Death to Apple’s Mac Mini: I made a Hackintosh

Originally published December 26, 2016

By Ian Sherr

If you ask me what type of tech I have at home, you’d think I live in an Apple Store.

We have iPhones, iPods, iPads, Apple TVs and Mac laptops. There isn’t a PC in sight.

I’m well-known for pushing my family to switch to Apple, too. No, it’s not a cult thing. I’m just lazy.

Did you know how much easier it is to fix these things? IBM says  PCs cost about three times more than Macs to keep in good running order. And it’s true. Just ask my in-laws how much less time I spend fixing computers when I visit, now that they’ve junked their old Windows-based PCs.

My older brother, who convinced me to buy my first Apple computer (a PowerBook in 2003), often tells people he picks Macs because he doesn’t have to routinely fight with them to work.

But that changed for me in October.  Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, got on stage at the company’s Cupertino, California, headquarters to announce new Mac computers. Namely, the new MacBook Pro laptop, redesigned with, among other things, a nifty touchscreen built into the keyboard.

I had my wallet out and waiting, but it wasn’t for that. I needed a new desktop.

I sat and watched the event along with my infant son, hoping Apple’s  Mac Mini computer would be updated with faster chips. I wanted a new Mac Mini because it’s about the size of two best-seller books stacked next to each other — easy to stash right beside our TV. It also starts at only $499 (you have to supply the monitor, keyboard and mouse, which I already have).

The problem is Apple hasn’t updated the Mac Mini since October 2014.

For the past several years, I’ve used a nearly 7-year-old MacBook Pro as a media center, storing all our family photos, videos, iTunes movies, music and everything else. I’ve also started using Plex, an app that allows me to stream and search for all that stuff the same way you use Netflix, but also for — y’know — pictures of my son’s first smile.

This year, it was time for a replacement. Sadly, MacBook Pro laptops were all that’d be on tap. Even Apple’s iMac (last updated October 2015) and Mac Pro (last updated December 2013) desktop computers were neglected. If I bought a Mac Mini today, I’d be paying full price for a machine more than two years old.

Apple, you let me down.

My son's first Apple event ended in disappointment.

My son’s first Apple event ended in disappointment.

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