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Apple Computer, who has been facing tremendous success with its iPod music players, is reportedly going to expand its presence in its long desired personal computer space with a small form-factor Mac aimed primarily at PC users.

The new Mac code-named Q88 that will come in a small flat case without a display will be focused around traditional Mac software, such as Mac OS X, iLife Suite and AppleWorks, not really high performance. The machine will be based on a PowerPC G4 processor at 1.25GHz, 256MB of memory, 40 – 80GB HDD, ComboDrive, USB 2.0 and FireWire 400 connectivity along with different communication options, including 10/100Mb/s Ethernet, 56K modem and 802.11b/g wireless LAN, according to a report from ThinkSecret web-site.

The forthcoming small form-factor system from Apple will be supplied without the display to give customers flexibility to get exactly the same output device they need and can afford. It is unclear, whether Apple plans to offer any affordable displays for the SFF Mac.

Apple has consistently downplayed importance of hardware with affordable pricing, saying that what the company cared about was experience of its loyal customers. Nevertheless, Apple introduced its lower-priced iPod in early 2004, despite of doubts of certain analysts, which may indicate a shift in the company’s policy.

Now that Apple has sold millions of its iPod players, sources close to the company indicate that with almost every player the company sells, its new clients are asking for cheaper Mac computers, as Windows users want to try the Mac as their second, not a primary personal computer. Nevertheless, the same web-site claims Apple had been working on the new Mac for more than a year, which indicates that the company’s plans may not be a direct result of iPod’s recent success.

The new Mac is expected to be introduced by Apple chief Steve Jobs at his keynote address on Tuesday, January 11, 2005, but is not expected to be available until later in the first quarter. The new Mac is projected to retail for $500 in the USA, a price-point that is higher compared to a typical iPod, but is lower compared to the premium iPod photo.


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