Apple announces Cheap iPod, Mac

Apple Computer Inc. on Tuesday moved to make its products more affordable for the masses, unveiling its cheapest Macintosh computer ever and a version of its iPod digital music player for under $100.Apple co-founder and Chief Executive Steve Jobs, announcing the new products at the Macworld show in San Francisco, also said Apple had sold 4.5 million units of the various models of its blockbuster iPod in the 2004 holiday quarter.

News source: Reuters Apple has traditionally aimed for high-end markets both for its Mac computers and the iPod, eschewing discount models. But the company reversed that course in one fell swoop on Tuesday with the $99 “iPod shuffle” and the $499 “Mac mini.”

The new products expand Apple’s four-year-old “digital hub” and could broaden Apple’s market considerably, analysts said.But rumor sites had anticipated the new products, and Apple shares fell nearly 4 percent.”I think that the expectations were about as high as they could get for it,” said Marc Pado, U.S. market strategist at Cantor Fitzgerald & Co.

The iPod sales were also in the range of Wall Street expectations.

The “iPod shuffle,” is shaped like a pack of gum with no display screen. The smaller one, with 512 megabyte of memory, holds about 120 songs and costs $99. The larger one holds 1 gigabyte, or about 240 songs, and costs $149.

The “Mac mini” will come in $499 and $599 models, depending on processor speed and hard-drive size. Weighing less than 3 pounds and under 2 inches tall, the mini connects to televisions as well as PC monitors.

Financial analysts, alerted to the mini by rumor sites now being sued by Apple, have said it would appeal to iPod users on the Windows operating system.

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