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GubbyMan

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Apr 3, 2011
419
1,920
With Apple moving from Intel CPUs to Apple Silicon, I was thinking we could see some new form factors introduced. The A-series chips as we know can go down all the way to around 6W maximum load like in the A13 or slightly more than that but still enough to be passively cooled as in the A12Z.

That's why I've been thinking about a potential Mac nano, basically a Mac mini but in a chassis the size of an iPhone.

Specs:
  • Apple A14X (5nm, same as the next generation iPad)
  • 8GB RAM (16GB option)
  • 256GB SSD (512GB/1TB options)
  • WiFi 6E + BT 5.2
  • 4 USB-C ports (Thunderbolt 4)
  • Only comes with a USB-C cable in the box
Price would be around $399 for 8GB/256GB, $499 for 16GB/512GB and $599 for 16GB/1TB. I think we can assume the CPU in the next iPad would be at least on par with the most powerful current gen Mac mini (at least when it doesn't throttle) and the GPU should be better than Intel's current iGPUs.

I think that this Mac nano should not have an integrated power supply! My reasoning is that the main use case for this is to connect it to a USB-C/Thunderbolt display that can power it through the USB connection. Not having a built-in power supply would allow the nano to be smaller than any computer including the Apple TV and it should be possible to cool it passively with a good heat-sink and metal body. If the nano is used with an HDMI/DVI display, it can be connected to any ~18W power supply to power it.

I know a lot of you here would be angry about the port selection that I chose here but I really do think only USB-C is needed. The main use case as I said above would be to connect it to a USB-C monitor that would handle both power and display output through one cable. Mouse and Keyboard should ideally be handled wirelessly or connected to the display itself if it can act like a hub. In the worst case there would still be 3 other USB-C ports on the back so dongles can fix any problem for people that want to use peripherals like USB-A devices, ethernet, 3.5mm audio jack, etc. I'm not suggesting this to be a complete replacement for the Mac mini, for those who would like to have all the old ports and integrated power supply the mini would still be there.

I also think portability can be a new use case with this. You can fit the whole nano in a pocket and all you need is just a USB-C monitor and a cable or any other monitor, a USB-C to HDMI/DVI and any 18W+ phone charger you can find.

Any thoughts? Changes to this? Should it include the power supply? Add a fan? Is the price too low/high? Should they make an even smaller Mac nano with an under-clocked iPhone SoC? Is this a bad idea because the Mac mini is small enough? Share your thoughts. ;)
 
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mcnallym

macrumors 6502a
Oct 28, 2008
842
427
Would want to retain a hdmi port personally.
this would be a suitable iTunes server for me, there still being movies, tv shows that not on streaming or iTunes, that have ripped dvd for.

hdmi as run headless with a fit4k headless dongle on. If there were usb-c equivalent then would be happy to lose hdmi. What found so far doesn’t do 4K on usb-c.

having said that usb-c to hdmi adaptors cheap enough so could live without hdmi.

would even be happy to lose thunderbolt and just be usb-c as storage wise usb speed fine for streaming.

quite like Ethernet still as well. Not a fan of loading too much into usb bus unless seperate.

external psu is fine for me, keeps heat out of the enclosure which good.

would be nice and low power, efficient for what want from a mini.
 

MevetS

Cancelled
Dec 27, 2018
374
302
I was thinking about this type of machine yesterday. I called it a micro-mini. Carry it in your pocket. Connect to a docking station and fire it up.
 
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GubbyMan

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Apr 3, 2011
419
1,920
Would want to retain a hdmi port personally.
this would be a suitable iTunes server for me, there still being movies, tv shows that not on streaming or iTunes, that have ripped dvd for.

hdmi as run headless with a fit4k headless dongle on. If there were usb-c equivalent then would be happy to lose hdmi. What found so far doesn’t do 4K on usb-c.

having said that usb-c to hdmi adaptors cheap enough so could live without hdmi.

would even be happy to lose thunderbolt and just be usb-c as storage wise usb speed fine for streaming.

quite like Ethernet still as well. Not a fan of loading too much into usb bus unless seperate.

external psu is fine for me, keeps heat out of the enclosure which good.

would be nice and low power, efficient for what want from a mini.

Yeah I thought HDMI would be very useful but I checked Amazon for USB-C to HDMI cables or dongles that support 4K60 and they cost around $15. 3 years ago I had to spend $40 on such a cable. :mad:

I think there's something aesthetically pleasing about just having USB-C ports and nothing else in a small aluminium box the thickness of a MacBook (without display). Just feels like something Apple would do even if it makes the Mac nano harder to connect to TVs.
 

