Apple proves it with the Mac mini

The launch of the Mac mini M2 only confirms the poor price placement of the MacBook Air M2. We did the math.

Source: Chloé Pertuis – Frandroid

If we have to remember a single announcement from Apple this week, it would be the announcement of the Mac mini M2. This may come as a surprise next to the impressive MacBook Pro M2 Pro and M2 Max, but the price of the Mac mini makes all the difference. Announced at 699 euros, or 100 euros less than the previous generation, it becomes a machine with a performance/quality/price ratio that promises to be very interesting.

While waiting for the test to verify all this, the Mac mini already confirms something else: the problem of the price placement of the MacBook Air M2.

How to justify the invoice?

Indeed, the Mac mini and the MacBook Air have never shared their data sheet so much. We can therefore really compare the two products. Usually, desktop PCs and laptop PCs incorporate different components. The latter use chips designed to consume less. Here, Apple’s machines have in common the most expensive components in a machine:

  • Apple M2 chip with 8-core CPU and 10-core GPU;
  • 8 GB of unified memory;
  • 256 GB SSD;
  • 2 Thunderbolt 4 ports;
  • 1 x 3.5mm jack;
  • Aluminum chassis and power supply.

The Mac mini also offers a more modern connection with Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3 as well as an RJ45 Ethernet port.

The MacBook Air M2 equipped with the same configuration is marketed at 1619 euros by Apple, i.e. 920 euros difference with the Mac mini.

With these 920 euros, Apple charges you the following:

  • 13.6 inch IPS 2560 x 1664 pixel 60Hz LCD display;
  • 52.6Wh battery;
  • 79-key backlit Magic Keyboard (159 euros for a wireless keyboard on;
  • 1080p FaceTime HD camera;
  • track pad
  • Four-speaker audio system.

It is undeniable that the invoice is much too salty for these simple components. Even counting a huge budget of 300 euros for the simplest elements like the battery, the keyboard, the camera and the speakers, that would leave 620 euros of budget for an LCD screen. There is no doubt that in the list, it is the LCD screen that costs Apple the most, but this is a simple screen with a classic definition and display frequency. No Oled, no mini-LED, no state-of-the-art HDR and simple factory color calibration. In short, this screen should not cost Apple very much.

With the announcement of the Mac mini, Apple perfectly illustrates our reproach made to MacBook Air M2. The argument of the evolution of the exchange rate and inflation does not hold either, if the price of the Mac mini can fall.

We are not fooled, and we know how much Apple appreciates its margins, especially on a product as flagship as the MacBook Air. The Mac mini arguably has the role of being sold with lower margins to attract newcomers to the ecosystem. But by offering two products with such comparable data sheets, Apple allows us to very pragmatically highlight what it charges its customers.

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