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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.

These prices ware significant because they marked a reduction of £100: previously the cheapest Mac mini was £499, for example. Of course, you'll still need to factor in the price of a monitor, keyboard and mouse.

However, we don't anticipate Apple reducing the price further with the new model when it launches, so you can expect similar pricing. Hopefully better specs for your money, though, of course. Which leads us on to...

New Mac mini 2016 rumours: Specs and features

Processor. It's possible that Apple has been waiting for Intel to ship the new Skylake chips before launching the new Mac mini, although Apple may settle for the Broadwell chips instead; that would still represent a power boost over the current Haswell processors. If the new Mac minis come out in very late 2016 or later, Intel may have begun volume production of the next generation of processors: Kaby Lake. Whether Apple is likely to squeeze the latest generation of chips into a budget machine is debatable.

As we discuss in our iMac rumour roundup, Intel has laid out a roadmap for its next four generations of processor. After Skylake, the next round of Intel processors, going into mass production in late 2016, will be Kaby Lake, followed in turn by Cannonlake, then Ice Lake in 2018 and Tiger Lake in 2019.

Kaby Lake uses a 14nm process, same as Broadwell and Skylake, but Cannonlake switches over to a more accurate 10nm process.

Graphics. Our iMac predictions also include new graphics chipsets: Polaris 10, by AMD, which is particularly interesting because it may make the next iMacs VR-ready. But the current range of Mac mini models feature integrated graphics, and we expect this to remain the case in the next generation.

RAM. Right now, the entry-level Mac mini features just 4GB RAM as standard, which we think should be ramped up to 8GB in the new entry-level model.

Storage. The other big change we hope to see in the new Mac mini is the addition of more flash drive options. Currently the 2.8GHz model comes with a Fusion Drive, or you can add 256GB flash storage to that model, or the 2.8GHz model. While the 500GB hard drive in the current entry-level model (and the 1TB hard drive as standard in the £569 model) might appear attractive to some, flash memory is so much faster that we believe it is well worth the compromise of storing additional files on an external hard drive. However, it seems unlikely that Apple would do away with the hard drive storage option altogether, as many workgroups choose the Mac mini as a server and will need the extra capacity and lower prices that HD storage makes possible.


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