Himalayan News Service

Los Angeles, January 12:

Apple Computers Inc has unveiled a small personal computer (PC) the size of a paperback and a new software package, after coming under criticism that it produces only luxury items,

reports Xinhua. The $499 Mac Mini, for sale beginning from January 22, marks one of Apple’s boldest moves yet to expand its PC sales beyond a loyal but limited market. Apple’s iPod MP3 player and iTunes music store have led to a dramatic surge in revenue but to date there has been little evidence that those products have done anything for its PC business.

The Mac Mini ships with the latest operating system, Mac OS X Panther, plus a collection of digital media applications. Smaller than even some standalone external computer drives,

it has only a processor, hard drive and optical drive. Users have to supply the monitor, mouse and keyboard. Apple Computers CEO Steve Jobs said yesterday that the package would settle long-standing complaints that his company extracts too high a premium for its products.

“This is the most affordable Mac ever,” he said, “People who are thinking of switching will have no more excuses.” Mac loyalists were confident the Mac Mini would bring Apple computing to a mass-market audience increasingly interested in its products because of the iPod.

In addition, Jobs confirmed that the new software package iWork would replace Microsoft Office in the Mac software market. The package includes Pages, a new word processing programme developed by Apple, and an updated version of Keynote, a slide show application Apple introduced two years ago. With its Apple II machine, Apple played a key role in the early history of personal computers in 1980s. Now it possesses a tiny share of about three percent of the PC market, which is dominated by machines with Intel processor and Microsoft Corp’s Windows operating system.