Apple has been busy lately. In one day it has released a new operating system, revamped its MacBook Air lineup, discontinued the MacBook (except for use in the educational market), and updated the Mac mini. On their own, changes made to the Mac mini would be news, especially considering the dramatic shift in processing power and lack of its trademark forward-facing optical drive.
Like the Mac mini Server before it, the new Mac mini lacks a built-in optical drive. This is another step in a growing trend of Apple products that are coming out without support for optical discs and a sign that they may soon be heading in the direction of the floppy disk soon enough.
If performance is the biggest thing holding you back from getting a Mac mini, Apple may have finally kicked the small desktop into high gear with an upgrade to Core i5 and i7 processors compared to the Core 2 Duo chips previously included in the mid-2010 models.
Also new on the 2011 Mac mini is the Thunderbolt port. This port, should Thunderbolt devices actually appear in the wild anytime soon, enables users to connect monitors, drives, and other devices that require a high speed connection to the Mac mini.
The Mac mini has long been Apple’s big incentive to bring PC users to make the switch. Unfortunately, criticism has remained steadfast as the specs (which really don’t matter as much as they used to) weren’t quite up to par with what PC users expected for the investment. It appears that Apple is giving these critics a reason to reconsider.
The new Mac mini comes with Mac OS X Lion, Apple’s latest operating system that was released to the world Wednesday morning. Lion features several new features including Launchpad, Mission Control, and a refreshed set of multi-touch gestures that enable you to better control your experience using a touchpad.