Apple M2 Mac Mini 2023 Review: M2 and M2 Pro Chips Boost This Tiny Desktop. Mac mini 2022

Apple M2 Mac Mini 2023 Review: M2 and M2 Pro Chips Boost This Tiny Desktop

Better performance keeps the Mac Mini a top pick for podcasters and content creators.

Dan Ackerman leads CNET’s coverage of computers and gaming hardware. A New York native and former radio DJ, he’s also a regular TV talking head and the author of “The Tetris Effect” (Hachette/PublicAffairs), a non-fiction gaming and business history book that has earned rave reviews from the New York Times, Fortune, LA Review of Books, and many other publications. “Upends the standard Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs/Mark Zuckerberg technology-creation myth. the story shines.”.- The New York Times

  • Author of the award-winning, NY Times-reviewed nonfiction book The Tetris Effect; Longtime consumer technology expert for CBS Mornings

Mac Mini (2023)

Don’t like

  • Least expensive model has fewer ports, small storage
  • RAM can only go up to 32GB
  • Some component upgrades feel pricey

Editor’s note: Our Mac Mini review was originally published on January 23, 2023. It’s since been updated with new test results, including storage speed scores.

apple, mini, 2023, review

Now available in a new, more powerful version, the Mac Mini desktop is one of Apple’s longest-standing product lines, dating back to 2005 (in a pre-Intel version), a year before the first MacBook. All these years later, it retains the same basic shape and appeals to much of the same audience. Unlike MacBook Pro and Air laptops, or the iMac desktop, the Mini is designed to work behind the scenes, fitting into small spaces and pairing with your choice of display and input devices.

Sometimes called the podcaster’s favorite computer, that description still applies to this new iteration of the Mac Mini. And, with an optional M2 Pro processor from Apple’s chip line, the new Mini can take on more complex multimedia assignments on par with the also-new M2 Pro MacBook Pro.

At 599 (£649, AU999) to start, the Mini also remains the least expensive way to get a MacOS computer by a large margin. The relatively ancient M1 MacBook Air from 2020 is the closest competitor price-wise, at 999. The M2 Pro version of the Mac Mini starts at 1,299.

Apple’s chip-naming system is clearer than some others but still confusing if you don’t follow it closely. The M1 family has grown to include the M1, M1 Pro, M1 Max and M1 Ultra (basically a doubled-up M1 Max). The M2 family started with the stock M2 and has just added M2 Pro and M2 Max versions. It’s the Pro/Max/Ultra suffix that really tells you which chip is more powerful. An M1 Pro is still more powerful than a base M2 and so on. But… the number of CPU and GPU cores available in some configurations can also juggle the rankings and relative performance.

That means the Apple desktop ecosystem is very thinly sliced indeed. Right now, the Mac Mini offers M2 and M2 Pro versions, the Mac Studio has M1 Max and M1 Ultra chips, so I wouldn’t say there’s direct overlap. The higher-end M2 Pro Mac Mini starts at 1,299, while the least expensive Mac Studio, with the M1 Max, starts at 1,999.

A tale of two Minis

The two new Mac Mini versions differ in both the chip and some configuration options. The M2 model starts with 8GB of RAM, which can be upgraded to 16GB or 24GB. Storage starts at 256GB and can go up to 2TB. The M2 Pro version starts at 16GB of RAM and 512GB storage and is upgradable to 32GB and 8TB.

Another difference is that the M2 Pro model has four thunderbolt 4/USB-C ports on the back panel, while the M2 version has only two. And while the M2 Pro can support up to three displays, or one with 8K/60Hz resolution, the M2 model can support two displays and tops out at 6K/60Hz.

The two models tested here are the base 599 Mac Mini with the 8-core CPU/10-core GPU M2 chip, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage; and an upgraded version with the 12-core CPU/19-core GPU M2 chip, 16GB of RAM and 1TB of storage, for a total of 1,799.

