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March of the Mac Mini

this marvellous Mac could be a dream

With so much to look forward to this year, at least if the rumours and leakers are to be believed, then by the end of 2022, we should be awash in new Macs. Possibly more than we know what to do with. So, why does the advent of the new Mac mini pique my interest so much?

What are we promised?

For starters, don’t get too hyped about the upcoming March event. As yet not confirmed by Apple themselves, but it seems ever so likely, that come 8 March, we will get our first event of the year. But….being frank, it would appear that we are going to get very little. An iPhone SE that looks like an old iPhone but with 5G(yippee!!), an iPad Air and possibly a new spring/summer range of colours for the iPhone range.

A veritable plethora of Mac’s are expected for release this year. Apple’s two-year transition period from Intel to their Silicone chip is nearly up, and we have yet to see a Mac Pro or an iMac 27 inch of any kind with the new chips in. So, we know for sure that they are coming. Moreover, due to Apple having registered three new Macs in the Eurasian database, we know something is brewing. If you want to be an ultra geek, the registered Mac’s are A2615, A2686 and A2681. I know – exciting, right? They have registered two Mac desktops and one Mac laptop. Now, although we may not get all these releases at the spring event, possibly, two of the easier updates could well be announced. My speculation is that the laptop will be the ‘budget’ MacBook Pro 14 inch, still with the Touch Bar, fewer ports and the new M2 chip, and the desktops could be TWO variations of the Mac Mini. We may just see an M1 Mac Mini Max and a Mac Mini M2. That would make some sense, then giving us both a high end and consumer level Mini. Furthermore, don’t forget, releasing some new Mac Minis, would also make great sense as Apple are about to release monitors on us this year too. Prices could range from £999 – £4999 and the sizes being offered could be a 24 inch, 27 inch and a 32 inch, that last one replacing the current Pro XDR model. And, what do you need with a Mac Mini? That’s right – a monitor. They could clean up here, you know!

Mac mini

Why the interest?

I have always been an admirer of the Mini. They’ve always represented such great value for money with amazing performance. The design is gorgeous, and the form factor means they can fit pretty much anywhere. Last year, it was given the M1 chip, and they flew off the shelves, receiving rave reviews from everyone who used them. My daughters’ boyfriend, a high-end audio and foley editor, used one daily throughout lockdown, and could not speak highly enough of it. And his was only the 8 GB, base version as well! If these behemoths have the M1 Max and M2 inside, powering them, just imagine the value they’d represent. Here is what I am either expecting or hoping for.

Design

It has always been a simple yet beautiful machine in my opinion. There is not much that can be done to a small box to make it even more contemporary, except, may be, make it smaller still! They are expected to reduce in height, making them slimmer at around only 25 mm. The aesthetics may also change, with the aluminium design giving way to a plexiglass one, giving it an almost iPhone look to it. A small change underneath too is anticipated, with the ubiquitous circular base giving way to two rubber horizontal strips to hold it in place on the desk.

Chips inside

Clearly, this is the heart of the machine. It would make sense to place an M2 in the Mini, as I’d imagine that to be a straight swap. But, don’t make the mistake of thinking the assignation of M2 means it’s more powerful than the M1 Pro or Max chip. It’s not, rather confusingly. Apple seems to have shot themselves in the foot with their chip names. The M2 is a better, new and improved version of the original M1 from last year. The Mac Mini Pro though could, feasibly, have the M1 Max slotted in, giving it up to 10 CPU cores and 16 GPU cores.

The port selection

You won’t be left wanting, that is for sure. The Mini has always had a fantastic array of ports. This year, I’m hearing that there will be four Thunderbolt 4 ports in total, along with magnetic charging, two USB-A ports (for old times sake), and of course ethernet and HDMI as well. All in all, I’d say a pretty comprehensive selection.

And when can we expect them?

Hopefully, hopefully, we will see the Mini’s in March at the Apple spring event. Pricing is hard to gauge. If they pop the M2 chip inside, that may be a direct replacement for what we currently have. However, if they opt to go with a Pro version too, then expect that to come at a price. Don’t forget where I started, though, with those three new registered numbers. Apple now have under their belt two desktops and a laptop. The two desktops could ever so easily be a Mac Mini M2 and a M1 Max. And, if I dream super hard, with the simultaneous release of a display too. £1500 for a 24-inch monitor and £1300 for an M1 Max Mini….sounds like a dream ticket to me.

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Originally published at https://www.talkingtechandaudio.com/blog on February 15, 2022.

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