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Last year, Apple introduced a range of new computers that included its M1 chip, the first processor it has made for its own computers. The newest addition to the line-up is the new iMac, but Apple introduced the new chip with a refreshed MacBook Pro, MacBook Air and Mac Mini.
At the same time, however, it kept an old version of that Mac Mini around. The new version was intended only to replace the more entry-level computers, and so it kept the more expensive and higher-powered versions of the Mac Mini around too.
Those computers offer extra features including more ports in the back. But they also still include the Intel processors that Apple is moving away from using as it undertakes its transition to its own processors in all of its computers.
To do that in the case of the Mac Mini, Apple will have to introduce a more powerful chip to cope with the higher demands that are made of that more expensive unit. And the company is planning to do so with the “M1X” chip that it is expected to release in the “next several months”, according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman.
Apple has used the “X” suffix for upgraded versions of existing processors in the past, when they have moved to the iPad. For the most part, that has meant taking the fundamental architecture of the existing chip – in that case, one built for the iPhone – but adding more CPU and GPU cores so that the computer could deal with higher demands.
As well as the more powerful processor, Apple is planning to introduce an “updated design”, according to the report. It is not clear what that design might look like.
Most of the computers that have received the upgrade to the M1 have kept the same design. The only Mac to get a redesign alongside the new chip is the new iMac, which is considerably thinner and lighter than the model that went before, as well as introducing new colours.
Like that previous iMac, the Mac Mini has been left without any kind of external redesign for years. From the outside, the design is much the same as it was in 2010, though the ports and finish have changed slightly.