The Mac Mini has generally been the go-to Apple product for people who want the OS X desktop experience but either don’t have the money to afford buying an expensive Mac or won’t be using enough of that extra power to justify paying more than $1000. Apple’s most recent version of the miniature desktop is its most affordable to date, but that certainly doesn’t come at the cost of power.
Desktop computers aren’t dead. Plenty of people use those anchored computers day in and day out, and for good reason: They’re more powerful and less expensive than their mobile counterparts. The Mac mini has been Apple’s on-again off-again de facto low-budget desktop, but recently it hasn’t received the love many have hoped for. Then for the holiday season Apple upgraded the processor, chipset, hard drive, and everything else. That includes the price. The Mac mini now starts at $499. Full stop. There are only a handful of very low-end PCs less expensive than the Mac mini with current components. It’s $400 less than the newest MacBook Air. If you’re a school looking to buy new computers, a parent interested in growing an already existing Mac family, or just interested in starting up iOS/OS X development, there is nothing lighter on your wallet.