Apple is reportedly working on a new M2 Mac mini with a slimmer design.
It’s been nearly two years since Apple released two Mac mini models with the M1 chip, as well as an M1 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro (reviewed here: M1 Mac mini review). The Mac mini was our favorite of the M1 Macs because we thought it offered the best combination of specs and price – but it’s now looking rather dated, and our advice right now would be don’t buy because something better is on the way.
Apple introduced the M2 MacBook Air and M2 MacBook Pro in June 2022, but the Mac mini was left out of that round of updates. Apple fans are wondering when the Mac mini will be updated with an M2 chip. In this article, we’ll look at what the M2 Mac mini might offer and when it’ll be available.
Apple appears to be working on a new M2 Mac mini. According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, Apple is testing an M2 Mac mini, codenamed J473, with eight CPU cores and ten GPU cores. Apple has also been testing a Mac mini with an M1 Pro, codenamed J374, and an M1 Max Mac mini, according to Gurman. Those Pro models have yet to arrive, and an M2 Pro Mac mini is now looking more likely – we discuss the M2 Pro Mac mini separately.
When will the next M2 Mac mini model be released?
On November 10, 2020, Apple will unveil the M1 chip in the Mac mini, MacBook Air, and 13-inch MacBook Pro at its One More Thing event. Now that two of those Macs have M2 chips, what about the Mac mini? As the M1 Mac mini approaches its second anniversary, the release of an M2 Mac mini in the fall of 2022 appears not only likely but also tardy. (Learn why we believe now is not the time to buy a Mac mini.)
Apple frequently holds an event in October or November during which it announces updated Macs, so October was thought to be a possibility for a new Mac mini. However, October is over, so a November release seems more likely – but we could be waiting even longer. On October 23, Gurman stated in a Power On newsletter, “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, under the headline “New Macs coming next year,” he stated that “Apple’s next group of Macs are unlikely to launch until early next year.” When will it happen? Gurman anticipates the first half of March.
When it comes to new iPads and iPad Pro models, Apple typically issues a press release, so the new Mac mini may follow suit (and anticipated new MacBook Pro models). According to Gurman, the upcoming new products from Apple may not be enough to justify an event.
The delay until 2023 is disappointing, but not entirely unexpected. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted in March 2022 that a new Mac mini would be released in 2023. (the Mac mini in his original tweet was the Mac Studio). Kuo did not provide any details, but this 2023 Mac mini could be the M2 Mac mini.
Design of the Mac mini M2: Will the Mac mini look the same?
One reason we may have to wait longer for a new Mac mini is that Apple is changing the design. Since Apple introduced the Mac mini in 2005, it has had a similar square design, though it has gotten thinner, lost the CD drive, and changed colors. According to reports, the next Mac mini could have a new design.
Back in June 2021, Jon Prosser claimed that the next Mac mini would be even smaller, possibly less than an inch tall. The body may also transform. While the Mac mini has had an aluminum chassis since 2010, Prosser claims that Apple is considering a “plexiglass” top. That could imply that Apple will add some zing to the Mac mini with a new color. The Mac mini is currently available only in silver and space gray.
It should be noted that Prosser has previously been incorrect—had he some big hits, but his misses have included one so severe that he had to shave his brows—so the information should be taken with a grain of salt. AppleTrack currently gives him a 74.2% accuracy rating (that score changes all the time). More on Apple leakers can be found in our roundup: The Apple leakers worth following.
Based on Prosser’s findings, Ian Zelbo created some illustrations. According to the renders, the new mini will be available in silver and white, rather than the new bright color options seen on the 24in iMac. These renders are based on information obtained from Prosser’s sources, but they may still provide a good indication of what Apple may reveal.
Prosser isn’t the only one hoping for a new Mac mini. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported in August 2021 that the Mac mini will have “an updated design and more ports than the current model.” In addition, the circular rubber pad on the bottom of the new Mac mini is said to be replaced with two horizontal strips, similar to the underside of the 24-inch iMac stand.
However, no redesign may be in the works. In March 2022, a tweet purportedly from analyst Ming-Cho Kuo stated that the 2023 Mac mini would have the same form and design as the current model.
M2 Mac mini specifications and features: What will be different this time?
The one change we know for sure about the new Mac mini is that it will use an M2 chip, similar to the ones found in the 2022 MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro. These are the specifications, assuming it’s the same:
- CPU: 8-core processor with four performance cores and four efficiency cores.
- GPU with 8 or 10 cores
- Unified Memory of up to 24GB
Current Mac mini models include two USB-4/Thunderbolt ports, two USB-A ports, an HDMI 2.0 port, Ethernet, and a headphone jack. This is likely to carry over to the next iteration. The Mac mini M1 Pro could get two more Thunderbolt/USB-C ports for a total of four, though rumors suggest the new mini won’t include the SDXC card slot found on the MacBook Pro and Mac Studio.
Price of the M2 Mac Mini: How much will the new Mac Mini cost?
The M1 Mac mini is currently priced as follows:
- $699/£699 for M1 Chip with 8-Core CPU and 8-Core GPU, 256GB
- $899/£899 for M1 Chip with 8-Core CPU and 8-Core GPU, 512GB
- Intel Core i5 6-Core Processor at 3.0GHz with Intel UHD Graphics 630, 512GB: $1,099/£1,099
It is possible that, as with the MacBook Air, Apple will 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 includes an M1 Pro or M2 Pro model in the lineup.
If you are not located in the United States, expect prices to rise, as they have for every other product Apple has released in 2022. In the United Kingdom, for example, we’ve seen price increases of up to £150 per product.