Imagining a new Mac mini - what do you want to see?

Imagining a new Mac mini: What would you like to see?

Apple's diminutive Mac mini is long overdue for a refresh. Will Apple just give it a speed bump or is it due for an overhaul? What would you like to see in the new Mac mini?

The Mac mini is overdue for a major refresh. It's been well more than a year, and it's been several years since the Mac mini had any significant work done to it. That's got me thinking about what Apple could do it and probably should do to it, but I also want to hear from you - how would you like to see the Mac mini evolve?

Where we are today: Two year old circuitry, four year old design

Apple's least expensive desktop computer and the 13-inch standard MacBook Pro that it shares many common components with weren't touched along with the rest of the Mac product line in 2013. While every Mac except the Mac Pro (which uses workstation-quality parts instead) has switched over the Intel's more power-efficient Haswell processor, the Mac mini (and its MacBook Pro cousin) lags behind, using a 2012-era Intel Ivy Bridge processor instead.

In 2011 Apple removed the optical drive from the Mac mini and shortened it about a half an inch. The Mac mini's footprint is a bit larger than it used to be, but it's fundamentally the same square box it's been since the Mac mini debuted nine years ago.

On the backside is a Gigabit Ethernet port, handy for connecting to high-speed wired networks, FireWire 800, HDMI, Thunderbolt, four USB 3.0 ports and an SDXC card slot. It's remarkably well-equipped for expansion for such a tiny machine - you can even pop the bottom cover off with a twist of the wrist to upgrade the RAM.

The Mac mini's $599 standard configuration comprises a 2.5 GHz processor, 4 GB RAM and a 500 GB hard drive. There's a higher-tier $799 model available with a quad-core processor; you can also pimp it out with dual internal hard drives in a server model. Apple's Fusion drive - a modest flash drive paired with a hard drive - gives you better storage performance, and you can also go entirely flash-based, though you'll sacrifice capacity and it'll cost you more.

Imagining the next Mac mini

It's fun to think that Apple may be headed in the same direction with the Mac mini as it took for the Mac Pro - building a tiny desktop turbine designed from the motherboard board up for parallel processing. Maybe make it black and round in the process too - a hockey puck to accompany the high-end trash can.

But that's not going to happen. The Mac mini's strength is that it's Apple's most affordable machine. It costs almost half the price of a MacBook Air, which means that Apple has to make some compromises along the way.

The next big jump for Intel chips isn't expected until later this year, and I anticipate that Apple will push out a new Mac mini before then, so I'm assuming the next Mac mini will have a Haswell chip inside. If past is prologue, the Mac mini's performance will probably be pretty consistent with the low-end 13-inch MacBook Pro.

Presuming that Apple shifts the Mac mini to Retina MacBook Pro territory, it'd be reasonable to expect a 2.4 GHz processor - slower clock speed than the current model, but more efficient, with faster graphics to boot.

The Mac mini can't go flash-only for storage, at least not right now: it'd send the cost of the Mac mini upwards, and the mini is still popular as a server for workgroups and small businesses. But it's entirely reasonable to expect the next Mac mini to include PCI Express-based flash storage, which will dramatically improve the performance of both Fusion Drive-equipped Mac minis and Mac minis that go flash-only. The system would need to retain a Serial ATA (SATA) hard drive interface too, to accomodate old-fashioned spinning drives.

Along the way, Apple will bring the Mac mini in line with other Macs, adding 802.11ac Wi-Fi networking, which can be up to three times faster than the 802.11n Wi-Fi in current models.

On the backplane, the only major change I see is the disappearance of Firewire 800. That interface is doomed for the dustbin. You can attach a FireWire drive if you need to using Thunderbolt, which Apple would surely like to see more people using. That'll free up a bit of space, so don't be surprised to see the Mac mini gain a second Thunderbolt port. And if Apple borrows from the same parts bin as the Retina MacBook Pro, don't be surprised to see Thunderbolt 2 on the next Mac mini.

Gradual evolution

So I don't see the actual shape of the Mac mini changing dramatically, nor do I see its feature set changing radically. Form tends to follow function with Apple devices, and the Mac mini's particular strengths require a certain amount of space inside to accomodate the hardware that it needs to work. And let's face it - Apple's largest desktop machine went a decade between major redesigns. The Mac Pro's chassis first saw life as the Power Mac G5, before Apple even transitioned to Intel hardware.

