2014 Mac Mini Is Neither Here Nor There

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by cinealta, Oct 26, 2014.

  1. cinealta macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2012
    #1
    There are 3 possible explanations for the design of the 2014 Mac Mini and none of them seem positive:

    1) The 2014 is just a placeholder until Intel releases Broadwell or Sky Lake in 2015. Why buy a new Mini with an imminent improvement?

    2) The 2014 is a lackluster improvement because Apple is planning on discontinuing it (eg iPod Classic). Why invest in an end-of-life product line?

    3) The 2014 represents 2 years of Apple's best innovation, engineering and design. We know this is not the case because the new Mac Pro re-design was substantial.
     
  2. majkom macrumors 65816

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    #2
    ad 2) why should anyone whose needs are fulfilked with new mini care whether it is EOL produkt or nit? who cares?
     
  3. crazzapple Guest

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2014
    #3
    The reason for this is that some of us do real work on these machines and have potentially thousands $$$ invested in software or hardware peripherals. So if a product is going to be EOL soon, it might not make sense to transition to it, even if it meets your current needs, especially if you will be purchasing new pricey software/hardware to go with it.

    ----------

    For most students, soccer moms/dads, people using facebook email, it's fine.
     
  4. mmomega, Oct 26, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2014

    mmomega macrumors demi-god

    mmomega

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    #4
    This is very similar to how the updates for the Mac Pro went down.

    Mac Pro weren't updated/refresh in a very long time.
    When they finally were refreshed it was a very basic/unsatisfactory refresh, for the most part.

    Then we find out this was the in between update prior to a redesign/computer overhaul of that line of computer.

    Is this possibly what is happening with the Mini?
    I think anything is possible and highly likely, it has been 4 yrs in this unibody design, the only main change from 2010 was the removal of the superdrive/slot in the front.

    I also have a feeling 3 other products will receive an update or new design in 2015 but I'll keep on topic with the mini.


    IMO, the current 2014 Mac Mini is plenty of computer for a family computer.
    I can relate to both sides of the story is what I'm trying to say here.

    The fact of the matter is, this mini can be great for what it is.
    It is a great starter Mac
    It is a great headless home server
    It is a great little server anyway.
    It is a great basic alternative to inexpensive Windows machines.

    It won't be a high res game player.
    It won't be a fast video ripping machine.
    It won't be a number crunching little beast.

    Ok, we can't swap RAM. Worse things have happened.

    Let's give it a chance and see where this little road takes us, hopefully to a soon-to-be released complete redesign.
     
  5. cinealta thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Dec 9, 2012
    #5
    It's ok, do tell. It won't hijack the thread. Apple TV, MacBook Air/Pro, Cinema Displays? IMO iPods are done.

    Good input on the Mini.
     
  6. majkom macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    #6
    But, that is nothing new, apple tv, mac mini, ATD and possibly macbook air were rumoured/believed to be redesigned for october event:) And of course, I agree with you...
     
  7. MacGuffin macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2006
    #7
    As a disgruntled Mini owner scarred -- scarred, I tell ya -- by SolderGate, I expect one of these things to happen. Listed in order of decreasing probability.

    1) The Mini sits, as is, for the next 18-24 months. Apple takes whatever it gets in sales, not caring very much. Whatever trickles in as revenue is seen by the bean counters as protecting the bottom end of the market (even if only conceptually, ie, there is a small Apple box that does something). Some time in 2016, it gets another ho-hum refresh.

    2) The Mini is updated sooner to Broadwell, if Apple can get around to it. Don't hold your breath.

    3) The Mini mutates into a home entertainment machine with limited productivity as a side benefit. Apple unifies it with Apple TV or, alternatively, makes a play for the home videogame console market using an iOS-friendly design. Small, thin, dumb, wheeeeee! In Cupertino, they've seen the future, and it isn't productivity-centered unless you want to pay.
     
