No New Mac Mini Planned Until 2023
Apple has no plans to launch an updated Mac mini until next year, despite the fact that the entry-level M1 model is now over a year old and the high-end Intel model is now over three years old, according to recent reports.
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, and 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, with no new model this year.
A report from 9to5Mac earlier this year 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. Scrapping plans to refresh the Mac mini in 2022 could allow Apple to show even greater performance and efficiency improvements with the 2023 update.
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 beta versions of macOS Monterey.
The Mac mini's design is now well over a decade old, and despite the long wait for a high-end Apple silicon-based Mac mini, Apple reportedly has no plans to refresh its design. According to claim from reputable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo earlier this year, 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.
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 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.