When the Mac mini was released in 2005 as the first BYODKM Mac (bring your own screen, keyboard and mouse), had the potential to be one of the most popular Macs ever made. Nearly two decades later, it really hasn’t lived up to its expectations, as specs, pricing, and performance never reached the heights we expected. But with rumors mounting that Apple is preparing an update for the high-end Mac mini that could blow our minds and finally deliver the little Mac of our dreams.
M1X Mac mini: the latest rumors
4th of October: Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman Says New Mac mini Coming With M1X Processor “Sometime” after the launch of the new MacBook Pro.
M1X Mac mini: design
The Mac mini has had a similar boxy design since it burst onto the scene, and that is unlikely to change this year. However, it has become thinner. When it launched with a CD drive, it was two inches tall and now only 1.4 inches (without an optical drive). You could reportedly lose even more weight. Jon Prosser claims the next Mac mini will shrink even more, which could put it less than an inch tall, based on renders.
Render by Ian
The body could also be changing. While the Mac mini has had its aluminum chassis since 2010, Apple is reportedly considering a “plexiglass” lid, according to Prosser. That could mean Apple will bring a bit of pizzazz to the Mac mini, which is limited to silver and space gray. Finally, the circular rubber pad on the bottom will be replaced with two horizontal strips as we see on the bottom of the 24-inch iMac stand.
In August, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported that the Mac mini will have “an updated design and more ports than the current model.”
M1X Mac mini: Apple silicone
The Mac mini was one of the first Macs to get the M1 processor, so it makes sense that the 2021 model would be the first to get the follow-up. Prosser reports that the new chip will be an “X” variant of the M1, which “will greatly exceed the performance and capabilities of current M1 chips,” according to a report by Mark Gurman on Bloomberg.
Specifically, the new chip can feature “eight high-performance cores and two energy-efficient cores for a total of 10.” The current M1 chip in the Mac mini has four high-performance cores and four energy-efficient cores. With such power, this new machine will likely replace the 8th Gen 3.0GHz 6-core Intel Core i5.
M1X Mac mini: Graphics
The GPU in the Mac mini will almost certainly be integrated into the system on a chip, but it will reportedly be much more powerful than the 8-core GPU in the current Mac mini. Gurman reports that the new chip will come “in variations of 16 or 32 graphics cores.”
Roman Loyola / IDG
M1X Mac mini: RAM and specs
The M1 in the Mac mini has only two RAM configurations, 8GB and 16GB, while the Intel version maxes out at 64GB. Gurman says the new chips will also include up to 64GB of memory. Storage is likely the same, starting at 256GB and going over 2TB.
As for ports, the new Mac mini could get two additional Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports for a total of four, along with the other ports on the current model: two USB-A ports, Ethernet, and HDMI. However, Prosser says the new mini won’t bring back the rumored SDXC card slot for MacBook Pro.
M1X Mac mini: price and launch
Apple actually dropped the price of the M1 Mac mini from $ 799 to $ 699, so it’s possible that the higher-end Mac mini will get a price cut as well. Apple currently sells it for $ 1,099, so it could drop to $ 999.
We originally expected the new Mac mini to arrive in the fall alongside the new MacBook Pro, but a report in October threw some cold water on that rumor. Gurman now says that the new M1X mini will arrive “sometime” after the launch of the new notebooks. That doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t arrive in 2021, but with supply delays limiting shipments of most of Apple’s products, it looks like it will be delayed until 2022.
Michael Simon has been covering Apple since the iPod was the iWalk. His obsession with technology dates back to his first PC: the IBM Thinkpad with the lift-up keyboard to change the drive. Still waiting for that to come back in style tbh.