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New Mac mini 2016 release date, specs & new features rumours

Karen Haslam | June 23, 2016
With no updates in 2015, and no hardware news at all at WWDC 2016, we suspect that an updated Mac mini is in the pipeline.

We're looking forward to the next Mac mini update, not least because Apple has added new Skylake Intel processors to its laptops and desktops, leaving the Mac mini in the dust. In fact, the next generation of Intel chips is due near the end of 2016 - they're called Kaby Lake - and it's possible that the new Mac mini could feature processors from this batch. But we're getting ahead of ourselves. We'll talk about processors, and other specs, in a later section of this article.

New Mac mini 2016 rumours: Will Apple discontinue the Mac mini?

Apple, to paraphrase a colleague, is generally very good at killing its darlings: at knowing when it makes sense to drop a much-loved product or product feature - one which is often still popular and/or profitable - and switch focus to something else that has more of a future. Think the iPod classic or the optical drive. That's why rumours that it's going to drop the headphone port from the iPhone 7, or switch its digital music business entirely from downloads to streaming, seem so plausible.

There are a couple of candidates to be the next iPod classic. The MacBook Air is one. But the Mac mini, which hasn't been updated since 2014, is rarely mentioned at events, and feels surplus to requirements now that the Apple TV is making its claim as a media centre device (although for storing a large number of films the mini remains an excellent choice, offering 500GB as standard and up to 2TB as a configuration option), will be expecting a P45 more than most of Apple's product line-up.

The design of the Mac mini hasn't changed significantly since it was first launched and is starting to feel a little dated, and the device doesn't have a clear selling point (or at least, Apple isn't doing a good job of communicating one). So it wouldn't surprise us if Apple quietly retired the line at its next Mac launch event. It's either that or give it a radical overhaul.

If Apple does kill off the mini, we'd have to start asking questions about the 'mini' branding in general, and wondering if the iPads are going to be reorganised: there's already a sense that the 'Air' brand is on the way out, across both MacBooks and iPads. But that's a story for another day.

New Mac mini 2016 rumours: Price

How much will the next Mac mini cost? There are currently three models of the Mac mini available; the one that's best for you will depend on your budget and computing needs. The cheapest model currently costs £399, the middle model is £569, and the priciest model is £799.

 

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