Apple, yesterday, held another live event for the year — third in the past three months. With the all-new Apple Watch models (SE | Series 6), new iPads (iPad Air 4 | iPad 8th-Gen), and four new iPhones (iPhone 12&12 mini | iPhone 12 Pro&Pro Max) already announced, as rumors suggested, the event was about Apple transitioning from Intel processors to its custom silicon (M1) for its Mac computers.
And subsequently, about the Cupertino-giant unveiling its latest lineup of Macs, that includes the all-new Mac mini, MacBook Air, and the MacBook Pro (13-inch). What’s interesting to see here is Apple bringing the chipset to the Mac mini, which is the most affordable way to get the Mac experience. Talking about the all-new mini, Apple quotes, “Staggering Performance and an Ultracompact Design.”
All you need to know about the all-new Mac mini
1. The 2020 Mac mini sticks to the same compact design language as the previous-generation Mac mini (2018), with the exact same dimensions, but an ever so slight weight shedding — 2.6 pounds as opposed to 2.9 pounds on the older generation.
2. On the inside, the mini now comes with Apple’s very-own custom M1 silicon. The M1 chip incorporates an 8-core CPU (4 performance cores and 4 efficiency cores) and an 8-core GPU. According to Apple, this translates into up to 3x faster CPU performance and up to 6x increase in graphics performance than the previous generation. Furthermore, the new SoC also allows for up to 15x faster ML performance than the 2018 model, thanks to its 16-core Neural Engine.
3. To give an idea of the performance jump, Apple compared the new Mac mini to some of the “best-selling Windows desktops” in the same price range and highlighted that with the new mini users can get up to 5x faster performance at just one-tenth the size.
4. The new Mac mini comes with 8GB of (unified) RAM, which can be configured up to 16GB. It offers 256GB and 512GB of storage. And similar to the RAM, the storage can also be configured up to 2TB.
5. With all that increase in raw performance, one of the things that might bother some users is with regards to the thermals. And since the mini has a compact form factor, that is a fairly valid concern. However, Apple suggests that it has employed an “advanced thermal design” on the new Mac mini that will enable it to stay cool and silent while handling tasks.
6. In terms of I/O, the new mini gets you two Thunderbolt 3/USB 4 ports, two USB-A ports, one HDMI 2.0 port, one Gigabit Ethernet port, and one 3.5mm audio jack. The Thunderbolt 3/USB 4 ports come with support for DisplayPort and transfer speeds of up to 40Gbps (with Thunderbolt 3) and up to 10Gbps (with USB 3.1 Gen-2).
7. What’s interesting about the I/O offering on the Mac mini, this time around, is that it enables support for up to two displays (including Apple’s Pro Display XDR in full 6K resolution). According to Apple, you can simultaneously use one display (with up to 6K resolution at 60Hz connected) via Thunderbolt, and one display (with up to 4K resolution at 60Hz) connected via HDMI 2.0.
8. As for connectivity, the Mac mini 2020 provides Wi-Fi 6 (IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac) support, which is an upgrade over 802.11ac on the 2018 model, along with Bluetooth 5.0.
9. The mini runs on macOS Big Sur, which is claimed to be the most advanced desktop operating system by Apple. And with the all-new M1 chip, all Mac computers, including the mini, are expected to take advantage of the same to offer a better experience with the new operating system and the apps.
10. Unlike the 2018 model, which offered the Space Gray colorway, the 2020 Mac mini comes in a silver finish.
Mac mini Highlights (compared to the previous generation Intel-based offering)
1. Up to 4x higher frame rates on titles like the Shadow of the Tomb Raider.
2. Ability to use up to 3x more real-time plug-ins in Logic Pro.
3. Improved and accelerated performance when using ML frameworks like TensorFlow or Create ML.
4. Up to 6x faster render speeds in complex timelines on Final Cut Pro.
5. Up to 3x faster code complication on Xcode.
Mac mini: Pricing and Availability
The Mac mini starts at $699, $679 for education. It is already up for pre-orders and will begin shipping starting next week. As for India pricing, the Mac mini starts at Rs 64,900, Rs 58,410 for education. Furthermore, you can also configure the Mac mini by changing the RAM and storage configuration to suit your requirements.