Imagined Mac Mini Redesign Argues Apple Should Borrow From Mac Studio
The idea mainly comes from MacRumors forums user "Rickroller," who shared basic images of the concept earlier today. They suggest that a Mac Studio-like design could bring significant thermal improvements to the Mac mini to enable better performance, and even add some simple quality-of-life enhancements such as front-facing USB-C ports and an SDXC card reader.
Leaker Jon Prosser shared renders of a complete redesign for the Mac mini in early 2021, thought to be destined for an M1 Pro or M2-series model. The design depicted a smaller chassis with a "plexiglass-like" top, but did not emerge with the latest M2 and M2 Pro Mac mini models last year.
In 2022, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo warned that the next Mac mini models would have the same design as prior models. Looking to the future, Kuo again believes that the new Mac mini models in 2024 will have the exact same design as their predecessors.
The Mac mini currently features a silver aluminum unibody design that Apple introduced in 2010. It has used this design for every Mac mini, other than offering a Space Gray colorway in 2018. By the time the next-generation Mac mini models launch in 2024, this design will be 14 years old – becoming the longest continuously used Apple design in the company's history.
Bloomberg's Mark Gurman recently suggested that Apple has no plans to update the Mac Studio with the M2 Max and M2 Ultra chips in the near future. The main reason for the decision seems to be the change in direction of the Apple silicon Mac Pro, which will now have the M2 Ultra chip as a top-tier option and offer limited modularity. Apple may leave the Mac Studio without a hardware refresh for some time and could even discontinue the product line, similar to 2017's iMac Pro, which served as a stop-gap device until the release of the 2019 Mac Pro.
If the Mac Studio is indeed discontinued sometime in the next several years, a post-2024 Mac mini may be even more likely to adopt a Mac Studio-like design, since there would no longer be a risk of further cannibalizing the Mac Studio with a similar design. Apple often introduces new designs and features on its high-end devices before slowly trickling them down to other products in the lineup, such as the squared-off industrial design of the 2018 iPad Pro, which finally came to dominate the whole latest-generation iPad lineup upon the release of the 10th-generation iPad last year.
What is in store for the Mac mini's design after 2024 is unclear and likely has not even have been firmly decided upon by Apple yet, but considering how long the company has stuck with the aluminum unibody design, a redesign sometime in 2025 or beyond is highly plausible.