A podcaster’s dream

Where other Apple products have had their moment in the sun and faded into extinction, like the 27-inch iMac or 12-inch MacBook, the Mac Mini has always floated just under the radar. It’s not the first Mac you think of, but it’s always there. I attribute that to its second life, perhaps originally unintended, as the perfect computer for small production studios.

That could mean a small to midsize recording studio for music and voice-overs, or a home office setup for audio or video podcasts. That’s an area where dedicated computers are in danger of becoming obsolete, as popular new platforms like TikTok are built around shooting and editing directly from your phone.

But as an occasional social media poster, and podcast guest and host, over the years, there’s still no comparison between even advanced phone-based editing and using something like Final Cut or Premiere Pro on a desktop or laptop to produce your creator content, even if it’ll eventually end up as a small vertical social video.

And especially for audio, the Mac Mini still feels like an excellent all-around solution. I recorded some video voice-over on the Mac Mini for this review, using Audacity and an external mic. As expected, I had no problems, even running multiple sound-shaping plugins (although for a very basic task like this, a standard budget Windows machine could do the same).

I asked one of my team’s video editors to throw a decently chunky Premiere Pro project on both the M2 and M2 Pro versions of the Mac Mini.

Video producer-editor Bobby Oliver loaded up a 4K/24 Premiere project with some graphics/titles and color correction. He said on the base 599 Mac Mini with the M2 chip, “It was doable, but while editing I had to play the video in the program window at the lowest quality setting to avoid stuttering, but even then I got some minor stuttering.” He said the system would be fine for regular FHD video, but he thought the 8GB of RAM in the base model was a performance obstacle. The base-model Mac Mini with the 256GB SSD also has slower read/write speeds than other configs, similar to the M2 MacBook Air, because of how the storage is either split into two NAND chips, or uses just one. The results of a basic SSD speed test are below.

While there’s nothing especially new on the gaming front for this hardware or the new M2 chips (besides faster performance), I decided to give it another shot as a game machine. Pre-Apple-Silicon, you could at least dual-boot into Windows to play PC games on Mac hardware. Now, you’re mostly limited to native Mac games or Cloud streaming – Nvidia Geforce Now is great paired with a big 24-inch iMac display, for example.

Connecting a standard Xbox controller via Bluetooth (a Sony DualSense controller will work, too), I spent some time with Baldur’s Gate 3 and Hades. The high screen resolution of the Mac Studio Display I used added some extra challenge, and I turned up the in-game graphic settings as high as possible. Mac versions of games often have fewer graphics options than the Windows versions.

On the M2 Mac Mini, Baldur’s Gate 3 needed to get its resolution pulled down to 2,560×1,440 pixels and graphics settings set to medium to feel playable. On the M2 Pro version, I used the same resolution but could play at Ultra settings. Hades ran great on even the base Mac Mini. In both the GPU-intensive 3D Mark and the GeekBench Metal test, we can see some additional daylight between the M2 and M2 Pro, as indicated in the charts below.

Who should buy this?

A MacBook Air is easy to visualize in action – stick it in your backpack or shoulder bag and hit the coffee shop or airport. An iMac is a great centralized family room computer or a home office command center, especially if you spend a lot of time in Zoom or other video meetings. The Mac Mini is more specialized in some ways, but also has potentially broader appeal because of its low starting price.

The base M2 version of the Mac Mini, starting at 599, feels like it’s for entry-level buyers who want a MacOS system at the lowest possible price; audio and video producers who are already committed to a collection of external displays, input devices and storage drives; or anyone who needs a portable mini desktop that can be thrown in a bag and hooked up at an office or recording studio. Also worth noting, the Mac Mini has an Ethernet port, HDMI output and USB-A ports, which are great for expansion and hard to find in some other Macs, even very expensive ones.

The main downside to that base model is the relative skimpy RAM and storage. Unlike a Windows machine, MacOS can actually get along fine in most mainstream cases with 8GB of RAM, but the included 256GB of storage feels like it’ll get filled quickly. Jumping up to 512GB adds an extra 200, which is a big premium for a budget computer (but also offers potentially faster read/write speeds).