  8. voyager03 macrumors member

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    Feb 25, 2010
    Location:
    Somerset, UK
    #8
    Or -

    4. Apple are working on a new product, a 'mini Pro', to fulfil the demands of the server market and will go down well with the ever whining uber-geek market (although the latter is tiny, it is vocal here) ;)
     
  9. Crosscreek macrumors 68030

    Crosscreek

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    #9
    I think we all know that Haswell was an after thought after Broadwell was pushed back so many times by Intel.

    The present enclosure is such an old design that Apple will, and probably already has a new design to fit in with Apple aesthetics so as not to be embarrassed with a 15 second blip at an event.

    Maybe by next October they will introduce a Broadwell/Skylake Mac Mini that will bring the Mini into the future and will add the "wow" factor back into our little friend.
     
  10. Fishrrman macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #10
    OP wrote above:
    [[ 1) The 2014 is just a placeholder until Intel releases Broadwell or Sky Lake in 2015. ]]

    This is the correct response.

    I sense that Apple's designers had originally been counting on a timely release of Broadwell, perhaps even had a design "worked up" for it, BUT...

    ...the "Broadwell delay" forced them to literally "go back to the drawing board" and produce a "hurry-up" refresh that could then be offered as an "update" in the Mini product line.

    The 2014 Mini -does- have some "around-the-edges" improvements, such as the dual thunderbolt ports, improved displayport, IRIS graphics, etc.

    Looks they needed to "shoehorn" a workable CPU into it, didn't want high power consumption, so -- we get what we get.

    I will also guess that they used soldered-in RAM because (if I've read correctly) the higher speed RAM that they're using isn't available in standalone modules, anyway (if I'm wrong, someone please correct me). They shouldn't have charged so much for the 16gb upgrade, however. "Keep it reasonable", and more folks would buy it!
     
  11. gpat macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 1, 2011
    Location:
    Italy
    #11
    To Macs? Care to list some?
     
  12. keysofanxiety macrumors 604

    keysofanxiety

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2011
    #12
    Nope, standard DDR3 1600MHz SODIMM modules. The reason they used soldered RAM in the 'new' Mac Mini and the 'new' iMac is because it has an identical Logic Board to the 1.4GHz MacBook Air, and Apple are cost-cutting by using that board in all their lowest-cost products.

    It's ironic how the more money companies make, the greedier they seem to become. I think we can all agree that if they aren't willing to make Apple-quality/performing products, they shouldn't offer a lower-end option. In the end, everybody loses.

    And let's not kid ourselves -- the products are still very expensive. The new Mac Mini offers reduced performance than its predecessor, and reduced functionality with its lack of upgradability. The low-cost iMac is far from cheap and has worse performance than the baseline iMac from 4 years ago.

    It's lazy, it's cheap, and it's completely contrary to Apple's supposed mentality of putting the user experience first.

    Apple have a passionate following because people have had good experiences with their support, and their products. When Apple begin to abuse this customer loyalty by releasing these sorts of products, it benefits nobody -- not even themselves. Short-term: higher profit margin. Long-term: complaints from consumers, anger about how an expensive machine can perform so poorly, dissuasion from purchasing future Apple products, and lack of upgradability means the consumer has to simply buy a new Apple product if they want their computer to perform better.

    So, so disappointed recently.
     
  13. indychris macrumors 6502

    indychris

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    Apr 19, 2010
    Location:
    Fort Wayne, IN
    #13
    Seems to me that the Mini has now been moved to the island of misfits where it will sit largely viewed as a 'hobby' device for Apple, to be updated only as TC finds people with nothing to do.

    Let's face it, Apple has made it clear that computers are now their second-tier product line, and the Mini is at the bottom of that pile. There it will receive the periodic, inconsistent 'throw them a previously chewed bone and see if it keeps them happy' treatment.
     
  14. mmomega macrumors demi-god

    mmomega

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2009
    Location:
    DFW, TX
    #14
    Everyone has their level of importance on the issue but here are a few

    Apple no longer making the computer anymore? Xserve
    Apple removing all CD/DVD drives from MacBooks, iMacs, Mac Mini's, Mac Pro's?
    Apple making an iMac with no VESA option
    Not being able to use the AppleTV without internet/WiFi.
    Not being able to store content on the AppleTV and having to stream everything.
    Removing the Utility from Airport Utility.
    No FireWire.