The Mac mini serves different functions: it's a great first Mac. It's economical and environmentally conscious, enabling you to reuse existing monitors, mice and keyboards. It's a fully equipped Mac, just with a lower cost and a smaller footprint than other models. To that end, Apple doesn't have to do a lot to keep it modern and relevant. But it is starting to lag behind other Macs in both feature and performance, which makes it a target for some tweaking to bring it in line with current models.

That's enough bloviation from me. I'm interested in hearing from you - what do you think the next Mac mini will look like, and more importantly, what do you think will be inside? Please sound off in the comments. And for more Mac mini talk, make sure to visit our Mac mini forum.

Peter Cohen

Managing Editor of iMore, Mac and gaming specialist and all-around technologist. Follow him on Twitter @flargh

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There are 79 comments. Add yours.

cronin1024 says:

I'd like to see:

- 2 Thunderbolt 2 ports
- 32GB RAM (the iMacs have had it for a while)
- HDMI 1.4 for 4K support

I agree that the Firewire 800 port can be removed, this is the only product other than the non-retina 13" MacBook Pro that still has it.

I also agree that it's not necessary to update the design of the machine. In my dream world it would be easier to disassemble and replace the built-in drives (I had a heck of a time putting an SSD in my mini), but that's clearly not a direction Apple's interested in going.

802.11ac would be nice, but it's not really an issue for me since I connect non-portable computers with ethernet.

kevinbhayes says:

While I would love to see the Mac mini shrink to the size of an AppleTV, I agree, it won't happen until SSD prices come down.

I expect it to get a CPU/Graphics bump, loss of FW800, but little else. They might forgo the "server (i.e. two-drive) version" to shrink it a bit, but not by much.

Ed Holthause says:

Having just installed a score of minis in classrooms (and having custom fabricated sheet metal covers to keep folks off the ports and cables (("why did you unplug that?!" "I didn't know what it did...") and having a score more to replace next year, I hope Apple keeps the design just the way it is. It would be cool to see Apple shove the mini guts into their new AirPort Extreme with storage form factor. They could call it their mini tower.

Moeskido says:

We just got a new mini last month to replace my wife's 2008 MacBook. I love the fact that this model's still available and still user-configurable to a useful degree. I'd hate to see the box get sealed up. If my 2010 Mac Pro died tomorrow, I'd seriously consider one for myself… probably before capitulating to better iMac specs.

I'd miss FW800 because I still rely upon it. The new mini attaches to an OWC Ministack with it. If I didn't have an eSATA card in the back of my Mac Pro, I'd rely on FW800 even more.

I'd hate USB to become the only alternative that doesn't need adapters. Thunderbolt is a nice idea, unless you have an office full of non-Thunderbolt gear that still has years of life left in it.

cransmi says:

I say no update until intel's next round is ready - no incentive until then. At that point I would like to see the same old form factor made $100 cheaper (with the other changes you outlined) to make Mac's even more affordable. A new flash only version starts at $799, it is a hockey puck sized model called the "Mac nano" - the smallest Mac ever.

Peter Cohen says:

To what end? I thought about it for a while and can't see a reason why Apple would make a hockey puck Mac mini. "Just to make it smaller" isn't a good enough reason. It's got to have the functionality of a Mac desktop.

cransmi says:

Several reasons, with the impending death of the spinning hard drive the flash based version is a no-brainer. Apple will not leave a unit with gaping holes of space simply for design reasons. There are more reasons to keep an iPhone larger and add a larger battery than leave a mini with regions of unused space.

- design matters, a computer that tiny is implicitly attractive and looks cool, therefore it will be easy to sell
- it’ll save packaging
- it’ll save desk space. I have 2 old 24” Dell monitors from my pc days, I’d love to simply attach the Mac nano to the back of the monitor and have zero footprint computer
- option in the tv room as cool multimedia pc
- Mac Mini Colo becomes Mac Nano Colo and puts a thousand computers in your pocket
- traveling with your Mac becomes very easy
- when enraged, you could throw it a long way

cransmi says:

Okay, a day for a new creative idea. I'm still sitting with two Dell 24" monitors waiting to be connected with the next Mac mini (in whatever form it arrives) to fully put my PC days behind me. I glance over at the family iMac and admiring that there is no visible CPU box. Unless the new Mini is small enough to attach to the back of the monitor, it won't be as efficient as the iMac and I'll still have desk space wasted.

