Updated on October 16, 2014.
At a Glance
Less powerful than other Apple desktop offerings like the iMac and the Mac Pro, the Mac mini is Apple's most affordable and compact desktop computer that's billed as a "bring your own display, keyboard, and mouse" device. It was updated on October 16, adding Haswell processors, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, PCIe-based flash storage in some models, and Thunderbolt 2.
- Haswell processors
- Intel 5000/Iris integrated graphics
- 802.11ac Wi-Fi
- Thunderbolt 2
- OS X Yosemite
- Prices starting at $499
During its October 16 event, Apple announced the debut of a new Mac mini, available for order immediately. Prior to the release of the new Mac mini, Apple's most affordable, compact desktop computer went two years without an update.
While Apple's Mac mini did not get a redesign, it did gain several important new features that bring it back up to par with the rest of Apple's Mac lineup. The updated Mac mini features Haswell processors with integrated Intel HD Graphics 5000/Intel Iris Graphics. The CPU should being significant performance improvements over the previous generation Mac mini, and the integrated graphics will deliver up to 90 percent faster graphics performance.
The low end and mid-tier Mac mini models continue to ship with a 500GB 5400-rpm hard drive, but upgrade options include 1TB Fusion Drives and PCIe-based flash storage.
There are two Thunderbolt 2 ports included with the Mac mini, along with four USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port, an SDXC card slot, a Gigabit Ethernet port, an audio in port, a headphone port, and an IR receiver.
Like the rest of the Mac lineup, the Mac mini now includes 802.11ac Wi-Fi, which offers much faster speeds than 802.11n Wi-Fi. Apple also introduced a $100 price drop for the Mac mini, with prices starting at $499.
With the Mac mini update, Apple eliminated the Mac mini with OS X Server model, which used to include 2TB of storage. Apple is not offering a compatible 2TB storage option at this time.
The Mac mini is available in three different stock configurations and at three separate price points: $499, $699, and $999. On the low end, the Mac mini ships with a 1.4Ghz dual-core Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, a 500GB hard drive, and Intel HD Graphics 5000.
At the middle tier, the Mac mini comes with a 2.6Ghz dual-core Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 1TB hard drive, and Intel Iris Graphics. At the high end, the Mac mini ships with a 2.8Ghz dual-core Core i5, 8GB of RAM, a 1TB Fusion Drive, and Intel Iris Graphics.
The entry-level Mac mini can be upgraded with 8 to 16GB of RAM and a 1TB Fusion Drive.
The mid-level Mac mini can be upgraded with a 3.0Ghz dual-core Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, a 1TB Fusion Drive, or 256GB flash storage.
The high-end Mac mini can be upgraded with a 3.0Ghz dual-core Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and up to 1TB of PCIe-based flash storage.
A top of the line Mac mini with a 3.0Ghz processor, 16GB of RAM and 1TB flash storage is priced at $2,199 before taxes.
The Mac mini will ship with Apple's newest operating system, OS X Yosemite. Released to the public on October 16, Yosemite brings a complete design overhaul to Apple's desktop operating system, focusing heavily on translucency.
Several apps and OS elements take design cues from iOS 7, and an array of new features introduce unprecedented levels of integration between OS X and iOS.
More on OS X Yosemite can be found in our dedicated Yosemite roundup.
How to Buy
Apple's new Mac mini became available for purchase directly after its October 16 introduction. It can be bought from the online Apple Store, with all base configurations displaying shipping estimates of 1 to 3 business days. Custom configurations will ship in 3 to 5 days, and the machines will be in Apple retail stores in the near future.