When the Mac mini first launched in 2005 BYODKM Mac (bring your own monitor, keyboard and mouse), it had the potential to become one of the most popular Macs ever. Nearly two decades later, we think it’s a great option as an entry-level Mac, but it hasn’t quite lived up to its hype as specs, pricing, and performance never reached the heights we expected.
Then rumors were confirmed that Apple was planning to improve on the Mac mini in 2022 when Apple introduced the Mac Studio in March 2022. The Mac Studio, which resembles a Mac mini from above but is roughly equivalent to three Mac minis on top of each other in height. The Mac Studio has M1 Max and M1 Ultra options and is a great computer, but there’s now a big gap in the lineup with no desktop Macs offering the M1 Pro (which can only be found in the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models).
There are Mac fans hoping that Apple will improve the Mac mini with the M1 Pro chip, and there’s a Mac mini that looks ripe for an M1 Pro update: Apple is still selling a $1,099/£1,099 Mac mini with an outdated Intel processor. Apple could have discontinued this model when it introduced the Mac Studio, but it didn’t, indicating there’s still hope for an M1 Pro version of the Mac mini. Indeed, there are indications that an M1 Pro version of the Mac mini is coming. Read on to find out when we can see the M1 Pro Mac mini.
Right now, though, there’s an elephant in the room: At WWDC in June 2022, Apple introduced an M2 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. Does this mean Apple will no longer make M1 series updates? Should we now expect an M2 Pro Mac mini? Or is an M2 Mac mini more likely? An M2 Mac mini is also expected in 2022 – perhaps in October. We have a separate article discussing the rumors about the M2 Mac mini.
Mac mini M1 Pro release date
We were hoping that a new M1 Pro Mac mini would replace the Intel-powered model at WWDC on June 6, 2022. But Apple failed to update it.
That doesn’t mean the M1 Pro Mac mini won’t start, though. Though there is now a distinct possibility that Apple could skip the M1 Pro version of the Mac mini and launch an M2 Pro Mac mini instead.
There are indications that an update for the Intel-powered Mac mini could be coming. In April 2022, developer Steven Troughton-Smith pointed out that the latest software update to the Studio Display contains a reference to a Mac mini that is not yet available. Troughton-Smith first speculated that “Macmini10.1” could be a Mac mini with a new M2 processor, but later came up with an M1 Pro and Max model.
A few days after Troughton-Smith’s tweet, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported that Apple is internally testing a Mac mini with an M1 Pro, codenamed J374; and an M1 Max Mac mini, but this model may not ship. He also indicated that Apple is testing an M2 Mac mini, codenamed J473, with eight CPU cores and 10 GPU cores, and a Mac mini with an M2 Pro chip, codename J474.
However, we can wait until 2023. In March 2022, an unverified Twitter account for analyst Ming-Chi Kuo stated that a Mac mini will ship in 2023. He doesn’t provide any details though, but it’s possible that this 2023 Mac mini is the M2 Mac mini.
New Mac mini price
The Mac mini starts at £699 / $699 and another model with more storage costs $899 / £899. The Intel variant – which we expect to be replaced by an M1 Pro model – starts at $1,099 / £ 1.099.
We may see a price increase with the introduction of the M1 Pro-powered model. Such a price hike would narrow the gap between the Mac Studio with M1 Max and the $1,999/£1,999 Mac Studio. Apple won’t want to make the Mac mini too attractive to those it wants to sell the Mac Studio to.
One place to look for clues as to how Apple might price this new Mac mini is the 14-inch MacBook Pro with M1 Pro chip, which starts at $1,999 / £1,899 (a full $500 / £400 more than the most expensive M1 model). With that price in mind, we estimate a starting price of $1,399 / £1,399 for the M1 Pro Mac mini.
If you’d like to buy any of the current Mac mini models, you can do so directly from Apple, or, if you’re looking for a bargain, check out our roundup of the best Mac mini deals.
New Mac mini design
The Mac mini has had a similar square design since its arrival in 2005. Over time it has become thinner, lost the CD drive and changed color. There are claims that the next Mac mini will shrink even further, rendering it less than an inch long based on renders. However, these more compact design rumors seem to relate to the new M2 version of the Mac mini.
Further rumors of a larger Mac mini are clearly related to the Mac Studio that Apple announced in March 2022. From above, the Mac Studio looks like a Mac mini, but it’s a few inches taller. The larger form factor provides the better cooling needed for the M1 Max and M1 Ultra. Should the Mac mini be bigger to accommodate the M1 Pro? We don’t think so – the chip works fine in the MacBook Pro anyway.
Based on that, we wouldn’t expect a design change for the M1 Pro Mac mini – it might even keep its Space Gray case, often used by Apple as a Pro badge.
In March 2022, a tweet from an account purporting to be for analyst Ming-Cho Kuo stated that the Mac mini 2023 will have the same shape and design as the current model.
New Mac mini specs
We expect (and hope) that Apple will introduce a replacement for the Intel-powered Mac mini that will have an M1 Pro chip. We don’t expect to see the M1 Max or M1 Ultra in it, although the company has reportedly tested models with the M1 Max and M1 Pro. Read our M1 series guide to learn more about the M1 Pro chip.
There is a chance that Apple will skip the M1 Pro for this Mac mini model and instead provide an M2 Pro. Now that the M2 is no longer available, Apple seems less likely to launch more M1-series Macs. Based on that, we can see the following:
If the Mac mini gets an M1 Pro, it will likely offer 8 or 10 CPU cores, like the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro.
If Apple gives this Mac mini an M2 Pro, we’ll probably see 10 more CPU cores.
The M1 Pro offers 14 or 16 graphics cores.
The M2 Pro may offer double the number of GPU cores of the M2 – so potentially 20 GPU cores.
Since the M1 Pro in the MacBook Pro comes standard with 16 GB and supports up to 32 GB of memory, we expect to see the same in the M1 Pro Mac mini.
An M2 Mac mini could support up to 24 GB of memory, but an M2-Pro Mac mini could theoretically offer up to 48 GB of memory.
Ports and Peripherals
We expect to see the following ports: four Thunderbolt/USB-4, two USB-A, Ethernet, HDMI and 3.5mm headphone jack, similar to the current Intel-powered Mac mini.
Apple doesn’t supply the Mac mini with an Apple keyboard, at this point you have to either get your own or buy one from Apple. That probably won’t change, but we do expect Apple to offer the new Apple keyboard with Touch ID as an upgrade to the Mac mini, perhaps in a matching silver or space gray finish.
Learn more about all the new products coming in 2022 here: Every new Apple product coming in 2022.