'

Introducing the Mac mini Pro

What would it take for Apple to update the Mac mini to a modern, professional-level machine? According to David Gewirtz, not much.

Video: What would it take for Apple to turn the Mac mini into a Mac mini Pro?

In the accompanying video, I show you how to replace the fan on a six-year-old Mac mini. Why would I do that? Because, it's so much more meta than that.

Read also: If Apple's Mac has any future, it's in the cloud

The last nearly perfect desktop from Apple

Think about the 2012 Mac mini. It's the last nearly perfect desktop machine Apple has introduced. You can open that bad boy up. You can replace memory, drives, and -- as I show you in the video -- even fix the fan.

All my Mac minis have had SSD replacements over the past few years, so the only moving parts are their fans. One machine has been noisy for a while, so I bought a $14.75 replacement from Amazon.

Replacing the fan is a breeze. Twist the bottom slightly to open the case, unscrew three screws, pop off the connector, and do it all in reverse with the new fan. You're done.

I own four of these 2012 machines. They're that good. But, alas, they're not good enough for the workloads I want to run now. I can't run live streaming through these things. They choke on Wirecast, Mimo Live, and OBS.

Read also: Broken Mac? Fix it with these simple troubleshooting tips

The iMac Pro is impressive, brain numbingly expensive, and saddled with a big, heavy screen that, while pretty, precludes flexibility.

My 2012 Mac minis are six years old. Apple updated the Mac mini once more, in 2014, but it removed the perfection: It's now a closed box. You can't upgrade or fix most of what's inside. That makes me sad.

Apple said its delaying the new Mac Pro until 2019. I (and most power users) can't wait another 18 months or more to get my job done.

Updating the Mac mini

What if, instead, Apple updated the Mac mini? What would it need to do to make this thing perfect again?

As it turns out, not much.

Read also: The new iMac Pro is actually cheaper than the original Mac

First, it would need to go back to the 2012 maintainable design. Let users upgrade memory. Let users swap out drives. Let users fix broken fans. We're not children who can't be trusted around gear. We're pros who have work to do.

Put in a modern, high-speed processor. Some on-board flash storage wouldn't hurt -- that's way faster than SSDs. It also wouldn't hurt to throw in a 10GB Ethernet port. It also wouldn't hurt to keep the existing HDMI port, the headphone jack, and the SD card slot.

The last change (I told you this was simple) is to put some Thunderbolt 3 ports on the back. Keep two USB 3, and add two Thunderbolt 3. That gives you the ability to add an external GPU and one of those lovely ultra-widescreen monitors.

That's it.

Apple's missing the point

Apple doesn't need to build some super-new, modular machine -- as if computers have never been modular -- or make us wait 10 dog years to get our jobs done. It is always so concerned with heat flow to keep its boxes super thin and quiet, but it's missing the point. The Mac mini works. Production houses have tens and hundreds of these things. Just put a decent fan in the thing, upgrade the processor, add Thunderbolt 3, and ship it.

Read also: iPhone, iPad, Mac? Here's how long your Apple device will last

Call it the Mac mini Pro (Apple capitalizes Mac and Pro, but not the "mini" in either the Mac or the iPad). And make it in space gray. Because, why not?

Price it under $2,000 -- because this smart, easy re-design is not that expensive to make. Now, we pros can get our work done without taking out a mortgage. I'd probably buy another four. How about you?

You can follow my day-to-day project updates on social media. Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @DavidGewirtz, on Facebook at Facebook.com/DavidGewirtz, on Instagram at YouTube.com/DavidGewirtzTV.

Previous and related coverage

Maybe it's time for Apple to spin off the Mac as a separate company

While Mac sales keep growing and there are a few new machines, the platform is getting far less love than some users want. Here's a thought experiment to see if there might be another strategy.

I don't think Apple can fix the iOS mess it's created

Apple has turned iOS from a sleek, streamlined, easy-to-use operating system into a ghastly horror show.