Some may disagree with my sentiment that the Mac Mini is the best Apple computer on the market, but as an owner of practically every Mac known to man, I think I can say, without any reservation, that the MacBook, MacBook Pro, iMac, and Mac Pro don't hold a candle to the small, yet versatile Mac Mini.
And that's exactly why I was extremely pleased to read the rumor that Apple may be updating the Mac Mini at Macworld next month.
Apple has not confirmed that rumor, and all reports are pure speculation, based on circumstantial evidence. But who cares? If Apple decides to keep the Mac Mini, it makes perfect sense for the company to update it at Macworld, since it hasn't seen a refresh in quite some time. And with the economy the way it is, I think Apple wants to make its cheapest Mac an even more attractive computer for those who are on a budget.
Besides pricing, the Mac Mini offers the best value of any Mac on the market. Say what you will about the power of the Mac Pro or the versatility of the MacBook, but I simply don't think any other Mac compares to the Mac Mini for the average consumer, who doesn't care about video editing but wants an extremely versatile machine that can double as a set-top box, media server, or a casual companion in the living room.
When it comes to specs, there's no debating that the Mac Mini can't compete on the same level with its counterparts. The Mac Pro sits at the top of that list, and the MacBook Pro trails slightly behind.
The MacBook and iMac are slightly less powerful than their bigger counterparts, and the MacBook Air is, well, a toy. At the bottom sits the Mac Mini, with its 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor and 1GB of RAM. Not all that impressive? Sure. But if you're looking for a solid computing experience without all the extras, like video editing, who cares?
Versatility and usability that set the Mac Mini apart and make it the best Mac on the market. Besides an extremely affordable $599 starting price tag, the little beauty requires you to bring the keyboard, display, and mouse, but offers multimedia connectivity that allows you to connect it to an Apple Cinema Display, just as easily as your 50-inch Panasonic HDTV.
And with the help of a wireless keyboard and mouse, you can sit in your recliner at the other end of the room and surf the Web, check your e-mail, and communicate with buddies on Twitter.
The TV connection
But the Mac Mini's value goes far beyond its computing capabilities. By connecting it to your HDTV, you immediately have a high-powered set-top box that puts the Apple TV and all its competitors to shame.
Want to stream Hulu to your HDTV? Hook up a Mac Mini, and you're all set. Want to play songs from your iTunes library through your surround-sound rig? The Mac Mini will help you out. Want to have a media server connected to your HDTV, which can be accessed anytime you want to catch a flick or TV show? The Mac Mini is your candidate. And if you want to bring a computer to your friend's house to share songs and files, look no further than the Mac Mini.
The Apple TV is an attractive product because it offers multimedia functions through iTunes, access to photos through Flickr, and videos on YouTube. The Mac Mini can do that, as well as surf the Web, check your e-mail, and perform the same basic functions as any other Mac on the market. In essence, it ties together some of the best features of a slew of Apple products and brings them together in one small, affordable, and attractive device.
Say what you will about the power of the MacBook Pro or the incredible design of the iMac, but when it comes down to real value, I simply don't think that any Mac can beat the Mac Mini.