It’s almost a year since the Mac mini was updated. In October 2018 the Mac mini saw what Apple described as its “biggest update ever”. It was a big update and it had been a long time coming - four years to be exact. So, are we likely to have another long wait until Apple updates the Mac mini again or can we expect to see a new Mac mini in 2019?
With the MacBook Air and the iMac seeing updates over the summer of 2019, it seems likely that the Mac mini will soon see an update of its own. But, when you consider that the spec updates to those models were quite minimal maybe Apple will leave the Mac mini unchanged until 2020.
In 2019 the iMac saw its first update since 2017, moving from 7th-gen quad-core processors to 3.6GHz 8th-gen quad-core processors and 3.0GHz 8th-gen six-core processors, essentially bringing the iMac into line with the Mac mini, which has the exact same processors. While the MacBook Air didn’t see a spec update at all, just the addition of True Tone to the display and a £100 discount on the price. Even the MacBook Pro has only seen minor, same processor generation, spec boost on the 13in models, with only the 15in models seeing a leap to the 9th-gen Intel processors (with up to 8-cores).
The above paints a picture of a year when not much really happened in terms of processor improvements, leaving Apple with no choice other than to ‘update’ its Macs in the most minor way possible. No doubt Apple would be blaming Intel who’s been having a few problems with its next generation of processors.
So, with all that in mind is an update to the Mac mini likely anytime soon?
Mac mini 2019/2020: Release Date
There could be an update to the Mac mini in October 2019, a year after the new models were introduced, but we think that an update in spring 2020 or at WWDC 2020 is more likely.
Mac mini 2019/2020: Price
Apple rarely changes prices, other than to adjust them for currency fluctuations as it did with the MacBook Pro in July 2019, which meant that UK consumers saw the top-of-the-range model price increase by £100.
The MacBook Air, on-the-other-hand, saw a price drop by £100.
As for whether the Mac mini could see a price drop, there are certainly those wishing for one. When Apple introduced the new Mac mini in October 2018 it also put up the price. The Mac mini, which used to be Apple’s cheapest Mac at £499 (and Manny years previously just £399), now costs £799. It’s still the cheapest Mac, but it’s quite a bit more expensive than it once was.
Will Apple reduced the price of the Mac mini? We very much doubt it. We think that when Apple updates the range the prices will remain exactly the same as they are now.
Mac mini 2019/2020: Design
Announcing the update to the Mac mini in October 2018, Apple revealed that the mini is a popular choice for server farms and that video professionals often string together multiple Mac minis for video editing. As a result, the Mac mini design didn’t change - since doing so would mean that existing set ups wouldn’t accommodate the new machines.
There was one change to the design though, the Mac mini now comes in Space Grey, the finish that seems to be popular with creative pros (based on the reaction to the introduction of the Space Grey iMac finish with the iMac Pro) and developers (who are big advocates of Dark Mode on the Mac too).
As you will see if you read on, there are calls for some changes to the internals of the Mac mini. While it’s unlikely that Apple will ever make the Mac mini smaller (see our point about server farms above) it could accommodate a discrete graphics card and a better thermal system if there was more room inside the unit. How could Apple make more room, one suggestion is by removing the power supply, which could be separated from the unit in the same way it is with the Mac laptops. We have more information about the calls for graphic improvements below.
Read about the design changes that might be coming to the iMac here.
Mac mini 2019/2020: Spec
The Mac mini saw what Apple descried as its “biggest update ever” in October 2018. Given the four-year interval, you’d certainly expect significant improvements. What can we expect from the next update to the Mac mini?
9th-generation Intel processors could bring 8-cores to the Mac mini as they have the MacBook Pro.
When Apple updated the graphics in the 2018 models the company claimed that they were 60% faster, but that was after a hiatus of four years. TO see similar improvements in the next version of the Mac mini Apple could add the option of discrete graphics. This would be a very popular move, but the Mac may need an improved cooling system. As we suggested earlier, this could be achieved by removing the power supply from inside the box.
The Mac mini when it launched in 2018 also did away with the hard drive/fusion drive options. It’s now only possible to buy a Mac mini with an SSD. We could see the prices of the SSD build-to-order options reduce as they did in July with the MacBook Air. Speaking of which, the entry-level Mac mini currently ships with 128GB SSD as standard, which many feel is too small. Apple could increase the SSD spec across the range, so that we see 256GB and 512GB as standard.
There are also calls for Apple to make the Mac mini easier to upgrade after sale. Currently it is possible to update the RAM in the machines via the hatch at the bottom (shown below) although it’s not as easy to do so as it once was. But once-upon-a-time it was possible to update many more of the components inside the Mac mini and there are many who would like to see a return of this status.
We don’t know when Apple will update the Mac mini but it seems unlikely that it will leave its smallest Mac untouched for was long as it did prior to the 2018 update. The thing holding back the update is probably Intel’s processor development. With rumours that Apple is working on developing its own processors, perhaps we could one day soon see an Apple processor inside the Mac mini.