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Wednesday, May 04, 2005, 02:55 pm PT (05:55 pm ET)

Apple\'s 4GB iPod mini outselling newer models, more...

Even though Apple Computer is now selling a version of its iPod mini digital music player with 50% more capacity than earlier models, the company's original 4GB configuration continues to be the most popular amongst consumers.

The 4GB iPod mini, which retails for $199, is outselling the $249 6GB model by an approximate 3 to 1 ratio, according to sources who monitor Apple's retail store operations.

On instinct, employees working at Apple's retail stores will attempt to up-sell consumers from a 4GB, which holds 1000 songs, to a 6GB capable of retain about 1500 tunes. But insiders say the average consumer response is: "1000 songs is enough."

Likewise, the 4GB iPod mini also appears to be doing its part to cannibalize sales of the 1GB flash-based iPod shuffle, which have dropped significantly over the last month. While the difference between a 4GB and 6GB mini is negligible — with the larger offering no ensuing benefit other than the capacity increase — consumers are realizing that for $50 more (than the 1GB iPod shuffle) they can own an iPod with nearly 5 times the capacity and a display screen.

In a way the 4GB iPod mini has established itself as a cool medium in Apple's compact line of music players — halfway between the flagship white iPod and the gum stick-sized iPod shuffle.

In the coming months, analysts expect Apple will reshuffle its iPod offerings once again, introducing some new models and possibly doing away with others. And while the Cupertino, Calif.-based company does not yet offer a cross between its iPod mini and iPod shuffle lines,... it will (hint). They're working on it.

Meanwhile, some of Apple's other hot selling products in April included the Mac mini and PowerBook G4 product lines.

Sources close to the company tell AppleInsider that in some of its stores, new-to-Mac buyers now represent over 50% of total CPU sales. They say between 1 in 4 Macs sold on an average day is a Mac mini, but on other days this ratio is closer to 1 in 3.

And after a rather bumpy roll-out of its latest PowerBook G4 systems, Apple has corrected issues with the new PowerBook TrackPads, and as of three weeks ago began shipping units by the truckload. Interestingly enough, sources indicate that in February Apple was also experiencing a somewhat serious issue related to the batteries in the 12-inch PowerBooks, but this too has been resolved.

Finally, Apple's hard disk-based players are being met with mixed results, sources said. The company recently repackaged its 20GB model to match the 30GB and 60GB iPod photo boxes. Sales of both the 20GB and 30GB iPod photo are said to be strong and about even.

On the other hand, at $449, the 60GB iPod photo is still "no hot ticket."