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Although many expected Apple to unveil a new Mac mini during its Peek Performance event this week, what we actually got — the Mac Studio — was considerably more impressive.
Still, some felt the absence of a lower mid-tier Apple Silicon Mac was odd, especially since the Intel Mac mini is now easily the oldest Mac that remains in Apple’s lineup — and by a pretty big margin, too.
When rumours of the Mac Studio appeared in the days leading up to Tuesday’s event, some speculated that this more powerful Mac would become the replacement for the Intel Mac mini. However, when the dust settled, the plucky little Mac was still sitting there unfazed.
So, it’s fair to say another Apple Silicon update for Mac Mini is still coming, but despite rumours that Apple will replace the Intel model with an M1 Pro version, it’s starting to look as if it’s just going to sail right into M2 territory.
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After all, there’s an excellent chance that Apple will have its M2 chip ready for the fall. In fact, there were numerous rumours it was going to make an appearance this week, but it seems like Apple is saving that for later, perhaps waiting until it has a wider array of Macs ready for it.
According to Ming-Chi Kuo, the Mac mini may also be the only other Mac desktop to even make an appearance this year, dashing any hopes that a new iMac Pro is coming anytime soon.
Kuo appears to be making much more use of his 11-year-old Twitter account these days. He offered up another Tweet on Sunday that correctly predicted the Apple Studio Display, while also suggesting that a “more powerful Mac mini” is all we’re going to see this year.
While Kuo maintains that Mac Pro and iMac Pro updates are still coming, he says not to expect those until next year. It’s hard to know quite what to think of this, considering all the other rumours we’ve been hearing about an iMac Pro. However, the introduction of the Apple Studio Display and Mac Studio have shaken things up in a pretty big way, leaving some folks wondering if the 27-inch iMac even has a place in Apple’s product lineup anymore.
However, as far as the Mac mini goes, new information recently gleaned by 9to5Mac would appear to back up some of what Kuo is saying, while adding that Apple plans to update both Mac mini models to next-generation Apple Silicon. The M1 Mac mini will be updated to an M2 chip, while the Intel version gets the M2 Pro — possibly at the same time.
The report also reveals what to expect from the M2 chip, with sources saying it’s based on the A15 Bionic used in the iPhone 13, iPad mini 6, and new iPhone SE, but with an eight-core CPU and 10-core GPU.
9to5Mac’s sources also suggest that Apple was considering introducing an M1 Pro/Max version of the Mac mini this week, but it decided to skip that to make sure all eyes were on the new Mac Studio.
This sounds like as good of an explanation as any for the inconsistent rumours we’ve been hearing, and it also makes perfect sense. The Mac Studio is the first entirely new product category to come to the Mac lineup in well over a decade. Apple’s announcement would have lost a great deal of its impact if it had to share the spotlight with a new Mac mini.
That doesn’t mean Apple isn’t going to deliver another Mac mini down the road, of course. Sources say it’s already working on a new model that will use an M2 Pro chip, skipping right past the higher-end M1 chips.
Rumour has it that this new M2 Pro chip will push the limits a bit more as well, increasing CPU cores not only in performance, but also in number. Apple is said to be working on a 12-core M2 Pro, with eight performance cores and four efficiency cores, compared to the 10-core M1 Pro.
While Apple is almost certainly developing M2 Max and M2 Ultra chips as well, don’t expect these to land in the Mac mini. Presumably, those will be reserved for the Mac Studio.
[The information provided in this article has NOT been confirmed by Apple and may be speculation. Provided details may not be factual. Take all rumors, tech or otherwise, with a grain of salt.]