It’s been almost four years since we last saw a major update to the Mac mini, but there's hope that we could indeed see a new Mac mini in 2018.
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 on the release date, price and features of the new Mac mini.
Apple didn’t release a new Mac mini in 2017, which 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.
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, which could tell us two things. First of all, it means the Mac mini is really overdue for an update, so 2018 is the ideal year to release a new Mac mini.
It could also mean that October 2018 is a likely release date, if Apple wants to stick to tradition. However, with 2014 being so long ago, we don’t think Apple would be that concerned about sticking to an October release, and these days Apple is mainly focusing on new iPhones during that part of the year.
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. This was also when Apple revealed iOS 11 and watchOS 4.
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.
So, for the moment we’re going to have to speculate on the price based on previous Mac minis. The current Mac mini was released in 2014 in three configurations.
The lowest spec Mac mini cost $499 (£399, around AU$650), 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.
We expect that Apple will at least match these prices with the Mac mini 2018, however if the hardware included is particularly powerful, we may even see slightly higher price tags.
Mac mini 2018 specs
Again, rumors of specs for the Mac mini 2018 are thin on the ground. 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.
Not only is this rumor quite vague, but it was also included with a number of other rumors that turned out to be inaccurate (though some of the rumors did prove to be true), 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, though 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.
As for components, 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 will 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.
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.
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.
A 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?
For it to actually exist
Perhaps this is 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.”
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