The M2 Pro version offers a sizable raw performance jump, plus better RAM and internal storage options, but if you’re considering that, then the MacBook Pro and even the Mac Studio should also be part of your comparison shopping.

I think the base M2 Mac Mini is going to be a Smart, clear choice for a lot of people. The more powerful, more expensive M2 Pro version isn’t as clear cut, but I appreciate the flexibility having both the M2 and M2 Pro versions adds, allowing you to spend anywhere from 599 to 4,499 on a new Mac Mini that meets your specific needs, whether that’s creating pro-level YouTube videos or recording and producing the next great true crime podcast.

Geekbench 5 (multicore)

Apple Mac Mini (M2 Pro, 2023) 15,013 Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2023) 15,009 Apple Mac Studio (M1 Max, 2022) 12,871 Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2021) 12,627 Apple MacBook Pro (14-inch, 2021) 12,259 Apple Mac Mini (M2, 2023) 9,003 Apple MacBook Air (13-inch, 2022) 8,592 Apple Mac Mini (M1, 2020) 7,758

Geekbench 5 Metal

Apple Mac Studio (M1 Max, 2022) 68,638 Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2023) 53,338 Apple Mac Mini (M2 Pro, 2023) 52,792 Apple MacBook Pro (14-inch, 2021) 40,631 Apple Mac Mini (M2, 2023) 30,573 Apple MacBook Air (13-inch, 2022) 29,998 Apple Mac Mini (M1, 2020) 21,997

Cinebench R23 (multicore)

Apple Mac Mini (M2 Pro, 2023) 14,814 Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2023) 14,803 Apple Mac Studio (M1 Max, 2022) 12,389 Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2021) 12,365 Apple MacBook Pro (14-inch, 2021) 12,302 Apple Mac Mini (M2, 2023) 8,730 Apple Mac Mini (M1, 2020) 7,818 Apple MacBook Air (13-inch, 2022) 6,796

DMark Wild Life Extreme Unlimited

Apple Mac Studio (M1 Max, 2022) 20,297 Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2021) 17,640 Apple Mac Mini (M2 Pro, 2023) 13,048 Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2023) 12,989 Apple MacBook Pro (14-inch, 2021) 10,264 Apple Mac Mini (M2, 2023) 6,925 Apple MacBook Air (13-inch, 2022) 6,803 Apple Mac Mini (M1, 2020) 5,060

System configurations

MacOS Monterey 12.5.1; Apple M1 (8 CPU cores, 16 GPU Cores); 8GB PDDR4X RAM; 256GB SSDMacOS Ventura 13.2; Apple M2 (8 CPU cores, 10 GPU cores); 8GB LPDDR5 RAM; 256GB SSDMacOS Ventura 13.2; Apple M2 Pro (12-core CPU,19-core GPU); 16GB LPDDR5 RAM; 1TB SSDMacOS Monterey 12.3; Apple M1 Max (10 CPU ores, 32 GPU cores); 64GB RAM; 2TB SSDMacOS Monterey 12.4; Apple M2 (8 CPU cores, 10 cores GPU); 8GB LPDDR5 RAM; 256GB SSDMacOS Monterey 12.4; Apple M1 Pro (10 CPU cores, 16 GPU cores); 32GB LPDDR5 RAM; 1TB SSDMacOS Monterey 12.4; Apple M1 Max (12 CPU cores, 32 GPU cores); 32GB RAM; 512GB SSDMacOS Ventura 13.2; Apple M2 Pro (12 CPU cores, 19 GPU cores); 32GB LPDDR5 RAM; 1TB SSD

Here are the Macs that Apple didn’t announce today … but might come soon

Apple’s “Take Note” product blitz on Tuesday did not include any Mac news. Instead, iPad stole the spotlight: a new iPad Pro with M2, a new entry-level iPad that isn’t actually priced at the entry level, a new Magic Keyboard Folio and yet another lease on life for the original Apple Pencil (now with a dongle!). A surprise entry is a new Apple TV 4K at a lower price with a USB-C Siri Remote.

