New Mac mini reference spotted in Studio Display firmware

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited April 12
A reference to an as-yet unannounced new Mac mini has been found, backing up rumors of a revised model being launched soon.

The new Mac mini could use a new two-tone design and plexiglass-like top cover
The new Mac mini could use a new two-tone design and plexiglass-like top cover


The Mac mini was one of the first machines to get Apple Silicon, and it has more recently been rumored to be among the first to get a second generation M2 version.

The rumor mill is a little unclear as to what new Macs are imminent; for what it's worth, there is one concrete clue: the shipping Studio Display firmware references one unaccounted-for mystery machine -- a new model generation of Mac mini ("Macmini10,1"). My guess: M2, not M1 Pro

-- Steve Troughton-Smith (@stroughtonsmith)


Developer Steve Troughton-Smith, who most recently uncovered "realityOS" references in App Store logs, has no further details.

Previous reports have claimed that a new Mac mini will feature Apple's next generation of Apple Silicon processors. One model codenamed J473, would be based on the anticipated "M2" processor, and the more powerful model, codenamed J474, would feature the "M2 Pro" one.

The entry-level "M2" chip is said to be based on Apple's A15 processor. It will feature the same eight-core CPU of the current M1 Mac mini, but the GPU will be increased to 10 cores.

Reports also claim that the "M2 Pro" will have a 12-core CPU, made up for four efficiency cores and eight performance ones.

It's been rumored that a new Mac mini would be launched in the spring of 2022, and more recently it's been supposed that it may be unveiled at WWDC on June 6.

WWDC is very specifically and purposely a software event, as is always pointed out afterwards when it hasn't included any hardware. For 2022, though, there is perhaps more chance of hardware than usual, since it marks the end of Apple's self-imposed two-year transition to Apple Silicon.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 1,870member
    Why would M2 pro jump to 12 cores from 8 and 10?

    if m2 and pro are updated same time then wouldn’t they be both likely same core count 2+6 with Pro having use of all Gpu cores on the die say 12 then M2 with the 8 Gpu core bin. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 19
    sevenfeetsevenfeet Posts: 447member
    mattinoz said:
    Why would M2 pro jump to 12 cores from 8 and 10?

    if m2 and pro are updated same time then wouldn’t they be both likely same core count 2+6 with Pro having use of all Gpu cores on the die say 12 then M2 with the 8 Gpu core bin. 
    It would mirror what we have now. The current M1 is either a 8 core or the 7 core binned version found in the entry level Macbook Air. The M1 Pro in the 14/16" Macbook Pros is a 10 core CPU model (8 performance cores, 2 efficiency). The rumor in this article would have an M2 Pro add two more efficiency cores to the mix.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 19
    An important note the author is missing is Apple has released hardware at WWDC most recently when it unveiled the Mac Mini developer’s edition for the AS migration.  It would not be out of line for Apple to carry that tradition forward to new releases if the new design warrants getting the devices into developer’s hands before the general public to have the software optimized for the new chipset.  

    A recent example of the positive of this approach would be the M1 Ultra which in real world testing is less impressive as the design or benchmarks as the CPU is waiting on software to catch up to the design. Sadly even Apple’s own software…
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 19
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,111member
    A new Mini is, of course, a given. Hopefully it will put an end to those complaining the Pro is too much, and the Studio is too much, but the Mini is not enough.
    williamlondondewmebandits1watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 19
    9secondkox29secondkox2 Posts: 1,323member
    12 CPU core base M2 sounds right. All AS SOCs should move to increased CPU core counts from the base on up. 

    The A series keeps improving with each generation, so that will be passed along to the M series. But that's not enough to continue to whoop the competition. Need more cores and higher GHZ ratings. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 19
    thttht Posts: 4,434member
    A new Mini is, of course, a given. Hopefully it will put an end to those complaining the Pro is too much, and the Studio is too much, but the Mini is not enough.
    I'm in this camp. I would like to have 32 GB RAM and 4 TB storage. I don't need a lot of CPU cores or GPU cores. So a Mac mini with M1 Pro, 32 GB RAM, and 4 TB storage is right up my alley. It would replace my 2013 iMac 27 which has 24 GB RAM and 3 TB of storage.

    Would an M2 based Mac mini offer these features? Who knows. But it's going to be about another 6 months, or Fall of 2022, for it to arrive. Apple could have a shipped an M1 Pro Mac mini last November, and then update a Mac mini to M2 and M2 Pro models a year later. There isn't really any good reason to make people wait, and wait, and wait.
    muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 19
    bloggerblogbloggerblog Posts: 2,238member
    I am hoping the M2 is an improvement of the current architecture instead of just more cores. More cores requires more power, a more efficient architecture gives better performance using the same core count.
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 19
    tht said:
    A new Mini is, of course, a given. Hopefully it will put an end to those complaining the Pro is too much, and the Studio is too much, but the Mini is not enough.
    I'm in this camp. I would like to have 32 GB RAM and 4 TB storage. I don't need a lot of CPU cores or GPU cores. So a Mac mini with M1 Pro, 32 GB RAM, and 4 TB storage is right up my alley. It would replace my 2013 iMac 27 which has 24 GB RAM and 3 TB of storage.

