Apple CEO Tim Cook: Mac Mini Will Be ‘Important Part’ of Future Product Lineup

Apple's Mac mini celebrated its third birthday this week, marking three years since the device was last updated. The lack of attention Apple has given to the Mac mini has left many Mac users wondering about the future of the machine and whether there are updates to come.

MacRumors reader Krar decided to email Apple CEO Tim Cook to get an update on the Mac mini and he received a response. Cook said it was "not time to share any details," but he confirmed that the Mac mini will be an important part of the company's product lineup in the future.


Cook's response echoes a similar statement from Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller, who commented on the Mac mini when Apple's plans for a new Mac Pro were unveiled. "The Mac mini is an important product in our lineup and we weren't bringing it up because it's more of a mix of consumer with some pro use," he said.

Positioned as a "bring your own peripherals" machine that comes without a mouse, keyboard, or display, the Mac mini is Apple's most affordable desktop machine. The current version is woefully outdated though, and continues to use Haswell processors and integrated Intel HD 5000/Intel Iris Graphics.


It's not clear when Apple will introduce a new Mac mini, and aside from a single rumor hinting at a new high-end Mac mini with a redesign that "won't be so mini anymore," we've heard no rumors about work on a possible Mac mini refresh.

With 2017 coming to a close, we're not likely to see a new Mac mini until 2018 at the earliest. A refreshed machine could use Kaby Lake Refresh chips, and as all chips appropriate for the Mac mini feature four cores, a new machine would likely reintroduce quad-core performance.

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Buyer's Guide: Mac Mini (Don't Buy)

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Apple’s Mac Mini is Now Three Years Old, No Refresh Date in Sight

Today marks the third anniversary of the last update of the Mac mini, Apple's most affordable and compact desktop computer. The Mac mini was refreshed on October 16, 2014, and since then, the machine has seen no additional updates.

The Mac mini is positioned as a "bring your own" machine that comes without a mouse, keyboard, or display, and the current version is still running Haswell processors and integrated Intel HD 5000/Intel Iris Graphics.

Pricing on the Mac mini starts at $499 for the entry-level base configuration, making it far more affordable than the iMac, which starts at $1,099 for a non-4K 21-inch version.


With the 2014 refresh, fans were disappointed as Apple ceased offering a quad-core processor option and support for dual hard drives, features that have not returned.

At this point, it's not clear if and when Apple will introduce a new version of the Mac mini. Prior to the 2014 refresh, the Mac mini was updated in 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012, so it's never before gone three years sans update.

Many Apple customers are eagerly awaiting a new Mac mini, including businesses that rely on the machine, like Brian Stucki's MacStadium.

When Apple announced plans for a modular Mac Pro, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller said the Mac mini "is an important product" in the company's lineup, suggesting Apple doesn't have plans to abandon the machine. He declined to offer up any information on a potential refresh, though.

Aside from a single rumor from Pike's Universum hinting at a new high-end Mac mini with a redesign that "won't be so mini anymore," we've heard no details at all about work on a possible Mac mini refresh.

If a new Mac mini is in the works, though, it could use either Seventh-Generation Kaby Lake chips or Eighth-Generation Kaby Lake Refresh chips, both of which are available now.

The Mac mini typically uses the same 15W U-series chips that are found in the 13-inch MacBook Pro. With Intel's Eighth-Generation chips, the U-series all feature four cores, so should a future Mac mini adopt Kaby Lake Refresh chips or later, quad-core performance will return.

Given that it's October and there are no rumors, it's not likely we're going to see a Mac mini refresh in 2017, but sometime in 2018 is fair game.

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Buyer's Guide: Mac Mini (Don't Buy)

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AppleCare+ Now Available For Mac With Accidental Damage Coverage

Apple today introduced AppleCare+ for Mac, an extended warranty plan that provides accidental damage coverage for a service fee.


AppleCare+ extends a Mac's warranty coverage to three years from its original purchase date, and adds up to two incidents of accidental damage coverage, each subject to a service fee of $99 for screen damage or external enclosure damage, or $299 for other damage. Prices are based in U.S. dollars and vary elsewhere.

AppleCare+ for Mac also includes 24/7 priority access to Apple experts by chat or phone. It replaces the AppleCare Protection Plan for Mac, which was essentially the same as AppleCare+, but didn't include accidental damage coverage like Apple has long offered for devices like the iPhone and iPad.

AppleCare+ for Mac is available for the 12-inch MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac, Mac Pro, and Mac mini for between $99 and $379. The service fees are additional in the event of accidental damage. Prices are between equal and $30 higher than the old AppleCare Protection Plan sans accidental damage coverage.

AppleCare+ can be purchased alongside a new Mac, or customers can buy it online or in store within 60 days of purchasing a Mac.


