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As projected, Apple Computer introduced at MacWorld Expo show its new Mac targeting clients in budget, who cannot afford Apple’s typical iMac or PowerMac computers. The Mac mini is shipped without display and input devices, but costs the same price as premium iPod photo.

“Starting at just $499, Mac mini is the most affordable way to enjoy Mac OS X and iLife. Just plug in your display, keyboard and mouse and you've got an incredibly compact Mac for a price that almost anyone can afford,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO.

Apple will supply two versions of its Mac mini PCs at $499 and $599 price-points without display. The more affordable version will feature 1.25GHz PowerPC G4 processor, 40GB hard disk drive, while the more expensive will include 1.42GHz central processing unit and 80GB HDD. Both Mac mini computers will feature 256MB PC2700 memory; ATI RADEON 9200 graphics chip; DVD-ROM/CD-RW combo drive; 10/100Mbps Ethernet; 56K modem; FireWire, USB 2.0 as well as other features.

Build-to-order options and accessories include up to 1GB of RAM, SuperDrive (DVD-RW/CD-RW), AirPort Extreme Card (802.11g), internal Bluetooth module, wired or wireless Apple Keyboard and Apple Mouse and the AppleCare Protection Plan.

Every Mac mini includes Mac OS X, iLife ‘05, an upgrade to Apple’s suite of digital lifestyle applications with major new versions of iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD and GarageBand. iLife ‘05 also features the latest version of iTunes, a digital music jukebox software which includes the iTunes Music Store.

Previously 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. Observers said the Mac mini is not about performance, but about giving people an opportunity to use Apple's software at an affordable price-point.


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