Archive of Mac Mini Rumors

Whenever Apple talks about the Mac mini—like at the October event in Cupertino—the company always mentions how the Mac mini is a favorite with first-time Mac users. While that may be true, the Mac mini isn't just a computer for newbies. Its combination of affordability, compactness, and performance makes the Mac mini an ideal computer for new and experienced users alike.

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Apple offers three models of the Mac mini. When shopping the Apple Store, it helps to understand the differences of all three models in the Mac mini line and how they compare to Apple's other Mac offerings, and to know what you're getting for your money. In this guide, we'll go over the key decisions you'll need to make when shopping for a Mac mini.

Why a Mac mini?


macmini1The main reason why you would consider a Mac mini is its price. The most affordable Mac mini is $499, and there are two other models, priced at $699 and $999. By comparison, Apple's lowest-priced iMac is $1099, the lowest-priced MacBook Air is $899, and the lowest-priced MacBook Pro (non-Retina) is $1099.

Another reason to consider about the Mac mini is its size. Measuring 7.7 by 7.7 by 1.4 inches, the Mac mini's small size allows it to fit in almost anywhere, which can lead to some unique uses besides desktop computing, such as a server or home entertainment component.

However, the small size and the low prices come with compromises in performance and your ability to upgrade the computer in a couple of years.


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iFixIt has conducted its teardown of the brand new Mac mini, finding that the new device is more difficult to open than previous models. They've also discovered that the RAM is soldered onto the machine, which was first discovered late last week.

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The team found that gaining entry into the new desktop is more difficult than previous models. Instead of a twistable bottom cover, the new Mac mini requires a plastic opening tool to pop off the cover. Underneath that is a new solid door that blocks easy access to the RAM and fan. The door uses what iFixIt calls "the smallest Torx Security screw" they've ever seen, requiring their tool design team to prototype a new screwdriver to open the desktop.

Inside, the Mac mini now sports a new AirPort card that connects straight to a PCIe slot rather than via a cable. Unlike past Mac minis, the new version only contains one SATA port. Previously, Mac mini users could upgrade their desktops with an extra hard drive. However, iFixIt notes that there is an extra socket that could potentially be used for a SSD blade via a PCIe cable. Oddly, the new Mac mini's power supply is identical to both the 2012 and 2011 models.

Finally, iFixIt gave the new Mac mini a repairability score of 6 out of 10, which is a worse score than the 2012 Mac mini's 8 out of 10. Although disassembly is straight forward, the team noted that the presence of Torx security screws and soldered on RAM made it more difficult to repair than previous models.
The newly refreshed Mac mini is seeing improved single-core performance over the previous models, but decreased multi-core performance, according to a newly released GeekBench benchmark. John Poole of Primate Labs says that the upper tier Late 2012 Mac minis, which had quad-core Ivy Bridge processors, saw better multi-core performance than the new Late 2014 models, which have dual-core Haswell processors.

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Unlike single-core performance multi-core performance has decreased significantly. The "Good" model (which has a dual-core processor in both lineups) is down 7%. The other models (which have a dual-core processor in the "Late 2014" lineup but a quad-core processor in the "Late 2012" lineup) is down from 70% to 80%.
Poole notes that Apple may have switched to dual-core processors in some Late 2014 Mac minis because Haswell dual-core processors use one socket to connect the logic board and processor while Haswell quad-core processors use different sockets. This would mean Apple would have to design and build two separate logic boards specifically for the Mac mini, while other Macs use the same logic boards across its individual line.

This trade-off didn't exist with Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge processors because both of its dual-core and quad-core processors used the same socket. Another option, according to Poole, is that Apple could have went quad-core across its new Mac mini line, but it would have made it difficult for Apple to hit the $499 price point.

Despite the decreased quad-core performance, the single-core performance of the new Mac mini is in line with other Macs' performance jumps from Ivy Bridge to Haswell.

Base configurations for the Mac mini are currently available for purchase on Apple's online store with pricing starting at $499 and will ship in one to three days. Custom configurations ship within three to five days.
macmini1After going more than two years without an update, Apple's Mac mini was refreshed yesterday, adding Haswell processors, Intel HD 5000/Iris graphics, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and PCI-based flash storage options for the higher-end models.

Unfortunately, the upgrade was disappointing to some Mac mini fans as Apple stopped offering a build-to-order quad-core processor upgrade and dual-drive storage options that exceed 1TB.