But according to Bloomberg, new Macs are “highly likely to launch before the calendar turns into 2023.” What can we expect soon — and what’s on the roadmap?

The Macs that are coming … soon?

Two years ago, the first batch of Macs powered by custom Apple silicon — the surprisingly powerful and efficient M1 chip — arrived. The launch lineup included a MacBook Air, a MacBook Pro and a Mac mini. Apple replaced the two laptops earlier this summer with M2 versions, but the Mac mini is still only available with an M1 processor. Apple even has an Intel-powered Mac mini for sale today, on October 18, 2022.

The Mac mini is also one of the few remaining Apple products still using an Intel-era design. Inside the M1 Mac mini is a tiny logic board dropped in the old chassis — with a whole lot of empty space. Cupertino could take this opportunity to either shrink down the computer or fill the space with a more advanced cooling and power supply system.

The Mac mini is due for a refresh before the year’s end, according to Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman.

Today’s iPad announcements were likely relegated to press releases in some small part because there weren’t any new chips announced. The iPad Pro uses the M2, which debuted earlier this year at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference. Apple would want to give stage time to talk about the M2 Pro.

The entry-level Mac mini with M1 will probably be outright replaced with an M2 model; a higher-end M2 Pro Mac mini could take the slot of the Intel-based Mac mini. Unless it comes tomorrow, October 19, hold your breath until mid-November.

14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro

Gurman says in the same report that, either this fall or early next year, we can expect the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro to get the M2 treatment as well. These laptop upgrades likely would come with the anticipated M2 Pro and M2 Max chips.

The MacBook Pro already received a top-to-bottom makeover for Apple silicon, so this should be a relatively quiet upgrade. Based on what the M2 changes versus the M1, we can expect big under-the-hood improvements in graphics performance and memory speed.

iMac and iMac Pro

After the Mac mini, that will leave the beloved iMac as the last base-model M1 Mac. Updating the iMac to M2 should be a relatively simple drop-in upgrade.

There are also rumors of a returning iMac Pro. Just how “pro” Apple will take it remains unclear, though. Cupertino’s engineers have a lot of parts in their bin — what exactly will they put together? Will it cap out with the M2 Pro, or will it get the M2 Max and/or M2 Ultra? The latter would likely require beefier fans and a thicker chassis. Will its display match that of the existing Studio Display or the rumored mid-tier display?

The need for a pro all-in-one desktop computer is a small market. Between the Mac mini, Mac Studio and Mac Pro, Apple already has a lot of bases covered. Maybe they won’t ship an iMac Pro at all. Time will tell.

Brand new MacBooks

Allegedly in the pipeline for 2023 (or so) are two new laptops at two new sizes: for the first time, a 15-inch MacBook Air and the return of the 12-inch MacBook.

Laptops dominate computer sales, and in contrast to every other computer manufacturer, Apple has some pretty obvious holes in its lineup. A 15-inch MacBook Air will help fill in the 800 price gap between the Air and the 14-inch MacBook Pro. It’ll be the cheap-big-MacBook, a la the iPhone 14 Plus.

The 12-inch MacBook was a short-lived Mac. It was designed with the best of intentions, but it was made just a few years too early. It came with a slow Intel chip, a faulty butterfly keyboard and a single USB-C port. That’s hardly a recipe for success, in retrospect.

Nowadays, Apple silicon can achieve better performance. Plus, Apple’s new keyboards are lauded, the MagSafe connector frees up a port and USB-C peripherals are a much more common sight. A new MacBook could be the ultraportable computer Apple always tried to build — but this time, without compromise.

apple, mini, 2023, review

Mac Pro

Apple ended its “Peek Performance” event in March with an explicit mention of a new Mac Pro, only for six months of radio silence. Granted, if the company didn’t do that, everyone would probably have assumed that the Mac Studio is all we’ll ever get for a high-end Mac desktop.

