Hardware

Mac Mini 2018: 5 things business pros need

Apple's most affordable and portable desktop computer hasn't been updated in four years. If it were, here are five features that could make it more appealing to professionals.

When it was last updated in 2014, Apple's Mac Mini was known as the most affordable Mac on the market. With an appearance similar to that of an Apple TV, the Mac Mini is a computer that could fit in a purse. And since the device hasn't been updated for four years, users are suspecting a new Mac Mini to be on the lineup at an Apple event in October.

"The Mac Mini has always been a great product to offer to businesses beginning to explore the switch from PC to Mac because of the attractive price point, a concise form factor that was easy to upgrade, and compatibility with existing accessories like racks, displays, printers, keyboards and mice," said Raiye Rosado, Apple business development manager for PCM. "As the Mac Mini developed over time to include increased processing, storage, video and server capabilities, it became a real workhorse in the business world, bringing enterprise class features like OSX Server to small business."

SEE: macOS Mojave: A guide for IT leaders (Tech Pro Research)

However, all of the beloved features the Mac Mini offered are no longer relevant compared to many new or updated Apple devices. Because of the unusual gap in Mac Mini evolution, many people have abandoned the idea of a new version coming out at all, according to Ray Wang, principal analyst and founder of Constellation Research.

Here are five features business pros would need in a new Mac Mini.

1. More storage

With the capabilities current computers offer, users definitely want and need more storage. The 2014 Mac Mini held 500GB, but Wang suggested that the updated version should start with at least 1TB of storage. That bump in space would be great for business pros who are massive video content creators, as they would be able to store and transport massive files on such a small device, Wang said.

2. Updated processing power

Better processing power and graphics, specifically 4K, is a must, according to David McQueen, research director of handsets and devices at ABI Research. Since it's been so long since the Mac Mini has been released, the device will be extremely difficult—if even possible—to upgrade, said McQueen. A new device with increased computing power is necessary, and if 4K is supported, the Mac Mini might even be able to act as an alternative to the Apple TV.

3. Ports

While the 2014 Mac Mini was praised for its wide array of ports—USB, HDMI, SDXC Card slot, ethernet, audio, headphone jack—even more would be expected out of a new model. Specifically, the addition of lightning connectors and more USB ports would be beneficial, according to Wang. Lightning ports weren't as relevant in 2014, and headphone jacks apparently aren't now, so an update to ports is much needed.

4. Connectivity

Not only do consumers want more connectivity with ports, but also with networking. "I hope they have better connectivity" in a new Mac Mini, said Wang. "People are looking for fast speed connectivities, especially for all the different hubs, ports, connecting devices that they have. But I don't know if they thought through that."

5. Mouse and keyboard

While people love the portability and flexibility of the Mac Mini's size, they are on their own when it comes to obtaining a monitor, mouse, and keyboard. Consumers would likely love if Apple featured an accessory bundle with a new Mac Mini, said McQueen. A bundle would still probably be cheaper than a MacBook, and would give Mac Mini fans all the components they need to successfully use the device.

Also see

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Image: Sarah Tew/CNET

About Macy Bayern

Macy Bayern is an Associate Staff Writer for TechRepublic. A recent graduate from the University of Texas at Austin's Liberal Arts Honors Program, Macy covers tech news and trends.

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