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Wednesday, October 12, 2005, 01:10 pm PT (04:10 pm ET)

Saying goodbye to Apple\'s eMac

Apple's eMac computer is soon to become nothing more than a collector's item.

Only three years after introducing the eMac for its education customers, sources are reporting that Apple is ready to permanently discontinue the Mac model.

Introduced on April 29th, 2002, the eMac all-in-one desktop was coined "the most affordable G4 system ever." It featured a 700 MHz PowerPC G4 processor and a built-in 17-inch flat CRT display.

In the three-plus years that would follow, the eMac saw only minimal updates, recently topping out at 1.42GHz — a revision Apple introduced quietly in May of this year without notifying the press.

Although the eMac initially served its purpose in catering to educational institutions that required the "complete package" in a single enclosure at a low cost, its CRT-based design has since grown dated.

Today Apple is able to offer its educational customers a more fashionable all-in-one package with its new flat-panel iMac, and a low-cost solution with its sub-$500 Mac mini.

For Apple, the design of the eMac may have also become burden to produce and revise. According to industry source, the eMac's all-in-one enclosure was the most expensive part of the computer to manufacturer and was uneasily modified.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Apple had yet to issue an official end-of-life notice for existing eMacs, but sources familiar with the matter were told by the company not to expect new models.

Providing further evidence of the discontinuation is Apple's own website and online store, both of which appear to be phasing out references to the computer.

Apple is expected to continue to sell the eMac until existing inventory is exhausted.