Will 2018 finally be the year of the mini?
It’s been almost four years since we last saw a major update to the Mac mini, and while some people have taken Apple’s silence to mean we won’t ever see a follow up, we still hope that we could indeed see a new Mac mini in 2018.
The fact that a new Mac mini was not released in 2017 disappointed many people, but Apple CEO Tim Cook himself has reiterated Apple’s support of the Mac mini, so there’s hope we’ll see it this year.
While we don’t have any official indication of when – or even if – a Mac mini 2018 is coming from Apple, based on the rumors we’ve heard – and what we can learn from previous Mac mini releases – we can speculate a bit on the release date, price and features of the new Mac mini. We’ll also list what we want to see if a new Mac mini ever does get released.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? A new version of Apple’s compact Mac
- When is it out? As early as March 2018?
- What will it cost? Hopefully around the price of previous models
Mac mini 2018 release date
As with other upcoming Apple products, we haven’t got a solid release date for the Mac mini 2018. Rumors have been thin on the ground as well, so we’re going to have to use a bit of speculation when it comes to the possible release date.
The previous Mac mini was released way back on October 16, 2014, so could we witness an October launch for the new Mac mini?
Apple’s WWDC 2018 event could be another chance for Apple to announce the new Mac mini. WWDC events are usually held in early June, and last year’s conference saw the reveal of the HomePod and a new iPad Pro 12.9 and iPad Pro 10.5.
If June 2018 feels too far away, then Apple may have something planned for around March, as it has revealed new products around that time in the past. We’ll keep an eye on any rumors and update this article as soon as we get a clearer idea of when the Mac mini 2018 will be released.
Mac mini 2018 price
Again, we haven’t heard much about the potential price of the Mac mini 2018 just yet, but that’s to be expected, as pricing rumors usually begin to circulate closer to the release date.
But, could the price of previous Mac minis give us a clue to what the price of any new Mac minis would be?
The lowest spec Mac mini cost $499 (£399, around AU$650) when it launched in 2014, with the middle Mac mini costing cost $699 (£569, around AU$900) and the top-of-the range Mac mini came with a $999 (£569, around AU$1,300) price tag.
What we want to see in Mac mini 2018
While we don’t know a lot about the Mac mini 2018 at the moment, we certainly know what we want to see from a refreshed Mac mini.
1. An attractive new design
There’s not much wrong with the current look of the Mac mini, but if we’re going to be seeing the first update in almost four years, it would be great if it got a nice new look as well. Thinner, smaller, and quieter. We’re not asking for much, are we?
An old rumor from early 2017 suggested that the top-end Mac mini ‘won’t be so mini anymore’ which led people to assume that more powerful components will be added, necessitating a larger design for better cooling.
However, this rumor is quite vague, so we’d urge caution when taking this completely at face value.
Of course, powerful components will mean more heat produced, so a redesigned Mac mini isn’t out of the question, but as Apple has shown with the iMac and iMac Pro, it’s a dab hand at putting powerful components into svelte devices and keep them cool.
2. A power boost
One of the things we’d most like to see from a Mac mini 2018 is an upgrade to its components, which would make it a formidable mini machine to compete with other small form factor PCs, such as the Intel NUC.
So what kind of components would we like to see? Intel has produced some excellent new Kaby Lake processors that would be a great fit for the Mac mini 2018, as it supports Thunderbolt 3, USB Type-C, DisplayPort 1.2 and 4K video, and would give the Mac mini 2018 a considerable power boost over previous models.
There is a chance that the Mac mini 2018 could come with Intel’s upcoming Cannon Lake processors, which will bring even higher gains in performance, while reducing power consumption, but with Intel having already delayed the chips, it might not be possible.
The integrated graphics of these new Intel chips would also give the Mac mini 2018 a nice boost, and while we wouldn’t expect to play heavy-duty games on the Mac mini 2018, it should still prove to be an excellent media machine.
RAM-wise, the previous Mac mini came with 4GB, and while that could remain, we’d like to see a base 8GB of RAM, as with the MacBook Air.
3. 4K support
Wouldn’t it be great if the Mac mini 2018 could also act as an alternative to the Apple TV? For that to happen, the Mac mini 2018 would need to be a capable 4K machine – something previous models were decidedly not.
Thankfully, as we mentioned earlier, if the new Mac mini is going to feature recent Intel processors, then the integrated graphics should give it enough graphical power to handle 4K.
Previous models of the Mac mini couldn’t quite handle 4K content, and this was due to hardware limitations of the time, coupled with Apple’s desire to keep the Mac mini as an entry-level device, price-wise.
However, in 2018 even budget processors come with integrated graphics that are powerful enough to render 4K interfaces and play ultra high definition content from Netflix and iTunes, so we want to see Apple make use of this technology in any new Mac mini that it produces.
4. For it to actually exist
This is perhaps our biggest wish. We’re still not 100% convinced the Mac mini 2018 will even exist, after so many years of no shows in the past.
But, we do have a glimmer of hope after Tim Cook reassured Mac mini fans in saying “our customers have found so many creative and interesting uses for Mac mini. While it is not time to share any details, we do plan for Mac mini to be an important part of our product line going forward.”
Although the past four years have not brought us a new Mac mini, there is still an appetite for a compact and affordable Mac device that features that irresistible Apple build quality and design.