Multimedia professionals rely on solid tools to get the job done, and those tools have typically been Apple’s Mac lineup. But as Apple shifts its focus more to its MacBooks and iPhones, it’s neglected a tiny, but important product: the Mac mini.
Why am I singling out the lowly Mac mini? Because it’s currently the only desktop in the entire Apple lineup to play in the under $1,000 price point; an important psychological barrier for many computer shoppers.
It’s also an important barrier for enthusiast multimedia shooters who aren’t filling studios with $3,000 Mac Pros that haven’t been updated significantly in years.
The Mac mini has been an easy-to-live-with photo and video editor for years. Even with its meager integrated graphics chips, with a few careful upgrades even a demanding shooter can edit batches of photos and full HD video with ease.
But the enthusiasts have moved forward. People are shooting 4K video on their DSLRs, and at $179 for a Samsung Gear 360, why not try out 4K, 360-video shooting?
Well, you won’t be trying it on a Mac mini, with its slow dual-core processor and integrated graphics.
Why the Mac mini Needs to Raise Its Game
The natural reaction would be to say “Get an iMac” but anything even close to $1,000 from Apple is woefully underpowered by today’s standards and has a small screen that isn’t a Retina display. The kicker is that the integrated graphics on that $1,049 model won’t get you to the land of smooth 4K and 360 video editing.
It’s amongst editors in these new mediums, the hobbyist/enthusiast/semi-pro adding new 360/VR tools to their toolbox, that Apple is losing the most mindshare. One of the most popular headsets out there, the Oculus Rift, still doesn’t support Mac because of middling graphics cards. If you walk into one of the premiere incubators of 360 video/VR work, Syracuse University’s Alan Gerry Center for Media Innovation, you’ll find all Alienware machines, except for the one lonely…