AWS spins up more cloudy Mac Minis, now with M2 Pro silicon

Andy Jassy's rent-a-Macs have no love for the vanilla M2, and the Max and Ultra aren't used in the Mini

Amazon Web Services has flipped the switch on a virtual Mac offering in its Elastic Computing Cloud (EC2), now renting Mac Minis powered by Apple's M2 Pro system-on-chip.

The EC2 M2 Pro Mac instance type serves up a 2022 Mac Mini with a dozen CPU cores, 19 GPU cores, and 32 GiB of memory.

Such a machine, bought direct from Apple, costs $1,999/£2,099.00 including 512GB of on-board storage. But Amazon's cloudy Macs rely on its Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS)

Apple's licensing terms mean AWS can't rent cloudy Macs for minutes or hours as it does for its fleet of servers. Instead, the M2 Pro Mac instance type can be had for a minimum of 24 hours, at $37.44 a day, which works out to $1.56 an hour. At that rate, an on-prem M2 Pro Mac Mini pays for itself in about eight weeks in raw dollar terms – before the complex calculations on the value of electricity consumed, plus the cost of racking, stacking, and maintenance.

Andy Jassy's rent-a-Macs are bare-metal beasts: users get the entire machine and can choose from Amazon Machine images running macOS Ventura from version 13.2 and up.

The new instance type is available in just two AWS regions – US West (Oregon) and US East (Ohio) AWS – but the cloud colossus promises more of its bit barns will host Apple hardware soon.

The debut of the EC2 M2 Pro Mac means AWS offers cloudy Apples based on Intel Core i7 x86 CPUs, Apple's M1 and M2 Pro – but not the vanilla M2 used in two of three current Mac minis.

It's unclear why AWS has skipped the mainstream M2.

AWS continues to promote its cloudy Macs as suitable for developers targeting the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Apple TV – but made no mention of Apple's Vision Pro virtual reality headset in the announcement of its latest instance type. The cloud champ also reckons devs re-architecting code to run natively on Apple silicon can do so at lower cost, and higher speed, with cloud Macs.

Which is just what AWS says about all its servers – although prominent cloud repatriation case studies suggest hosted rigs can be cheaper under some circumstances. ®

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