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Thursday, July 21, 2005, 03:20 pm PT (06:20 pm ET)

New Apple hardware expected next week

Apple is expected to announce new consumer-oriented products next Tuesday, in time for the for the back-to-school shopping season, according to unconfirmed reports.

Specifically, anonymous sources said to expect new Mac mini models on Tuesday, July 26th. Updated iBook laptop computers may also accompany new Mac minis, according to rumor site Think Secret.

The site added a dab of color to rumors pertaining both offerings, explaining that three new Mac mini and two new iBook part numbers have appeared in Apple's retail database.

The three new Mac mini configurations are priced at $499, $599, and $699, according to the site. Meanwhile new iBook part numbers are showing up at $999 and $1,299 price points.

No further details or specifications of the systems have surfaced. Previous reports from overseas have suggested that Apple's 14-inch iBook would gain a widescreen display around this time.

Earlier this week reliable sources told AppleInsider that Apple was looking to clear out its existing inventory of Mac mini's through retail discounters such as Overstock.com — a telltale sign that new models are imminent.