However, a revamped Mac Pro is expected to receive the last puzzle piece in the Apple silicon lineup. Where the Ultra chip is effectively two Max chips transposed together, the Mac Pro reportedly will receive an even higher-end 4× Max chip, with double the performance of the Ultra.

But what else? A bigger chip is certainly welcome, but it hardly justifies the existence of a whole new product. The rumor mill is silent on this. Right now, the Mac Pro’s main selling point is its modularity: You can add your own memory and drop in a more-powerful graphics card.

But the Apple silicon architecture doesn’t make that easy. The memory and graphics are all baked in with the processor — what Apple calls a Unified Memory Architecture. That doesn’t exclude the possibility of an expansion card ecosystem, but here’s the thing: The whole mantra of Apple silicon is basically “engineer it once, use it everywhere.” How much special engineering is Apple willing to invest in its lowest-volume product?

A ‘two-year’ transition

The complete transition to Apple silicon is taking much longer than the expected two years. A global pandemic, a supply chain crisis and a transistor shortage will have that sort of effect. Apple has weathered it well, with stable and many successful product launches along the way.

Mac Studio vs. M2 Pro Mac mini: Which Should You Buy?

The Mac Studio looks like a Mac mini on steroids, but is it worth the hefty price tag?

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In January 2023, Apple announced refreshed Mac mini models and high-end MacBook Pros. Not only did the Mac mini get the base M2 chip, but it also received the M2 Pro, a truly capable processor for professionals.

Apple also offers the Mac Studio for professionals who want a more powerful system, but now that the M2 Pro Mac Mini exists, is the Mac Studio redundant? Are there advantages to buying the Mac Studio over the Mac mini? Here, we’ll pit the Mac Studio against the M2 Pro Mac mini to see which machine is perfect for you.

CPU Performance

The Mac mini was one of the first Macs to sport Apple’s breakthrough M1 chip, and it revolutionalized the small-form-factor desktop market. As much as we loved the compact machine, the Mac mini started to fall behind once Apple came out with more powerful chips like the M1 Pro and M1 Max, featured in the 2021 MacBook Pro models.

But now, the Mac mini features a much more powerful chip suited for power users with the M2 Pro. While simultaneously offering the standard M2 chip, the Mac mini is now a device that can be great for power users, who originally would go straight for the Mac Studio.

The M2 Pro chip that powers the Mac mini is available in 10 or 12 CPU cores, but you can configure the Mac Studio with either the 10-core M1 Max or the 20-core M1 Ultra. The 10-core variant of the M2 Pro comes just behind the M1 Max in multi-core CPU benchmarks, but the 12-core variant outperforms it in various tests. However, the 20-core M1 Ultra chip is drastically ahead of the M2 Pro, as expected.

Now, you need to ask yourself if the applications you use will take advantage of the extra cores on the M1 Ultra. If you plan to do moderate video and photo editing, the M2 Pro Mac mini is more than enough. However, if you intend to do a lot of rendering work with your machine, the Mac Studio’s CPU prowess can be worth the extra money.

GPU Performance

If graphics performance is a big deal for you, the Mac Studio is the obvious choice—provided you’re willing to pay the premium tag. Once again, this will depend on whether you’re configuring the machine with the M1 Max or the M1 Ultra.

According to Apple, the M1 Max in the base Mac Studio delivers similar GPU performance to the RTX 3060 while consuming a third of the power, whereas the M1 Ultra offers comparable performance to the RTX 3090 while consuming 200W less power. Now, let’s compare this performance to the M2 Pro chip in the Mac mini.

Even the M1 Max delivers better graphics performance than the M2 Pro in the Mac mini, despite the solid GPU improvements from the M1 Pro. However, if you won’t take advantage of extra performance past the M1 Max, then the M1 Ultra is not worth the money. The base Mac Studio with the M1 Max chip is the perfect sweet spot for most professionals.


The M2 Pro Mac mini starts with 16GB of unified memory, but you can take a step up and configure it with 32GB of RAM. This would be beneficial if you tend to run many programs in the background and want some extra headroom.

