Apple Debuts Cut-Price Mac Mini PC and iPod

12 January 2005

Apple Computer ceo Steve Jobs personally unveiled two potentially sensational new products at the biannual Macworld showcase in San Francisco

Topping the bill on Tuesday were the Mac Mini, a component-lean desktop computer designed to cash-in in on Apple's phenomenal iPod success story; plus Shuffle, a new and more basic member of the iPod family that stores downloaded music in flash memory rather than a hard disk.

Both products are designed and priced for the mass market, a departure from Apple's niche strategy that focused on premium designs, quality software and high-end prices.

Analysts believe Jobs' double-whammy is right on target, forecasting that the Shuffle will generate a 'halo effect' in which consumers seduced by the music player will discover and start buying Apple computers as well.

Mac Mini, reports the Financial Times, is "the size of a small biscuit tin" that houses an OS X operating system - shorn of all other accoutrements such as a monitor, keyboard or mouse. It is, however, compatible with any industry standard peripheral.

Starting at $499 (€379; £265), Jobs says "it is priced so people thinking of switching will have no more excuses". The Mini comes preloaded with Apple's most popular software.

The iPod Shuffle is likely to be an even greater hit, believe industry commentators. The more so as it targets the flash memory segment of the music download market to which Apple is a newcomer.

The cheaper of the two new iPods is priced at $99 and holds 120 tracks on 512mb of memory. The $149 model has twice that capacity.

Apple is due to announce its fiscal Q1 earnings later today.

Data sourced from Financial Times Online; additional content by WARC staff