How Bad is the 2014 Apple Mac Mini?
A google search will take you about 30 seconds to find more than one opinion piece about how the 2014 Mac Mini is not the deal it once was and that there’s no replaceable parts any more in the new Mac Mini and that the 2014 is one big disappointment from Apple.
Personally, I think that’s a good thing you can no longer open them up.
This Has Been Coming for Some Time.
Ever so slowly, Apple has been removing the ability to work on the innards of your new computer and this applies to almost the entire lineup for 2014 and beyond.
Chances are if you’re here looking for a ram upgrade it’s for an older Mac vs a newer one and you’re just trying to squeeze a bit more life out of your current model, because if you have a relatively new Mac made in the last year or two you can’t upgrade it either.
It’s no longer possible for you to upgrade almost every model Apple makes save for the iMac and the Mac Pro, and I think this is a good strategy on Apple’s part.
Portable computers are fragile enough without having them be user upgradeable and all the problems that come with that. On un-upradeable Macs, the RAM can be soldered down, hard drives don’t need to be swapped and batteries are non replaceable, and all this is because…
Meet Apple: the Appliance Company.
It’s my opinion that Apple wants to sell you a suitable computer for today and they don’t want to sell you a computer you can use tomorrow.
In a perfect Apple world you would buy a new computer every time they announced one, but thankfully they make pretty good stuff that will last you for longer than that. It’s not uncommon to get longer life out of your computer and considering that Apple will allow you to finance a computer for 2 years that’s a good safe bet to how long you can use your Mac knowing you’re not too far behind the technology curve and your 2 year old Mac will do everything a new Mac can do.
This brings me back to the Mac Mini. It’s a cheap computer that’s easy to use with any monitor and keyboard and mouse. You can use it as a media server, web server or even just as it’s true intended use as a personal computer for home or small business for people like, well… me.
And the Mac Mini is perfect for that and now that it’s closed to upgrades this makes it perfect for this task as the lack of chance to upgrade makes it the only desktop computer from Apple that’s plug and play with your accessories and not theirs and yet you don’t have to worry about adding some more parts to the thing before you can use it.
You don’t have to buy a 5K monitor to use the Mac Mini. You can buy a cheap $100 (or less) monitor and add a $20 keyboard and mouse combo and you have a brand new Apple desktop for under $600.00
Lord knows you can spend more on a desktop and you get a much nicer display and faster processor but for a lot of us, myself included – we don’t need much when it comes to using a Mac. At least I don’t.
I don’t edit photos on my Mac when my iPad can do it better and faster.
All I need a Mac for is to write here on ramseeker and although I could use my iPad as my only device I really prefer a full sized display and keyboard at a desk. I work from home most of the time so a a cheap Apple desktop is fine by me.
How Much Mac Do You Really Need To Buy?
In 2015 I think that the folks like me are the people that the Mac Mini will cater to. Personally, I just want a Mac that will run some current sofware for writing like byword or desk and that’s pretty much all I need. Add a browser and maybe an application or two like skype and I am good to go.
It Just Works
The Mac Mini comes with enough ram (4gb) and enough storage space (500gb) and a fast enough processor (1.4GHz dual-core Intel Core i5) all wrapped in a small little package that fits behind your TV as well as it does on your desk. You don’t have upgrade it because it doesn’t need upgrading.
To me that sounds like the perfect Apple product if there ever was one
The Mac Mini has never been about speed. There’s other macs for that if you need to have the fastest Mac you can buy today. But if you’re just needing a small and cheap computer at under $500 it’s hard to beat the value of the Mac Mini regardless of it’s upgradability
This $500 computer can run the same software and operating system as the faster models. It might not run as fast but there’s a very good chance it will run. I can’t think of any software you could not run on the 2014 Mac Mini. You still get iTunes, Safari and Time Machine backups and all the other stuff Mac OS X includes for free and it all just works.
To summarize, I am fine with the non upgradeable Mac Mini. If I want a faster or lighter computer I will buy a MacBook Air or a 2015 MacBook. You can’t upgrade either of these (unless you ask OWC) but again, the idea here is to buy it and use it and get a newer model down the road. Apple wants to sell you an Appliance to use for a couple of years until they can sell you another one.
The beauty of the Mac Mini and a lot of Apple computers is the resale value. You can buy this 2014 Mac Mini, with it’s many perceived flaws and then when an upgrade comes you can sell your old Mac Mini and buy a new one and I bet you would only be out a couple of hundred dollars for the new model.
Would I love for the new Mac Mini to have a fast SSD and more RAM? Of course I would. But I don’t need either for my everyday and I bet a lot of others don’t either.
More Options Are Available
If I do want more RAM or a faster SSD – I can have both of those. I just have to pay Apple (including the Apple tax) for them. This might mean I am now looking at a Mac Mini that costs twice the amount of the entry level model, and if I have a $1000 budget for an Apple computer then the game just changed.
With $1000 I can buy another entry level computer I like: the MacBook Air and get SSD storage, and the portability and display for even less than the souped up Mac Mini.
But I am not really here to talk about the Mac Mini that costs $1000. I am here to talk about the cheap model. The ‘everyman’s Mac’ if you will. The ‘good enough’ Mac for those of us who really don’t need the portability, speed or high resolutions displays that more expensive Macs might offer us and we just want a Mac that’s cheap and that works out of the box without any upgrades needed. The Mac Mini meets these requirements and then some.
At under $500 it’s a heck of a deal and the cheapest Apple computer you can buy in 2015.