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Briefly: iPod shuffle at Circuit City, iPod mini, PowerBooks

Circuit City to carry iPod shuffle

Consumers seeking one of Apple's hot-as-heck iPod shuffle players may want to keep an eye out while at their local Circuit City.

Although there has been little to no mention of the electronics retailer carrying Apple's new shuffle, Circuit City was the first national retailer to offer shuffle pre-orders
through its Web site, and retained stock of them up until this past weekend.

Circuit City retail stores have also begun receiving tiny shipments the 1GB model, albeit sporadically. In fact, we were recently able to locate a few from our local store.

Speaking with AppleInsider, representatives from the retail chain confirmed that Circuit City will soon begin carrying the shuffle in all 632 of its retail outlets, but declined to name its supplier.

According to sources, iPod shuffle shipments to Circuit City locations have so far come only in small doses, with most shipments consisting of only 3-5 of the players. Shuffles typically ship from Apple in cartons of 20.

Regardless of who its supplier is, the retailer expects supply to increase shortly. "It's not uncommon for there to be spotty shortages industry-wide as a much-anticipated product comes to market," said Jim Babb, Manager of Media relations for Circuit City. "But supplies usually normalize in fairly short order. And that's what we expect in this case. "

"I can tell you that we're excited about the iPod shuffle," Babb said "It's one of those products that generates a lot of excitement with the public."

iPod mini revision

Meanwhile, sources tell AppleInsider that sometime this month Apple should announce the previously rumored revision to iPod shuffle's big sister, the iPod mini.

It's expected that the new iPod mini will boast a 5GB ST1 microdrive from newly signed component supplier, Seagate. Sources claim that this revised player has been in production, in at least some capacity, since December. However, no new information about the player has surfaced.

Apple developing TrackPads in-house?

In a research note sent to clients on Monday, Bear Stearns analyst Andrew Neff noted that the TrackPad in Apple's newly revamped line of PowerBook notebook computers doesn't come from Synaptics — Apple's long-time supplier of the device — bringing into question the future of the relationship between the two companies.

"Our concern is that TrackPad may signal a change in Apple's strategy whereby in the future Apple may source all of its interface solutions internally," Neff said.

In related news, tipsters note that some of the new line of PowerBooks are shipping with a build of the soon-to-be-released Mac OS X 10.3.8 Update, likely in support of the new Apple TrackPad. However, the majority of the laptops are shipping with a custom version of Mac OS X 10.3.7, build 7T62.