Wait...the iMac has place for a keyboard on the desk...I still need that, and the whole point is re-using the monitor mostly, and little bit of saving on the mouse and keyboard. The keyboard isn't that expensive. Wait...no optical disk....no spinning hard drive -- this baby could be very small. Small enough to be the reverse of the iMac for when you have a nice big monitor....YES. The new Mac Mini is contained in the keyboard!! No desk space taken by the CPU. Many people take keyboards with them even with the iPad....why couldn't a slightly thicker keyboard also be the computer? Take your keyboard with you and plug into any monitor anywhere. Even a wireless option to use the iPad display. I've sent to Tim for credit.

KMacUser says:

Amen! I'm still running the 2011 Mac Mini and I'm using it with Parallels 9. I installed two Samsung SSDs and 8gb ram and my Mac Mini soars!!!! I'm good with the current size too. I love my Mac Mini!

Awesome computer!

David Hroncheck says:

I bought the 2,3GHz i5 Mini to be my home media server and iOS device manager. I'm very pleased with it for those tasks. The only time I hear its fans is with iOS WiFi sync.

I would love AppleTV built in as an option.

Tricorius says:

Integrating AppleTV would be brilliant. I was planning on picking up one of these to use as a Plex based HTPC. Having it be able to run in computer mode and/or AppleTV mode together would be sweet.

cronin1024 says:

Yes. Apple, please bring Front Row back. You're shipping Mac minis with HDMI and IR ports, all it would take is a tiny amount of software to make a very compelling "Apple TV Pro".

Gazoobee says:

This is an insane comment IMO. All you need to "bring Front Row back," is to download the Apple remote App on iOS.

It will automatically find all iTunes libraries on the network and all their content and let you control them from wherever you are in the house. It's like Front Row "plus" actually.

Gazoobee says:

It would make more sense to build AppleTV into their routers given that all it does is replicate to a large degree, all the functions available on iTunes. A mac computer with "built-in" Apple TV makes no sense at all, whereas since the Apple TV is already in the living room, building it into the router makes excellent sense.

etnpnys says:

I doubt it WILL, but I seriously need BluRay support. Internal, external, who cares. That's probably all I need to use it instead of my Win7 HTPC.

Algus says:

I don't think we'll see dedicated BD support from Apple anytime soon. There are some third party options available but nothing 100% solid IMO. A pity because the SuperDrive is really good in all other respects.

Gazoobee says:

BuRay support in the sense of accessing the discs is already available and has been for ages. BluRay support in the sense of supporting the hardware and software DRM (which is literally the most draconian DRM setup of it's time), will never happen.

Anytime I get a BluRay I just rip it into iTunes and throw the disc in the trash. The trash can is all those silly plastic discs are good for and the sooner we have less of them to throw away and send to the land fill the better.

Becjr says:

Whatever is on the inside will be fine, I'm certain, but for me... I want the new Mac Mini to look like Apple's new Space Ship building.
That's right! A flattened doughnut of awesomeness!

Sent from the iMore App

Peter Cohen says:

Cronut! It's all about the cronut now! ;)

Becjr says:

If I were not avoiding this kind of food right now I'd be intrigued, but as for a shape for the Mac Mini... Yeah!

Sent from the iMore App

Gazoobee says:

It would look cool but it would be a "bad design" in that it would be a round computer that has no reason to be round, so you would have all the negatives of a circular computer, but without any design benefit. No serious designer or engineer would ever consider such a thing.

mulasien says:

I've actually considered a Mac Mini for my first Mac recently. However to get the performance I'd be able to live with, I'd have to 1. spend an extra $200 for the SSD drive (or attempt the fairly difficult process of swapping out drives myself) and 2. get the i7 processor for another $200. Those two additions alone add another $400 to the total making it not so much of a value. I'd also have to buy my own memory (cheaper than what Apple prices it at) to get myself up to 8GB. At that point I ask myself, "just HOW badly do I want to replace my perfectly well functioning Windows desktop?" That answer is - not $1000 worth.

