The new Mac mini looks nearly identical to its predecessor on the outside, with the only external change being upgraded USB ports—the mini now uses the USB 3.0 standard. Apple senior vice president Phil Schiller noted that the big changes to this version of the Mac mini can be found on the inside. The entry-level $699 model now gets a 2.5GHz Intel Core i5 processor (up from 2.3GHz last year) and a faster Intel HD Graphics 4000 (compared to HD Graphics 3000 last year). It continues to include 4GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive.
The $1099 Mac mini Server now ships with a 2.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor (up from 2.0GHz last year) and the Intel HD Graphics 4000, dual 1TB 7200rpm hard drives (compared to 750GB last year), and 4GB of RAM. It also replaces the USB 2.0 ports with USB 3.0.
Apple will also offer a build-to-order option for its mini configurations: The company’s new Fusion Drive, which combines 128GB of flash storage and either 1TB or 3TB of traditional hard-drive on a single drive. The operating system and stock apps are initially stored on the flash storage, but as you use the computer, OS X determines which apps and files you use most frequently and moves those file onto the flash storage.
Other specs and features appear to be identical to those of last year’s models. Apple says the new Mac mini starts shipping this week.