Apple on Tuesday announced a new Mac mini, the first since 2018, featuring its new custom-designed Arm-based M1 chip, joining the new MacBook Air as the second Apple Silicon device announced at the company’s “One More Thing” event. The new desktop machine will start at $699, $100 cheaper than the previously released Mac mini from two years ago.
Apple claims the new Mac mini is up to 60 percent more energy-efficient, thanks to the M1 chip. The company also claims the device has a “3x faster CPU” and “6x faster graphics,” with options for up to 16GB of RAM — the limit for the M1 chip, according to Apple — and up to 2TB of solid-state storage. Apple says the machine can support up to two external displays as well as a 6K display, with DisplayPort options including Thunderbolt and USB 4. Although the new Mac mini notably features two fewer Thunderbolt ports than the 2018 Intel-based model.
Apple claims the new Mac mini, thanks to the M1 chip, can perform a number of tasks faster than its predecessor, including:
- Compile code in Xcode up to 3x faster
- Play Shadow of the Tomb Raider with up to 4x higher frame rates
- Render a complex timeline in Final Cut Pro up to 6x faster
- Up to 3x as many real-time plugins in Logic Pro
- Increase resolution of a photo in Pixelmator Pro up to 15x faster
The shift to its own custom processors was hailed by CEO Tim Cook as a “historic day for the Mac” back when the company announced the long-rumored transition at this year’s WWDC in June. And that’s not hyperbole: the shift to Arm-based Macs and away from Intel chips is among the most consequential product decisions in the company’s history, and it will have significant and long-lasting effects on both the broader tech industry and the macOS, iOS, and iPadOS ecosystems.
The Mac mini is just the first of what’s believed to be an entire line of M1-based desktop machines in the works, including a new iMac and a potentially smaller version of the Mac Pro, Bloomberg reported ahead of the event last week.
Update November 10th, 3:43PM ET: Added clarification that Apple’s new M1 chip tops out at 16GB of memory by design, capping the available RAM options for the new Mac mini.