Apple downsizes Mac, hits new low price-point

An Apple dealer has high hopes new low-cost Mac Mini will be a big seller.

“The market has been waiting for this,” said Sara Meurling, general manager of Carbon Computing in Toronto.

“We think the Mac Mini will move well. A sub-$800 Mac is certainly something that’s been hoped

for a long time.”

To get a Mac into that price range Apple is venturing into new territory — the machine comes without a keyboard or monitor.

However, Meurling doesn’t see that as a disadvantage. Many full-size Mac buyers are opting for wireless keyboards and monitors, she pointed out.

However, on the Mac Mini that requires buying an optional Bluetooth module.

The white Mac Mini, revealed this week at Macworld Expo, is a mere 16.5 cm square (6.5 inches) by 5 cm (2 inches) tall.

The base model comes with a 1.25Ghz PowerPC G4 processor, 256K of DDR RAM (expandable to 1GB, a 40 GB hard drive, an ATI Radeon 9200 graphics chip with 32MB of DDR SDRAM, a DVD/CD-RW combo drive, One FireWire 400 port, two USB 2.0 ports, a DVI outputand a VGA output.

There’s also built-in 10/100BASE-T Ethernet and a 56K V.92 modem.

A more powerful version comes with a 1.42Ghz CPU and an 80GB hard drive.

Both models come with OSX version 10.3, multimedia software, 90 days free telephone support and a one-year limited warranty.

Meurling isn’t sure many first-time buyers will opt for the diminutive machine. Rather, she believes, it will be a second PC for those who already have a Mac.

It’s expected to arrive in Canadian stores Jan. 29.

Also announced is the latest in the iPod line, the Shuffle,a flash-memory version of the music player the size of a package of gum.

The Shuffle, to come in 512MB and 1GB versions starting at US$99, can be loaded by plugging into a USB port or the optional PC dock. It can hold up to 240 songs, depending on the size of player and music.

Apple says its rechargeable battery is good for up to 12 hours continuous playback.

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer. Former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, Howard has written for several of ITWC's sister publications, including Before arriving at ITWC he served as a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times.

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