New Mac mini 2016 rumours: What is the Mac mini?
Not the no-brainer it might sound to keen mini-heads: plenty of otherwise tech-savvy folk aren't aware the Mac mini even exists. Indeed, sometimes it seems like Apple itself isn't aware of its presence. That would certainly explain the long gap before the 2014 model was launched.
The Mac mini is Apple's smallest desktop Mac and also its cheapest Mac, at £399. It's a full-blown OS X desktop that fits into a self-contained chassis no bigger than a set-top box. It's an inexpensive living-room Mac that lacks the power of even some MacBooks and comes with no keyboard, mouse or display, but one that works perfectly as the centre of your digital home - not least because it comes with HDMI sockets, making plugging it into a modern TV a doddle.
There used to be a Mac mini with OS X Server available for £849 but Apple removed that option from the line-up in October 2014.
New Mac mini 2016 rumours: Release date
When will the next Mac mini come out?
Apple last updated the Mac mini on 16 October 2014 after a two-year wait: the previous model came out on 23 October 2012. Mac mini fans are now waiting for the next iteration of the smallest and cheapest Mac. We're hopeful that it may come out this year, and recent history points to an update in autumn 2016.
(Of course, it isn't always that simple. Apple used to update the mini more frequently; before 2012 there were new models in 2009 (twice!), 2010 and 2011, and the more optimistic among Macworld's staff had expected Apple to announce a new Mac mini in the autumn of 2015, possibly alongside the new iMac with 4K Retina display, or at the same time as the El Capitan launch. But those opportunities have been and gone.)
One popular theory for a while was that the new Mac mini might make an appearance at WWDC 2016, which started on 13 June 2016 - but in the event, Apple didn't announce any new Macs at all. (Although Mac fans can console themselves with all the news about the forthcoming macOS Sierra operating system, and what that means for your current machine. You can install macOS Sierra on your Mac mini right now, if it's a 2010 model or later, but you'll need a developer account.)
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