It’s 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 – however, it’s now looking rather dated and our advice right now would be don’t buy because something better is coming.
Apple launched a M2 MacBook Air and M2 MacBook Pro back 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 will look at what the M2 Mac mini might offer, and when it will launch.
Work on a new M2 Mac mini is evidently taking place at Apple. 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 has also indicated that Apple has been testing a Mac mini with an M1 Pro, codenamed J374 and an M1 Max Mac mini. Those Pro models still haven’t arrived and an M2 Pro Mac mini is now looking more likely – we discuss the M2 Pro Mac mini separately, so if that’s the Mac mini upgrade you are most interested in read: New Mac mini 2022 with M2 Pro: What you need to know.
M2 Mac mini release date: When will the next model arrive?
Apple introduced the M1 chip in the Mac mini, MacBook Air and 13in MacBook Pro at its One More Thing event on November 10, 2020. Two of those Macs now have M2 chips, so what about the Mac mini? As the M1 Mac mini approaches its two year anniversary date, the introduction of a M2 Mac mini in the fall of 2022 doesn’t only look likely, it looks tardy. (Read about why we say it’s not a good time to buy the Mac mini.)
Apple often holds an event in October or November at which it has often announced updated Macs, so October was considered a possibility for a new Mac mini. However, October has finished, so a November launch is looking more likely – but we could be waiting even longer. In a Power On newsletter on October 23 Gurman indicated that “Apple still has some Macs to debut over the next several months, including a new Mac mini and a MacBook Pro.” Then in a subsequent Power On newsletter on October 30, with the headline “New Macs coming next year” he wrote that “Apple’s next group of Macs probably won’t launch until early next year”. As for when: Gurman is banking on the first half of March.
As for how Apple will make that announcement, Apple issues a press release about new iPads and iPad Pro models, so it may do the same for the new Mac mini (and anticipated new MacBook Pro models). There have been suggestions (Gurman, again) that Apple’s upcoming new products might not be enough to justify an event.
A wait until 2023 is disappointing, but it wasn’t entirely unexpected. Back in March 2022 analyst Ming-Chi Kuo stated that a new Mac mini will ship in 2023 (the Mac mini in his original tweet was the Mac Studio). Kuo didn’t offer specifics, but it’s possible this 2023 Mac mini could be the M2 Mac mini.
Mac mini M2 design: Will the Mac mini look the same?
One reason why we could have a longer wait for a new Mac mini could be that Apple is changing the design. The Mac mini has had a similar square design ever since Apple introduced it in 2005, over time it has gotten thinner, lost the CD drive, and had a color change. The next Mac mini could get a brand new look, according to reports.
Jon Prosser claimed back in June 2021 that the next Mac mini will shrink even further, which could put it at less than an inch tall. The body could be getting a change too. While the Mac mini has had its aluminum chassis since 2010, Apple is reportedly considering a “plexiglass” top, according to Prosser. That could mean Apple will bring a little pizzazz to 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 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.
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 information from Prosser’s sources, but they may still give a good idea of what Apple could unveil.
Prosser isn’t the only one expecting a new look Mac mini. In August 2021, Mark Gurman of Bloombergreported that the Mac mini will have “an updated design and more ports than the current model.” Furthermore, the circular rubber pad on the bottom of the new Mac mini is said to be replaced with two horizontal strips as we see on the underside of the 24-inch iMac stand.
However, there may be no 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 form and design as the current model.
M2 Mac mini spec & features: What will be different
The one change we’re certain of with the new Mac mini is that it will get an M2 chip like the one found in the 2022 MacBook Air and 2022 13-inch MacBook Pro. Assuming it’s the same, these are the specs:
CPU: 8-core CPU with 4 performance cores and 4 efficiency cores
The current Mac mini models offer two USB-4/Thunderbolt ports, two USB-A port, an HDMI 2.0 port, as well as Ethernet snd a headphone port. It’s likely that this will carry through to 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 likely 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 is possible that Apple will do the same as it did with the MacBook Air and keep the M1 Mac mini on at $699/£699 while introducing two new M2 models to replace the $899 and $1,099 options. We hope that Apple includes an M1 Pro or M2 Pro model in the line up though.
If you aren’t based in the U.S. expect prices to increase as they have for every other product Apple has launched in 2022. We’ve seen price hikes of as much as £150 per product in the U.K., for example.