the Mac user nightmare
21 September, 2011
Bought this new mini a month ago and it has become by far the worst computer experience I've ever had.
I've used Macs since OS 7 and 8, lately using Leopard and Snow Leopard on various machines from a G4 mini to a 2010 Macbook Pro. (I use Windows PCs too).
Well, Lion sucks big time. Apple is turning Mac OS into a "big" version of iOS - in a very mediocre way, to say the least. I think it's a really good thing to create some ease for the senior and the kids, or for people who are just kinda afraid of computers... but please don't screw the OS that much, there are many people with two decades of computing like me out there, don't try to convince us an iPhone "way" of doing things is the way to go on a desktop, 'cause it could just sound stupid!
Besides all the real bugs, there are some false ones: the OS was just designed to behave that way.
Character repeat is the most annoying, there is no repeat. Holding down a character key makes the OS display accents and other variations of that character, like the iPhone keyboard does - no way to disable that.
And the rainbow beachball goes all over the place - this is something only Vista users will sympathize. (in that case, Microsoft was reasonable enough to create an official downgrade program for buyers of Vista PCs, so they could step back do XP)
There are other very serious problems, due to Apple's lack of understanding the principles of competition and consumers choice: no way to downgrade to Snow Leopard, no third-party mouse support!!!
I found out my USB mouse wouldn't work even within the Apple Hardware Test which is not part of the OS, but the ROM... I called Apple Care, of course, and the Apple rep. asked me (in a very agressive tone): "does your mouse's documentation state it's suported by the new Mac mini?"
It'd have been funny if it weren't outrageous.
Don't buy this crap!
Don't need a Mac? Don't get one until Apple gets Lion and 2011 models out of this mess.
Need a new Mac? I haven't tried those, but there are reports on the web that new Macbook Pro are at least able to get downgraded to Snow Leopard - although the process to build an "installable" Snow Leopard for i5/i7 models is a very complicated one, requires another Mac running Snow Leopard v10.6.8 and is not aproved/supported by Apple.
**UPDATE** (Sept. 30th,2011)
My mini was running so awfully bad with Lion 10.7.1 that I decided to install Snow Leopard in it. There are some threads on Apple Support Communities discussion board about getting SL to run on the 2011 Mac mini, one of them has over 21,000 views and 17 pages of posts. The process (there are some different suggested procedures out there) isn't quite simple. I tried some some ways, couldn't get it through at first, I'll leave a step-by-step guide on a comment.
Well, my mini now runs Snow Leopard just fine. I have bought a retail Snow Leopard Family-Pack (the single user wasn't available at my local market) that didn't work for the install, but gave me the extra SL license I needed. I found a close friend has got the early 2011 Macbook Pro 13" with just about the same specs as this Mac mini (Sandy Bridge i5 processor, intel HD 3000, Thunderbolt) that originally shipped with Snow Leopard and used his computer and its original Snow Leopard install disk to get SL running on my mini. Some Snow Leopard users reported problems with the Thunderbolt/miniDisplay Port. I had none.
In fact the only difference I see in Snow Leopard 10.6.8v1 in this new mini compared to the same version on a 2009 mini is the mouse. YEAP, although I just got rid of Lion, the third-party mouse issue persists. So, THIS MUST REALLY BE a fault on the Mac mini firmware (EFI, boot ROM, whatever), not in the OS. Seems the machine itself won't recognize the mouse - so any OS couldn't either?
I've read Dave J's comment below and I found my ancient IntelliMouse Optical 1.1A (how old is this??) that was forgotten deep in some drawer and it works here - with some glitches. So, if you plan to use a third-party mouse or other pointing device, BEWARE: IT'S A LOTTERY!
Other users of SL on this model have been impressed with the low score on GeekBench benchmark software. I tried GeekBench here, got the low score, too, but I don't quite understand it 'cause my system now runs smoothly, no spinning beachballs, no freezes, no crashes... this is scoring high on my chart! :D