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Monday, September 04, 2006, 09:00 am PT (12:00 pm ET)

Briefly: X1900 Mac Pro ships, new nano ramping

Apple Computer last week began to ship Mac Pro systems configured with ATI's Radeon X1900 XT. Meanwhile, the Mac maker has been ramping its next-generation iPod nano, fueling spot pricing increases for NAND flash memory. And yet another UK-based Apple retail store has turned up on radar.

First X1900 XT Mac Pros ship

The first Mac Pro systems built-to-order with ATI's 512MB Radeon X1900 XT graphics card have left Apple's overseas manufacturing facilities in the Far East.

Some of the system's earliest adopters received FedEx shipping confirmations this past Saturday, AppleInsider has been informed. The machines are expected to touch-down in the States following the Labor Day weekend.

Although Apple initially priced the 2 x dual-link DVI cards as a $350 built-to-order option, last week it quietly reduced the cost by $100 following receipt of the first production shipments from ATI.

Systems configured with the X1900 XT have been delayed since early August. And despite pushing a few out the door last week, Apple continues to list lead times for new X1900 XT-enabled Mac Pros at 3 to 4 weeks.

Apple ramping new iPod nano

Meanwhile, manufacturing ramp of the next-generation, metal-clad iPod nano has been underway for several weeks. The multi-million unit build order will run through December but has already triggered NAND flash price movements.

In a research note issued last week, Baird research analyst Tristan Gerra said 4Gb and 8Gb NAND flash modules have seen spot pricing increases of 2 - 3 percent as a result of Apple's ongoing activities.

"Samsung has informed customers that it will be raising NAND flash prices in September," Gerra told clients.

Apple building on UK retail presence

Moving on to Apple's retail front, a photo taken at the WestQuay Mall pretty much says it all:

two-story Apple mall store


The Southampton, UK-based shopping center is due to receive a narrow but multi-level Apple retail store some time in the coming months. According to tipsters, the store will be located about "half way up the main central section" of the shopping plaza.

Apple currently operates six retail stores throughout the UK, including two stores in London, one in Manchester, one in Birmingham, one in Kent and another in Sheffield.