The rumour mill suggests Apple is readying the next iteration of Mac mini PCs with all-new M2 and M2 Pro SoCs.
Apple recently introduced a high-performance small-form-factor PC going by the name Mac Studio. Starting at £1,999 and first to feature the M1 Ultra SoC, those with more restrained budgets will continue to opt for Mac mini, costing a more palatable £699. Current base models feature an in-house M1 chip touting eight CPU cores – four performance, four efficient – alongside an eight-core GPU and 16-core Neural Engine.
According to reliable source 9to5Mac, Mac mini will see both aesthetic and performance upgrades in the summer. The M2 chip is said to be based on the A15 Bionic used in the latest iPhones, in the same way M1 is an expanded version of A14 Bionic. Cutting to the chase, M2 will carry over the same eight CPU cores, albeit based on the latest ‘Avalanche’ and ‘Blizzard’ microarchitectures. Bigger changes are afoot in the GPU department, the rumour says, with M2 bumping specs up to 10 cores. Given what we know about A14 vs. A15, M2 ought to be 20-25 per cent faster than M1.
More interesting is the suggestion Mac mini will also receive the upcoming M2 Pro. Apple hasn’t used M1 Pro for today’s mini, reserving it instead for MacBook Pro, so M2 Pro’s potential introduction spurs on performance by a healthy degree – it is said to offer eight performance and four efficient CPU cores, though the GPU count is uncertain. Not quite at M1 Ultra levels, you understand, but plenty fast enough for Mac mini to fill the large gap to entry-level Mac Studio. This purported M2 Pro introduction makes sense when one considers Apple is redesigning the chassis for better thermal performance.
With Apple pushing forward on in-house SoCs, will M2 and M2 Pro sound the death knell for Intel-powered Mac minis? The evidence suggests so. We expect Mac mini v2 to be announced in June this year.