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Mac mini 2022 could still be coming this year — and with a big upgrade

Apple Mac mini with M1 review
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The new Mac mini 2022 we've been waiting for was a no-show at the Apple Peek Performance event, but the rumor mill continues to spin about the new entry-level desktop Mac.

Sources speaking to 9to5Mac claimed that Apple has two new Mac minis in the works. One version (code-named J473) will use the rumored Apple M2 chip, while the other (J474) will use an M2 Pro chip for enhanced performance. The standard M2 Mac mini will apparently launch later this year, but no release window was given for the M2 Pro version.

The M2 chip is the name given for the replacement to Apple's first proprietary laptop and desktop computer chip, the Apple M1 chip that arrived in 2020. After launching in the Mac mini, MacBook Pro (13-inch) and MacBook Air, it has since appeared in the iPad Pro and most recently in the iPad Air 2022

An enhanced M1 Pro version of the chip is currently only available in the MacBook Pro (14-inch) and MacBook Pro (16-inch). The M1 Max can be found as an optional upgrade for the MacBook Pros or the standard version of the new Mac Studio, Apple's new more powerful desktop computer.

It's supposedly the Mac Studio's fault that we haven't seen M1 Pro or M1 Max versions of the Mac mini. According to 9to5Mac's sources, Apple originally planned to offer the M1 Pro and Max chips in the Mac mini, but these were then dropped in favor of the M1 Max and M1 Ultra-powered Studio. That's why Apple now seems to be planning to skip over the modified M1 chips to start fresh with the new generation of M-series processors on the Mac mini later in the year. 

Previous rumors have said that the two new Mac minis could instead use the M2 chip and M1 Pro. That's good news, as potentially offering two chip options would allow users the flexibility to get either a regular-powered Mac at a good price (the current Mac mini starts at $699) or a more powerful version that should still come under the $2,000 starting price of the Mac Studio.

With Apple's spring event now behind us, there are a few obvious opportunities for Apple to launch the Mac mini this year. First up would be the WWDC developer event that usually happens in June. This was the event in 2020 where we first learned about Apple Silicon, so it would be an obvious place to at least reveal more detail about the M2 chip and associated products, if not announce them fully. 

Otherwise Apple could wait until fall for its usual product reveal events, where we expect to see the iPhone 14 and other major device launches. After all it was last fall when introduced to the new MacBook Pros, and the same time in 2020 for the Mac mini reveal. So Apple saving the new  Mac minis for this fall would follow an established pattern.

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Richard is a Tom's Guide staff writer based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, gaming, audio and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.