Update 03/07/22: In a tweet Monday night, Mark Gurman reported that the Mac Studio is “ready to go” and “should arrive tomorrow.”
Apple has been rumored to have a new high-end Mac mini in the works for a long time now. The current entry-level model sports an M1, but high-end models still use Intel chips.
Now, according to a report from 9to5Mac, it appears this new higher-power Mac mini is going to be called Mac Studio. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman later referred to the device a “smaller Mac Pro/more powerful Mac mini.”
According to reports, there are two versions in development. One will have an M1 Max processor, the other will have “a variant of the Apple Silicon chip that is even more powerful than the current M1 Max.” It’s unclear if this is a new M1-series chip, a multi-chip solution, or possibly something like an M2 Max—the report gives no details on exactly how this chip is more powerful than the M1 Max.
The report says the name may still change, but the product is being billed as something in-between the current Mac mini and the extremely expensive and powerful Mac Pro, which is also due for an Apple silicon refresh this year. However, while a Mac Pro that uses Apple silicon instead of Intel CPUs and AMD GPUs on the way at some point in the future, rumors also say Apple intends to refresh the current Intel-based model as well. So this new Mac Studio would presumably cater to a different audience.
A Mac Studio is likely to coincide with the release of Apple’s rumored new desktop monitor, which could revive the Studio Display brand. In fact, an earlier report by 9to5Mac points to a 7K “Apple Studio Display” an even higher resolution than the Pro Display XDR. Apple last sold its Thunderbolt Display in 2016 with a Quad HD 2560 × 1440 resolution and a $999 price tag.
9to5Mac’s report is thin on other details like ports, design, price, or even the exact processor specs. It’s also unclear how large this new Mac would be. Previous rumors claimed that Apple is working on Mac Pro with a case that’s half the size of the current model and “a mostly aluminum exterior.” These two Macs may be the same, which means the MacStudio would be much bigger than the Mac mini.
YouTuber Luke Miani has commissioned renders from Ian Zelbo for what his sources say the Mac Studio will look like. Essentially, it’s the same size as the Mac Mini only four inches tall, as if you stacked 2.5 Mac minis on top of each other. The top has a glossy glass or plastic piece that evokes the design of the original Mac mini.Ian Zelbo
The internal code name for the product is J375. Apple’s “Peek Performance” event is slated for Tuesday. In a tweet Monday night, Gurman reported that the new Mac is “ready to go” for the event.
We’ve long thought that Apple has a “Pro” problem. It has products like the Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR that are clearly meant for creative professionals that do intensive work to exacting standards and are priced accordingly. But many other “Pro” products, from the iPhone Pro models to the AirPods Pro and MacBook Pro, are just the “premium” version of its consumer line. While professionals also use these products, they’re not designed to the standards necessary for things like audio production or TV/cinema video work. Nobody’s mixing a major album with AirPods Pro or color-grading the next blockbuster movie on a MacBook Pro.
We’ve long thought that “Studio” is a better name for the true professional tier. It’s not clear that Apple will treat “Studio” as a new category of product or just the branding for a single Mac and monitor pair, but we think there’s value in differentiating real professional gear from the premium consumer tier.