Apple is rumoured to be planning a hardware refresh for its neglected Mac Mini desktop, to launch alongside the iPad Air 2 as early as next month.
Apple's diminutive Mac Mini launched as one of the smallest off-the-shelf desktop PCs it was possible to buy, and with its eye-catching aluminium case caught plenty of people's imagination even if its upgradeability and raw performance could never match the company's Mac Pro range. It soon attracted some competition, most recently in the form of Intel's Next Unit of Computing (NUC) family, and in 2008 rumours spread that the company was looking to kill the product
in favour of pushing space-conscious customers towards its more profitable MacBook Pro hardware.
Six years later the Mac Mini is still an active product, but one Apple has not updated in almost two years - in stark contrast to the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and Mac Pro ranges. Rumours suggest it is planning to change that as early as next month, with an unnamed source speaking to MacRumours
claiming that Apple will launch a new Mac Mini alongside an iPad Air 2 - likely featuring the new dual-core 64-bit ARMv8 processor developed for the iPhone 6 family - and, potentially, its OS X 10.10 Yosemite operating system which it has been running in public beta.
The site claims its source has 'provided accurate information in the past
,' but raises valid concerns about the proposed timing: delays to Intel's next-generation Broadwell processors mean that the low-power chips around which a new Mac Mini would be based are not available, potentially forcing Apple to use current-generation Haswell parts. As a result, the upgrade may not be as impressive as the two-year timescale would indicate - unless, that is, Apple has managed to agree an early run of low-power Broadwell parts, much as it managed to with the MacBook Air and parts destined for Intel's Ultrabook project.
Apple is, as is usual for the company, remaining silent on the matter, but anyone considering the purchase of a Mac Mini - or, for that matter, an iPad Air - would be well advised to hold fire for a month to see what transpires.