Apple launches smallest, cheapest PC

12 January 2005 Apple Computer, which for years has struggled to win more than a few per cent share of PC sales, has announced the launch of a miniature desktop PC, that will sell for under £400 in the UK. The US price is even lower – under $600.

The move is an attempt by Apple to trade on the current popularity of its iPod digital music player and break into the mass market for PCs.

Speaking at the MacWorld conference in San Francisco this week, Apple CEO Steve Jobs described the Mac Mini as “the most affordable Mac ever.”

The Mac Mini will be sold without a monitor, keyboard or mouse, and measures roughly 16cm wide and 5cm high. Two configurations will be available; one with a 1.25Ghz processor and 40Gb hard-drive, priced at £339, and one with a 1.42Ghz processor and 80Gb hard-drive, which will sell for £399.

Jobs told the MacWorld conference that through sales of the Mac Mini, Apple wishes “to bring even more people into the digital revolution.” His comments suggest that the release of the Mac Mini is intended to capitalise on the success of Apple’s iPod digital music player by providing consumers with a budget priced companion desktop.

The Mac Mini is priced so that “those people who want to switch [to the Mac platform] don’t have any excuses not to,” Jobs added. Apple computers are traditionally at least 20-30% more expensive than PCs.

This week’s MacWorld symposium also featured the announcement of iWork, a bundle of word processing and presentation software for the Mac.

The release reflects Apple’s pursuit of small business customers, but the exclusion of a spreadsheet or database package suggests that the hardware and software manufacturer is reluctant to compete directly with Microsoft Office. If Microsoft were to stop developing Office for the Apple Macintosh, sales would be severely affected.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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