It’s been 10 years since the Mac Mini was released and Brian Stucki over at Mac Mini Colo has written up a great post/timeline to celebrate. It was released on January 11, 2005 and I remember being pretty excited. I’d recently purchased one of the new G5 iMacs but my sister was in need of a new Mac for her business and the new Mini was my suggestion. She bought one and I set it up with a custom FileMaker Pro database to track her customer billing and iCal for appointments. In the off hours the Mini was used for web browsing, iTunes and photo organizing via iPhoto.
A little over a year later I traded her my iMac for her Mini because she had need for more power (her husband was increasingly interested in using iMovie and iDVD) and I was mostly using my 12“ Powerbook. I wanted the Mini for a power sipping iTunes media server. Today, nearly 10 years later, that Mac Mini is upstairs still being used by the kids for their school work. I retired it from media server duties just a year ago when I moved that task over to my primary work machine, a new Mini (late 2012 model). The kids have used it ever since. Actually, until recently, the eldest, Farra, was using the above mentioned 2003 12” Powerbook (one of my all time favorite Macs!).
Upon seeing that first Mac Mini being presented by Steve I knew it would be a hit. How could it not? A $499 Mac in such a small form factor would, I thought, be what the higher priced G4 Cube (2000–2001) should have been: an affordable yet stylish introduction to the Mac for potential switchers. The Cube was a beautiful bit of design but at $1799
its high price made for an impractical purchase. The Mini did indeed succeed and is still in production. The original form factor was used until 2010 when a beautiful new, unibody aluminum enclosure was introduced. With it came a built in power supply, hdmi port and easy to upgrade memory via a twist off bottom cover. This new Mini was updated again in 2012 and as recently as October 2014 after a 2 year gap between updates.
A month ago a visiting friend had occassion to be in my office and observed the Mac Mini on my desk. He was surprised that I did all of my design work on something as lowly as a Mini which prompted a bit of a chuckle from me. Not only is the Mini my workhorse but this tiny machine generally handles my projects with plenty to spare. Only the largest Photoshop or Illustrator files ever require that the little beastie break a sweat. Exporting or converting movie files from iMovie or Handbreak also pushes the processor but that’s to be expected. The important measure with such work is of course the time it takes to complete the job and I’ve been nothing but pleased with the speed of the Mini in such tasks. All this with what many consider the bare minimum of memory in 2015, 4 GB.
It’s been a good 10 years.