It’s been 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 the more expensive MacBook and iMac options. Of all the Mac M1s that Apple offers, the Mac mini is our favourite, as we believe it offers the best in terms of specs coupled with a low price.
There’s also another Mac mini on sale for $1,099/£1,099 that still features an Intel processor. We expected Apple to discontinue this model when it started selling the Mac Studio, but so far it hasn’t stopped selling Intel Macs. However, it seems inevitable that it will.
While we don’t know the fate of the Intel Mac mini, it seems likely that the M1 Mac mini will get an M2 upgrade in 2022, read on to find out what’s to come and when we might see the next Mac mini.
Mac mini new release date
There could be more than one new Mac mini in the works at Apple:
We could see a new M1 Pro version replace the Intel-powered model, perhaps as soon as WWDC in June 2022.
An M2 Mac mini is also expected in 2022, perhaps in October.
There’s some evidence that an update to the Mac mini could be coming soon. In April 2022, developer Steven Troughton-Smith noted that the latest Studio Display software update includes a reference to a Mac mini that is not yet available. Troughton-Smith first speculated that the “Macmini10,1” might be a Mac mini with a new M2 processor, but later changed his mind to an M1 Pro and Max model.
Price of the new Mac mini
The Mac mini starts at £699/$699, another model with more storage is $899/£899. The Intel variant starts at $1,099/£1,099. This latest model may see a price increase if Apple supplies it with an M1 Pro, bridging the gap between this latest model 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 it directly of AppleOr, if you want a bargain, check out our roundup of the best Mac mini deals.
New Mac mini design
In March 2022, Apple introduced the Mac Studio, which looks like the Mac mini from above, but is a few inches taller. A redesign for the Mac mini had been rumored for some time, was this it?
While there were a number of rumors about new designs for the Mac mini, only a few of them seemed to be fulfilled by Mac Studio (which was rumored to look like two or three Mac minis stacked on top of each other, and it is).
If Apple updates the Mac mini that currently runs on an Intel chip, it may not change the case at all.
Other rumors point to a much less professional redesign. Apple leaker Jon Prosser revealed details in June 2021 of a new design for the new Mac mini model that suggested it would be significantly thinner than the current one and feature a “plexiglass-like” top.
Ian Zelb he 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 bright new color options seen on the 24-inch iMac. These renders are based on rumours, but they can still give a good idea of what Apple could reveal.
Ports should be the same as for Intel’s latest model: four Thunderbolt/USB-C, two USB-A, ethernet, and HDMI.
Prosser shared the news in a May 2021 issue of Front Page Tech, included below:
It should be noted that Prosser has been wrong on several occasions before: he has had some big hits, but his mistakes include one so serious that he had to shave his eyebrows, so the information should be taken with a grain of salt. AppleTrack currently gives it an accuracy rating of 74.2% (that rating changes all the time). Read more about Apple leaks in our roundup: Apple Leaks Worth Following.
Specifications M2 Mac mini
We were hoping Apple would come up with a replacement for the Intel-powered Mac mini that’s still on sale. It hasn’t yet and we don’t know if it will. If it does, you may have an M1 Pro. We wouldn’t expect to see the M1 Max or M1 Ultra in it.
What we can be more sure of is that later in 2022, or at least 2023, we’ll see Apple introduce an M2 version of the Mac mini. If you’re interested in learning more about what the M2 could offer, read this: Apple M2 Chip: Everything You Need to Know.
The M1 has 8 CPU cores and rumors indicate that this could be the same for the M2. In May 2021, Mark Gurman of Bloomberg suggested that the M2 (apparently codenamed Staten) will include the same eight cores as the M1 chip, but will run faster.
However, the N4P process that Apple is said to be using for the M2 could allow for a transistor density that is about six percent higher, potentially allowing Apple to integrate 10 CPU cores into the M2. These individual cores could also sync up a bit faster than in the M1.
Another possibility is that Apple could adjust the number of high-performance, high-efficiency cores. The M1 has four high-performance cores and four high-efficiency cores, while the M1 Pro and Max have twice as many high-performance cores (eight), but fewer efficiency cores (two). The next generation M2 could also increase the number of high-efficiency cores.
The M2 offers 7 or 8 graphics cores. This could increase: In the May 2021 report mentioned above, Gurman suggested that the M2 could offer 9 or 10 GPU cores.
It’s unlikely to go above 16GB, but we’d like to see a 32GB option offered for the higher-end Mac mini, perhaps with an M2 Pro chip on sale.
Ports and Peripherals
Current Mac mini models offer two USB04/Thunderbolt ports, two USB-A ports, and one HDMI 2.0 port, in addition to Ethernet. This will likely carry over to the new iteration.
Apple doesn’t ship the Mac mini with an Apple keyboard, right now you must provide your own or purchase one from Apple. That’s unlikely to change, but we do anticipate that Apple will begin offering the new Apple Keyboard with Touch ID as an upgrade to the Mac mini, perhaps with the silver finish that accompanies the silver iMac.
Find out all the new products coming in 2022 here: Every new Apple product coming in 2022.