Apple could be playing it smart by waiting for its M4 chips before releasing a new Mac mini

A person uses a MacBook Air connected to two external Apple Studio Displays.
(Image credit: Apple)

Just recently Apple launched the new 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Air models, which are outfitted with the latest M3 chips. However, it seems that the tech giant plans on skipping M3 models for Mac desktops in favor of releasing an M4 Mac mini instead. If true, that would be an excellent move on Apple’s part — one of its smartest decisions yet.

According to Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman, Apple is reportedly producing M4-powered Mac devices to start properly updating its lineup of PCs (as opposed to MacBook laptops). This same report, from BGR, reveals that the Mac mini will be skipping the M3 — instead an M4 model is supposedly coming later this year or, more likely, early 2025, according to recent rumors from market analytics firm Canalys

It’s an obvious choice that’s nevertheless brilliant, as it directly addresses one of Apple’s biggest criticisms.

As most Apple fans realize, the tech giant tends to double and even triple dip when it comes to releasing new products. Of course, massive profit gains are what drives this decision, and massive profit is exactly what Apple turns over. But this comes at the expense of watering down its products, often making them redundant, which negatively impacts both the products and the brand’s reputation in the long term.

Apple could be onto something big

But by staggering the release of not only the Mac mini as well as other Mac desktops, you give owners with older devices more of an incentive to actually upgrade. Right now the current model of the Mac mini is equipped with M2 chips, making the jump to M4 that much more attractive - as it would be a much bigger upgrade than if an M3 model releases in 2024 and then an M4 version comes along in 2025. What would be the point of upgrading next year if the M3 version is cheaper, or upgrading to the M3 when a more powerful version is just over the horizon?

Interestingly enough, there seems to be another reason for Apple to wait until the M4 chips launch before upgrading the Mac mini and other desktops. According to another rumor, the M4 processor is reportedly focused on built-in AI features. Apparently, macOS 15 may be introducing several new artificial intelligence functions around the same time as its competitors in the processor market.

This is something I want to see from Apple much more often, holding back new launches to stagger them better. Not only for the benefit of the consumer but for the benefit of the environment too. E-waste is a massive issue in the tech industry due to the constant development and release of new devices yearly.

If Apple, one of the biggest tech corporations in the world, can finally pull back on constant and wasteful releases, that would be incredible progress made in the long term. Here’s hoping that MacBook releases may follow the Mac mini’s example.

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Allisa James
Computing Staff Writer

Named by the CTA as a CES 2023 Media Trailblazer, Allisa is a Computing Staff Writer who covers breaking news and rumors in the computing industry, as well as reviews, hands-on previews, featured articles, and the latest deals and trends. In her spare time you can find her chatting it up on her two podcasts, Megaten Marathon and Combo Chain, as well as playing any JRPGs she can get her hands on.