GubbyMan

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Apr 3, 2011
419
1,920
I was thinking about this type of machine yesterday. I called it a micro-mini. Carry it in your pocket. Connect to a docking station and fire it up.

Honestly, we already have the hardware in our pockets as smartphones, the only difference is that this year's iPhone 12 only have 6GB of RAM which is not ideal. We only need Apple to let us boot macOS on iPhones or merge the two OSes so that only the UI is different and we can just run Mac apps on the iPhone. But that's another type of discussion. ?

Also would be nice to have the remote app on iPhone work as a trackpad and keyboard for the Mac nano in case people want to carry it in their pockets without carrying a separate keyboard/mouse.
 

vigilant

Contributor
Aug 7, 2007
638
224
Nashville, TN
With Apple moving from Intel CPUs to Apple Silicon, I was thinking we could see some new form factors introduced. The A-series chips as we know can go down all the way to around 6W maximum load like in the A13 or slightly more than that but still enough to be passively cooled as in the A12Z.

That's why I've been thinking about a potential Mac nano, basically a Mac mini but in a chassis the size of an iPhone.

Specs:
  • Apple A14X (5nm, same as the next generation iPad)
  • 8GB RAM (16GB option)
  • 256GB SSD (512GB/1TB options)
  • WiFi 6E + BT 5.2
  • 4 USB-C ports (Thunderbolt 4)
  • Only comes with a USB-C cable in the box
Price would be around $399 for 8GB/256GB, $499 for 16GB/512GB and $599 for 16GB/1TB. I think we can assume the CPU in the next iPad would be at least on par with the most powerful current gen Mac mini (at least when it doesn't throttle) and the GPU should be better than Intel's current iGPUs.

I think that this Mac nano should not have an integrated power supply! My reasoning is that the main use case for this is to connect it to a USB-C/Thunderbolt display that can power it through the USB connection. Not having a built-in power supply would allow the nano to be smaller than any computer including the Apple TV and it should be possible to cool it passively with a good heat-sink and metal body. If the nano is used with an HDMI/DVI display, it can be connected to any ~18W power supply to power it.

I know a lot of you here would be angry about the port selection that I chose here but I really do think only USB-C is needed. The main use case as I said above would be to connect it to a USB-C monitor that would handle both power and display output through one cable. Mouse and Keyboard should ideally be handled wirelessly or connected to the display itself if it can act like a hub. In the worst case there would still be 3 other USB-C ports on the back so dongles can fix any problem for people that want to use peripherals like USB-A devices, ethernet, 3.5mm audio jack, etc. I'm not suggesting this to be a complete replacement for the Mac mini, for those who would like to have all the old ports and integrated power supply the mini would still be there.

I also think portability can be a new use case with this. You can fit the whole nano in a pocket and all you need is just a USB-C monitor and a cable or any other monitor, a USB-C to HDMI/DVI and any 18W+ phone charger you can find.

Any thoughts? Changes to this? Should it include the power supply? Add a fan? Is the price too low/high? Should they make an even smaller Mac nano with an under-clocked iPhone SoC? Is this a bad idea because the Mac mini is small enough? Share your thoughts. ;)

I haven’t read you’re entire post, and I won’t pretend I have.

I’d buy a Mac Nano.

There is obviously a market for Mac hardware in something that fits “somewhere”.

Intels graphic hardware means anyone or anything can do better than them.
 
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curmudgeonette

macrumors 6502a
Jan 28, 2016
586
496
California
I think that this Mac nano should not have an integrated power supply! My reasoning is that the main use case for this is to connect it to a USB-C/Thunderbolt display that can power it through the USB connection. Not having a built-in power supply would allow the nano to be smaller than any computer including the Apple TV and it should be possible to cool it passively with a good heat-sink and metal body.

For quite a few years I've been dreaming of a tiny Mac with similar specs. Make the billet metal case the size of a VESA 100x100 mount. Provide a hole in each corner matching the VESA mount spec. This way, any place a display is hung on a wall, it can have a Mac running the display.

Beyond your four USB-C's, I'd add an Ethernet port, and an audio jack.
 
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Waragainstsleep

macrumors 6502a
Oct 15, 2003
584
200
UK
Nice idea and more than plausible for Apple to build but I can't quite see them doing it. At that price it would eat into sales for Minis, iMacs and even MacBooks a bit.
 

MiniApple

macrumors regular
Sep 3, 2020
226
236
I'd love a compute stick or an Apple TV sized Mac Mini and buy one in a heartbeat.
That's all I need for media consumption/file storage, basic document editing and web browsing.
 

