Is This Portable Mac Mini What Photographers Have Been Looking For?

Once in a while, a creation comes along that is equal parts crazy and genius. While some of you may laugh at the idea of a portable Mac Mini, I think many photographers could really benefit from owning one.

Finding creative solutions to niche problems has become a lot easier in the last few decades. Thanks to the likes of YouTube sharing free technical knowledge and the ever-growing accessibility of 3D printing, ideas can be realized like never before. One maker who would agree with that sentiment is YouTuber and maker Scott Yu-Jan who set himself the task of trying to make the Mac Mini portable.

The video starts with Yu-Ja explaining why he hates laptops and how he wanted to come up with a better solution for working on his computer while traveling. Yu-Ja goes onto talk about his design process and the eureka moment when he realized he could pair the Mac Mini with the iPad Mini he already owned. From there it was just a matter of 3D printing a sleek-looking housing to combine these two devices and the results are rather impressive.

This creation relies on a cabled connection between the iPad and the Mac Mini and an app called Duet so they can talk to each other. The fact an iPad is being used as a screen also means the user can benefit from the device's touch screen capabilities. Yu-Jan also uses the Apple pencil with his iPad which means he can control the computer with the pencil directly on the screen. Something I think would appeal to many photographers who are already used to a pen and tablet combination in their workflow.

While this particular creation still relies on a mains power supply, it would not take much to make this truly portable with a battery pack of some sort. I know many photographers already have solutions for powering their gear while out on location so they probably wouldn't even need to buy anything extra for this setup to work. This portable Mac Mini is bound to ruffle some feathers but I think this marriage of devices is something that some photographers could benefit from using. Especially if they own a Mac Mini and iPad already.

What do you think of this portable Mac Mini? Think you would build one yourself? We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. 

Paul Parker's picture

Paul Parker is a commercial and fine art photographer. On the rare occasion he's not doing photography he loves being outdoors, people watching, and writing awkward "About Me" statements on websites...

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For those that love this idea a BTS video explaining more of the process has just been released:

Pretty rad and great exercise, however, not really practical.

This reminds me of the DI Why section of reddit.

Has he released his April Fools vid early? I got about 4 minutes in so maybe he delivers the punchline that it's a gag device at the end. Otherwise, this is a laptop! A very heavy, very expensive laptop that doesn't have a keyboard or a power supply. There are plenty of laptops available that have a touch screen, will weigh less, cost less and be portable- which is kind of the point of a laptop.

That's kind of missing the point I feel.

I am missing the point. What is it?

Is there a laptop that can even begin to approach the power of a Mini?

Yes. Many would exceed it comfortably.

Thank you... so agreeded... whtat's the point? for traveling like he does all he needs is a good external ssd....

WTF. If you really don’t want a laptop, this assemblage that looks like an early 90s laptop is not better.

I love it. I can totally see where he's going with this. I have the same Mac Mini M1 and bought it for a similar reason. I often have to go to Europe (I live in Shanghai) for months at a time, to visit my parents / family / friends or to visit sites on my bucket list. I hated taking a laptop.
They weigh too much to carry on my backpacking trips (so I take an ipad and a huge supply of SD cards) but I don't want to use that when I return to wherever my base is in Europe. Hence why I bought the MM M1. Now I just leave it at my base when traveling to remote photographic locations and I can just buy a used monitor, that I'll sell before I leave (at usually no loss) or use one that my friends/family have that I can use with my MM M1.

The massive upside is that all of my programs and files are right there (with a remote HD for my new photos) and absolutely no syncing or program and preset duplication is required. Everything is backed up before I leave and on Backblaze whilst away from home.

Slightly different to PP's intended use but similar enough to understand his intentions.

"I hate laptops"

*Makes a laptop without keyboard and battery.

So much better.