The good news for prospective Mac Studio buyers is that the base model has 32GB of unified memory as standard. But if you think you’re a productive power user and need more, you can go all out and configure it with up to 128GB of unified memory along with the M1 Ultra.

Ports and Connectivity

Both the Mac Studio and the Mac mini have enough USB ports for most people. The M2 Pro Mac mini sports four Thunderbolt 4 ports and two USB-A ports. On the other hand, the base model Mac Studio also packs four Thunderbolt 4-enabled USB 4 ports, two USB-C ports, and two USB-A ports. And if you opt for the M1 Ultra variant, you get six Thunderbolt 4 ports and two USB-A ports.

You also get HDMI and Ethernet ports with both machines. However, the Mac mini supports the Gigabit LAN standard, whereas the more expensive Mac Studio offers 10-Gigabit LAN by default. Additionally, the Mac Studio offers an SDXC card slot that allows you to transfer photos and videos conveniently.

You can hook up the Mac mini to two 6K displays and another 4K monitor simultaneously. But if you can afford the Mac Studio, you can connect it to four 6K displays and another 4K monitor, all at the same time, for an insane desk setup.

As for wireless connectivity, the Mac mini features updated wireless technologies such as Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3, while the Mac Studio supports Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0.


The Mac mini and the Mac Studio have a similar footprint, so they’ll take up the same amount of space on your desk. However, the more powerful Mac Studio is taller than two Mac minis stacked on top of each other. As a result, the Mac mini is easier to carry around and wins in the portability department.

Internally, the Mac mini has a single-fan setup to cool down its M2 Pro chip, and honestly, it does a pretty good job when it comes to thermals. To match the M1 Max or M1 Ultra’s performance, the Mac Studio is equipped with a dual-fan setup with air intake at the bottom and perforations at the back to push out hot air.

apple, mini, 2023, review

Regardless of whether you go with the Mac mini or the Mac Studio, you won’t have to worry about overheating issues like many of the Intel-based small-form-factor PCs.


In the end, it all comes down to the price. Sure, the Mac mini doesn’t deliver the same performance as the Mac Studio in some categories, but at the same time, you are paying significantly less money and still getting a capable machine.

The M2 Pro Mac mini starts at 1,299 for the base model with 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. In comparison, the Mac Studio starts at 1,999 for the base M1 Max variant with 32GB of RAM and also a 512GB SSD. However, things start to change when you upgrade the Mac Studio.

The M1 Ultra model starts at a whopping 3,999, and if you want to go all-out with the 64-core GPU, you’ll need to pay an extra grand. The Mac Studio falls into a completely different category at this price point and is harder to compare to the Mac mini. You may as well pit it against the Intel-based Mac Pro.

Not Everyone Needs the Powerful Mac Studio

As much as we could go on and on about the Mac Studio’s performance, we find it hard to recommend it to most people. It’s a machine that targets professionals; someone eyeing the Mac Pro should seriously consider investing in this portable powerhouse.

For someone who wants the best combination of performance and value, the M2 Pro Mac mini can handle almost any task you throw at it. But if you really need the extra GPU power or want a more future-proof desktop, the base Mac Studio with the M1 Max chip is worth considering.

The Mac mini is in danger of becoming the next Apple product to die of neglect

As a Mac enthusiast, the news that 2022 will end with no new Mac announcements was disappointing. But what was even more of a letdown is that we’ll have to continue waiting–probably until March 2023–to see the rumored update to Apple’s most affordable Mac, the Mac mini.

But even before the news, I was ready for more frustration. This unofficial delay only cements the sad fact that the Mac mini gets no respect from Apple. It’s a shame because Apple’s smallest computer was once its most exciting Mac—and it doesn’t deserve to be so neglected.