As for what I'd like to see:
- discrete graphics card - if they can fit one into the iMac, they can fit one into the Mac Mini. I don't play nearly as many games as I used to in my younger days, but I still want to play a few games here and there.
- SSD as standard - even if it's just a 128GB drive, I'm fine with that. I can attach an external USB hard drive if I need more space
- stick with the trend of Mac laptop pricing and knock off $100 off the base price of the previous model.

If they can do that, I might just buy one. Heck, I might not even need the discrete GPU if the newest Intel integrated version can play my favorite Blizzard games well enough.

Also, it's small enough. Just how tiny do you really need your desktop to be?

Algus says:

The HD 4000 that is in the current line is pretty adequate for gaming (including Blizzard). Obviously you can't max settings but I've been pretty happy with the performance I've gotten in games like Borderlands 2. One thing that holds it back is the paltry 4 GB of RAM and inability to control how much system RAM is dedicated to video support. If you max out the unit at 16 GB, you don't quite get 1 GB of VRAM and that is pathetic.

mulasien says:

I think when i was researching them I could have sworn I ran into a YouTube video of showing how they edited some .ini file to dedicate more memory to the vid card. Or I could be mistaken. I'll see if I can find it.

LozBlanko says:

I can't think of much extra mine needs to be honest. Perhaps more storage? I use my connected to my TV with wireless keyboard, Apple TV remote and trackpad. It is a perfect media centre once running XBMC or iTunes. I like another commenter's idea of adding the Apple TV interface as an app. That's be awesome. The thing I probably do most now is use an iPad app called iTeleport (same idea as Log-me-in) to control it from the touchscreen. A more official Apple method of doing this would be cool as it makes your iPad into a Mac.

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robotspacer says:

The biggest thing I want is more storage for the server model. (I'm nervous they'll go SSD-only.)

Two Thunderbolt 2 ports would be a huge improvement too. Ditch the FireWire—those that still need it can always buy the adapter.

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KMacUser says:

Yep! I hope they don't go SSD-only either. Many folks put terabyte+ drives in their Mac Mini and use it as a file server.

mikedshaffer says:

I'd love to see new Intel guts, ac wifi and while I'd miss it, FW800 seems to be EOL. Physically I can imagine an AirPort Extreme copy; small footprint yet vertical height. Maybe taking design cues from the Mac Pro.... I don't know, it seems most likely that they will bump the CPU and yank FireWire and call it an update. Same price....

Galley says:

I'd like to see an SSD option on the $599 model. Currently, it's only an option on the $799 model.

KMacUser says:

Honestly, it didn't take all that much for me to install my own SSDs in my 2011 model. Just follow the OWC Youtube video and it walks you through the whole process. You can even buy the tools from them as well as the drives.

Galley says:

Thanks for the info! I wasn't sure how upgradeable the mini was.

infuri8r says:

VERY! Get the "data doubler" from OWC (macsales dot com) and add one of their SSDs as the boot drive (just a 60gb or 120GB is sufficient). Or let Mavericks turn both drives into a think-no-more-about-it "Fusion Drive." Add 16 GB of RAM and now your bottom-of-the-line Mac Mini moves along at a healthy clip. The Data Doubler comes with the tools you need to open the Mini, and the step-by-steps at iFixIt make it brain-dead-easy. I've done several. In fact I have 5 Minis in my server closet right now (all with extra RAM and SSD drives) serving up Mac, Windows Server and Linux VMs by way of VMWare Fusion. Fusion is awesome for turning one machine into two or three. They even look like more machines on your network. The Mini is capable of amazing feats of magic.

Rene Ritchie says:

Oh, not much, just the latest Haswell i5/i7 with PCIe Flash storage (maybe Fusion drive as well?) and TB2 ports.

Basically a new MacBook Pro in desktop form :)

mad1at35 says:

Discrete Nvidia graphics. Definitely not AMD/ATI. Probably won't happen as Intel provide an on package GPU (inferior though improving), but it really shows in gaming frame rates, etc.

Also, SSD as 5400 RPM deives are much too slow, even for OS X. Out went the poor 5400 RPM drive from from Macbook Pro and a speedy 500GB SSD replaced it.

