It’s almost a year and a half since Apple introduced two new Mac mini models with its own M1 chip (reviewed here: M1 Mac mini review). The Mac mini starts at $699/£699 and offers the exact same processor and graphics as more expensive MacBook and iMac options. Of all the M1 Macs on offer from Apple the Mac mini is our favourite as we think it offers the best in terms of specs coupled with a low price.
There is also another Mac mini on sale for $1,099/£1,099 that still features an Intel processor. We had expected Apple to discontinue this model when it started selling the Mac Studio, but as yet it hasn’t stopped selling the Intel Mac. It does seem inevitable that it will do so though.
While we don’t know the destiny of the Intel Mac mini it does seem likely that the M1 Mac mini will get an M2 update in 2022, read on to find out what is coming and when we might see the next Mac mini.
New Mac mini release date
There could be more than one new Mac mini in the pipeline at Apple:
We could see a new M1 Pro version replace the Intel powered model, perhaps as soon as WWDC in June 2022.
A M2 Mac mini is also expected in 2022 – perhaps in October.
Back in February 2022 in a PowerOn newsletter Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman also stated that “several new Macs” will be revealed at WWDC22 in June, though he doesn’t state specifically what Mac models will be released.
There is some evidence that an update to the Mac mini could be coming soon. In April 2022 developer Steven Troughton-Smith pointed out that the Studio Display’s latest software update includes a reference to a Mac mini that’s not yet available. Troughton-Smith first speculated that “Macmini10,1” could be a Mac mini with a new M2 processor, but later he changed his mind to an M1 Pro and Max model.
A couple of days after Troughton-Smith’s tweet, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported that Apple is internally testing an M2 Mac mini, codenamed J473, with eight CPU cores and 10 GPU cores. Apple also is testing a Mac mini with an M2 Pro chip, codenamed J474; a Mac mini with an M1 Pro, codenamed J374; and an M1 Max Mac mini, but it’s possible this model won’t ship.
We could be waiting until 2023 though. An unverified Twitter account for analyst Ming-Chi Kuo states that a Mac mini will ship in 2023. He doesn’t offer specifics, however, but it’s possible this 2023 Mac mini could be the M2 Mac mini.
New Mac mini price
The Mac mini starts at £699/$699, another model with more storage comes in at $899/£899. The Intel variant starts at $1,099/£1,099. It’s possible that this latter model may see a price rise if Apple furnishes it with a M1 Pro – narrowing the gap between it and the $1,999/£1,999 Mac Studio with M1 Max.
If you want to buy one of the current Mac mini models you can do so directly from Apple, or, if you want a bargain, check out our round up of the best Mac mini deals.
New Mac mini design
The Mac mini has had a similar square design ever since it arrived in 2005. Over time it has gotten thinner, lost the CD drive, and changed colour. According to reports, it could get even thinner with the next iteration. Jon Prosser claims that the next Mac mini will shrink even further, which could put it at less than an inch tall, based on renders.
In March 2022 Apple introduced the Mac Studio, which from the top looks like the Mac mini, but is a few inches taller. A redesign had been rumoured for the Mac mini for some time – was this it?
While there were a number of rumours about new designs for the Mac mini, only some of them seemed to be fulfilled by the Mac Studio (which was rumoured to look like two or three Mac mini stacked on each other, and does).
If Apple updates the Mac mini that is currently powered by an Intel chip it may not change the case at all. In March 2022 a tweet from an account claiming to be for analyst Ming-Cho Kuo stated that the 2023 Mac mini will have the same form and design as the current model, for example.
Other rumours point to a much less pro-focused redesign. Apple leaker Jon Prosser revealed details back in June 2021 of a new design for the new Mac mini model that he suggested would be significantly thinner than the current one and feature a “plexiglass-like” top.
Ian Zelbo made some illustrations based on Prosser’s findings. The renders indicate that the new mini will come in silver and white, rather than one of the new bright colour options seen on the 24in iMac. These renders are based on rumours, but they may still give a good idea of what Apple could unveil.
The ports should be the same as for the latest Intel model: four Thunderbolt/USB-C, two USB-A, ethernet and HDMI.
Prosser shared the news in a May 2021 edition of Front Page Tech, embedded below:
It should be pointed out that Prosser has been wrong on several occasions before – he’s had some big hits, but his misses include one so severe that he had to shave his eyebrows – so the information should be taken with a pinch of salt. AppleTrack currently gives him an accuracy rating of 74.2% (that score changes all the time). Read more about the Apple leakers in our round up: The Apple leakers worth following.
M2 Mac mini spec
We had expected Apple to introduce a replacement for the Intel-powered Mac mini that is still on sale. It hasn’t done so yet, and we don’t know if it will. If it does it may well feature an M1 Pro. We wouldn’t expect to see the M1 Max or M1 Ultra in it.
What we can be more certain about is that later in 2022, or at least in 2023, we will see Apple introduce an M2 version of the Mac mini. If you are interested to find out more about what the M2 could offer read this: Apple M2 Chip: Everything you need to know.
The M1 has 8 CPU cores, and the rumours indicate that this could be the same for the M2. In May 2021 Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman suggested that the M2 (apparently codenamed Staten), will include the same eight cores as the M1 chip, but it will run faster.
However, the N4P process that Apple is said to be using for the M2, could allow a transistor density that’s about six percent higher, which could enable Apple to integrate 10 CPU cores into the M2. These individual cores could be clocked a little faster than in the M1 as well.
Another possibility is that Apple could adjust the number of high performance and high efficiency cores. The M1 has four high performance cores and four high efficiency cores, while the M1 Pro and Max have twice the number of high performance cores (eight), but fewer efficiency cores (two). The next gen M2 could also increase the number of high efficiency cores.
The M2 offers 7 or 8 graphics cores. This could be set to increase: In the May 2021 report mentioned above Gurman suggested that the M2 could offer 9 or 10-GPU cores.
Unlikely to go above 16GB, but we would like to see a 32GB option offered for the high-end Mac mini, perhaps with a M2 Pro chip on offer.
Ports & Peripherals
The current Mac mini models offer two USB04/Thunderbolt ports, two USB-A ports and an HDMI 2.0 port, as well as Ethernet. It’s likely that this will carry through to the new iteration.
Apple doesn’t ship the Mac mini with an Apple keyboard, right now you need to provide your own or buy one from Apple. That’s unlikely to change, but we do anticipate that Apple will start offer the new Apple keyboard with Touch ID as an upgrade for the Mac mini, perhaps in the silver finish that goes with the silver iMac.