2012 Mac Mini Wish List.
I had a Mac Mini as a media sever up untill about year ago. My first mini lasted well over 5 years and is still used by my dad. When I no longer had a decent display to plug it into at home (long story!) I got an iMac.
Even though the iMac is a great machine, I do miss the low power and small size of the mini. With a Mac mini refresh being rumoured, here is my wish list:
If Apple are staying with Intel processors across the board then updating to the latest generation ‘Ivy Bridge’ seems like an obvious move. Ivy bridge pairs a 10-20% performance increase on the CPU side with a 40% improvement in graphics. The HD4000 graphics are not the most powerful but they are powerful enough to play modern games at low and meduim settings.
The Mac mini has space inside for two hard drives, for the two non server models these slots are left unused. Moving to “flash storage” by default would provide the system with an impressive performance boost for not a huge cost.
Though less likley, if the Mac mini were to be entirely SSD based for storage it could get much much smaller. I would not be that suprised to see a Mac Mini built around Macbook Air class hardware.
Last year Apple removed the CD/DVD drive from the mini. For those using it as a HTPC this was rather frustrating. While I would love to see an upgrade to a bluray drive, simply restoring the DVD drive would be great.
However, i think Apple is pretty unlikely to do this. The recent trend for new Apple hardware has been to drop optical drives. For a laptop there is a clear case for removing the drive, but for a desktop i think the case is less clear cut.
A complete redesign could be interesting, possibly smaller. I don’t think intel chips go low power enough to fit in a tiny fanless enclosure like a Apple TV but it would be neat if they did.
The A6 chip in the iPhone 5 is about as powerful as the first generation Intel Mac mini only with much better graphics. Infact it’s almost as fast as my 2010 1.4ghz MacBook Air. While I think it’s very unlikey an A6 / ARM based Mac mini would be very interesting.
I highly doubt Apple would ever do it, but replacing the Mac mini range entirely with a mid range tower would be a popular move in some circles.
However, doing so would eat Into iMac and Mac pro sales, and move Apple towards the low profit commodity PC space.
So that’s my wish list for the Mac mini.