If not pure SSD then fusion drive (128GB SSD, etc).

nickpthemft says:

Smaller and more heat/energy-efficient. Bump to Haswell, offer PCIe-based 128GB SSD standard, 8GB RAM standard, Thunderbolt 2, and an accompanying iPad app to allow reverse-mirroring to use the Mac Mini headlessly, natively over Airplay, with the iPad for touch-based control. Nothing would make me happier than being to use my iPad to control my Mac Mini natively, without tons of software workarounds. It would 100% become my ideal home media server if that were the case.

infuri8r says:

Check out the "Screens" app on the iPad and set up the Remote Management on the Mini. Next best thing to being there. Even when you're not.

Trubador says:

Like Rene, just the Haswell bump, a reasonably priced and decent capacity SSD or Fusion drive, and one or two USB ports on the front as well as the back (for easy thumb drive access). And don't rape me with RAM upgrades.

ralphtweety says:

More RAM upgradability, more video power starting with the video card VRAM.

ralphtweety says:

... of course, at what point do I really just need to get myself a full-blown desktop unit Like an iMac or a Mac Pro?

OxMuzzle says:

Mac Pro form factor with Haswell i5 or i7 with 16gb of ram, ssd, and two Nvidia Titans strapped to it in SLI. Mac Prosumer Mini.

SockRolid says:

The Mac mini? How about smaller, cheaper, and faster.
That's all I want.

Fisherro says:

I like to see the Mac mini specs to be equivalent to the iMac without a display.

Canuk Storm says:

Exactly! Would love to see this as well. The other thing I'd love to see is Apple getting rid of Fusion Drive & just standardizing with PCIe SSD like they do with the rMBP & MP.

Derrick4Real says:

I didn't even know they still made minis.

railstop says:

Why does it need to have a dramatic change, the Mini in current form outperforms most PC's and does quite well as a desktop or even a server. Give it an incremental update (Haswell update could be considered more than incremental of course), a memory limit increase and you're set. All of the rest resides in software that will come down the pipe soon enough.

Good OL MC says:

I'm with you on this especially if it means a price jump. Cost is the most important factor for me here. It needs to maintain that friendly bottom line.

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comphelp says:

I'm looking at one of these as my first Mac. Knowing it's quite an old model is making me hold off on the purchase. Right now, the most important thing is WHEN they'll be released.

The only change I really want (other than the obvious incremental stuff from Haswell) is to dump the old 5400rpm drive. I don't mind a fusion drive (even with less flash memory than current models). That would make for a nice combination. The current price to upgrade to a fusion is just too much.

infuri8r says:

Not that old. Great processors, Thunderbolt, USB 3, room for two drives and 16GB or RAM. Put an SSD in it and it's more than fast enough for nearly anything. That said, Haswell would be awesome!

ChristopherJW says:

What if the new Mac mini were based on the Intel NUC and a bit cheaper?

czhDavid says:

Well if it could be thin as closed macbook air that would be awesome.
Can you imagine something that thick on you table ? it would be just gorgeous

Good OL MC says:

I don't own a Mac yet but I think I'll make the switch after a Mini refresh. The price is right for what I would use it for, which is not very much at all, and I have a good monitor I can use. The portability is also very attractive to me.

I think the current gen Mac Mini would do the job just fine too, but I've never seen the point in buying something that is due for a refresh soon. I keep my devices around for a long time so I make sure I get the best in the category I'm buying.

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RogueLabTech says:

Besides the obvious (Haswell, Thunderbolt 2, HDMI 1.4, graphics bump), I would love to see the max RAM boosted and more SSD options. After installing an aftermarket SSD in my bottom of the line but oh so trusty mid-2010 Mac mini, I am going to probably get an additional two to three years out of it; it is pretty peppy. Also, more RAM would be great for time is spent running VMs, using photo/video apps, or those days when my web browsers are leaking memory all over the place. ;)

et20 says:

I think there's pretty much zero chance the mini will be updated before the new batch of Intel CPUs for 2014 shows up.
The mini is on a two year refresh cadence dictated by how often Intel makes significant improvements to their integrated graphics. Year over year CPU speed improvements are pretty pathetic these days, so it's pointless to refresh it annually.
I don't see any reason or incentive Apple would have to redesign it.

As such, I think it will get a CPU upgrade from Ivy Bridge to Broadwell. I hope and expect it will include the highest performance integrated graphics Intel can deliver in 2014.
The changes to Thunderbolt 2, PCIe storage and WiFi are quite likely as you anticipate.

