Is it fair to compare Apple’s diminutive Mac mini with an iPhone, even if they’re priced about the same and one has more features than the other? Sure. Why not? All’s fair in love, war, and product comparisons, right?
Allow me to argue that an iPhone SE, Apple’s newest entry level iPhone, is pretty close to as powerful and possibly more useful than a Mac mini, which starts life at $499, which happens to be the same price as an iPhone SE with 64GB of storage, far less than a comparably priced entry-level Mac mini, which does not come with a screen, keyboard, or mouse, but has heftier hardware specifications.
Why Buy A PC?
No one should question whether or not even the base model Mac mini is more powerful in nearly every way than an iPhone 5SE. The Mac comes with a 500GB hard drive. 4GB of RAM. OS X. That means the Mac mini can run Photoshop Creative Cloud and many thousands of applications which should, would, or could shame the tiny 4-inch iPhone SE.
The trick is not to spend much time dwelling on hardware specifications because it’s not much of a contest. The Mac mini really doesn’t win the comparison because it doesn’t have a screen, keyboard, or mouse– which add to the price– while that and more are compressed into an iPhone SE, which, much like the Mac mini, retains a similar and familiar form factor (in this case, the iPhone 5s, but with more color options).
Let’s take the software comparisons off the table for a moment. Sure, Mac apps can be more powerful– you can’t run Photoshop Creative Cloud on an iPhone, and that small screen isn’t much for editing movies– but the iPhone has more software options than a Mac.
Unlike the Mac mini– or even the MacBook Air– iPhone SE comes with a Retina display (4-inches), the powerful A9 chip, and a great 12MP camera. And while iPhone SE doesn’t have the same rounded case you’ll find in the iPhone 6 and 6s line, everyone knows the iPhone 5s had a sturdy, premium feel. That’s iPhone SE.
Apple calls it the most powerful 4-inch phone. Ever. That puts to shame most of the mid-range Android phones, and the iPhone SE starts at $399 so even Apple’s entry level iPhone has an aspirational quality to it.
Basically, and this really isn’t arguable, Apple has made entry level– for an Apple product– attractive and affordable again. Instead of pushing three model year hardware onto an unsuspecting public who do not fully appreciate product migration and pricing, Apple made the iPhone SE a fully qualified iPhone for 2016.
Is this a Mac mini in your pocket?
Yes. And no. It’s not a Mac so it doesn’t do the heavy lifting of Mac apps and OS X, but for many hundreds of millions of people around the world whose only computer is a smartphone, Apple just made a way for those tired and weary people to migrate into a premium brand, a way to aspire to and become a card carrying member of the Apple ecosystem, to rise above the great unwashed masses of Android humanity, to stand tall and proud as someone who can afford a BMW or Mercedes even if it’s the entry level model. And it all starts at $399.