Apple aims for new market with 'mini' macs and ipods

Apple will create a basic Macintosh at the dramatically reduced price of less than $500 (£266) to make its sleek products available to the mass market.

Apple will create a basic Macintosh at the dramatically reduced price of less than $500 (£266) to make its sleek products available to the mass market.

The move, which will shave $300 off the cost of the cheapest Mac, has been hailed as one of Apple's most dramatic shifts in strategy in recent years.

Apple's chief executive Steve Jobs yesterday said the new computers, called the Mac mini, were "the most important Mac ever", marking the company's departure from the luxury computer market to a wider section of the population. The products will sell for $499 and launch on 22 January. The machines have been the subject of rumours for weeks since Apple sued a website claiming to have the specifications of the new machines.

They have been nicknamed "headless Macs", because they will be sold without a monitor, keyboard and mouse. A second version with a larger hard drive will also be sold for $599.

Apple also said it would release a new version of its iPod digital music player for as little as $99. Apple said the "iPod shuffle" was smaller and lighter than a pack of chewing gum.

Mr Jobs laid out Apple's plans to several rounds of applause from fans at the company's annual Macworld trade show in San Francisco.

The company has in a couple of years accomplished an astonishing revitalisation of its business. In 2004, it underlined its superstar status in the IT world by partnering with U2 to bring out a limited edition iPod programmed with the pop group's latest album.

But its latest plans may be risky. By offering a basic Mac, Apple will be entering a particularly cut-throat segment of the market where margins are wafer-thin and where it has no experience of competing. It is possible the launch of the stripped-down computer could also cut into the market of those who would otherwise pay about $800 for the most basic model on the market.

But many analysts say the company should act quickly to take advantage of the popularity of iPods and its brand generally to try to attract a wider section of users.

The announcement came on the eve of Apple's first-quarter results, which are expected to highlight the company's pre-eminence as the most desirable brand in the hi-tech world.

Christmas sales of Apple's iPods are thought to have been strong, and could have made a third of its quarterly revenues, up from just under a quarter in the previous period.

Apple is also expected to have benefited from the demand for iPods driving more consumers into its 102 stores, where sales are expected to be strong.

Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
Plenty to ponder: Amir Khan has had repeated problems with US immigration because of his Muslim faith and now American television may shun him
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Head of Marketing and Communications - London - up to £80,000

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group Head of Marketing and Communic...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments