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Thursday, January 26, 2006, 01:00 pm PT (04:00 pm ET)

Briefly: Intel Mac sales, iWeb, Aperture, Thunderbird

Intel Mac sales ahead of expectations

Reliable sources this week are corroborating reports of strong Intel Mac sales. According to these sources, sales of both the iMac Core Duo and MacBook Pro are coming in ahead of Apple's initial internal expectations. Apple executive vice president Tim Cook — pretty much the man in charge these days — is said be thrilled with the numbers and mounting orders for the soon-to-be-released 15-inch MacBook Pro.

iWeb and iLife driving .Mac sales

Apple last week filed for a trademark on the term "iWeb" with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The filing is in reference to the company's Web site creation and publishing software, introduced earlier this month as part of the new iLife '06 digital lifestyle software suite.

As previously reported, Apple developed iWeb with the intent to leverage and boost sales of its .Mac Internet service, which recently surpassed the 1 million mark in active subscribers. If initial sales are of .Mac 4.0 are of any indication, the new version of iLife with iWeb is doing just that.

Tipsters tell AppleInsider the new version of .Mac is selling extremely well, with some Apple retail and reseller locations running out of their initial supply of the retail-boxed copies. It's the "iWeb halo effect," they say.

Aperture "Crossgrade" now free

Meanwhile, Apple has felt the heat from some of its professional photography customers and has decided to abandoned plans to charge current Aperture owners a fee to obtain the Universal Binary version of the application.

Earlier this month, the company said it would charge $49 for the "crossgrade" update that will allow Aperture to run natively on both PowerPC Mac and Intel Macs.

A message on Apple's Aperture Web site now reads: "A Universal version of Aperture, which will run natively on both PowerPC- and Intel-based Mac computers, will be available before the end of March 2006. New and existing owners of Aperture will be able to crossgrade to the Universal version at no additional charge via Software Update."

Several Logic Pro customers are equally displeased with Apple's plans to charge $49 for the Logic Pro 7.2 Crossgrade upgrade package and are now demanding in Apple's online forums that they receive the same treatment as Aperture users.

Mozilla Thunderbird to gain Address Book integration?

Based on this Mozilla bug fix filing, it appears that some folks are rallying to add integration of Apple's Address Book application into a future version of the Thunderbird E-mail client. Thunderbird is an alternative E-mail client to Apple's Mail.app and Microsoft's Outlook Express.