Updates few and far between for the Mac Mini

Over the last year, Apple has updated every single Mac in its lineup except the Mac Mini. The Mini is the cheapest Mac that Apple makes; yet it hasn’t received an update since fall 2012. Where is the next Mac Mini, and when it does come, what can we expect?
Why Hasn’t Apple Updated the Mac Mini?

This is the question a lot of Mac Mini aficionados have been asking since all the other Macs were updated in late 2013. There is obviously some reason why Apple has chosen to leave the Mac Mini out of all the fun. Here are several reasons we’ve come up with:

  • They just haven’t had time – Apple has a lot going on, even in the Mac department. They’re dealing with Mac Pro delays and Mavericks issues, as well as updates to OS X. That doesn’t even mention what’s happening in other parts of the company. Perhaps they just haven’t gotten around to it.
  • They aren’t planning on updating it again – This is a possibility. As we said the Mac Mini is the cheapest of the Macs, hence also the one with the lowest margins. Perhaps Apple has chosen to focus on the higher end Macs. Unlikely, but possible.
  • They are redesigning it – Redesigns take longer. If they are going with the new Intel chips, they’ll need a new interior architecture, so that could take time, even if they leave the outside the same.
  • Supply Constrictions – There’s a chance that there just aren’t enough processors or memory available for Apple to dedicate to the Mac Mini at this time.

No matter the reason, there haven’t been many rumors about a new Mac Mini, so an update could still be months away.

What We Expect of a New Mac Mini

The most obvious improvement for the Mac Mini is the inclusion of Haswell processors. This would also mean the addition of USB 3.0, and possibly the first computer outside of the Mac Pro with Thunderbolt 2.0. Other improvements, however, are also likely yet harder to predict. As we said above, in order to use the new Haswell processors, Apple will need to tweak the internal layout of the Mac Mini. This could lead to a complete redesign of the computer or it could just be an internal redesign.

MacRumors suggests that we’ll see a bigger hard drive and the inclusion of more RAM. This seems highly unlikely, since all of Apple’s other desktop and laptop computers are abandoning traditional storage for PCI flash-based storage. Even the Mac Pro has gone this direction. There is no reason to suspect that Apple will abandon that direction now and keep a mechanical hard drive in the new Mac Mini.

According to the only Mac Mini rumor we could find, Apple is planning on bringing the Mac Mini to market by the end of February. If that’s the case they had better get a move on as there are only a few days left. More likely we’ll see something at WWDC or perhaps at the annual fall event.