Just days before the first Apple event of 2022, there's talk of a brand new machine that could break ground in the coming months – though unlikely on March 8. The rumored device is said to be a Mac mini with the power of a Mac Pro device and it could be called the Mac Studio. A new monitor could also carry the studio name making the perfect pairing for a new pro desktop setup.
The Mac Pro is an incredible machine with a wide range of options to deliver up to 28-core processing, dual 64GB Radeon Pro graphics and 1.5TB of RAM. It also had a price tag that spanned from a heady $6k up to an astronomical $52k for the fully kitted-out version. The options here are way beyond what even the most advanced video editors require.
While it would be foolish to think that something the size of a Mac mini could look to compete with the Mac Pro, Apple could create one to compete with a MacBook Pro. The latest 14in and 16in MacBook Pro models use the latest M1 Pro and M1 Max chips. The flagship model includes a 10-core CPU, 32-core GPU and 32GB RAM. It's an impressive spec and as our MacBook Pro review attests, more power than anyone really needs. Plus, we could see even more powerful M2 chips in the coming weeks on MacBook Pro models.
If this amount of power could fit into the slim form of the MacBook Pro, there's no reason it couldn't be matched by a small form desktop machine, in the style of the Mac mini. I would expect the size of the device would be fractionally larger than the Mac mini, to account for the thermal systems and potentially larger fan but it's still likely to be slim enough to sit underneath your monitor.
The first rumblings of this new device came from Bloomberg's (opens in new tab) Mark Gurman in his weekly email but 9to5 Mac (opens in new tab) has apparently seen information that suggests that the Mac Studio will be based on the Mac mini with a more powerful processor.
As an update, YouTuber Luke Miani (opens in new tab) has shared renders of a Mac Studio design that is roughly twice the height of the current Mac mini. Miani claims that the Mac Studio will in fact be launched this week alongside the Studio display.
For those that don't need the portability of a laptop, a powerful Mac Mini-type device makes much more sense. Why spend money on that 16-inch screen when you're going to have it constantly plugged into an external monitor?
The number of times I actually unplug my MacBook Pro from its dock on my desk is so few that I'm pretty sure I've forgotten what it's like to use the screen and keyboard on their own. While I've resisted the Mac mini to date, I would definitely be tempted to upgrade to something with the same kind of power as a new MacBook Pro.
So, selfishly, I do hope the rumors on this are true (you can see some of our other Apple event predictions here). The Mac Studio sounds like my perfect new machine, paired with a matching Mac Studio monitor. Though, perhaps my credit card should be worried.