    Would an M2 based Mac mini offer these features? Who knows. But it's going to be about another 6 months, or Fall of 2022, for it to arrive. Apple could have a shipped an M1 Pro Mac mini last November, and then update a Mac mini to M2 and M2 Pro models a year later. There isn't really any good reason to make people wait, and wait, and wait.
    I doubt Apple would launch the Mac mini with M1 Pro or M2 Pro chips. It is Apple's way of upselling the Mac Studio to people who need more than what Mac Mini offers. And I am sure you know this better than me.

    Mac Mini will get a bump to M2 this year, most likely later in the year after ASI Mac Pro is announced in WWDC. The earliest that we can expect Mac Mini to arrive is at WWDC along with Mac Pro (both Mini and Pro using M2 variants). Will the M2 Mac Mini offer 32 GB RAM and 4TB storage upgrade options? Hard to guess this one. So it is going to be a long wait for you to find out if the M2 Mac Mini is not launched in WWDC.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 19
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,494member
    The price gap between an M1 Mac mini and Mac studio to get an M1 max is a pretty big gap though. Now there is no 27 inch iMac the customers that don’t have the budget for a Mac studio but want more overhead (both power but especially RAM) than they can get from a base M1 fall straight through that gap. A Mac mini Mx Pro would fill that gap nicely.
    edited April 12 watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 19
    dewmedewme Posts: 4,297member
    The Mac Studio is definitely biased towards prosumer and enthusiasts users. It makes sense that Apple would use the Mac mini to pull in BYO monitor PC converts and consumer level Apple fans who realized the lower tier iMacs were never going to carry them as far as they wanted to go once their need for multiple screen or ultra wide screen display preferences surfaced. 

    The big challenge for Apple will be how to clearly delineate the highest end minis from the lowest end Studios. The limited extensibility and modifiability of the Mac Studio may make this decision very difficult. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 19
    thttht Posts: 4,434member
    tht said:
    A new Mini is, of course, a given. Hopefully it will put an end to those complaining the Pro is too much, and the Studio is too much, but the Mini is not enough.
    I'm in this camp. I would like to have 32 GB RAM and 4 TB storage. I don't need a lot of CPU cores or GPU cores. So a Mac mini with M1 Pro, 32 GB RAM, and 4 TB storage is right up my alley. It would replace my 2013 iMac 27 which has 24 GB RAM and 3 TB of storage.

    Would an M2 based Mac mini offer these features? Who knows. But it's going to be about another 6 months, or Fall of 2022, for it to arrive. Apple could have a shipped an M1 Pro Mac mini last November, and then update a Mac mini to M2 and M2 Pro models a year later. There isn't really any good reason to make people wait, and wait, and wait.
    I doubt Apple would launch the Mac mini with M1 Pro or M2 Pro chips. It is Apple's way of upselling the Mac Studio to people who need more than what Mac Mini offers. And I am sure you know this better than me.

    Mac Mini will get a bump to M2 this year, most likely later in the year after ASI Mac Pro is announced in WWDC. The earliest that we can expect Mac Mini to arrive is at WWDC along with Mac Pro (both Mini and Pro using M2 variants). Will the M2 Mac Mini offer 32 GB RAM and 4TB storage upgrade options? Hard to guess this one. So it is going to be a long wait for you to find out if the M2 Mac Mini is not launched in WWDC.
    I don't think the upsell from the M1 Mac mini to the Mac Studio is going to work that well. Buyers will be spending about $1000 more for the individual features they are looking for. That $1000 is increasing what a buyer wants to spend by about 40% to 80%.

    A M1 Mac mini with 16 GB RAM and 2 TB, basically optioned out, is $1700. A Mac Studio with 32 GB RAM and 2 TB is $2600. And what I really want is 4 TB, which will bump it to $3200. That's a bridge too far, and I suspect too much for most of the high end Mac mini customers. Maybe Apple is waiting to see how many conversions (mini to Studio buyers) they can get before deciding to ship a high end Mac mini, but the revenue trade here seems like a waste of time and a wash versus the number of upgraders and new buyers they would get with a high end Mac mini.

