. An original 128K Mac cost $2495, and that was for a machine that came with just that amount of ram and no hard drive. That’s about $5877 today.

      In terms of comparative costs, that $5877 buys you a tricked out $4K mini, not a base model. With money left over for a mouse, keyboard, 4K monitor, scanner, an external drive, and/or a new iPad.

      1. You cannot legitimately compare the pioneer model to a mass produced unit in a mature market.

        Apple has to compete against PCs and it isn’t using its financial power to even try to offer greater value for buyers. Cook has ruined what could be the best selling computer platform by overpricing and sloooooooooooow updates. His pep talks about how important the Mac is ring totally hollow.

      2. You need to do some research.

        Jobs did NOT like the high price tag of the original 128k Mac. And, he wanted to start with the 512k Mac.

        Both the decision for the high price and the decision to start with the 128k Mac were driven by Sculley and the board. Not Steve Jobs.

        Also, even the 128k Mac could be bought through various discount sources for as little as half the list price, e.g., educational pricing.

  7. I’ve complained about Cook’s Macs for years but even I think the new Mini is a reasonably good computer.

    It’s flexible. You can upgrade the RAM yourself. For those who think the SSDs too expensive, TB3 allows you to use HD externally for file storage (just put the OS on the internal SSD) . Want extra GPU power you can add eGPU. You can chain them up with ethernet to boost multi core processing.

    Will it please everybody, no.

    I would have preferred a mid tower like a slightly smaller Cheese Grater with upgradeable drives etc but I can understand Apple’s choice of size as some people want to stack them. I think the internal SSDs are fixed due to the T2 chip (?).

    A compromise machine it’s true (as all devices are) but it should serve the needs of low to mid range pros. It’s certainly not the disaster the Cylinder was with no GPU upgrade solution having only TB2.

  8. They just moved into a new centralized headquarters, instead of being spread out all over the county in every office corner they could find. The results of being in the new space ship office won’t be felt for years, but it will, eventually, change the output of Apple.

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