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Apple Launches $499 Mac and Flash-Based iPod

Although oddly absent from CES (again), Apple Computer made a big splash a week afterward with several big announcements at the company's annual MacWorld Expo trade show. The company entered two markets that it earlier spent a considerable large amount of time shunning. Overnight, the company is now a player in the entry-level/low-end computer market with the announcement of its Mac Mini. The new computer, which starts at $499, is extremely small, measuring in at an astounding 6.5" wide and 2" tall. The system doesn't ship with a monitor, keyboard, or mouse, but it does finally help make the Mac affordable to "normal" people. We think Apple will sell millions and help reverse its rapidly decreasing market share. Apple also announced the iPod shuffle, a new low-end addition to the iPod family. The iPod shuffle is an extremely small flash-based music player. The device comes in either 512MB or 1GB models and starts at $99. Although the player lacks a display, unlike similar flash-based devices, the iPod aura and simple design will likely make this player a winner

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