With the Mac mini getting a long-awaited update today, Apple took the opportunity to highlight the use of the tiny computer in a number of unique areas where full-size machines might not quite fit — literally.

In The Secret World of Mac mini, Apple takes a look at country star Dierks Bentley's live show, the touring production of the Finding Neverland musical, and the Mac mini-focused datacenter provider MacStadium.

Dierks Bentley to Neverland Mac mini production setup wires 10302018
When Dierks Bentley performs live, Mac minis travel with the show to monitor the band's 18 wireless guitar rigs. According to the piece, Dierks' sound engineer uses a Mac mini to power his equipment — well, actually it appears to be a Mac Pro in the picture, weirdly. Not sure what's going on there, but there is a Mac mini with a banana sticker on it:

Dierks Bentley to Neverland Mac mini setup 10302018

“If Dierks is out in the crowd and this setup alerts me that his guitar’s wireless strength is going down, I can adjust it and avoid an issue,” says Gutierrez. “And I’ve always run this setup on Mac mini — I’ve been using the same Mac mini for five years, and I’ve never had a problem.”

The Finding Neverland performance uses a Mac mini running software to produce sound that can't be sung or played live, including electronic music and sound effects.

Finding Neverland is the true story of how author J.M. Barrie conceived the fantastic world of Peter Pan. The production takes the audience on a journey that floats between the author’s real life and the make-believe world of his imagination. And bringing that imagination to life requires a lot of sound effects — from ticking clocks and thunder claps, to cannon booms and the sound of Tinkerbell’s…well, Tinkerbelling. All those effects are possible because of Mac mini, triggered throughout the show by the conductor.

Dierks Bentley to Neverland Mac Stadium 10302018
Finally there's the Mac-only datacenter MacStadium, which manages thousands of Mac minis across several data centers for its clients. The firm manages almost 8,000 minis, for a wide range of developers who want Macs for development work and more.

"Candy Crush, Shopify, Day One — so many of your favorite apps and games run on Mac mini. It’s truly the Swiss Army knife of computers," says Brian Stucki of MacStadium.

The new Mac mini is available for preorder today, shipping on November 7. It starts at $799, but fully loaded, it prices out to a decidedly not-mini $4,199.

Related Roundup: Mac mini
Buyer's Guide: Mac Mini (Buy Now)

Top Rated Comments

coolfactor Avatar
32 months ago
In the keynote, Apple briefly touched on daisy-chaining several mini's together, but didn't explain how they can operate as a single system. We used to have Xgrid built into OS X (pre-macOS), but Apple sadly dropped that technology. They are suggesting it's possible to leverage several mini's as one computer, but how??? Anybody got any info? This truly is the ultimate Mac... upgrade by adding another mini to your setup, not replacing your existing system. And truly environmentally-friendly. It's where Apple needs to get to. Modular.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
miniyou64 Avatar
32 months ago
“Never had a problem” ? Sounds like an Apple setup from 2010 not any recent Apple experience
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
now i see it Avatar
32 months ago
They are suggesting it's possible to leverage several mini's as one computer, but how??? Anybody got any info?
The stacked minis in the picture above illustrate a very expensive way to build a tiny render farm for 3D work. The minis are likely all connected to a network router via Ethernet cables.

But a Mac mini render farm, although cool looking, would be extremely expensive compared to the typical Windows multi core high powered monsters usually used.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
york2600 Avatar
32 months ago
I use Mac Stadium to build mac apps at work and I imagine they're going to make a very large order with Apple now that the new models are out. There's a growing need for Macs in the "cloud" since so many people run their entire build pipeline in AWS or GCE or Azure, but need to build a macOS or iOS app.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iLilana Avatar
32 months ago
while I thought the Mac mini update was great I started to wonder. If a top tier mini is 5119.00 Canadian dollars, how many tens of thousands is the new Mac Pro going to cost?
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
R2FX Avatar
32 months ago
The new Mac Mini really is quite expensive, as is the new MBA. I appreciate the specs are better but it seems odd not to have a low cost option.

I’m a little confused about Apple’s product line. The Mac Mini was always touted as a low priced desktop for people’s first experience into the Apple ecosystem. The MacBook was always the cheapest consumer laptop, the MBA prioritised portability over all other factors, and the MacBook Pro was the machine with the best hardware.

I just think if Apple made a really low cost Mac Mini, or even kept the previous iteration at a cheaper price with a 32GB SSD/500GB HDD fusion drive, it would be a really popular low-cost machine that would seemingly run very fast for most consumers due to the Flash storage.

Same with the MBA. They could have introduced the new one but kept the old one at a lower price. Sure it’s hugely outdated but it’s still a great machine for what it does, and at an even more competitive price I really think it would be popular.
I'm glad you're not in charge of product lines at Apple...and I'm saying it as someone who still uses MBP 17" from 2006/2008, Mac mini 2012 and MBP 15" 2014 ;)

New mini and MBA are exactly what Apple should have done 2y ago, let's see how long will be the next upgrade cycle
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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