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Tuesday, January 04, 2005, 01:00 pm PT (04:00 pm ET)

Briefly: massive Apple U.K. and Canada price cuts, iPod mini drives

Apple U.K., Canada slash Mac prices

MacNN notes that Apple has reduced prices in the UK on nearly all of its Mac and flat panel displays offerings by as much as £450. Products met with price cuts include the iMac G5, PowerBook, Power Mac, iBook, and Cinema Display line.

Most products were cut by £50, including Apple's aging PowerBook line. The entry-level 12-inch Combo model now costs £1,099, down £50 from £1,149. A £50 reduction has also been applied to the SuperDrive version of the 12-inch PowerBook, which is now priced at £1,249.

Meanwhile, Apple's 15-inch PowerBooks also reflect £50 price cuts. The 1.33GHz Combo model costs £1,349, with the 1.5GHz SuperDrive version priced at £1,699.

The 17-inch 1.5GHz PowerBook previously retailing for £1,949 now costs £1,899."

On a side note, AppleInsider sources expect Apple to have introduced new PowerBook models by late-February. Specifics are not yet available.

An AppleInsider reader also notes that Apple has significantly reduced the price of several product offerings through its Canadian online store. Power Mac models have reportedly been cut by up to $400.

Earlier today, Apple also slashed prices across its Cinema Display product line in the US.

iPod mini component availability

JPMorgan on Tuesday raised its estimates for Apple, citing robust sales of its iPod digital music players and iMac personal computers through December.

In a research note distributed to clients, analyst Bill Shope said the "key catalyst" for the upward revision was "improved availability of 1.0-inch drives for the iPod Mini," which use tiny 1-inch microdrives.

AppleInsider previously reported on a rumor that suggests Apple is now shipping iPod minis equipped with 5GB microdrives from Seagate, due to limited supplies of the 4GB drives from original component supplier, Hitachi. A firmware block reportedly caps the usable disk space of these models to 4GB, rendering them functionally equivalent to the original 4GB model.

JPMorgan now expects earnings per share of 49 cents for the December quarter, up 2 cents from its previous estimate. The firm also raised fiscal 2005 forecasts for the Apple, predicting EPS of $1.71, up from $1.69 previously.