MWSF: Apple introduces Mac mini

Apple Computer Inc. on Tuesday ended rumors that it would offer a low-priced Macintosh by introducing the Mac mini. Measuring 6.5 inches wide and long and 2 inches tall, Mac mini weighs 2.9 pounds. The Mac mini starts at US$499, the lowest-priced computer Apple has sold.

Inside the box is a PowerPC G4 processor clocked at either 1.25GHz or 1.42GHz, a 40 or 80GB hard drive, 256MB DDR SDRAM and ATI Radeon 9200 graphics chip with 32MB of dedicated DDR VRAM. It also can accommodate an Apple AirPort Extreme card for Wi-Fi networking using the IEEE 802.11g standard and an internal Bluetooth module -- available as a factory-installed option -- for communicating with thusly equipped cell phones, PDAs, printers and other devices. The Mac mini can be expanded with up to 1GB of PC2700 RAM as well. Apple representatives on the Expo show floor confirmed plans to certify 2GB PC2700 RAM for the system, as well.

Unlike Apple's other consumer-oriented systems, the iMac G5 and the eMac, the Mac mini does not have a built-in monitor. It features a slot-loading CD-RW/DVD-ROM Combo drive on the front, and on the back rests Ethernet, modem, DVI port, two USB 2.0 ports, a FireWire 400 connector and a headphone/line-out jack. A DVI to Video adapter is also included.

In introducing the new budget-priced Mac to Macworld Expo attendees on Tuesday, Apple CEO Steve Jobs describe Apple's new offering as "BYODKM," or Bring Your Own Display, Keyboard and Mouse. Apple includes none of these peripherals with the computer, but notes that it's compatible with industry-standard devices that support USB and DVI (or VGA, using the included adapter).

The Mac mini also includes iLife '05, Apple's all-new consumer application suite, which includes the latest versions of iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD and GarageBand.

Apple plans to ship the Mac mini on January 22, 2005. The Mac mini costs $499 for the 1.25GHz model equipped with a 40GB Ultra ATA hard drive and $599 for a 1.42GHz model equipped with an 80GB Ultra ATA drive.

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