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Saturday, February 25, 2006, 12:00 pm PT (03:00 pm ET)

Briefly: Intel Mac mini in production; iBooks due at later date

At a special media event to be held on its campus next week, Apple Computer will unveil a new line of low-cost Intel-based Mac mini desktop computers but will not debut its next-generation iBook consumer notebooks, AppleInsider has learned.

According to reports from a variety of sources, Apple this week released the Intel Mac mini design to its manufacturing partners in the Far East, which are currently ramping production of the compact computers in an effort to build an initial inventory stockpile.

Based on this information, it would appear that there will be at least some availability of the systems immediately following their announcement next Tuesday.

One the other hand, Apple's Intel-based iBooks are not expected to make an appearance at the event — they remain on target for an introduction at a later date this Spring.

The Feb. 28th Apple event is also expected to deliver some "fun products," the company teased in an invitation sent to analyst and members of the media last week.

One such product is believed to be the iPod Boombox, a radical new approach to traditional Boombox systems that will reportedly retail in excess of $300.

The device is believed to be just one of several iPod companion products that have been under development by the company's iPod division.