A new Mac Mini could launch with a revamped, retro design in 2021


Apple’s M1 Mac Mini is one of the best ways into the Apple Silicon ecosystem, as it offers the same excellent performance as the MacBook Pro for a fraction of the price. According to a new report from leaker Jon Prosser, it is about to get even better. Not only will the new Mac Mini be outfitted with an all-new chip — likely dubbed the M1X — but it will also get a new, slimmer redesign too.

Let’s start with the chip. As we mentioned above, the current Mac Mini comes with an Apple-designed M1 chip. This boasts four high-performance cores and four high-efficiency cores in its CPU, while the GPU comes with eight cores.

The M1X Mac Mini will take that to the next level, says Prosser. Its CPU will be equipped with eight high-performance cores and two high-efficiency cores, while there will be GPU options with either 16 or 32 cores. That could be a major upgrade over the current model, and backs up an earlier report from Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman.

Prosser’s report also touched on the appearance of the new Mac Mini. Since it no longer needs a beefy thermal architecture to cool its super-efficient Apple Silicon chip, Prosser says the device will become shorter in height. It will also ditch the large, circular black area on the underside, replacing it with a small vent slot and two rubber strips akin to those underneath the new 24-inch iMac.

Around the back, Apple is set to increase the number of ports on the Mac Mini by bumping the count of Thunderbolt 3 slots from two to four. This will bring it back in line with the last Intel-based Mac Mini. As well as that, Prosser believes Apple will add the magnetic charging plug that we first saw in the new iMac.

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On the top, Apple will replace the aluminum lid with a “plexiglass-like material.” That idea is somewhat reminiscent of the old Power Mac G4 Cube from 2000, which also combined a small metal computer with a plexiglass section. Considering Apple is apparently in a retro mood as evidenced by the colorful new iMac, the comparison seems apt.

Finally, Prosser claimed Apple has been experimenting with adding color to the new Mac Mini, although whether this will appear in the final product is unknown. The Mac Mini is a pro-level device as opposed to the consumer-grade MacBook Air and iMac, so bright colors are unlikely, but a silver and space gray combination might be possible.

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That is a lot of change coming to Apple’s smallest Mac. Prosser did not mention when it might make an appearance, but since he has claimed Apple will introduce new hardware at this year’s WWDC event (including a new MacBook Pro), that could be the time to watch.

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