When I worked at CompUSA, we had a dedicated Apple section filled with beautiful computers. I regularly sold Macs, but with nowhere near the frequency of the Windows-based computers. This was because Apple's machines were far more expensive than their Windows counterparts. This was reflected in the type of person that purchased a Mac - they had money. As a commission-based salesman, this was awesome, as they never got rejected when applying for a store credit card or got denied when paying at the register.
Sadly, even though I sold Macs, I could not afford one. This was fine, as I was a Windows fan anyway, but still, it hurts to be a salesperson or factory worker that produces a product that is out of reach. This changed in 2005, however, with one magical product - the Mac mini. It was impossibly small, super cute and best of all, affordable. When my mum needed a computer, I quickly talked her into the mini, as I was tired of fixing her Windows machine. Today, after what feels like an eternity, Apple finally refreshes the Mac mini line with Haswell processors and OS X Yosemite, while also bringing the starting price down to a mouth-watering £300.
"The new Mac mini delivers new levels of graphics performance, expandability and connectivity. New integrated Intel HD Graphics 5000 and Intel Iris Graphics deliver up to 90 per cent faster graphics performance than the previous generation. Mac mini now includes two Thunderbolt 2 ports, each delivering up to 20Gbps of bandwidth to each port, as well as next-generation 802.11ac Wi-Fi that is up to three times faster when connected to an 802.11ac base station. Mac mini is still the world’s most energy efficient desktop, exceeding Energy Star 6.1 requirements by seven times the standard and consuming as few as 6 watts of power at idle", says Apple.
The company further explains, "Mac mini begins shipping today. Mac mini comes in three standard models: a 1.4 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 with Turbo Boost speeds up to 2.7 GHz, 4GB of memory, Intel HD Graphics 5000 and a 500GB hard drive starting at a suggested retail price of $499 (US) (about £300); a 2.6 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.1 GHz, 8GB of memory, Intel Iris Graphics and a 1TB hard drive starting at suggested retail price of $699 (US); and a 2.8 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.3 GHz, 8GB of memory, Intel Iris Graphics and a 1TB Fusion Drive starting at a suggested retail price of $999 (US) (about £600)".
As you can see, the prices can jump dramatically as you up the specs; however, the base model is more than enough for the average home user and remains a wonderful value. Heck, use your existing mouse, keyboard and monitor and you are off to the races! Hardcore users can choose to up the ante even further with the powerful Core i7, by customising the order online. That is the beauty of the Mac mini - it can be a value machine or enthusiast machine, depending on how you configure it.
Which Mac mini will you buy? Tell me in the comments.