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Intel’s Upcoming Coffee Lake Processors Up to 30% Faster Than Kaby Lake Chips Coming to Mac Notebooks

Intel today said one of its eighth-generation "Coffee Lake" processors delivered more than a 30 percent performance boost over an equivalent seventh-generation "Kaby Lake" processor in recent testing. Both generations of chips are suitable for Apple notebooks, such as the 12-inch MacBook and MacBook Pro.


"We will have more to say about the 8th Gen Intel Core processor in the future but it's exciting to share that in the latest testing, we're seeing a performance improvement of more than 30 percent over the 7th Gen Intel Core processor," said Gregory Bryant, a senior executive at Intel.

Using the benchmark tool SYSmark 2014 on Windows, Intel compared an unreleased Core i7 quad-core processor with an unspecified base clock speed, and Turbo Boost up to 4GHz, against its Core i7-7500U dual-core processor with a base clock speed of 2.7GHz and Turbo Boost up to 3.5GHz. Both are 15W chips.

Intel aims to make its "Coffee Lake" lineup available to computer makers in the second half of this year, and the eighth-generation processors should provide the usual benefits of faster performance and longer battery life in future Macs.

Apple has yet to update its Mac lineup with Kaby Lake processors in the first place, but the company reportedly plans to announce new 12-inch MacBook and MacBook Pro models equipped with the seventh-generation chips at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference next week.

It's still too early to say when we'll see the first Mac with Coffee Lake, but it likely won't be until at least late 2017 or early 2018 given Intel's roadmap.

Earlier this year, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said Apple plans to launch a nondescript "15-inch MacBook" with 32GB of desktop-class RAM. He said the notebook will enter mass production in the early September quarter, but it's uncertain if Coffee Lake processors will be readily available by then.

Intel today also unveiled its Core X-series processor family for desktop computers, ranging from quad-core options to the high-end Core i9 Extreme Edition with 18 cores. The processors, codenamed "Basin Falls," are "coming soon." More details and tech specs are listed in this fact sheet and slideshow.


Apple has promised to release a high-end iMac for professional users later this year, and Intel's new Core X-series processors appear to be appropriate for the desktop computer if the company wishes to use them.

Apple's current Mac lineup uses a mix of Intel's fifth-generation Broadwell and sixth-generation Skylake processors.


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Apple May Be Working on 8K Display and New High-End Mac Mini

Apple recently said it is working on a "completely rethought" Mac Pro with a modular design that will be accompanied by an Apple-branded pro display.


Apple did not share any specific details about the external display, but if the blog Pike's Universum is to be believed, it could feature an impressive 8K resolution. The report did not offer any additional details about the display, including a potential release date, but Apple said it won't be ready this year.

8K displays are just starting to reach the market now, led by Dell's new 32-inch UltraSharp 8K display, which retails for $5,000 in the United States. Apple has yet to launch a display with greater than 5K resolution, as found on the iMac with Retina 5K Display and the UltraFine 5K Display it partnered with LG on.

Apple confirmed that it had exited the standalone display market after discontinuing the Thunderbolt Display in June 2016, but it has evidently reversed course. It's a smart move, given concerns that Apple was no longer focused on pros, and considering that LG's UltraFine 5K Display had a hardware flaw.

On the Mac mini front, the blog said that the next high-end model "won't be so mini anymore," suggesting the most expensive configuration might have a larger or taller design to accommodate for upgraded tech specs. Apple last updated the Mac mini in October 2014, a span of 903 days, per the MacRumors Buyer's Guide.


Apple recently said the Mac mini is "important" within its product lineup, but it remained tight-lipped about the prospects of future updates.

The current Mac mini models, which are designed to be connected to a display, keyboard, and mouse purchased separately, range in price from $499 to $999. The base model is equipped with a 1.4GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor with 4GB of RAM, a 500GB hard drive, and integrated Intel HD Graphics 5000.

Intel has released faster Kaby Lake processors appropriate for the Mac mini, but no other rumors have surfaced about the entry-level computer as of yet. At least one other plausible addition is Thunderbolt 3, which is already included on the MacBook Pro and rumored to be added to the next iMac models as well.

Pike's Universum is best known for spotting references to unreleased Macs or upcoming software versions hidden within Apple's operating systems. The blog does not have an established track record of reporting on Apple's plans based on its own inside sources, so this rumor should be treated with caution for now.

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Apple Says Mac Mini is ‘Important’ But Remains Tight-Lipped About Future Updates

Apple today introduced spec-bumped versions of the current Mac Pro, and revealed that it's working on a "completely rethought" Mac Pro alongside Apple-branded pro displays that will launch beyond 2017. However, Apple remained tight lipped about the Mac mini, beyond noting that it's an "important" product in its lineup.


Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller via Daring Fireball:
"On that I'll say the Mac Mini is an important product in our lineup and we weren't bringing it up because it's more of a mix of consumer with some pro use. … The Mac Mini remains a product in our lineup, but nothing more to say about it today."
Apple last updated the Mac mini in October 2014, a span of over 900 days, according to the MacRumors Buyer's Guide.

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Intel Announces Full Lineup of Kaby Lake Processors for iMac, MacBook Pro, and More

At today's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, Intel formally announced its full lineup of 7th-generation Intel Core processors, known as Kaby Lake. Kaby Lake low-power Y-Series and U-Series processors were announced in late August, but today's unveiling covers notebook and desktop chips that could be destined for many future Apple Macs.

Intel's 7th-generation processors are built on the "14nm+" process, introducing new optimizations compared to previous 14nm Broadwell and Skylake chips.

According to Intel, Kaby Lake will bring "double digit productivity performance increases" of up to 20 percent for gaming notebooks and 25 percent for desktops. With 4K and 360 degree content, customers can expect up to 65 percent faster performance on notebooks. Enhanced security, a new media engine, and improvements in VR and gaming are all advertised features.

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Of the chips announced today, the 28-watt U-Series chips are appropriate for a future 13-inch MacBook Pro update, and we could see the 7267U/7287U/7567U used in 13-inch MacBook Pro machines this year. Those same chips are likely what Apple would use in a Mac mini update, as the Mac mini and the 13-inch MacBook Pro have traditionally included the same chips.

Intel's 45-watt H-Series chips are appropriate for a future 15-inch MacBook Pro update. The 7700HQ would be ideal for entry-level machines, while a mid-tier machine would use the 7820HQ and the top-of-the-line MacBook Pro would use the 7920HQ.

There are multiple potential upgrade options for the 27-inch iMac, but the S-Series desktop chips (7500/7600/7700K) are the straight upgrade path from the current Skylake chips used in 27-inch machines.

For the 21.5-inch iMac, Apple normally uses chips with higher-end integrated graphics, but Intel has not released Kaby Lake chips that are a clear upgrade for the smaller iMac machines. Apple could choose to use Skylake chips instead of Kaby Lake chips for the 21.5-inch iMac, and in that case, would likely adopt the 6585R, 6685R, and 6785R chips, released six months ago.

With today's announcement, Kaby Lake chips that are clear upgrades for the iMac, MacBook Pro, and Mac mini will be available to manufacturers in the near future and will be available for Apple's planned 2017 upgrades. Kaby Lake chips appropriate for future MacBook updates are already available.

Rumors suggest we will see refreshed iMacs in the spring, which is also when we may see new MacBooks, and in the fall, we expect to see Kaby Lake refreshes for the MacBook Pro lineup.


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What to Expect From Apple in 2017: iPhone 8, 10-Inch iPad Pro, Refreshed iMacs, and More

With the launch of the iPhone 7 and MacBook Pro, 2016 has been a mixed year for Apple. The iPhone 7 was released without a headphone jack, an unpopular choice that's now been somewhat ameliorated by the launch of the AirPods, and the MacBook Pro has been plagued by battery issues, graphics problems, and complaints about the high price of the device.

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Apple also saw its first decline in iPhone sales in 2016, but 2017 could potentially turn things around for the company. We're expecting the biggest iPhone revision we've seen since the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus launched in 2014, plus we're also expecting major iPad changes, refreshed desktop Macs, and software improvements.

iPhone 8 - September 2017


Rumors about the 2017 iPhone started ramping up before the iPhone 7 was even released, so there's a lot of information out there, and at this point, quite a bit of it conflicts, so it's difficult to get a clear picture of what Apple is planning for the iPhone's 10th anniversary.

If you read all of the rumors and suss out some common themes, there are a few concrete details that hint at what likely to see in the next-generation iPhone. We're assuming it's going to be called the "iPhone 8" due to design changes that are more radical than we'd expect for an "iPhone 7s," but it's entirely possible Apple will go with another name.

It looks like there's going to be at least three iPhone models, and one of those will have an OLED display. It's sounding like we're going to get one premium OLED iPhone somewhere in the neighborhood of 5 inches, with either a flexible curved display that wraps around the edges like the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge or an edge-to-edge display more in line with the current design of the iPhone 7.
Continue reading What to Expect From Apple in 2017: iPhone 8, 10-Inch iPad Pro, Refreshed iMacs, and More

Apple CEO Tim Cook: ‘We Have Great Desktops in Our Roadmap’

In a post to an employee message board obtained by TechCrunch, Apple CEO Tim Cook assured employees that the company is still committed to the Mac and that "great desktops" are coming. Apple's desktop computers haven't seen an upgrade in at least 433 days.