    Same train of thought for the MBP14/16 versus a MBA15, whatever they are doing with the MBP13, and iMac 5K versus Mac Studio. They really don't have supply chain or pathological inventory issues to deal with anymore. It's one chip design, split into two for the M1 Pro and Max or 2 combined with the Ultra, and the M1 goes into about 50m machines a year. So, it's really about a single set of computing hardware and what type of box they want to ship it in. This should really allow them to ship Macs or iPads in a bunch of different form factors. Maybe it's a lot harder than thought.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 19
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,779moderator
    entropys said:
    The price gap between an M1 Mac mini and Mac studio to get an M1 max is a pretty big gap though. Now there is no 27 inch iMac the customers that don’t have the budget for a Mac studio but want more overhead (both power but especially RAM) than they can get from a base M1 fall straight through that gap. A Mac mini Mx Pro would fill that gap nicely.
    It's not as big a gap as it seems, the entry spec is just further apart.

    M1 mini 8GB/256GB is $699
    M1 Studio (Max) 32GB/512GB is $1999
    A mini with 16GB/512GB if $1099. Add $300 for M1 Pro, add $400 for 32GB RAM.

    M1 Pro mini 32GB/512GB would be $1799. It's a $200 difference and the Studio has the Max chip.

    The gap is mainly caused by the $400 for 32GB RAM, which is the entry point of the Studio. If the Studio started at 16GB, it would cost $1599.

    Having a 16GB Pro mini around $1399 is good to fill that price point but a $1799 32GB model isn't much of a saving vs the entry Studio. It's still good to have more options though.
    HobeSoundDarrylwilliamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 19
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,494member
    Yes what apple charges for RAM is pretty outrageous.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 14 of 19
    Ahead of the event, I was pretty much mentally ready to buy the rumored M1 MAX Mini "loaded" with an expected price point of about $5K for the desired config. I ended up with a M1 ULTRA Studio (not quite) "loaded" for a little over $6K. I would have been perfectly happy with that (rumored) Mini and am very happy with this Studio instead. 

    I suspect a (probably) M2 PRO Mini launches to replace the Intel Mac Mini still for sale. Else, it seems Apple would have discontinued that one with the launch of Studio to fully imply Studio is Deluxe or Power Mac Mini. Instead, it survived the day- and since- which- to me anyway- means something must be coming to fill that spot. Best guess: M2 PRO perhaps priced a little less than speculated in this thread. My guess is $1499. I know "priced less" and "modern Apple" are very strange-to-impossible bedfellows but the alternative is that M2 MAX Studio perhaps shifts its "starting at" to $2499 to create clear pricing range space for a PRO Mini. That seems a bit more doubtful to me than a M2 PRO Mini starting at about $1499. 

    I also doubt a reveal of this product at WWDC UNLESS M2 has some specialized processor additions (not more RAM, more graphics cores, slightly narrowed space between transistors/pathways, etc)... more like machine learning cores and/or dedicated video processing cores speciality-purpose cores. What would those be? Hard to speculate. Perhaps something that ties to the rumored AR/VR goggles/glasses? Or something else important to reveal to developers OUTSIDE of Apple but not necessarily shipping for at least a few more months? If M2 is mostly M1 "a little faster"/"a little more energy efficient"/etc, I doubt it rolls out at WWDC.

    Rumored QUAD Mac Pro seems best bet... especially if it is going to offer true modularity (including slots) like existing Mac Pro, as that would seem thoroughly worthy of showing to developers so they can plan accordingly and learn about how Silicon will function with slots and typical stuff inserted in those slots. Else, I envision a software-only show, software-focused event as it is generally intended to be. 
    edited April 13 roundaboutnowwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 19
    thttht Posts: 4,434member
    entropys said:
    Yes what apple charges for RAM is pretty outrageous.
    Yeah, the 16 GB to 32 GB RAM option in the MBP14/16 is rather huge at $400. The 32 GB to 64 GB RAM option is the same price at $400! You can just feel the upsell radiating from these prices.

    Also goes to show that Apple prices on demand, or value, and not component costs. They know enough people want 32 GB of RAM and not that many want 64 GB; and price accordingly. There is probably a LPDDR5 $/GB uptick due to 64 Gbit to 128 Gbit densities needed to go from 16 GB to 32 GB RAM, but $400 is definitely painful.
    williamlondonentropyswatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 19
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,111member
    tht said:
    A new Mini is, of course, a given. Hopefully it will put an end to those complaining the Pro is too much, and the Studio is too much, but the Mini is not enough.
    I'm in this camp. I would like to have 32 GB RAM and 4 TB storage. I don't need a lot of CPU cores or GPU cores. So a Mac mini with M1 Pro, 32 GB RAM, and 4 TB storage is right up my alley. It would replace my 2013 iMac 27 which has 24 GB RAM and 3 TB of storage.

