It’s been almost two years since Apple introduced two Mac mini models with the M1 chip alongside an M1 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro (reviewed here: M1 Mac mini review). Of all the M1 Macs, the Mac mini was our favourite, as we thought it offered the best in terms of specs coupled with a low price – it’s looking rather dated now though and our advice now would be don’t buy, because there something better is coming.
Apple launched an M2 MacBook Air and M2 MacBook Pro in June 2022, but the Mac mini was neglected in that round of updates. Mac fans are wondering when Apple will update the Mac mini with an M2 chip. In this article, we’ll take a look at what the M2 Mac mini has to offer and when it launches.
Apple is apparently working on a new M2 Mac mini. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has reported that Apple is testing an M2 Mac mini, codenamed J473, with eight CPU cores and 10 GPU cores. Gurman also indicated that Apple tested a Mac mini with an M1 Pro, codenamed J374, and an M1 Max Mac mini. Those Pro models still aren’t here and an M2 Pro Mac mini now seems more likely – we’ll discuss the M2 Pro Mac mini separately, so if that’s the Mac mini upgrade you’re most interested in, read: New Mac mini 2022 with M2 Pro : What you need to know.
M2 Mac mini release date: when is the next model coming?
Apple introduced the M1 chip in the Mac mini, MacBook Air, and 13-inch MacBook Pro at the One More Thing event on November 10, 2020. Two of those Macs now have M2 chips, so what about the Mac mini? The M1 Mac mini has now passed its two-year anniversary and we continue to wait for an M2 Mac mini. (Learn why we say it’s not a good time to buy the Mac mini.)
In an October 2022 Power On newsletter, Mark Gurman of Bloomberg indicated that “Apple has several more Macs to debut in the coming months, including a new Mac mini and a MacBook Pro.” Then, in a subsequent Power On newsletter on October 30, headlined “New Macs Next Year,” he wrote that “Apple’s next batch of Macs probably won’t be available until early next year.” As for when: Gurman is counting on the first half of March.
As for how Apple will make that announcement, Apple is issuing a press release about new iPads and iPad Pro models, so it could do the same for the new Mac mini (and expected new MacBook Pro models). There have been suggestions (Gurman again) that Apple’s upcoming new products may not be enough to warrant an event.
So we could see a new Mac mini in March, or we could possibly see something sooner if Apple wants to reserve its Apple Spring Event for the launch of the long-rumoured VR/AR headset.
The long delay in getting the M2 Mac mini is not entirely unexpected. Apple does have the edge when it comes to neglecting the Mac mini that went from 2014 to 2018 without an update. But maybe something will come up that justifies the delay?
Mac mini M2 design: Does the Mac mini look the same?
An explanation for the long wait for a new Mac mini could be that Apple is changing the design. The Mac mini has had a similar square design since Apple introduced it in 2005, over time it’s gotten thinner, lost the CD drive and changed color. According to reports, the next Mac mini could get a whole new look.
Jon Prosser claimed in June 2021 that the next Mac mini will shrink even further, potentially reducing it to less than an inch in height. The body can also undergo a change. Although the Mac mini has had its aluminum chassis since 2010, according to Prosser, Apple is reportedly considering a “plexiglass” top. That could mean that Apple will spice up the Mac mini with a new color. The Mac mini is currently limited to silver and space gray.
It should be pointed out that Prosser has been wrong several times – he’s had some big hits, but his misses were so severe that he had to shave his eyebrows – so the information should be taken with a grain of salt. AppleTrack currently gives it an accuracy score of 74.2% (that score is constantly changing). Read more about the Apple leakers in our round-up: The Apple leakers worth following.
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 color options seen on the 24-inch iMac. These renderings are based on information from Prosser’s sources, but they can still give a good idea of what Apple might reveal.
Pass on Ian
Prosser isn’t the only one expecting a new look from the Mac mini. In August 2021, Mark Gurman of Bloomberg reported that the Mac mini “will have a refreshed design and more ports than the current model”. In addition, the round rubber pad on the underside of the new Mac mini would be replaced by two horizontal strips, as seen on the underside of the 24-inch iMac stand.
However, there may not be a redesign in the pipeline. 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 shape and design as the current model.
M2 Mac mini specs and features: what will be different
The only change we’re sure of with the new Mac mini is that it will get an M2 chip like the one in the 2022 MacBook Air and 2022 13-inch MacBook Pro. Assuming it’s the same, here are the specs :
CPU: 8-core CPU with 4 performance cores and 4 efficiency cores
GPU: 8-core or 10-core GPU
Up to 24 GB integrated memory
To learn more about the M2 chip, read: Apple M2 chip: everything you need to know.
There are reports that M3 Macs could launch in 2023, in which case an M2 Mac mini should arrive sooner rather than later to avoid being instantly obsolete.
Current Mac mini models offer two USB-4/Thunderbolt ports, two USB-A ports, an HDMI 2.0 port, as well as Ethernet and a headphone port. It is likely that this will be implemented in the new iteration. The M1 Pro version of the Mac mini could get two additional Thunderbolt/USB-C ports for a total of four, though rumors say the new mini probably won’t bring back the SDXC card slot that appeared on the MacBook Pro and Mac Studio.
M2 Mac mini price: how much will the new Mac mini cost?
Currently, the M1 Mac mini is priced as follows:
M1 chip with 8-core CPU and 8-core GPU, 256GB: $699 / £699
M1 chip with 8-core CPU and 8-core GPU, 512GB: $899 / £899
It’s possible that Apple will do the same as with the MacBook Air and keep the M1 Mac mini at $699/£699 while introducing two new M2 models to replace the $899 and $1,099 options. However, we hope that Apple will include an M1 Pro or M2 Pro model in the lineup.
If you’re not based in the US, expect prices to rise, as they would for any other product Apple launched in 2022. For example, we’ve seen price increases of as much as £150 per product in the UK.