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Some folks in the media have raised the question about whether we’re committed to desktops,” Cook wrote. “If there’s any doubt about that with our teams, let me be very clear: we have great desktops in our roadmap. Nobody should worry about that.”
Cook says that the desktop is "very strategic" to Apple because the performance desktops can provide is "really important" to a lot of people and "critical" for some people. He says the current iMac is the best desktop Apple's ever made and its 5K display is the best desktop display in the world.

In regards to its future roadmap and how Apple employees can help push the company forward, Cook says that "you can rarely see precisely where you want to go from the beginning." Instead, Cook argues that "pulling strings" to see what's coming next is one of Apple's strengths, noting that the creation of Apple Watch led to the creation of ResearchKit, which lead to the creation of CareKit. Cook concludes the post by saying the company doesn't do things for a return on investment, it explores new things because it's exciting and might lead somewhere.

The lack of refreshed Mac hardware can be attributed to a combination of Apple waiting on chipmakers and suppliers to ship their new products and the Cupertino Company's renewed focus on iPad.

Apple's desktop Macs haven't seen upgrades in over a year. The iMac's last update was 433 days ago, the Mac Mini's last update was 795 days ago and the Mac Pro's last update was 1,097 days ago.


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Apple’s Renewed Focus on iPad Left the Mac Behind This Year

When looking at the current state of the Mac lineup, the new MacBook Pro is the only model Apple has updated over the past seven-plus months. Even the latest MacBook Pro models required a 527-day wait, which was considerably longer than the average of 320 days between previous MacBook Pro refreshes.

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A glance at our own MacRumors Buyer's Guide shows the new MacBook Pro is the only Mac currently listed with a "Buy Now" status, as all other models beyond the 12-inch MacBook have not been refreshed for significant periods of time. The longest overdue is the Mac Pro, last updated 1,084 days ago.

iMac — 420 days ago
MacBook Air — 638 days ago
Mac mini — 782 days ago
• Mac Pro — 1,084 days ago

The lack of updates can be at least partially attributed to Apple having to wait on chipmakers and suppliers such as Intel, AMD, and Nvidia, each of which follow their own product roadmaps, although that cannot be the only reason given Skylake processors are now readily available for update-deprived Macs.

A lack of meaningful updates to several Macs this year impacted Apple's bottom line, as Mac revenue has declined for four consecutive quarters year-over-year. The declines have worsened each quarter, starting with a 3% drop in Q4 2015 and progressing to a 17% drop in Q3 2016, according to Strategy Analytics.

Apple investors now await the company's first quarter earnings results to see if the new MacBook Pro models will be able to reverse that trend.

Conversely, after several down quarters, the iPad has experienced a mostly upward trajectory over the past year, thanks largely in part to the iPad Pro's higher average selling price. Apple's tablet revenue is now stable on a year-over-year basis, after dipping as low as -21% one year ago.

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Strategy Analytics senior analyst Eric Smith attributes the stabilizing effect to Apple's renewed focus on iPads. He said Apple entered the 2-in-1 tablet market with the iPad Pro and Smart Keyboard right in time to renew growth and capitalize on growing enterprise demand in the future.

Recognizing that Microsoft was changing the computing device market, Smith said Apple "pretty much forgot about Mac" in order to attack the 2-in-1 tablet segment with the release of iPad Pro models over the past year.
"Apple has been a master of cannibalizing its own business before other companies do so in a major way," Smith told MacRumors. "Apple let iPad slide until it became clear that Microsoft was changing the computing device market. It refocused on iPad with the Pro series and pretty much forgot about Mac to attack the 2-in-1 segment."
Apple's move was rather effective, as iPad market share has stabilized at 22% over the past two years after declining for the previous four years. But it would seem it took a change in stance to get there as, in the past, Apple essentially dismissed the idea of releasing a tablet-notebook hybrid.

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During a 2012 earnings call, when asked to comment on why the MacBook Air and iPad would not eventually converge, Apple CEO Tim Cook argued that combining the products would result in compromises. "You can converge a toaster and a refrigerator but those won't be pleasing to the user," he said.

By contrast, earlier this year Apple released a TV ad called "What's a Computer?" that positions the iPad Pro as a computer. "Imagine what your computer could do if your computer was an iPad Pro," the tagline concludes.


Likewise, Cook said the iPad Pro is a notebook or desktop computer replacement for many people. "They will start using it and conclude they no longer need to use anything else, other than their phones," he added. "I think if you're looking at a PC, why would you buy a PC anymore? No really, why would you buy one?"

In the post-PC era, it is perhaps unsurprising that Apple's attention has shifted more towards the iPhone—and by extension, the iPad. But many faithful customers are hoping Apple will eventually turn its sights back to the Mac, following what some critics believe was a disappointing MacBook Pro update amid an aging lineup of Macs.

Rumors suggest Apple will launch new iMacs in the first six months of 2017, and at least one model is said to include an option for new AMD graphics chips. The roadmap for other Macs remains less clear.


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