The M3 has been here since the end of October 2023. It features in the MacBook Pro and iMac, but is still absent from the MacBook Air and Mac mini. How long are we going to have to wait for Apple to roll out the M3 to the rest of the range?
This article is designed to help you figure out what’s happening with the M3 and M3 Pro versions of the Mac mini. We’ve gathered all the information from rumors and reports in one spot and will provide insight as to what’s feasible and what’s not.
We’ll update this article whenever new information becomes available.
New Mac mini: Release date
M3 Mac mini – Early in 2024
M3 Pro Mac mini – Early in 2024
Apple released the M2 & M2 Pro Mac mini in January 2023. Before that, the M1 Mac mini was released in November 2020. That’s over two years between the M1 and M2 Mac mini, but remember, that was also in the middle of the Covid pandemic that affected production. So, while the M2 Mac mini has just been out for a year, it has been out long enough for Apple to upgrade it. We could even see Apple unveil a new Mac mini at a spring Apple event.
In early August 2023, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported that Apple was performing preliminary tests on a M3 Mac mini, suggesting a new M3 model is in the pipeline.
What of the M3 Pro Mac mini? Usually, when Apple releases a new M-series chip, it does not introduce the Pro, Max, and Ultra versions at the same time as the base chip, however, when Apple updated the MacBook Pro at the October 30 event it not only released M3 chips, but also the M3 Pro and M3 Max. (See our MacBook Pro M3 review and our MacBook Pro M3 Pro review. We also have an iMac M3 review.
This was anticipated: in his October 29 newsletter, Gurman suggested that “Apple will unveil the M3 chip line – including the M3, M3 Pro and M3 Max [at the October 30 event]”.
Apple is likely, then, to update the Mac mini with M3 and M3 Pro in spring 2024.
Jason Cross / Foundry
New M3 Mac mini: Price
Current standard configuration prices: $599/£649, $799/£849
No rumored price changes (we hope that outside the U.S. Apple will reverse the price hikes of the past couple of years as they did with the iPhone).
Rumors about the M3 Mac mini have not addressed prices. We can take a look at Apple’s pricing history, current prices, and other product releases to get an idea of whether Apple will raise prices or not.
Apple’s M3, like the A17 Pro chip in the iPhone 15 Pro uses a 3nm A17 Pro chip, which is the first 3nm chip in an Apple product. The assumption could be made that Apple would raise prices to recoup the cost of research and production for those new chips.
But when Apple unveiled its iPhone 15 lineup, it did not raise the prices of the Pro models–in fact, it even reduced prices in some locations outside the U.S. That’s a good sign for the M3 Mac mini–it could follow the same standard configuration prices of $599/£649 and $799/£849 when it is finally released (or potentially even lower prices in the U.K. and other no-U.S. locations).
Looking back historically, Apple lowered the standard configuration prices when it released the M2 Mac mini. In 2020, the M1 Mac mini had prices of $699/£699 and $899/£899; the M2 Mac mini is currently at $599/£649 and $799/£849.
New M3 Mac mini: Processor and specs
M3: 3nm chip with 8-core CPU, 10-core GPU, 8GB unified memory (16GB and 24GB options)
M3 Pro: 11 or 12 core-CPU, 14 or 18 GPU cores, 18GB unified memory (36GB option)
We have a fair idea of what to expect from the Mac mini M3 and M3 Pro because we have already seen those chips in the MacBook Pro and iMac.
The new 3nm process used for the M3 allows more transistors to fit on a chip, which should provide a performance boost. The M3 will also offer better power efficiency, so the temperature considerations required for the M1 or M2 Mac mini aren’t the same as the M3, which could allow it to run faster because it doesn’t get as hot.
In addition, the M3 GPU is faster and more efficient and features Dynamic Caching, which is a new technology that brings features like hardware-accelerated ray tracing and mesh shading to the Mac.
As for the amount of unified memory, Apple still offers the standard configuration of 8GB for the M3 and options for 16GB and 24GB, as with the M2. For the M3 Pro there is up to 36GB unified memory available, but the standard configuration is now 18GB memory (up from 16GB).
Likely no change from the two Thunderbolt/USB-C configuration
When Apple released the M1 Mac mini in 2020, the company reconfigured the ports so that it had two Thunderbolt/USB-C ports instead of the four that were on the Intel-based Mac mini. Apple. Apple will likely stick with this port configuration with the M3 Mac mini, which also includes two USB-A ports, a gigabit ethernet port, HDMI, and a 3.5mm audio jack.
The M2 Mac mini already has Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3, but Apple could opt for Wi-FI 7 and Bluetooth 5.4.
New M3 Mac mini: Design
Likely no change to the compact box despite rumors to the contrary from a few years ago.
Rumors of the M3 Mac mini focus on the M3 chip and lack information about the design. Apple will keep the 7.75-by-7.75-by-1.41 inch (19.7-by-19.7-by-3.6 centimeter) external design. Because of the new 3nm M3, it’s possible Apple will change how the internals are laid out, but users won’t need to be concerned with that.