JohnnyGo

macrumors 6502a
Sep 9, 2009
951
612
I'd love a compute stick or an Apple TV sized Mac Mini and buy one in a heartbeat.
That's all I need for media consumption/file storage, basic document editing and web browsing.

I think the OP was envisioning a more general use device that could act like:
1) a compute stick like you mentioned when connected to an hdmi port and usb port on the back of a TV
2) an itunes/media server tucked away near your router
3) a chromebox like device for schools or POS devices attached to a monitor keyboard and mouse
4) a cheaper mac mini alternative for modest computer use

Not sure Apple would make such device in the Tim Cook era, but it’s certainly possible.

We had to wait almost a decade to see games on an Apple TV so what’s feasible is not always packaged/released...
 

jazz1

Contributor
Aug 19, 2002
3,592
5,429
Mid-West USA
With Apple moving from Intel CPUs to Apple Silicon, I was thinking we could see some new form factors introduced. The A-series chips as we know can go down all the way to around 6W maximum load like in the A13 or slightly more than that but still enough to be passively cooled as in the A12Z.

That's why I've been thinking about a potential Mac nano, basically a Mac mini but in a chassis the size of an iPhone.

Specs:
  • Apple A14X (5nm, same as the next generation iPad)
  • 8GB RAM (16GB option)
  • 256GB SSD (512GB/1TB options)
  • WiFi 6E + BT 5.2
  • 4 USB-C ports (Thunderbolt 4)
  • Only comes with a USB-C cable in the box
Price would be around $399 for 8GB/256GB, $499 for 16GB/512GB and $599 for 16GB/1TB. I think we can assume the CPU in the next iPad would be at least on par with the most powerful current gen Mac mini (at least when it doesn't throttle) and the GPU should be better than Intel's current iGPUs.

I think that this Mac nano should not have an integrated power supply! My reasoning is that the main use case for this is to connect it to a USB-C/Thunderbolt display that can power it through the USB connection. Not having a built-in power supply would allow the nano to be smaller than any computer including the Apple TV and it should be possible to cool it passively with a good heat-sink and metal body. If the nano is used with an HDMI/DVI display, it can be connected to any ~18W power supply to power it.

I know a lot of you here would be angry about the port selection that I chose here but I really do think only USB-C is needed. The main use case as I said above would be to connect it to a USB-C monitor that would handle both power and display output through one cable. Mouse and Keyboard should ideally be handled wirelessly or connected to the display itself if it can act like a hub. In the worst case there would still be 3 other USB-C ports on the back so dongles can fix any problem for people that want to use peripherals like USB-A devices, ethernet, 3.5mm audio jack, etc. I'm not suggesting this to be a complete replacement for the Mac mini, for those who would like to have all the old ports and integrated power supply the mini would still be there.

I also think portability can be a new use case with this. You can fit the whole nano in a pocket and all you need is just a USB-C monitor and a cable or any other monitor, a USB-C to HDMI/DVI and any 18W+ phone charger you can find.

Any thoughts? Changes to this? Should it include the power supply? Add a fan? Is the price too low/high? Should they make an even smaller Mac nano with an under-clocked iPhone SoC? Is this a bad idea because the Mac mini is small enough? Share your thoughts. ;)

Considering I carried my first Mac 128K to the office every day for a couple of years, I like the concept ;) Actually I like your idea!

237723-large.jpg
 
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thingstoponder

macrumors 6502a
Oct 23, 2014
834
832
The pricing is unrealistic. It would start at 499 and doubling of storage would be 200 and ram upgrade would be 200 like any Mac.
 

bluecoast

macrumors 68000
Nov 7, 2017
1,802
1,827
With the advent of the M1 Mac Mini and the revelation that there’s lots of space free in the mini’s enclosure, it feels like a smaller no fan mini would be an amazing product

This would be undoubtedly cheaper than the M1 mini & thus much closer to the original value proposition of the mini, when it first launched.

Schools and colleges would buy these like hot cakes too - especially with education pricing.

Apple often holds education focussed events in March, doesn’t it? ?
 

BootLoxes

macrumors 6502a
Apr 15, 2019
689
786
With the advent of the M1 Mac Mini and the revelation that there’s lots of space free in the mini’s enclosure, it feels like a smaller no fan mini would be an amazing product

This would be undoubtedly cheaper than the M1 mini & thus much closer to the original value proposition of the mini, when it first launched.

Schools and colleges would buy these like hot cakes too - especially with education pricing.

Apple often holds education focussed events in March, doesn’t it? ?

This is what I was thinking. With all that space in the mac mini, and the air proving that these chips can run fanless, I could see it being possible for them to get a mac nano in the body of an apple tv
 
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