Don't expect the Mac Mini 2022 to come with an updated design

Mac mini (M1, 2020) on a table
The 2020 Mac Mini. (Image credit: Future)

We didn't see the Mac Mini for 2022 make an appearance at the recent Apple March event, but an upgraded version of the compact desktop computer should turn up sooner or later – just don't expect it to look any different from the model that's currently on sale.

Well-respected and usually very well-informed Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says that the upcoming Mac Mini will keep the existing form factor. He's also predicting that the upgraded Mac is going to show up in 2023, rather than 2022.

That runs counter to rumors we've heard from other sources suggesting that the Mac Mini 2022 (or 2023) is in line for a substantial redesign next time around. A refined form factor that's half the height has been suggested for future Mac Mini models.

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What's in a redesign?

The design of the Mac Mini hasn't changed much since it first appeared in 2004 – it's a square block of a computer that you put down on your desk – although it did get refined in 2010 with the introduction of the unibody aluminum case.

With the arrival of the M1 chip in 2020, and the reduction in motherboard size, power usage and cooling requirements, Apple did have the opportunity to shrink down the Mac Mini further. However, it more or less kept the same dimensions as before: 19.7 cm x 19.7 cm x 3.6 cm (7.7 inches x 7.7 inches x 1.4 inches).

One enterprising modder has already shown how much space is wasted in the current Mac Mini, so there is the opportunity to aim for a more compact size – but that won't be happening with the next refresh, according to Ming-Chi Kuo.

Analysis: the focus is on the Mac Studio

While we didn't see the Mac Mini 2022 (or 2023) unveiled earlier this month, we did get the Mac Studio, and it's not difficult to see the similarities: the new Mac Studio looks a little bit like two Mac Minis stacked on top of each other.

This is a more powerful and more expensive alternative to the Mac Mini, and it looks to have bumped the release of the next-generation Mac Mini to 2023. Apple will no doubt be looking carefully at the sales figures for the Mac Studio in the meantime.

The success or otherwise of the Mac Studio could influence just how well specced the next Mac Mini is going to be. We would've thought a change in form factor could also be on the table, but it doesn't seem that way based on this recent leak.

And it's not just the Mac Mini that seems to have been pushed into the background after Apple's latest product reveal showcase: the 27-inch iMac has been discontinued as Apple steers consumers towards getting a Mac Studio and a 27-inch Studio Display instead.

David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.