Apple’s Mac mini M1 Pro got canned – but something better is coming

Apple Mac mini (M1, 2020)
(Image credit: Future)

Apple ditched the idea of a Mac mini based on the M1 Pro SoC (System-on-a-Chip), according to fresh chatter from the grapevine, but the company is now working on a fresh spin on the compact PC powered by M2 chips instead.

This comes from prolific Apple leaker Mark Gurman, in his Power On newsletter (for Bloomberg), in which he notes that Apple was working on a Mac mini with M1 Pro which was supposed to launch at the end of 2021 or beginning of 2022.

Obviously that never happened, and the theory is (apply the usual caveats with the rumor mill) that Apple abandoned the device – a move likely tied up in the release of the Mac Studio – and is now developing Mac mini models which will use the vanilla M2 SoC and the M2 Pro (which we’ve heard via the rumor mill before).

It seems, then, that those who’ve been waiting for a pepped-up Mac mini may have to keep holding on for a hefty chunk of time longer than was apparently Apple’s original intention. But the end result will be better, of course, with the M2 silicon representing a solid step up from the M1, and obviously enough, the Pro take on the M2 SoC should boost the level of oomph considerably from there (we’ve still yet to see the M2 Pro, of course).

Analysis: Pro-targeted mini marvel still inbound – with no design change?

Apparently a pro-targeted Mac mini is still in the cards, then, it’ll just use the M2 Pro, leaving it as a middling option that’s more affordable than the Mac Studio, but obviously more expensive than the incoming base version of the Mac mini (with vanilla M2 chip).

As MacRumors, which spotted this development, points out, it’s a point of contention what else might be done to the Mac mini in its next incarnation, aside from upgrading the engine to an M2.

We could get a redesign with a plexiglass style top surface, according to Jon Prosser, but Ming-Chi Kuo believes that Apple’s next miniature box of computing tricks will look the same as it already does, more or less. Both of those are heavyweight Apple leakers of the same caliber as Gurman – but the latter sides with Kuo and doesn’t think there’ll be a new design, making it seem that things are leaning this way.

In fairness, folks aren’t likely to care too much about the appearance, as it’s very much the innards which will be of concern to those looking at a theoretical M2 Pro Mac mini – and how powerful the Pro spin will be for the M2 generation. And indeed how much RAM you’ll be able to cram in there, which will presumably be 32GB at least for the M2 Pro model.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).