RUMOR: Apple to debut $499 ‘headless iMac’ at Macworld Expo on January 11

“With iPod-savvy Windows users clearly in its sights, Apple is expected to announce a bare bones, G4-based iMac without a display at Macworld Expo on January 11 that will retail for $499, highly reliable sources have confirmed. The new Mac, code-named Q88, will be part of the iMac family and is expected to sport a PowerPC G4 processor at a speed around 1.25GHz. The new Mac is said to be incredibly small and will be housed in a flat enclosure with a height similar to the 1.73 inches of Apple’s Xserve. Its size benefits will include the ability to stand the Mac on its side or put it below a display or monitor,” ThinkSecret reports.

“The new Mac is expected to have a Combo drive only, but will possibly have an upgrade path to a SuperDrive at a higher price. It is unclear how big the hard drive capacity will be, although sources indicate it will be between 40GB and 80GB,” ThinkSecret reports.

Other expected features of the iMac include:
256MB of RAM
USB 2.0
FireWire 400
10/100 BASE-T Ethernet
56K V.92 modem
AirPort Extreme support

“In terms of software, Apple will include a special iLife suite (minus iDVD) as well as AppleWorks, sources believe,” ThinkSecret reports.

Full article, with many more details, here.

“Apple Computer next month is expected to introduce a G4 iMac sans monitor that will retail for below (US) $600, multiple independent sources tell AppleInsider. The unit will easily plug into any display or television, sources said,” Kasper Jade reports for AppleInsider. “The computer, which is reportedly code-named Q88, is currently under production in Asia by manufacturing contractor HonHai, otherwise known as Foxconn. HonHai currently produces Apple’s Power Mac and AirPort Express products… According to sources, the headless iMac was to include a built in iPod dock, though sources say this feature was scrapped and may reappear in future versions of the headless iMac.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: If true, you’d be able to get a new Mac for less than your 60GB iPod photo and it would be quite tempting to dump that Windows box that’s continually getting infested with adware, spyware, and assorted malware for a superior Mac OS X machine that only runs the software you want it to run (not software that marketers and others install on your machine without your knowledge). This entry-level Mac would be a massive announcement for Apple and, of course, lead to sales of higher-end Macs down the road after the entry-level iMac users get a taste of Mac OS X and look for a more powerful, fuller-featured Mac down the road. Microsoft won’t be happy if this happens.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Headless iMac for $499? Please, Apple, let it be true! – December 29, 2004
Dr. Mac predicts ‘full-featured Apple Mac model for under US$600’ and more in 2005 – December 28, 2004


  1. This is great news for my PC repair company. For a while now I’ve wanted a cheap mac that I could give to my customers on loan and have them use it for a week and see what they think. I routinely take PC’s out of their home to fix them in the shop. How cool would that be to say “Here’s a computer for you to use while I’m fixing yours. I’ll setup your email for you, just surf around with it and tell me what you think.” I’d load it up with RAM and put Office X on it.

    Then again, I just might put myself out of business doing that!


  2. I hope it’s true. It would be great for my company. We have a lot of Macs just used for entering accounting info, database info, word processing, simple spread sheets, and email. We have a lot of old working monitors. This would be great.

  3. If it was any other site than ThinkSecret, I would have said “Yeah, right.” If it comes to pass, this opens up some intriguing possibilities, particularly if it fits neatly into an A/V cabinet. Make it cable-ready and Apple could own the home entertainment market, thus realizing Jobs’ vision of the Digital Hub.

  4. If it’s a PVR, I might be very tempted to get one.

    If it’s a cheapo Mac, it better be better than a Dell bait-and-switch. I would hate to think Apple would sink to Dell-style tactics.

    Hmn, magic word: “ahead”

  5. Well, this is an interesting story on all counts as – if true – Apple may well be creating a machine for more than one mission.

    The obvious usage for this system is as a “starter” Mac for low-demand domestic environments where e-mail, surfing and a bit of light business/office productivity is needed i.e. the average home.

    However, this unit would also have the same appeal in schools, and businesses from small ‘mom and pop’ retail to the upper end of the SMB marketplace (500 seats). In this respect, we should consider some of the functionality of Tiger Server, specifically the rumored NT4 Migration Wizard, and ask ourselves whether Apple is stealthily positioning itself for a major push into the core of business.

    Two other missions also spring to mind: the mini home server, ideal for storing your EyeTV/iTunes/iPhoto libraries and the mini media client ideal for plugging into your HD plasma or LCD set. How pretty will Quartz Extreme look when combined with Core Image through a big screen?

    And then there’s the K-12 market.

    Combine this rumour with a “cheap” 17″ analog LCD panel offering and Apple would have a machine for our times – free of viruses, free of spyware, easy to maintain and support. Please let it be true.

  6. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”surprised” style=”border:0;” /> OH PLEASE OH PLEASE!!!! I’ll FINALLY be able to afford a Macintosh!!

    While Macs are currently cheaper than mass-market PCs, nothing is cheaper than building it yourself, which is what I have always done.

    If I can get a real Macintosh for the price of building my own PC. . .
    ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”surprised” style=”border:0;” />

  7. Even if it isnt meant for the AV cabinet, it would work perfectly there. I thought about using my cube for such but the power supply and vertical CD make it unsuable there. This with the Elgato product, I could replace my stereo (iTunes & Internet Radio), DVD player and VCR (convert tapes to quicktime) and DVR(if I had one =(. Heck, iChat in the living room.

    I know MS is trying to do this, but I dont need anymore subscription services, this is just my hardware and I can do with it as I like.

  8. If this actually happens, I think we’ll see a return of the 15 or 17-inch studio displays, for around $200-$400, because Apple will have a hard time selling $1200 displays to people wanting a $600 machine. Maybe they’ll put out a cheap CRT for it – I really doubt that one though, because back when the G4 iMac was announced, Steve said “The CRT is officially dead”. I guess that doesn’t mean dead for super low end. I hope for a 60gig harddrive as a minimum on this new Mac if it comes to see the light of day.

  9. Unfortunately, it will probably have a pretty low end graphics card (32 meg, maybe 64 if we’re lucky). So Im not sure it would be capable of running a 52″ plasma HD TV. If it came with a large enough slot for upgrading the card, that would be fine.

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