Best Laptop The Apple Mac Mini in 2022
As seen in our Apple March Event live blog, we did see something else for fans of the Apple desktop line in the Mac Studio, though this features the new M1 Ultra SoC (system-on-a-chip), and is designed with creative professionals in mind.
It’s been almost two years since Apple released the Mac Mini (M1), powered by the Apple M1 chip alongside the Apple MacBook Air (M1, 2020) and 13-inch Apple MacBook Pro (M1, 2020), so a new model – possibly powered by the same M2 chip that could also appear in the rumored MacBook Air (2022) – is definitely due.
The mini-PC impressed us when we reviewed it in 2020, and the M1 chip powering it showed itself to be a pretty competent performer overall. Still, a home PC is a pretty big piece of kit, so can a Mac Mini win over converts beyond the device’s fanbase?
One of the major advantages of the Mac Mini is its size, which is perfect for those who need a home PC but don’t want a large PC case or an all-in-one computer like the latest iMac. Others might be worried though that a mini-PC won’t be powerful enough for their needs.
The anticipated announcement of a new processor, the Apple M2, might put those concerns to rest, and it could help the Mac Mini (2022) make a much bigger splash this year. Make sure you follow our to ensure you don’t miss any breaking news from today’s event.
Apple Mac Mini (2022): cut to the chase
- What is it? Apple’s next-generation mini-PC
- When is it out? Expected late 2022 or 2023
- What will it cost? Unknown, but likely similar to current pricing (starting at $699 / £699 / AU$1,099)
Apple Mac Mini (2022): release date and price
The Apple Mac Mini (2022) hasn’t even been announced yet, so there’s no official release date that we can confirm. The last Mac Mini (M1) was released in late 2020, so going off Apple’s typical 18 to 24 product release cadence, we expected it to be announced at the March 2022 event, but sadly this wasn’t the case. It’s still likely we could see it announced before the end of the year though if Apple does have plans to release an M2 SoC.
The 2020 models of both products were announced at the same time, and both feature the M1 chip. There are also a lot of rumors that the 13-inch MacBook Pro won’t see a major redesign, which might be reserved for a new MacBook Air reveal later this year.
If that is true, then it may make sense for the Mac Mini with M2 to be announced alongside the 13-inch MacBook Pro since there’s much less excitement around a Mac Mini redesign than there is for a MacBook.
After all, announcing two new M2-powered devices that don’t feature major redesigns is better than announcing just the one, and if the Mini were to only get internal improvements, swapping out the M1 for the M2 would make mass production significantly simpler.
More recent rumors from well-placed sources suggest that Apple might have decided to push back the Mac Mini 2022 to 2023 – and if that turns out to be the case, we’re going to have to stop referring to it as the Mac Mini 2022.
Apple Mac Mini (2022): design
There has been a lot of talk about the potential redesign of Apple’s MacBook Air (2022) as well as the lack of redesign for the 13-inch MacBook Pro, so which side of things do we expect the Mac Mini to come down on?
It’s a hard question to answer, unfortunately: since there is less interest in seeing a Mac Mini redesign, there’s less incentive for Apple to redesign the Mac Mini. However, one of the reasons why the lack of a redesign for the 13-inch MacBook Pro makes a lot of sense is that the 13-inch MacBook Pro might be discontinued after this year in favor of the 14-inch MacBook Pro (2021).
If you’re going to continue to release a product, and we don’t expect the Mac Mini to be discontinued any time soon, then it’s almost certain that it will have to get a redesign (albeit, nothing major) to fit in with other Mac products that do, namely the iMac, and presumably the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro 14-inch and MacBook Pro 16-inch.
The rumor mill has gone both ways on this, but earlier leaks hinting that a change in form factor was on the cards have since been shot down by other sources. We’ll have to wait and see what the Mac Mini 2022 looks like.
Apple Mac Mini (2022): specs and performance
There’s not much we can say specifically about the Mac Mini’s specs without knowing the Apple chip that runs it, but we do expect that it will have the same 8GB/16GB Unified Memory configuration options, with anywhere from a 256GB SSD up to a 2TB SSD.
We also expect the number and types of ports to stay more or less the same, but we’re hoping for an upgrade to USB-C Thunderbolt 4 from the existing Thunderbolt 3. Same goes for upgrades in the way of HDMI 2.1 and a DisplayPort 1.4 output, but with Thunderbolt 4, those ports might not be necessary anyway, so they might get the axe with a new Mac Mini.
That might shift around our list of best monitors for the Mac Mini, but something tells us this isn’t much of a concern for Apple.
As for the chips powering the new device, that’s where things can get interesting.
There is some buzz that we won’t just see an M2-powered Mac Mini, but we might also see an M1 Pro and even an outside chance of an M1 Max-powered Mac Mini.
These latter two might be more for professionals rather than home PCs, but the possibility could give the Mac Mini much broader appeal, especially since it might allow consumers of all stripes to access the performance of an M1 Pro and M1 Max at a more accessible price point than you’d get with a MacBook Pro.