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Apple Doubles Mac mini Storage Configurations

As an afterthought in its press release about the new MacBook Air, Apple noted that it had doubled the storage capacity of the standard configurations of the Mac mini. This is the diminutive desktop’s first update since being taken pro well over a year ago (see “It Lives! Apple Announces Pro-Focused Mac mini,” 30 October 2018).

The $799 base-level configuration now comes with 256 GB, up from 128 GB, and the $1099 configuration comes with 512 GB, up from 256 GB. 1 TB and 2 TB configurations remain available, and there are no other changes.

It’s good to see Apple increasing the Mac mini’s value in this way, but we’d still like to see the company offer a $499 configuration to make the headless Mac compelling as a small office or home server once again.

Mac mini top down

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Comments About Apple Doubles Mac mini Storage Configurations

Notable Replies

  1. Nice. It’s getting about to the time when I should upgrade my existing mini (a 2011 server with two 750GB hard drives). With the new configurations, a 2TB configuration is affordable, where it previously wasn’t.

    Now, the only problem is getting all the necessary dongles in order to use my FireWire devices. Looks like it will need a Thunderbolt 3-2 adapter and a Thunderbolt2-FireWire dongle. In conjunction with my existing FireWire 800-400 adapter. So it will be a funky cable, but it should probably work. (Alternatively, I’d have to replace three external hard drives and an iSight camera with USB3 devices…)

  2. Glad to know I am not the only one wondering whether to keep or replace Firewire devices :wink:

  3. Definitely a good move. I just wonder why no CPU upgrades. There are for sure more powerful lower-wattage CPUs available than 1.5 years ago when the previous mini launched. Too expensive?

    Or is it possible the mini is where Apple could soon try to launch an A-series Mac? (assuming that will actually happen)

    I’d be curious to hear everybody’s speculation.

  4. Regarding your call for the re-introduction of an entry-level mini at $499 I was at first thinking that it’s unrealistic in a world where the cheapest new iPhone is about that level, and the cheapest regular iPad is only about $100 below.

    But then I also realized that Apple thinks it can now profitably sell a MBA for $999. Despite its limitations, that’s a whole lot of computer and a nice screen for a thousand bucks. You have to wonder, if Apple can make money off of that, why do they not believe they can profit from a stingy spec’ed i3 Mac mini at $499. I have a hard time imaging they couldn’t. And IIRC Tim mentioned he isn’t worried about one line cannibalizing the other as long as ultimately the sale stays in house. Long story short, I also wonder why no entry-level Mac mini below $800.

  5. I think there is a good chance this will happen soon. I suspect that a big reason the switch to A chips hasn’t happened yet is that Apple is waiting for developers to build and update enough heavy duty applications that will run on it. It’s how they handled the switch from RISC to Intel. I also think that the not very secret release of ARM glasses and games might be a part of this strategy.

    But I do think that MacBook Pro and Air will make the switch first. They are bigger sellers that constitute the largest market share of the Mac line. And dear, sweet Mini doesn’t get as much attention in the press as the glamorous MacBook, Pro or iMac lines do. And Apple’s ARM chips have already established an outstanding reputation via the world’s cutting edge mobile communications devices, iPhones and iPads.

  6. Indeed. It seems to me that Apple has shown that an inexpensive option at the bottom of the product line can do very well—the current iPad is indication of that. And I fail to believe that if Apple could sell at $499 Mac mini in 2014 that they couldn’t do so today.

    It’s possible that Apple sees the $799 model as already being super cheap. But that ignores the basic economic principle of price pinning. There used to be a $499 model, so now our price expectations are pinned to that as the lowest level. It will take significant time for that memory to fade for the people who are likely buying the Mac mini.

    I can’t quite put my finger on it, but the Mac mini doesn’t feel like the platform Apple would use to test the waters with an A-series chip. Part of my discomfort is that one of the big wins for the A series is low power consumption, which isn’t nearly as important for a desktop Mac as it would be for a laptop. Plus, Apple is targeting the pro market with the Mac mini, so if the A series chip used didn’t have as much power as the Intel chips available at that point, it might not look good. But that’s just speculation.

  7. I think this is more of an example of a price elasticity model. If more revenue can be gained by raising the price of an item it’s considered inelastic and all for the better. Elastic prices means that in order to move a product, you need to lower prices or put it on sale at a discount. Apple’s history is a good example. When Macs were cloned, even dropping prices couldn’t move Apple’s Macs. When Steve Jobs put a stop to cloning, totally revamped Mac and introduced iMac, the discounting and price cutting stopped. For years there have been just a few models of iPhones, iPads, Macs, iMacs out there, and an infinite number of Windows and Android equivalents, and Apple commands the highest prices.

  8. I guess that is possible. I’d just like to know how the BoM of the new $999 MBA compares to the mini’s. I have a hard time imagining that at comparable margin to them, they can’t price a mini any lower than $800. It’s got to be a whole lot cheaper to build than the new MBA, right? But sure, maybe it’s not about what they can do, but rather what they want to do. If indeed they see the mini as geared towards pros like you say (I never thought about it that way), that could explain the latter.

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