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Apple may release its third series of Intel-based personal computers (PCs) shortly, according to media reports. The Mac mini featuring Intel processors may be announced as early as this week, whereas iBook computers with Intel chips inside would follow later.

AppleInsider web-site reported that at a special even for the press to be held this week Apple Computer would formally release its first Mac mini small form-factor computers featuring Intel Corp.’s processors. The first iBook computers with Intel processors will be released at a later date, according to the report. Apple has reportedly released the Intel Mac mini design to its manufacturing partners in the Far East, which are currently ramping production of the compact computers in an effort to build an initial inventory stockpile.

The new Mac mini computers with Intel processors will acquire not only new central processing units (CPUs), but also built-in iPod dock, Front Row 2.0 software and Apple’s digital video recorder (DVR) application, which was at first described as “TiVo killer” in previous reports. Other hardware specifics are unknown, such as whether the Mac mini will provide video recording out of the box or whether an add-on will be offered for those looking to employ the Mac mini not as a second computer, but as their living room command center.

Apple’s current Front Row 1 software suite uses the Apple Remote to let users enjoy the content they have on their Macintosh, including songs from their iTunes music library, slideshows of their photo albums in iPhoto, videos including Podcasts, iMovies and DVDs, and popular movie trailers streamed from Apple’s web-site.

It is unclear whether Apple’s Mac mini which is set to get Intel processor and to be unveiled shortly will sustain exactly the same form-factor, as Apple may want to get rid of the 2.5” hard disk drive (HDD) in favour of 3.5” HDD in order to increase capacity and shrink costs.

Apple announced plans to deliver models of its Macintosh computers using Intel microprocessors by mid-2006, and to transition all of its Macs to using Intel microprocessors by the end of 2007. The computer maker did not comment on the news-story.

Apple Computer did not comment on the news-story.

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