The Mac mini was born in 2005 and at the time, Apple was much more aggressive about increasing its share of the PC market. The Mac mini was marketed as an affordable Mac for users who were switching from a Windows PC. To convince skeptics that the switch could be easily made, Steve Jobs christened the Mac mini as Apple’s new BYODKM Mac: Bring Your Own Display, Keyboard, and Mouse from your old PC and hook it up to the Mac mini.

Two years later, Apple released the iPhone, which eventually became the device to persuade Windows PC users to switch to the Mac (not necessarily as a direct marketing point, but a subtle one). The switcher angle for the Mac mini (and all Macs, essentially) all but disappeared. But Apple still paid attention to its smallest Mac, with updates on a 12- to 18-month basis (2006, 2007, 2009) leading up to a redesign in 2010 to the form factor Apple still uses today (minus the optical drive), followed by updates in 2011, 2012, and 2014.

That’s when Apple’s attention started to wane. After an October 2014 that brought fourth-generation Intel Core processors and a lower price tag–it would then be four years until the next update in October 2018.

Where is the love?

Finally, in 2020, the Mac mini got a sign from Apple that it was still an important member of its lineup. The Mac mini was one of three Macs to get the first Apple silicon M1 processor. This was a major change that shook the industry, and the fact that the Mac mini was an instrumental part of it made it feel like a viable Mac again. It was also a chance to put the Mac mini in the spotlight by touting its small footprint, blazing performance, and affordable price.

But since Apple sells more laptops than desktop computers, the M1 Mac mini was still something of an afterthought. It didn’t get a redesign or any new features, and it actually lost two Thunderbolt ports. Then there’s the unexplained move where Apple didn’t update the high-end 1,099 Mac mini–to this day it has the same 3.0GHz 6-core Intel Core i5 Intel processor that arrived in 2018, making it the oldest processor in Apple’s Mac lineup.

So, what’s another five or six months for a Mac that turned four years old last month? Well, the fact that any company (let alone Apple) sells a four-year-ago computer at its original price is ridiculous. Maybe Apple’s reasoning is that virtually no one is buying the 1,099 Mac mini, so there’s no harm in keeping it around. But there is harm–it’s taking advantage of people who might not know better by selling them extremely outdated tech. It’s a bad look for the Mac mini and for Apple.

A fan favorite

Apple barely puts any effort into the Mac mini, whether it’s with hardware developments or with marketing. In the rich lineup of Apple’s Mac, the mini seems to be the model that is often neglected. That’s unfortunate because it plays a vital role in Apple’s Mac lineup.

At 699, the Mac mini is Apple’s most affordable Mac, although it does have the caveat that the price doesn’t include a display, keyboard, or mouse/trackpad. But you can easily find those components at that would keep a Mac mini setup well under 1,000, which still makes it cheaper than the entry-level iMac.

Its diminutive size means you don’t have to think twice about where it goes on a desk. In my house, we have a workplace setup that’s really tight and there’s no place for a tower computer, and even the 24-inch iMac’s display is too big. But the Mac mini fits perfectly with a 19-inch display.

What’s also overlooked is that the Mac mini’s size lends it to some creative uses. I have a Mac mini connected to my TV in my entertainment center, and it houses my digitized DVD/Blu-ray collection. The Mac mini is also used as a network server, in cars and robots, by mobile DJs, in kiosks, and in art installations. It’s not as small as a Raspberry Pi, but because it runs macOS it’s more accessible to users who are hesitant about programming a Pi.

Why can’t Apple take these aspects of the Mac mini and play them up? Apple doesn’t have to go on an all-out marketing blitz–it would be nice to see any kind of effort by the company to acknowledge that the Mac mini is just as important as the iMac and Mac Studio in its desktop lineup.

Maybe that’ll change next year when the rumors of a new Mac mini (or two) finally pan out. But an unveiling isn’t enough–I hope there will be a sustained effort to promote the Mac mini for a good period of time, to go along with regular hardware updates. Even the slightest of attention would go a long way toward showing the Mac mini some love–before it’s too late. We’ve seen plenty of Apple products wither until they’re unceremoniously killed and it would be a shame to see it happen to the Mac mini, too.