Jobs Announces Mac Mini, Flash iPod, iWork Suite

Apple boss Steve Jobs has unveiled the company's vision for 2005 - and it covers a whole range of new products. Many of the biggest items, including a cut-price iMac, flash-based iPod and the iWork apps suite had already been rumoured, but Jobs confirmed them in a keynote speech lasting almost two hours at the MacWorld Expo in San Francisco.

More details are now emerging of the products announced in Jobs' speech. In summary, the big new announcements were, as expected, a flash-based iPod (the iPod Shuffle); a cut-price iMac (the Mac Mini); and an update for the ageing Appleworks suite (iWork). An updated version of the iLife suite of applications was also announced.

On the iPod front, the new player will weigh less than an ounce - and the smaller, 512MB version will retail at $99 in the US. Apple's UK store has also now been updated, to show the device will retail at £69 here - it will cost €99 in Ireland. Jobs said: "iPod shuffle is smaller and lighter than a pack of gum and costs less than $100. With most flash-memory music players users must use tiny displays and complicated controls to find their music; with iPod shuffle you just relax and it serves up new combinations of your music every time you listen." Of course, this may also be one of the most controversial issues - since no screen means no way to find specific tracks. The bigger, 1GB iPod Shuffle will cost $149, £99 or €149.

The Mac Mini is being touted as "the most affordable Mac ever" - and it certainly looks that way. $499 for a machine with a 1.2Ghz G4 processor inside and 40GB of hard disk space, $599 for a 1.4Ghz version with 80GB, will likely attract new customers - and the tiny size of the computer, along with its brushed silver exterior, will also prove a likely selling point. In the UK and Ireland, the machines will start from £339 or €519. It's available in the US on January 22, and a week later in the rest of the world.

Jobs described the relaunched iLife suite as "far beyond anything available on a PC, and is a must-have upgrade for every Mac user". It includes newly-updated versions of iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD and GarageBand. In the US, it's to retail for $79 - in the UK, £49, and €79 in Ireland. Meanwhile, iWork - the Appleworks replacement, made up of two key apps, Keynote and Pages - will cost £49 or €79 in the UK and Ireland, and $79 in the US. Keynote is Apple's presentation software; Pages is described as "word processing software with style".

Apple's store is proving exceptionally busy at the moment, with frequent timeouts, as many customers rush to get their hands on the new goods. Read more for full details and updates...

Video: Watch Keynote Stream

Screenshot: Mac Mini | Steve holding Mac Mini box | iPod Shuffle | Shuffle Review

View: Official MacWorld thread | MacWorld Expo | MacWorld

View: Apple homepage | Apple press releases

News source: Apple Insider | MacCentral

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