    It isn't as though you can not get more RAM, people can, they just don't like the option.
     
  15. sublunar macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2007
    #15
    The Haswell refresh, as many people refer to it, is indeed Intel's placeholder for the delayed Broadwell. Broadwell itself is due to be superseded by Skylake which is the one to look out for as far as Apple are concerned because it will bring Thunderbolt 3 and with it the ability to connect to a 4 or 5k display with a single Thunderbolt cable (no messing about with drivers or dual cables etc).

    Current timetables suggest Skylake will appear in late 2015 but given the Broadwell has been delayed I am not hopeful of it arriving on time - it would give Broadwell a very short shelf life as far as Apple are concerned.

    2 years for a Mini update seems to reflect what happened to the Mac Pro which went 2 years between 2010 and 2012 between updates only because the CPUs in the 2010 were about to be EOL (in other words Apple had to refresh or otherwise discontinue due to lack of parts, like with the iPod Classic).

    Here's what I think will happen next year:

    Retina Macbook Air arrives, killing off the last remaining Ivy Bridge Macbook Pro still in the Apple Store. The Macbook Air with Retina will sit alongside the the non retina Air for one generation. Apple can remove all Ivy Bridge era components from supply chain for new builds.

    Retina 4k iMac arrives, with i7 and improved graphics, possibly AMD, possibly the much mooted Nvidia 970 (more power efficient and running much cooler for the smaller case) that's appeared in Yosemite builds.

    Non retina iMacs would probably get the refresh too if only to get a Thunderbolt 2 interface. They skipped the Haswell refresh chips in return for a small price cut on most if not all models not long ago.

    These products will be Broadwell and should carry the Thunderbolt 2 interface.

    The iMac with MBA innards from the last update seems to have pointed the way forward for the Mini this time and it's going to be worth looking at what happens to the non retina iMac going forward.

    I've not done enough research to determine if Skylake mobile sockets are going to be compatible between dual and quad core (as they were with Ivy Bridge). That seems to be the main factor that has generated the decision to go dual only across the board and created all of the hubbub about it. It would appear to be logical to monitor Intel's Skylake news on hardware websites to help us predict what may be coming.

    For what it's worth, if a Mini is coming, I'd expect it to be a Thunderbolt 3 equipped Skylake refresh sometime in the first half of 2016 and to arrive at the same time as a refreshed Thunderbolt Display (with Retina!).
     
  16. nilk macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2007
    #16
    I assume you are talking about the lack of quad core CPU causing a performance regression, in which case: most cost effective way to produce this line while sharing architecture with the 13" rMBP (and the low-end iMac?). Quad core would've meant a different CPU socket so it was sacrificed in the name of streamlining. Power consumption goals may have also been a factor. Soldered RAM because the 13" rMBP has it, too, so more shared between the two platforms.

    If this is the case, maybe 13" rMBP and Mac Mini updates will be synchronized (or at least close together) for a while which might result in us seeing more frequent Mac Mini updates?

    ----------

    Firewire can be used via ThunderBolt display, 3rd party docks, and I believe the TB-to-Firewire adaptor should work the 2014 Mac Mini (though it takes up a port, but there's two ports now). Considering that, I think it's reasonable to drop the actual Firewire port and is in line with my theory that they are synchronizing with the 13" rMBP platform.
     
  17. Akula971, Oct 28, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 29, 2014

    Akula971 macrumors regular

    Akula971

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    Aug 25, 2006
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    Perfidious Albion
    #17
    This is what happens when…..

