Without so much as a whisper, Apple has removed the eMac from its regular consumer product line, relegating it solely to the educational sector that it debuted in.
Regular consumers, however, are out of luck. A search on Apple Australia's online store confirms that the product is no longer available domestically. In addition, the eMac is absent from all of Apple's global online stores, indicating that the scale of the initiative is global.
The most plausible explanation is that the eMac has been superseded by the Mac Mini, which starting at AU$799 without a monitor, targets the same budget segment. Another possible theory is that Apple is gearing up to release an Intel-based eMac at Macworld this month, to kick off 2006. This speculation coincides with Apple's announcement on June 6 2005 that it would be making the transition from IBM PowerPC to Intel microprocessors "beginning in 2006".
When approached for comment regarding the possibility of an Intel-based eMac, John Marx, a PR consultant at Apple Australia, predictably refused comment.
"Apple doesn't discuss future product announcements", he said.
The eMac seems to have left through the same door it came in, as the product was originally sold only to the education market before Apple decided to release it to the general public mid-way through 2002. Now, over three years later, there's been a complete reversal.
"As the eMac is primarily used by the education space it will remain available to this market", said Marx. "On the Apple Store, customers can now purchase either the mac mini or iMac".
While it's difficult to determine the amount of revenue Apple derives solely from the eMac - Apple doesn't disclose these sales figures - the machine's sub-$1500 price tag and simple all-in-one design made the product particularly attractive to home users on a budget.
For existing eMac owners, Apple is adamant that it will continue to support the product despite its departure from the consumer space.
"Apple provides service and support on all its products for a minimum of five years", said Marx.