It’s been a couple of busy weeks for Apple, and frankly, I’m loving them for it.

Between iPod Shuffle releases, System Updates, and potential netbooks, I don’t even know where to begin.  I was surprised to see the Shuffle released on a Wednesday, considering the massive amount of releases that have occurred on Tuesdays over the last year, but I’m not gonna complain, are you?

I’ve been tracking some trends on the internet the last couple of days about the Mac Mini and it seems like there are a lot of people leaning towards picking them up, but they’re a little skeptical about them. Therefore, I thought I would write up a quick post about how I use my Mini, and what exactly it can handle.  The best way to describe my Mini is by what it can’t do.

The Mac Mini can’t do the following–well!

It can’t really handle video edits.  I mean it can slice and dice and export, but the amount of time it takes to do them doesn’t really flatter the machine in any way.  If you’re planning on spending a great deal of time editing a videocast or footage of any kind, I’d recommend just jumping into an iMac–at least. By the time you start figuring out the addons and additional costs for the Mac Mini, you may as well get an iMac.  Editing audio is another story all together.  While you probably won’t be recording your debut EP on the Mini, you could surely use it to clean up and make quick edits so long as you keep the tracks to an absolute minimum.  Again, I’m sure you could use a Mini in studio, but the cost benefit doesn’t nearly compensate for the massive migraine you’re going to have when you realize all your audio is choppy.  Unless you’re a musical savant, telling people you planned the audio that way isn’t going to fly.  Get an iMac at least!  You heard it here first, if you want a multimedia producing machine you’re looking at the wrong device entirely. Not worth it, and don’t even consider it.

What the Mac Mini can do–prothetically!

The first thing you should do is think about the Mac Mini as a netbook equivalent on the desktop.  Surf the net, check! Watch and listen to media, check!  It’s design ed for none labour intensive processes such as checking the occasional email, and writing essays.  Now that I think about it it’s a great double bladed sword of a gift for a student.  You can wow your kid with a new Mac before he goes to college, but also find solace in the fact that he won’t be playing many video games on the machine.  If you’re thinking about editing that one home movie every year then you can probably handle working on this machine.  It’s for you.  If it takes you a year to get around to your video edit, then you can probably handle the extra hour it takes for iMovie to push out the video you need.

Now I hear all you sighing and thinking that Josh is on crack and doesn’t know what he’s talking about! So let me fill you in on how I use mine.  I use it in tandem with my Mac Pro and my Macbook Pro–as a media hub, content sharing, video playing box.  If you’ve got yourself a shiny LCD or plasma TV then you’re gonna love this box.  We’ve talked about the Mini as a media centre machine in the past, so I won’t bore you with the details, but I will reaffirm that it works really well in this regard.  For a while before its new life hooked up to my TV, it has a life as a web development server.  It did its job with flying colors, albeit with a version of OS X server.  If you want something to develop on locally before you push your sites out to the internet then you might want to consider this machine–it won’t disappoint.

If you’re an internet loving, essay typing type of person then you’ll suffice on a Mac Mini, but if you have any aspirations of an internet media takeover, then you should just bite the bullet and go for an iMac at the very least.  Don’t let the specification upgrade fool you, you’re going to be running Final Cut or playing a game of WoW anytime soon.