Mac mini 2020: what we want to see

 Unfortunately, 2019 came and went without the new Mac mini making an appearance. Instead, Apple put all its efforts in rolling out a MacBook Air update and the truly impressive MacBook Pro 16-inch, which has replaced the old 15-inch MacBook Pros. Of course, there’s also the Mac Pro 2019, which has swept the computing world with its sheer power and incredibly modular design. 

Though this doesn’t mean that Apple has forgotten about the Mac mini. It’s not only still highly popular amongst consumers, but its stunning return to form in 2018 has also swept us off our feet. That’s not to mention the fact that even at its base configuration, the Mac mini 2018 delivers high performance, touting desktop-class 8th-generation Intel Coffee Lake processors to keep up with intense workloads and a decent thermal architecture to keep temperatures under down.

It’s highly likely, therefore, that we’ll see an update sometime soon, and hopefully in 2020. This time around, we’d appreciate more powerful graphics as well as more SSD storage is the bare minimum, so we can forgo an external hard drive. It also wouldn’t hurt if the price dropped a bit – while the Mac mini 2018 is the cheapest Mac available, it’s still pretty pricey.

The question now is, when will its newest model make an appearance? It’s very likely that Apple is saving the next Mac mini generation for 2020. We might even see it at Apple’s WWDC 2020, though the event is now online only. So we’ve whipped up a wish list in anticipation. Keep this page bookmarked as we’ll update it with Mac mini updates as they come. 

Cut to the chase 

  • What is it? The next Mac Mini computer 
  • When is it out? October 2020, if at all 
  • What will it cost? Possibly starting around $799 (£799, AU$1,249) 

Mac Mini 2020

Image Credit: Apple

 Mac Mini 2020 release date 

It took Apple four years to release the 2018 update, so it’s hard to know if it will release a Mac mini in 2020 at all. In fact, we may have to wait until a new MacBook Air or Mac Pro refresh. Still, if a new Mac mini does release this year, it probably won’t happen until October, when it typically reveals new Mac releases. 

At least that’s how it played out last year, when the company broke the news of the Mac Mini 2018 at the Apple Event in late October, with the mini desktop hitting the shelves a few days later in November. 

If so, this will put it right around the same time as macOS Catalina will be made available to users, which means you will be enjoying the Mac mini 2019 alongside macOS’ cool new features like Sidecar, Voice Control and Screentime. But again, whether Apple will release a 2020 Mac Mini model is pure speculation at this point, but we’ll update this story once we hear anything more concrete. Keep your eyes peeled. 

Mac Mini 2020

Image Credit: TechRadar

Mac Mini 2020 price 

At the moment, the Mac Mini 2018 has two configurations: the $799 base configuration, which has a Core i3 processor, 8GB DDR4 RAM, a UHD Graphics 630 integrated graphics and a 128GB SSD; and the $1,099 “high-end” configuration, which boasts a Core i5 processor a 256GB SSD, and the same integrated graphics and RAM.

With these two configurations, the Mac Mini 2018 has been dubbed the “cheapest” Mac on the market, and we definitely want to see the same prices on the 2020 update. Unless Apple has some big, expensive feature it plans to add –  e.g. the MacBook Pro and its wonky Touch Bar – we expect the prices to stay in the same ballpark. 

Although if Apple were to upgrade the storage, something that may not be entirely necessary considering most creatives (its target users) have their own heavy-duty external drives anyway, the price might go up a little.

Mac Mini 2020

Image Credit: TechRadar

What we want to see

Again, while the Mac Mini 2018 has been largely well-received due to its superior performance packed in a compact form factor, it does still leave some things to be desired. If Apple’s tiny computer does get its update this year, there are a couple of things we’d like to see improved, plus some new things we’d like added.

A cheaper base model

When the Mac Mini first released, it was priced at $499 and supposed to compete with PCs as an affordable entry into the Apple ecosystem. Though the Mac Mini is five times faster than its predecessor and is still the cheapest Mac around, at $799 it’s still more expensive than comparable PC desktops. 

And that’s without the monitor, keyboard and mouse you might have to shell out for, which essentially puts you at almost the same price as an iMac ($1,099) with more storage space to start.

The Mac Mini 2018 may boast impressive performance, but its price point is nowhere near competitive. We’d love to see the same level of performance and a much affordable price in its 2020 iteration, if the computer does get an update this year.

More storage

While the Mac Mini’s target market is creatives, most of whom may already own one or two external hard drives to keep up with their storage demands, paying $799 for a base configuration with only 128GB of SSD storage still feels pretty steep. 

These days, that is the bare minimum for desktops, and hardly enough for storing a handful of apps and software, let alone big files, like images and videos. At least 256GB of space to start is essential for a would-be 2020 model.

Better integrated graphics

One of the main complaints about the Mac Mini is the fact that its integrated graphics are underwhelming in just about every graphics-intensive application, whether you’re streaming and rendering videos or gaming. Dropped frames, low frame rates and slow video rendering are some of the reported issues. Considering that many of Mac users handle graphics-heavy files and work, that’s not a good sign.

Some folks have resorted to adding an external GPU to their setups, but that only adds to the cost and defeats the computer’s minimalist purpose. So we’d love to see Apple step up its game, and improve the Mac Mini Intel Iris integrated graphics or even a discrete GPU inside. Perhaps something similar to what the MacBook Pros have, which are considerably better.

Separate the power supply

While the Mac Mini has an improved thermal architecture, some units have experience thermal throttling and overheating, at times peaking at over 90 degrees Fahrenheit, according to end users. It’s become such an issue, in fact, that some have resorted to replacing the thermal paste with third-party stuff just to keep the heat down, though not by much.

Separating the built-in power supply could be an effective way to manage this heat issue, giving the Mac Mini an even better performance and possibly a smaller form factor (or enough space for a dedicated graphics card).

More user upgradability

The earliest Mac Mini models were known for their upgradability, but this latest generation has very limited user upgrade options. Before, you could update the CPU, RAM and storage to your heart’s content; now, however, only the RAM is upgradeable; and it’s hardly an easy undertaking.

The CPU, RAM and storage in the Mac Mini 2018 may be upgraded when you’re ordering them, maxing the price out at $3,999. However, since Apple’s doing it for you, it can get expensive quickly. We’d like to see Apple bring back the old generation’s user upgradability in the Mac Mini 2020, especially if the computer largely sticks to the same specs at purchase.

Better speakers

This is more of an afterthought, but the Mac Mini 2018’s speaker is considered poor by some critics’ standard.

A headphone jack is on hand so you can attach better speakers, but it would be a welcome upgrade to give the 2020 model a better speaker – or remove it entirely for an even smaller form factor.

  • Check out our list of the best Macs you can buy today

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