Mac mini: The Maytag Of The Computer Industry

By on June 22, 2005

Macintouch did a poll this week, asking Mac mini users about their experiences with the machines. Of those responding, a miniscule 3% reported having problems with their minis, compared to 11-12% for the rev. B iMac G5. And according to Consumer Reports, Apple desktops and portables have for years had some of the best reliability numbers in the industry, even without the mini’s stellar ratings.

Actually, it’s easy to understand the reliability difference between the mini and the G5 iMac; the additional complexity that comes with the integrated display — an LCD display no less — in the iMac would naturally create a higher failure rate than the beautiful simplicity of the mini’s design.

But you know, usually when Apple gets problem hardware back from users, they spiff them up and resell them as refurbished units (see the Special Deals section.) The mini has been selling since mid-January (Apple won’t say how many, but analysts estimate that 138,000 were sold in the first quarter, and the second quarter has been even stronger) so you’d think that there would be some refurb units available, but I sure haven’t seen them. And I’ve been watching.

In case you’re wondering whether Macintouch’s numbers are accurate, they have done polls like this in the past, and the results they got were very close to the numbers that Consumer Reports published for the same machine. So although their methods are not terribly scientific, they have proven that the numbers are an accurate reflection of the real world.



  1. My Mini is the first Mac I’ve bought, and I can’t be happier with it. Calling this thing wisper-quiet is an understatement. God forbid I do have a problem though – it’s going to be a real pain to get this thing open.

  2. Getting them open isn’t a huge deal. I upgraded the memory on the one I bought for one of the users at work (saved $100 by not paying Apple price for 1GB). The instructions are all over the net, along with videos. All you need is a putty knife.

  3. I did some really quick math and figured that I’ve probably seen something like 250 Macs in the last 6 or 7 years. Out of that we’ve had 2 that had to go back for warranty work and 2 that died 2 or 3 years after we bought them.

    That’s not counting the occasional dead hard drive, like pretty much every single Western Digital drive in the 233 G3’s. Those things failed like clockwork. “Let’s see, we bought this Mac on Oct 9th of last year, so we’ll be replacing this drive next Tuesday at 3:00, give or take 4 hours.”

    I had read somewhere that the bulk of the G5 iMac failures were all caused by a bad batch of capacitors.

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