The following is redundant if you're smart enough to already know about Apple's Mac Mini. You can skip this blog. Or better yet, read on and discover how I got my smart on!
I had the opportunity to get my hands on a Mac Mini for an insanely low price. (Low price relative to what I was assuming to pay for an Apple computer.) Not that I’m a stranger to Apple. I have an Apple TV. I’m an iPhone and especially an iPad fanatic. I know Apple's devices, not their computers.
I’ve been using a PC for as long as I can remember. I've never owned an Apple computer. But this tiny aluminum box beckoned me. With the help of a very persuasive, and informative, salesman I might add.
Up until now, I never gave the Mac Mini much thought. I knew it was a small box that could be attached to what…an Apple monitor or a TV? I saw it as a consumption device, nothing more.
I’m happy to say I was wrong!
Earlier I told the salesman I might be interested in purchasing a PC. I have keyboards, mice, and monitors galore.
I was informed that for close to the same price, I could get a great deal on a Mac mini.
“Are you kidding me? I’ve priced macs! They appear to be great computers, but they are expensive!” I said to myself, waiting for the salesman to return.
The salesman returns with a plain white box. Inside was a shiny Mac Mini. No monitor, no keyboard, no mouse.
What was I supposed to do with that?
He said if I have all that stuff at home, all I have to do is connect the Mac mini and I would be all set.
“Yeah, right! I'll be all set to bring this thing right back to you with the first sign of trouble I see!” I said to myself as I read the box.
I took him at his word, and with the knowledge I’d be able to bring it back within 30 days if I didn’t like it or I couldn’t get it to work. Which is what I was anticipating.
I thought right off the bat that there would be issues. I got an Apple product for less than PC. Something has to go wrong. Negative thoughts went through my mind the entire drive home…
“This isn’t an iPod, iPad or iPhone by any stretch of the means. Why can’t we enjoy OSX on iOS and vice versa?” Then I started quoting reviews I read… “Don’t be misled into thinking if you can use an iPad you can use OSX. It’s a completely different system altogether!” From there my PC thinking kicked in…
“I have a windows tablet that is perfectly capable of running RT and a full version of 8.1 with little to no problems. What’s wrong with you Apple?” It was a long drive home. I'm surprised I didn't turn around right then and there.
First things first
I was under the impression that I’d have to get the more pricey Apple brand monitor, keyboard and mouse because hey, it’s an Apple. I was told I didn’t have to. I have many keyboards, mice and monitors at home. I'll put this notion to rest once and for all!
I get home and unpack the Mac mini. I use the included HDMI cable to plug into my non Apple Monitor. Power cord plugs in. I have a non Apple bluetooth keyboard and mouse ready. I press the “on” button on the Mac mini.
The monitor shined brightly with the Apple logo as the mac mini was booting. I figured I had some time with the booting process so I got up to get a drink. I was prompted in less than 30 seconds to either enter my existing iTunes account information or create a new account. I entered my existing iPhone/iPad information. Next thing I know I'm looking at desktop screen!
A few seconds later I saw a mouse icon with the word connected below it. I wiggled the mouse and sure enough, connected!
Now, I will say this. There was an issue (a very small one) with the keyboard set up. A small screen popped up to confirm what kind of keyboard I was using. It wasn't even that big of a deal because all I did was hit the enter key and I was on my way!
I was expecting compatibility issues…There were none…
I was in Apple’s ecosystem!
With my own keyboard, mouse and monitor!
The resolution is excellent. The mouse I have, actually works better than the official brand. (Right click *hint, hint*) The keyboard was the only exception. And really it wasn't an issue. To be fair, the keyboard is a hybrid that I was using in between my PC and iPad. So I knew it was comparable with iOS.
Some Minor Issues And Personal Decisions
First thing I noticed was 4 gb of ram. I wanted more! I didn't need more. And I knew this is where Apple was going to get me.
I look online and I discover ram is compatible between Mac and PC. There is no special “Apple Ram”.
I have a laptop PC with 8 gb ram. I exchanged the ram in them. Works perfectly!
My Mac mini model came with a 500 gb hard drive. More than enough for me. I did some research and discovered that I can reformat an external drive to be readable by both PC and Mac. I have a couple of external HDs so I'll probably do that in the near future.
I failed to mention that the Mac mini comes with NO DVD/CD drive! Certainly I would be forced to buy an Apple only drive right?
ANY external optical drive will work with the mac mini. The one I have works well, with absolutely no issues! I plugged it into a USB port and it reads it as a writable drive!
With all of that out of the way, I can tell you now, I’m a sold customer!
Everything just works!
This has been a great experience so far. Every app/game/program I’ve downloaded works with little effort on my part! No having to download additional drivers. Adjusting graphics simply means if I want high or medium resolution. OSX did have a bit of a learning curve. However, the learning curve wasn’t difficult, it was de-PCing myself that took time. I was sure I was going to have issues and I didn’t. The Mac mini is a welcome addition to my computing needs.
Oh, and it runs so… quietly!
For now, I’m a kid playing with his new toy. In the weeks to come, I’ll share my thoughts on software (can't wait to try Scrivener and Storyist!) and optional hardware.
So there you are, my initial overview of Apple’s Mac Mini. In my case it was good for business as I can take care of as many clients as possible now. (I’ve had a few clients ask to send them documents in OSX format.)
Hopefully I’ve shed a little light on the mystery of the Apple Mac mini.
As always, if you have questions, suggestions or just want to give your opinion of what you think of me, bad or good, you're invited with open arms…and minds!
Pros: A wise choice for this old scribe
-A great entry into the Mac world.
- This old scribe has learned some new tricks.
Cons: Should have done it sooner.