Obsidian71 says:

Haswell architecture with Thunderbolt 2. Leverage PCIe SSD and/or Fusion Drive again.

The next major change to the mini will be moving to 64-bit ARM but that's not ready yet.

trekkie1 says:

I honestly wish they'd step back from the plunge to SSD.

i don't know what you folks use your computers for, but storage capacity is still a problem for me.

Digital RAW files, MP4s for Music, TV and Movies. That's a ton of data for me. Streaming everything isn't good because stuff can/will disappear from iTunes from time to time and well, net neutrality is dead and if you rely on streaming you could find yourself in a 'higher tier' pricing plan rather fast.

I don't mind it's current incantation, I just would like to see it updated to the latest processor tech.

Obsidian71 says:

I'll simply be running network attached storage for the larger media. Tiered storage rules.

RationAlex says:

Might I suggest using direct attached storage through USB3 ? A USB-Attached-SCSI-Protocol (UASP) capable USB3 enclosure has ~4x-5x the bandwidth at much less cost with little CPU overhead. Gigabit ethernet is a significant bottleneck for even a single fast HDD.

Obsidian71 says:

@RationAlex. Thanks for the heads up. Read about UASP and found that the kernel extension are in Mountain Lion. Good read on performance here:

http://fortysomethinggeek.blogspot.com/2012/10/blacx-5g-usb-30-update-fa...

Lance Collins says:

Peter, do you think the MacBook Pro non retina will get an update as well?

RationAlex says:

Difficult as it is to predict what Apple will do, Peter, I agree with most all of what you imagined except the storage aspect. I don't see PCIe flash coming to the Mac mini without one less SATA drive inside due to heat/space issues, but the popularity of the server version you mentioned makes this unlikely.
In addition HDDs will see a bump to 7200 rpm, HDMI will go to 1.4, and the pre-installed Mavericks' memory compression tech will leave base & maximum RAM unchanged.

mamift1 says:

I'd like to see them put in an Intel Avoton chip, like the 8-core C2750; huge performance upgrade from previous gen Intel Atom chips, but operates within the same energy profile (2.5 watts per core) http://ark.intel.com/products/77987

ZainiChia says:

I'm hoping to see the size fall somewhere in between the current Mac Mini, and the current Apple TV. A bit ambitious, but I think it can be done :)

Kaiser Gayser says:

32 Gb Ram
iCore7/Xenon (Desktop), 4K Graphic Card
SSD - Only, Modern HDMI/Thunderbolt
No Apple logo on top please
Keep it under 2000 Euro
:)

Todd Bernhard says:

1) Keep the old/current model around at $100 less
2) New Mac mini in same form factor BUT in BLACK to match the Pro, Apple TV, and most home theatres
3) All SSD, all the time. I own three Mac minis, and a MacBook Pro and I haven't bought a spinning hard drive device in years.
4) I'd love a built-in battery, for a mini Uninterruptible Power Supply. I use Mac minis as servers.

Nico D says:

I'd like to see Apple formally support the idea of using Mac Mini's in a RAIS setup (redundant array of independent *servers*) with Mac OS X Server. This feature is the missing piece for those replacing aging xServes and such. A Mac Mini is an excellent solution for a lot of server scenarios, but it has no redundancy other than a dual drive option.

The simplest idea...
Connect two, identical Mini's together via thunderbolt. One is the server, the other is in a kind of target disk mode, mirroring the drive of the server. When the server freezes or dies, the other boots automatically, picking up the necessary IP/DNS/MAC address configuration to continue where the other left off without dropping services or losing software license registrations.

The next idea...
Having both (or more) run at all times, splitting the load. Add or reduce capacity as needed... just plug another Mini into the chain via Thunderbolt 2.

Heck, make rack-mountable 4 and 8 bay RAIS chassis where you plug in Minis.

I can dream.

infuri8r says:

Others already make the chassis. Just the software and a few thunderbolt cables should do the trick. Can't wait. There are sooooo many ways to do this with PCs it isn't funny. I've even thought of using them as Boot Camp boxes and install Eucalyptus on them (takes a minimum of three). Can't run Mac software on that, though.