    Would an M2 based Mac mini offer these features? Who knows. But it's going to be about another 6 months, or Fall of 2022, for it to arrive. Apple could have a shipped an M1 Pro Mac mini last November, and then update a Mac mini to M2 and M2 Pro models a year later. There isn't really any good reason to make people wait, and wait, and wait.
    Other than the fact Apple as a famously small team and they only work on a small number of things at a time. That may be a drag for the Veruca Salt crowd, but this is not new. They aren't making people wait for no "good reason", there is a reason...just not one that aligns with everyone's wishes.

    The usual come back is why don't they hire more people and build bigger teams, but this is a philosophical debate. While not a direct parallel, The Mythical Man Month argues that adding more manpower to engineering orgs doesn't solve problems linearly and can cause more. The agile/lean state of mind doesn't like large teams, and the larger they get the more at risk the carefully maintained, intimate culture becomes. Then you have an org like Dell or Samsung - cranking out tons of variations and SKUs, but completely lost in focus and singular design ethos. Apple has chosen a small product team, w/ limited launches. This strategy seems to be working as they are one of the oldest PC companies in history, make arguably the best PCs, and are financially the most successful. Seems like they know what they're doing.
    edited April 13 williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 19
    tht said:
    A new Mini is, of course, a given. Hopefully it will put an end to those complaining the Pro is too much, and the Studio is too much, but the Mini is not enough.
    I'm in this camp. I would like to have 32 GB RAM and 4 TB storage. I don't need a lot of CPU cores or GPU cores. So a Mac mini with M1 Pro, 32 GB RAM, and 4 TB storage is right up my alley. It would replace my 2013 iMac 27 which has 24 GB RAM and 3 TB of storage.

    Would an M2 based Mac mini offer these features? Who knows. But it's going to be about another 6 months, or Fall of 2022, for it to arrive. Apple could have a shipped an M1 Pro Mac mini last November, and then update a Mac mini to M2 and M2 Pro models a year later. There isn't really any good reason to make people wait, and wait, and wait.
    Unfortunately "wait and wait and wait" is what Apple does best...It's their F...ed up marketing strategy. 
  • Reply 18 of 19
    thttht Posts: 4,434member
    tht said:
    A new Mini is, of course, a given. Hopefully it will put an end to those complaining the Pro is too much, and the Studio is too much, but the Mini is not enough.
    I'm in this camp. I would like to have 32 GB RAM and 4 TB storage. I don't need a lot of CPU cores or GPU cores. So a Mac mini with M1 Pro, 32 GB RAM, and 4 TB storage is right up my alley. It would replace my 2013 iMac 27 which has 24 GB RAM and 3 TB of storage.

    Would an M2 based Mac mini offer these features? Who knows. But it's going to be about another 6 months, or Fall of 2022, for it to arrive. Apple could have a shipped an M1 Pro Mac mini last November, and then update a Mac mini to M2 and M2 Pro models a year later. There isn't really any good reason to make people wait, and wait, and wait.
    Other than the fact Apple as a famously small team and they only work on a small number of things at a time. That may be a drag for the Veruca Salt crowd, but this is not new. They aren't making people wait for no "good reason", there is a reason...just not one that aligns with everyone's wishes.

    The usual come back is why don't they hire more people and build bigger teams, but this is a philosophical debate. While not a direct parallel, The Mythical Man Month argues that adding more manpower to engineering orgs doesn't solve problems linearly and can cause more. The agile/lean state of mind doesn't like large teams, and the larger they get the more at risk the carefully maintained, intimate culture becomes. Then you have an org like Dell or Samsung - cranking out tons of variations and SKUs, but completely lost in focus and singular design ethos. Apple has chosen a small product team, w/ limited launches. This strategy seems to be working as they are one of the oldest PC companies in history, make arguably the best PCs, and are financially the most successful. Seems like they know what they're doing.
    It's implicit in our armchair CEO complaints that we have a different product philosophy and different definitions of what constitutes success than Apple's executives. Ie, if we were sitting in a Mac product planning meeting with them, we'd be disagreeing.

    I've been saying for awhile that they really need to get to about 15% PC market share, with at least a strong foothold in another sub-market other than content creation, in order to establish a permanence in the market, similar to what the iPhone, iPad and Watch enjoy. When I say permanence, it means there is very little doubt for getting a Mac or no real barriers for getting a Mac. I don't think the the current product strategy gets them there. To get there, I think they need to expand the product lineup a little more. Not double the number of Macs, but fill in the holes, and there is a lot more software and platform stuff to do than adding a couple of machines.

    Alternatively, you can ask the question yourself, how does Apple get to 15% market share. That's about 10m to 15m Macs per quarter. Would the current product lineup get them there.
    williamlondonmuthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 19
    What I really hope the new Mac Mini has is more than two USB-C Thunderbolt ports (one of which goes to the monitor). Add a couple more of those ports and I can update my setup without having to jump all the way up to the Mac Studio which has far more power than I actually need (but has plenty of ports).
    watto_cobratenthousandthings
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