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Wednesday, June 29, 2005, 02:00 pm PT (05:00 pm ET)

Briefly: Motorola phone sale, Mac mini, iPods

Motorola phone sale, iTunes phone

Thanks to an anonymous tipster who points out that Cingular.com has just launched a "Motorola Phone Sale" that will last for "four days only." Rumor has it the sale may be aimed at clearing current handset inventory in favor of new models to be announced shortly.

Yesterday afternoon, sources passed along this image of an unannounced Motorola handset. The device, displaying an Apple visualizer and embedded scroll-wheel, is believed by some to be the much anticipated iTunes cell phone (in one shade or another). According to this revealing Motorola slide, the mysterious device is a member of the company's PEBL handset family, which sport continuous radii.

This past weekend, Reuters cited sources in saying Motorola and Apple have been talking to Cingular about it using the iTunes phone, expected any time now. The report went further in saying that Apple and Cingular were believed to be working out final details on revenue sharing pertinent to the arrangement.

Shortly thereafter, Apple released version 4.9 of its iTunes jukebox software, which came riddled with iTunes phone references. The application's resources dropped a few hints, but if you're still starving for more, here's another one for good measure:

Launch iTunes 4.9 and bring forward the preference dialog from the "iTunes" menu. Take a good look at the "Podcasts" icon — third from the left. Leaving the window open, launch your system's "Display" preferences and change your display to 256 colors. Return to the iTunes preference dialog and check out the new "Podcasts" icon. Odd.

Mac mini to be "replaced with new product?"

With its third fiscal quarter of 2005 now under its belt, Apple is wasting no time pumping new products into the market. Without hesitation, Apple this week rung in the new quarter with the release of updated iPods and price drops to bat. Could the Mac mini be one of the next products to see a refresh?

According to a couple of international Apple Store shoppers, and this post at MacBidouille, overseas Apple stores are offering confusing messages with customer order status reports. Customers who recently placed orders for a 1.42GHz mini from the Apple online store in France saw a message like this when checking their order status:

"MACMINI 1.42GHZ/512/80G/CMD/F
Est. Build On or before 11/07/2005
Replaced with new product"


However, it could be the "new product" is nothing more than lower priced RAM. It appears that Apple Store customers may now upgrade to 512MB of RAM for $50 or 1GB for $225. The previous price for a 1GB RAM upgrade was believed to be $425.

CSFB on iPods

In other news, Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB) today said it expects Apple to unveil an "iPod shuffle capacity and functionality refresh later this summer or early fall." Rumors that Apple would beef up its iPod shuffle offering originated amongst Wall Street analysts about two months ago but have so far gone unanswered.

CSFB also said it expects Apple will refresh its iPod mini offerings at least one more time this year.