Apple has given nothing away about the new Mac mini. But based on past experience and the existing specs of other Macs, it is easy to surmise what to expect from the new Mac mini in 2015. In this story we round up the latest information based on what we deem to be credible rumours and speculation, and our own analysis of Apple rumours. We'll update this story as new rumours and evidence comes in, so keep checking back. And when Apple makes its announcement we can all have a good laugh at how wrong we were.
After a two year wait, Apple finally updated the Mac mini on 16 October 2014, but Mac mini fans are now waiting for the next iteration of the smallest/cheapest Mac, hopefully coming this year
Here, we bring you everything you need to know about the new Mac mini, including its expected release date, its UK price and the new specs and features.
Mac mini 2015 release date: When is the new Mac mini coming out?
It doesn't look like Apple will be holding an October event this year - normally the company would hold an October event at which it would unveil new iPads, release the next version of OS X and launch new Macs. However, following the iPhone launch event on 9 September, the iPads have already been launched, and El Capitan has been revealed as coming out on 30 September. So it looks like there will be no October event.
The 2014 Mac mini became available to buy immediately after Apple's 16 October keynote ended, and you can still order a new Mac mini on the Online Apple Store. Shipping times are not clear since Apple changed its online store - now products just say "Get Delivery Dates", but a search by postcode suggests the unit will ship in 24 hours, suggesting an immanent launch is unlikley.
However, an update is overdue. Since the introduction of the Mac mini in 2014, Apple has added new processors to it's range of laptops - with the MacBook Air and the 13in MacBook Pro models gaining the latest Broadwell processors.
The 21in iMac is yet to get a Broadwell update, but we think that the time is ripe for it, and the Mac mini, to gain the newer processor. Read more about the new 2015 21in iMac here.
Mac mini 2015 price: How much will the new Mac mini cost?
There are currently three models of the new Mac mini available, depending on your budget and your specification needs. The cheapest model currently costs £399, the middle model is £569, and the priciest model is £799.
These 2014 prices were significant because they marked a reduction of £100 compared to it's price before the update, previously the cheapest Mac mini was £499, for example. Of course, you'll need to factor in the price of a monitor, keyboard and mouse with the Mac mini, though.
However, we don't anticipate Apple reducing the price further with the new model when it launches, so you can expect similar pricing, but hopefully better specs.
What is the Mac mini?
It's understandable that you might not be aware the the Mac mini even exists - sometimes it looks like even Apple isn't aware of its presence (if the long gap before the 2014 model was launched is anything to go by).
The Mac mini is Apple's smallest desktop Mac and also its cheapest Mac, at £399. It's a full-blown OS X desktop that fits into a self-contained chassis no bigger than a set-top box. An inexpensive living room Mac that lacks the power of even some MacBooks and comes with no keyboard, mouse or display, but one that works perfectly as the centre of your digital home – not least because it comes with HDMI sockets making plugging it into a modern TV a doddle.
There used to be a Mac mini with OS X server available for £849 but Apple removed that option from the line up in October 2014.
Is Apple going to discontinue the Mac mini?
Last year we were starting to worry that Apple would discontinue the Mac mini, indeed we speculated about whether Apple might discontinue the Mac mini in this article. We think Apple is wise to continue to ship this low cost of entry Mac because, despite the declines in the PC market, there is a lot of interest in Macs, as evidenced by the increase in Mac marketshare while the rest of the PC industry is in decline. In the future the Mac could become even more important for Apple.
New Mac mini specs and features: Processor
It seems likely that Apple has been waiting for Intel to ship the new Broadwell chips - successors to Haswell - and that now those chips are available we can expect to see a new Mac mini soon.
It's likely that the lack of Broadwell availability is also the reason for the lack of update to the 21in iMac models, which haven't been updated since 2013. None of the iMac models have been updated to Broadwell yet - even the recently introduced 3.3GHz Retina model still runs a Haswell chip.
Alternatively Apple could wait until next year and introduce Intel's Skylake processor in the Mac mini, however, a low cost low powered Mac may just benefit from the smaller bump, rather than being left untouched for a long period of time again.
2015 Mac mini rumours: Design
It's possible that the Mac mini will get a new design. We're not expecting a major visual or build redesign, but it is certainly possible that it could get thinner and smaller, especially since it no longer has to accommodate a CD drive.
Right now the dimensions are 3.6cm high, 19.7cm wide, and it weighs 1.22kg. How about a Mac mini that has similar dimensions to an Apple TV (9.8cm wide, 2.3cm high, 0.27kg).
There was some speculation that the reason for the long delay prior to the Mac mini update in 2014 was that Apple was looking at redesiging the Mac mini along the lines of the Mac Pro.
This was probably intended as an April Fool's Day prank, but we like this render of a flat Mac mini, as seen on Apple User.
Even better, how about a Mac mini that was also an Apple TV! Adding Apple TV functionality to a Mac mini would be a great way of getting the Mac mini into people's living rooms as a home entertainment device.
2015 Mac mini rumours: RAM
Currently the entry-level Mac mini features just 4GB RAM as standard, we would like to see that ramped up to 8GB in the new entry-level model.
2015 Mac mini rumours: flash storage
The other big change we hope to see in the 2015 Mac mini is more flash drive options. Currently the 2.8GHz model comes with a Fusion Drive, or you can add 256GB flash storage to that model, or the 2.8GHz model.
While the 500GB hard drive in the current entry level model (and the 1TB hard drive as standard in the £569 model) might appear attractive to some, flash memory is so much faster that we believe it is well worth the compromise of storing additional files on an external hard drive.
However, it seems unlikely that Apple would do away with the hard drive storage option all together as many workgroups choose the Mac mini as a server and will need the extra capacity and lower prices that HD storage makes possible.
2014 Mac mini specs
As well as the new price tag, the 2014 Mac mini differed from its predecessor when it comes to specs, though the overall design of the Mac mini remains the same. It features Intel's Haswell processors, 802.11ac WiFi and Thunderbolt 2.
The new Mac mini is available with the choice of three processors, all dual-core Intel Core i5. Those options are 1.4GHz, 2.6GHz or 2.8GHz.
The two higher-end models are configurable, though, allowing you to add a 3.0GHz dual-core Intel i7 processor if you choose (at an additional cost, of course).
The 1.4GHz model comes with a 500GB hard drive, while the 2.6GHz model features a 1TB hard drive and the 2.8GHz model has a 1TB Fusion Drive.
When it comes to memory, the £399 model features 4GB, while the other two models have 8GB of memory, but all are configurable up to 16GB.
The £399 model will give you Intel HD Graphics 5000, while the two more expensive models both feature Intel Iris Graphics. Apple says that this means up to 90 percent faster graphics performance than the previous generation.
You'll now find two Thunderbolt 2 ports on the Mac mini, as well as the faster 802.11ac WiFi standard.