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Apple Begins Bargain Rollout

SAN FRANCISCO -- Apple (AAPL - Get Report) CEO Steve Jobs opened MacWorld here on Tuesday, debuting a slew of new products, including a new bargain-priced Macintosh and a flash-based iPod.

Rumors of both products had been swirling for weeks.

The news wasn't enough for the stock to offset the struggles of the broader market, however; shares were recently down $2.27, or 3.5%, to $66.69.

The new Macintosh, dubbed the Mac Mini, will be available later this month at a starting price of $499. The computer comes in a small lunch box-sized case, but doesn't include a monitor, keyboard or mouse. However, it has built-in connections to hook the computer up to industry-standard peripherals, including ostensibly those made for PCs with Microsoft's (MSFT - Get Report) operating system.

The base model for the Mac Mini comes with a 40-gigabyte hard drive, 256 megabytes of random access memory and a G-4 processor. In addition, Apple is offering a higher-end model for $599 that includes a faster G-4 processor and an 80-GB hard drive.

The new iPod, called the iPod shuffle, is available immediately for $99. The base model has 512 MB of RAM, which will hold about 120 songs. Unlike previous iterations of the iPod, the Shuffle has no screen and comes in a much slimmer package. Apple also is offering an upgraded version for $149 that has 1GB of RAM. Both models include a USB-2 connection.

Other new products unveiled by Jobs include a new verision of Mac OS X, dubbed Tiger; an updated version of iLife, Apple's multimedia suite of editing programs; and iWork, a new two-program office suite that includes Keynote -- Apple's PowerPoint program -- and a word processor.

The new version of OS X includes an integrated desktop search feature, along the lines of offerings from Microsoft and Google (GOOG - Get Report). But Jobs made the point the new search feature is integrated into the operating system, allowing it to be built into applications.

In contrast, Microsoft, which plans a similar setup with the next version of its operating system, won't have an integrated desktop search feature until the system's expected debut in 2006.

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