Many have speculated that the Mac mini also includes soldered RAM, which has now been confirmed by Macminicolo's Brian Stucki. According to Stucki, the RAM in the Mac mini is "not user accessible," which means those who purchase Mac minis are limited to 16GB of RAM that must be upgraded when purchasing the machine from Apple.

All three Mac mini models can be upgraded to a maximum of 16GB of RAM, with the upgrade priced at $300 for the base model and $200 for the mid and high-end models.

While the RAM is not upgradeable, Stucki says that it is possible to replace or upgrade the hard drive, but doing so may void the warranty.

Apple's new Mac mini starts at $499 and comes in three separate base configurations. On the low end, the Mac mini ships with a 1.4Ghz dual-core Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, a 500GB hard drive, and Intel HD Graphics 5000. At the middle tier, the Mac mini comes with a 2.6Ghz dual-core Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 1TB hard drive, and Intel Iris Graphics. At the high end, the Mac mini ships with a 2.8Ghz dual-core Core i5, 8GB of RAM, a 1TB Fusion Drive, and Intel Iris Graphics.

Base configurations of the Mac mini are currently available for purchase from the online Apple Store and will ship in one to three days. Custom configurations ship within three to five days.
Apple today updated the Mac mini, introducing significant upgrades including Haswell processors, Intel HD 5000/Iris graphics, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and PCIe-based flash storage options for the higher-end models.

Though Apple continues to offer three separate Mac mini options priced at $499, $699, and $999, it does not offer an OS X Server option as it has done in the past. Previously, the high-end Mac mini came with OS X Server and offered two 1TB hard drives for a total of 2TB of storage space.

Apple's new Mac minis max out at 1TB of storage space, with the high end model coming equipped with a 1TB Fusion Drive or up to 1TB of PCIe-based flash storage.

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The Mac mini with Server configuration initially shipped with an OS X Server version of OS X, but later models came with the standard version of OS X and a separate OS X Server package. Later, Apple went on to release OS X Server in the App Store, essentially making the Mac mini with OS X Server obsolete.

While the new Mac minis can't be expanded to 2TB of storage space, they have two Thunderbolt two ports and four USB 3.0 ports, allowing for plenty of external storage options.

Apple's new Mac minis are available today from the company's online store, with prices starting at $499.
Today at its media event in Cupertino, Apple announced a brand-new Mac mini, a popular Mac computer that hadn't been updated since October 2012. The new Mac mini starts at $499, $100 less than the previous $599 starting price.

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“People love Mac mini. It’s a great first Mac or addition to your home network, and the new Mac mini is a nice upgrade packed into an incredibly compact design,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “With the latest CPU and graphics, faster Wi-Fi, two Thunderbolt 2 ports, OS X Yosemite, and starting at just $499, the new Mac mini is the best value ever.”
The new Mac mini comes with 4th-generation Intel Core processors, Intel Iris and HD Graphics 5000 with up to 90 percent faster graphics than the previous generation, PCIe-based flash storage, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and two Thunderbolt 2 ports. Apple also claims it's the "world's most efficient desktop".

The new Mac mini begins shipping today.
As expected, Apple will be holding a media event on Thursday, October 16 at the Town Hall auditorium on its Cupertino headquarters campus, with the company today sending out media invitations for the event (via The Loop). The event begins at 10:00 AM Pacific, and the invitations carry the tagline "It's been way too long".

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Apple is expected to introduce an updated iPad Air (and possibly a new iPad mini), as well as updated iMacs with at least the 27-inch model carrying a high-resolution Retina display. OS X Yosemite is also likely to see its final overview before public launch, and one rumor has suggested updated Mac minis are also in the works and could see an announcement at the event.
mac_mini_roundupAt just under two years since its last update, the Mac mini seems to have become the forgotten part of Apple's Mac lineup, with a number of fans of the small desktop waiting for any word of a potential update.

As they typically are with Mac products, rumors and leaks regarding the Mac mini's future have been relatively rare, with essentially nothing having appeared on the radar since a reference to a "Mid 2014" Mac mini surfaced on an Apple support page as a likely error several months ago.

MacRumors has now received word that Apple is planning a Mac mini update possibly launching next month alongside new iPad models and presumably OS X Yosemite. While we have been unable to obtain corroborating information of an imminent update, the mere possibility of an update as soon as next month is likely to be welcome news to Mac mini fans. The single source has provided no additional details on what to expect in terms of a next-generation Mac mini, but has provided accurate information in the past.

