Apple slims down: Apple Mac Mini and iPod Shuffle

Although there's still no word of the iTunes online music store being launched in Australia, this year's MacWorld San Francisco event saw Apple introduce a range of new products.

The diminutive Mac Mini is the cheapest Mac computer ever, partly because you'll need to supply your own keyboard, mouse and monitor. It features both VGA and DVI monitor connections, one FireWire and two USB 2.0 ports, headphone jack, built-in 10/100 Ethernet adapter and 56Kbps modem plus optional wireless networking. It uses Apple's G4 processor, a generation behind the G5 processor currently shipping in Power Macs and iMacs. The least expensive model will cost $799 with a 1.25GHz G4 processor, 256MB of PC2700 (333MHz) DDR SDRAM, a 40GB hard drive, a DVD-ROM/CD-RW drive and 32MB ATI Radeon 9200 graphics on board. The other model costs $949 with a 1.42GHz processor and an 80GB hard drive.Meanwhile, unlike earlier versions of the iPod that came with hard disk drives, the new iPod Shuffle's flash memory can store either 512MB ($149) or 1GB ($229) of MP3 or AAC music files. The iPod shuffle can also be used as a portable USB drive for everyday files. It's just 0.8cm thin, weighs 22g and has a rechargeable battery stated to provide up to 12 hours of life after four hours of charge.

Apple also released iLife '05, with updates for each item of this multimedia software suite bundled with all new Macs. Interestingly, a new $119 office productivity suite called iWork was also unveiled. At launch, the package will consist of a new version of Apple's presentation software, Keynote in addition to Pages, a new word-processing application designed as an update to the venerable Appleworks.

Price: Mac Mini from $799; iPod shuffle from $149 Vendor: Apple Australia Phone: 13 3622 URL:

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