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Tuesday, January 25, 2005, 05:00 pm PT (08:00 pm ET)

Target pulls Mac mini from online store

Days after placing Apple's Mac mini up for sale on its web site, Target has removed the product, citing availability concerns.

Just four days after Target.com began listing Apple's recently announced Mac mini computer as a purchasable item, the online retailer has abruptly yanked the product from its web site.

Target.com had priced the Mac mini at Apple's manufacturer's suggested retail price of $499, though web-savvy customers quickly discovered they could save 10% off that cost by entering coupon codes with their order, bringing the cost of the mini down to $450.

Sources close to AppleInsider claim this discounted price falls below the wholesale price of the computer, and likely attracted a plethora of buyers, ranging from the average customer to small resellers.

In an e-mail to inquiring customers, Target cited availability concerns as the sole factor that prompted it to remove the product from its store.

"We appreciate your interest in purchasing the Mac Mini. We can't offer a definite date when it will be on hand again, and because of this, we're not able to make it available for ordering at this time," the retailer said.

"Our inventory is constantly changing and we may get the item back in stock, so check back again. If inventory is on hand, you'll see an "Add to Cart" button on the product description page."

Apple's own online store is backlogged on mini orders by 3-4 weeks, but Apple Authorized Retailer J&R Music World is currently quoting ship estimates of 3-5 days and 7-10 days for the 1.42GHz and 1.25GHz models, respectively.