Apple is planning a new model of the Mac Mini that will replace the pro-focused Intel-based model it still sells, according to Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman’s Power On newsletter. A “high-end, M1X Mac Mini” is expected “in the next several months,” and is said to have “an updated design and more ports than the current model.”
Apple released a Mac Mini with its own M1 processor late last year, but that model was intended as a replacement for the entry-level machines, and consequently had fewer ports than the higher-end Intel version introduced in 2018. The M1 Mini has two fewer Thunderbolt ports, only one of which can be used for an external display, although a second monitor can still be hooked up over HDMI.
If the “M1X” nomenclature is accurate, it would suggest that the new model uses the same generation CPU cores as the M1 (and the A14 Bionic chip used in the iPhone 12), but achieves better performance by having more CPU and GPU cores across a larger chip. That was Apple’s approach to designing the “X” processors for previous iPad models.
The current M1 Mac Mini is a great computer, but it does have its limitations for pro use, and there’s a sense that its design — virtually unchanged since 2010 — could use an overhaul. Gurman has mentioned the prospect of a new Mac Mini before, and he now seems surer than ever that it’s actually happening.