SCPaul says:

I'd like to see same form factor (and upgradability) and Haswell/Iris Pro. Then I'm upgrading.

Come to think of it. I don't care what the form factor is as long as I can get to the ram and drive with little drama.

James Bogard says:

2 thunderbolt ports
4 USB 3
HDMI 1.4
32 GB RAM
Half the body height but same form factor as new Mac Pro
Silver Gray instead of Space Gray body
Next gen processors
Next gen wireless keyboard and mouse

sf_basilix says:

"What do I want to see on the new Mac mini"
-at this point, I don't care, I just want them to release the new one already! Waited long enuf!

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Tomaburque says:

Typing this on my new i7 Mini. The Core 2 Duo Mini is under the TV now. I would like a Mini-Max - about twice as tall with desktop i7s instead of the laptop versions running at full speed. And the option for a decent discrete graphics chip. At that point it would be a headless iMac. But that's what I want.

K Sec says:

I think Apple wanted to move its full Desktop Range to SSD as well. But the pricing structure does not allow them to do so. NAND was getting more expensive due to all sort of other reasons. And unseen by other industry expert for the first time ever Semiconductor industry are making more from Mobile DRAM and NAND then producing Leading Edge Node SoC. Even though the later is still making healthy profits.

This makes putting SSD in Mini and iMac difficult.

This is where I think Apple will make the cut. To put NAND inside iMac and Mac Mini Apple will have to cut cost on CPU. Since CPU speed no longer matters as much. And with the Mac Pro AMD Radeon and Software developing for OpenCl and HSA computing, it is entirely possible Apple could switch to using AMD Kaveri Mobile if AMD give in to some special discount.

Or Apple will simply decide to use last generation CPU on the Mini and switch it to using SSD.

Personally i dont see much can be done with the Mini price range and Apple's profit margin. Unless Mini is the first one switching to ARMv8 .

SockRolid says:

What I'd like to see:
- Totally new design, like a shorter (cylindrical) Mac Pro.
- Lower price.

What Apple will probably do IMHO:
- Same old design, just slightly faster etc.
- Same old price.

So why won't Apple lavish time and money on a Mac mini refresh? Because it's not a big money maker for them. Anyone remember the last time the iPod Classic was updated? Not sure, but the iPod Classic just isn't a bread-and-butter product for Apple any more. Same with the iPad mini.

And, frankly, Mac mini buyers probably wouldn't care whether or not Apple radically alters its design. A huge improvement in its looks and/or specs might not really boost sales that much. Even sales did increase, the delta would only be a drop in the bucket compared to iMac / Mac Pro / iOS device revenue anyway.

Jim Gramze says:

I want the Mac Mini to be Apples only OSX machine with the following feature: they bridge together. Buy one and get an X TB drive. Buy a second and automatically you have double the cores and the two drives become a RAID. Add a third and you have three processors running simultaneously and the RAID becomes redundant such that if one unit dies it can be replaced without losing data. You just keep stacking then up until you have all the computer, space, and ports that you need. I don't care if it's impossible, that's what I want and it would suit every desktop.

gary p says:

I get that the "minimalist design ethos" dictates a clean front. But after living for years with a first-generation Mac Mini I can say without question I'd like to see a front-mounted power button. And since we've sullied the clean front with a button, can we go ahead and put a couple USB ports there too? I have a half-dozen or so USB devices that I only connect to the computer on occasion, usually for a single sit-down session...each with its own specific USB cord. Having to have access to the back of the Mini to power up and/or to plug & unplug any of those occasional-use devices limits the where I can put the computer. It's also a general pain in the ass.

Kian Ong says:

Seriously I love apple products. But because of they being so lazy and slow in their new product, they are forcing me to change to others brands. The longest mobile phone I ever use in my life is the first iphone,i use it for almost 3 years and till now they just do not wish to make the screen bigger!! Now no choice I got to use samsung for the bigger screen. As for pc, I own a fews mac and now I m looking for one to replace my 4years old IMac inwhich I love to have my own monitor of my prefer size. I am waiting for the new mini inwhich it suit me the most now for ages. And it just feel like apple is getting sososo lazy after "someone took over steve". Guess with the high monthy paid this person must be enjoying every single days and just do not spend as much time as steve did toward apple. Said enough love apple products but please make us feel you all are still as great as before.