Apple Abandons Mac Mini Redesign
Apple has seemingly abandoned plans to redesign the Mac mini amid rumors that the next-generation version of the machine will likely feature the same design as the current model.
According to a recent claim from reputable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the next-generation Mac mini is likely to retain the same form factor as the current model, which is an aluminum unibody design that Apple has used for every new Mac mini since 2010.
Kuo's claim runs contrary to a rumor from leaker Jon Prosser, who last year said that Apple was working on a complete redesign for the small desktop computer, moving to a smaller chassis with a "plexiglass-like" top.
Apple has been believed to be working on a new Mac mini for some time. It updated the entry-level Mac mini with the M1 chip in November 2020, but the high-end offering is still the Space Gray model with an Intel processor from 2018. The potential of replacing this older high-end model with an Apple silicon machine was previously at the center of rumors related to new Mac minis, but now it looks like both the entry-level and the high-end model may be refreshed simultaneously.
A recent report from 9to5Mac claimed that Apple originally "had plans" to introduce high-end versions of the Mac mini with M1 Pro and M1 Max chips, but these plans were "probably scrapped" in favor of the all-new Mac Studio. Now, Apple is believed to be working on two versions of the Mac mini, one with the standard "M2" chip and a second higher-end model with the "M2 Pro" chip.
Bloomberg's Mark Gurman believes that the M2 chip will feature the same eight-core CPU as the M1, but will benefit from speed and efficiency improvements, along with a new nine or ten core GPU, up from seven or eight cores in the M1. Following the M1 Pro, it is plausible that the M2 Pro will offer the same 10-core CPU, but feature improved efficiency and more GPU cores than the current 14- and 16-core options, just like the standard M2. Testing on the M2 chip is already underway as evidenced by references to the chip in the latest beta of macOS Monterey.
At the March "Peek Performance" event, Apple senior vice president of Hardware Engineering John Ternus said that the Apple silicon transition has "just one more product to go: Mac Pro," before adding "that's for another day," potentially indicating that a new high-end Mac mini is off the cards for this year. In line with rumors about the cancelation of the 2022 Mac mini refresh, Kuo has also said that the new Mac mini will not launch until 2023.