The timing of such an update would be a bit odd, as it is unclear what processors Apple would use in these machines. Next-generation Broadwell processors from Intel appropriate for the Mac mini are not scheduled to arrive until early next year, and the current Haswell processors are no longer cutting edge as Intel has been forced to prolong their shelf life due to continued delays with Broadwell.

Still, the Mac mini is not generally intended to be a workhorse machine with the fastest processors (although they are popular as servers), so Apple may be willing to launch the updated models with Haswell refresh processors released earlier this year. The Mac mini typically uses the some of the same processors as the MacBook Pro except shifted several months later, meaning that an updated Mac mini released next month could use some of the processors from the late July MacBook Pro update.
An Apple support page on Boot Camp was updated yesterday to include a mention of a mid-2014 Mac mini, perhaps hinting that a refresh of the desktop computer might be in the works.

First noticed by 9to5Mac, a cached version of the support page suggests yesterday's update also added mentions of the 2014 low-cost iMac and 2014 MacBook Airs. Today's newly released mid-2014 Retina MacBook Pros were not added to the updated page.

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The mention of the mid-2014 Mac mini may be a simple error, but the machine is long overdue for a refresh. Last updated in October of 2012, the Mac mini is the only product in Apple's mainstream Mac lineup that has not seen an update with Haswell processors.

Aside from the mention on Apple's support page, there has been no indication that a Mac mini refresh is on the horizon. Several events, including the unveiling of the new iPads last October and Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference seemed like opportune times for the company to unveil a refreshed version of the desktop computer, but no new Mac mini materialized at either event. It continues to remain unclear when Apple might release a new Mac mini, but the support page does offer hope that the product line might continue to live on.

An updated Mac mini would likely offer some improvements brought to the rest of Apple's Mac lineup over the course of the last two years, including Haswell processors, faster PCI Express-based flash storage options, and 802.11ac WiFi.
On the same day it launched a new entry-level iMac model, Apple also used the downtime to adjust the prices on other hardware in some European markets. The price cuts we've noticed affect European models of the Mac mini, the European Apple TV and iMac models in the UK.

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Pricing on the Mac mini dropped between €30 and €60, depending on the country and model. Most European stores are now offering the entry-level Mac Mini for €619 with the quad-core and OS X server models selling for €819 and €1019, respectively, although some euro countries such as Germany are showing slightly lower pricing of €599/€799/€999. In the UK, the entry-level Mac Mini remains the same at £499, with price drops between €30 and €50 being applied to the quad-core and server models.

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Apple also cut the prices on the Apple TV in Europe, reducing the cost by €10/£20. The once €109/£99 media streaming device is now available for €99/£79 throughout most of Apple's European stores. While Europe saw a reduction, the Apple TV price remains the same in the US at $99.

Along with the new entry-level 21.5-inch iMac, Apple UK also lowered the cost of existing iMac models. The existing 21.5-inch models were lowered by £100, while the 27-inch models saw similar reductions of £150. The reduction appears to limited only to the UK with most of Europe and the US still selling the iMac at its original pricing.
French site MacBidouille revives rumors that Apple is actively developing ARM processor based Macs. According to a source that they describe as reliable, Apple has prototypes of several ARM-based machines, including an iMac, Mac mini, and 13" Notebook with 4-8 64-bit ARM Quad-core processors.

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These machines are reportedly far along in development, and come with a new keyboard that incorporates a large-format Magic Trackpad. Apple might even be ready for an announcement but is reportedly hesitant to make the move.

MacBidouille isn't a frequent source of rumors, so its hard to gauge its source's credibility, but rumors of ARM-based Macs have been circulating for years. It seems likely that Apple has prototyped such devices, but many have doubted the feasibility of moving forward with such a plan.

The first inklings of such a plan might have come when Apple threatened to abandon Intel's chips if they didn't work to slash power consumption. While AMD might have been one way to go for Apple, the first rumors of an Apple migration from Intel to ARM processors appeared earlier that year. Later, a report claimed that Apple already had an ARM (A5) powered MacBook Air in their labs back in 2011.

An analysis in 2012 suggested that Apple shifting from Intel to ARM wasn't implausible but it faced several hurdles. The most significant one was Apple's own ARM chips being able to keep a pace with Intel's future roadmap.

Apple, however, has been making great strides in performance in their ARM processors. The A7 is described as desktop class even in an independent analysis. In fact, the A7 chip is currently being underutilized in Apple's iPhone and iPad devices, leaving some of its power untapped.