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Apple preps for "Black Friday" holiday bonanza

Apple Computer is gearing up to launch its annual "Black Friday" sale next week, in which it will offer price cuts on various Mac and iPod products in a 24-hour bid to usher in the holiday shopping season with a bang.

The one day event extends from the company's online store to its national retail chain.

Last year's sale included a $101 savings on iMac G5s and iBook G4s, as well as $30 discounts on JBL On Stage iPod Speakers and $20 savings on JBL Creature II Speakers.

Similarly, Apple offered $100 off select Shure Sound Isolating Earphones, and $30 off its AirPort Express and iSight products. It also offered $5 discounts on select iPod accessories and price cuts on some software titles.

About the same time Apple kicks-off its Black Friday festivities, the company is expected to announce "holiday store hours" at many of its retail locations. Unlike the Black Friday sale, the extended hours of operation will run through the entire holiday shopping season.

The Mac maker will also be sprucing up its retail store window displays and handing out attractive print copies of its "Holiday Gift Guide," showcasing its most popular iPods, Macs and accessories.

On Thursday, the company briefly took its Apple Store offline to make changes to the online version of this years gift guide, displaying it more prominently to web shoppers.

Traditionally, Apple has pre-announced plans for its Black Friday bonanzas but kept specific discounts and sale items a secret until the day of the sale.