How long do you keep a Mac around before upgrading to a new model? Three years? Five years? Longer? A quick check of the past decade of my Mac purchases indicates that each model lasts about six years, but we get a new Mac every couple of years– the purchases are staggered and that means upgrades for both Mac notebooks and a desktop iMac.
The oldest Macs are wiped clean and either sold or used as hand-me-down models to deserving children of nearby relatives. Invariably, those Macs don’t last more than a couple of more years. Youth has a tendency to age their products more than adults.
Without asking, my oldest Mac probably is older than your Mac.
Somewhere around late 2005 we bought a PowerPC Mac mini, added a keyboard, mouse, and an old display– it served as our desktop Mac for a few years before being replaced by an Intel Inside iMac. Since the Mac mini was still working OK, and nobody in the family or neighborhood wanted a Mac with PowerPC chips inside, I tucked it under the TV stand next to the cable company’s internet connection router.
That’s where the Mac mini sits today. Almost 14 years later.
The Mac mini is set to start up automatically every day at 7:00 AM and shut down at 10:00. Other than checking in from time to time via Screen Sharing, the Mac mini does not get much use.
So far as I can see, everything still works, but with 512MB of RAM and a Toshiba 40GB hard disk drive there isn’t much it could do anyway. It doesn’t even have Wi-Fi. That accounts for where it is permanently parked– tethered to the router with a short Ethernet cable.
All the basic Apple and Mac OS X apps are still running, but there’s no iCloud, and Safari has difficulty displaying websites with secure HTTPS certificates (apple.com works OK, but loads very slowly).
Oh, the Mac mini also is the only Mac we own now that has SuperDrive to run CDs or DVDs.
What does that say about changes in technology?
For now, the Mac mini will stay where it is– no keyboard, mouse, or display– until one day when it decides not to start up or shut down. It only runs three hours a day and provides no real functionality other than me showing off to friends, co-workers, family, or neighbors just how long Macs can last.