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An M2 Mac mini won't kill the Mac Studio, here's why

Mac Studio
(Image credit: Apple)

A new report from Mark Gurman has hit the headlines, telling Apple fans that they should expect an M2 Mac mini later this year. Per the report, it’ll come with both M2 and M2 Pro options available (opens in new tab). Gurman suggests the introduction of this new Mac mini could kill any chances of a future Mac Studio refresh; the death of Mac Studio, if you will. But we aren’t certain that is the case; here’s why.

Let’s look slightly ahead. According to the rumors, we’ve got the new M2 and M2 Pro Mac mini, an updated Mac Studio, and finally a Mac Pro with Apple silicon. Note, that this is unlikely to happen, the Mac Studio probably won’t get a refresh until M3 at the earliest. But we can imagine whatever we want.

There are five chips in this scenario: M2, M2 Pro, M2 Max, M2 Ultra, and M2 Extreme (assuming Apple follows suit and the rumors), and three devices to offer these to each level of consumer. The Mac mini fits your everyday consumer for general computing and lighter workloads (yes, it can handle more, but that’s never been who the Mac mini is for). The Mac Studio remains focused on creatives, and those whose workloads require a little extra oomph, especially in the graphics department. And then the Mac Pro for the pros, those that need the most power Apple can muster up into a device.

That’s exactly what Apple has done and is doing with MacBooks, too. Cast your mind back a few years to the MacBook Air, MacBook, and MacBook Pro line-up. Low, middle high; budget, medium, premium; consumer, advanced, professional. The old-design 13-inch MacBook Pros are plugging this middle gap for now, and reports of the return of the 12-inch MacBook point towards Apple returning to this format. It’s a tried and tested way of marketing a machine to a broad range of consumers, exactly what Apple needs to do.

Mac mini (2018)

(Image credit: iMore)

 Apple’s not turning its back on the Mac Studio 

But why would Apple do this now? Well, we’ve already got the precedent for it. You can order a MacBook with any Apple silicon chip you want. On certain devices, you can still order the previous year’s configuration options. Cynics will say this is Apple using up leftover stock, and perhaps they’re right. But it shows Apple giving customers as many options as possible when it comes to Mac, something that we assume will continue. With an option for every possible use case, there’s no reason not to upgrade or move to a Mac.

Not only do those three categories of people make sense, but it also falls rather naturally. You’ll always have a split of consumers needing different levels of power, and the potential new Mac line-up will cater to this.

Let’s consider price, too. The difference between $699 for the base Mac mini and the current $5999 for the base Mac Pro is quite the jump for most consumers. Nestled right there in-between is once again the Mac Studio, starting at $1999. It fills a potential hole in the Mac line-up, where a $5000 price increase would be too much for most. We go back once again to the idea of budget, medium, premium; or consumer, advanced, professional.

If anything, this is the Mac line-up we want. Gone are the days of limited power options in Mac computers. You’d be able to pick out your Mac’s power like you pick out your spice level at Nando’s. The line-up gives consumers options and allows Apple to show its full range of computing power.

Think of the M2 Mac mini as a step towards the next Mac Studio. It’s starting to bump up the chipset, it will likely add some more I/O, and it will shape any updates to the Mac Studio. Assuming Apple sticks with the current trend, future Mac Studios would continue to offer more functionality, extra I/O, and that all-important extra power. Everything you need in that middle ground, but the everyday consumer might not.

So, no. An M2 Mac mini won’t kill the Mac Studio. Rather, it’ll slot in nicely beside it. Like the new child in a family. We can’t see the Mac range without the Mac Studio, to be honest, and that’s because the device makes sense. Don’t say goodbye to the Mac Studio just yet, we’ve got a feeling you’ll be seeing it again.

Connor Jewiss
Contributor

Connor is a technology writer and editor, with a byline on multiple platforms. He has been writing for around six years now across the web and in print too. Connor has experience on most major platforms, though does hold a place in his heart for macOS, iOS/iPadOS, electric vehicles, and smartphone tech.