    Steve Jobs built a company on products that he had a vision for, same with Bill Gates, both from a software/Engineering background. What happened? Well Steve Balmer, a bean counter became Microsofts leader, and well that turned out well. Now we have Tim in charge, another bean counter, no vision or real passion for the technology or user experience. Its the bottom line, the share price, the mass market. I don't doubt that Apple will still make money, lots of it, but in terms of user experience? Its the new Microsoft, you'll be offered what they think you should have, as opposed to what you want.

    When they removed "Save as" and the coloured side bar icons in Finder it really was a case of **** you, when they dumbed down iWork's, & FinalCut Pro, **** you. When your first option to save is the cloud, its **** you. When in Yosemite your unsaved documents are uploaded to the cloud automatically, its **** you. When your spotlight, searches terms in Yosemite are uploaded to Apple, its **** you. The Apple walled garden has now dropped its pretence, as if you are inside, you'll do what big brother wants. Quite a contrast from the "1984" video they made? eh? Its looking less of garden, and more of a camp.

    Will I buy a 2014 Mac Mini, well Apple **** you. NO.
     
  18. cinealta thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Dec 9, 2012
    #18
    The consensus seem to be that the 2014 Minis are placeholders waiting for next year's Intel's Broadwell and/or Sky Lake CPUs.
     
  19. Serban Suspended

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2013
    #19
    In spring/Q1 2015 will be an event for sure for:
    -Apple Tv update
    -ipad Pro
    -12" macbook air (or they will keep for WWDC 2015)
    -watch
    -maybe the 4k iMac 21.5"
     
  20. brdeveloper macrumors 68020

    brdeveloper

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    Apr 21, 2010
    Location:
    Brasil
    #20
    I think that a 2009 Mini with a SSD and 8GB of RAM still outperforms the base-2014 Mini for most or even all family usage.

    Conclusion: the base-2014 Mini is too expensive, since it's not upgradeable and will not run slick after 5 years. It will feel more like using an iPhone 3GS in 2014.
     
  21. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #21
    The Mac Mini of 2014 certainly was a disappointment for Mac Mini enthusiasts. However, let's remember that Apple doesn't fulfill markets, find markets they DEfine markets and we all get to choose which one of their markets we want to fit into.

    There was nothing to stop Apple from making Mac Minis all quad. We know that more and more applications are able to exploit multi-core systems and the trend moves forward while the Mini does not. The entire exercise by Apple to roll out these jokes sitting in a Mini chassis/body will remain a disappointment to avid users who do more than web browse, email, iTunes or occasional word processing.

    I would rather Apple stuck with the 2012 set up and simply update the GPU and maybe TB and that is all and tell us it is a place holder until next year rather than provide a new low end anemic base model followed by a bunch of dual core nonsense with soldered RAM. Oh my bad, I forgot that Apple defines the market and I merely have to be a lemming and rave about being in the Apple eco system.
     
  22. cinealta, Oct 28, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2014

    cinealta thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Dec 9, 2012
    #22
    I totally agree. My 2009 Mini screams on Yosemite with 4 Gb RAM and 5400 RPM HDD. Safari is lightning quick, email, word processing, iTunes are all snappy. The only difference is that Yosemite takes longer to boot than Snow Leopard (10.6.8) or Mountain Lion (10.8.5). Can't see the 2014 outperforming it for general tasks.
     
  23. Micky Do, Oct 28, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 29, 2014

    Micky Do macrumors 68000

    Micky Do

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    Aug 31, 2012
    Location:
    An island in the Andaman Sea.
    #23
    Mind the digital gap.

    The trend certainly does seem to be to the Cloud, Streaming, Handoff (between devices), Downloading and integrated this and that…….. All of which may be great if folks have the infrastructure to be able to enjoy them.

    Where I am in a partially developed country, with an internet connection that delivers 350 kb/sec on a good day, and no credit card, it is all worth zilch to me, among others now being left behind in the digital rat-race.
     
  24. BJonson macrumors 6502a

    BJonson

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    Aug 26, 2010
    #24
    Umm, did you say "screams"? LOL. Was your last computer an Apple IIe?
     
  25. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

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    #25
    Okay I have to say you did make me chortle a bit on your response to the other poster.
     

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