Sporting a sleek new space gray finish, latest-generation processors, and blazing fast Solid State storage, the new Mac Mini is both a beauty to behold and built to perform. Unfortunately, for many fans of the original Mini, all that shiny new swag has a heftier price tag. Starting at $799 for just 128GB of storage (which will likely feel confining for all but the most minimalist users), a mid-range Mini will cost $1700+, and still require you to supply an external monitor, keyboard and mouse — meaning budget users who loved the previous generations of Mini for their affordability may feel they’ve been left in the dust. This means budget users should now look to the iMac — which for that same price tag or less can get you comparable performance, but with a gorgeous 21.5” 4k retina screen.
Even more confounding, however, was Apple’s decision to update the MacBook Air. Introduced in 2008, Apple’s super-thin notebook continually ranked as the best-selling Mac laptop, managing to stay relevant with minor performance bumps and steady price drops even as the form factor and screen resolution continued to age. Then, in 2016, Apple released the 12” retina MacBook, which weighed in at just 2 lbs. and featured a stunning retina display. Although initially a bit anemic in performance and steep in price compared to the Air, analysts predicted subsequent releases of the MacBook would allow it to usurp the Air and become Apple’s new darling low-cost ultrabook…until the Air came back with a vengeance! Offering a 3-pound form factor with 3 choices of aluminum finish, speedy new processors, a stunning 13” retina screen, Touch ID on the keyboard, and a starting price of $1199, the new MacBook Air is truly impressive. It is so impressive, in fact, that it has immediately all but cannibalized the MacBook, which starts at $1299, yet sports a smaller screen and weaker processors. Thus, at this point, most consultants agree it no longer makes sense to buy the MacBook — unless the lighter weight is worth a higher price and less speed.
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