Back in May, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported that Apple was working on a brand-new Mac mini. We were told that it would “sit above the current entry-level M1 Mac mini” and feature four USB-C ports (as opposed to the latter’s two).

However, Gurman also informed us that “Apple could delay or cancel the new mini’s launch”. This didn’t fill me with confidence for the successor to what remains the most impressive desktop computer I’ve ever owned.

However, there does appear to be something going on. In May, renders from Jon Prosser and co. revealed what looks like a smart redesign of the Mac mini, complete with four USB-C ports and an iMac-like magnetic power connection. Those renders have been picked up again recently by the tech press in response to an intensifying number of rumours about the next Mac mini.

This all sounds quite exciting, doesn’t it? But what’s going on, exactly?

When will the new Mac mini arrive?

No one knows, clearly.

Everything we’re hearing about the next Mac mini at this stage is the result of supposed supply chain leaks, insider whispers and best guesses.

My bet is that we’re not going to see anything until next year. This is fine, though, because the M1 Mac mini remains a stunningly capable machine and a great buy – even today.

Doesn’t hurt to look forward though, does it?

The redesign

No matter what you think of Jon Prosser and his eyebrow-shaving antics, he does offer some pretty nice renders of potential future Apple products. They’re created by a bloke called Ian, and I would, hands-down, buy most of the rumoured products he cooks up. Check out his website and tell me that you don’t want most of those imaginary Apple products, too.

The suggested redesign for the Mac mini is no different. It’s thinner (yeah, I know, who cares) and features a plexiglass-like lid, yet it remains unmistakably Apple’s neat take on a desktop computer.

M1X Mac mini

I think it looks great. But, like many people, I tuck my Mac mini away, therefore, as always, the design of this little beast is going to remain a lesser consideration for most buyers.

The chip

I’m totally confused about what chip Apple will release next. This is mainly because I place myself only marginally above the average consumer when it comes to understanding what’s going on inside Apple silicon.

The M1X/M2 ‘what-comes-next-and-in-which-Mac-do-they-place-it’ thing depends largely on each chip’s single and multi-core performance. At least, that’s what I’m told by people far smarter than me.

Regardless, it sounds like we’ll be seeing the M1X chip in the new Mac mini.

I think this is rather exciting. Why? Because Apple is expected to place the exact same chip in the rumoured forthcoming 14” and 16” Apple silicon-powered MacBook Pros. We can therefore expect better multi-core performance and more graphical power from the next Mac mini.

As someone who feels like he’s beginning to push his M1 Mac mini a little too far in the video editing stakes, this is very exciting news indeed.

The ports

I totally understand that the port situation on the M1 Mac mini isn’t an issue for a significant portion of its audience. But for me – and many others in my boat – it really is. I want more USB-C and more USB-A. And an SD card slot.

What Apple does with the next Mac mini and its ports is anyone’s guess, but I think they’re acutely aware that a good portion of the market wants more I/O. It’d therefore be pretty unthinkable for the next machine to arrive with anything remotely crippled in that regard.

I also think that the M1 is giving us as much as it can when it comes to ports. There’s clearly a reason we don’t get any more than two USB-C ports on the current M1 Mac mini and MacBook Pro, after all.

But the combination of a higher-end M[something] chip and the ability to plug more stuff into the back of it will be of serious interest to professional content creators and developers alike.

Conclusion

The M1 Mac mini is such a great little computer. There was a time when fans of Apple’s diminutive desktop machine feared for its future, but the move to Apple silicon thankfully saved its bacon.

My only concern is the price point. The Mac mini needs to remain the most affordable route into the macOS ecosystem. It needs to continue its role as the inconspicuous powerhouse that can help businesses and solo entrepreneurs launch their operations without spending a fortune on hardware.

I’d buy a supercharged Mac mini into which I can plug more peripherals, drives and memory cards tomorrow. Let’s hope we move beyond the rumour stage as soon as possible.

Oh, and please fix the Bluetooth problems, Tim.