Mid 2011 models have officially been classified as vintage or obsolete as of November 30, 2017, according to an internal memo distributed to Apple Authorized Service Providers and later obtained by MacRumors.
The distinction means that Apple and Apple Authorized Service Providers will no longer repair or service the 2011 Mac mini, given over five years have passed since it was last manufactured, except where required by law.
This is the first time that I have ever actively used an “obsolete” Mac. I am running a late 2011 Mac mini as a server in my home, mainly to host my Plex video library, but also for Time Machine backups for my laptop and some other, minor services.
I have generally sold my Macs after about 18-24 months, so I could get good resale value, and could keep up with the latest technologies. This has changed in recent years, in part because there really is no need to upgrade any more. My 2014 iMac – now two months out of Apple Care – is more than fast enough for my needs, and, while I’m a bit antsy about my main Mac not being covered by support and warranty, it’s running fine, and will do for a couple more years. (Though shortly after I bought it, there was an issue, and the LCD panel was replaced.)
The Mac mini is the computer I used for a while, together with a Thunderbolt display, before I bought a Mac Pro (2014). I sold that when the 5K iMac was released, because I wanted a retina display on the desktop. I could have sold the Mac mini back then, but I decided to recycle it as a server. (In part because I had tricked it out when I bought it, getting the fastest processor, an SSD, and a second internal hard drive.) About that time, I was starting to adopt Plex for my videos, and, while I could run Plex on my iMac, that would entail leaving it on all the time. I’d rather use a lower-power Mac mini as an always-on computer.
As MacRumors points out in their article, it has been more than 1,100 days since the Mac mini was updated. Even though Tim Cook made some comments about how the Mac mini is an important product in Apple’s lineup (no, it’s not), it’s hard to imagine the company doing anything to improve this Mac. This said, it’s an embarrassment that they’re still selling the current model – released late 2014 – at specs and prices that are three years old. Though the Mac Pro is an embarrassment as well.
It’s stunning that Apple has no shame, and continues to sell computers that are out of date and overpriced, alongside the current models of iMacs and laptops. I doubt they sell very many, and compared to the up-to-date product line, these old computers just look bad.