Apple has given nothing away about the new Mac mini yet, 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. We are also pretty sure that the Mac mini will be updated soon as it wasn’t touched at all in 2015. We’ve got all of the new Mac mini rumours and speculation for you right here, so read on for possible specs, features and release date.
If you’re still not certain which Mac is right for you, visit our Mac Buying Guide.
Mac mini 2016 release date: When is the new Mac mini coming out?
Apple last updated the Mac mini on 16 October 2014 after a two year wait, but Mac mini fans are now waiting for the next iteration of the smallest and cheapest Mac, hopefully coming this year. We had expected Apple to announce a new Mac mini in the autumn of 2015, possibly alongside the new iMac with 4K Retina display, or at the same time as the El Capitan launch, but those opportunities have been and gone.
We’re getting impatient, not least because Apple has added new processors to its laptops and desktops, and new Skylake processors have launched since then so even those updated Macs are outdated.
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We had hoped that Apple’s 21 March event would see the launch of the new Mac mini, but Apple chose not to launch new Macs at all then. Instead, we saw the unveiling of the iPhone SE, the iPad Pro with 9.7in screen and new Apple Watch straps.
The next expected Apple event isn’t until June at WWDC 2016, but Apple could choose to sneak out an unexpected Mac mini before then without hosting a special event to do so. We’ll keep you updated with all of the Mac mini release date rumours right here.
Also read: Mac mini vs MacBook Air
Mac mini 2016 price: How much will the new Mac mini cost?
There are currently three models of the 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 prices ware significant because they marked a reduction of £100 compared to its price before the Mac mini came out, 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.
New Mac mini 2016 specs and features: Processor & RAM
It seems likely that Apple had been waiting for Intel to ship the new Skylake chips before launching the new Mac mini, although it is still possible that Apple will opt for the Broadwell chips instead, which would still represent a power boost over the current Haswell processors.
Right now, the entry-level Mac mini features just 4GB RAM as standard, which we think should be ramped up to 8GB in the new entry-level model.
The other big change we hope to see in the new 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.
New Mac mini 2016 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.