The 4×4 inch MiniPCs from Intel are here to stay.
Some early photos of the NUC 13 Pro prototype design have been shared by Intel PR manager. This was quickly picked up by guys over at FanlessTech
who claim that this is an early design for NUC 13 Pro.
What is important to note is that this product is not NUC 13 Pro, but a prototype chassis of next-gen NUC currently equipped with NUC 12 Pro board. We have seen quite a lot of news on the NUC 13 Extreme, but thus far Intel has been reluctant to talk about its more affordable Pro line. The current-gen Pro series feature Core i7-1260P or Core i5-1260P Alder Lake processors and both support DDR4 memory and PCIe Gen4 storage. This product series codenamed Wall Street Canyon had a debut this August. It was later accompanied by NUC 12 Enthusiast (with Arc A7 GPU) in September and NUC 13 Extreme just this month (which by the way is more like a desktop PC than Mini-PC).
The updated chassis for NUC 13 Pro will allow better air circulation and as a result lower temperatures. A very similar mesh design is already used by some companies like ZOTAC. However, Intel product is clearly smaller.
Looks like better air circulation was needed compared to the previous model. Although this is a prototype.