Apple's Mac Mini is Now Three Years Old, No Refresh Date in Sight
Today marks the third anniversary of the last update of the Mac mini, Apple's most affordable and compact desktop computer. The Mac mini was refreshed on October 16, 2014, and since then, the machine has seen no additional updates.
The Mac mini is positioned as a "bring your own" machine that comes without a mouse, keyboard, or display, and the current version is still running Haswell processors and integrated Intel HD 5000/Intel Iris Graphics.
Pricing on the Mac mini starts at $499 for the entry-level base configuration, making it far more affordable than the iMac, which starts at $1,099 for a non-4K 21-inch version.
With the 2014 refresh, fans were disappointed as Apple ceased offering a quad-core processor option and support for dual hard drives, features that have not returned.
At this point, it's not clear if and when Apple will introduce a new version of the Mac mini. Prior to the 2014 refresh, the Mac mini was updated in 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012, so it's never before gone three years sans update.
Many Apple customers are eagerly awaiting a new Mac mini, including businesses that rely on the machine, like Brian Stucki's MacStadium.
When Apple announced plans for a modular Mac Pro, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller said the Mac mini "is an important product" in the company's lineup, suggesting Apple doesn't have plans to abandon the machine. He declined to offer up any information on a potential refresh, though.
Aside from a single rumor from Pike's Universum hinting at a new high-end Mac mini with a redesign that "won't be so mini anymore," we've heard no details at all about work on a possible Mac mini refresh.
If a new Mac mini is in the works, though, it could use either Seventh-Generation Kaby Lake chips or Eighth-Generation Kaby Lake Refresh chips, both of which are available now.
The Mac mini typically uses the same 15W U-series chips that are found in the 13-inch MacBook Pro. With Intel's Eighth-Generation chips, the U-series all feature four cores, so should a future Mac mini adopt Kaby Lake Refresh chips or later, quad-core performance will return.
Given that it's October and there are no rumors, it's not likely we're going to see a Mac mini refresh in 2017, but sometime in 2018 is fair game.